Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Opera on DVD Revised

These DVDs fill in some enormous gaps in Metropolitan Opera on demand video listings.  There are, of course, many more than what I'm showing.  I generally prefer to recommend currently or recently active performers.  For my recommendations from the Met on demand see here.

It is impossible to complete this list.  I include my favorites Jonas Kaufmann, Philippe Jaroussky, Cecilia Bartoli, Anna Netrebko, etc.


The Met is woefully lacking in this area. I like:
L’Incoronazione di Poppea Monteverdi 2008 with Danielle de Niese
Dido and Aeneas Purcell Dido and Aeneas with Sarah Connolly
Giulio Cesare Handel Cecilia at Salzburg-Grammy nomination
Orlando Furioso Vivaldi Marie-Nicole Lemieux
Artaserse Vinci Artaserse with 5 Countertenors
Partenope Handel YouTube from San Francisco
Semele Handel Zurich Cecilia
Theodora Handel Theodora from Glyndebourne

I will need to do additional research to find the best version of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, a very significant opera.  But the Danielle de Niese L’Incoronazione di Poppea is a fine Monteverdi example.

Two star Cecilia Bartoli, one from Zurich, Semele, and one from Salzburg, Giulio Cesare.  Operas chosen for the modern productions are Partenope and Theodora.  A modern production can improve a Baroque opera.


Orphée et Eurydice Gluck Vesseliina Kasarova
Don Giovanni Mozart Bartoli Zurich
Le Nozze di Figaro Mozart Netrebko Salzburg

The Met on demand has covered this genre, but I will keep searching for examples to add here.    The Gluck shown above is a wonderful performance of the Berlioz arrangement made for Pauline Viardot.


Bel Canto

Otello Rossini Zurich with Cecilia
Le Comte Ory Rossini Zurich with Cecilia
Lucia di Lammermoor Donizetti ROH with Damrau

The Lucia shown above is of a controversial production where Lucia is on the stage for the entire opera.  The murder is shown.  I prefer Cecilia's Ory over the Met's.

There are many Norma DVDs.  It would be hard to evaluate them all.  Cecilia Bartoli's version is not currently available.  Met on demand has a rich assortment of the operas of Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti.


Tristan und Isolde Wagner Theatre Antique d'Orange
Lohengrin Wagner Kaufmann and Harteros
Die Meistersinger Wagner Salzburg

I love these, but most of my other favorite Wagner performances are either can be seen in the Met on Demand or are from San Francisco and have no videos.

Giuseppe Verdi

Nabucco Verdi Guleghina
La Traviata Verdi Netrebko from Salzburg
La Forza del Destino Verdi from Munich with Kaufmann
Don Carlo Verdi Salzburg with Kaufmann
Otello Verdi Royal Opera

The two Kaufmann performances are from the Verdi year.  You would only want these if you enjoy Anja Harteros like I do.  I love the original version of the red dress La Traviata from Salzburg with Netrebko and Villazon.

French, Russian, etc.

Ruslan and Lyudmila Glinka Gergiev Netrebko
L'Africaine Meyerbeer Domingo & Verrett
Hamlet Thomas Natalie Dessay
Carmen Bizet Kaufmann and Antonacci 
Manon Massenet Netrebko and Villazon
Werther Massenet Kaufmann
Pelléas et Mélisande Debussy Robert Wilson
Die Fledermaus J. Strauss Kiri te Kanawa

Hamlet is nothing without Natalie Dessay who was ill for the HD.  This DVD of Manon with Netrebko and Villazon is completely charming and much better than the HD, though I do like the HD with Pretty Yende.  The Robert Wilson Debussy is quite abstract but beautiful.  I'm pleased to include one Meyerbeer, a seriously neglected composer.


Cavalleria Rusticana Mascagni Domingo movie
I Pagliacci Leoncavallo Domingo movie
Manon Lescaut Puccini ROH with Kaufmann
La Bohème Puccini movie with Netrebko and Villazon
Tosca Puccini Domingo movie
Adriana Lecouvreur Cilea Gheorghiu and Kaufmann
Andrea Chenier Giordano Kaufmann and Westbroek
La Fanciulla del West Puccini Stemme and Kaufmann

I have listed the Domingo movies filmed on location because I enjoy them.  The Tosca which films each historic location in Rome is especially beautiful.  There is also a La Bohème movie with Netrebko and Villazon, but I'm less enthusiastic here.  Some people don't enjoy film versions of operas, and if you are one of these, please skip them.

Jonas Kaufmann is the hot tenor of today, and I like very much his La Fanciulla del West with Nina Stemme.

Richard Strauss

Salome Strauss R ROH Maria Ewing
Capriccio Strauss R Kiri Te Kanawa SFO
Ariadne auf Naxos Strauss R Original from Salzburg

This Ariadne DVD is of an historical performance of what they are calling the "original" Ariadne auf Naxos.  The first version of Ariadne played as a closing piece to Moliere's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.  Historical might lead you here, or perhaps you would be attracted by Jonas Kaufmann as Bacchus.

The Maria Ewing Salome has to be the best operatic striptease ever.  But if you prefer a better sung Salome, try Nadja Michael.  The productions are completely different.

Leoš Janáček 

Jenůfa Janáček Glyndebourne Silja
Káťa Kabanová Janáček Glyndebourne Gustafson
The Cunning Little Vixen Janáček Charles Mackerras Paris
The Makropulos Affair Janáček Glyndebourne Silja
From the House of the Dead Janáček Aix-en-Provence

I am attempting to fill a gaping hole by recommending these DVDs of Janáček operas mostly from European summer festivals. This is an area of opera everyone should have some experience of.  The pickings are shockingly slim.  Janáček plays at the Met but has never been on the HD series. 

Modern Opera

Moses und Aron Schoenberg Vienna State Opera
Porgy and Bess Gershwin Willard White
Lulu Berg Barbara Hannigan
Einstein on the Beach Glass Now on DVD
Il Postino Catán Domingo
Moby-Dick Heggie SFO
Anna Nicole Turnage Westbroek
Written on Skin Benjamin Barbara Hannigan
L'Amour de Loin Saariaho Upshaw and Finley

I enjoy Barbara Hannigan and recommend her DVDs, especially Lulu.  After several decades there is finally a DVD of Einstein on the Beach, a landmark opera.  Save Moses und Aron for later.

Do not miss Porgy and Bess with Willard White.

1 comment:

Paul said...


Robert le Diable -- ROH production with Brian Hymel and Patrizia Ciofi
Les Huguenots -- Opera Australia, featuring Joan Sutherland's farewell performance
L'Africaine -- SF Opera with Domingo & Verrett (an oldie but goodie)
Il Crociato in Egitto -- La Fenice production with Ciofi and Michael Maniaci