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Rossini: L'Italiana In Algeri [Anna Goryachova, Alex Esposito, Yijie Shi, Mario Cassi] [DVD] [2014] [NTSC]

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Anna Goryachova, Alex Esposito, Yijie Shi, Mario Cassi, Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatre Comunale di Bologna
  • Format: Colour, Widescreen, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Anamorphic
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 28 July 2014
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00L28TMOO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,680 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Isabella Anna Goryachova
Mustafà Alex Esposito
Lindoro Yijie Shi
Taddeo Mario Cassi
Orchestra & Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Conductor José Ramón Encinar
Director Davide Livermore
Recorded live at the Pesaro Festival, August 2013


Pesaro's new offering in 2013 was an off-the-wall production of Rossini's popular comedy, ‘The Italian Girl in Algiers', presented as a Swinging Sixties, James Bond adventure, set in the desert oil fields of the North African coast. Davide Livermore's gag-a-minute, helter-skelter romp followed an alarmingly life-like air-crash, which delivered the ‘Italian girl' from Rome into the clutches of the local oil baron, Mustafa. All three lead singers (Alex Esposito as Mustafa, the high tenor Yijie Shi as the young lover Lindoro, and Anna Goryachova as the agile-voiced mezzo-soprano of the title role) thoroughly distinguished themselves – and the audience roared its approval of the evening's entertainment.

Running time: 153 minutes
Subtitles: EN/FR/DE/KO
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
In the "making of" feature (which I watched first), the Sovrintendente of the Rossini Opera Festival Pesaro says that their aim was not to put on a "normal" production of L'Italiana in Algeri, but something experimental and festival-worthy. That led me to expect some sort of wild and wacky production and I was therefore relieved to find that although the action is updated to the 60s/70s, the story is otherwise presented pretty much as Rossini intended.

Director Davide Livermore claims to have taken his inspiration from the comedies of Blake Edwards - eg the Pink Panther series, although there are also a lot of references to the earlier Bond movies and even possibly the original Avengers. It's certainly all very stylish and attractive to look at.

Musically, it's excellent. Anna Goryachova is totally convincing as Isabella. She sings superbly, and also has the personality, looks and figure (which we see quite a lot of!) to make it convincing that all the men fall in love/lust with her - and also that she will succeed in tying them all around her little finger. Alex Esposito as Mustafa, an oil-rich tyrant with a fondness for shooting servants on a whim, is also brilliant, and we see quite a lot of HIS figure as well. Yijie Shi sings well as Lindoro with his bright clear tenor, but he doesn't have quite the same level of charisma as the other two leads, so doesn't make as much impact as he might. One suspects that Isabella would eat him for breakfast. The other roles are all very well taken.

The orchestra play very well for conductor Jose Ramon Encinar, with generally bright and lively tempi.
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By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Aug. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Their productions might not be to everyone's taste, but every year the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro consistently show that they have the composer's best interests at heart and, better than anyone else, they really understand how to get great neglected works by Rossini across to a modern audience. As the groovy 60s Austin Powers styled the cover of the DVD for his 2013 L'Italiana in Algeri indicates, the approach taken here by director Davide Livermore is playful and imaginative but also completely faithful to the intentions and the spirit of the work. This is not a serious classical work, it's meant to raise huge laughs from its audience.

Livermore's point of reference for translating the work to a modern context - exactly 200 years after the work was first performed - is found in the films of Blake Edwards. (The Austin Powers movies are also clearly an influence, but they themselves are heavily indebted to Blake Edwards' Pink Panther movies). It sees Lindoro as a secret-agent super-spy on a special mission, who is inadvertently caught by the henchmen of the nasty foreign evil-villain Mustafà and, perhaps unaware of his secret identity, is put into the Bey's service as one of his underlings. Just before he is captured however, Lindoro Powers manages to send off an SOS to his super-sexy sixties-styled sidekick Isabella, who comes to Algeria to his rescue. Finding herself embroiled in Mustafà's power games as he attempts to offload his wife Elvira in favour of this groovy chick who has just arrived from Italy. She's going to need to play clever to get out of this one without causing a major international incident.

