The only DVD option for Halévy´s grand opera La Juive is this 1999 production by Gunther Krämer from the Vienna State Opera, also seen at the Metropolitan Opera a couple of years later.
In all honesty, I´ll have to label this release among the "fine DVD releases of operas I don´t really care for". Though, at face value, it is a fine addition to the DVD catalogue: A simplistic production placing the action around the year 1900, quite literally dividing the stage along a horizontal line in an upper section (for the ruling class and Christians), leaving the Jews below.
Superb performance from Neil Schicoff as Eleazar, an ideal role and an absolute career highlight for him. Just see below, how his "Rachel, quand du Seigneur" brought down the house. This was definitely his evening.
Also a convincing performance from Krassimira Stoyanova as Rachel, though she doesn´t fit my idea of a young Jewish girl in this plot which has certain elements of Trovatore on top of the unevitably heavy politicol-religious drama.
As the Vienna Philharmonics played superbly under Sutej, this release is highly recommended.
Neil Schicoff brings down the house with "Rachel quand du Seigneur":
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Neil Schicoff: 5
Krassimira Stoyanova: 4-5
Krämers staging: 4
Overall impression: 4
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