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Pergolesi: L'Olimpiade [Blu-ray]

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

With Olimpiade the famous poet Metastasio created one of the most popular librettos of the 18th century. It was set to music by over 60 baroque and classical composers including Vivaldi, Caldara, Hasse, Cimarosa and Donizetti. Pergolesi's composition from 1735 was one of the earliest adaptations.

Product Details

  • Actors: Raul Gimenez, Lyubov Petrova, Yetzael Arias Fernandez, Jennifer Rivera, Alessandro De Marchi
  • Directors: Italo Nunziata, Tiziano Mancini
  • Writers: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Pietro Metastasio
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (DTS-HD High Res Audio), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 170 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B5UBFK8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,715 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

Despite it having one of the most convoluted plots of any opera, Pietro Metastasio's L'Olimpiade was one of the most popular texts for Baroque composers. Originally set to music by Antonio Caldara in 1733, it was most notably followed by Vivaldi's version in 1734 and Pergolesi's in 1735, but the libretto has also been set around 60 times by composers such as Hasse, Galuppi, Jommelli, Cimarosa and Piccinni. Thanks to the Fondazione Pergolesi-Spontini's initiative to revive and release recorded performances of all the composer's operas in new critical editions, we finally have the opportunity to see Pergolesi's version of this immense work and it is something of a revelation. Not only is it one of Pergolesi's most beautiful works with perhaps the finest musical and singing performances we've seen yet from Jesi, but it also turns out to be one of the best settings of L'Olimpiade that exists.

All of Pergolesi's works released on Blu-ray so far have been given very strong productions with superb performances on period instruments by the very finest experts in this genre, but L'Olimpiade surpasses them all. To a large extent that's down to Pergolesi's distinctive and sparklingly expressive account of the work, where even the most tragic of circumstances and bitterness of sentiments have an achingly beautiful melancholic quality, but it's brought out exceptionally well by conductor Allesandro de Marchi and the musicians of the Academia Montis Regalis. The crystalline clarity and warmth of expression, with even the continuo sounding beautifully melodic, comes across particularly well in the HD sound recording here.

More than anything else however it's the singing that really conveys the true sentiments and strengths of this particular work.
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It is not often that I am in general agreement with my colleague critic Keris Nine, but in our assessment of Pergolesi's L'Olimpiade I am fully sympathetic to her analysis. L'Olimpiade is by far the true gem of a masterpiece of his four opera seria. Each one shows that his inherent genius had to overcome some awkwardness or mannerism of the opera seria style. And each one shows the progress to the mastery of his own talent. It should be noted that all were composed under very difficult situations, often in great haste,and none were immediately deemed successes. The three preceding opera seria: Salustia, Il Prigioniero Superbo and Adriano in Sirio are all now available in excellent recent performances (sponsored by the Pergolesi/Spontini Foundation)with period instruments and very accomplished singers and performers. The present work is an outstanding composition and certainly represents the high point of the Italian Baroque Style. The melodic writing uses delicate tone colors, smooth elegant expressive lines without the virtuosity displays of earlier works. The pathos in Salustia is here replaced by restained sentimentality and the aria formerly used to summarize a scene now can actually be the climax of the action. I must say that the duo of Megacle and Aristea "Ne giorni tuoi felici" that closes act 1 is one of the most ravishingly beautiful pieces of music that I've heard in a long time. Each and every singer in the cast are young and extremely talented and perform as close to perfection as is humanly possible; they sing and act. I cannot extol the virtues of the performers enough.
For several years I've had a very pleasant recording of the L'Olimpiade of Baldassare Galuppi.
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This is a classic Greek tragedy captured wonderfully by the composer. The minimalist staging is very appropriate for the genre as it is an intimate opera and a Greek drama needs no grand setting. I love the way the audience surrounds the stage which consists of a small oval with four "ramps." The singing and acting is wonderful and the costumes capture the classic Greek "muse" with a modern touch. I am looking forward to exploring more from this composer
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My review will be short – this is a live video released in 2013, of the same work that was released in 2011 on CD, also conducted by Alessandro di Marchi under Harmonica Mundi.
Di Marchi employed an entirely different cast from the CD recording.
I totally agree with the earlier review that the real find of this performance lies in the two sopranos singing Megacle and Argene.
Sophia Soloviy was previously unknown to me, though I believe in the Eastern bloc she must have already made a good name for herself judging from her ravishingly beautiful singing as Megacle. I feel that the casting of Soloviy as this suffering secondary hero is shrewd indeed, just as in Vinci’s ‘Artaserse’, the secondary hero got the main crop of drama and fireworks of the score, Megacle in Pergolesi’s late masterpiece also snatched the score’s trump card. Soloviy’s scene and aria "Se cerca, se dice" in Act 2 is an exemplary piece of performance in its striking expressivity and vocal beauty. She sings in a good range, fully integrated, with crystal enunciation and sheer perfect intonation.
Cuban soprano Yetzebel Arias Fernández is another young singer that I am unfamiliar with hitherto, but finds great interest after viewing this performance. Her smoky timbre with an expansive scope for dramatic expression is a real tour de force in repertoire ranging from baroque to bel canto and early Verdian works. Her spitfire-like accurate fiorature is simply jaw dropping in its dramatic force and shattering musical effect.
In the minor roles, the great Raul Gimenez as the King and Milena Storti as his courtier Alcandro both offer great performances.
Three young singers fed the bills of the primary hero and heroine Lycidas and Articea, as well as Aminta.
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