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Gazza Ladra [Blu-ray] [Import]

Blu-ray

List Price: CDN$ 51.99
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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Dynamic Italy
  • Release Date: Feb. 28 2012
  • ASIN: B006K70A52

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good production even if the BD not as good as it should be Feb. 7 2012
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
There's an air of familiarity to Rossini's La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie), and it's not just the famous overture (reputedly dashed off the evening before the first performance) that is second in popularity only to the composer's overture to William Tell, nor in this case is it anything to do with the composer's habit of reusing his music for other compositions. What is familiar to the point of predictability in La Gazza Ladra (written in 1817 between la Cenerentola and Armida) is the manner in which its opera semiseria melodrama plotline plays out. What differentiates this opera from other lesser examples of the style is the fact that - obviously - it's by Rossini, and being Rossini, the music is always melodically thrilling and inventive. The hook in this particular opera is of course that thieving magpie theme that flits through the opera musically, as well as the recognition of it as a playful dramatic theme, a deus ex machina element, that pops in now and again to move the plot along and prevent it from getting bogged down in melodramatic excess.

A period staging won't cut it in a modern context when the plot can be as stodgy and old-fashioned as this, even with Rossini's music to enliven it. At the same time, it's a mistake to get too clever, since the singers have enough on their plates with the extreme technical demands on their singing without being encumbered with elaborate acting and movements. Directed by Damiano Michieletto, this production - like most for this style of opera nowadays - goes for stylised colourful, minimalist, picture-book style imagery with no attempt at realism of locations, and theatrical costumes of no fixed period or style. There's no grand concept either, though it does have a theme and some unusual touches - a grouping of all-purpose pipes that can be adapted to represent trees, pillars, cannons, prison bars - and an acrobat dancer to play the part of the magpie, a playful touch that works quite well.

The singing is hit and miss, but by and large it's a decent account of the opera. Mariola Cantarero is a fine Ninetta, with a lovely tone of voice that is more than capable of reaching all the notes and making them count. Dmitry Korchak has a nice tone of voice, but there's little character in it and the demands of the Giannetto tenor role are a little beyond him. Alex Exposito is an excellent Fernando, his baritone not quite as strong as the role calls for, but he has a wonderful voice, sings well and, just as importantly, puts character and feeling into the role of Ninetta's conflicted father. Michele Pertusi plays Gottardo, the sleazy magistrate with the hots for the heroine - another convention of the genre and one that Pertusi, as a villainous bass, is well used to playing, and he plays up to the role reasonably well. The orchestra conducted by Lü Jia give an excellent, lively and sympathetic account of the score, even if the detail of their work isn't all that clear on this release.

For their first foray into High Definition, Dynamic's upgrade of this 2007 production isn't the greatest. Previously available on DVD, the Blu-ray is scarcely an improvement on the Standard Definition version in either video quality or sound. That's disappointing, but the quality itself isn't bad, the image remaining colourful, if soft and lacking in fine detail, and the movement blurring is mild. The audio, available in PCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS HD Master-Audio 5.1 is rather thin for the orchestration, but the singing is clear throughout. It should be noted however that all the singers are wearing microphones. The BD is also one of those that 'loads' and takes over your player, but I didn't notice it causing any problems. Menus, pop-ups and subtitle selection all work fine. There are no extra features on the disc, but there is a booklet in Italian and English. Region free, BD50, 1080i, subtitles in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idiotic production Oct. 2 2010
By opera lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Musically, this performance is outstanding.

It is most unfortunate that these days productions completely sabotage both music and drama with nonsensical, harebrained concepts that have nothing to do with what is happening on stage.

There are many objectionable things in this production that one can easily ignore by concentrating on the glorious music and singing. But that the singers were forced to perform the whole of the second act on a flooded stage is not only mind-boggling but offensive for its total gratuitousness. When will this type of idiocy disappear from opera stages?

For shame, Damiano Micheletto and Paolo Fantin. And the Rossini Opera Festival for allowing it.
17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Director Damiano Michieletto's Victory Sept. 1 2008
By Noam Eitan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is a superb production from Pesaro. It is presented in the highest technical standards of audio and video, which set Dynamic in a class of its own, a notch or two above all competitors.

This score calls for a very large cast of principals and inevitably some of them are better than others. The good news are soprano Mariola Cantarero as the falsely accused servant, Ninetta, and bass Michele Pertusi as Gottardo, the despotic mayor. They are both familiar from many productions on DVD.

