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Giuseppe Verdi: Ernani [Teatro Regio di Parma] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/24
  • Audio Codec: LPCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

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

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All 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]

Giuseppe Verdi based his fifth opera, Ernani, on a drama by French author Victor Hugo. Although it is less frequently performed than other Verdi works, there is marvelous ensemble and solo vocal writing within its pages.  Ernani gets its BD premiere by way of this 2005 Teatro Regio di Parma production. The convoluted plot centers on a love “quadrangle” with the three male principals Ernani, the outlawed Don Juan of Aragon (Marco Berti), Don Carlo, King of Spain (Carlo Guelfi), the much older Don Ruy Gomez da Silva (Giacomo Prestia) and the object of their desire, Elvira (Susan Neves). The crucial moment of the opera occurs when Carlo takes Elvira hostage on the eve of her marriage to Silva. The old man had sheltered Ernani but now seeks satisfaction that will be rendered at the sound of his hunting horn commanding Ernani to commit suicide. Silva and Ernani plot to kill Don Carlo but when the conspiracy is uncovered and the men condemned to death, Elvira intercedes and they are pardoned. Ernani, restored to his castle, has married Elvira. Suddenly the hunting horn sounds, and a disguised Silva demands that Ernani uphold his vow. Ernani stabs himself and Elvira falls prostrate over his body as the opera ends.

This is a rather traditional production, staged by Pier’Alli, featuring giant slanting backdrops that change with each act.  The Teatro Regio orchestra and chorus receive adequate if somewhat routine direction from maestro Antonelli Allemandi but that is as good as this performance gets. Ernani succeeds or fails on the strength of the four leads and here comes our disappointment. We get stentorian, and frequently off pitch, vocalism from tenor Berti, a shaky delivery from bass Prestia, some burly and unsubtle work by baritone Guelfi. Soprano Neves gives a decent if cautious account of Elvira.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

The picture is largely disappointing with heavy shadows and a loss of clarity of the details. It is more SD than HD in overall quality, surprising since this is a relatively recent production. Costumes are quite good and the staging fairly impressive with its monolithic blocking.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The audio tracks have more than the usual amount of stage echo and the orchestra sounds rather distant. This was true of both the DTS-HD Master Audio and PCM versions.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There is a 10-minute background piece on the composition of Ernani using clips from this production. Trailers for other BDs in the Tutto Verdi series are also provided. .

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

Unlike most Tutto Verdi productions from this opera house, this Ernani falls well short of the mark in its musical values and its recorded properties.  Given the rather dim and occasionally poorly focused dark images, viewers could justifiably go for either of the splendid DVDs that feature stellar casts headed by the Met’s Luciano Pavarotti or La Scala’s Placido Domingo.  This opera really requires much better singing than we get here. The more’s the pity since it is the only BD version available and, given the infrequency with which this work is staged, it may be a long time before we get another one.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Verdi: Ernani on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Purchase Verdi: Ernani on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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


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