- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, Italian
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: C Major
- Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
- List Price: $12.99
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In recognition of the upcoming Verdi bicentennial, C Major has launched an ambitious project bringing all twenty-six of the maestro’s operas to the blu-ray catalog. This disc is a highlights teaser that offers some of the best-known numbers from the twenty productions already released from Il Teatro Regio di Parma. In 2004, this opera house began the Tutto Verdi project that will have staged the entire Verdi catalog by 2013. As most international opera companies focus on the better known works, this collection offers up some rarities like Oberto, Un Giorno di Regno, I Due Foscari, Il Corsaro, and Giovanna D’Arco. Of course you do get the old reliables like Aida, Il Trovatore, and Rigoletto. For those coming to these operas for the first time, the selections are presented in chronological order of composition, allowing us to follow the development of Verdi as a composer. The artists included in this release are a collection of familiar names (Anna Caterina Antonacci, Marco Berti, Leo Nucci, Marcelo Alvarez) and some not as well known (Svetla Vassileva, Teresa Romano, Francesco Demuro). Although a number of stage directors are employed, traditional opera lovers will be relieved to see that most of the productions are period appropriate with standard sets and costumes.
The stage of Il Teatro Regio appears relatively small by the standards of today’s major opera houses. This does not limit the videographers who appear to understand how to cover the sightlines and give outstanding support to the drama on stage. Details are somewhat softer than those found in some of the best BDs but, overall, they are more than adequate.
Since the acoustics of Il Teatro Regio do not change from production to production, I was surprised to find that the sound quality varied considerably among the selections presented. The more dramatic productions like Il Trovatore sounded positively great while La Traviata was downright boxy.
C Major gives us brief featurettes that introduce Nabucco and Il Giorno di Regno. Apparently such extras will be available on all of BD in the series. This is a boon for newcomers to the Verdi repertory and adds useful information.
The Definitive Word
Highlights discs can be a mixed bag and Tutto Verdi is no exception. You do get plenty of Verdi selections from the less familiar early works and for that we should be grateful. With few exceptions, the performances are generally strong, with particular mention to those of tenor Alvarez, baritone Nucci, mezzosoprano Antonacci, and sopranos Vassileva and Theodossiou. Musical direction is sympathetic to the singers. Videography covers the staging quite well but the sound palette is surprisingly variable. The principal value of this collection is that it enables potential buyers to sample a broad selection of the early Verdi masterpieces that receive star treatment and merit your serious attention. This BD’s bargain price seems a no-risk opportunity for those wishing to go beyond the maestro’s proverbial war horses. Given the usual short shelf life of sampler discs, this is one to get while it is hot.
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