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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2012
The early misfortunes of Verdi's second opera are well documented but judging by this 2010 offering from Del Teatro Regio Di Parma it deserves far better than the unwarranted oblivion to which the opera was consigned for far too many years. Masterminded by the very experienced Pier Luigi Pizzi, whose achievements here include stage direction, set and costume design, this is a well crafted and smartly costumed traditional production. Here marketing requirements are such that the mildly questionable still which adorns the jewel case gives a totally wrong impression.

The plot of this comic opera reflects many similar compositions of the early years of the 1800s. Due to the machinations of Polish court politics a senior nobleman is obliged to take on the role of the Polish king for one day. During his brief sojourn as a monarch he becomes involved in the complexities of the local marriage market, achieves a good result for two young lovers and re-establishes the sacred flame with his own titled paramour. All, as would be expected, ends well.

The tuneful music can be compared with the comic operas of both Rossini and Donizetti and provides ample opportunity for the six solo leads who all sing and act very well. The only performers previously known to me are the accomplished baritone and buffo singer Paolo Bordogna and the well known lead soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci who make good contributions to a fine team effort. Worthy of special mention is the young tenor Ivan Magri and the mezzosoprano Alessandra Marianelli as his love interest. Both orchestra and chorus, under the baton of Donato Renzetti, perform well. Among the production's high points is a spirited servant's chorus.

This is minor, lightweight Verdi but it provides two hours of enjoyable and undemanding entertainment. The purchase of this DVD (no other productions are on record) is an excellent addition to a Verdi library

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 December 2012
Popular wisdom would have it that Verdi was not entirely at home in the genre of comic opera, and history more or less backs this up. Un giorno di regno - the composer's second opera - was something of a failure when it was first performed and the reasons why are still evident. There are elements that one would not associate with the typical Verdi opera (harpsichord-accompanied recitative!), but unfortunately, even the touches that are very much characteristic of the composer don't prove to be suitable for the comic melodrama. A strong stage production and good singing at this very rare performance of Un giorno di regno at the Teatro Regio di Parma make this nonetheless a fascinating experience even if it can't quite go as far as rescuing the reputation of Verdi's early failure.

There's not much one can do however about the fact that the comedy element of Un giorno di regno is really not that funny in the first place. It's a standard comic set up of the romantic complications that arise from arranged marriage mismatches and secret or hidden identities of characters in disguise. It's not a plot that is entirely bereft of comic potential. Rossini had to make much out of thinner material than this, and Verdi seems to have at least learned that much from his predecessor, scoring with vigorous arrangements that build in tempo towards explosive ensemble finales. Un giorno di regno lacks Rossini's lightness of touch, and what would be an amiably riotous situation in a Rossini opera, rises into a rousing bombastic declamation in Verdi's hands. While it's fascinating to see just how Verdi develops those situations in his own distinctive way - particularly with a view to what comes later in the composer's career - they prove however to somewhat work against the comic potential. The music is gorgeous and cleverly arranged, but it doesn't really establish the right kind of buffo tone that is required.

Neither really does the stage direction. The best thing you can say about Pier Luigi Pizzi's direction is that it is unobtrusive and doesn't draw attention to itself in any way that detracts from the musical drama. It's generically opera period in design and costumes, with columns, bookcases and tables that reflect the mansion locations and gardens, and it's well arranged as far as putting figures into the right places and keeping the dramatic action flowing without too much standing around going on. It doesn't however attempt to add anything to the comic situations that might enhance or even improve the weaknesses in Verdi's musical direction. The stage direction gets the balance right to the extent that it flows along wonderfully without it ever jarring in any way, taking you along with the flow, but it's not particularly adventurous and this opera could use an injection of a little more humour.

Fortunately, the singing is all-around terrific, giving as fine an account of the work as you could hope for. The younger singers come over best, Alessandra Maranelli's sweet sounding mezzo-soprano and Ivan Magri's strong but lyrical Edoardo working well together, finding a good balance between the Verdi sound and the Rossinian. The others however are just as good - Guido Loconsolo as Belfiore, Andrea Porta as Baron Kelbar, Anna Caterina Antonacci as the Marquise and Paolo Bordogna as La Rocca, all managing to bring a degree of character to their roles, singing well, working with each other and with the comic-timing of the piece.

Un giorno di regno is the second release in the 'Tutto Verdi' series from C-Major, a collection that is made up of performances of all Verdi's opera work recorded at the Teatro Regio di Parma. Some trailers for other works in the collection are included on the disc, as well as a visual introduction/synopsis for Un giorno di regno. The quality of the HD image and sound - in PCM Stereo and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 - is marvellous. The Blu-ray is all-region, with subtitles in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What a shame Verdi was diverted from composing more comic operas by the initially poor reception given to his adoption of this genre in the shape of Un Giorno di Regno because, as his other comic opera, Falstaff, later confirmed in his old age, he was actually as good with comedy as he was with tragedy. This cleverly staged and directed version of this his second opera at the Teatro Regio di Parma with the Orchestra e Coro is a real gem, with which, one can well imagine, Verdi would have been well pleased and even more so with the warm reception it received.

