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Sigismondo (2010)

 NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Italian, French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese
  • 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
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 183 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008P76X3I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Early Rossini has a youthful, buoyant vibrancy about it, even in the dark swirls of drammi per musica like Sigismondo. The work, centered on a mad king and his delusions, was rarely played after its premiere in 1814. This performance marked the first from the critical new edition at the 2010 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and was hailed as a "perfect symbiosis of music and stage work" resulting in "truly brilliant theatre." Complete with a cast of sought-after Rossini singers, this is not to be missed.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(6)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong production of a rare early Rossini work September 5, 2012
Format:Blu-ray
Updating an opera and setting it in an asylum isn't a terribly original idea and it does usually have a sense of desperation about it, but there is of course a tradition of mad scenes in bel canto opera, so it's not necessarily inappropriate. All the more so since Rossini's rarely heard 1814 opera Sigismondo actually opens with a mad scene of sorts rather than builds up to one, where Sigismondo, the king of Poland, is still tormented by the loss of his wife Aldimira, who he had executed 15 years ago on account of accusations of infidelity that had been laid against her. Sigismondo belongs in this respect to another traditional opera theme then, that of innocent women unjustly accused of infidelity or having their maidenly honour called into question by a jealous admirer who has had his advances rejected. Starting the way it does however, already wading in the depths of madness, Rossini's Sigismondo would seem to have other ambitions towards a psychological drama more closely aligned to Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello - worked into an opera of course not just by Verdi but by Rossini himself soon after Sigismondo - and to the medieval legend of the saint Genoveva, the subject of Schumann's only opera.

As presented at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 2010, there's certainly a belief here that Sigismondo is worthy of more serious consideration and treatment. I'm not sure that the music or Giuseppe Foppa's libretto are always strong enough to bear that kind of psychological probing, but the opera is certainly more experimental in its arrangements than some of Rossini's earlier work and it does indeed build up to a forceful expression of the situation in an impressive series of arias, duets and ensembles in the distinctly Mozartian Second Act.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Failure but Recycled into New Life November 5, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Grove's Dictionary of Opera says of Sigismondo (Venice 1814)that this is arguable Rossini's most unrevivable serious opera and I must agree. If the cast and this production can't bring it to life than nothing will. The production is excellent. It tries by setting this story of a mentally unstable king who believes he has be betrayed by an unfaithful wife and goes off kilter in an insane asylum. This means a lot of extras trotting around doing crazy things (silently) while the main characters are spouting one dizzying bel canto line after another. The king is the well established true bel canto mezzo Daniela Barcellona (a "pants" role). She is devine. I can't help but play her sections over and over again. She is a consumate artist of this style of music.
The true find of this recording is rising star Olga Peretyatko who plays the king's unjustly maligned wife Aldimira. She is a superb singer of strong full voice and great physical as well as vocal beauty. I think it worth the price of the disc to hear her and Daniella sing together.
There are great Rossini moments in this opera. Duets, solos, concerted numbers and some delicious bel canto male singing by the "bad guy" Ladislao, the betrayer, sung by Antonino Siragusa. Yes much of the music is good Rossini but it is not to be lost forever in this failed venture. As you are listening this or that tune sounds familiar and ah! I know that theme. As Rossini often did, he recycled much of this opera in his next work, his first Neopolitan work, the quite successful (and a particular favorite of mine) Elisabetta Regina d'Inghilterra (1815). Even the orchestral opening of the second act here will lead you to hum "La Calumnia" of the Barber of Seville (Rome 1816). This is not Rossini for beginners. The libretto (by Foppa) of Sigismondo is impossible and even the genius of Rossini could not bring it to fruition. But for the collector and enthusiast it is a must for the few pearls here and a top rate cast.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was Rossini a Baroque Composer? November 18, 2012
Format:DVD
Was Mozart? It might be fun to argue the affirmative in a debate tournament. Consider some evidence:

* The loopy libretti he chose, most of them, would have served equally well for operas by Handel or Hasse. There isn't a speck of compromising plausibility about any of them. Rossini's "humor" is far closer to 18th C opera than to, for example, Offenbach.

* The story-line of a Rossini opera -- Sigismondo is a good example -- is advanced chiefly in the recitativos and ariosos, while the arias are devoted to generic expressions of emotions. That's why Rossini, like Vivaldi and Handel, was able to re-cycle his best arias from opera to opera without any sense of shameful incongruity.

* Rossini's operas generally follow the Baroque structures of alternating recitativos with ABA da capo arias. Rossini got wily with his da capos. He extended the B sections, tacked in extra B sections, rewrote the da capo A sections in musically clever ways, but the ever-satisfying da capo reprise is almost always recognizable. As it should be! Da capo makes both aesthetic and emotional sense!

* Rossini had a "thing" for high voices! Many of his male characters, including King Sigismondo in this opera, are given soprano or alto music. Castrati were getting scarce in the musical establishments of Rossini's era; hence, like Mozart (that other Baroque genius), Rossini gave us glorious "trouser roles" for the delectation of divas forevermore.

* There's virtually nothing in Rossini's musical/harmonic/rhythmic vocabulary that strays away from Baroque practice. In fact, a small "period instrument" Baroque orchestra serves quite well for any Rossini opera except perhaps Guillaume Tell. Such an orchestra would not serve even for early Verdi, let alone Berlioz.
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