A 2021 Sky Arts and Nexo Digital Documentary narrated by Stephen Mangan.

Stephen Mangan narrates a fascinating profile of Sandro Botticelli, whose own success was inextricably linked to that of his Florentine patrons, the Medici, in the latter half of the 15th century.Art historians here call him the greatest painter of the Renaissance before the arrival of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael, and his innovations (such as full-face female portraits and creating an ideal of beauty in The Birth of Venus that would last for centuries) fully support that.

Konzertvereinigung wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Librettist: Lorenzo da Ponte
Premiere: 29 October 1787, Prague
English subtitles
Act II:

Konzertvereinigung wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan

Characters & Interpreters:
Don Giovanni - Samuel Ramey
Donna Anna - Anna Tomowa-Sintow
Don Ottavio - Gösta Winbergh
Il Commendatore - Paata Burchuladze
Donna Elvira - Julia Varady
Leporello - Ferruccio Furlanetto
Masetto - Alexander Malta
Zerlina - Kathleen Battle

Don Giovanni (title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Its subject is a centuries-old Spanish legend about a libertine as told by playwright Tirso de Molina in his 1630 play El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra.

It is a dramma giocoso blending comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements (although the composer entered it into his catalogue simply as opera buffa). It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater (of Bohemia), now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787.

Composer: Pietro Mascagni
Librettist: Guido Menasci
Premiere: 17 May 1890, Rome (Teatro Costanzi)
English subtitles

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Conductor Herbert von Karajan
Chorusmaster: Roberto Benaglio

Teatro alla Scala Production by: Giorgio Strehler
Film Director: Ake Falk
Artistic Supervision: Herbert von Karajan

Characters & Interpreters:
Lucia - Anna di Stasio
Alfio - Giangiacomo Guelfi
Turiddu - Gianfranco Cecchele
Santuzza - Fiorenza Cossotto
Lola - Adriana Martino

Cavalleria rusticana (Italian for "rustic chivalry") is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from an 1880 short story of the same name and subsequent play by Giovanni Verga. Considered one of the classic verismo operas, it premiered on 17 May 1890 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome.

Since 1893, it has often been performed in a so-called Cav/Pag double-bill with Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.


Composer: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Librettist: Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Premiere: 21 may 1892, Milan (Teatro Dal Verme)
English subtitles

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala
Conductor Herbert von Karajan
Chorusmaster: Roberto Benaglio
Teatro alla Scala Production by: Paul Hagar

Charaters & Interpreters:
Canio - Jon Vickers
Nedda - Raina Kabaivanska
Tonio - Peter Glossop
Silvio - Rolando Panerai
Peppe - Sergio Lorenzi

Pagliacci (literal translation, "Clowns") is an Italian opera in a prologue and two acts, with music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo. The opera tells the tale of Canio, actor and leader of a commedia dell'arte theatrical company, who murders his wife Nedda and her lover Silvio on stage during a performance.

Pagliacci premiered at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan on 21 May 1892, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, with Adelina Stehle as Nedda, Fiorello Giraud as Canio, Victor Maurel as Tonio, and Mario Ancona as Silvio. Soon after its Italian premiere, the opera played in London (with Nellie Melba as Nedda) and in New York (on 15 June 1893, with Agostino Montegriffo as Canio). Pagliacci is the composer's only opera that is still widely performed.

Pagliacci is often staged with Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni, a double bill known colloquially as "Cav and Pag".

Cavalleria Rusticana:

Composer: Haydn Franz Josef
Libretto: Gottfried van Swieten

The Creation (German: Die Schöpfung) is an oratorio written between 1797 and 1798 by Franz Joseph Haydn (Hob. XXI:2), and considered by many to be one of his masterpieces. The oratorio depicts and celebrates the creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis. The libretto was written by Gottfried van Swieten. The work is structured in three parts and scored for soprano, tenor and bass soloists, chorus and a symphonic orchestra. In parts I and II, depicting the creation, the soloists represent the archangels Raphael (bass), Uriel (tenor) and Gabriel (soprano). In part III, the bass and soprano represent Adam and Eve.

The first public performance was held in Vienna at the old Burgtheater on 19 March 1799. The oratorio was published with the text in German and English in 1800.

Vocals: Emma Kirkby, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Michael George
Chorus: Chorus of the Academy of Ancient Music, Choir of New College Oxford
Chorus Master: Simon Halsley, Edward Higginbottom
Conductor – Christopher Hogwood
Orchestra – The Academy Of Ancient Music
Stage Director: Chris Hunt
Gloucester Cathedral, England, 1990.

A 1993 Handel Celebration with Kiri Te Kanawa and the Academy of Ancient Music. Conductor Christopher Hogwood.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa stars in this "pastiche opera" based on Handel's opera Alcina.

