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Verdi;Giuseppe Simon Boccanegr [Import]


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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Release Date: June 8 2010
  • ASIN: B003IP2YFI

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Strong traditional production with a few modern touches Feb. 22 2012
By Keris Nine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Coming just before the mature final works, Verdi's Simon Boccanegra - along with Un Ballo in Maschera, Les Vêpres Siciliennes, La Forza del Destino and Don Carlos - occupy a strange but fascinating hinterland in the career of the composer. Each of the operas, influenced by Verdi's political involvement in the Risorgimento for the reunification of Italy during the period, are very much concerned with the exercise of power, but they all rely on typically operatic conventions of bel canto and French Grand Opéra in their use of personal tragedies and unlikely twists of fate to highlight the human feelings and weaknesses that lie behind their historical dramas. Written in 1859, but revised by the composer in 1881, Piave's libretto given an uncredited reworking by Arrigo Boito, Simon Boccanegra is consequently one of the more interesting works from this period, certainly from a musical standpoint. Aware of the flaws in the earlier version of the opera, Verdi can be seen to be striving in its revised form to take it away from the aria/cabaletta conventions towards the more fluid form of through composition and expression of character that would come to fruition in Otello.

It's perhaps with this in mind that the 2010 production of Simon Boccanegra from La Scala in Milan adopts a kind of hybrid form of traditional staging with some modernist touches that, like the opera's own make-up, don't blend together entirely successfully, but are no less fascinating for how they throw their contradictory elements into relief. There's nothing too jarring or experimental in Federico Tiezzi staging - this is La Scala after all - which gives a sense of historical 14th century period, with beautifully designed costumes and eye-catching colour schemes that make the divisions between the rival factions clear. There are one or two more modern touches of stage technique however - descending trees onto the stage in Act II, a sea of blocks that suggests seismic activity and a huge reproduction of Casper David Friedrich's Das Eismeer - that suggest that this shouldn't be taken simple as a straightforward historical drama, but as one that has greater conceptual meaning with regards to the questions of the nature of power and the place of human relationships within it.

This is a fine, marvellously looking production then, meticulously directed and expertly conducted by Daniel Barenboim to bring out the full conceptual nature of the staging and the abstraction of the opera's music, but it's the human interpretation that is perhaps the most vital aspect of Simon Boccanegra. Domingo, of course, isn't the true baritone that is required for the role, but he had all the necessary qualities and experience - as he approached his 70th birthday - to take on the challenge of two significant Verdi baritone roles in 2010 (and it's probably no coincidence that the other was that complementary character of Rigoletto). His tone of voice, so dramatically attuned, brings a great deal of that necessary flawed humanity to the role of Boccanegra. Ferruccio Furlanetto is of course one of the great Verdi basses of our time and it's particularly wonderful to watch two such fine performers and voices complement each other so well in this rival roles. Their Act III 'Piango, perché me parla' is absolutely stunning. Harteros sings Maria/Amelia well - as you would expect - but I didn't get the same sense of father/daughter chemistry that existed when Domingo was paired with Marina Poplavskaya for the Covent Garden production of this opera the same year.

It's not just experience that is required either on the part of the singers, but rather the ability of Domingo, Furlanetto and Harteros to inhabit their characters and give them a deeply human sense of expression through their delivery that ultimately lifts this production above being merely a faithful and appropriate treatment to one that explores the intriguing potential of the opera, with all its fascinating flaws and contradictions. The Blu-ray release from Arthaus presents the production exceptionally well, with a clear, sharp full-HD image, and two sound mixes in LPCM stereo and DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 that are superbly detailed and toned. There are no extra features on the disc, and only a brief essay on the opera and the production in the enclosed booklet. A synopsis to explain the historical context of the opera's setting would have been useful, but I imagine you can find that on line somewhere if necessary. The Blu-ray is region-free, BD25, 1080i, subtitles are in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Korean.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Domingo is great in this Feb. 13 2012
By Phillip - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I just watched the Blu-ray of this and was almost moved to tears by the great singing of Placido Domingo. Hard to believe he was 69 when this was recorded.................what a strong yet nuanced performance! Ferruccio Furlanetto was magnificent also.............he is one of the best basses I have ever heard.

La Scala did a nice job staging this opera, and I really liked the orchestra under Daniel Barenboim.

The opera has a Shakespearean tragedy feel to it, and high point to me is the duet in the last act between Domingo and Furlanetto that sort of echoes the Commandetore and Don Giovanni. This is the best Verdi opera I have ever seen. There are no extras, but there is interesting information in the booklet that comes with the disc.

Five stars and highest recommendation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not full-blown Eurotrash, but ... Oct. 10 2013
By Brent Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
has enough weird stuff (trees descending root-first from the ceiling into the stage; oddball rectangular plates littering the stage, etc.) mixed into what is ostensibly a traditional production, that I regret having blown money on it.

I had thought this sort of thing doesn't happen at La Scala. But, alas, they are not immune.

If one is dying to hear Domingo sing baritone (and he does so very well) ... there are at least two other productions on DVD.

Musically and sonically the DVD is faultless, beautiful in fact. But we come back to the same issue: if it's a DVD, it's meant to be seen. And if one likes traditional productions, this won't cut it.
Amazing performance by Domingo Jan. 1 2013
By Warren Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This DVD promises to be incredible given that it is Verdi, with Placido Domingo in the lead role, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and performed at Teatro Alla Scala. And this performance delivers. The sets are wonderfully bare and powerful at the same time, the orchestra sounds fantastic (this group *always* does) under Mr. Barenboim's baton, Mr. Domingo shows that his voice is still incredible along with his acting skills, and the Chorus of the Teatro Alla Scala does wonderful work bringing the incredible choral components of Verdi's opera to life. Ah yes, this is fine opera, and I continually found myself envious of those that got to see it performed live in that magnificent venue.

The one negative that took me by surprise had to do with the camera angles and continual cutting in from close-up to pulled-back view in the later portions of the 2nd act. This choppiness was totally unnecessary and detracted from the production on video as a whole.

That being said, this is a remarkable performance and is certainly a worthwhile addition to this opera lovers collection.


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