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Pergolesi: L’Olimpiade [Accademia Montis Regalis] Blu-ray Review

pergolesi-lolimpiade-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: 170 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • List Price: $39.95

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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:4.5/5]

title

Arthaus Musik has fueled a Pergolesi revival courtesy of the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini. This 2011 performance from the Teatro Valeria Moriconi, Jesi, features a small but lively band of period instrumentalists led by Alessandro De Marchi.

Based on a libretto by famed poet Pietro Metastasio, we are transported to the realm of ancient Greece during the Olympic Games and its romantic liaisons. Megacle (Sofia Soloviy) enters the contest after assuming the identity of his dear friend, Licida (Jennifer Rivera). The real Licida is pursuing Aristea (Lyubov Petrova) who will be wedded to the Olympic champion by her father, King Clistene (Raul Giminez).  In a plot twist, Licida, the previous fiancé of the Cretan princess Argene (Yetzabel Arias Fernandez), confides his love for Aristea to Megacle. Before the first act concludes, Argene enters Olympia, disguised as a shepherdess, in pursuit of Licida.

As the second act opens, Megacle wins the Olympiad but reveals his true identity to Aristea as he leaves. Licida arrives but is rebuffed by both Aristaea and Argene, much to his dismay. Licida’s tutor, Aminta  (Antonio Lozano) brings news that Megacle has leaped to his death in the sea, and Clistene exiles Licida.

In the final act, Aristea contemplates suicide but is dissuaded by Argene. Megacle is saved from drowning, and Licida, seeking retribution, plans to kill Clistene.  Aristea intercedes, Argene offers herself in Licida’s stead, and when she shows Clistene a chain that Licida gave her as an engagement gift, the king suddenly recognizes it as belonging to his long-lost son. All ends well as Licida is pardoned, reunites with Argene, and, now realizing that Aristea is his sister, opens the door for her union with Megacle.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

orch

Video director, Tiziano Mancini, does it again! A beautifully shot performance on a cruciate stage platform (think theater in the round), minimal props, and stylized 18th century costumes. Colors and details are super.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

set

What is great about baroque opera is its use of small instrumental forces, delicate phrasing, and totally transparent scoring. The current production lets you hear literally every plucked string, every singer’s breath, and the rustling of the audience. Of course that is the surround soundtrack. The two-channel version is less well defined but acceptable nonetheless.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

trio

Trailers, trailers, trailers.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

green

I am delighted that G.B. Pergolesi is getting his just desserts in the 21st century, thanks to the sponsors of such performances. Lucky viewers are getting to experience a wealth of musical creation from a composer who departed this life before the age of thirty. Pergolesi’s treatment of the Metastasio libretto is truly watching a genius at work. This production is the fortunate confluence of great singing, conducting, and, a spare stage and set that, for the most part, get out of the way. I would heartily recommend this disc, a world premiere, not only to early opera fans, but to music lovers in general who appreciate how art can be translated across the centuries and made relevant to today’s audiences.

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Performance
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

 

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