The idea is a great one, and there's a lot to enjoy in the fun production, but the execution unfortunately doesn't entirely live up to the promise.
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Enjoyable take on this Rossini romp. Anyone thinking opera is for old f***s should give this a look. Certainly raised an eyebrow compared to the stage productions I've seen. Don't think purists would like the staging but always good to see a different perspective.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91a2ef6c) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9af1618c) out of 5 stars Groovy baby! 12 Aug. 2014
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Their productions might not be to everyone's taste, but every year the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro consistently show that they have the composer's best interests at heart and, better than anyone else, they really understand how to get great neglected works by Rossini across to a modern audience. As the groovy 60s Austin Powers styled the cover of the DVD for his 2013 L'Italiana in Algeri indicates, the approach taken here by director Davide Livermore is playful and imaginative but also completely faithful to the intentions and the spirit of the work. This is not a serious classical work, it's meant to raise huge laughs from its audience.

Livermore's point of reference for translating the work to a modern context - exactly 200 years after the work was first performed - is found in the films of Blake Edwards. (The Austin Powers movies are also clearly an influence, but they themselves are heavily indebted to Blake Edwards' Pink Panther movies). It sees Lindoro as a secret-agent super-spy on a special mission, who is inadvertently caught by the henchmen of the nasty foreign evil-villain Mustafà and, perhaps unaware of his secret identity, is put into the Bey's service as one of his underlings. Just before he is captured however, Lindoro Powers manages to send off an SOS to his super-sexy sixties-styled sidekick Isabella, who comes to Algeria to his rescue. Finding herself embroiled in Mustafà's power games as he attempts to offload his wife Elvira in favour of this groovy chick who has just arrived from Italy. She's going to need to play clever to get out of this one without causing a major international incident.

The idea is a great one, and there's a lot to enjoy in the fun production, but the execution unfortunately doesn't entirely live up to the promise. Davide Livermore is a good opera director, but it seems he's not such a good comedy director. He's no Blake Edwards and he doesn't have a Peter Sellers or even a Mike Myers to work with here and everyone just seems to be trying just too hard to have fun. Having set the scene, it would be enough to let the comic situation of L'Italiana in Algeri play out mostly for itself with all the terrific 60s and 70s styles and haircuts and all the psychedelic effects and colouration, but Livermore insists on trying to make it even funnier. The stage is consequently often cluttered with too much going on, and there's a lot of effort and elaboration is put into making a gag look cheap, but in a way that is disproportionate to how funny it actually is.

It's still a colourful and an entertaining production, just never quite as funny as it thinks it is (although you could probably say the same about L'Italiana in Algeri). The performance itself is likewise good, but not outstanding. The singing is fine and musically the performance is in safe hands with José Ramón Encinar conducting, but the work is missing a spark somewhere. The singing is all good, with Yijie Shi a capable Lindoro, Anna Goryachova a sassy Isabella wearing jaw-dropping outfits, and Alex Esposito is a spirited Mustafà with a tendency to badly overact, but no-one here has a personality big enough to really bring the roles to life.

The quality of the Blu-ray is good, showing off the bold colours of the production well enough, but it doesn't look quite as pinpoint sharp this time. The audio too I found a little bit low in volume, but the sound is well-recorded and all the detail is there, particularly if listened to on headphones. There's a ten-minute extra feature on the making of the production, and a cast gallery. The disc is all-region, BD50, with subtitles in English, French, German and Korean.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9af16594) out of 5 stars Dee -- Lightful!! 30 Aug. 2014
By John G. Gleeson Sr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This performance is living proof that gifted singers and an intelligent "upgrade" to staging can breathe new life into an opera that is going on 200 years old. The Rossini Opera Festival (ROF) has been justly criticized in recent years for staging that adversely affects both the music and story line of the work(s) presented. Two examples are Mose in Egitto and Zelmira, reviews of which display some serious dissatisfaction with the results.

