Demetrio E Polibio
Customers who bought this item also bought
What a pleasure to listen to Demetrio e Polibio wrote major Italian daily La Stampa after the premiere of Rossini's very fi rst opera at the 2010 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro attributing it an undeniable fascination . The work was given its first performance in Rome in 1812.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Most often we read complaints when the "set" design seems truncated, too simple. This one is curious, for it seems to begin
only after a 'regular opera', and everything is packed up and ...lights off..turned off by a "fire marshall, who smokes cigarettes"...which gives us a clue that there is going to be a lot of fire hazard. Indeed... the players all seem to have soem kind of device in the palm of their hand and with a flick of the thumb, blazes up quite frightfully. Later, as part of the script, the palace is invaded by the enemy bent on recapturing this lost son. There are lots of guys with torches, the red lights waver, and the red curtain wavers to produce the imagery of a great fire...with "first responders coming out in their
usual gear with refelctive tape on their firemen gear, and hose it all down, and "extinguish the fire".
I think you get it...an empty stage taken over by ghosts of 'opera pasts', with lots of backstage boxes, back sides of flats, long rows of garments on racks (for other operas) as scene dividers. You wonder how it all works, but it does. The production doesn't take itself too seriously, in spite of the all out performances, and playing with fire, and back stage people all over the place! It actually helps ease the over the top intense love, fear, anguish, threat,murderous outrage,..pretty melodramatic stuff.
It is explained that Rosssini, very early in life, wrote this for a family of opera singers, most notably a famous tenor at the time, wife, daughters, and adopted son all taking the roles; and Rossini explaining he did this for a few "Piastres".
The Mombelli family, the father a celebrated tenor at the time both amused themselves , and too, Signor Mombelli provided his young daughters some real good experience...hence a kind of home movie aspect of the thing. The singers chosen do very well, especially the soprano Maria Jose Moreno and her romantic counterpart, the breeches role sung by mezzo Victoria Zaytseva. We all have our favorite tenors, mine happen to be a tenor getting up there in years, like Domingo, or even Alagna, both with a deeper resonance all the way to their top notes-a more mellow, and melifluous G and A. This is just personal, of course, and not meant to offend anyone..I think a tenor that probably reflected the elder Mombelli might have pleased me a bit more - albeit Yije Shi pulled off a flawless performance.
The "time" is about a King of Parthia, and a King of Syria...so Rossini's era costumery just added to my bewilderment a bit. The libretto is itself a bit convoluted...but in the end, we are mainly enjoying the music, aren't we? I'll keep this one. I also join the other reviewers, who noticed the superb job everyone did to make this happen. Congratulations to everyone involved. So...let's see some more obscure operas! I like it.
True, the libretto is lame. It might not have seemed quite so lame to opera-goers at the end of the Baroque era; after all, it's not much lamer than the libretti of the great Metastasio. Everyone but the librettists must have understood that the plot and the words were only a scaffolding for the music, for Bel Canto. The boy Gioachino transcended his libretto as gloriously as any Baroque composer from Vivaldi to Mozart. If Rossini had died at age 19, the rediscovery of this opera would have astounded the musical world. The music is very good! Rich in musical invention! Already 100% Rossini!
This production, from the 2010 Rossini Festival in Pesaro, redeems the flimsy libretto both by its musical excellence and by its effectively whimsical staging. The four principals are costumed in baroque finery but the "set" is the backstage, behind the curtain, of an opera house. One can suppose that the singers are the ghostly avatars of opera sung in the past. Stage hands and fire marshals wander through the action without perceiving the singers. This is "Regietheater" -- Director's Theater -- that succeeds in enlivening a weak narrative without disrespecting the themes of the opera or the affect of the music.
Here I've given Demetrio e Polibio FIVE big fat stars while other insightful reviewers have given only four, but Bel Canto so generously composed and so wittily performed cannot fail to entertain.