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Rossini: Sigismondo (Pesaro 2010) (Daniela Barcellona/ Andrea Concetti/ Olga Peretyatko/ Teatro Comunale di Bologna/ Damiano Michieletto/ Michele Mariotti) (Arthaus: 108062) [Blu-ray] 
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LIVE RECORDING FROM THE ROSSINI OPERA FESTIVAL PESARO, 2010
Sigismondo: DANIELA BARCELLONA
Ulderico / Zenovito: ANDREA CONCETTI
Aldimira: OLGA PERETYATKO
Ladislao: ANTONINO SIRAGUSA
TEATRO COMUNALE DI BOLOGNA
Conducted by MICHELE MARIOTTI
Stage Directed by DAMIANO MICHIELETTO
World Premiere Recording!
Early Rossini has something buoyant, vibrant, youthful about it even when it is a dramma per musica such as Sigismondo, a dark swirl of an opera revolving around a mad king and his delusions, his wife who is allegedly dead but very much alive, the fate of Poland and much more. Premiered in 1814 but rarely played thereafter, the work deserves to be resurrected, if only for its many beautiful and original arias and ensembles, some of which were such brilliant little masterpieces that he reused them in his later successes such as Il turco in Italia, La Cenerentola and Il barbiere di Siviglia. The work was given its first performance from the critical new edition at the 2010 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. The press hailed the production as a perfect symbiosis of music and stage work that yields truly brilliant theater. Director Damiano Michieletto sets the first act in a startlingly realistic insane asylum of around 1900, where King Sigismondo has been placed after losing his mind over his wifes death, which he, convinced of her infidelity, had ordered. The second act takes place in an elegantly appointed royal palace, where Sigismondo, who has now recovered, must confront an assault by the Bohemian army and decide upon Polands fate. Mezzo Daniela Barcellona a sought-after Rossini and Verdi singer portrays the mad King Sigismondo with fierce intensity and effortlessly fl owing coloraturas; restored to health in the second act, her Sigismondo dominates the stage as ruler of Poland, alongside Olga Peretyatko, Antonino Siragusa and Andrea Concetti. Bringing youthful exuberance and supreme musicality to his conducting is Michele Mariotti, principal conductor of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and acclaimed maestro at La Scala, the Met and other leading houses.
Special Feature: Making Of Sigismondo.
'All is rhythmically alive... the singing is of a very high standard... Visually and aurally, these DVDs are of fine quality.' --John T. Hughes, IRR - Nov. '12
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Top Customer Reviews
As presented at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 2010, there's certainly a belief here that Sigismondo is worthy of more serious consideration and treatment. I'm not sure that the music or Giuseppe Foppa's libretto are always strong enough to bear that kind of psychological probing, but the opera is certainly more experimental in its arrangements than some of Rossini's earlier work and it does indeed build up to a forceful expression of the situation in an impressive series of arias, duets and ensembles in the distinctly Mozartian Second Act.Read more ›
The truth is, this production is as near perfect as it's ever possible to get in anything. More than that, it's inspiring. There's a glorious co-ordination between its every aspect from orchestra to singers and direction to staging as it moves inexorably into its inspiring finale. It's a first-rate recording with such pernickety matters as body mikes paling into insignificance. (Mikes = microphones, which all the dictionaries I have to hand say is the correct abbreviation for microphones.) It's simply one of those uplifting performances that reveal opera at its very best with the added bonus of showing that lesser known, and even rather despised works, can be up there with the best when well directed, well staged and well performed as we have here. It's all a question of the perfect synchronisation of happy conductor, happy orchestra, happy direction and happy actors all synchronised together in a superb effort to both entertain and inspire, and one which has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams.Read more ›
Whoever conceived the idea of setting it in an early 20th century lunatic asylum should enjoy the pleasure of it themselves. I found the continual interference of the demented inmates distracting and annoying. I cant believe that the Rossini Festival really encourages this stuff?
Daniella Barcellona is fabulous, as usual.