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

verdi-il-corsari-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, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Running Time: 119 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
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:3.5/5]

Another Verdi rarity, Il Corsaro was written using a Lord Byron poem as its source, near the end of Verdi’s early period. As such it is more of a bel canto work than those that followed. This performance taken from a 2008 production, returns the Tutto Verdi series to the Teatro Regio di Parma.

Il Corsaro is set in the early 19th century a few decades before the time of its actual composition. Corrado (tenor Bruno Ribeiro) and his pirate band are based in the Aegean sea not far from the coast of Turkey. Receiving news from his mate, Giovanni (bass Andrea Papi) that the time is right for a raid on the Turks, he prepares to embark, leaving behind his lover, Medora (soprano Irina Lungu). The scene shifts to Pasha Seid’s (baritone Luca Salsi) harem, where his favorite slave, Gulnara (soprano Silvia Dalla Benetta) bemoans her captive state. The pasha is throwing a party that Corrado crashes in disguise. A battle between the pirates and the Turks is raging and the harem catches on fire. As Corrado tries to rescue Gulnara and the other women, he is captured by the pasha and sentenced to death. On the eve of Corrado’s execution, Gulnara begs Seid for his life. When he refuses to commute the sentence, she bribes the guards to help her escape with the pirate. Before leaving, she kills the pasha. On the pirates’ island, Medora has believed her beloved Corrado has died and takes poison. Corrado returns, but it is too late as Medora dies, and distraught, the pirate leaps to his death in the sea.

By all appearances, the cast is a youthful one that makes a game effort if without the ultimate vocal abilities that experienced Verdians would possess. Conductor Carlo Montanaro has clearly understood Verdi’s musical intentions and leads a very idiomatic performance.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]


While the first act is deliberately dark, the sun really shines brightly in the harem with beautiful period costumes.  Lamberto Puggelli’s staging on the rather small Teatro Regio stage is first rate. The cameras do a nice job of keeping us engaged, again courtesy of video director, Tiziano Mancini.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The audio engineers by this point in the series must know this house well. The balances are excellent with a slight dryness to the acoustic. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack gives us more the house than the two-channel one but the differences are not dramatic.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

Thank you C Major and Tutto Verdi for the ever helpful booklet and video background and synopsis. This a work that will be best served by going to these sources before viewing.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]


Coincidentally, there is a previous DVD from the same house with similar appearing costumes and sets but featuring veteran singers, some well past their sell-by-dates.  This much younger cast makes a game effort with Il Corsaro, particularly soprano Della Benetta who, exposed midriff and all, absolutely steals the show. A tip of the cap also goes to baritone Salsi who nails the pasha’s big Act III aria. With a good effort to create authentic period costumes offsetting the rather minimal sets, we get a pretty good idea of what Verdi might have seen on stage. However, this opera is not one of the maestro’s better efforts, with just a couple of show piece arias and some rather routine choral work. On the other hand, for those who are determined to see and hear every note that flowed from the Verdi pen, this would be the video choice.  For those wanting to get the last word in vocalism, the clear winner is the Philips CD set with Montserrat Caballe, Jose Carreras and Jessye Norman.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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