Running Time: 137 min
Picture Format: 4:3 Letterbox
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Menu Languages NTSC: GB
Subtitle Languages NTSC: D, F, GB, I
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Stage Direction, Set Design and Costumes by Massimo Gasparon
Zandonai’s most popular creation “Francesca da Rimini” was commemorated in Macerata, the provincial capital of the northern Italian region of Marche, in 2004. Massimo Gasparon (former assistant to the celebrated scenographer Pier Luigi Pizzi) was responsible for the direction, set and costumes of this production for the Sferisterio Opera Festival. With its all-star cast including Daniela Dessì and Fabio Armiliato as the passionate lovers (the singers are regarded as two of the leading interpreters of Italian soprano and tenor roles respectively, both hail from Genoa and are in fact also real-life partners) and the baritone Alberto Mastromarino as the ideal “villain”, the production follows in a long line of significant post-war performances of Francesca da Rimini. The Sferisterio – a 4,500-seat arena originally used as a venue for the traditional ballgame gioco del bracciale (a game played with spiked arm protectors and a heavy wooden ball) – was built between 1819 and 1829; since 1921 it has been home to the annual opera festival held in late July/early August. As has come to be associated with staged events in Verona, the representative open-air nature of the performance turns this lavishly costumed production in a historic setting into something out of the ordinary.
“The title-role is a great challenge for the soprano - she is on stage for most of the evening. Daniela Dessì… rises splendidly to the great love duet at the end of Act 3, when the lovers read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, and find their own passion cannot be denied. Massimo Gasparon's production is satisfyingly old-fashioned, his costumes evoking 14th-century Italy... Zandonai's orchestral effects are fascinating, and Maurizio Barbacini and the Marchigiana orchestra make the most of them.”
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