Characters & Interpreters:
Alcina -- Kiri te Kanawa
Guggiero -- Andrew Kelly
Bradamante -- Jeannette Zingg
Alcina's servant -- Wilbert Hanssen

George Frideric Handel - Alcina
Dramma per musica in tre atti HWV.34 (1735)
Premiere at Covent Garden, London (16/04/1735)

Sandrine Piau: Alcina
Maite Beaumont: Ruggiero
Angélique Noldus: Bradamante
Sabina Puértolas: Morgana
Chloé Briot: Oberto
Daniel Behle: Oronte
Giovanni Furlanetto: Melisso
Edouard Higuet: Astolfo

Les Talents Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset
Staged by Pierre Audi
Directed for TV by Stéphan Aubé

from The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 9 February 1964. Production by Franco Zeffirelli.

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.
Based on Victorien Sardou's 1887 French-language dramatic play, La Tosca.
Premiere: 14 January 1900, Rome (Teatro Costanzi)

Characters & Interpreters in order of appereance:
Baron Scarpia, chief of police - Tito Gobbi
Sciarrone, a police agent - Dennis Wicks
Spoletta, another agent - Robert Bowman
Mario Cavaradossi, a painter - Renato Cioni
Floria Tosca - Maria Callas

The Orchestra and Chorus: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Conductor: Carlo Felice Cillario
Chorus Master - Douglas Robinson

from The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 4 November 1962.

The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden
Conducted by Carlo Felice Cillario

1. Verdi: Don Carlo (Atto IV)
"Tu che la vanità"

2. Bizet: Carmen
Habanera (Acte I)
Entr'acte (Acte III)
Séguedille (Acte I)

Maria Callas & Tito Gobbi at Covent Garden (1964)
Tosca Act II -

A 1987 Documentary Film by Tony Palmer.

Combination of archival footage, performance and interviews including numerous operatic recital performances from such as Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, Il Trovatore, Tosca, etc.

Maria Callas was one of the most accomplished of musicians, and not only among singers. Everything she did had purpose and precision. The respect she earned among instrumental musicians and conductors for her ability to bring a musical score to life has no parallel. She is mostly called La Divina and she has been awarded as the greatest opera singer in the world.

Maria Callas was born in 1923 in New York to Greek parents. In 1937, her family moved to Athens and she attended music courses in the Conservatory of Athens. Soon, her teachers appreciated her warm and heavy voice. After some performances in the Greek National Opera, she moved to Italy and started to perform in La Scala di Milan.

Her career reached its peak in the 1950s and then it decreased, either from a vocal decline or because she wanted to focus on her personal life, which was marked by an unlucky marriage, a devastating affair to Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis and loneliness.

Maria Callas was unique. There will never be another like La Divina. She holds the title.

Track list:
1. Una Voce Poco Fa - Il Barbiere Di Siviglia
2. O S'Io Potessi - Il Pirata
3. Nacqui All'Affanno - La Cenerentola
4. Tu Che La Vanità - Don Carlos
5. Habanera - Carmen
6. Tacea La Notte - Il Trovatore
7. Ah, Non Credea... - La Sonnambula
8. Vissi D'Arte - Tosca
9. Oh Mio Babbino Caro - Gianni Schicchi

A 2010 Arts Documentary written by Bruno Lussato narrated by John G. Deacon.

This is an introduction to the world of symbols of Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung". Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), often referred to as the Ring Cycle, Wagner's Ring, or simply The Ring, is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner. The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied.

The documentary breaks down and reveals all the Leitmotiv’s: examples of the more than 50 leitmotivs that are part of the story; metaphors, mythology, scenes, plots, characters, and names in Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen”. Discover the fascinating world of symbols of "The Ring of the Nibelung" - a coherent phantasmagoria of powerful word, fabulous image and astounding music. All 18 chapters in a chronological and logical order of events.

The Monumental Ring Cycle’s four parts :
Das Rheingold (The Rhinegold)
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)

The illustrations come from two famous artists, the English book illustrator the German painter Franz Stassen and Arthur Rackham; additional drawings by Polina Zinoviev. The music performed by “Orchestre Nationale de France,” conductor Jeffrey Tate.

Related Documentaries:
Wagner | Pappano's Essential Ring Cycle

A 2015 ITV Arts Documentary hosted by Rick Wakeman.

Antonio Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons is the most popular piece of classical music of all time. There have been over 1000 different recordings, selling tens of millions of copies. It’s become so ubiquitous – in lifts, as phone ring tones or on call-centre answering machines – that it has been denounced as Muzak for the middle classes.

Rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman thinks the critics are wrong though, and believes that the Four Seasons was so far ahead of its time that it was actually the first ever concept album, making Vivaldi the world's first rock superstar. But why did a piece written by a sickly 18th-century priest disappear into obscurity for more than 200 years after his death? Rick travels to Venice, a city with a reputation in the 18th century for debauchery. There he uncovers a tale of an almost rock 'n' roll-like scandal contributing to Vivaldi's downfall.

BBC Four partners with the Royal Shakespeare Company to introduce highlights from the Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Shakespeare's best lines reference these shape-shifting characters, but do today's audiences know why Niobe was "all tears", or of Phaethon and his "unruly jades"?

Featuring spellbinding contributions from Britain's leading actors including Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale, this film delivers a series of dramatic monologues, interspersed with behind the scenes discussions chaired by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran on the significance of the original texts and their continuing influence on art and literature. By letting Ovid's original tales speak for themselves, we see exactly why the Roman poet is still regarded as one of the world's greatest storytellers, 2,000 years after his death.

La strada (lit. '"The Road"') is a 1954 Italian drama film directed and co-written (with Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano) by Federico Fellini. Audio in Italian with English subtitles.

The film tells the story of Gelsomina, a simple-minded young woman (Giulietta Masina) bought from her mother by Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutish strongman who takes her with him on the road.

The film premiered at the 15th Venice International Film Festival on 6 September 1954 and won the Silver Lion. It was released in Italy on 22 September 1954, and in the United States on 16 July 1956. La Strada has become "one of the most influential films ever made," according to the American Film Institute. La Strada won more than fifty international awards, including an Oscar in 1957 for Best Foreign Language Film, the first recipient in that category. It was placed fourth in the 1992 British Film Institute directors' list of cinema's top 10 films.

Cast & Characters:
Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina
Anthony Quinn as Zampanò
Richard Basehart as Il Matto, the fool
Aldo Silvani as Il Signor Giraffa, the circus owner
Marcella Rovere as La Vedova, the widow
Livia Venturini as La Suorina, the nun

A 2001 Channel 4 Arts Documentary directed by Mike Dibb.

This 120 minute documentary is the only Miles Davis documentary on video. The film features classic performances from all eras of Miles' career and insightful interviews with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Clark Terry, Joe Zawinul and many others.

Ten years after his death in 1991, legendary trumpeter Miles Davis remains the best-known and most influential jazz musician of the last 50 years. THE MILES DAVIS STORY explores the music and the man behind the public image, from Miles' middle-class upbringing in racially segregated East St. Louis to the last years when he traveled the world like a rock star. Miles Davis' career intersected with every major development in jazz since the 1940s, and this critically-acclaimed film covers each and every key event: Miles teaming up with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie when he was a 19-year-old student at the Julliard School of Music; his influential Birth of the Cool recordings in 1949; Kind of Blue and his classic collaborations with Gil Evans; his landmark 1950s quintet featuring John Coltrane and his 60s quintet featuring Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter; the making of Bitches Brew and the groundbreaking development of fusion and funk.

The Miles Davis Story interweaves rare interviews with Miles himself with the insights and memories of his family, friends, and many of the great musicians who played with him during his long career.

A 2022 Arte Dcoumentary directed by Edouard Toda, Pascal Cuissot. Audio in French with English subtitles.

Antoni Gaudí lived and worked in Barcelona during a period of profound change. As the Catalan capital was rapidly expanding the architect designed striking buildings that would become emblematic of the city: the enchanting Park Güell, the immense and unfinished Sagrada Família basilica, as well as many unique residential buildings such as the Casa Batlló.

A 2020 Arte Documentary about the life and art of legendary singer Amália Rodrigues. Audio in German with English subtitles.

Amália da Piedade Rebordão Rodrigues (23 July 1920 – 6 October 1999), better known as Amália Rodrigues, or popularly as Amália, was a Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and actress. Known as the 'Rainha do Fado' ("Queen of Fado"), Rodrigues was instrumental in popularising fado worldwide and travelled internationally throughout her career. Amália remains the best-selling Portuguese artist in history.

Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)
Madrigals, Book 6: the madrigale ‘concertato’ and the ‘Lamento d’Arianna’
Lyricist(s): Giambattista Marino (1569 - 1625); Petrarch (1304 - 1374); Ottavio Rinuccini (1562 - 1621)

Performed by Les Arts Florissants
Conducted by Paul Agnew
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice 2014

Sopranos: Miriam Allan, Maud Gnidzaz, Hannah Morrison
Contralto: Lucile Richardot
Tenors: Paul Agnew, Sean Clayton
Bass: Cyril Costanzo

Monteverdi’s Sixth Book of Madrigals was published by Ricciardo Amadino in Venice in 1614, nine years after Book Five. In it, the composer continues his exploration of the main musical form of the day, once more making the most of all the musical resources at his disposal, whether traditional or innovative, in his quest to transform poetry into music. Over the previous nine years Monteverdi had composed, published and seen performed some of the most famous works in the history of music: L’Orfeo (1607), L’Arianna (1608), the Ballo delle Ingrate (1608) and the Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610).

