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Slightly different to the network broadcast.....,
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This review is from: Puccini: Il Trittico [Opus Arte: OABD7102D] [Blu-ray]   [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Although it has been 50 years since the ROH last staged this opera it was revived about 10 years ago at the ENO and I was lucky enough to see it then. Suffice to say that this new performance is superior in almost every way. The acting is so much better and the singing - especially in Suor Angelica, is sublime. In my opinion this performance is also superior to the Reynolds version (also available on Blu-ray).
Il Trittico has been unfairly neglected both in live performances and in recordings. This may be partly due to tradition - audiences disliking single act operas, or it may be due to the extra costs associated with staging this work. Wherever the truth lies it cannot be due to the quality of Puccini's score. Collectively these three diverse works contain some of his finest work.
The linking theme is of deception and together the operas show a wide range of human emotions. I think that it is ironic that Gianni Schicchi is the most well-known of all the works when this opera has the less memorable music! Perhaps audiences preferred the lighter, comedic theme and the lovely ario `O mio babbino caro' will have seduced many. For my money I prefer Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica and in this version the latter is the undoubted winner.
I was in two minds whether or not to make this purchase.. I already have the Reynolds version on Blu-ray and I had recorded this version on my Humax PVR earlier in the year. I was interested in the debate (see the comments under I Giles's excellent review) on the merits of Blu-ray recordings compared with broadcast HD recordings. Generally speaking I have found the BBC HD broadcasts to be excellent and on par with Blu-ray. However, on this occasion the Blu-ray recording is marginally superior to the network broadcast. Of course, it goes without saying that it will be vastly superior to the standard definition recording which was broadcast on BBC 4.
However, the clincher is the fact that the performance is slightly different. The difference lies in not only the introductions but in the curtain calls. In the network broadcasts you get a truncated version of what appears on the DVD. For some people this will not matter but I like to see what the audience experienced on the live performance. This is as annoying as those patrons who leave their seats seconds before the final notes. No doubt they have a good reason for doing so but aside from being bad manners they are surely denying themselves of the joys of watching a live performance and showing their appreciation of the artistry of the performers. For example, in Suor Angelica an emotionally exhausted Ermonela Jaho comes to the front of the closed curtain to take her bow. The emotional expression on her face is very much part of the total performance. In fact, almost every aspect of the curtain call of the network broadcast differs from this Blu-ray disc. Sadly, the network broadcast short-changes the viewer in a way that will only be apparent to viewers who were either present at the live performance or who buy this disc.
Purchasers of this disc will also get extra comments from the artists as well as the option to choose between surround sound or stereo. The Blu-ray dvd is highly recommended - especially to those people who do not know these operas.