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It had become trendy by the end of the 19th century, as well as the first half of the 20th, to dismiss almost all of the Bel Canto operas and all of Verdi's early works (before Rigoletto) as trashy and inconsequential. Fortunately for opera lovers, the last 50 or so years has resulted in a re-examination of these works and a welcome proliferation of performances and video recordings of them. Works that had been consigned to the trash bin of history are now seen to be excellent, both as to the music and the dramatic aspects of them.
While I can and will nit pick this performance (that is, after all, one function of a review), it is readily apparent why Oberto was a success in 1839 and continued in the repertory for several years after. It is a typical 19th century story of innocent girl seduced, abandoned and out for paybacks, an outraged father, concerned about his honor, a former lover who can't understand what the fuss is all about and his (new) fiancee who is more forgiving of her rascally intended AND more supportive of girlfriend no. 1 than any female I have ever known.
The music is enormously energetic (but not frantic) and melodic. Verdi fans will easily see the future in what was composed in Oberto.Read more ›
As for this recording it does justice to this early work. The artists are all unknown to me. The singing is pretty good, the drama not so, but then this is not a great libretto. Best of the singers is the tenor Fabio Satori as Riccardo. Unfortunately in today's opera world he will not have a great career since he is not film star handsome. Nor is he any shakes as an actor. The director does little. He stops the action at times by having his characters pose in Robert Wilson-like gestures. I guess this gets him through some static sections but it doesn't show much genius. The costumes are vaguely 19th century, the scenery is minimal and abstract. The lighting tends toward the dark which is not bad for this opera. The conductor Antonello Allemandi keeps things moving briskly.
This is a good start to a wonderful series. However I wonder if the more well known (and recorded) operas here will be able to stand up to the competition. I have seen an early review of Ernani and the critic pretty much dismissed it as below contempt. So I look forward to works I never thought I would see such as Alzire or Masniederi. But I'll keep to the big houses for the rest. Besides from the look of it the Parma opera house is pretty small - too small for the later works such as Don Carlo or Aida.
Well, this is only the second "Oberto" ever released on video, and it is great to have it. (Interestingly enough, the other release of Verdi - Oberto was also made the same year as this performance 2007.) This dvd is part of the "Tutti Verdi" series of releases of his entire operatic output presented by Teatro Regio of Parma as performed over the last few years. My particular interest is in the rarities like this.
"Oberto" is Giuseppe Verdi's first composed opera.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I feel it necessary to give this production of Verdi's first opera five stars just for the music, a remarkable insight into the melodic compositional brilliance of Verdi even at... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jorge
I have over 150 classical DVD/BRs that I watch on a 106" screen and listen through a 7.1 loudspeaker setup where the front speakers are about 9' 6" apart and the surround... Read morePublished on December 17, 2013 by R. Kreutzer
Like a previous writer, I have also bought two versions of this DVD and they both were a video of samples of the whole series, while the label on the DVD correctly said Oberto. Read morePublished on September 26, 2013 by Carlos Augusto Laudari
I've now purchased two copies of this opera by different third party sellers on Amazon. Each was incorrectly labeled as Oberto but was actually the sampler video of Tutto Verdi. Read morePublished on September 12, 2013 by Joseph Rochetto