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Höstsonaten Alive In Theatre album cover
3.67 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 50% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

The Show (71:14)
The Backstage (3:53)

1. Prologue (7:35)
2. Part One (13:25)
3. Part Two (9:35)
4. Interlude (5:06)
5. Part Three (17:34)
6. Part Four (14:57)

Total time: 1:08'12"

Line-up / Musicians

- Fabio Zuffanti / Bass guitar, acoustic guitar, bass pedal
- Maurizio Di Tollo / Drums
- Simone Ritorto / Electric guitar
- Joanne Roan / Flute
- Luca Scherani / Keyboards, samples, accordion
- Sylvia Trabucco / Violin

- Alessandro Corvaglia / The Mariner, Part One
- Gianmarco Farne / The Young Mariner, Part Two
- Marco Dogliotti / The Young Mariner, Part Three
- Simona Angioloni / The Albatross, Part Four
- Agostino Marafioti / Wedding Guest

- Music / Fabio Zuffanti
- Arrangements / Fabio Zuffanti and Luca Scherani
- Musical direction and additional music ("Interlude") / Luca Scherani
- DVD direction / Simone Besutti and Giulia Sanna
- Theatrical direction / Susanna Tagliapietra
- Sound / Alessandro Mazzitelli and Rossano Villa
- Mixing / Rossano Villa at Hilary Studio, Genoa, January - March 2013
- Cameramen and editing / Simone Besuti, Giulia Sanna
- DVD artistic production / Fabio Zuffanti
- DVD executive production / Matthias Scheller for AMS Records
- Cover, Layout and Design / Eugenio Crippa
- Photos / Enrico Rolandi
- Thanks to / Matthias Scheller, Nicola Marrapodi for artistic collaboration and choreographic ideas/inspiration

- Morena Campus [Death]
- Priscilla Bellino [Life-In-Death]
- Carlotta Ferrera [The Moon]
- Angela Morelli
- Carola Biasetti
- Naomi Piga
- Miriam Rico
- Daniele Mignemi
- Edoardo Pallanca
- Marco Valerio Pesce
- Matteo Orione
- Simone Pastorino

Screenplay / Susanna Tagliapetra

Scenery and Costumes:
- Susanna Tagliapetra
- Bruno Pacchioli
- Priscilla Bellino
- Edoardo Pallanca

Lights / Ivo Ferrari

Releases information

AMS Records - AMS227CD, AMS12DVD

Recorded live at Teatro Verdi, Sestri Ponente, Genoa, Italy - December 16th 2012

Thanks to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the addition
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HÖSTSONATEN Alive In Theatre ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(50%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HÖSTSONATEN Alive In Theatre reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars With some regret, I have to admit that I never got around to picking up the most recent Hostsonaten studio album `The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', an interpretation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's classic poem. I've always enjoyed Fabio Zuffanti's reflective and sublime instrumental project and their albums such as `Winterthrough', and when I read that album was very vocal heavy, I kind of dismissed it. So when an announcement arrived that this work would be released as a live concert DVD, and a theatrical ballet/dance accompaniment at that, I decided this would give me more incentive to explore this work further. So not only do you get to see and hear a bunch of talented current Italian progressive players in action (many who have been involved in numerous outstanding modern RPI works), but you also witness Susanna Tagliapetra's simple, restrained and effective stage direction that compliments the soundtrack perfectly.

Instrumental opener `Prologue' is equally bombastic and classically grand, frantic and uptempo one minute, sedate and reflective the next. Full of whirring synths, imperial Mellotron and grand gothic piano, it gives an early taste of the supreme keyboard flavour that Luca Scherani plies all over this performance. Then it's straight into `Part One', which is very comparable to the most recent La Maschera di Cera album `Le Porte Del Demani', not surprisingly as this 13 minute section features the same raspy, dominating vocals of Alessandro Corvaglia. Weeping violin, soaring electric guitar solos that climb to the skies, marching drumbeat tension, a haunting piano solo in the middle and a darkly dramatic pained vocal outro comprise with wondrous piece, as well as a lovely reprise of one of the winning themes from the opening introduction track. Drifting acoustic guitar, heavenly piano, sprightly grinding time changes and Gianmarco Farne's strident vocals highlight `Part Two', with plenty of spiraling Moog solos, intimidating Mellotron blasts and a chest-beating finale.

`Interlude', a newly written piece that was not included on the original studio album, begins with the same pleasant tones of Camel's `Snow Goose' before a dark unsettling piano passage and wilting violin bring some dark gothic classical romantic atmosphere.

The soothing vocals of Marco Dogliotti purr around a grand electric guitar theme, gentle flute and a sprinkling of thoughtful piano in `Part Three', before unleashing in a more bombastic and booming direction not unlike fellow Italian band Quasar Lux Symphonie's `Abraham: One Act Rock Opera'. Marco's voice turns shrieking (worryingly sounding close to Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlow in a few spots) and the music grows wild and unhinged, a pumping beat, searing violin and devastating keyboard soloing tearing through. This is the part of the production that drifts the closest to outright heavy rock. A placid flute solo from Joanne Roan and melodic yet restrained bass soloing from Fabio calm the piece down again, before wrapping on walls of majestic Mellotron and exploding deranged synths over hearty vocals and a soaring guitar theme. Running water over a sobering accordion solo and the slightest of ambient synths open `Part Four', with a creeping piano, morbid violin and an eerie Peter Gabriel circa `Nursery Cryme'-era Genesis female vocal from Simona Angioloni ensures this finale is quite uneasy listening. The rising violin/piano section that follows is highly emotional with Simona's voice full of longing and desperation. The slow- building sedate piano build before the regal Mellotron and vocal choir climax is expertly performed and ends the show in a suitably epic and overblown way befitting a show of this stature.

