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Giachino Rossini: Sigismondo [Teatro Communale di Bologna/Mariotti] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: MPEG-2
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

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

If there ever was an operatic hit maker, it was Giachino Rossini who wrote at least one opera a year for two decades. Sigismondo is a Rossini rarity, receiving its BD premiere with this 2010 production from Bologna.  The opera’s staging focuses on the king of Poland, Sigismondo (Daniella Barcelona), who has gone mad.  By way of backstory, Sigismondo had married Aldamira (Olga Peretyatko), daughter of Ulderico (Andrea Concetti), king of Bohemia. Unfortunately, Sigismondo’s minister, Ladislao (Antonino Siragusa), secretly in love with Aldamira, spread a rumor that she was unfaithful. Aldamira was taken for execution but, fortunately, escaped and went into hiding.  At the start of the opera, fifteen years have passed.  Ulderico, thinking that his daughter has been killed, launches a campaign against Poland.  Meanwhile Sigismondo and Ladislao reencounter Aldamira, who is disguised as a woman named Egelinda. Eventually, Sigismondo comes to his senses and with many plot vagaries, there is reconciliation between the king and his queen. As the opera ends, order is restored to the kingdom.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Young director Damiano Micheletto seriously rethought this opera and set it in an asylum where Sigismondo fantasizes about his wife whom he thinks has been put to death. Visually, the madness theme works as a piece and the rather stark hosptial set is a perfect foil for  the psychodrama of a troubled soul.  The transformation of mezzo-soprano Barcellona into a demented middle-aged man is truly astonishing. The modern costumes also work quite well within the updated concept of Rossini’s opera. Camera coverage of the singers and stage, if a bit short on detail, is excellent and the colors are perfect.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Teatro Communale di Bologna is a traditional Italian opera house with great sight lines and acoustics. As it is moderate in size, the details of the modest sized orchestra and the vocal lines are very clear.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is well laid out with good ambience giving us the in-house sound experience. The PCM stereo version is not bad but less atmospheric.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There is a “Making of Sigismondo” extra that runs less than twenty minutes but gives significant insight into the production team’s concept of this opera. I would recommend giving this one a watch before diving into the main feature.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]


Sigismondo is a rarely staged Rossini opera having been upstaged by the comedies such as  Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, and L’Italiana in Algeri. After watching this retooled version of an early 19th century work, you begin to wonder why it has been so neglected. Sigismondo possesses fabulous music as carried off in the present production. Neglect aside, there is a wealth of stagecraft and terrific singing that should only whet your appetite for the resurrection of more early Rossini works.  The updating works wonders with the subject matter and makes the story even more compelling. Vocalism is generally excellent, although tenor Siragusa sounds a bit strained at times in the cruelly high tessitura of this role.  Maestro Mariotti (soprano Peretyatko’s husband) is very sensitive to the support of the singers and lets the wonderful music of Rossini flow.  Prospective viewers should not be dissuaded by the current obscurity of Sigismondo. Watching this opera was like striking gold in a long-abandoned mine, well worth the effort.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]



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