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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great discovery
So far we've had two excellent productions from the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini at Jesi that have extended appreciation of Pergolesi's opera seria work - Adriano in Siria and Il Prigionier Superbo - and in the process shed a little light upon the practices of 18th century Neapolitan opera with their Intermezzo comedies. For anyone who has enjoyed the lighter side of...
Published 24 months ago by Keris Nine

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not applicable
Review not possible as this was a Christmas gift. All I can say is that the recepient thought the overall production was terrible but the singing and orchestration OK.
Published 23 months ago by J. Hansen


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great discovery, 20 Dec 2012
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
So far we've had two excellent productions from the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini at Jesi that have extended appreciation of Pergolesi's opera seria work - Adriano in Siria and Il Prigionier Superbo - and in the process shed a little light upon the practices of 18th century Neapolitan opera with their Intermezzo comedies. For anyone who has enjoyed the lighter side of Pergolesi's work seen in these shorter pieces, Il Flaminio is a real treat. A full length 3-act commedia per musica, first performed in 1735, it's every bit as delightful as the great Intermezzos seen so far - Livietta e Tracollo and La Serva Padrona - and, in its own way, quite sophisticated and just as revelatory as the composer's more serious works.

There is, it has to be said however, nothing that appears to be exceptional about the plotting of Il Flaminio. It still adheres very much to the Metastasian baroque opera seria situation - one not dissimilar to the one played out in Pergolesi's Adriano in Siria - where various incompatible couples have to find their right arrangement over the course of the opera, usually on a wise ruler coming to his senses (it's a nobleman here), but only after a great deal of emotional soul-searching and pouring one's heart out through anguished, repetitive arias. The difference here in Il Flaminio is that this time the situation is explored for its comic potential, playing the situation for laughs certainly and with a lightness of touch, but not to the exclusion of the finer sentiments that lie within it either. That in itself is a significant development and influential in terms of the impact the Neapolitan style would have on opera buffa, but in Pergolesi's hands, one can also see a significant development of the writing and the scoring that goes way beyond the Baroque conventions.

Much of the humour is tied to the use of Neapolitan dialect and customs on the part of the lower classes, with obscure satirical references and musical allusions to popular songs of the time, to puppet shows and commedia dell' arte traditions that are impossible to translate or even fully appreciate. To be honest, there's only so much humour to be derived from the situation, particularly over a three-hour opera, and personally I lost interest in following the plot by the middle of the second act. Thankfully, there's more to Il Flaminio than mild comedy and satire, and Pergolesi's beautiful music makes such light work of the situations and is filled with such playful invention and sophistication that there is never a dull moment. The musical arrangement is way ahead of its time, Pergolesi's handling of material we are familiar with from Handel and Vivaldi only highlighting just how much more musically advanced and innovative the composer really is above his contemporaries. There is such a lightness and sophistication throughout Il Flaminio that it could easily pass for a Haydn or an early Mozart opera. It really is extraordinary.

It's even more delightful then that we have Ottavio Dantone and the Accademia Bizantina to bring out the sparkling brilliance and delicate beauty of music that is so full of life, vigour, wit and sensitivity. The wonderful set design moreover places the orchestra behind the performers on the stage in a venue that has been reconfigured with extensions that take balcony scenes down the sides of the hall in order to make it even more intimate and involving. It looks great and it evidently works marvellously since the singing and acting performances are also highly engaging and entertaining. Although there are pieces written to give each of the singers the opportunity to shine, Il Flaminio is very much an ensemble piece that gives equal value to almost all the roles and - as with each of the Jesi Pergolesi releases so far - the casting and singing is perfect. Recognising that the strength of the opera is in its ensemble arrangement, the production also attempts to keep all the main figures around on the stage - along with the orchestra - even when they are not called upon to sing.

As with the previous Pergolesi releases - from both Opus Arte and Arthaus - the recording quality is superb, with a beautiful High Definition image and remarkably good sound quality. Really, it's hard to imagine how you could improve on the performance or presentation of this rare work, a work that fully merits such a wonderful interpretation. There are no extra features on this release however, which is a little disappointing, but there is some useful background information on the work in the booklet that comes with the release. The Blu-ray is all region compatible with subtitles in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Korean.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Enjoyable Romp, 10 Mar 2013
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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One of the helpful facts about Pergolesi's Il Flaminio is that it can be adapted to fit in with any day and age with the result that both costumes and staging in this production were outstandingly good, not least because they enhanced the acting at every turn. This one, big, delightful romp of a production brings out to a tee Pergolesi's preoccupation with the importance of servants and their role in society. Small wonder then that Laura Cherici as Checca, Glustina's maid, and Vito Priante as Vastiano, Polidoro's manservant, in a sense, 'steal the show'.

