- Attori: Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma, Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma, Massimo Zanetti, Leo Nucci, Fabio Armiliato
- Regista: Pier Luigi Pizzi, Tiziano Mancini
- Formato: Classica, DVD, NTSC, Schermo panoramico
- Audio: Italiano (DTS 5.1), Italiano (PCM Stereo)
- Lingua: Italiano
- Sottotitoli: Inglese, Tedesco, Francese, Spagnolo, Cinese, Coreano, Giapponese
- Regione: Tutte le regioni
- Formato immagine: 1.78:1
- Numero di dischi: 2
- Studio: DUCALE SNC DI MARCO MATALON E C.
- Data versione DVD: 4 apr. 2013
- Durata: 170 minuti
- Media recensioni: 5.0 su 5 stelle Visualizza tutte le recensioni (1 recensione cliente)
- ASIN: B0094AH3EI
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 46.482 in Film e TV (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Film e TV)
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Giuseppe Verdi - I vespri siciliani
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To celebrate Giuseppe Verdi's bicentenary in 2013, C Major is proud to present the truly unique project, TUTTO VERDI: All 26 operas released on DVD and Blu-ray, together with his immortal Requiem and special documentary.
C Major continues their Tutto Verdi project with a production of I vespri siciliani from the Teatro Regio di Parma.
This production features a top quality cast including Leo Nucci, Fabio Armiliato and Daniela Dessì.
This is a World Première on Blu-ray.
"This is how Verdi should be played" Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Tutto Verdi
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The result, gentle reader, is what William Berger ("Verdi With A Vengeance") calls "...an opera that has never wholly pleased anybody, despite many excellent qualities ... If anything is missing in Vespri, it's the sustained level of emotional truth so evident in his previous three operas". Well, it pleased me very well, truth be told, and it has since I first heard it as a Met broadcast, many years ago, and if you love Verdi, you will want to add this to your Verdi operas because, with all its blemishes, it is very good Verdi overall, with many exceptionally moving moments.
Daniella Dessi sings Elena, a Sicilian duchess in mourning for her murdered brother. Her ...fervent admirer... Arrigo, is sung by her real life SO, Fabio Armeliato (and it's a good thing that they have a license with some of the ardent rolling around that occurs in Act I!! But I digress). Leo Nucci is Montforte, the local tyrant, who (quelle surprise!!) it is revealed is Arrigo's father, which throws a major league monkey wrench into plans by the unknowing Arrigo to assasinate him. Procida, an exiled patriot returned to Sicily is sung by Giacomo Prestia.
Dessi, a recognized Verdi soprano at a time when such are rare, does a nice job. She is able to do all the "Verdi tricks" ( melting pianissimi, rich mid voice, full top notes) superbly, despite the fact that the most demanding vocal parts come in the last act. She has a very real stage presence, although with somewhat limited acting skills.
Armiliato is not one of my favorite tenors: he has an annoyingly rough passagio at times wherein he attacks the note an octave below what is written to "kick start" the high note intended. Anyone who has studied singing will recognize it as bad technique. Listen to Carlo Bergonzi for an example of a smooth, seamless transition. That said, he does a (to me) surprisingly good job carrying off a very demanding tenor role.
What can be said about Leo Nucci that has not already been written? Born in 1942, there is little in the voice to suggest any diminishing of vocal skills and his acting is very good. Someone reviewing the Tutto Verdi series remarked that the title should have been "Tutto Nucci", since he is featured in many of the C Major releases. In each one I have seen, Nucci has been superlative, as he is here!
Prestia, as Procida, does a very good job. His "o tu Palermo" melts the heart. His acting is somewhat limited, though, but not sufficiently so to diminish the rating I gave this disc.
Staging is what I call "limited traditonal": there is some very innovative staging here, with the theatre being used as an extension of the stage. This is nothing new, but while it works very well in the main, having singers wander among the audience while doing an aria strikes me as a bit off putting. There are some cuts, none of which are serious,and (thank the opera gods!!) the ballet has been cut, as well.
Disc quality is excellent, with (for me) the indispensible DTS surround sound that makes the performance so immediately real. Subtitles abound.
Despite all the critical negativity on Vespri, this is one hugely enjoyable performance of a lovely opera .
I Vespri’s problems may stem from the fact that Verdi composed the opera as “Les Vepres Siciliennes” for the Great Exhibition in Paris of 1855 and therefore likely attempted to compose an opera along the lines of the then popular operas composed by Meyerbeer for the French grand opera. Accordingly, the opera is unduly long consisting of five acts and includes a lengthy ballet (thankfully omitted from this production). The Meyerbeer operas are rarely performed nowadays and “I Vespri Siciliani” has suffered a similar fate and probably for the same reasons of excessive length and prolonged periods of dullness. Also, the Eugene Scribe libretto has many silly and illogical moments.
Despite all of this, I think “I Vespri Siciliani” is a fine and even wonderful opera and I enjoyed this production by the Teatro Regio di Parma. The opera house itself is an exquisite jewel box that is more suited to intimate operas than to grand operas. The opulent gilt, cream and red velvet décor is most striking. Pier Luigi Pizzi, the director/designer has overcome the problems of presenting a grand opera on a small stage by using spare sets and by moving some of the opera’s action into the auditorium.
The chorus often stands at the back of the theater behind the audience causing some coordination and sound problems. The principal characters often enter and leave from the rear of the theater rather than from the stage. The audience looked rather bemused by having an operatic character singing a few feet away from them as happened with some audience members. This type of theater-in-the-round concept takes a little getting used to, but after a while I rather enjoyed it.
Apart from Leo Nucci who sings the role of Guido di Monforte the remainder of the cast are not well known in the USA. Leo Nucci sings beautifully and even manages to soften the rigid and ruthless character of the governor of Sicily when desperately seeking the love of his son, Arrigo, who is largely on the other side in the French-Sicilian conflict. His “In braccio alle dovizie” in Act III is quite stunning. I was struck though by the general competence of all the performers. Giacomo Prestia gives a moving performance as Giovanni da Procida, a Sicilian doctor who is a strong Sicilian patriot and who wishes to eject the French occupiers. His “O tu, Palermo, terra adorato” in Act II is beautifully sung and he manages to convey all the emotion that makes this one of Verdi’s most famous bass arias.
Fabio Armiliato is very effective as Arrigo. I found his singing to be excellent although his acting at times is a little silly and unconvincing. Daniela Dessi as the Duchess Elena does a fine job in general but has difficulty with top notes. She simply was unable to perform the famous Bolero (“Merce, dilette amiche”) in Act V with any degree of effectiveness as shown by the tepid audience response to this famous showpiece. Her “Arrigo, ah parli a un core” is rather lovely but Maria Callas showed how this should really be sung. Ms. Dessi has a dignified stage presence. She is dark, attractive and every inch a tragic Verdi heroine. Her entry aria in Act I, in which she whips up the courage of the downcast Sicilians, is perhaps the most strikingly effective part of the entire production.
The production values of this Blu-Ray DVD are very good. The video quality is excellent. The audio quality is good. However, when the chorus is arrayed at the back of the house, there is some loss of volume which makes it less effective. The sets are very spare consisting of very few props on the stage but are nonetheless effective. The costumes are mainly black except when brides to be, including Elena, adopt snow-white costumes.
In conclusion, this is a very competent production of a Verdi opera that has some intrinsic limitations. I would recommend it to any Verdi lover who, like me, has never had an opportunity to attend a live performance of “I Vespri Siciliani.”
This production is exactly the opposite of what Grand Opera staging is supposed to be. The stage is not particularly big, minimalistic staging and, most impressively, it is very intimate. The director, Pier Luigi Pizzi, uses not only the stage, but also the auditorium. People at the audience find themselves sitting just next to a singer or the chorus. It can’t get more intimate than that. Regrettably, the musical effect of having a great singer like Nucci singing next to you is lost in the recording.
Although the plot of the opera is not great in dramatical terms, in particular its macabre ending, the music is beautiful and engaging, lots of great arias very well executed by the cast. In addition, the sound in the Blu-ray is almost perfect.
In summary, a very interesting staging, great music and captivating filming, we can’t ask for more. Highly recommended.