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Giachino Rossini: Adelaide di Borgogna [Teatro Communale di Bologna] Blu-ray Review

rossini-adelaide-borgogna-blu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: LPCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Running Time: 154 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • List Price: $39.95

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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:4/5]


By the time Rossini composed Adelaide di Borgogna (Adelheid of Burgundy), he had already completed more than twenty operas including some of his big hits, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, and L’Italiana in Algeri. For a variety of reasons, most of his nearly forty operas are rarely staged today, and the present work surely falls into that category. This 2011 performance from the Rossini Opera Festival Pesaro features the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Communale di Bologna.

The story is based on historical events in Italian history. Adelaide’s (soprano Jessica Pratt), castle at Canossa is under siege from Berengario (bass Nicola Ultivieri) who has murdered her husband, King Lothar. Berengario’s son Adelberto (tenor Bogdan Mihai) is Adelaide’s suitor, a political move to ensure rule over Italy. When Adelaide rejects him, Iroldo (mezzo-soprano Francesca Pierpaoli) the ex-governor of Canossa requests help from the German Emperor Ottone (mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona). Ottone arrives, falls instantly in love with Adelaide and as they are about to marry, he is attacked by his so-called hosts, barely escaping with his life. Adelaide is captured by Berengario’s forces but the latter becomes, in turn, a prisoner of Ottone. An attempt at prisoner exchange fails, and Eurice, Berengario’s wife (soprano Jeannette Fischer), helps Adelaide escape. By the opera’s conclusion, Ottone has defeated the enemy, marries Adelaide, and merges his Germany with her Italy.

This production, directed by the veteran Pier’Alli, benefits from the expressive musical leadership of the youthful conductor Dmitri Jurowski who obviously did his homework on this score. The principals are quite strong with a spectacular turn by soprano Pratt who delivers her killer bel canto role with aplomb.  Mezzo Barcellona who has made a career out of “trouser” roles also delivers a great sing.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]


Director Pier’Alli is known for his innovative treatment of the stage and his concepts here prove to be no exception. A continuing backdrop of projections compensate for sparse sets. This is a production whose costumes are updated by nearly a millennium (950 AD to 1850 AD). The video work by Tiziano Mancini’s crew is simply top-notch. Great coverage of the stage with appropriately placed close-ups, a Mancini trademark, make this a rewarding watch.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The acoustic of this house a bit on the dry side and, try as they might, the audio engineers cannot transform it into the Met. Given that limitation, there is a modest advantage to the surround soundtrack over its two-channel version.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]


There is not only a nice program booklet, but also a 16-minute behind the scenes documentary on the making of this performance. I would suggest watching that one first. Arthaus Musik also tosses in its usual trailers for other operas in its catalog.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]


Opera lovers owe a debt of gratitude to the Rossini Festival for helping to support the staging of Adelaide di Borgogna. Rossini was one of the great musical geniuses of all time and, with the help of this production we get to see an undeservedly neglected masterpiece. The cause of this opera is aided by a superb cast headed by Jessica Pratt, marking her as possible successor to bel canto star June Anderson. This undertaking would not have succeeded without the combined Bolognese forces, and the musical and artistic direction of Maestro Jurowski and Sr. Pier’Alli.. There are so many things that are right about this production that compel the attention of the viewers: video and audio recording, stage direction, and, most importantly, performance values. Coming to this opera for the first time, I was literally overwhelmed by the treasures of vocal and orchestral writing. Given the high production values, this is an easy one to recommend.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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