Ivan Rebroff-Live in Concert: Sydney-Australia (1982)

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Released 6-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Credits
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 85:40 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Ivan Rebroff
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Jerome Kern
G F Handel
Franz Schubert


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    I knew almost nothing about Ivan Rebroff before watching this DVD. I had a vague impression that he was a Russian bass in the tradition of Chaliapin. Listening to his singing voice I could not decide whether he was a bass, a baritone or a tenor, as he was all up and down the scale. Looking at his website, it claims that he is listed in The Guinness Book of Records as having the widest vocal range of any singer (he is mentioned in the book as having a wide range, but the claim of "widest range" is not stated as such), so that explains my confusion on listening to him. Four and a half octaves from low F to high F. In other words, imagine Mariah Carey being able to sing very, very low but keeping her top notes.

    Rebroff unfortunately is no Chaliapin. The latter was a bass with a splendid technique and a deep, resonant vocal sound. Rebroff has a less polished, more gimmicky technique with a tendency to slide between notes, and is inclined towards popular song. That is, popular song of an earlier era, of the type that shows off his voice. He was born in Germany of Russian parentage in 1931 and achieved success in his mid-thirties singing the role of Tevya in almost 1,500 consecutive performances of Fiddler On The Roof in Paris. Since then he has had a hectic concert schedule that continues to this day, even in his 70s. This performance was recorded in Sydney in 1982 during a tour of Australia, when he was at or close to his vocal peak. The present disc was released to coincide with his recent tour of Australia.

    The concert takes the form of Rebroff singing, chatting to the audience, and also disappearing offstage a couple of times while a violinist and then two guitarists perform solos. Rebroff dresses in traditional Cossack costume complete with fur hat and coat. His over-the-top performance style has been accurately described as "kitsch", which will be off-putting for many viewers (including me). However, if you enjoy this sort of thing, this disc provides a vivid record and would be worth acquiring.

    The track listing follows. The listing on the back cover of the case is missing a track, Schubert's Ave Maria, which is sandwiched between the Handel Largo and the Sabre Dance, while the last listed track (Song of the Volga Boatmen) does not appear at all in the concert. One irritant is that while there are 19 chapters, the menu has only four chapter selections, which navigate to chapters 1, 6, 11 and 15 respectively.

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Track Listing

1. The Legend Of The Twelve Robbers
2. Katjushka
3. Troika
4. Volga Song
5. Czardas
6. Ol' Man River
7. Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen
8. Largo From Handel's 'Xerxes'
9. Ave Maria
10. Sabeltanz
11. Dark Eyes
12. Two Guitars
13. Gypsy Dance
14. Kosaken - Patroville
15. Amatevka
16. Kalinka Malinka
17. Lara's Theme From Dr. Zhivago

Transfer Quality

Video

    The concert is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    This is obviously from a video source and thus has the usual problems of older video, in that it is a little fuzzy and is not sharply defined. The stage lighting is reasonable and therefore shadow detail is not an issue, though it is difficult to see the audience when the camera points in that direction.

    Colour is not very good. It looks drained of life and vibrancy. This is not unusual for video recordings of this era, particular concert videos, so I expect that this is inherent in the source material. There is a little colour bleeding evident but it is not excessive.

    I noticed some minor analogue video tracking errors from time to time, but these were very slight and not distracting in any way, taking the form of a slight horizontal flicker that appears for a fraction of a second. If you were not looking for them, you might not notice.

    The image is a little grainy with some Gibb Effect noticeable from time to time. Given the general fuzziness of the video, this is not a major distraction.

    Overall, the video quality is slightly better than VHS quality, but not by so much that I would recommend trading in your VHS copy of this concert in favour of the DVD.

    The disc is a single layered one. Disappointingly, there are no subtitles and no booklet, so the songs are untranslated. This is the sort of programme which requires some form of translation to enable the fullest enjoyment, and in this case even the songs in English need subtitles, as Rebroff's style makes deciphering the lyrics difficult.

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

Audio

    The single audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. To my ears, there is little in the way of stereo imaging present here. This has a slight presence but is not greatly distinguishable from a mono track. There is no surround encoding present.

    The audio quality is slightly better than VHS, with a reasonable dynamic range, though it is a long way from CD quality. Apart from some distortion during some of the louder passages, such as at 3:52, 9:19 and 12:38, the audio track is serviceable but undistinguished. If you are looking to hear Rebroff at his best, then you would be better off buying one of his CD recordings.

    The music is by various composers including Handel, Schubert, Jerome Kern and some traditional songs. The concert seems fairly piecemeal to me, with the only link being the voice of Rebroff. You would need to be a fan to enjoy this, at least in my opinion.

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

Extras

    No extras are provided.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can tell this material has only been released on DVD in Region 4.

Summary

    This would be recommendable as a souvenir of Rebroff if you have seen him in concert and appreciate his performing style. The general viewer should be wary.

    The video quality is below average.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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