Rossini was a "man of the theatre"; he understood not only musical composition, but all of the myriad of details that make a staged event "work". He also understood comedy. Sir Antonio Pappano, music director of the Royal Opera House, spoke about Rossini's comedic talent in an "extra" included in the DVD release of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He noted that much of the humor lies in the music itself. And that concept surely shows in this performance!

The conductor, Jose Ramon Encinar makes this score sparkle, from opening chord to finale. The HD MA sound presents the score with readily noticeable detail.

And the singers! I really don't know where to start, because all are first rate. In my review of Matilde di Shabran, I called Anna Goryachova "superb!". That being so, she is amazing both vocally and dramatically as Isabella with a rich mezzo that navigates the score with breath taking fluidity. She also handles singing in a bikini, whch adds a dimension to the concept of "breathtaking performance". Alex Esposito's performance is so fine in all aspects that it is hard to single out one over another. Vocally he is excellent, but his performance, because of the staging, requires a lot of athleticism. And he pulls it off.

Tenor Yijie Shi has become a favorite here. There is a sweetness to the voice that is hard to put into words, but it is there, along with the range and breath to do justice to both the tessatura and coloratura requirements of the score.

All other cast members are excellent without exception.

As to staging, I tend to be pretty much of a traditionalist, and this staging is anything but. It's a combination of the 1960s version of Saturday Night Live (think gyrating Goldy Hawn) with Austin Powers. And yet it maintains the intent of the composer and librettist.

Rossini would have loved it!

Disc quality is splendid, amply displaying the colorful aspects of the costuming and scenery. Sound, too, is excellent, as noted.

Extras include a short "making of" documentary in Italian, with subtitles.

Gentle reader, you cannot go wrong in adding this to your opera shelf. And if you are new to this art form and wonder what it's all about, this would be a great way to find out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9af1639c) out of 5 stars Delightful performance of Rossini’s L’Italiana In Algeria 22 Jan. 2015
By Warren Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
This DVD features a 1960’s themed production of “L’Italiana In Algeria” from the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, featuring Yijie Shi as Lindoro, Anna Goryachova as Isabella, and Alex Esposito as Mustafa. A traditional production of this opera is usually quite funny, but this one is particularly entertaining. Instead of a ship wreck stranding the principals, some Monty Python-esque animation starts off the piece and a plane crash (with an airplane door falling from the sky!) results in Isabella being stranded in Algeria. The costumes are pure mod 1960’s, and the sets clearly evocative of the stereotypical “looking back fondly” feel associated with that time.

What is particularly noteworthy about this production, though, are the vocal and physical skills displayed by the cast. Yijie Shi sings beautifully, and Anna Goryachova is agile, adaptable, and clearly having fun on stage both vocally and in some particularly delightful costumes. Alex Esposito’s Mustafa is a treat to watch, as he chews up the scenery with Anna, the interplay between the two being both funny and a touch sweet as Anna’s Isabella does what is necessary to convince Mustafa that he really should go back to his wife and treasure her.

Jose Ramon Encinar does a fine job conducting the orchestra, and they do a wonderful job bringing Rossini’s score to life. While there are parts of the production that seem a little “hokey”, that is also part of the charm of this particular experience. I thoroughly enjoyed this from the initial video-screen based animation, to the cleverly designed rotating set (also featuring a large video projected surface), to the helicopter ladder escape during the Pappataci sequence at the end of the second act.

The extra “Making Of” feature is definitely worth watching, as it gives some background into this particular production itself, as well as a sense of the individual performers. This is quite simply a fun, vocally satisfying performance, and the Blu-Ray quality of the recording enhances both the audio and the delightful costume work. Recommended!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9af1699c) out of 5 stars What fun! This is a totally new approach to Rossini's ... 27 Sept. 2014
By Daniel Conway - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What fun! This is a totally new approach to Rossini's first comic hit. The zany music and crazy situations of the opera are given new life in this inspired and innovative production. Try it. You'll like it!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9af169c0) out of 5 stars so if you like the twist 1 Sept. 2014
By Jan Dunlap - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD is kind of goofy but adds a new twist to Rossini, so if you like the twist, get this version.
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