I Puritani (Blu-ray) - Juan Diego Flórez, Nino Machaidze

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I Puritani (Blu-ray)
Composer: Vincenzo Bellini
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Conductor: Michele Mariotti
Director: Andrea Bevilacqua
Juan Diego Flórez
Nino Machaidze
Ildebrabdi D’Arcangelo
Gabriele Vivani
Orchestra: Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Label:     Universal Music Classics
Language: English
Subtitles: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish
Region: B/2
Run time: 150 minutes
Number of discs: 1

Puritani was Bellini's last opera. He died some eight months after the premier at the age of 33.

It is a difficult opera to stage for several reasons.

First, the music is fiendish to sing. The tessatura --range from low note to high-- is extreme, especially for the tenor and soprano.

Secondly, it calls for a large number of principal singers, six in total, with four being the main roles.

The legendary "Puritani quartet" of Grisi, Lablache, Tambourini and Rubini, who sang in the premier were named.

This performance is at the same time blessed with this quartet being Juan Diego Flórez, Nino Machaidze, Ildebrando D'Archangelo and Gabriele Viviani.

All sing splendidly and while the eternal battle of "this" soprano vs. "that" soprano continues, Machaidze is not only a vocally excellent Elvira, but a dramatically believable one, as well.

Juan Diego Flórez makes singing Arturo seem easy, but it is a role that nearly caused both Pavarotti and Gedda to strangle-- metaphorically speaking--on the high notes.

Both D'Arcangelo and Viviani bring a high level of vocal and dramatic excellence to their portrayals of Georgio and Riccardo.

Staging at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna is traditional, while the camera work vacillates between the front of the stage and the rear.

Conductor Michele Mariotti, who is a favorite at the annual
The Rossini Opera Festival, is a sure hand with this score and both chorus and orchestra seem quite at home with it.

Disc quality is superb, with magnificent picture and sound in the
HD MA mode that will amaze.



Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani

Bellini’s last opera, a love story set against the background of the English Civil War in the 1640s, is a vocal showcase that features another of the composer’s great mad scenes for the leading soprano. The work’s 1835 premiere starred four of the most prominent singers of the day who afterwards became known as the “Puritani quartet.”

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