Mozart-Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail (Moshkin-Ghalam/Hartelius/Minkowski) (2004) (NTSC)

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Released 6-Sep-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Classical Menu Audio
Booklet
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 137:56 (Case: 128)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:03) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Don Kent
Studio
Distributor
Bel Air Classiques
Select Audio-Visual Distrib
Starring Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam
Malin Hartelius
Magali Leger
Matthias Klink
Loic Felix
Wojtek Smilek
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $79.95 Music Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German dts 5.0 (768Kb/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 German
French
English
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Die Entführung aus dem Serail or in English The Abduction From the Seraglio, was written in 1781/82 by Mozart, possibly to a commission by Emperor Joseph II of Austria. Rather than a traditional opera, this is a singspiel, which means that instead of recitative linking the musical numbers there is spoken dialogue. The work falls into the category of "rescue opera", a genre popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is probably the second best opera in this genre after Beethoven's Fidelio.

    The story has Konstanze being held captive by the Turkish Pasha Selim, who wants her for his harem. Konstanze's beloved Belmonte arrives to rescue her, but is unsure how to go about it. Also captive is his servant Pedrillo and his beloved Blonde (her name, not her hair colour), who is Konstanze's maid. Belmonte is unable to get past the overseer Osmin, but manages to catch the attention of the Pasha who hires him as an architect. Belmonte then schemes to spirit Konstanze away in the dead of night.

    The opera contains some of Mozart's most difficult music for the singers, with complicated and long arias and a low D for Osmin to sing (the singer in this production struggles to get any volume at that pitch). The first performance was something less than a success in that the singers had considerable trouble with their parts. This was also the work that prompted the Emperor to complain that there were too many notes, to which the composer replied that there were as many as there needed to be. Nowadays we can see that the opera is full of wonderful music, very tuneful and memorable, though the libretto is less satisfying.

    This production dates from 2004 at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. The orchestra is a period one conducted by Marc Minkowski. The style of production can be immediately gauged by the appearance of the players, all wearing Middle Eastern-style headbands. The whole production is aimed at broad comedy, almost slapstick at times. The Pasha first appears dancing like a whirling Dervish, and when called upon to speak seems quite out of breath. Fortunately this is a non-singing role. He is played by Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam, a professional dancer with his own company. His acting and dancing is fine but his delivery of the lines (in German) sound as though they were learned phonetically, and his voice is a little higher-pitched than ideal. The singers are all very good, particularly Malin Hartelius as Konstanze.

    The production is reasonably idiomatic, with colourful "oriental" costumes in the style of the Arabian Nights. Unfortunately it is slightly spoiled by the video direction, which is mainly in medium shot and often doesn't let us see everything that is going on. There was also an annoying tendency to focus on supporting characters or reaction shots while the principals were singing. Still this is musically well done, very colourful visually and it does not do Mozart any disservice.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video is 16x9 enhanced in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

    This is a good transfer in close-up, not quite so good in wider shots. The video is reasonably sharp, with a good level of detail. In the occasional wide shots there is a loss of detail and clarity. Colour is very good. Flesh tones are accurate and the bright costumes and sets are vividly portrayed. Shadow detail is good despite the theatrical lighting levels.

    There are of course no film artefacts. There is some slight aliasing from time to time, as well as Gibb Effect when cameras are not in close-up mode. There are also noticeable compression artefacts in backgrounds, with low level noise visible. A slight motion blur can be seen at rare intervals.

    Optional English subtitles are provided in white text with black bordering, which makes them easy to read. There were no issues with the subtitles.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change placed at 67:03, when Konstanze takes a breath during the aria where she sings about refusing the Pasha's advances despite the tortures he promises she will face. This isn't the best place to put the layer change even though it is minimally disruptive.

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

Audio

    There are three audio options on this disc. I listened to the DTS 5.0 track and sampled the alternative Dolby Digital 5.0 and Linear PCM stereo tracks.

    The DTS audio is very good. The voices and instruments come through clearly and are well defined in terms of the soundstage. Particularly noticeable are what I think are piccolos, which are quite shrill and reedy. The soundstage is geared towards the front channels, the rear channels being used for audience noises and to create the acoustic of the theatre. Some of the finer detail is revealed in the Linear PCM track, but it has a narrower and flatter soundstage. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is much like the DTS track, with bass that is not as rich, albeit slightly so.

    There is a low frequency effects channel on the Dolby Digital track but it does not seem to result in much subwoofer activity. There were no problems with audio sync.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

    Music from the Overture.

Booklet

    The booklet contains credits and chapter listings, a short essay which includes a plot synopsis, and interviews with the directors and the conductor. These are repeated in several languages.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is the same release as is available internationally.

Summary

    A good if not great performance of one of Mozart's first great operatic works.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    Not much in the way of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, October 12, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS9100ES, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 LCD projector, 95 inch screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationReceiver: Pioneer VSX-AX4ASIS; Power Amplifiers: Elektra Reference (mains), Elektra Theatron (centre/rears)
SpeakersMain: B&W Nautilus 800; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Tannoy Revolution R3; Subwoofer: Richter Thor Mk IV

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