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Il Prigionier Superbo & La Serva Padrona (2012)

 NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Il Prigionier Superbo & La Serva Padrona + Lully: Armide + Purcell: Dido & Aeneas
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Korean
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • Run Time: 177 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00925TA1Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,773 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Both operas were directed by Henning Brockhaus, who placed Il prigionier superbo within a contemporary setting inside a cave and La serva padrona in a circus. The casts both brilliantly show their versatile voices in numerous virtuosic arias accompanied by the Baroque specialists of the Accademia Barocca de I Virtuosi Italiani, conducted by Corrado Rovaris.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More amazing rare Pergolesi from Jesi October 12, 2012
Last year saw the Blu-ray release of Adriano in Siria, the first Pergolesi opera made available through a new initiative by the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini to not only stage new editions of all the existing opera works by the composer - all of them rare, most all-but forgotten - but to have them all released to the public on DVD and, if we're lucky, Blu-ray. The hopes raised by Adriano in Siria at the possibility of recovering some unheard of masterpieces are met with yet another extraordinary work (or should I say pair of works, since the composer's Intermezzos are also being recorded and released alongside the main works) in the 1732 dramma per musica Il Prigionier Superbo (The Proud Captive), which is released here alongside its rather more famous Intermezzo, La Serva Padrona. And, happily, it's another exceptionally well-performed production of a work that truly merits rediscovery and re-evaluation, which also looks and sounds just incredible in the High Definition Blu-ray format.

Il Prigionier Superbo, right from the outset, demonstrates a sense of melody and use of instruments that sounds to me quite unlike anything else from this period. The work as a whole reveals similarities to other contemporaneous composers in certain respects - an unrelenting rhythmic force that reminds one of Steffani, with some furious Vivaldian flurries and a sense of Handelian dignity in the how it carries the 'affetto' emotional core of the drama - but there is at the same time something unique about the way the musical approach reveals the emotions behind the drama. Directed by Corrado Rovaris and recorded in the intimate and acoustically sparkling surroundings of the Teatro G. B.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pergolesi in Iesi January 5, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Read the reviews by Keris Nine and Giordano Bruno first. Everything they say is bang on. (Even their points of disagreement make sense. You won't get unanimity about this DVD.)

First, what's good about this DVD and why should you buy it if you are a serious music lover and opera afficionado?

1.) Pergolesi's music, melodically straightforward, often hard-driving, often rhythmically inventive (in a way that makes it fun to listen to, but tricky to play.) Most music lovers know and love Stravinsky's Pulcinello, which is based on the music of Pergolesi. Stravinsky has beautifully captured the charm of Pergolesi's music, and given it a neo-classical update.

A good many of us know about La Serva Padrona, which changed the course of opera and opened the way for longer and more "serious" applications of commedia dell'arte, such as The Marriage of Figaro (which may not have been possible without Serva.) The evening recreated by these DVDs is one of the most significant evenings in the history of music. Pergolesi's music is inexhaustibly charming and accessible, and, frankly, should be better known. (Here's your chance to help remedy that shortfall.)

2.) Pergolesi's bio. Irresistible three-hankie story about the gifted artist who was taken from us at the obscenely early age of 26, leaving behind an already impressive body of work, much of it in the standard repertoire today. Pergolesi was the John Keats of the 18th century. Both men died of TB in their mid-20s, leaving us to shake our heads and wonder "What if?"

3.) Production quality. Very hi def video and audio. Outstanding microphone placement (this is a live stage recording.) Great camera work. Absolutely first-rate singing and instrumentals. Lovely ladies. Interesting acting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weirder Ain't Always Gooder! November 28, 2012
Read Keris Nine's review before continuing with mine. Keris says all the nice things about these two productions that I would prefer to say, and Keris is a consistently fine reviewer. However ...

These two DVDs make a very good case for the value of sound-only CDs. The staging of La Serva Padrona, mis-en-scene in a circus, is not offensive. In fact, it's modestly amusing. But it completely disregards and diminishes both the humor and the earnest social commentary of the libretto, which is all about class consciousness and class resentment. If the drama is so dispensable, why not just stage it as a concert, even though it was the drama more than the rather workaday music that kept this intermezzo popular far longer than any other stage piece by Pergolesi?

"Il Prigionier Superbo" is another matter. Several of the arias and ensemble pieces in it are very fine, fiery/luscious Vivaldi-worthy Baroque, and some of the principal singers are musically magnificent in their roles: Marina di Liso as the cruel usurper Metalce, Marina Comparato as his rival Viridate, and Marina Cusi as Rosmene, the woman they both desire. But the staging is a horror show of unnecessary confusion and distraction. Each of the six main characters is represented on stage by a bunraku-style costumed puppet. Unfortunately, the puppetry isn't very skillful or consistent, and the camera close-ups of the singers pay spotty attention to the puppets at best. All of the principals except the prisoner-king Sostrate are sopranos or altos -- women in this production though the roles were probably composed for castrati. The women singers, however, are not gender-costumed, so one needs to pay rather close attention to who's who.
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