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Thread: Show Boat by the San Francisco Opera on blu-ray disc

          
   
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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Show Boat by the San Francisco Opera on blu-ray disc

    A musical, not an opera, but one of the good ones, a classic. Filmed at San Francisco Opera, in co-production with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and Houston Grand Opera.



    I'm not a huge fan of opera companies doing musicals. Even though this is a quality production, elegant and with good singing and orchestral playing (conductor John DeMain), I'm not sure anything here made me change my views on the topic. Call me a die-hard.

    This production features two Opera Lively interviewees, Heidi Stober and Francesca Zambello, and both defended their standpoint that that it is OK for opera companies to stage musicals, in their interviews with us.

    Anyway, the musical itself is very well known, with the two big hits "Old man river" and "Can't help lovin' dat man" - both repeated throughout the piece and delivered very nicely by the competent cast.

    Patricia Racette as Julie La Verne is wonderful. Morris Robinson as Joe impresses. Heidi as Magnolia Hawks is lovely. There are no weak links; everybody does a good job.

    Francesca's very imaginative physical productions in other shows made me expect more of this one, but here the sets by Peter Davidson are a bit disappointing, just using some backdrop panels and the facade of the show boat that looks unconvincing. The period costumes on the other hand are very appropriate.

    The blu-ray disc has good documentation and technical quality including DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Korean. All zones. Image 1080i full HD. Runtime 144 minutes. Bonus material, interviews with the artists, 33 minutes.

    This is highly recommended for those who love musicals, and still recommended for the rest of us given the overall quality. Still, I keep my opinion that opera companies should stick to producing opera.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    I'm not surprised that you were disappointed by the production. Francesca Zambello is becoming expert at economizing. WNO's Le Nozze di Figaro last fall was a retread from Glimmerglass, and what works on Glimmerglass' small stage doesn't work all that well on a stage twice the size. The costumes looked like they would go up in flames if they even got close to an unlit match.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I'm not surprised that you were disappointed by the production. Francesca Zambello is becoming expert at economizing. WNO's Le Nozze di Figaro last fall was a retread from Glimmerglass, and what works on Glimmerglass' small stage doesn't work all that well on a stage twice the size. The costumes looked like they would go up in flames if they even got close to an unlit match.
    Yes, with four opera companies footing the bill in co-production, one would expect a bit more of the sets.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    I found this disc to be excellent. My parents saw it when first performed on Broadway way back when, so I have a sentimental attachment to it in general. I also have less antipathy to operettas and shows being done by opera companies, as long as they stick to their main task of performing opera.

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