BRETT DEAN (b.1961): Hamlet.

Catalogue Number: 11U069

Label: Opus Arte

Reference: OA 1254D

Format: DVD

Price: $29.98

Description: Dean's opera is a very successful exercise in presenting Shakespeare's great tragedy in a way that combines the best elements of a traditional theatrical production and traditional grand opera. Dean's music serves to emphasize the dramatic tension of the play without distracting from what is essentially a largely literal presentation of Shakespeare's text. Matthew Jocelyn’s libretto preserves Shakespeare's language, with some tightening up and abridgment as necessary for operatic use, and Dean's setting makes powerful arias, ensembles and choruses out of the text with the narrative thread and characters as clearly presented as in a spoken production. This is a very visceral, extrovert Hamlet - opera lends itself to that kind of thing, and the composer speaks of heightening the emotional temperature so that 'people cry at the end' - the kind of production in which characters rant and emote more than moodily brooding in shadows, and Dean's colorful, energetic, tonal score is written that way; it's hard to imagine a low-key, ascetic production of the operatic version. The production itself is modern-dress, broadly early 20th-century style and not inappropriate in any way, with large, simple architectural sets atmospherically lit and deployed. Allan Clayton (tenor), Barbara Hannigan, Sarah Connolly (sopranos), Rod Gilfrey (baritone), Glyndebourne Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra; Vladimir Jurowski. 16:9 widescreen, 5.1 DTS surround or 2.0 Dolby stereo. NTSC all regions. 164 min. + 21 min. extras.

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