If you're the kind of person who enjoys a great romp of a musical production, you'll thoroughly enjoy this one directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi with Donato Renzetti conducting the orchestra. Too many people often fail to realise how diverse the opera genre can be. The styles and nuances of styles in which it can be presented are virtually limitless in a way that cannot be realistically said of any other genre. No one would have appreciated this more than Verdi who we can imagine would have enjoyed composing other kinds of opera besides tragedies; but he needed to make a living and the tragedies were doing that for him.

I like to think of this production as a brilliant example of what might have been. All right, I know the experts say that this work is not up to Verdi's eventual greatness, but it's great stuff as far as I'm concerned. So just buy it and enjoy it just like I do. I don't know what other folks think, but for me, Verdi comes across as one of those lamentably very few great, creative personalities as being truly likeable and nice to know. Having himself faced family tragedy, it seems as if he was always conscious of how difficult life can be for creative musical people. Now, 200 years after his birth, it's inspiring to have this delightful, excellently produced example of yet another side of his genius. It's the kind of production you can watch over and over again and not tire of it. I love it and thoroughly recommend it. Apart from anything else, you're going to just love Anna Caterina Antonacci as La Marchesa del Poggio.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2012
Preparing the year 2013, the 200 year birthday of Verdi (and Wagner by the way) the Opera in Parma are in
the process of recording a complete cycle of Verdi operas on DVD. One of the candidats to the the title of most
unknown work by the great master is Un Giorne Di Regno. The audience and the general public have for years
been told, that Verdi's last opera Falstaff is unique, because it is his only comic opera. Just for the sake of correcting
a common believe Un Regno its worth while. Here we have a rather Rossini-like intrigue opera with happy end
for not only the two couples in love but for all the involved. The cast with the wellknown italian soprano Antonacci
showing here fine voice plays with energy and vitality. If it is not Verdi at his best, it is certainly italian ensemble opera at is best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2013
They say this one was a flop in 1842 when first performed at I.R. Teatro alla Scala... Just watch this revival from Parma! Excellent and funny throughout and musically very thrilling. Verdi at his early best, Parma does it so well! Parma cheeses, salami di felino, mortadella and plenty of Lambrusco make star appearances in the action in the kitchen scene (it's mouthwatering)...The cast is good and well worth seeing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2012
I have to admit that the cover photo of a woman in a state of hot pink undress nearly put me off buying this DVD. I took one glance and dismissed it as more Eurotrash. However, I was sufficiently curious to check every now and then to see when a review had been posted. I was pleased to read a revoew that described the production as "refreshingly traditional." I agree with that as with all other points of the earlier review. It is such a treat to see an opera staged in a manner that composer and librettist would recognize as, and admit to being, their own creation, and not the production of some pompous idiot who shows contempt for composer, librettist and audience alike. In this case, the production does exactly what it should do: it tells a story, and in a way that's interesting, engaging, and (dare I say it) charming.

The cast are uniformly excellent. The only name I recognized was that of Anna Caterina Antonacci whom I associate with serious roles. (I've seen her on stage as Adalgisa, Rossini's Ermione and Cherubini's Medea.) She shows herself to be equally adept at comedy as tragedy. The hot pink underwear on the cover is wrapped around her form. My admiration of this fine singing actress increases every time I see her, whether in the theatre or on DVD. She colors her voice to meet the dramatic situation and her technique is flawless.

The other singers, though not so well known, all offer enjoyable performances. The young lovers (Ivan Magri and Alessandra Marianelli) act engagingly and sing prettily. Andrea Porta and Paolo Bordogna are a lot of fun in the two more purely buffo parts of the Baron of Kelbar and Signor la Rocca. Best of all, though, is Guido Loconsolo as Belfiore disguised as King Stanislaus. His voice is full and rich. His characterization shows an appreciation of the predicament in which the king-for-a-day finds himself.