Although you get the audio CD of the show with this package, the real selling point is the captivating theatrical stage footage recorded at the Teatro Verdi in Genoa. Through the dancers, alternating singers and the band (placed off to the side, but always easily seen), the performance successfully translates the story, allowing the viewer to visualize the magic words and music of the poem through multimedia elements, dance and stage actions. However the bonus backstage feature is a letdown, consisting of a barely four minute collage, first of the crew/band/performers setting up, and then an annoying two minute mix of them all screaming directly into the camera, `warming up' for the show no doubt, but it doesn't mean we want to watch more than 5 seconds of it! Sorry, this is a very minor and petty criticism though!

Sadly, there are just a couple of factors that do let this ambitious project down slightly. The biggest offense of all is the use of the English language. The Italian language is one of the defining characteristics of proper RPI music, and it would have worked beautifully here, considering how poetic and romantic that language is and would have sounded in this theatrical setting. Other than that, I do think Fabio's bass could have been mixed a little louder, and I probably would have enjoyed a few more fully instrumental, vocal-free passages to break things up a little. Also, the DVD is cut up into ten minute chapters, so you can't directly go to the start of a specific track.

There is no denying this is a complex and sophisticated work, and like the most recent Le Orme album `La Via Della Seta' reminded me, grand, pompous and classically inspired epic Italian prog can still be immensely satisfying and impressive when done well. The theatrical production and the talented musicians involved here makes `Alive In Theatre' a supremely classy and elegant effort.

Four stars.

Review by Progulator
3 stars Being a fan of the various projects of Fabio Zuffanti, I was very excited to recently get my hands on a copy of Hostsonaten's latest, a live CD/DVD combo entitled Alive in Theater. For those unfamiliar with Hostsonaten, you'll find many similar tendencies to MdC in that it clearly resides within the domain of symphonic prog and has a strong focus on the development of motifs to propel the album forward song after song. Fans of the band can expect a live recording worth picking up in the form of this latest release, performed, recorded, and filmed at Teatro Verdi in Genoa, Italy.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I primarily consider this a live album package with the DVD as a bonus rather than the focus. I give two reasons: firstly, in my opinion, the mini- lp style packaging rather than a DVD case hints that this is first and foremost a CD release. Secondly, while the DVD is very enjoyable to watch, the filming is not so stylized as many modern concert film releases (mostly a camera fixed at the back of the room alternating with one towards the side). The overall impression when viewing, therefore is more akin to sitting in the concert hall watching the performance from a fixed position rather than the numerous techniques of zoom, pan, close-ups, etc. that we might normally associate with a concert film. In terms of the audio CD, what we get is a very well recorded and produced live performance, in fact, one that is superior to the album version, which is saying a lot.

That said, the DVD is a solid bonus and very enjoyable due to the fact that it presents a visual addition to the artistic impact of the music by way of costumes and dancers. The fact that it drew my attention to particular singers and really allowed me to visualize them as characters, not just a voices, made for a much deeper listening experience. For example, seeing the entrance of the winged albatross and Corvaglia directing the tale to the wedding guest provided a very nice image to the sounds of Zuffanti's band. As the tale progresses and the icebergs slide out onto the stage it's quite fun to see him tell of the Mariner's travails in a sea of darkness just prior to the emergence of Simona Angiolini (the Albatross) in a ray of light as she descends as a symbol of the Mariner's luck. Seeing the young Mariner then emerge to slay the Albatross to the backdrop of Corvaglia's heartfelt/lamentful vocals was quite the powerful moment, if I do say so myself.

There were a number of other highlights from the stage production as well. Gianmarco Farne did a solid job presenting a young Mariner that was brash and controlling, and his solo at the end of "Part 2" was phenomenal as he passionately built a repeating motif which culminated visually in the Mariner having the Albatross hung on his neck, as represented by the dancers actually laying Angiolini on his burdened back. However, the highlight of the film for me was to be found in "Part 4" as Simona Angioloni takes center stage as soloist. Angioloini brilliantly portrayed her part as the Albatross, delivering a performance that was passionate in movement, expression, and interactions with other characters, at times desperate, and always emphasizing the narrative/interpretive aspect of the role. As if this wasn't enough, the shift to a dramatic and peaceful entrance of the Moon, as played by Carlotta Ferre, who capitalizes on dramatic movements and serenity of costuming, coupled with the band's powerful return, full of Mellotron choirs and slow but driving rhythm, all ensured that the production would go out with a bang.

If I have any complaints, it would be that the togetherness of the dancers was inconsistent at times, but then again, there were many great moments and the quality of audio for the live recording is superb in and of itself. In fact, I would dare say that in terms of audio this version sounds much huger and more alive than the original studio recording. Fans of the album certain should not miss out on this performance.

Overall I would certainly recommend this release to fans of symphonic prog, particularly those with an interest in the Italian scene. Not only would I say that in terms of a live CD it is exceptional, but many of us pretentious prog nerds certainly enjoy anything and everything that bands do to push their art beyond the mundane. In this case Mr. Zuffanti has gone above and beyond to call of duty and actually assembled a very enjoyable production, and hopefully continues to do more of this sort of thing in the future.

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