The exceptional nature and high artistic quality of this performance justify publication of this video even though the filming was done only to preserve the performance for Teatro Regio's archives and therefore offers few close-up shots and occasionally unclear lighting.
Weather Report must have been one of the most important Jazz-Rock groups from the 1970s, founded by his two major instrumentalists Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter 40 years ago. Late 1970s Weather Report was at the very height of its success and featured, except Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, guitar legend Jaco Pastorius and drummer Peter Erskine. In September - October 1978 they toured along Europe and were scheduled for a dozen concerts; the live concert at the Stadthalle in Offenbach was recorded and is now available on a 2cd album and a DVD, which offers this complete concert. A must-have for all Weather Report fans. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of historical concerts.
By Jacques Offenbach. Seeking to exorcise the failure of his current love affair, the poet Hoffmann tells the story of his three past loves - the doll-like Olympia, the high-class courtesan Giulietta, and the ambitious but delicate Antonia - and recalls how each was thwarted by the evil influence of his rival. In this production by the distinguished film director, John Schlesinger, with spectacular designs by Maria Björnson and William Dudley, Offenbach's nightmare world is brought to life. The all-star cast is headed by Placido Domingo as Hoffmann: his three loves are Ileana Cotrubas, Agnes Baltsa and Luciana Serra and the manifestations of his rival are sung by Geraint Evans, Robert Lloyd, Siegmund Nimsgern and Nicola Ghiuselev. The score, which includes such favorites as the "Barcarolle" and the "Doll's Song", is conducted by Georges Prêtre.
After La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein, and La Fille du régiment, Virgin Classics develops its DVD catalogue with yet a new stage production by renowned director Laurent Pelly (his 3rd for the label) accompanied by his assistant Agathe Mélinand who again adapted the dialogues as in the other productions. Filmed in Lyons during the performances (18th December – 1st January 2008) the production and the cast re-enacted in our moderns times the satirical portrayal of Parisian life in the Second Empire. The performances were a hit: Laurent Pelly brought to Offenbach’s operetta all the gusto and humour the subject calls for – his staging is wild and frenzied. La Vie parisienne was Offenbach's first full-length piece to portray contemporary Parisian life, unlike his earlier period pieces and mythological subjects. It became one of Offenbach's most popular operettas.
Warner Classics & Erato DVD catalogue already contains several characteristically stylish and imaginative productions by the French opera director Laurent Pelly: Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Donizetti’s La Fille du régiment, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Handel’s Giulio Cesare. The last three all star Natalie Dessay, and now she and Pelly are reunited once again, this time for Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, staged at Barcelona’s Liceu opera house in early 2013.
It would be hard to find an opera in any area of the repertory that presents so many textual problems as Les conies d'Holfmann, largely stemming from the fact that the composer died four months before the premiere early in 1881, leaving the score incomplete. The traditional text, bringing in extra material, much of it unauthentic, and leaving out a lot, was only established this century. Arthur Hammond with the Carl Rosa Company was a pioneer in attempting to sort out a more acceptable text, and his work formed the basis of the English National Opera production at the Coliseum and also the Richard Bonynge recording for Decca. Since then the discovery of no less than 1,250 autograph pages allowed Fritz Oeser to produce his monumental edition, as used extensively in the Cambreling recording for EMI (12/88 —nla)…
This live performance of Offenbach’s witty, tuneful, swift-moving operetta smacks of the theater: in addition to some audible movement (not bothersome), the singers play off one-another in a marvelous manner, making the whole work gleam. Marc Minkowski’s field of expertise apparently is not only French Baroque–he leads with energy, charm, and an ear for Offenbach’s pointed orchestration (the brass is heard at its shiniest here) and reinstates some music dropped after the premiere (for whatever reason), including another little aria for Paris. The dialogue has been coyly updated and it works…