War and Peace is a huge opera and extremely difficult to stage with so many soloists, actions and possibly one of the largest required chorus numbers in the history of opera. This Paris production does a magnificent job with it. Some may be put off by the cuts, which is almost half-an-hours worth and most of it is with the war. However, if you are more concerned about the quality of the singing, staging and such then I can see no reason for you to not see it. It is a fine-looking production, the sets and costumes are very handsome and are very atmospherically lit. The video directing and sound are excellent. The staging was remarkable, considering the scope needed. The war scenes are really compelling with a lot of psychological subtlety and there are no awkward scene changes. The orchestral playing manages to be both beautiful and powerful, and Gary Bertini's conducting is brisk and authoritative. The chorus make such a rousing and full-blooded sound and communicate very well. The principal singing is just another part of why the production works so brilliantly. I like very much Olga Guryakova's girlish timbre, which is well suited to the role of Natasha. Nathan Gunn, aside from his handsome looks and warm voice gives a very moving performance as Andrei, especially in the tear-jerker that is his death scene. Robert Brubaker sings very believable and succeeds in conveying the timid and brave characteristics of Pierre. Anatoli Kotcherga is outstanding in his Act 2 monologue. In conclusion, a spectacular production, a must. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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