hat an absolute delight it is for me to view (again and again) a glorious video (Caballe) made about some of the highlights of her life. She did a lot to prove that women can have careers, homes and independence. Three cheers!!!!
- Elizabeth H. Barrett
These next two videos were originally listed on this site as the two top items in my videos wish list.
As in many "live" audio recordings, some of these operas are videotaped without the official cooperation of the companies that produced the operas. The resulting videos are more often than not of substandard quality. This is not intended to discourage anyone intending to purchase such videos, but buy them if you must with lower expectations, and buy from companies that offer money-back guarantees. This way you won't have to get stuck with unwatchable videos.
1980 (?) Covent Garden Production with Jose Carreras, Ingvar Wixell and Collin Davis conducting. Bel Canto Society, $19.95.
I had great expectations of this video, as I thoroughly enjoy the Philips CD recording. It was a great disappointment to purchase this very substandard video from the Bel Canto Society. While the singing is of course ideal, the video transfer is so bad, it is practically unwatchable. One gets the sensation of looking at the video through translucent glass; there is practically no definition (one struggles to discern any facial definition whatsoever). You get the odd sensation of viewing an almost pointillist type of moving picture...great for a painting, but definitely unacceptable for videos. No disclaimer whatsoever on the poor quality of this video is evident on the catalogue. With deepest apologies to Montserrat, stay away from this Bel Canto Society version. Save yourself the heartache and get the Philips CD instead, or try the video sold through the Legato Classics label. NB. As of the latest update of this website, the Legato website seem to have gone off-line. However, some of its titles are still currently available in larger stores in the US and Canada).
1974, Orange, with Jon Vickers, Josephine Veasey and Giuseppe Patane conducting, VAI DVD 4229. 161 minutes running time.
This is the "must-have" recording for any Caballe admirer. Montserrat has gone on record saying that this is her finest operatic performance, and in the book Casta Diva, even Callas had only praise for the performance commenting on "...the greatness of (Caballe's) service both to the music and character". Callas said of Montserrat in the film: ..."You (director Pierre Jourdan) have made her look too beautiful."
I am very pleased to have a clip of that performance here, courtesy of the DreamLife video label, and kindly provided by Mike Richter, featuring the last 3 minutes or so of the first act. Judging from this video clip, the overall quality of the DVD is quite astounding. A very adequate audio CD of the performance is available on the Opera D'Oro label
Also available in the DreamLife Classic Video label:
1972, Orange Festival. With Peter Glossop as Count di Luna, Irina Arkhipova as Azucena, Lodovico Spiess as Manrico, Reynald Giovaninetti conducting. 120 minutes running time. VHS format about $45, Laserdisc format about $85.
Similar to the above mentioned Norma performance, this is a live opera performance captured on film by director Pierre Jourdan.
A live performance from Japan, September 20, 1976, available on DVD. With Jose Carreras as Maurizio, Count of Saxony, Fiorenza Cossotto as the Principessa di Bouillon, Attilio D'Orazi as Michonnet, Ivo Vinco as the Principe di Bouillon. Gianfranco Masini conducting the orchestra and chorus of the Lirica Italiana.
The performances from the principals are of consistent high standard, but the video transfer is not of the best quality. A welcome souvenir nevertheless of one of Montserrat's favourite roles. Subtitles are in Japanese.