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Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani [Parma 2010] [Nucci, Armiliato, Prestia, Dessí] [C Major: 723904] [Blu-ray] [2013]

Nucci , Armiliato    Exempt   Blu-ray
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £28.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani [Parma 2010] [Nucci, Armiliato, Prestia, Dessí] [C Major: 723904] [Blu-ray] [2013] + Verdi: La Traviata [Parma 2007] [Vassileva, Giordano, Stoyanov] [C Major: 723704] [Blu-ray] [2013] + Verdi: Simon Boccanegra [Parma 2010] [Nucci, Scandiuzzi, Piazzola, Iveri, Meli] [C Major: 724104] [Blu-ray] [2013]
Price For All Three: £88.66

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Product details

  • Actors: Nucci, Armiliato, Prestia, Dessí, Orchestra E Coro Del Teatro Regio Di Parma
  • Format: Classical, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: C Major
  • DVD Release Date: 13 May 2013
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0094AH370
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,814 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

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

Product Description

CMJ 723904; CMAJOR ENTERTAINMENT; Classica Lirica


Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Atrocious singing by the main "stars" 27 May 2013
Sorry to disagree, Dessì is unbearable. She cheats and sings on her own side, regardless where the orchestra is going. Sometimes I wandered if she and the orchestra were playing the same opera. Just kidding, of course; the orchestra simply has a very bad time trying to follow her capricious, trickery, ad-hoc singing. Very shameful to listen to, really. I simply had to skip the bolero: midway through it I was too embarassed to keep on listening. The tenor is his husband, she never sings without him...and one understands why: he simply has too little a voice (the little it has is ugly and forced, mind it) and no sense of singing whatsoever. Of course, there is Nucci, but there is a bit too much of him in this "Tutto Nucci" series; he's much luckier with his soprano and tenor in other titles (for example, the excellent "Rigoletto"). Any other version of "I vespri siciliani" is far better than this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Good 24 Nov 2013
By maximus TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I like I Vespri because of the exuberance and enthusiasm of earlier Verdi operas. Lots of tuneful choruses and arias to keep the interest going even when the plot is not the best. Having said that although there is historically a weakness in the plot, it is sort of generic in its familial vs political dilemmas and it works well in the updating of the staging to the Italian liberation and reunification era. Certainly it is a much better plot than il Trovatore which is epic only because of the unforgettable deliciously melodramatic famous tunes and ensembles.

In this production the singing is mostly very good, especially from the stage veteran Leo Nucci. He does carry the show and adds gravitas to the staging. The set is simple but delightful in the small Parma theatre. The choruses are good and the orchestra is excellent. Some of the ensembles especially when the accompaniment is thin, are a bit dodgy in pitching and timing and sounds under rehearsed. Also the soundtrack balance favours the singers a bit too much, losing some of the richness of the orchestration especially in the always delightful intricate woodwind composition of Verdi's. Even the HD DTS sound leaves some of the orchestral colour "in the pit". I think balancing a bit more in favour of the orchestra might have hidden some of the very occasional pitching and timing flaws. Altogether though, an enjoyable opera Bluray package and well worth the extra spend on the Bluray as the HD video quality is superb.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vespri for the Ages 5 April 2013
This production was a big success when mounted in Parma in 2010. The blu-ray is superbly done and should disperse any doubts about this work. Stage director Pier Luigi Pizzi uses an approach he has used before but never so successfully: he updates the action to the 19th century, to the period of the battles over the unification of Italy, and uses the theater's auditorium as an extension of the stage. This idea is far from new, but I never saw it done so effectively. The "breaking of the fourth wall" enables Pizzi to achieve a miracle of sorts: a minimalist staging with some of the Grand Opera effects that Verdi had in mind when he wrote this work for what was the largest opera theatre in the world at the time.

For example, in the opening scene there are only three boats on an otherwise empty stage, and French soldiers make fun of and provoke the local Sicilians. Then Daniela Dessì (Elena) makes an electrifying grand entrance from the back of the auditorium. Clad in black and veiled she creates a charged dramatic field that spans the entire house, with one pole being the stage and the other the back of the auditorium. She glares eloquently at the unseemly pranks of the French on stage with a dignified, aristocratic disapproval and slowly approaches them, her imposing demeanor dramatizing her grief and subdued rage. The fantastic video direction by Tiziano Mancini shows us her grand entrance as perceived from the stage by the leering French; the shameful behavior of the French as perceived by the disapproving Elena, and Elena's slow, subtly menacing progress towards the stage as perceived by the audience. The combination of dynamic camera work, imaginative staging and Dessì's impressive charisma and acting skills create a thrilling theatrical effect.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vespri for the Ages 18 Mar 2013
By Noam Eitan - Published on Amazon.com
This production was a big success when mounted in Parma in 2010. The blu-ray is superbly done and should disperse any doubts about this work. Stage director Pier Luigi Pizzi uses an approach he has used before but never so successfully: he updates the action to the 19th century, to the period of the battles over the unification of Italy, and uses the theater's auditorium as an extension of the stage. This idea is far from new, but I never saw it done so effectively. The "breaking of the fourth wall" enables Pizzi to achieve a miracle of sorts: a minimalist staging with some of the Grand Opera effects that Verdi had in mind when he wrote this work for what was the largest opera theatre in the world at the time.