Sadly, the complete score of Monteverdi’s Arianna is lost without trace, but history has compensated us at least in part by preserving the extremely well-known Lamento d’Arianna. The composer set this text in both the ancient and the modern style, probably to prove that both the narrative and representational forms can be employed to express the heights of emotion (a third, sacred version was included in the Selva morale e spirituale (1640) as the Pianto della Madonna sopra il Lamento d’Arianna).

It is not however pure chance that only the Lamento has survived: it was defined by Monteverdi himself as ‘the most essential part of the work’ and it became so famous that ‘there was no home that possessed either harpsichords or lutes, that did not also possess a copy of that lament’ (the words of Florentine writer and composer Severo Bonini around 1640), while Giovanni Battista Doni in his Treatise (1635) speaks of the ‘Lament of Ariadne which is perhaps the most beautiful composition of its kind to have been written in our times’. As soon as Arianna had first been staged in 1608, manuscript copies had begun to circulate around Italy in great quantities (some are now held by libraries in Florence and Modena), featuring many musical and textual discrepancies: the opera’s success and perhaps the desire to establish an official version spurred Monteverdi on to publish the solo version in 1623 (in fact there were two publications issued in that same year, but the continuo part is missing from one of them), nine years after having written the Sixth Book’s five-part adaptation in the a cappella style which, because of the advent of monody and opera, was not long for this world.

The State Hermitage Museum is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is the largest art museum in the world by gallery space. It was founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. The museum celebrates the anniversary of its founding each year on 7 December, Saint Catherine's Day. It has been open to the public since 1852. In 2021, the Art Newspaper ranked the museum 6th in their list of the most visited art museums in the world, with 1,649,443 visitors.

Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, comprise over three million items (the numismatic collection accounts for about one-third of them). The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. Apart from them, the Menshikov Palace, Museum of Porcelain, Storage Facility at Staraya Derevnya, and the eastern wing of the General Staff Building are also part of the museum. The museum has several exhibition centers abroad. The Hermitage is a federal state property.

Of the six buildings in the main museum complex, five—namely the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and Hermitage Theatre—are all open to the public.

Part II:

Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) is an operetta in three acts by Johann Strauss II. Its libretto was by F. Zell and Richard Genée based on Le Château Trompette by Eugène Cormon and Richard Genée. Audio in German with English subtitles.

This 1973 film version of Johann Strauss' operetta of the same name was produced by Czech conductor and stage director Vaclav Kaslik. The popular operetta, which leads through the carnival celebrations of the 18th century, vividly shows Strauss at his best compositions and in his deep love for Italy. The operetta, which premiered in 1883, revolves around the Duke of Urbino, a womanizer, and his personal barber Caramello, who fall in love on a carnival night in the mid-18th century.

Anton De Ridder as Herzog von Urbino
Sylvia Geszty as Annina
Jon Piso as Caramello
Cesare Curzi as Pappacodoa
Erich Kunz as Delacqua
Trudeliese Schmidt as Barbara
Karl Doench as Barbaruccio
Kurt Sowinetz as Testaccio
Erich Fiedler as Balbi
Michael Lenz as Enrico

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Münchner Rundfunkorchester (Munich Radio Orchestra)
Conductor: Kurt Eichhorn

A 2021 Arte Documentary. Audio in German with English subtitles.

From the cabinets of curiosities in 16th century Italy to the prestigious cultural institutions of today, a history of museums looking at the social and political changes over the centuries.

A 2021 Arte Docu Shorts as "City, Country, Culture" series. Audio in French with English subtitles.

At 21 years old, Aurore Dupin visited the Pyrenees where she discovered a love of nature.

“The Pyrenees had exalted and intoxicated me like a dream”.

The encounter with the rough and dizzying nature that is the backdrop to Cauterets, a spa town nestled in the mountains of southwestern France, will be a turning point for the newlywed Aurore, about to free her pen and "transform" in the young author George Sand


Created 2 years, 11 months ago.

520 videos

Category Arts & Literature

"Where there is no culture there is no critical spirit, where there is no art there is no light, no life."

This is a channel with documentaries about Arts, Culture and Entertainment (e.g. Music, Opera, Ballet, Cinema, Figurative Arts and Literature.)

Check out my other channels, which are about Sport and History:
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