This opera recording has already been issued previously on video and it is extremely welcome on DVD as a spectacular visual experience now fully upgraded with DTS 5.1 surround sound and all the usual 'goodies' one normally finds in such lavish packages.
There is not much to fault in this quintessentially Russian opera with the lavish staging and fantastic costumes surely a feat to the eye. You cannot find much fault on the musical side of things either as many have expressed their opinion that this remains the finest version of the opera by a mile.
The charismatic and almost demonic Gergiev conducts with his systematic, unabated passion for music which is most certainly in his blood and his players definitely do him proud. The cast is also top notch on all counts with Netrebko and Gorchakova particularly impressive.
Philips also include two intriguing documentaries entitled 'Introducing Ruslan' and 'catching up with Music', the latter a frenetic see through of Gergiev's punishing work schedule, an opera recording in its own right! That brings playing time to over four and a half hours and surely anyone who loves Russian opera will want this audio visual document of crucial importance in their collections.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech