Dmitri Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth von Mzensk, directed by Petr Weigl (1992)
Franz Schubert, Die Winterreise, sung by Brigitte Fassbaender, directed by Petr Weigl (1995)
Some other opera DVDs that have recently come through my Netflix queue are this Lyon production of Prokofiev's truly silly opera The Love for Three Oranges, in a zany production. Singers include Hélène Peraguin, Jean-Luc Viala, Vincent Le Texier, and Gabriel Bacquier. The two Berg operas are absolutely crucial operatic listening from the 20th century. The vertiginous world of mental derangement in Berg's Wozzeck is staged by Adolf Dresen in this production and conducted by Claudio Abbado at the Vienna State Opera, with Franz Grundheber (Wozzeck) and Hildegard Behrens (Marie). The Lulu DVD shown here is not currently available from Netflix, but I borrowed it from the Catholic University Music Library, and it is magnificent (it won the Gramophone Award for Best Video in 1997). The cast is excellent, with Christine Schäfer (Lulu), Norman Bailey (Schigolch), Kathryn Harries (Geschwitz), David Kuebler (Alwa), and Wolfgang Schöne (Dr Schon, Jack the Ripper). Finally, there is the first rock opera in history, The Who's Tommy, which I briefly considered teaching in my course on Opera in the 20th Century. I opted against it because a friend convinced me that it was a "concept album" rather than a real, staged work. Ken Russell made a truly odd film version of Tommy, with the lead singer of The Who, Roger Daltrey, in the title role, and Ann-Margret as his mother. Among the incredible list of shocking minor appearances are Jack Nicholson (A. Quackson, a mental health specialist), Tina Turner (The Acid Queen), Elton John (Pinball Wizard), Eric Clapton (Preacher), and Keith Moon (the depraved Uncle Ernie).