War and Peace (TV Movie 1991) Poster

(1991 TV Movie)

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10/10
An operatic wonder
TheLittleSongbird28 November 2012
War and Peace is incredibly difficult to stage due to the scale mainly, but it is a really powerful work in every possible way. Prokofiev's music is phenomenal, some of his best actually, and the characters are very multi-layered. This is a wonder of a production. The Paris production with Nathan Gunn as Andrei is superb as well, but I give the slight edge to this one. The sets and costumes are large and evocative, complete with lighting that never detracts from the mood. I loved the authenticity and raw intensity of the orchestral playing, and the chorus really bring genuine commitment and strong singing to their pivotal role in War and Peace. Valery Gergiev's conducting helps add to this, and largely why the musical values are so wonderful here. He gives a reading that is incisive and dynamic, and even with many high points of drama he manages never to over-emphasise, which is easy to do. The staging from Graham Vick deserves credit for how always compelling it always is in spite of any potential problems, it could have been static, dull or cluttered but it's never either of those once. The characters are still the multi-layered ones in the production that they are in the opera, and they are helped by the truly remarkable performances from especially Gegam Grigoriam, Alexander Gergalov, Elena Prochina and Olga Borodina. All in all, a wondrous production of War and Peace that doesn't hurt Prokofiev's opera in any way. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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