This is another BD I have bought , exploring opera (hate to think how many I have), and especially, exploring some of the lesser known opera houses that can be found in Europe. For many parts of Europe, it is mandatory that a reasonably sized city has its own opera company, and there are many fine singers that move around the various companies, and still not quite "live out of a suitcase). But, unfortunately, are quite often only known to dedicated opera buffs in the English-speaking world. Much to our loss!
Here, in Australia, we had an operatic expert supremo, John Cargher (spelling?), who was well know internationally. He had a radio program for something like 40 years, called, "Singers of Renown". This was his favourite opera (I think, even above the Ring!!!!), and it is a total mystery that it is so little known. It is as passionate, beautiful, and melodic as anything Puccini wrote, and is based on a reasonably solid libretto.
This production doesn't use realistic sets, but an abstracted (rather than "abstract") one which melds with the lavish period costumes. And the performance? I have not given 5 stars (I wish I could give 4 1/2) as the singing, although excellent, beautiful and very passionate is slightly (and I mean slightly) rough in tone on occasion. However, the cast, orchestra, designers, conductor etc., all worked with a united approach to presenting the opera. In these days of video releases, where cameras can get close-ups, the performers really must act, to make the whole thing work. (In fact, on a large projection screen, and good surround sound, you get a better viewing of the opera, than any-one in the audience. But you do need a screen at least 100", and good surround sound system). And this production Works! It is an opera that needs slightly older performers than we see in productions with Netrebko, Villazon, et al., and the slightly older, and slightly plumper performeras look exactly right (that's in addition to singing and acting). If you like Puccini, then don't hesitate, buy this one. It is not likely that anything better will appear for years. As is usual for blu-ray, the image is sharp 16;9, and the colour depth is excellent, even though the muted colours of most of the elaborate costumes don't always make this apparent. Sound is exactly what we expect these days. Production was recorded in 2009 in Turin, Italy.