The picture is crisp and the recorded sound splendid. In every way, this one's a winner. It bodes well for the other, and forthcoming, releases in this series. I shall sample further of those that don't feature Dimitra Theodossiu. I think she should be behind bars for what she did to poor Lucrezia Borgia, but that's another review I wrote a couple of years back.
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on 21 August 2013
Wonderful! Buy it! Enjoy it! Treasure it! I have waited thirty-eight years for this; ever since I encountered
the excellent 1974 Philips boxed record set, featuring world-class principals, including the rising star Jose
Carreras, as Edoardo. I was spellbound by the beauty and quality of genius Guiseppe Verdi's glorious music,
and the performances of everyone, especially Jose Carreras, for this was the first time that I had heard him.
This marvellous Teatro Regio di Parma production has surpassed all my expectations when I placed my order
for it. I give my heartfelt thanks to everyone involved: all the principals and the choruses, together with the
brilliant orchestra, conducted by Donato Renzetti, and a special thank you to Pier Luigi Pizzi for his ingenious
production, especially transferring the location from Paris to Parma, which was an inspired move, enabling all
the fun associated with the exaggerated enjoyment of slivers of Parma delicacies, etc., with a background of hams
and cheeses - mouthwatering produce- and delightful production, with every opportunity being taken to
bring out the fun of this wonderful opera, which is so enjoyable, from the opening bars of the lively, joyous
overture, right through to the finale, with a non-stop progression of marvellous music, and excellent
performances from everyone involved. I enjoyed the elegant dancing, in period costume during the overture:
it gave an introduction to the quality that I enjoyed so much over the next two hours, and in many repeat viewings.
The casting was so perfect for everyone: they all looked the roles they were playing, and they all sang and
acted superbly. There was never a static moment, and every opportunity was used to bring out the humour
that Verdi obviously intended, with movements, gestures, glances, etc., all adding to the enjoyment.
Thank heavens for subtitles, which give us an advantage over the theatre audience; the most significant
example of this comes in the quintet, with the "king" and the Baron discussing the defence strategy, while
the Treasurer is agitated because he can see Edoardo and Giulietta, with their amorous duet, within the
quintet. Ingenious composition and fine acting and singing.
Guido Loconsolo has the bearing, dignity and mannerisms of a "king" and sings and performs superbly.
Anna Caterina Antonacci is a voluptuous and delightful Marchesa, with a charming musical excursion, with
her musical yelps when she dips first her toe, then her derriere in the bath water. She appeared to revel
in this role, throughout the opera, and deservedly so.
The Baron (Andrea Porta) and the Treasurer (Paulo Bordogna) provided a perfect answer to the question
that had puzzled me for nearly forty years: how can these buffo roles be performed to make the implausible,
even silly, situations good fun and enjoyable? I now have the answer to that question: you do what any
good Parma people would do; you ham it up!
The young lovers, Edoardo (Ivan Magri) and delightful Giulietta (Alessandra Marianelli) are so right for
their roles: they sing and act beautifully, with loving gestures and movement together.
Verdi gave the choruses, male and female, some very rewarding scenes, and they all seemed to enjoy it.
I certainly did, and will continue to do so.
I have listened to that wonderful Philips recording (1974 - later on CDs) hundreds of times over the past
thirty-eight years, but this delightful Teatro Regio di Parma DVD will supersede it from now on.
Finally, for anyone who is not familiar with "Un Giorno di Regno" I cannot do better than to quote from Martin Sokol's
excellent historical notes and introduction to that 1974 recording when he wrote: "Verdi achieved the near
impossible. Under the most dismal of circumstances he created a joyful sounding score,and we, as listeners,
are reminded that even Verd's failures stand head and shoulders above the successes of many of his rivals."
Congratulatuions to everyone at Teatro Regio di Parma for giving genius Giuseppe Verdi the bicentennial
of his birth celebration that it merits. Wonderful!
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on 11 September 2015
Some 40 years ago, when I was establishing my basic opera collection (vinyl of course) I bought Un giorno di Regno almost by hazard, I think it was some kind of a christmas promotion. It was a revelation!, and I still don't understand why it is considered so second place in Verdi's output! It is a real gem, hyper melodic, with some plot (compare it to Il Trovatore or La Forza) and a lot of good arias and ensemble. This DVD it is another revelation, costumes and singers very good, the sets minimallist but adequate, sound and vision impeccable! I cannot praise it too high, I stood 2 hours delighted, I will return.
Picks: Antonacci, bella voce, sometimes too many grimaces, Marianelli wonderful in in her dueto with Edoardo (Magri, may be the weakest of the lot but still good), Loconsolo, Porta and Dordogna splendid! And Renzetti keeps an affectionate grip over the score! Indeed, a must!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2013
The first time I have seen any production of this Opera, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. No matter to me that the opera was slated by the public of the time, I am no aficionado but I thought all the cast performed excellently.
This one goes into my favourites category.
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on 25 March 2015
This fine opera deserves to be placed back among the full Verdi panoply of his finest works. This opera is a must for Verdi fans. However this is a review of the production. First rate conducting, a fine operatic orchestra with excellent designs which add to the production. { I often find the designs distracting but not in this case}. I would point out the very fine singing of the chorus and Antonacci as the Marchesa.
So why only 4 stars. [I would have liked to give it 4 1/2 but this is not allowed]. It was let down a little by Ivan Magri as Edoardo. Not the type of singing I like and he should be sent to acting school. Otherwise a first rate production .
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