Marius Petipa's 'The Sleeping Beauty' is one of the best loved of classical ballets, combining in a single work all the enchantment and virtuosity that ballet has to offer. The royal court, the panoramic journey of the Prince to the overgrown castle, and the great celebratory dances of the happy ending (in which other famous fairytale figures appear) are all brought to life by the luscious designs of this celebrated production, created in 1946 for The Royal Ballet. The inspired performances of its revival for the 75th anniversary of the Company in 2006, together with a magnificent High Definition recording, make this a superb tribute to The Royal Ballet's unique style and visual splendour.
Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY sees the choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the Christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballets first performance; the height of the Fin de siècle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman, we move forwards in time to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era; a mythical golden age of long Summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any Fairy story!
This is an exciting performance. Gabriele Lavia’s steampunk production is stylish and plays up the violence and tension that underpin the opera. Nicola Luisotti’s conducting does likewise, as he is sharp and authoritative but also allows the music to breath naturally. The cast is excellent.(Opera Now)
“Hunter’s Bride” is a film opera based on the romantic opera “Der Freischütz” by Carl Maria von Weber. Dreams and hopes of young people are told in this exquisite fairy tale. Max and Kaspar, both hunters, fight side by side in the Napoleonic Wars, as well as each other to conquer Agathe’s love. European cultural history becomes visible in an opulent historical panorama and one of the most beautiful pieces of music. The pictures of Norwegian director of photography Harald Gunnar Paalgard give a spatial dimension to the unique sound of the London Symphony Orchestra, which recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Performed by renowned opera soloists – Juliane Banse, Michael König, Michael Volle, René Pape – the film opera was a huge public success in European theatres. Filmed on 35mm film on original locations in Germany, the film opera dramatises the enchanted tale with stunning images, and surround-sound revives the music for the eyes and the ears of the audience.
The Spanish Guitar is an epic tale that integrates live performance with real footage of Benise as he voyages across the globe. His masterful playing, brilliant choreography, moving orchestral pieces, couture fashion, and the unparalleled beauty of the Gitanas dancers gives Spanish dance a luminous makeover. Journey to worlds both far away and deeply personal, and remember that hope can be the healing thread in all of our lives.
A mysteroius childlike woman, a murder by jealousy, an orphan: Debussy’s Pelléas et Méllisande, his only completed opera, is full of magical, cryptical and deeply symbolic moments. With this work Debussy added quite literally a new dimension to the 1893 stage play of the same name by Belgian playwriter and poet, Maurice Maeterlinck, who was to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1911. Rodney Gilfry, a leading American opera baritone whos vocal excellence has been repeatedly extolled by many leading music critics, is Pelléas. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “rich, rolling baritone with a superb upper range,” as well as his “vivid stage presence,” Rodney Gilfry has established himself as a most compelling musician on the world’s operatic stages. By his side Isabel Rey, internationally recognised for her exquisite vocal technique and her sensitive acting skills, is Mélisande. Due to her crystal-clear soprano and the winterly stage setting the cold dream-world of the subconscious emerges to the audience. Because of the fabulous soloist and a distinguished cast this opera promises outstanding listening pleasure. Under Franz Welser-Möst’s fabulous conducting this production of the Zurich Opera House is setting musical standards. Welser- Möst is ecxeptionally talented and internationally known as one of the outstanding personalities in the field of classical music. In conjunction with the director Sven-Eric Bechtolf, he has developed into one of the leading teams in contemporary music theater.