GREAT STARS OF RUSSIAN BALLET - VOLUME III (Historic Performances 1972-1992)
VAI VIDEO ARTISTS INTERNATIONAL 4532 TT: 95 min.
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GREAT STARS OF RUSSIAN BALLET - VOLUME IV (Historic Performances 1968-1992)
VAI VIDEO ARTISTS INTERNATIONAL 4533
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RIEMANN: Medea
Marlis Petersen (Medea); Michaela Selinger (Kreusa); Elisabeth Kulman (Gora); Michael Roider (Kreon); Adrian Eröd (Jason); Max Emanuyel Cencic (Herold); Vienna State Opera Orch/Michael Boder, cond.
ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 101552 (Blu Ray) TT: 113 min.
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This site already has mentioned the first two issues in this commendable series from Vai Video Artists International (REVIEW). Now we have two more disks of treasures from the Russian video vaults, scenes and episodes from various ballets danced by some of the greatest stars of Russian ballet. You'll see some favorites from previous issues in the series, but others as well. Video quality is excellent for its time, the mono sound satisfying. If you love ballet, don't miss these important issues. What other treasures remain to be issued?

German composer Aribert Reimann (b. 1936) has been recognized as a major figure on the contemporary music scene and has received numerous awards. His eight stage works include Lear written in 1978 for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and his latest, Medea, which was premiered in Vienna last year. Reimann used the classic version by Franz Grillparzer, and Reimann's dark, abrasive music is perfect for the subject, as are the stark sets. Action is not interrupted by "arias," as the tragic story progresses. Vocal writing is incredible difficult for all concerned, particularly the leading role that demands a powerful coloratura technique and a wide range usually not associated with such a singer. It is a tour-de-force for a singer who can get it all together, and Marlis Petersen surely manages that. Petersen stepped in at the last minute in March 2010 to sing Ophelia in the Met's new production of Hamlet, with great success. The entire cast in the production, filmed during the premiere performances in February/March 2010. Video and audio are excellent as experienced on the Blu-Ray edition. The usually reserved Viennese audience gave this a resounding ovation, all included. This a powerful modern treatment of the legendary Greek scorned woman, in a performance that could not be bettered. Experienced on Blu-Ray, video and audio are state-of-the-art. Recommended!

R.E.B. (August 2011)

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