For example, in the opening scene there are only three boats on an otherwise empty stage, and French soldiers make fun of and provoke the local Sicilians. Then Daniela Dessì (Elena) makes an electrifying grand entrance from the back of the auditorium. Clad in black and veiled she creates a charged dramatic field that spans the entire house, with one pole being the stage and the other the back of the auditorium. She glares eloquently at the unseemly pranks of the French on stage with a dignified, aristocratic disapproval and slowly approaches them, her imposing demeanor dramatizing her grief and subdued rage. The fantastic video direction by Tiziano Mancini shows us her grand entrance as perceived from the stage by the leering French; the shameful behavior of the French as perceived by the disapproving Elena, and Elena's slow, subtly menacing progress towards the stage as perceived by the audience. The combination of dynamic camera work, imaginative staging and Dessì's impressive charisma and acting skills create a thrilling theatrical effect. Add the sound engineers who created a sonic marvel that gives us a soundstage and ambiance that correspond exactly to where we see the singers/chorus in the house (with a realistic projection), and you get a gripping experience. There isn't a single moment that is less than completely riveting in this production for its entire duration.

I had my doubts when I saw the cast list (regarding the tenor and soprano), but overall they all give superlative performances. Dessì gives a commanding performance with her unique, rich timbre, a total artist, a modern Grand Tragedienne. The score has a lot of dynamic markings that call for soft singing ("mezza voce", "dolce", "dolcissimo", "p"; "pp", etc.) and she has a full command of a superb mezza voce (light singing). The forte side of the piano-forte spectrum is subdued - the Diva economizes her vocal resources, which is understandable, considering the challenges ahead. The role's more than two octave range is a walk in the park for her, as is the coloratura agility that reaches its first-half peak in the short cadenza of her act II duet with Arrigo "Presso alla tomba ch'apresi", with its long trill. Now for the nitpicking: the role's demands gradually increase in the second half. Her act IV "Arrigo! Ah parli a un core" is overall superb; she manages the first two of the cadenza's descending scales, but they are just a warm up for the third, which she glides over rather than really touch the notes (but she does the trill). Caballè (and many others) did the same thing and no one complained (but no none glides like Caballè). So how is her act V bolero? How do you think? It's no better than it was in 1996 in Rome, so it's far from perfect, but if you consult the score you see that her only difficulty is to sing long lines composed entirely of sixteenth notes figurations à-la-Rossini fast enough (no, she does not interpolate a final high E...Jeezus!). But it's a big show and her elegant style and artistry are of the highest caliber. With Pizzi's help it's also a scene of simple, aching beauty and with the sound engineers' help it's almost a miracle, the way they capture the back and forth between Elena on the stage and the chorus in the auditorium. When it ended the audience paused for three endless seconds that made my blood curdle ("are they really going to boo her?...") before a "brava" ushered in the applause.

Armiliato usually sounds like he constantly sings on all his capital and forces, probably because if he didn't we'd hear just a generic voice without a distinctive timbre. I always think he wouldn't last when I hear the forcing, but last he does and he knows exactly what he's doing. You need to forget all his previous performances, he is a huge surprise - it's the best I've ever heard him, I did not dream he has it in him. His tone is beautiful in a way I never heard before, his high Bb's and B's ring securely, he doesn't fudge a single note including rapid coloratura figurations, his phrasing is elegant and his soft singing seductive. Act V "La brezza aleggia intorno" (after the bolero) is cut, so no high D for the tenor (IIRC, some of the repetitions of the concluding act IV concertante are mercifully cut as well, and no ballet). On opening night he got into vocal problems in the second half and was announced indisposed before the second performance, from which most of the material for this blu-ray was taken. He bowed out from his last scheduled performance, so we are lucky to have this Vespri at all, because the replacement was not up to snuff. To be honest, I don't think Dessì and particularly Armiliato could have pulled it off in a bigger house, Vespri is truly scary for the tenor and soprano. It took a lot of courage for them to take on these roles.

Giacomo Prestia also offers his best performance so far in the Tutto Verdi series (he also sings in Ernani and in I Masnadieri). Nucci offers great finesse, style and power - he is a reference in many Verdi roles. I don't think there is a better Monforte on record, other than his earlier assumptions of the role. I heard him in this role at the MET when he last sang at the house in 2004. I pulled out a souvenir from that run and realized in retrospect that this may have been the greatest operatic performance I had the good fortune to attend.

