- Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: French, German
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Arthaus Musik
- Blu-ray Release Date: June 26, 2012
- List Price: $39.99
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The Capodanno or New Year’s Concert is a major event in many European performance centers. This Blu-ray disc captures the 2012 New Year’s program from La Fenice, Venice’s most important performing venue. La Fenice burned to the ground in the ‘90’s and now has risen from the ashes as a superb music hall. The program consists of symphonic and operatic sections and begins with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a masterpiece by any account. Unfortunately, the orchestral forces, under the baton of Diego Matheuz are too undermanned and under- conducted to deliver a memorable performance of this work. The musical pulse is nearly lifeless and the players, competent but no better than that. The second half of the program featured operatic selections including the Anvil Chorus from Verdi’s Il Trovatore that was sonorous and yet grating with poor choral enunciation. The Cavaradossi aria from Puccini’s Tosca was a toss off by tenor Walter Fraccaro. The proceedings did not improve with Jessica Pratt’s attempt at La Somnambula’s highlight aria or Alex Esposito’s testerone-deficient catalogue aria from Don Giovanni. The highlight of these proceedings was the time-defying chorus from Verdi’s Nabucco, “Va Pensiero.”
The videographers got this one right. The colors, the contrast between stage and audience were spot on. Detail and colors were nicely done. La Fenice was and is once more a gorgeous hall and the cameras give us a very good account of its internal splendor.
The audio engineers had a good day. The DTS-HD Master Audio track was fabulous, conveying a sense of being there. The PCM track was also well done, if not producing the same degree of presence.
The Definitive Word
This is a largely forgettable memento of a one-off New Year’s Day concert, undermined by routine singing, lackluster conducting and instrumental playing. Unless, the Venetians in attendance were still recovering from New Year’s Eve galas, I would doubt that most would have left La Fenice feeling that they received full value for what were probably pricey tickets. The pity here is that from a production quality standpoint there is excellent videography and sound recording. The only rationale for getting this Blu-ray for your library is to luxuriate in the camera captures of a legendary performance venue that is most certainly the music hall equivalent of eye candy.
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