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Filmed at the opening of the new Mariinsky II theatre in St Petersburg in May 2013, tickets reportedly sold for tens of thousands of pounds on the black market. Now you can watch it for the price of this DVD and, I suspect, be relieved you didn’t hock your home for the experience. It’s an incredibly slick event, each performance segueing into the next, and the theatre looks magnificent. The ballet excerpts highlight stunning technical control over bravura. The singing is a mixed bag, under Valery Gergiev’s mercurial direction. The basses generally win the day, Mikhail Petrenko offering a sonorous ‘Ey Ukhnem!’ and Evgeny Nikitin an imposing Boris Godunov. René Pape and Ildar Abdrazakov trot neatly through Gounod and Rossini respectively. Plácido Domingo chugs uncomfortably through ‘Winterstürme’ and Alexei Markov sounds suave in his Iolanta aria. Anna Netrebko’s first public airing of her Lady Macbeth isn’t as vocally glittering as her gown: she has the amplitude, but neither the precision nor diction to convince. Olga Borodina walks away with the vocal honours for her voluptuous Dalila.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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