Prom at the Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace (2002)

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Released 22-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 124:40 (Case: 126)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:13) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bob Coles
Studio
Distributor
BBC Opus Arte
Select Audio-Visual Distrib
Starring Roberto Alagna
Angela Gheorghiu
Mstislav Rostropovich
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
The London Adventist Chorale
Sir Thomas Allen
Julian Bliss
Ashley Wass
Roberto Bolle
Zenaida Yanowsky
The Band Of Her Majesty's Royal Marines
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Various


Video 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 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Well, we have had the more popular side of the party for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's fiftieth anniversary of ascending the throne, so now we get to the somewhat more high brow side of the jubilee.

    Prom At The Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace presents just over two hours of popular classical music. Aside from the more usual popular pieces, most notably Sir Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No.1, we get some slightly less well known, and indeed sadly neglected, works like the a few of the delightful dances by Malcolm Arnold. We get to listen to such well known pieces as George Frideric Handel's Zadok The Priest, composed for the coronation of King George II and featured in every British coronation since, along with the more mature members of the Royal family - including the last member thereof who had the honour of listening to the piece at her own coronation.

    Whilst the usual sense of formality, as befits a royal presence, stifles the proceedings somewhat, just like the low brow show this remains a reasonably enjoyable concert in the broader sense. The full track listing is as follows:

    Most of the show was very good, although Sir Thomas Allen was in sensational form and produces a stirring rendition of the Largo Al Factotum, one that many an overrated tenor would absolutely die for. Talking of overrated singers, this concert features two of them. Okay, I know I am in the minority here but I have never understood the infatuation with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and personally would like to shoot whichever idiot decided it would be a good idea to have opera singers do musical numbers in the operatic style. However, not even Dame Kiri descends to the overrated level of Angela Gheorghiu... About the best thing I can about her is that she is perhaps the least overrated singer of the current generation - which I know is very faint praise indeed. For those, like me, who have difficulty handling Michael Parkinson, be warned that he MC's this concert.

    Decent enough concert experience, although if you saw it on television I am again not so sure that you will be that eager to watch it again and again on DVD.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Just like the earlier DVD, the problems besetting this concert, other than some over-rated performers, can be distilled into that one single word: aliasing.

    The concert is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Since there is only the one issue with the transfer, we mention it straight out: aliasing. Whilst I will say that it is not in the league of Party At The Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace, I still gave up recording the instances after forty five minutes of the show. It is consistently present throughout the show, and at times very annoyingly so. The worst culprit is again the camera dolly track in front of the stage, although violin strings, horns, piano, bows and shoulders all contribute in greater or lesser ways to the problem. It is far too noticeable and it did impinge upon the enjoyment of the show.

    Beyond that there is nothing wrong with the transfer. Wonderfully sharp and detailed, with plenty of shadow detail where required, very clear with no grain issues at all and with a complete lack of any other issues such as MPEG artefacts, film-to-video artefacts and film artefacts. Were it not for the aliasing issue, this would be close to reference quality.

    The colours are not quite as terrific as in the earlier DVD but they are still very good. Very nicely vibrant, wonderfully saturated and looking like a million pounds, there is nothing at all wrong with the colour.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change rather obviously coming at 65:13. Obvious as it comes during some dialogue between pieces, which is noticeably interrupted. This is not an unusual problem for concert DVDs.

    There are no subtitle options on the DVD, although you should note that there are some nicely presented, albeit burnt-in lyric subtitles in English during the opera excerpts.

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

Audio

    There is just the single soundtrack on the DVD, being an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack. It seems a little odd that there is no consistency with the less high brow side of the concerts - Party At The Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace - but the choice is actually quite an apt one.

    The music and the vocals come up well in the soundtrack and are quite easy to understand. There did not appear to be any issue with audio sync in the transfer.

    The choice of music is the usually eclectic fare that perpetuates the tradition of the Proms. There are the usual standards of course, such as Pomp and Circumstance March No.1, that have to be included otherwise there might well be a riot! Whilst the majority of the pieces are British in origin, or have British connections, the mix does extend to some interesting works from France, Italy and Brazil amongst others.

    The soundtrack may lack something as a result of having no surround activity and a lack of a bass channel, but on the positive side it is a bright open sounding effort. It features great clarity and the music is given plenty of air to work in. There really is nothing at all wrong with the soundtrack.

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

Extras

    Sadly lacking in nearly every regard.

Menu

    Suitably regal looking - nothing flashy but quite stylish, albeit with no audio and animation enhancement.

Booklet

    Hardly qualifying for the title really, being just a fold out piece of paper with a few photographs of Her Majesty and a track listing.

R4 vs R1

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

    Whilst I have not located a Region 1 review, I would suspect that there would be little difference between the two versions.

Summary

    Very similar in many ways to Party At The Palace: The Queen's Concerts, Buckingham Palace, and equally just a record of a "big event". Unfortunately the DVD does not really offer us much more than a record of the concert, which is somewhat saddening.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Sunday, September 15, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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