16.7 C
New York
Monday, November 30, 2020
Advertisement

Gounod: Roméo et Juliette [Arena di Verona/Mastrangelo] Blu-ray Review

  • 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, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BelAir Classiques
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 28, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:3.5/5]


Charles Gounod’s operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless story of young love has always held a major place in my heart. Roméo et Juliette is reasonably true to the original play and has absolutely marvelous music to boot.  We are presented here with a 2011 performance filmed at the venerable Arena di Verona, the true R&J birth place. The arena is an amazing outdoor venue with coliseum seating and huge stage. The costumes are a combination of modern dress and seriously updated renaissance outfits, while the mechanical stage is mostly occupied with two very large scaffold towers meant to represent the warring families, the Montagues and Capulets.   With the exception of soprano Nino Machaidze (Juliette), the remaining cast will not be familiar to most viewers. Not to worry, since one of the joys of seeing new performances is discovering new singers.  The critical role of Romeo is assumed by tenor Stephano Secco, while other key parts – Mercutio, Tybalt, Stephano, and Frere Laurent – are handled by baritones Artur Rucinski, Jean-Francois Borras, mezzo soprano Ketevan Kermoklidze, and bass Giorgio Giuseppini. The Veronese orchestra and chorus receive sympathetic direction from maestro Fabio Mastrangelo.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Most high-definition films, while reasonably good, fall short of the best that this high resolution medium has to offer, as is the case here.  There is frequent motion artifact, not a problem in the static stand-and-delivery solos and duets, but a distraction in the dance and combat sequences.  As might be expected, the film softens details, particularly in the distance scenes. The unusual staging offers a large number of mechanicals, including a first act “batmobile,” that is interesting to behold but often distracts from the flow of the drama.  The costumes are an odd mix of renaissance, “Mad Max,” and futurama. The film team does a commendable job with close ups of the attractive principals. I found the Act II balcony scene quite enjoyable, particularly when Juliette toys with a pair of real doves that fly off at the end of Roméo’s soliloquy.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Given the outdoor venue for this performance, I suspect that the orchestra was recorded separately from singers, since the acoustic for each seems quite different. It is certainly not what one would experience indoors, although this does not appear detrimental as the singers were well-miked and easily heard over the large forces in the pit. The surround soundtrack adds atmosphere as well as noticeable audience and stage noise less obvious in the two-channel version.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

No extra features are provided, a real disappointment since I would have loved to hear director Micheli’s thoughts about this radically new production.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Roméo et Juliette ultimately sinks or swims on the strength of its two leads and this production runs into some steep competition on both BD and DVD. Machaidze actually competes with herself in a 2008 Salzburg performance, with tenor Rolando Villazon, beautifully staged by Bartlett Sher and superbly led by rising star conductor, Yannick Nezet-Seguin. A 1994 Royal Opera House DVD featuring tenor Roberto Alagna, soprano Leontina Vaduva and conducting legend Sir Charles Mackerras is the other contender for best in class. This current release suffers somewhat in comparison, not so much for its two leads who were consistently strong but more so in the supporting roles, which, with the exception of and Giorgio Giuseppini’s Frere Laurent and Rucinski’s Mercutio, are provincial comprimarios that are up against much stronger singers in the other casts.  While director Micheli’s unusual sets and costumes may not suit tradition-lovers, I had the biggest problem with the finale in which Romeo and Juliette should die together on stage rather than walking down the theater aisle, hand in hand. All in all, an enjoyable watch, largely for Machaidze’s realization of Juliette and the sweet vocalism of young tenor Secco, but a clear third choice in the current R&J sweepstakes.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0080HAEU6[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20″]B0080HAEU6[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B0080HAEU6[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0080HAEU6[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20″]B0080HAEU6[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B0080HAEU6[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Advertisement

Related Articles

Popeye: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent release on Blu-ray of this long maligned but still fun to watch film.

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy is arriving for the first time on 4K Ultra HD remastered in Dolby Vision and overseen by Peter...

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
724FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

Popeye: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent release on Blu-ray of this long maligned but still fun to watch film.

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy is arriving for the first time on 4K Ultra HD remastered in Dolby Vision and overseen by Peter...

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.
%d bloggers like this: