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Verdi: The complete operas [Blu-ray]
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Description du produit
26 opéras en HD, avec le Requiem en complément, soit un coffret de 30 DVD ou de 27 Blu-Ray, le tout magnifiquement présenté dans un grand livre coffret au format LP. Pour la première fois tous les opéras de Giuseppe Verdi regroupés dans livre coffret luxueux. Né en 1812 dans un petit village de la région de Parme, c'est là qu'il vécu presque toute sa vie malgré d'immenses succès à Rome, Milan ou Naples. Jusqu'en 1901, l'année de sa mort, il reviendra toujours dans cette région natale où la Fondation Regio Di Parma a choisit d'honorer sa mémoire à l'occasion du 200ème Anniversaire de sa naissance. Le Teatro Regio, à l'origine de ses productions, a été créé de son vivant, en 1829. Il est l'un des plus beaux lieux de spectacle lyrique d'Italie et accueille sans doute le public le plus convaincu du génie de l'enfant du pays et donc le plus exigeant ! Ce public a adoré les productions de Regio di Parma. On retrouve en chefs d'orchestre Daniele Callegari, Yuri Temirkanov, Gianluigi Gelmetti et d'autres , qui dirigent l'orchestre et le choeur du Teatro Regio Di Parma.
So will Verdi gespielt werden! (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
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Un hommage exceptionnel lui est rendu avec la parution de ce somptueux coffret qui nous donne à voir et à entendre la totalité de son oeuvre.
Je ne reviendrai pas sur l'excellente présentation de Mafalda, simplement préciser quelques détails qui me paraissent intéressants.
Ce coffret pharaonique a demandé 7 ans aux réalisateurs. Le premier opéra ERNANI a été enregistré en mai 2005, DON CARLO le dernier en octobre 2012.
LE LIEU DE REPRÉSENTATION :
La plupart des représentations furent enregistrées au Teatro Regio di Parma à quelques exceptions près :
OBERTO et ATTILA au Teatro Verdi di Busseto, salle minuscule (300places) scène minuscule, qui convient presque à OBERTO, oeuvre intimiste, mais qui manque singulièrement d'espace pour faire respirer la fresque d'ATILA.
I MASNADIERI se déploie dans l'espace prodigieux du Teatro SAN CARLO de Naples.
LA BATTALIA DI LEGNANO au Teatro lirico de Trieste.
DON CARLO dans le teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti di Modena et FALSTAFF au teatro Farnese di Parma.
L'ORCHESTRE & LE CHOEUR :
Tous les opéras sont interprétés par la valeureuse phalange et le choeur del Teatro Regio di Parma à l'exception des ouvrages évoqués ci-dessus dont les théâtres possèdent leurs propres effectifs.Lire la suite ›
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Most of operas are from the Parma opera house and recorded between 2008 and 2012. A few descend from other houses, such as Dobbiaco (Alzira), San Carlo Naples (I Masnasieri), Trieste (La battaglia di Legnano), Modena (Don Carlo), and Salzburg (Otello). Most of the performances seem to be in a traditional style, which suits me well. The opera house in Parma is a small one, but that does not necessarily mean that the productions are inferior. (One of my best opera memories ever was a performance of Falstaff in a tiny opera house in Montepulciano, Italy, in the summer of 2002.) As a whole, it is not possible to give this box less than five stars, even if individual perfomances may not reach this level. Hint: The price is not the same at different Amazon stores. I bought my set at their UK site.
In the next months I will try to give my opinion on all of the performances, beginning with:
1. OBERTO. 3 stars of 5. In this his first opera, there is already unbelievable much of Verdi. Melodies, harmonies, cabalettas, and even an ensemble, all are there, but in a somewhat superficial way than in his mature operas. The four main singers are all good, but not outstanding. Their singing is a bit lifeless, and I think it is the staging that is the cause of this. The singers have been instructed to move in a very rigid, almost mechanical way. This is probably some sort of way to imitate an older performance practice. The result is that the audience (and the singers perhaps too?) feel less engaged in whats going on the stage, and the performance becomes a bit boring.
2. UN GIORNO DI REGNO. 5 stars of 5. What a wonderful fiasco, and what a wonderful performance! This second of Verdi's operas flopped when it was first performed at La Scala in 1840. After that, Verdi refused to compose comic operas before his last opera, Falstaff. "Un giorno di regno" is an opera in the style of Rossini. Today, whith a production like this, it is difficult to understand why it became a failure. The stage director, set and costume designer, Pier Luigi Pizzi (yes, he did it all!), should have much praise for this vivid, entertaining and tasteful production. The singers are very good too. Special commends to the "leading lady", Anna Caterina Antonacci. You have fun all the time while looking and listening to this magnificent performance!
3. NABUCCO. 4 stars of 5. I liked this production very much, especially the staging (by Daniele Abbado - yes, the son of Claudio A.), set & costumes, and the musical direction (cond. Michele Mariotti). There are some good singing too, not least from Abigaille, the leading lady, sung by Dimitra Theodossiou. Leo Nucci in the title role is OK, but he sounds perhaps a little aged (he was 67 at the time of recording). I beleive that there are stronger casts, but the production as a whole will disappoint few. There is some problems with the focus of the chorus in "Va pensiero" - they are too much in the background. I have seen two other performances of Nabucco on DVD - Arena di Verona from 1981 with Renato Bruson in the title role, and Wiener Staatsoper 2001 with Leo Nucci. The latter suffers from a very "stripped" staging with modern costumes ("eurotrash"), while the former probably beats the present production in many respects, especially regarding the soloists. But the sound and the picture are not as good as the present Blu ray. I have not heard (or seen) the Metropolitan production on DG.
4. I LOMBARDI ALLA PRIMA CROCIATA. 5 stars of 5. A very strong performance of one of Verdi's least known operas. Although less known, there is some really fine music in it, even if the story may be less captivating than in Verdi's later operas. The staging by Lamberto Puggelli, as well as the set and the costumes are fine. The singers will disappoint few. Superlative singing from the main characters, Pagano (Michele Pertusi), Giselda (Dimitra Theodossiou), and Oronte (Francesco Meli). It is unlikely that this opera will ever get a finer performance. Highly recommended!
5. ERNANI. 4 stars of 5. This a traditional perfomance (in the best respect), with a nice set and nice costumes. At times, a found the staging a little bit "static", with singers standing on the same spot doing their singing. This makes the perfomance somewhat lifeless at times. The singers are good. At first I found that Marco Berti (Ernani) and Susan Neves (Elvira) had problems with intonation, but that soon improved, and later they on they came in good voice. The other main characters - Carlo Guelfi (Don Carlo) and Giacomo Prestia (Silva) are also very good. These singers cannot compete with Domingo, Freni, Bruson, and Ghiaurov in a La Scala production from 1982, but on the other hand, the sound quality and the picture quality of that production does not nearly match the present one.
6. I DUE FOSCARI. 4,5 stars of 5. This is a tragic and somewhat static opera. Even Verdi himself called it a "prolonged funeral". Even so, it contains wonderful arias, ensembles and choruses. The set and the costumes work very well together, and are designed by the same person, William Orlandi. The stage director, Josesph Franconi Lee, could perhaps injected some more life into the performance, but on the other hand, it is better not to overdo. The leading vocal trio Leo Nucci (Francesco), Roberto De Biasio (Jacopo) and Tatiana Serjan (Lucrezia) is a joy to the ear. At times though, I find that too much power is used, and a more subtler approach could have been used. It may be the conductor, Donato Renzetti, who have chosen this "powerful" approach. As a whole, a very enjoyable performance. Picture and sound are as usual above praise. In my collection, I have a 1988 DVD-production from La Scala Opera conducted by Gavazzeni and featuring Renato Bruson. In almost every respect, I find that the present production overshines the older one.
7. GIOVANNA D'ARCO. 4 stars of 5. As an opera this is a mediocre one. It is difficult to understand why the father of Giovanna turns against her. One never feels involved in the story. This is, of course, not Verdis' fault, rather the librerettist's (Solera), or Friedrich Schiller's, who wrote the play. The star here is Svetla Vassileva, who sings the title role, a fine, light soprano, almost a coloratura. She also plays well. The King - Carlo VII (Evan Bowers) opens with a nasal unconfortable voice, but improves with time. Renato Bruson, who sings Giovanna's father, is always reliable, although his voice sounds a bit aged. Nice production with lavish costumes and attractive sets.
8. ALZIRA. 4 stars of 5. This is Verdi's least performed opera, but make no mistake, there is some really fine music in it, although the plot is thin. The performance here is semi-concertant, that is, the singers do some acting, although there is no stage director, no costumes or no sets. Because of the thin plot, it is probably no great loss. The main singers are good, if not great. The orchestra and the chorus also do a great job. The conducting lies in the safe hands of Gustav Kuhn. If you really want this opera on video, you don't have much choice. There is an inferior 1991 recording from Parma. The present recording is superior in every way, including picture and sound.
9. ATTILA. 5 stars of 5. This performance convinces from start. It comes from the tiny operahouse in Busetto, near Verdi's farmhouse in Sant'Agata. With modern technique and camera angles, you get the impression of a much bigger scene. The stage director Pierfrancesco Maestrini, and the designer of the sets and costumes, Carlo Savi, have made ecellent jobs. As for the singers, as usual in this box, I find them very good, especially Giovanni Battista Parodi, who sings the title role, but also Sebastian Catana (Ezio) and Susanna Brachini (Odabella) are good. You won't be disappointed here.
10. MACBETH. 4.5 stars of 5. The quality of this cycle continue to impress. This is the French version of the opera which includes a ballet in the beginning of the third act. The setting is traditional in its best meaning, and direction, sets and costumes are the best I've seen on DVD/Bluray. The title role is sung by Leo Nucci, still in very good voice, combined with a deep insight into the role. The important role of Lady Macbeth is sung by Sylvie Valayre, who does a good job, although my favourite Lady continues to be Maria Zampieri in a performance from Deutsche Oper Berlin. The conductor, orchestra and chorus are fine. I have noticed that the sound is thinner in this recording than in production from the Royal Opera House on Opus Arte. Although Keenlyside is a formidable Macbeth in that production, I prefer this Parma setting overall.
11. I MASNADIERI. 2.5 stars of 5. I Masnadieri was the first opera that Verdi composed for an opera house outside Italy, namely for Her Majesty's Theatre in London. The year was 1847. Jenny Lind, the Swedish "nightingale" sang the role of Amalia, and Verdi himself was conducting. Excellent premises, but the opera was not well received, either in London or in Rome, where it was performed in 1848. The misfortune of this opera seems to contine. The present production is a co-production between Teatro San Carlo in Napoli, and Teatro La Fenice in Venice. This is the first opera in the box which has some kind of "modern" setting, featuring grafitti, uniforms and machine guns. This itself is not the problem, but the singers - although they have fine voices - seem uninspired, and one never gets involved in, or touched by this performance. I suppose that the stage director, Gabriele Lavia, is the one to blame, but admittedly this is not one of Verdi's strongest operas. The librettist Andrea Maffei may not have inspired Verdi enough, and Verdi never used him again. I believe that this is the only available video recording. I have never seen or heard the opera before. The picture is fine and clear, but the sound is a bit anaemic.
12. IL CORSARO. 4 stars of 5. We're back in Bussetto, the tiniest of opera houses, for a perfomance of one of Verdi's least known operas, Il Corsaro. This is an inspired performance of a less inspired opera, so to say. Based on a story of Lord Byron, and libretto by Piave, this should be a perfect ground for a Verdi-opera. There are some strong scenes in Act II, but as a whole, the plot does not convince. The leading quartet of singers are all excellent, especially Luca Salsi, who sings the role of Seid. There are problems with the sound balance between the chorus and the orchestra, but otherwise the production is fine.
13. LA BATTAGLIA DI LEGNANO. 3.5 stars of 5. This is an altogether different conception than we have seen hitherto. The setting is a mix of modern and classic elements. It comes from Trieste. "La battaglia" is said to be the last of Verdi's early operas. The story alludes, as so often in the previous operas, on the freedom and unification of Italy. The staging does little to lighten up the stiff and somewhat pompous opera. Of the four main singers, I liked Andrew Richards (Arrigo) best. Dimitra Theodossiou (Lida) is soprano with a big vibrato. She convinced more later on, I thought, Leonardo López Linares (Rolando) is a bit wobbly, and did not improve as much. As a whole, the interpretation is difficult to grasp and to understand.
14. LUISA MILLER. 5 stars of 5. Nothing to complain about here! This is an altogether fantastic performance from Parma, full of life and drama. The main singers are beyond praise. Fiorenza Cedolins sings Luisa with power, technique, and perfect intonation. Marcelo Álvarez, probably one of the best lyric tenors of his generation, sings Rodolfo with insight and pondus. Commendation also goes to the other singers; Giorgio Surian (Conte), Francesca Franci (Federica), Rafal Siwek, and Leo Nucci (Luisa's father). I liked the direction, sets and costumes very much, all signed Denis Krief. The orchestra, conducted by Donato Renzetti, seemed to be inspired by what happened on stage. This is a performance no Verdi-fan should miss!
15. STIFFELIO. 4 stars of 5. I have never seen this opera before. The setting underlines the somewhat serious, strict and severe protestantic environment. I cannot deny that I believe that there could be more life in the performance. Yu Guanqun (Lina) never smiles. The voices are very fine indeed, but roles feel often underplayed.
16. RIGOLETTO. 5 stars of 5. A winner from Parma! This performance is a sheer delight both for eyes and ears. This is a no-nonsense and credible performance both regarding stage direction and design. I can hadly think of better singers, The Duke (Francesco Demuro) och Gilda (Nino Machaidze) are youthful, act well, and have attractive voices. Nino Machaidze must be counted as one of the best Gildas on record. Leo Nucci too gives a magnificent performance of the title role. Recommended without reservation.
17. IL TROVATORE. 4 stars of 5. Marcelo Álvarez stars in the title role in this fine and highly enjoyable performance. The other main singers, Teresa Romano (Leonora), Mzia Niodradze (Azucena), and Claudio Sgura (Luna) are perhaps not up to his class, but I found them very good. There is something meagre about the production, both stage direction and the set, which makes that this recording is not up to the very best. The orchestra and the chorus do their job well. No one will get disappointed, but there are probably better productions on video.
18. LA TRAVIATA. 4 stars of 5. A fine and convincing performance. The stage directors (Karl-Ernst & Ursel Herrmann) should be congratuladed for managing to set this opera on such a small stage. One really feels "at home" in this setting. Svetla Vassileva (Violetta) both sings and acts well. Massimo Giordano (Alfredo) is not bad, but at times his voice sounds a little strained. Vladimir Stoyanov (Giorgio) has a fine voice, but acts without affection. The sound is a bit tinny and detract from the overall experience.
Being Verdi's most performed opera, the competition is strong from other video performances. Of recent versions, the setting from La Scala featuring Gheorghiu and Vargas is most recommendable. Of older settings, I have a fancy for the classical Zeffirelli film with Stratas and Domingo. But I prefer the present production every day of the week to the Salzburg La Traviata, which really made me sick. I couldn't finish viewing it, and sold it instantly.
19. I VESPRI SICILIANI.4 stars of 5. Admittedly, this is a difficult opera to stage. It has been said that this is a "stand-and-sing-opera". And I must confess that it is difficult to get excited about the plot. Orgininally being composed for Paris as a "grand opéra", it must be especially difficult to stage on a small stage such as Parma. But from the start the staging is OK. But even if this production convinces in many respects, I feel that I cannot give it five stars. The main singers are good, even if Fabio Armiliato (Arrigo) sometimes sounds strained, and Daniela Dessi (Elena) often is a bit unsteady.
20. SIMON BOCCANEGRA, 5 stars of 5. Great music, complicated story. A nice production with a lot of drama into it. Praises go to the stage director, Marina Bianchi, and to Bruno Ciuli, who created the sets and costumes. The singers are very good. Leo Nucci, who sings the title role, has a long experience, and is very convincing. At times though, I find his voice to be a little worn (he was 68 the year the recording took place). Tamar Iveri (Amelia) is a powerful soprano, well suited to the role, but sometimes her vibrato is too prominent. These are small complaints, however. Altogether this is a strong performance which deserves no less than five stars. As usual though in this series the sound is a bit "thin", lacking in bass and ambience.
21. UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. 4.5 stars of 5. Again a most enjoyable production from Parma with an appealing stage direction, and nice sets and costumes. Francesco Meli is a convincing Riccardo with a with a light enjoyable voice. Kristin Lewis sings Amelia. Often I find myself disturbed by her heavy vibrato, but otherwise she has a powerful voice well suited to the role. Vladimir Stoyanov delivers a somewhat uninspired Renato, although his "Eri tu" seemed to please the audience. Both Serena Gamberoni (Oscar) and Elisabetta Fiorillo (Ulrica) are fine singers, although I think that the latter sometimes has an indistinct lower register. Crystal clear picture, fullbodied sound. The sound much better than in previous instalments of this series. My favorite "Ballo" on video remains the Solti 1990 Salzburg version featuring Domingo, Barstow, Quivar, Jo, and Nucci, but neither the picture nor the sound is as good as in the present release.
22. LA FORZA DEL DESTINO. 4 stars of 5. Even though the first scene is very dark (black clothing, black scenery), and the sets are modern and austere, I quite liked the production. The mass scenes and the dancers are excellent. The singers are generally good, but no more. I liked Roberto Scandiuzzi (Padre Guardiano) best. He has a strong deep bass voice, Vladimir Stoyanov (Don Carlo) is also good, but I've heard better performed "Urna fatale"s. Aquiles Machado (Don Alvaro) may be a fine tenor, but his voice seems somewhat sharp and uncomfortable. This may be due to the recording, which is dry and lacks ambience. Dimitra Theodossiou (Donna Leonora) does her job OK, but I sometimes found her vibrato too emphasized. Not my favotite Leonora. Marina Pentcheva (Preziosilla) is definetely too wobbly.
23. DON CARLO. 4 stars of 5. A very coherent performance from Modena, with nice sets and costumes. The singers are good to very good. Mario Malagnini, who sings the title role, has a fine powerful tenor voice, but his play lacks in emotion. Cellia Costea (Elisabetta) also sings well, but towards the end of the performance her voice begins to lose intonation. Simone Piazzola and Giacomo Prestia sing Rodrigo and Philip II, respectively, with authority. Great sound and picture. A most enjoyable production then, but there is competition from such sources as Levine and Pappano.
There are three formats that this set comes in (I'm assuming everyone buys blu-ray now).
The 27 pieces are available individually, which is the most expensive way, but good for buying in installments and the easiest for selling off individual operas, but takes up a lot of room.
They are available in three boxes of nine, but they are oversized cardboard cases, probably designed with a university library in mind. Also takes up a lot of room.
The slipcase edition shown here is likely designed for how libraries, and it takes up the least room. While everything is together in one package to get a discount you have to remove the whole case from the shelf and slide out the book inside, then pick out the disc from a "coin-saver" page and for further info you have to slide out a large perfect-bound book from a sling inside. To do much reading you'll want a lot of good light and a flat surface for the book to rest on.
It is clear that this set was designed to look good to a corporate manager rather than for ease of use. Small, low contrast printing, housing that will show wear over time, and the incessant logos of characters poppong out of verdi's top hat, while the intro to "Sempre Libera" plays twice on each opera and intro segment suggests that an unsupervised graphic designer was given way too much responsibility on the project.
Who do they think are buying these sets?
Each disc includes a ten minute introduction, but we would have been better off with an illustrated synopsis, stills from the production illuminated the characters, plot and cast, that would help increase understanding.
When the disc is loaded, the options shown are "Play opera", "Introduction" and "Trailers".
To select audio options and subtitle language, you must wait until the opera has actually started playing, which has to be done by calling up a menu and then category, or by going onto your remote control. All this while the opera has already started. Very poor design, and seen on their other discs also. They need a real, adult designer at c major.
The operas presented are mostly new productions, in good 5.1 sound. Most are from the Parma Opera, and are presented with minimal scenery, which is a plus in my opinion. There are only a few singers known internationally, most are from italian regional theaters, and this is a great chance to meet some great new singers who sing well and have not succumbed to the international circuit, so they are much more alive and in touch with their audience.
One of the great advantages here is that the singers are used to performing in a small opera house where the audience is much more present and there's no need to over saying in order to be heard. In many of the videos I've seen from larger opera houses the singers push their voices, they over-sing and lose resonance and tone.
In the one-month trial that Amazon gives with their guarantee I figured I would be able to get through all of the operas. I couldn't do it. Some of the early operas are so wonderful that I just would get stuck for a couple days needing to hear more, again. Needless to say I kept the set and I'm very happy with it.