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L' Italiana in Algeri

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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(Nov 11, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

L' Italiana in Algeri

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Product Details

  • Actors: Teresa Berganza, Sesto Bruscantini, Mario Petri, Alvinio Misciano, Nino Sanzogno
  • Directors: Nino Sanzogno
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French, Italian
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Hardy Classics DVD
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001HRJG3W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,490 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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I felt so glad and happy the day I knew L'Italiana in Algeri Rossini's opera 1957 version appeared on sale market. In fact I believe that this is the best version of Rossini's comic opera ever recorded on video. Despite of the black and white old technic video this version was recorded in stereo sound with a marvelous stage credits. Spanish mezzosoprano Teresa Berganza is without doubt the best Isabela role and she is excellent as well as vocal and acting talented. Italian singer solists: Sesto Bruscantini, Alvinio Misciano and Mario Petri are unique performers not easy to overcome in modern versions at the present time. All the stage production including the RAI Chorus and Orchestra and extra actors put the great essence and comic taste of a great quality work ever recorded on video. Thanks AMAZON.COM for giving this gorgeous version on DVD to all opera lovers.
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First the good news. What a wonderful performance of one of the loveliest Rossini operas! Taped for TV with very primitive means on July 10, 1957, it preserves glorious singing by all four principals. Mario Petri is a powerful and atractive Mustafà, with enough coloratura to do justice to the role. Sesto Bruscantini is at his best and that's a lot. i didn't know Alvinio Misciano, but he had a beautiful lyric tenor voice, an easy top and a most attractive youthful presence.But the great star and the main reason to get this performance is the Isabella of Teresa Berganza. To my mind, no one -not even the superb Marilyn Horne- can touch the Spanish mezzo in this role. At the start of her long and illustrious career, her voice is fresh and with a perfect coloratura technique (she could here give some lessons to a hyped superdiva of today), sensual and coquettish, but also determined and powerful, with no trace of self-indulgent exaggeration. With a smile that could melt one hundred Mustafàs, this is the Isabella of Rossini's dreams.

The bad news? This is a very poor RAI production -even for that time-, with silly sets and quite ridiculous stage movements, a sort of not intended unfunny parody of a bad and provincial performance of a Rossini opera. The sound, which is very good, was recorded beforehand (it has been available on CD for some years now) and the performers just mouth here their lines, with variable credibility. So, should one spend the extra money to get the visuals or just get the CDs? I am glad that I got the DVD as well, because of Berganza. This is a beautiful record of a fine artist performing on her prime and we're lucky that it was taped at all. I hope I helped you decide if you should buy it too.
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This 1957 made-for-Italian-TV "L'Italiana in Algeri" has the most limp-wristed group of eunuchs, the worst lip-synching, and the biggest, baddest Mustafá of any of my six versions of "L'Italiana in Algeri." You'll take one look at Bass-Baritone Mario Petri while he's rolling his eyes and baring his teeth, and think 'Bluto.' He does a decent job of singing 'Mustafa', but must have recognized that his true strength lay in acting. Petri is best known for appearing in such sword-and-sandal epics as "Rampage of Evil (1965)," "The Conqueror and the Empress (1964)," "Sandokan against the Leopard of Sarawak (1964)," and "Hercules and the Captive Women (1963)."

This version of "L'Italiana in Algeri" leaves out one of my favorite arias--the one where Mustapha prances about and brags about his effect on women ("Or mi tengo da piu del gran Sultano"), which is a shame because it would have been perfect for Petri.

Alvinio Misciano, the tenor who sings Lindoro also changed careers and made his claim to lasting fame by teaching voice to Luciano Pavarotti.

The video quality and sound track of this 'Italian Girl' are poor and it was filmed in black-and-white. The DVD version does have English subtitles, unlike the video of this opera.

However the role of Isabella is sung by a young Teresa Berganza at the beginning of her career and she is quite wonderful to watch. Her mezzo is rich and alluring, her acting pert and self-assured. Her prissy, middle-aged suitor is sung by Sesto Bruscantini, one of the best buffos of the post-war era. He is dead-on as Taddeo. In fact, he and Bluto--I mean Petri--almost but not quite steal the show from Berganza, especially in the 'Pappataci' scene.
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Yes...the singers are all good, but what the other reviewers seem to have missed is that the real star of the show is Nino Sanzogno. His pacing and shaping of the score is the springboard from which this sparkling performance leaps into action. He's possibly the greatest Italian opera conductor of his century. His Italian sung Wozzeck and Salome are even better in most respects than those of the top German conductors primarily associated with this music. He studied conducting in Vienna with Hermann Scherchen.
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