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Columbia Music Video presents
Prelude: The Best of Charlotte Church (2002)

"How sweet, the sound..."
- Charlotte Church, in Amazing Grace

Review By: debi lee mandel   
Published: January 13, 2003

Stars: Charlotte Church
Other Stars: Josh Grobin, Billy Gilman
Director: unknown

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:58m:30s
Release Date: November 26, 2002
UPC: 074645517193
Genre: classical

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B+B+B+ A

DVD Review

It must be tough to have to throw together a career retrospective at the age of 17, but it seems to be just another project on the talented Charlotte Church's "to do" list. This collection, interestingly entitled Prelude, is gathered from several different live performances over the course of her three years thus far in the spotlight. Church's phenomenal voice has skyrocketed her to international fame, and she seems thrilled to find herself competing with the leek as the national symbol of her home country, Wales.

Church indeed has an angelic voice, no doubt as surprising as, say, Judy Garland's at a similar adolescent age. Unlike the latter, however, it's not a voice of depth and maturity, rather one with the clarity of a crystal bell. This is an advantage in most of the pieces chosen for this compilation, while others, such as Habañera, seem beyond her range and perhaps, her youthful comprehension.

Still, the soprano is quite comfortable onstage and clearly commands her audience. Recorded at several locations both indoors and out, Church mesmerizes with her talent, especially so in the earlier performances in which her rounded features establish her youth.

The editing of the program is awkward, jumping from performance to performance, disregarding the factor of Church's age. A cherub becomes a sequined woman only to return to the child again. This leapfrogging might go unnoticed in audio-only media, but here, it's disconcerting.

Fans of this talented young woman and her rise to international fame will surely find their favorites amongst the following:

Pie Jesu
The Lord's Prayer
In Trutina
Bridge Over Troubled Water
The Prayer
(with Josh Groban)
Panis Angelicus
Danny Boy
La Pastorella
My Lagan Love
Bali Ha'i
Ave Maria
(with Josh Groban)
Amazing Grace

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Videotaped at several live performances staged both indoors and out, the image here is colorful and proud. Strong directional lighting both appeals and repels, but this is not unusual under such garish conditions. There is some bleed caused by these oversaturated colors, but nothing distracting or unexpected.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Sony offers both PCM and 5.1 tracks, with the latter exhibiting a much fuller sound, though seeming not much more than a 2.0 surround split to the rears. Ms. Church's voice, the main event, comes through pure and clean.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 19 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Unknown
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Video: Dream a Dream (with Billy Gilman)
  2. Discography
  3. Photo gallery
Extras Review: Fans of Charlotte Church should be pleased with the additional materials included in this release. There's a bonus video, Dream a Dream, a duet with Billy Gilman. Backstage With Charlotte (21m:40s) is just as much a visit to her home as it is a peek behind the scenes of one of her performances.

The Video Tour of Cardiff With Charlotte (07m:23s) is a lovely but promotional piece in which the singer introduces the highlights of the ancient city she calls home. Aerial Tour of South Wales (06m:09s) appears to have been shot at the same time as the dizzying footage that serves as lead-in to the previous piece. Another tourist board approach, this one is overlaid with a lovely song by Ms. Church.

Interview With Charlotte (04m:49s) seems the most recent inclusion. Here, she discusses choosing her music and other aspects of performing over visuals of various costumes and recording sessions.

A discography, biography and photo gallery are included as well.

Extras Grade: A


Final Comments

With an image as clear and beautiful as her voice, this collection of performances by vocal sensation Charlotte Church serves as an excellent introduction to her music. Fans should be pleased with this video presentation.


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