Tonight: Magic Moments of Opera, Ballet and Concert (2001) (NTSC)

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Released 23-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Discography-DVD Catalogue
Booklet
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 85:09
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Hermann Enkemeier
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Agnes Baltsa
Barbara Bonney
Margot Fonteyn
Andrea Bocelli
Kiri Te Kanawa
Luciano Pavarotti
Jose Carreras
Bryn Terfel
Cecilia Bartoli
Herbert Von Karajan
Leonard Bernstein
George Solti
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Case Flexbox
RPI ? Music Giuseppe Verdi
Richard Wagner
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Audio Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Audio Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio Varies
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Spanish
Chinese
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 sampler DVD contains 21 excerpts of performances from the leading names in dance, opera and classical music over the past 40 years. Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Philips labels feature selections from their increasing classical DVD catalogues ranging from the classic 1966 Nureyev/Fonteyn production of Swan Lake right up to recent (1999) performances from Andreas Bocelli and Anne-Sophie Mutter. As well as offering a taste of works that the viewer may be unfamiliar with, the sampler also offers a chance, to those suitably equipped, to compare differing screen and audio formats.

    Well, onto the nitty gritty - the bad news is that this reviewer isn't going to even attempt to describe each excerpt in detail and this would obviously be inaccurate considering the short snippets available - the good new is that all but seven of the features have been reviewed in detail on this web-site and links are provided, in the table below, along with salient features of each piece. Rest assured that there is much of interest in even these brief samples; the sensitive, inimitable style of von Karajan in Verdi's Requiem (spot the clean-shaven Pavarotti!), the wonderful duo of a very youthful appearing Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras in Making of West Side Story and the good-natured horseplay between the Three Tenors before the needs of commerce ruined the magic!

Composer Piece Year Principal Players Video Audio Time

DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

Bizet Carmen 1988 Agnes Baltsa, Jose Carreras NTSC-1.33:1 PCM 2Ch 4:13
Mozart Le nozze di Figaro 1993 Bryn Terfel NTSC-1.33:1
Letterbox
PCM 2Ch 3:45
Verdi Il trovatore 1988 Luciano Pavarotti NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2Ch 1:55
J.Strauss Die Fledermaus 1987 Brigitte Fassbaender,
Wolfgang Brendel
NTSC - 1:33:1 PCM 2 Ch 2:38
R.Strauss Der Rosenkavalier 1994 Anne Sofie von Otter,
Barbara Bonney
NTSC - 1.33:1
Letterbox
PCM 2 Ch 6:45
Verdi Aida 1989 Placido Domingo NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch 4:03
Mozart Die Zauberflote 1991 Kurt Moll NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch 3:04
Beethoven Violin Sonata No5 1999 Anne-Sophie Mutter NTSC - 1.33:1
Letterboxed
PCM 2 Ch 3:41
J.Strauss (sen) Radetzky-Marsch 1989 Carlos Kleiber NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch 2:56
Verdi Requiem 1967 von Karajan, Leontyne Price, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Fiorenza Cossotto NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch 5:42
Bernstein West Side Story 1985 Jose Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch 4:00

DECCA

Di Capua O Sole Mio 1990 Pavarotti, Domingo,
Carreras
NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.0
2:21
Rossini La Cenerentola 1994 Cecilia Bartoli, Enzo Dara,
Michele Pertusi
NTSC - 1.78:1
16 x 9 enhanced
PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.1
4:34
Verdi Rigoletto 1983 Pavarotti, Edita Gruberova,
Ingvar Wixell
NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.1
4:02
Puccini Madama Butterfly 1974 Mirella Freni,
Placido Domingo
NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.0
3:24
Verdi La traviata 1994 Solti, Frank Lopardo,
Angela Gheorgiu
NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.1
3:03

PHILIPS

Wagner Gotterdammerung 1980 Manfred Jung,
Gwynneth Jones
NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.1
8:19
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker 1994 Kirov Ballet NTSC - 1.33:1
Letterboxed
PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.1
3:18
Adam Giselle 1969 American Ballet Theatre NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.1
4:24
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake 1966 Nureyev & Fonteyn NTSC - 1.33:1 PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.0
4:45
Franck Panis angelicus 1999 Andrea Bocelli NTSC - 1.78:1
16 x 9 enhanced
PCM 2 Ch
Dolby Digital 5.0
4:15

