- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: LPCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Running Time: 130 minutes
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: C Major
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 26, 2013
- List Price: $39.95
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(The below Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
C Major continues the Tutto Verdi series with La Battaglia di Legnano (The Battle of Legnano). This opera falls dead center in the Verdi catalog, being his thirteenth work premiering in 1849 during a time of political unrest in Italy. This work marked a stylistic crossroads with Verdi moving away from the bel canto tradition and more toward what the big dramatic arias and ensembles. The Teatro Verdi Trieste is the venue for this 2012 production directed by Ruggero Cappuccio
La Battaglia di Legnano is set in 12th century Milan. Young Veronese soldier Arrigo (tenor Andrew Richards) returns to the Lombard League army to fight the forces of German Emperor Frederico Barbarossa (bass Enrico Giuseppe Iori). Rolando (baritone Leonardo Lopez Linares), a Milanese soldier, recognizes Arrigo (who most believed had died in battle). Rolando has married Lida (soprano Dimitra Theodossiou), Arrigo’s former fiancée. Lida reveals her inner conflict to Marcovaldo a German prisoner (baritone Giovanni Guarliardo) after she learns that Arrigo is alive. Arrigo arrives and greets Lida with contempt. Rolando and Arrigo, now ambassadors from Milan try to get the Como city government to join their cause. However, Barbarossa suddenly appears and threatens Milan with utter destruction. Later in the crypt of Sant’Ambrogio, Arrigo pledges to join the Knights of Death to fight for his country. Rolando, on the eve of battle, asks Arrigo to care for his wife and family should he be killed. Lida meets with Arrigo and tries to convince him to leave his legion, but Rolando finds them together and is convinced that they are having an affair. Rolando imprisons Arrigo and forbids him to join his troops. However, Arrigo escapes his imprisonment and reunites with his unit. The Lombard forces are victorious and Arrigo has killed Barbarossa but he has also received fatal wounds. Before dying, he reunites Roland and Lida.
This is a strongly cast and directed piece, benefiting from excellent sight and sound recording. As with most works in the Verdi catalog, this one rises or falls on the strengths of its principals. This cast presents equally good contributions from tenor Richards, soprano Theodossiou (occasional pitch problems aide), and baritone Lopez Linares. Maestro Boris Brott keeps everything together nicely, respecting Verdi’s tempi and dynamics.
The picture is crisp and clear with excellent colors. Thanks to veteran Tiziano Mancini, camera work brings a great sense of the inner and outer drama of the characters, making this among the best in this series that I have seen. The issues I would take with this director Cappuccio’s production come not from the sparse sets (a common practice today) but from his choice of costumes, an odd mixture of 19th and early 20th century styles.
The microphones were ideally placed for this one, conveying a very realistic perspective in the surround sound track. The stereo alternative is attractive if slightly less The sound perspective in the dts HD Master Audio version is vivid with good balance between proscenium and pit. The two-channel version is also good if not as spacious.
I would venture to say that most operagoers will not have heard of La Battaglia di Legnano, let alone seen it. This makes the brief synopsis and introductory video an essential watch. The accompanying booklet also makes for useful reading. C Major also offers trailers from some of the other Tutto Verdi operas.
The Definitive Word
This is a Blu-ray premiere and clearly trumps an earlier DVD version. This is one of Verdi’s least performed works and, yet on hearing a strong performance like this one, I find it a puzzlement that it does not get more stagings. The choral parts are as good as in any of the later Verdian operas and there are many fine solo and small ensemble parts. The preghiera (prayer) that opens the final act presages the better known and equally beautiful “la vergina degli angeli” chorus from La Forza del Destino. For those like myself who come to La Battaglia di Legnano as a new experience will be pleased by this installment in the Tutto Verdi series.
Additional Screen Captures