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Donizetti: Don Pasquale (Ravenna Festival 2006) [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

'...Riccardo Muti conducts Don Pasquale in Ravenna - a great celebration for everyone.' This press quote from the Italian music magazine Il giornale della musica hit the mark exactly. Watching
this realistic, young and vital production, directed by the young
Andrea da Rosa and listening to a high potential and unspent young cast, you feel how powerful, charming and timeless this score by Gaetano Donizetti is. This production was recorded during the Ravenna Festival in the gorgeous and patriarchal Teatro Dante Alighieri. Maestro Riccardo Muti shows one more time, what it means to perform an Italian opera with a young and professional Italian cast an outstanding and breathtaking performance.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Riccardo Muti, Claudio Desderi, Mario Cassi, Juan Francisco Gatell, Laura Giordano
  • Directors: Andrea De Rosa, Corrado Casati
  • Writers: Gaetano Donizetti, Giovanni Ruffini
  • Producers: Ravenna Festival
  • Format: Classical, Surround Sound, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound, Color
  • Language: Italian (DTS-HD 7.1), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2010
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003E113H6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,443 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Comparisons are inevitable: conductor Riccardo Muti has piloted two prior commercial releases of what seems to be a favorite opera of his, the first audio (Freni, Winbergh, Nucci, Bruscantini; Philharmonia; EMI, 1984), the second video (Focile, Kunde, Gallo, Furlanetto; La Scala; TDK, 1994). I have written a favorable review on this site for the '94 Scala production, and the positive changes I detected in the maestro's contribution -- looser, wittier, more elegant and playful than on '84 Philharmonia -- remain in evidence on this new '06 Ravenna staging. The youthful Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini gives everything it has under this sharp-eared taskmasker. It would be unfair to expect from these young players the last degree of polish and brilliance of the Scala Orchestra as that ensemble had been transformed by 1994 (for example, there is a suavity and finish to various exposed solos in Scala '94 that is still some ways down the road for Ravenna '06); but these are matters that only need concern the connoisseur. To put the finest point on it, one will search long and hard for such a well-run race by a youthful orchestra through the intricacies and felicites of DON PASQUALE as the one we have here. The sound recording quality is excellent -- whether it is "better" than that on '94 Scala/TDK will be a matter of taste. The principal difference I notice, and notice immediately, is that '06 brings the percussive elements more to the fore in the miking. Thus, while the *shapes* (and perhaps even the balances) do not greatly differ between the two, '94 Scala's soundscape is a plush, rich and velvety one; '06 Ravenna is comparatively punchy, pungent, raucous.

The orchestra's youthful quality is matched on the stage, to more equivocal effect.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
To begin with, Laura Giordano. I know she has been around for the last few years, but this was the first video other than those on the You Tube that I have seen, and now own.
I don't remember falling for a pretty face that acts and sings, like a ton of bricks... ever! No, not even Netrebko/Machaidze or their ilk have had that sort of a reaction from me. Giordano has done such a wonderful job both in acting and singing. In fact I listened to a lot of passages with the TV screen Off, just to concentrate on the singing, and at last we have an upcoming soprano with a very sunny voice rather than the darker ones that we have got used to in the last decade, with some notable exceptions (like Mia Pearsson). The sheer vivacity and cruelty that Giordano has brought out with such passion, has no equals in any of the Don Pasquale's I have ever seen. I cant wait to see her role in La Boheme as Musetta. Should be great. I have a feeling that she would make a good Suzannah in Marriage of Figaro.

Now that I have got that off my chest, as regards the disc,

1. It is beautifully shot, flawless as a blu ray should be..
2. Recording is superb. Good balance most of the time. The choruses sound beautiful. Good editing too.
3. Muti is fantastic. The good recording brings out the conductor's excellence even more.

Now if I were to compare this disc with a recent DVD recording, I would like to name the Florez/Rey/Raimondi conducted by Santi/Zurich Opera.
The Dramatization in this one is very compact, but no where as good as in the Zurich production. Agreed the stage is even smaller than Zurich, but I think it could have been better. The 'Fight' scene between Pasquale and Norina however, is brilliantly executed.
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Format: Blu-ray
I would like to start this review with a message of thanks to a fellow reviewer, Satish Kamath, who recommended this disc very highly - not least because of the outstanding excellence of Laura Giordano in the role of Norina.

I can now confirm that, for me too, she makes this an absolutely outstanding disc to own. I had previously come across this wonderful young singer in the role of Musetta in La Boheme where she was something of a show-stealer. This is a more extended role and she has everything - youth, beauty, charm, a twinkle in the eye, a lovely and accurate voice and mesmerising acting! In addition she never lets her treatment of Pasquale descend to demeaning vindictiveness and therefore Pasquale is able to sustain his dignity. Her relationship with him is therefore repaired at the end in a completely believable manner.

Pasquale, performed by Claudio Desderi, is also excellent both as a singer and as an actor. The remaining key members of the cast, Malatesta performed by Mario Cassi and Ernesto performed by Francisco Gatell, are as young as Norina and this once more, adds dramatic veracity to the situation. They are also well able to perform their roles with accuracy and with good acting. This is a very talented team overall even if this Norina is a bit of a star turn!

The whole production, in a traditional setting, is directed by Muti who brings to the production his flair for dramatic drive tempered with a delightfully light touch which allows the humour to register at all relevant points.

The recording features crisp imaging which still manages to cope well with the subdued lighting especially in Act 3. The camera work keeps the focus on the action very well throughout. The sound is presented in DTS-HD 7.
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