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Track Listing

1. Bizet:Carmen
2. Mozart:Le Nozze di Figaro
3. Verdi:Il trovatore
4. J.Strauss:Die Fledermaus
5. R.Strauss:Der Rosenkavalier
6. Verdi:Aida
7. Mozart:Die Zauberflote
8. Beethoven:Violin Sonata No 5
9. J.Strauss sen:Radetzky-Marsch
10. Verdi:Requiem
11. Bernstein:West Side Story
12. Di Capua:O Sole Mio
13. Rossini:La cenerentola
14. Verdi:Rigoletto
15. Puccini:Madama Butterfly
16. Verdi:La traviata
17. Wagner:Gotterdammerung
18. Tchaikovsky:Nutcracker
19. Adam:Giselle
20. Tchaikovsky:Swan Lake
21. Franck:Panis angelicus

Transfer Quality

Video

    All of the video excerpts are presented in NTSC format as per the full release, although it's worth noting that two of the most popular titles, Three Tenors Original Concert and Andrea Bocelli's Sacred Arias are also available in PAL.

    The standard of video varies widely from the appallingly pixelated Bernstein Making of West Side Story to the near-reference quality of the recently released Sacred Arias. Video quality doesn't always correlate with age of production. Phillip's Swan Lake (1966) is surprisingly colourful and free from noise, the classic 1980 release of Gotterdammerung is of near reference quality, but the much more recent Le Nozze di Figaro (1993) has distracting chroma noise and an irritating interlaced appearance.

    All of the Deutsche Grammophon releases are in 1.33:1 and, horror of horrors, three of these are letterboxed - truly the worst of both worlds !! Only Sacred Arias and Rossini's La Cenerentola benefit from a 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced format.

    In typical austere Teutonic tradition, none of the Deutsch Grammophon titles have subtitles. You get your regulation 1.33:1 box, 2 channel stereo and that's yer lot mate! All of the Decca releases, save Three Tenors, have English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese subtitles whilst in the Philip's stable, only Wagner's Gotterdammerung has English and French subtitles.

    The disc is a single layer DVD-5 and hence has no transition point.

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

Audio

    As mentioned above there is an inter-label variation of audio track presentation. The Deutsche Grammophon releases have no surround features at all which will doubtless appeal to the purist, stereo audiophile lobby - I have to say, though, that the PCM tracks are of very high quality. For those of us converted to the joys of appropriate surround processing for our classical music, listen no further than to the Decca Dolby Digital surround versions of O Sole Mio and La Cenerentola and tell me you can't discern a HUGE expansion and accurate placement of the soundstage.

    All of the sound tracks, in their various manifestations are of good quality. Naturally, some of the older analogue recordings, such as Swan Lake, have audible hiss, but this all adds to the antique feel of the recordings. Some of the later recordings, such as the Dolby Digital 5.0 version of Andrea Bocelli, are truly exquisite, confirming the virtues of this format for hi-fidelity classical music despite reservations voiced by the ceramic, needle and hiss lobby.

    Dialogue clarity was good in all the recordings and I could pick no problems with audio sync.

    Surrounds were infrequently used and only really sprang to life in La Cenerentola where I thought they added an uncomfortable degree of reverberation to the mix.

    The subwoofer, despite 6 tracks featuring the .1 LFE channel, remained inaudible during the whole DVD which really wasn't a great loss.

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

Extras

Menu

    The opening menu is a static, 1.33:1 offering with pictures of the lead performer of each piece. Each selected piece has a sub-menu with audio track selection and useful information on the performance.

Booklet

    This is a useful 18 page release with photos, single page self-promoting blurb in English, German, French and Spanish and most importantly details of each performance and the DVD from whence they were taken from.

R4 vs R1

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

    This multi-region DVD would appear to be prepared for global release although I couldn't find any other regional reviews for comparison.

Summary

    Overall, this is a very interesting release that served its purpose by inspiring me to run out and buy a couple of the full versions. Also an interesting taster for those of us increasing their repertoire of classical music.

    The video quality varied from reference quality (Bocelli) to awful (Bernstein).

    All the soundtracks were good. The quality of two of the stereo PCM releases were superb (Il trovatore and Le nozze di Figaro) and two of the surround mixes ably demonstrated the advantages of this format for presentation of a complex operatic soundstage (Three Tenors and Cenerentola).

    The extras were just about non-existent although the accompanying booklet was very useful for reference.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-900E, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)

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