Verdi-Otello (Cura, Stoyanova, Grand Teatre Del Liceu, Ros-Marba) (2006) (NTSC)
Introduction-Artistic Director & Jose Cura
|Year Of Production||2006|
|Running Time||140:31 (Case: 151)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Antoni Ros-Marba|
Select Audio-Visual Distrib
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
Italian dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Italian Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Giuseppe Verdi is one of the greatest composers in Opera, responsible for many of its most famous works which are performed all over the world in the world's great opera houses. One of those is presented here, Otello, based on the play by William Shakespeare and written by Verdi in the 1880's with a libretto by Boito, who also composed operas in his own right.
This live performance was recorded last year in Barcelona at the Gran Teatre Del Liceu, one of the great opera houses of Europe. The cast includes the wonderful Jose Cura in the titular role, Lado Ataneli in the equally important role of Jago and Krassimira Stoyanova as Otello's wife, Desdemona. All three sing and act wonderfully and their performances imbue this production with much emotion and drama, which is well suited to the dramatic storyline.
This story, of course, involves Otello, a moor who is the Venetian governor of Cyprus. He is a great warrior who has converted to Christianity from Islam and now fights for Venice against the Turks. His ensign, Jago (known as Iago in the play) becomes disgruntled as he has been passed over for promotion and plots to get revenge on Otello and the man who he was passed over for, Cassio. Through various intrigues and deceptions he turns Otello against his wife, Desdemona and against Cassio whilst seeming to remain loyal to Otello. This leads to various tragedies which is what you expect in a grand opera.
The production itself is surprisingly stark with little in the way of set dressing other than red walls, a red sloping floor and a large white cross. This would seem to be the normal approach for the stage director of this production, Willy Decker. Personally, I prefer a fuller stage production but this style is quite popular also and it certainly keeps the focus on the performers and their acting. The chorus here are all dressed in white and the lead performers in various colours. The costumes are of high quality. One thing I found annoying about this production was that the sound effect representing wind sounded like it was someone offstage using an electric drill. This was mostly only used during the opening scene.
The show is split over two dual-layered discs with the break between acts 2 & 3.
Generally then, this is a wonderfully acted and sung production of an important Opera which features a stark production.
The video quality is a mixed bag.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio. It is in NTSC at 480i.
The picture was very sharp generally speaking with clear detail on people's faces and costumes however it is quite badly affected by grain, some macro-blocking and some significant chroma noise on the red walls and floor. Some examples of this can be seen at 12:00 and 24:30 on Disc 1. The show was recorded on HD initially and has been transferred here at a very high bitrate. I can only assume that the grain and blocking have occurred during the transfer of the video from the HD source to this SD DVD release. There is also some occasional low level noise in dark backgrounds. Shadow detail is generally very good.
The colour was good except for the aforementioned chroma noise.
The only noticeable artefact except those already mentioned is aliasing which occurs infrequently and is mild in nature. Some examples include a jacket at 14:10 and the cross at 62:50.
There are subtitles available in 6 languages including English. They are well paced, clear and easy to read.
The layer changes are well placed and are not noticeable during playback.
The audio quality is excellent.
This DVD contains an English DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s and a Linear PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 1536 Kb/s. The DTS track is fantastic recreating a concert hall experience in your lounge room. The soundtrack is very immersive with music and ambient audience noise in the surrounds. The performers have not been individually miked which also reproduces the sound of an actual live performance.
The singing was rich and clear with nice depth and tone, obviously somewhat driven by the quality of the performers.
The music comes across very well with excellent distinction between the various instruments of the orchestra. Sometimes the orchestra is slightly loud which threatens to drown out the singers especially during the chorus focused scenes.
The surround speakers add significant instrumentation and ambient audience noise.
The subwoofer is used constantly for the rolling drums which are a major part of the instrumentation here.
|Surround Channel Use|
All extras are 16x9 enhanced.
The menu is still and silent but functional.
A 30 page full colour booklet is included which contains many photographs and an essay about the opera and this production in multiple languages.
This introduction is in Spanish 2.0 with subtitles and is hosted by the artistic director of the Liceu. An interview with Jose Cura is also included. They discuss the story, characters and production.
This is a very useful extra especially for those new to this Opera. It runs through the story of the opera with accompanying stills from the production. Each act is covered. There is a voiceover in English.
Stills of each main cast member with their name and the name of their character.
This release is the same globally.
The video quality is a mixed bag.
The audio quality is excellent.
A small selection of worthwhile extras are included.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|