"It's possible to recreate everything about an eighteenth century opera except the audience,’ says director Robert Carsen in a documentary included with this DVD. ‘My work is for modern audiences.’ And how…In this brilliant production, Carsen goes to the heart of the drama…Michael Levine's stylised, bold designs allow the story to unfold with gripping clarity and, remarkably, some of the spectacular set-pieces (especially the storm in Act III) work even better on DVD than in the theatre itself. Barbara Bonney is vocally and dramatically stunning as Alphise…Conductor William Christie responds to Rameau's varied and colourful score with élan, and Édouard Lock's choreography – a version of classical ballet deconstructed and then pumped with amphetamines – is breathtaking."– Classic fM - DVD Best Buy
The libretto, written by Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi (the future Pope Clement IX), tells the story of saintly sacrifice: on his wedding night Alessio departs alone for the Holy Land in search of sanctity. Years later he returns unrecognised as a beggar to his family home, where his father, mother and wife still mourn him. A demon tempts Alessio to reveal his true identity and so end his family’s grief, but an angel keeps him on the sacred path. The dying Alessio leaves a letter explaining the truth and an angelic chorus bids his family to rejoice rather than mourn, since he has been received into heaven. This strange, solemn and elevated story is leavened with comic scenes in the commedia dell’arte vein, adding to the rich musico-dramatic variety of the entire opera.
The culmination of a three-year Monteverdi project led by conductor William Christie and director Pier Luigi Pizzi at Madrid's Teatro Réal, L'incoronazione di Poppea brings a potent blend of sex and politics, high drama and comedy. Leading the cast are Danielle de Niese, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic and Anna Bonitatibus.
William Christie, who most recently started 2012 at New York's Metropolitan Opera, conducting The Enchanted Island, is joined by the Les Arts Florissants as he evokes a veritable orgy of nuances, subtly creates atmosphere and shows a perfect sense for the accents of the piece. It took Christie and director Pier Luigi Pizzi three years to mount Monteverdi's three operas together. The result was a production full of elegance and beauty.
This two-fer compiles Lou Christie's LPs for the Roulette label. His self-titled debut introduces a singer and songwriter of uncommon substance. Where other teen idols swooned over puppy love, Christie explored the ugly twists and turns of the male psyche with depth and honesty, unleashing the operatic intensity of his potent falsetto to articulate emotions long verboten in popular music. Compare the facile drama of covers like Maurice Williams' "Stay" and Little Anthony's "Tears on My Pillow" to Christie-penned hits like "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I." The latter songs travel into dark, disturbing terrain where no one else dared go, exploring romantic turmoil in explicitly adult terms.