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Verdi: Il Trovatore [Teatro Regio di Parma] Blu-ray Review

verdi-il-trovatore-blu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Running Time: 140 Mins.
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • List Price: $45.98

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

 

The Performance

[Rating:2.5/5]

title

Another Verdi opera set in old Spain, Il Trovatore weaves a tangled web of deceit and mistaken identity. Blessed with a torrent of strong arias, ensembles, and the well known “Anvil Chorus,” this opera has always been a quite popular one.

As Il Trovatore opens, Ferrando, a Captain in Manrico’s army (Deyan Vatchkov) tells the backstory of how a Gypsy woman, Azucena (Miza Nioradze), Manrico’s mother,  exacted revenge on the De Luna family who burnt her mother at the stake. She has, in turn incinerated one of the De Luna children. A love triangle is at work here. A noblewoman, Leonora (Teresa Romano) is in love with the troubador Manrico (Marcelo Alvarez) while she is being pursued by the Count De Luna (Claudio Sgura).  Eventually the two men clash, and before either is harmed, Manrico spirits off Leonora to be wed. However, De Luna captures Azucena and condemns her to death. The wedding between Manrico and Leonora is postponed as the troubadour goes to rescue his mother. Finally, Manrico is also captured and sentenced to death. Leonora promises herself to De Luna if he will spare Manrico; however, she has also taken poison to prevent the Count’s ever possessing her. At the opera’s end, Leonora dies, Manrico is beheaded, and Azucena informs De Luna that he has killed his own brother as the baby that she burned to death was her real son not that of De Luna family.

The cast headliner is tenor Alvarez who has performed this role many times and is artistically head and shoulders above his colleagues. Apparently both the lead soprano (Leonora’s role) and baritone (De Luna) were replaced earlier in the run of this production by clearly second tier soloists. The other major role, the old Gypsy receives a decent if not noteworthy rendering. What takes this opera down the wrong pathway is conductor Temirkanov’s lack of feeling for the Verdi idiom. If this were not enough, we get a nearly bare stage offsetting the period costumes.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

pira

This is a decently videographed performance, considering the lack of sets and monochromatic wardrobe. Camera coverage of the stage and singers is appropriate.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

leonora

This smallish opera house generally gives voices a good run but here the balance is definitely in favor of the orchestra. The surround soundtrack offers a bit of hall ambience, making it slightly preferable to the 2-channel option.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

luna2

There is a synopsis with clips from the performance and some historical background on the work’s creation. Trailers for other Opus Arte releases in this collection. A booklet is included with a nice plot synopsis and more background information.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

anvil

Given its popularity, Il Trovatore has had a chequered fate in the Blu-ray world. I saw the David McVicar production that has played at the Metropolitan Opera two seasons ago, also starring Marcelo Alvarez, and now committed to a Blu-ray. This is a far more interesting and better staged, sung and conducted performance than what we are offered here. While I am disappointed that tenor Alvarez opted out of the high C in the “Di quella pira” aria (he did the same at the Met), the rest of the principals are simply not up to snuff, and certainly not in his league. Given the rather uninteresting (and uninvolved) stage direction by Lorenzo Mariani, and the other musical shortcomings noted previously, this is, unfortunately, not the Il Trovatore that high-def opera fans have been anticipating.

Additional Screen Captures

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duo

ferrando

azucena

trio

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Purchase Verdi: Il Trovatore on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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