The bad news is that the tenor role of Giannetto calls for a type of voice that is extinct. Dmitry Korchak is a great singer, with a sizable voice and easy top, who was received enthusiastically in his Carnegie Hall debut as Donizetti's Dom Sébastien in 2006. Here his voice sounds tiny, strained and frayed at the top - either a bad night or maybe he just is not a Rossini tenor. Short of JD Florez, I would humbly submit that the only Rossini tenors who can do the role some measure of justice are Robert McPherson and Lawrence Brownlee, in that order - it's high time that Robert McPherson, a superb bel canto tenor and the greatest Nozzari tenor of our time, was invited to Pesaro. The other singers are fine to good - this cast will rarely be matched.

I usually don't care for opera directors. Opera is for me first and foremost about the voices and directors who think they are more than traffic cops can rot in hell as far as I am concerned. However, I must concede that director Damiano Michieletto's production is the main reason to watch this DVD. It's a long opera (critical edition used) and initially I thought what we're getting here are simple, minimalist and updated sets with natural and superbly executed interactions between the protagonists. But as the production unfolds, Michieletto's "simple" ideas (he has many up his sleeve, but I don't like to write or read about descriptions of productions and sets) slowly combine to create a profound creation with a heartbreaking climax in the march to the scaffold scene, worthy of a Donizetti queen.

This genre of opera semi-seria is long extinct and very difficult to bring off. Michieletto manages the comic and sentimental aspects as well as the tragic ones - some scenes here are intensely dark and very touching, almost disturbing - while keeping a believable dramatic and esthetic balance.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Product Feb. 11 2012
By Noam Eitan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
This is a superb production from Pesaro. It is presented in the highest technical standards of audio and video, which set Dynamic in a class of its own, a notch or two above all competitors. I have both the DVD version and the blu-ray of this issue. Last night I finished watching the blu-ray and made a comparison with the DVD. I observed no motion artifacts on any of my 3 displays, as long as both players and TV's were set up correctly (it ain't so simple anymore, there are too many features and variables). The video resolution of the player has to be set on 1080i, not auto, source direct or anything else. LCD's with a motion enhancer feature will benefit from having it on. If you look obsessively for motion artifacts you will find some subtle ones on more than half of the discs of live performances when watching LCD's, but if it's not a ballet they are so subtle and infrequent that it's insignificant (I suppose depending on the quality of your equipment). Both the DVD and the blu-ray are of excellent quality as far as video and audio (I only have a stereo set-up). I heard no difference in the audio because Dynamic's DVD's already have the best possible audio. The video is sharper on the blu-ray. The reason it is not dramatically sharper is that Dynamic's DVD's already have the best possible video, particularly when used in a top rated upscaling player like my oppo-bdp-93. This is why Dynamic spread this long opera on 2 discs on the DVD issue - to get as many bits of sound resolution and video definition in. The blu-ray issue is already double layered (50 GB). To get an even sharper image they would have had to spread it on a second blu-ray disc (the opera is 202 minutes long and has a PCM stereo and 2 surround sound tracks). That would have increased the price and they would have been accused of price gouging (I paid much more for the DVD issue than for the blu-ray). I am glad I got the blu-ray on top of the DVD, but YMMV.

This score calls for a very large cast of principals and upon revisiting this issue on blu-ray I felt that all the singers are of the highest standard, with the exception of only one (he just had a bad night), whose high notes lost focus a little and he sounded hoarse when going up, but even that singer kept his sweet lyrical tone and perfect style.

This score just gets better and better with each scene. It starts in the usual Rossini formulaic structure, but as the score unfolds Rossini comes up with original ideas never tried before, and as act II approaches its conclusion Rossini's inspiration seems to know no limits. Director Damiano Michieletto's production matches Rossini's trajectory and just gets better with each scene. It's a long opera (critical edition used) and initially I thought that what we're getting here are simple, minimalist and updated sets with natural and superbly executed interactions between the protagonists. But as the production unfolds, Michieletto's "simple" ideas (he has many up his sleeve) slowly combine to create a profound creation with a heartbreaking climax in the march to the scaffold scene, worthy of a Donizetti queen.

This genre of opera semi-seria is long extinct and very difficult to bring off. Michieletto manages the comic and sentimental aspects as well as the tragic ones - some scenes here are intensely dark and very touching, almost disturbing - while keeping a believable dramatic and esthetic balance.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Gazza Ladra steals show. March 4 2009
By Charles C. Coffee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent production. The sparse scenery, essentially large, movable plastic pipes, added nothing, but at least was not a distraction. The very athletic young woman who mimed the magpie stole the show.

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