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Pergolesi: Il Prigionier Superbo/La Serva Padrona [Accademia Barocca de I Virtuosi Italiani] Blu-ray Revie

  • 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, Spanish, Italian, Korean
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $39.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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]

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi had a brief but productive career, 26 years old at his death. These two works, the opera seria, Il Prigionier Superbo, and the opera buffa, La Serva Padrona, are two of his best known, and were frequently performed together. This BD presents performances from 2009 and 2011, captured at the Teatro G.B. Percolesi, Jesi, and directed by Henning Brockhaus with the Accademia Barocca de I Virtuosi Italiani under the baton of specialist Corrado Rovaris.

Il Prigionier Superbo (The Proud Prisoner) chronicles the conflict between Metalce, King of the Goths, (Marina De Liso)  and Viridate, King of Denmark (Marina Comparato) who pursue the same woman, Princess of Norway, Rosmene (Marina Rodriguez Cusi). Rosmene’s father, King Sostrate (Antonio Lozano), the “prisoner” of the work’s title, was captured by Metlace with help from Rosmene’s lover, Vidrate. The crux of the drama occurs when Metalce tells Rosmene that she must choose the life of her father or her lover. Torn over the decision, she decides in favor of her father. However, in a departure from the expected outcome, this decision is not accepted and, everyone survives: Rosmene with Vidrate, and Metalce with Ericlea (Ruth Rosique).

La Serva Padrona (The Servant Mistress) is a domestic comedy in which an older man Uberto (Carlo Lepore) discovers that his servant Serpina (Alessandra Marianelli) has become increasingly arrogant and demanding. He sends his manservant Vespone (Jean Meningue) to find him a proper wife. Serpina and Vespone conspire to get Uberto to marry her. Their plot has Vespone, disguised as a soldier, telling Uberto to pay him a dowry so that he can marry Serpina or to marry Serpina himself. Uberto chooses the latter, the ruse is revealed, and all ends well.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The staging for Il Prigionier is sparse, suggesting some form of cell, with bunraku-like puppets littering the landscape. Dress is modern with an appropriate “Goth” touch for Metalce. For reasons that are unclear, King Sostrate, the only man in the cast, is placed in a wheel chair or given a cane.  In the final scenes, the backdrop is immersed in mood-altering projections. La Serva Padrona is given an effective circus setting with Uberto as the Ring-Master and Serpina his star. A delightful change of pace and visually effective. Details and colors are quite good.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

This is ancient music and the audio recording, particularly the DTS-HD Master Audio surround version, lets us get both the voices right (and they are a good ensemble) and the reduced orchestra, clean and clear. The 2.0 PCM soundtrack is also quite good.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

Trailers, trailers, trailers for other Arthaus Music.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Pergolesi was on the cutting edge of vocal writing at the dawn of the 18th century. You can hear echoes of his arias and ensembles in the Haydn and Mozart operas that followed. Both of the operas here, particularly Il Prigionier Superbo, have many great musical moments that are well managed by the young cast in this production.  Conversely, La Serva Padrona requires that the singers have a good sense of timing since this is the essence of comedy. Happy to report that the situation is very good here as well. With the rarity of baroque opera BDs, this one is as good as any to introduce viewers to this genre. While I cringed at the updated costumes, the puppets, and bare sets of Il Prigionier, the musical values more than compensated for these concerns.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Pergolesi: Il Prigionier Superbo/La Serva Padrona on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]


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