- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
- Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: C Major
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2012
- List Price: $39.99
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Un Giorno di Regno (“Reign for One Day”), was the second of Giuseppe Verdi’s thirty operas. Following hard on the heels of his premiere success, Oberto, and, Un Giorno bombed in the box office in 1840. The poor reception of this opera, after all it was a comedy of manners, caused a significant shift in Verdi’s operatic focus and he wrote no more comedic operas until his final work, Falstaff, more than 50 years later. As Verdi’s 200th birth celebration will occur next year, there has been a resurgence of interest in “tut to Verdi,” or all things Verdi. Hence, we now get the release of this 2010 production from Il Teatro Regio di Parma. Fortunately, it is as good a performance as this work probably ever received with a youthful cast whose only familiar name is mezzo-soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci (La Marchesa del Poggio). Not to worry, as the other principals, Guido Loconsolo (Cavaliere di Belfiore), Andrea Porta (Barone di Kelbar), Alessandra Marianelli (Giuletta di Kelbar), and Ivan Magri (Edoardo di Sanval) are good colleagues. The orchestra and chorus receive excellent direction from maestro Donato Renzetti and veteran director, Pier Luigi Pizzi puts on a period staging that supports the action perfectly.
Since slightly more than 99% of opera enthusiasts will be completely unfamiliar with this early Verdi work, a brief synopsis is order. The backdrop story is that King Stanislaus of Poland, exiled to Paris, is trying to return and regain his throne. The Cavaliere di Belfiore is charged with his impersonation so that the king can accomplish this feat without being discovered in advance. Belfiore milks this opportunity in the home of Baron Kelbar who has betrothed his daughter Giuletta to the older La Rocca, instead of Edoardo whom she loves. Meanwhile the Baron’s nice, Marchesa del Poggio has been engaged to the Count Ivrea rather than to Belfiore, her beloved. Through a number of plot machinations, and after King Stanislaus’s return is successful, Edoardo and Giuletta are united. Belfiore, “king for a day,” can drop his disguise and marry his beloved Marchessa.
The camera work gives us a very intimate view of the stage proceedings and helps the connection with performers. The leg shots of mezzo Antonacci, still quite a hottie at forty-five, are right out of the Frederick’s of Hollywood’s catalog. The rather stark staging actually is the perfect foil for the singers and the costumes are handsome period numbers.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is terrific with excellent orchestra-voice balance. The perspective is very close to what one would expect in the opera house and the singers are well served.
The Definitive Word
When we begin to raid the cupboard of the true operatic giants, there is the risk of finding items that are past their sell by dates or simply inedible. Fortunately, Un Giorno di Regno fits neither description. Opera fans will get a good dose of real bel canto, a style that Verdi eventually abandoned, and some great solo sings. Echoes of Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini are rampant throughout. The attractive cast is mostly up to the task and with sympathetic musical direction, I am certain that this production far exceeded anything that Verdi encountered at its debut. Further, we get to hear a bunch of young voices that will be gracing the international opera stages for some time to come. A real winner, in all respects.
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