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Rossini: Adelaide di Borgogna [Blu-ray]

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Editorial Reviews

Among the showier flowers of Rossini's operatic catalogue languish a few rare blooms - masterpieces like Adelaide de Borgogna that have seen relatively few revivals. This world-premiere recording of Adelaide from the 2011 Rossini Festival in Pesaro brings winning voices in bel canto opera together in a stylish production from noted director Pier'Alli.

Product Details

  • Actors: Daniela Barcellona, Jessica Pratt, Bogdan Mihai, Nicola Ulivieri, Dimitri Jurowski
  • Directors: Pier'Alli, Tiziano Mancini
  • Writers: Gioachino Rossini, Giovanni Federico Schmidt
  • Producers: Rossini Opera Festival
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: Italian (DTS-HD High Res Audio), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 154 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,534 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Matt B on February 17, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This Rossini Opera Festival (aka "il ROF" in Italy) production taken as a whole probably is as good or better than any previous edition of this obscure opera in any format. There are two older CD versions. One is under Rossini scholar Alberto Zedda that features the outstanding Adelaide of Mariella Devia with a rather weak supporting cast and less than state of the art sound. The other is a posh Opera Rara set that is somewhat hampered by the acidic soprano of Majella Cullagh amidst an otherwise acceptable cast.

Regarding the version at hand, in the title role, coloratura soprano Jessica Pratt is more than up to the task and gives a tour du force rendition of her final tripartite aria that will leave you speechless. Interestingly, that grandiose aria is the penultimate number of the score with the mezzo-soprano getting the last word with an "aria con cabaletta" as the Finale. After hearing Adelaide's big set piece, the actual conclusion of the opera is a bit anticlimactic, in the same way that the final scene of Lucia di Lammermoor can at times feel "tacked on" if the tenor is not up to the task. Fortunately Daniella Barcellona in the trouser role of Ottone is more than up to the assignment even though it probably would have made more musical and dramatic sense if the title character did bring the piece to its proper conclusion. However, that is how the libretto is structured and as such is only one of several weaknesses in the scenario. Consequently some might easily argue that the piece is not from the composer's top drawer. However, in actuality Rossini really had no other choice given that with which he was given to work.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John W. Rippon VINE VOICE on March 28, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Yes it is strange that the 25 year old highly successful Rossini would turn out an old fashioned formulaic opera seria after such forward looking achievements as Otello, Tancredi, L'italiano in Algeri, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Armida. The last two in the same year and Armida with the same librettist G. F. Schmidt. But this return to old forms turned out to sparkle with rich writing for capable voices and the orchestration is right up there with the best. It was written for the Teatro Argentina in Rome (p. Dec 1817) where the Barber had premiered earlier that year. The opera Adelaide apparently died on the vine there and disappeared from memory (Rossini did use some material in later works as was his wont).
The Rossini Foundation commissioned a critical edition from Gabriele Gravagna and the noted Rossini scholar Alberto Zedda. It maybe old hat as far as opera development is concerned but it is in no way second rate; Rossini had written a dozen or more opera and knew what he was about.(He had only a few weeks to prepare before the opening; typical of his modus operandi).
The less said about the scenery and the staging the better. The costumes are fine and appropriate and the singing is great so just ignore the background jumbled videos and silly staging (battling umbrellas?!?) As they say at the ballet, nothing matters but the music! And the music is ripe Rossini. The widowed Adelaide is sung by the emerging bel canto super star Australian Jessica Pratt. Her roulades sparkle, are effortlessly produced and beautifully executed. The accomplished alto Rossinian Daniela Barcellona as King Ottone puts in an exciting and excellent performance. On the male side, new to me, Bogdan Mihai as Adelberto was outstanding in voice heft and execution and almost stole the show for me. Adelaide di Borgogna is not in the top rung of his creations, but it is now a treasured part of my Rossini colection.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 10, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Composed in 1817 for Rome between the writing of Armida and Mosè in Egitto for Naples, Adelaide di Borgogna has all the signs of being a commission hastily filled by the composer to a classic template of war, revolution and romance, with a historical background of Italian significance. It's the kind of subject that Verdi would later make his own and, without underestimating the importance of the Rossini influence, often do it with considerably more character than it is done here in Adelaide di Borgogna. It's not the composer's greatest work then, but being Rossini it's not entirely without merit either, and the right kind of singing and staging could certainly bring out its qualities. Recorded at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 2011, director Pier' Alli and conductor Dmitri Jurowski certainly make the best of the work and are assisted with some fine singing performances, but overall the work still remains problematic.

The main problem with Adelaide di Borgogna is that proves to be a difficult opera to stage dramatically. There's a solid historical foundation to the work, which is based around the year 951 on the campaigns of the German Emperor Otto the Great, even if it has all the usual operatic mannerisms, coincidences and twists that we have become familiar with in historical romances. That at least gives the composer plenty of material to work with and the principal pleasure of the work then is indeed in listening to Rossini's spirited musical arrangements for the piece. It also helps that the performance of it here under Dmitri Jurowski is simply wonderful. Regardless of whether the music is the most expressive - sometimes it's fairly conventional, repetitive and monotonous - Jurowski varies the pace and seems to pitch the tone perfectly for demands of each scene.
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Rossini: Adelaide di Borgogna [Blu-ray]
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