Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Renée Fleming... (A film by Tony Palmer) (2002) (NTSC)

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Released 24-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Vignettes (6)
Discography-Renee Fleming on CD (with samples)
Trailer-14
Booklet
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 68:37 (Case: 122)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Tony Palmer
Studio
Distributor
Isolde Films
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Renée Fleming
Case Flexbox
RPI ? Music Various


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is a documentary by Tony Palmer (apparently his 100th film) and produced especially for the South Bank Show (hosted by Melvyn Bragg), Britain's longest running arts program. This documentary was originally aired on ITV on 3 February 2002, and is the 569th programme on the 25th season of the South Bank Show.

    American soprano Renée Fleming was born in 1959 in Indiana, Pennsylvania and grew up in Rochester, New York Both her parents were singers, and her education included the State University of New York, the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School. She made her professional debut in 1986 as Konstanze in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and became famous in her role as the Countess in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro at the Houston Grand Opera in 1988.

    The programme starts with an except from Renée appearing in a segment on Sesame Street, and then segues into her singing Amazing Grace at the September 11 Ground Zero memorial. We also get to see an extended segment of her rehearsing Verdi's Requiem.

    After that we get a mixture of excerpts of interviews with Renée herself, plus a few other people, including:

    Along the way, we also get to see Renée doing various things, including rehearsals and performances at various venues, plus we get to meet some of her fans and find out what they think of her.

    Renée covers many subjects in the interview excerpts, including her upbringing, her career, and striking a balance between family and career.

    Fans of Renée will be treated to excerpts of her singing, with extended excerpts of the following:

    I only have two minor gripes on the programme. The camera lingers a bit too long on some of the scenes, creating an impression that the documentary plods along too slowly and I think with tighter editing virtually everything could have been kept within an hour. Secondly, I really hate the full name of the programme: Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Renée Fleming ... - it sounds a bit self-conscious and reminds me of an MC in an Oxford Street nightclub introducing the lead performer in a drag revue. I'm glad to see whoever did the artwork for the DVD cover agrees with me, because they have shorted the title to just "Renée Fleming" relegating the full title to the back cover.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is an NTSC widescreen 1.78:1 transfer, 16x9 enhanced, presumably in the intended aspect ratio for broadcast on digital TV.

    The feature looks like it has been recorded directly onto digital video, and the transfer is pretty much reference quality.

    The interviews and original footage of course look marvellous, with high levels of detail and perfect colour saturation. Excerpts from other sources depend on the quality of the source, and can look soft or suffer from blurry, washed out colours.

    I did not detect any video artefacts, except those that are present in the source material. The only compression artefacts I noticed were very minor Gibb's effect ringing at various places in the feature (notably at the end showing Renée backstage with her two children).

    There are five subtitle tracks: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. I was disappointed to find out when engaging the English subtitle track that it only comes on when transcribing the lyrics of music sung by Renée, as well as providing captions of the names of interviewees. On the plus side, I would encourage turning on the English subtitle track whilst watching the documentary as it is not too intrusive and the information provided (particularly the identification of interviewees and musicians) is helpful.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc. The main feature is entirely contained on Layer 0, whilst the bonus material is placed on Layer 1.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track on the disc: English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s).

    As you would expect, the quality of the audio track is superb, and definitely CD quality. After getting used to the slightly "harsh" quality of Dolby Digital audio tracks, it was nice to hear how much fuller and detailed uncompressed PCM sounds.

    Dialogue was clear throughout, and I did not notice any issues with audio synchronization.

    Unfortunately, I noticed several instances of clipping distortion, particularly during the Sesame Street excerpt, but also in the music during 54:57-54:59, 65:22-65:30 and 65:43-65:50. The Sesame Street excerpt can be forgiven as it is probably inherent in the source material, but the sound engineer should have been a bit more careful in the other spots.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a reasonable collection of featurettes, with their duration totalling almost as long as the main feature itself.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced and include background audio. In addition, the main menu is animated. There are also animated menu transitions.

Featurette-Vignettes (6)

    These are all mini featurettes, and look like they are offcuts that didn't make it to the documentary. All the vignettes are presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s).

Discography-Renee Fleming on CD (with samples)

    This is a set of stills providing the album cover for her 16 albums, accompanied by background audio of an excerpt from each CD.

Trailer-14 (19:49)

    This consists of excerpts from the following DVDs (all presented in full frame and Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 1536Kb/s):

Booklet

    This is a 20 page booklet containing chapter listing, credits, operating instructions, an essay by Tony Palmer, other DVD titles available from Decca, and an abridged discography (including colour photographs of album covers).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title is identical across multiple regions.

Summary

    This is a documentary on American soprano Renée Fleming, made by Tony Palmer for the South Bank Show.

    The video transfer quality is superb.

    The audio transfer quality is excellent, apart from a few minor instances of clipping distortion.

    Extras include a number of bonus featurettes.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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