ADÉS: The Exterminating Angel
Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropoitan Opera ' Thomas Adès,
WARNER CLASSICD DVD TT: 128 min,+ 15 min. bonus
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Gaëlle Arquez (Xerses). Lawrene Zazzo (Arsamene). Elizabeth Sutphen
( Romilda). Louise Alder (Atalanta) Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Amastre)
Brandon Cedel (Ariodate). Thomas Faulkner (Elviro). Franfurt Opera
Chorus and Orchestra / Constantinos Carydis, cond"
UNITEL C MAJOR . DVD TT: 180 min.
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ROSSINI: Le Comte Ory
Philippe Talbot (Le Comte Ory). Julie Fuchs (La Contessa). Gaëlle
Arquez (Isolier). Eve-Maud Hubeaux (Dame Ragonde). Patrick Bollier
Les Èlèments Chorus. Champs-Elysées´Orchestra.
Les élements. / Louis Langrée, cond.
UNITEL C MAJOR DVD TT: 150 min.
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Thomas Ádes' opera The Exterminating Angel was
commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera, Royal Danish
Salzburg Festival. It is based on Luis Buñuel film darkly
comic film. It has a bizarre plot about a large group of people all
of whom seem to be social misfits. A wealthy couple hosts an elaborated
party for twelve of their associates including a prima donna, a pianist,
a doctor and a duchess. For whatever reason, these guests are
unable to leave the room and after several days they are
and begin to turn on each other, hardly a pleasant view of humanity.
It has been said that this symbolism represents a commentary on the
vapidity of the elite. Here we have the Metropolitan Opera HD telecast
of their acclaimed 2017 production. Host is Susan Graham, and her interviews
are fascinating. The affable composer speaks of his fascinatio with
the original film, we hear several of the cast members talking about
the unusual music they must sing, and there is an interview with Cynhia
Millar who plays the unusual Ondes Mrtinot, used frequently in the
score to produce an appropriate eerie sound. The music surely is effective
for its purpose; there are no arias or opportunities for vocal display—although
all of the sopranos must sing in an unusually high register.
Hildegard Bechtler designed the sets and costumes. The 128-nminute
opera is quite spectacular visually, but most opera lovers surely will
find it more
than a challenge
Production values are first rate, splendid video and audio A detailed
plot summary is provided in three languages. Unfortunately there is
no prited track list. The opera is sung in English; subtitles
provided in English, French, Spanish and German. An intriguing, and
Handel's 35th opera, Xerxes (or Serses) had its premiere
in April 1738, and it was not a success. Over the yea, this tragic/comic
opera has become one of Handel's best-known operas. This is primarily
Ombra mai fù sung by Xerxes at the beginning of the opera.
It is one of the composer's most famous works, frequently performed
and concerts in many varied arrangements. It is usually called "Largo
from Xerxes," (although actually in the score it is identified as Larghetto
this brief aria, which translates from the Italian as "Never was
a shade," the Persian
King Xerxes sings of his love for the shade of a tree. After
that we have a series of generally brief arias
and duets (there are 92 tracks). There have been a number of recordings
including one with distinguished soloists conducted by Rafael Kubelik.
This new issue is a superb performance with young
mezzo Gaëlle Arquez in the title role. The recording was made at the
Frankfurt Opera in January 2017. The opera has been updated, with sets
by Karoly Risz, costumes by Susanne Uhl, and was directed by Tilmann
Kohler. There are many effective projected images, and the stage area
includes a narrow platform in front of the orchestra. The excellent
period-style orchestra is ed by Constantinos Carydis. Video is outstanding
multi-channel audio works well. A fine issue, the first DVD of this major
Here is an excellent presentation of Rossini's 1828 comedy Le Compt
O'ry, with a strong cast led with infectious spirit by the remarkable
recorded December 2017 at the Opéra Comique in Paris. The effective
simple set is by Eric Ruf, costumes are by Christian Lacroix, and the
was directed by Denis Podaydès. I spite of its virtues it surely
cannot match the dazzling Met production of a few years back featuring
all-star cast: Juan Diego Flórez, Joyce DiDonato and Diana Damrau (REVIEW).
Competition is simply too much for this latest version. For some reason,
producers have presented this on two disks when it easily would have
fit onto just one.
R.E.B. (March 2019)
(NEXT DVD VIDEO REVIEW)