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Verdi;Giuseppe Aida [Import]

DVD

List Price: CDN$ 35.99
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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: German, French, Spanish, Italian, English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: C Major
  • Release Date: June 8 2010
  • ASIN: B003IP2YE4

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More pain for suffering Aida June 21 2010
By Gosta - Published on Amazon.com
I do not consider myself an ultra conservative opera fan. I enjoy innovative ideas and minimalist staging. I can accept certain liberties from directors who move the original story to alternative contexts. It is not the excess of liberties the worst in this production (and liberties there are at discretion!): it is just the poor quality of the outcome. This production does not suggest new ideas or a different approach to the story of suffering Aida; it is just excentric for the sake of excentricity. I am not advocating for the missing elephants during the triumphal march, but the awful choreography in this production does not add much attractive. I miss the good singing, the good acting, the beautiful staging and even the good dancing. The principals are simply not up to the demands of their roles or their singing is frankly irregular. The use of microphones in an open space may have something to do with this, but in any case we are not in presence of impressive singers. Save your money and go to the very traditional but still unmatched Met production of the 90s (Levine, Zeffirelli, Domingo et al). If you are not a Zeffirelli fan, wait until the Muti production (with Valayre and Cura as principals) is released, if ever.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Graham Vick's Aida July 3 2010
By E. Lyons - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I was eager to see this production because it is directed by Graham Vick, an opera director whose work I almost always admire. Overall, I liked a lot of his ideas (but then I was disposed to), however, there were also some problems.

The "lake stage" at Bregenz is a strange venue, and difficult to film properly, I think. The orchestra is actually playing its part in a building nearby, while the singers listen to the orchestral part piped in through speakers and sing into little headset microphones that they wear throughout the performance. Performance starts at dusk and soon it becomes dark enough for the spectacular and very large sets to shine. Because the stage is so huge, directors sometimes put a lot of funny extra stage business all around the margins--which might work in person but is distracting when the video director tries to capture it all. The video director here in this Aida makes the mistake of trying to encompass everything and not going in for enough closer shots (Aida is a human drama after all). I don't want extreme close ups, but a waist length shot once in a while is good. Overall, the camera movement is often incoherent and you can't even really tell where the principles are on the scene sometimes.

Another important note: the performance is VERY heavily cut. Apparently, festival goers at Bregenz have to get out of the performances by 11:30 (or some time) in order to catch the last city trains and buses, and they don't run very late...so they cut the score for longer operas to fit, and they don't have an intermission.

The production itself: Giant statue of liberty in ruins...Amneris leads around two men who crawl around on the ground as she holds their leashes, and they have black hoods on like the torture victims in the photographs from Abu Ghraib...There is lots of Abu Ghraib type imagery throughout. Amneris's room at the beginning of Act II is a sort of disco with all of her friends a bunch of rich girls manhandling guys who are prisoners in those black hoods again. The triumphal march is unconventional as well: a group of American (?) soldiers dance with some girls and then break their necks in unison at the end of the dance. One interesting idea is that Radames dies right after the judgement scene, and the final scene is played out on a sort of "boat of the dead" as he and Aida leave the earth; the boat is lifted high into the night sky as they sing their duet. There were some other similarly creative and nice touches to the production, but it was highly political and modern so be warned.

As far as the singing and acting, it was only okay. Tatiana Serjan and Iano Tamar as Aida and Amneris were really good actresses (when the camera got close enough for us to see), but vocally not really special. The Amonasro was not powerful enough in his voice and his legato was not good enough for this character's big moments. The Radames was kind of a nonentity--not much voice, and not interesting on stage.

Overall, I am glad I got this because I like Vick's ideas--but it should not be your only version. My other favorites are the Zefferelli production from Busetto with Aldrich/Piper/Aaron--a cast of young unknowns who act and sing very well in a spectacular production (with a smaller orchestra than usual in a very, very small theatre), and the Robert Wilson production from Belgium with Fantini and Berti--strange but moving and effective for me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nontraditional grand Aida July 23 2012
By harmless drudge - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this production of Aida. I have seen several of the Bregenz operas and have found them all to be enjoyable -- none of them is a clear first choice in that each is "risky" and has casts that can not vocally match the best of the competition. Nevertheless, as a total entertainment package, I have found these productions to be far superior to most opera DVDs. One of the reasons is that the stage is an enormous platform on the edge of a lake; the productions are filmed at dusk, so the background darkens as the opera proceeds which allows for some striking lighting effects. (I would urge anyone unfamiliar with this venue to sample one of the excerpts that can be found at Youtube.) The orchestra is out of sight (literally that is), and the singers are miked. In general, the balance between orchestra and singers is pretty good.
Ok, on to this Aida. If you're primary love is top notch vocalism, then you may want to put on your CDs (lots of good ones avaible such as Milanov/Bjorling/Perlea for the best voices or, perhaps, Nilsson/Corelli/Mehta if you want to be nailed to the back of your chair). The 4 principals in this production are certainly adequate; Aida and Amneris are up to the task; Radames gets better as the evening progresses; Amonasro is less memorable (but the role is pretty thankless anyway). For me, the final scene was worth the price of admission because the vocalism and staging come together to create a powerful conclusion. What is undoubtedly most controversial about this production is the staging. Words can't do it justice; as with other Bregenz productions, there is an element of Cirque de Soleil in the staging with scads of extras, dancers, and acrobats. Although the characters wear Egyptian hats and masks, their clothing is otherwise modern; indeed, Amneris prances about dressed for a cocktail party or an evening on the town. Moreover, Verdi's Egyptian setting has been transformed to the U.S. with a partial Statue of Liberty as the dominant set piece. (Heck, the Ark of the Covenant also makes an appearance but, alas, no Indiana Jones.) The Americans/Egyptians are clearly intended to be a corrupt or decaying empire that has enslaved others (prisoners are hooded and leashed). Some may find this offensive; others trite. Although the parallel between the American empire and the Egyptian one is forced at times, the juxtaposition of the pomp of the victors with the oppression of the vanquished is well done and, who knows, may stimulate some thought among viewers. Finally, I should note that this production is not an example of egregious Regietheater, where some narcissistic director runs amok with a personal interpretation that is unfathomable to the audience. Whether you agree with the director or not, the vision is coherent and understandable. 5 stars for staging and overall entertainment; 3-4 for vocals and orchestra.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Interesting Production Aug. 14 2011
By Warren Harris - Published on Amazon.com
This production of Verdi's Aida features some very unconventional sets, made even more unique for having been staged over water. The set itself features pieces/ruins of the Statue of Liberty, floating stage elements, and boats that priestesses, prisoners, and other characters arrive and leave on. Initially this is a bit distracting in that you have characters wearing rain-slickers and boots, but the Wiener Symphoniker under Carlo Rizzi do a fine job with Verdi's score and the principles are in good voice - and once I relaxed into it, I thoroughly enjoyed the production. The imagery was also interesting in that extras could and did disappear into the water providing a subconscious life/death feeling to various actions on "stage".

As for the principles themselves, Rubens Pelizzari does a good job as Radames, but the two stand-outs for me were Tigran Martirossian and Tatiana Serjan - her vocal work as Aida was wonderful, and it would be a treat to hear her without the necessary aid of head-worn microphones necessary for this production.

If you have seen Aida before and really want to see the pageantry of the Triumphal March with live animal work and traditional sets, this is not the production for you. But if you are open to seeing an interesting and differently staged interpretation with good, solid performances, this is definitely worth a look.

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