The chorus is more than first rate. The musical direction of Massimo Zanetti (who also conducts Rigoletto in these series) overcomes the difficulties of singers and chorus scattered throughout the house with superb detail, precision and attentive accompaniment. The entire cast (particularly Dessì) seems giddy at the curtain calls - they overcame a supreme challenge and the audience is vocal in its gratitude (there is even a final cry for an encore!). The recording engineers deserve a standing ovation: Paolo Berti, Michele Ruggiero, Alessandro Marsico.

This is a Vespri for the ages and if you are still not convinced about the place this work deserves in the canon you are totally doomed and there is no point even talking about it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a beautiful Vesper 4 Jun 2013
By Dr. John W. Rippon - Published on Amazon.com
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The previous reviewers have covered most of the points on this excellent recording and I am in general agreement on most points and I too highly recommend this disc.
I would like to add a few personal points as Sicilian Vespers and I share a long history. One time when a teenager in the late 40s or early 50s I attended a concert in New York and a bass (Pinza?)sang "O tu Palarmo." I was fascinated by the depth of emotion in this music. Later in a NBC Symphony concert I heard the Overture of the opera and was thrilled by the music. I recall and even earlier exposure to the work in my Grandmother's collection of RCA Victor 78s one of which was the Siciliana "Merce dilette amiche" sung by Luisa Tetrazzini. Fortunately for me, Grandmother had a large collection of Victor records and a wind-up Victrola with cactus needles, the ultimate in sound technology of the day.
My first complete record set of the opera was the 1974 LP set with Martina Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes and conducted by James Levine. (Caballe was supposed to sing Elena but was pregnant again). I loved the opera and still do. Arroyo gave a searing performance and she remains the standard for me. When in Act 1 she sings the "Coraggio su corragio" aria and demands that victory is in "votra mano" she means it and the chorus and the audience are ready for rebellion. I can still hear her steely voice. I'm afraid that Ms. Dessi of this disc just does not arouse.
My next Sicilian Vespers came as a VHS two tape set of l986. Conducted by Riccardo Chailly and done in Bolognia. The Monforte is Leo Nucci who dominates every scene he is in as he does in the current disc. The voice is smoother in the older disc but just as penetrating. He is truly an amazing artist. The Elena of the 1986 tape is Susan Dunn and the Arrigo is Veriano Luchetti. Both are competent in their parts. A bit part (Ninetta) in this tape is played by Anna Catarina Antonacci. She is a major star these days. The sets in the tape, by the way, looked authentically Sicilian.
The first DVD of this opera was a stunning set of 1989 conducted superbly by Riccado Muti at the La Scala. Two excellent singers took the parts of Elena and Arrigo; Cheryl Studer and Chris Merritt. As long as you didn't have to look at then all was fine. They were top vocalists but not actors and quite heavy. However the sets, costumes chorus and orchestra were top notch with the great Muti leading the show. One sour note was that the Paris ballet was included; the ballerina was far too old and the ballet was bad.
The present recording is excellent in most categories. Armiliato is beautiful to listen to, Dessi maybe couldn't arouse a rebellion but her Siciliano in Act 5 is sweet to the ear, Tetrazzini not withstanding. I think conductor Zanetti kept tight control over all the doings and produced a truly excellent performance.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good Vespri 3 July 2013
By Renato Baserga - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
this is an excellent version of a long forgotten Verdi opera. It has Leo Nucci as the French commander, Nucci has always been underestimated by American critics, who go for high notes, period. But Nucci has legato and diction, something that are as important as high notes, if not more. Nucci has shown both for years, many years, and deserves a better reception from the high-notes people. The lovers are Armiliato and Dessi, who are husband and wife in real life, and are acceptable in this version of Vespri Siciliani.. I did not like the bass, but the other 3 characters are fine. Sure, if you expect Dessi to sing the bolero the way Callas did, she does not, but Callas was extraordinary.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimate production of Grand Opera 5 May 2014
By A. Lupu - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I Vespri was composed for the Opera in Paris. The whole 5 acts, the required ballet, long and in French. It was later translated to Italian while keeping the French characteristics of the opera.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performance 21 Dec 2013
By Mr. Malcolm - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This production of Vespri received a great review in Opera News. Since Vespri is one of my favorite operas, I purchased it. It really is an excellent performance, part of the Verdi bicentennial series produced in Padua. I thought the singing quite good, even though the artists are not world famous. The staging is bare bones but effective. Not a flashy production but true to the story. This opera's ending is problematic-I don't think this director did it any favors. I recommend it for Vespri lovers like me (i.e. I have three different productions on audio in addition to this video and just spent five hours at the theater to see the film of Covent Garden's French version).
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