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Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani [Teatro Regio di Parma] Blu-ray Review

verdi-i-vespri-siciliani-blu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese  
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: C Major
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 30, 2013
  • List Price: $39.99

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

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

 

The Performance

[Rating:4/5]

title

This opera originally debuted in Paris as Les Vêpres Siciliennes, or Sicilian Vespers. However, with its reworked Italian libretto and now titled I Vespri Siciliani, this is the more commonly performed version. Verdi’s attempt to cater to a French audience that expected the grandest of grand operas has limited the popularity of this work when compared to other Verdi operas of the same period like La Traviata. Today’s audiences generally get to hear the lengthy overture and little else from this opera. Its complex plot is another factor that has decreased its staging outside of Italy.

Set in 13th century Sicily, we find an island conquered by the French. The Duchesse Elena (Daniele Dessi) is morning the death of her brother Frederick, killed by the occupying forces. Her plea to the Sicilians to revolt is quelled by the French governor Monforte (Leo Nucci). Arrigo  (Fabio Armiliato) becomes a person of interest to the French since he is a potential leader of the revolution. Doctor Giovanni da Procida (Giacomo Prestia) returns to his native land and encourages Elena and Arrigo to aid his plot to overthrow the French. In a twist of the story, Monforte realizes that Arrigo is his illegitimate son but Arrigo refuses to acknowledge his father. At a ball, the plot hatched by Procida to murder Monforte is foiled when Arrigo prevents Elena from stabbing his father. Elena and Procida are arrested but Monforte offers to free his captives if Arrigo publicly accepts him as his father. As Arrigo agrees to this proposal, Monforte cancels Elena’s execution and blesses her union with his son. Unfortunately, the wedding bells will be the signal that Procida has determined for the Sicilians to rise up and kill their French oppressors. When Elena discovers this plot, she tries to talk Arrigo out of this marriage. However, Monforte refuses to cancel the wedding and as the bells peal, the Sicilians come out of hiding and kill him.

nucci

This Teatro Regio di Parma production dates from 2010 and features a strong Verdian cast, led by a born-to-the-cloth Verdi conductor, Massimo Zanetti. While the direction emphasizes the stand-and-deliver style, the occasional foray into the audience is not only exciting but a bit audacious. The day is most definitely carried by a group of great voices. I was surprised to find that soprano Dessi and tenor Armiliato were both AARP-eligible singers as their performances belied their calendar years.  Baritone Leo Nucci was nearing 70 years of age and produces a Monforte that much younger singers would kill for. Giacomo Prestia, the newbie of the cast at age 50 delivers an “O tu, Palermo, terra adorata” that brings down the house.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

all

Tiziano Mancini and Teatro Regio di Parma, need I say more?  This is one terrific watch with creative coverage of a mostly bare stage. Up close detail is excellent and the cameras give us a great sense of the stage.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

audience

The audio engineers get this one quite right with a nice balance between stage and pit. The surround version is the one to go for with good ambience and detail.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

bride

The Tutto Verdi series gives each opera a 10-minute featurette with history and synopsis. Given the relative performance rarity of this one, see it in advance. C Major trailers of the Tutto Verdi series are included.  The booklet gives us synopsis, cast, musical selections, and some useful background information.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

palermo

While I was disappointed by the bare stage presentation, making this just a cut above a concert performance, the singing won me over. There was enough great music sung and played to move this Blu-ray Disc to the top of the video ladder. Verdi fans can rejoice and, given the infrequent productions of this work, this one will keep the Verdi flames burning.

Additional Screen Captures

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

 

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