JOHN WILLIAMS: Olympic Fanfare.& Theme. Soundings. Music
from Schjiondler's List, Fiddler on the Roof, Catch Me If You Can,
Star Wars, Amistad, Jaws,
The Empire Strikes Back
'VERDI: La traviata
John Williams is of course a revered figure in the world of film music, and this superb DVD pays tribute to him with a wide range4 of music, a concert recorded September 30, 2014 in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. The conductor was Gustavo Dudamel who opened the concert with the Olympic Fanfare assisted by the U.S. Army Herald Trumpeters. Then we have the concert work Soundings, music from Schindler's List and Fiddler On the Roof (with Itzhak Perlman), excerpts from Catch Me If You Can, and the Theme and Finale from Star Wars. Encores are Dry Your Tears, Africa and selections from Jaws (with .the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, and the concert ends in rousing fashion with excerpts from The Empire Strikes Back The composer conducts, and we see various characters from the movies on stage—to the delight of the packed house. All of it is a lot of fun, high spirits, and wonderful music by this remarkable composer who is as spirited and sprightly now at the age of 82 as he was when he was conductor of the Boston Pops. Video and audio are outstanding. This is a terrific show in every way. A bonus is a 13-minute interview with Perlman, Dudamel and Williams. .
Francesco Cilea (1868-1950) wrote 6 operas but it known today for only two of them, L'Arlesiana (1897, rev. 1937) and Adriana Lecouvreur (1902).L:A'rlesianna is based on a play by Alphons with Daudet with libretto by Leonardo Morenco. Te premiere in Milan in 1897 with Enrico Caruso as Federico, but the opera never was successful. Cilea felt it had merit and revised is several times, but it still never attracted performers or audiences—except for the famous tenor aria Lamento di Federico which to this day is a favorite of tenors. The Met never produced the opera, but many times the tenor aria has been sung in concerts with famous tenors including Jan Peerce and Luciano Pavarotti. The plot basically is the same as chosen by Bizet for his L'Arlesienne about the compulsive love of Frederico for a young woman he had never met. In this production we do get to view her briefly, but there is no vocal part for her. l What an opportunity Cilea wasted! If Strauss, Puccini or Korngold had written this opera, you may be sure there would be at least one glorious aria for her, which would make more sense of the plot. However, unfortunately this did not happen. We do have another tenor aria, Una mattina, neglected until this time. Cilea's opera is very beautiful indeed, but it is easy to understand its neglect. It is given a superb performance on this DVD filmed at Teatro Perrgolesi at the Wexford Festival Opera. All of the singers are excellent, staging is non-offensive. Excellent video and audio make this, the first video of the opera, an important issue. .Thank you, Dynamic, for making it available.
This is a fine production of La traviata presented at the Glyndebourne Festival in August 2014. Sets and costumes designed by Hildegard Bechtler are attractive with an emphasis on bright colors. The young Russian soprano Venera Gimadiev is known for her Violetta, and is in top form, and her beauty is appropriate for the role. An oddity is that in the final act, as she reads the letter from Alfredo, we hear the words from Alfredo, robbing the soprano of one of her most emotive scenes in the opera—but it works, and surely is appropriate. Michael Fabiano is a convincing Alfredo, Alfredo). Tassis Christoyannis a solid rather sedate Germont. This surely is an imp[impressive account of Verdi's masterpiece; of course video competition is fierce—make your choice. Splendid video and audio, and in the bonus conductor Elder discusses the music.
R.E.B. (August 2015)