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Mediacs presents
Josť Carreras Around the World (2002)

"This is a very special kind of world tour—a tour that will be a musical introduction to some very different countries."
- Josť Carreras

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: October 13, 2003

Stars: Josť Carreras
Other Stars: Klaus Meine, Joan Orleans, Gary Lux, Bernhard Rabitsch, Patricia Graf-Simpson, Sandrine Rohrmoser, Paul Bateman, Christian Kolonovits, John Cameron
Director: Michael Becker

Manufacturer: Optimal DVD Production
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:51m:48s
Release Date: October 14, 2003
UPC: 693723719887
Genre: opera

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

DVD Review

Tenor Josť Carreras is one of the celebrated voices of our time. This German disc (region 0 NTSC, so it is playable on US DVD players) provides a brief concert by Carreras with a theme of music from around the world.

The thirteen selections run the gamut from French, Spanish, English, and Italian, as expected, but also ventures into the less well-known but nonetheless accessible melodies of Japan and the Maori of New Zealand. The arrangements, performed by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, tend to be a bit on the syrupy side, with little variation in tone or texture until the song Kum ba yah, which carries a dark and exotic sound evocative of its spiritual roots.

Carreras doesn't seem to be stretching himself much here; only on the Harry Belafonte song, Island in the Sun, does he even seem to be making an effort. The style is quite casual, though the concert takes place in a highly formal setting. Carreras is very stiff and demonstrates surprisingly little stage presence. However, the voice itself is in fine form and fans of the vocalist will surely want to obtain this for their collections. Scorpions fans might be interested as well, since guitarist Klaus Meine joins Carreras on the song Wind of Change.

The following vocal selections are included:

Hymna à l'amour (French)
Vurria (Italian)
Volver (Greek)
Midnight in Moscow (Russian, French lyrics)
Kawa no nagare no yoni (Japanese)
Hine e hine (Maori)
Quando sento che mi ami (Italian)
Island in the Sun (Jamaican)
Alfonsina y el mar (Spanish)
Kum ba yah, My Lord (American)
Greensleeves (English)
Wind of Change (English)
Paraules d'amor (French)
Despite the 125-minute running time listed on the keepcase, the actual concert program only runs about 51 minutes.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: For a live concert, the picture is outstanding. Black levels are excellent, and plenty of detail and texture is visible. There is some minor shimmer on the curtain swags and occasional aliasing on the violin bows, but otherwise little artifacting is present. The camera angles are extremely varied and often extreme closeups of the musicians and their instruments lend visual interest to the proceedings. Most of the skin tones look fine, though Carreras is a ghastly yellow; that seems however be due to the lights or his illness and thus no points are deducted.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Two audio tracks for the concert are provided; one is a full and rich-sounding uncompressed PCM track, while the other is a slightly crisper DD 5.1. The strings on both are a shade bright, but Carreras voice carries with excellent presence and commands attention in both audio tracks. Bass levels are very good, though when the celli are playing pizzicato, they can be a shade overwhelming. There is a fair amount of annoying mike noise in between numbers, but since these were intended to be edited out for airing it's somewhat forgivable. Applause is at least kept at a controlled decibel level, unlike so many classical releases.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian (subtitles on extras only) with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extras on this disc are somewhat peculiar. The principal extra, running 58m:11s is the complete television program using the same concert footage, but with introductions in Spanish by Carreras and footage of landmarks from Rome, Athens, Vienna, Moscow, Tokyo, New Zealand, New York, Buenos Aires and elsewhere. An optional German voiceover track is provided (the German announcer talks at the same time as Carreras talking in Spanish, making for a confused jumble even if you speak the languages). The extras permit use of a wide array of subtitles, including subtitles for the songs in their original languages (no translations of the songs are provided). Why these lyric subtitles couldn't have been provided in the main concert program, I don't understand, but they weren't. The listed subtitles apply only to the extras. One gets the feeling that the television program might have originally been intended to be the principal feature and the unedited concert footage the extra, but that's not how it's presented on the disc.

In addition, Carreras gives a short interview (13m:50s), conducted in English, though there are some segments in German. He touches on his battles with leukemia, the research foundation that he heads, and his relationship with his children, and really doesn't touch on the musical selections or his art much at all, and thus is fairly disappointing for music lovers. The extras are wrapped up with a three-page bio, a videography covering both PAL and NTSC formats, and a weblink to www.jcarreras.com. More quantity than substance, frankly.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

A brief concert performance with excellent sound, but the extras are awfully duplicative.


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