Ciro in Babilonia

 

Rossini Ciro in Babilonia (Cyrus in Babylon) to a libretto by by Francesco Aventi. Directed 2012 by Davide Livermore at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. This opera was written by Rossini when he was 20, and this is the world premiere filming of the work in any form! Stars Ewa Podleś (Ciro), Michael Spyres (Baldassare), Jessica Pratt (Amira), Carmen Romeu (Argene), Mirco Palazzi (Zambri), Robert McPherson (Arbace), and Raffaele Costantini (Daniello). Will Crutchfield (from his piano) directs the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Chorus Master Lorenzo Fratini). Set and lighting design by Nicolas Bovey; video design by D-Wok; costumes by Gianluca Falaschi; directed for video by Daniele Biggiero. Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound.

Thanks to the power of HD TV, we are now getting decent productions of extremely obscure works including stuff that nobody had the guts to publish in video before. Livermore set this in the 1920s and uses inserts from period black and white films. That would account for the unusual art work seen on the cover of the keepcase. David Shengold reviewed this in the January 14 Opera News (page 62). He warns that the silent movie theme is overdone and distracting. But he praises the singers, the orchestra, and the conducting and concludes this is a "musical journey well worth taking."

This is not likely to wind up on anyone's list of 20 favorite opera discs. But the Rossini Opera Festival has a good track record for putting out provocative updates such as Zelmira and Mosè in Egitto. This, together with the Shengold review and fact that it's from Opus Arte, suggests that this title is worth a try. Grade: Help!

The only clip I found about this in HD video (can't stand to watch SD stuff):