Here we have a production in which the staging and acting are every bit as good as the music and singing. I couldn't help feeling that the object of the opera is simply to show how easy it is to be happy when we put aside all kinds of silly notions. The servants, Checca and Vastiano, show us how to take a delight in life and thrill to its joys, something which is epitomised in the scene in which they take turns at pushing each other on a swing. Their employers and their friends, who get their love lives all tangled up, are not anything like as happy. Then, of course, we have the hilarious 'throwing stuff over the balcony' scene.

It's such a delight that all these works by Pergolesi are now being resurrected. They are timeless, readily adaptable, works that fit in so well with any day and age. It's encouraging to know that we do have 'enjoyable romp' operas like this one to balance out the many tragic operas which end up with someone dying. I think Pergolesi should be taken into the mainstream of opera composers and not just 'barely mentioned' in works that purport to be about the history of opera.

Although tragic operas by the great composers are soul rousing stuff, it's also helpful to be inspired into happiness by the joie de vivre of inspiring works such as Il Flaminio composed by a maestro who passed away just weeks after his twenty sixth birthday. He must have had a great deal of joy inside him despite his ill health and short life. This is the kind of work that you can watch over and over again and never tire of it. All the singer-actors are first-rate and I have no hesitation of thoroughly recommending this DVD and Blu-ray.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable Romp., 7 Jun 2014
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pergolesi: Il Flaminio (Juan Francisco Gatell/ Laura Polverelli/ Ottavio Dantone/ Michal Znaniecki) (Arthaus: 101653) (2010) [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
One of the helpful facts about Pergolesi's Il Flaminio is that it can be adapted to fit in with any day and age with the result that both costumes and staging in this production were outstandingly good, not least because they enhanced the acting at every turn. This one, big, delightful romp of a production brings out to a tee Pergolesi's preoccupation with the importance of servants and their role in society. Small wonder then that Laura Cherici as Checca, Glustina's maid, and Vito Priante as Vastiano, Polidoro's manservant, in a sense, 'steal the show'.

Here we have a production in which the staging and acting are every bit as good as the music and singing. I couldn't help feeling that the object of the opera is simply to show how easy it is to be happy when we put aside all kinds of silly notions. The servants, Checca and Vastiano, show us how to take a delight in life and thrill to its joys, something which is epitomised in the scene in which they take turns at pushing each other on a swing. Their employers and their friends, who get their love lives all tangled up, are not anything like as happy. Then, of course, we have the hilarious 'throwing stuff over the balcony' scene.

It's such a delight that all these works by Pergolesi are now being resurrected. They are timeless, readily adaptable, works that fit in so well with any day and age. It's encouraging to know that we do have 'enjoyable romp' operas like this one to balance out the many tragic operas which end up with someone dying. I think Pergolesi should be taken into the mainstream of opera composers and not just 'barely mentioned' in works that purport to be about the history of opera.

Although tragic operas by the great composers are soul rousing stuff, it's also helpful to be inspired into happiness by the joie de vivre of inspiring works such as Il Flaminio composed by a maestro who passed away just weeks after his twenty sixth birthday. He must have had a great deal of joy inside him despite his ill health and short life. This is the kind of work that you can watch over and over again and never tire of it. All the singer-actors are first-rate and I have no hesitation of thoroughly recommending this DVD and Blu-ray.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ottimo!, 16 April 2013
By 
Sauli Stefano "stefanosauli" (Padova, Italia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pergolesi: Il Flaminio (Juan Francisco Gatell/ Laura Polverelli/ Ottavio Dantone/ Michal Znaniecki) (Arthaus: 101653) (2010) [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
Una bellissima esecuzione di questo capolavoro pergolesiano, a lungo attesa. E' una versione integrale, contrariamente alla vecchia incisione in CD degli anni '80
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not applicable, 23 Jan 2013
By 
J. Hansen "roma95" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Review not possible as this was a Christmas gift. All I can say is that the recepient thought the overall production was terrible but the singing and orchestration OK.
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