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Rimsky-Korsakov: Le Coq d’Or [Theatre Musical de Paris-Chatelet/Nagano] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 27, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

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Purchase Le Coq d’Or on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:4.5/5]


Le Coq d’Or (The Golden Cockerel) was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s last opera and one that he did not live to see performed. Based on a Pushkin poem, it was intended to reflect poorly on the Czarist regime that had oppressed its population and recently come a cropper in a war with Japan. An Astrologer (Barry Banks) introduces this opera as a “fairy tale,” although it has an important message for the audience. King Dodon (bass Albert Shagidullin) is convinced that Shemakha, a neighboring country, threatens his sovereignty. The Astrologer gives the King a Golden Cockerel (Yuri Maria Saenz) for his protection, but Dodon decides to launch a preemptive strike on Shemakha, led by his sons, Princes Guidon (Ilya Levinsky) and Afron (Andre Breus). After the princes accidentally kill each other, the king takes over his forces.  The Cockerel manages to get Dodon infatuated with the Queen of Shemakha (Olga Trifonova). The Queen arranges a marriage proposal so that she can take over Dodon’s country without a battle. As the wedding ceremony progresses, the Astrologer returns for his reward from Dodon: he wants the Queen of  Shemakha for himself. Dodon kills the Astrologer but is pecked to death by the Golden Cockerel. The Astrologer returns to inform the audience that everything they saw was imaginary except for himself and the Queen.

This is a 2002 Theatre Musical de Paris-Chatelet production, staged as a Japanese Kabuki drama by famed actor Ennosuke Ichikawa. The kabuki concept is realized in its magnificent costumes and sets. The the exotic Rimsky-Korsakov score is well handled by conductor Kent Nagano and his forces, the Orchestre de Paris and the Marinsky Chorus of St Petersburg. The soloists are simply superb as are the audio and video recordings.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The large cast receives lavish and colorful costumes. While the stage has minimal props, it really does not matter here since everything else is so pleasing to the eye. This is a ten-year old video so there is a little softness around the edges. The close-ups, and there are plenty, are often eye-popping in their color and detail. The camera work is also outstanding giving a continuing sense of the dramatic action.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presents a well-balanced account of the singers and orchestra. This is a huge score and yet the details are well managed in the audio recording. The music is gorgeous and you will want to go the with multi-channel version which conveys its character far better than the PCM 2.0 track.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

Arthaus Musik misses an opportunity to enlighten us about this production by not providing supplements.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

As far as Le Coq d’Or goes this is the only currently available video entry. Fortunately, it is a winner in just about every respect: sight, sound, concept, and stage realization. This opera is truly a feast for the eyes and ears; thankfully, director Ichikawa and conductor Nagano make this point time and time again. If you want to get a quick idea about what makes this opera so evocative, go directly to track 11 and crank up the “Queen’s Hymn to the Sun”. In spite of a couple of wayward high notes, it is riveting. As romantic Russian operas usually tend toward the long side, I was pleasantly surprised to get one that clocks in at less than two hours. I can assure you that the time spent watching this Blu-ray will go by very quickly tempting you, like I was tempted, to hit the replay button and watch it all over again.  Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product]B006ZV6XMC[/amazon-product]

Purchase Le Coq d’Or on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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