BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 3 in D minor
VERDI: Il trovatore
Christian Thielemann continues his Bruckner cycle series with the Dresden Staatwkappelle (he is their Music Director) with this issue of Symphony No. 3, filmed at the Munich Philharmonie September 2016. Like previous issues in the series (symphonies 4 - 9) this is a solid, impressive performance with the Dresden Orchestra in fine form. There is no lack of excellent recordings of this symphony (particularly the rrecent DGG issue with Andris Nelsons and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra). Video and audio on this new DVD are state-of-the-art.
The Pixie Ballet is quite amazing in every way. As stated in program notes, this is a stunning contemporary performance for 11 dancers in a virtual and living visual environment. It was created by Mourad Merzouki who directed and choreographed it. Music was written by Armand Amar using a small ensemble. Lighting, so important in this presentation, is done by Yoaann Tivoli. The 70-minute ballet is a brilliant pageant combining dance (including hip-hop) and digital technology. The dancers are super-human, gymnasts s well as dancers, and each could well be featured in Cirque du Soleil. It is the lighting that is astounding, as brilliant, shimmering bits of light encase and support the dancers. It is a terrific show, essential viewing for those who enjoy contemporary dance. The video director (Mohamed Athamna) did his job perfectly. Much of the effect is from images on the floor, and the angles he chose permit us to see this doubtless more effectively than anyone on the main floor of the theater. As a bonus, we have a 32-minute video of excerpts from rehearsals. Don't miss this one!!
This 1978 performance of Il trovatore has been issued before, and here it is again, digitally reprocessed and looking better than ever. Karajan loved this opera and there are versions available that feature Maria Callas and two with Leontyne Price, best of which is the 1962 live performance in which she is partnered by Franco Corelli. That performance has an excitement missing from the Vienna performance, but there is no question that this is a grand presentation of Verdi's masterpiece. Günther Schneider-Siemssen's video direction assures us we have numerous close-ups of Karajan.This Trovatore should be in all collections.
R.E.B. (July 2017)