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(S4C and BBC Bristol) [4:3 Film Released:1994]


Rossini’s The Barber of Seville,
Bizet’s Carmen,
Mozart’s The Magic Flute,
Wagner’s The Rhinegold,
Verdi’s Rigoletto and
Puccini’s Turandot

Natalia Dabizha
Valeri Ugarov
Barry J.C. Purves
Mario Cavalli
Graham Ralph
Gary Hurst
Starring: The Welsh National Opera

This is an interesting and viable way to introduce youngsters and sceptics to the world of opera.

It consists of a collection of animated TV films, each abbreviated to approximately 28 minutes, with remarkable inclusivity of main elements of each story line and score. We liked best the sophisticated Rigoletto of Barry J.C. Purves "more textured, more nuanced approach" (DVD Times), which might however be a little hard to follow for those new to the opera. Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Wagner’s The Rhinegold are notably successful; the Carmen least so.

The musical values are high, but the booklet is rudimentary, as still frequent with DVDs. To identify singers, you need to pause and slow forward the credits after each film...

The method (hopefully not so very abbreviated) might work well for some of the more extravagant "magical" operas of the baroque period? (q.v. RAM's Rinaldo)

© Peter Grahame Woolf