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Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera [Import]

3.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Feb 06, 2001)
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Product details

  • Actors: Katia Ricciarelli, William Wildermann, Judith Blegen, Julien Robbins, Bianca Berini
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Antonio Somma
  • Format: Classical, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • Release Date: Feb. 6 2001
  • Run Time: 149 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00004Y9PZ
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Product description

Product Description

Luciano Pavarotti in his first Met Ballo heads an illustrious cast in the revolutionary production of Verdi's opera. His portrayal of the ill-fated Riccardo is "peerless Pavarotti." Katia Ricciarelli ("...a brilliant lyric spinto soprano...used to impressive effect...") is heard in her first Amelia at the Metropolitan Opera. Louis Quilico ("...his 'Eri tu?' was one of the real highlights of the evening..."), Judith Blegen ("...focal point of pure light."), and Bianca Berini ("...sang with taste and authority.") round out the cast. For his Metropolitan Opera debut, Elijah Moshinsky places his provocative Un Ballo in Maschera in 18th-Century Boston, on the eve of the American Revolution. It's a time of unrest and transition, when the conflict between civic obligation and personal desire is drawn into even sharper focus. Moshinsky's interpretation of the 1859 classic strips away all the familiar conventions and, as Andrew Porter in The New Yorker sums it up, we see "Verdi's opera to be (in Shaw's words for "The Ring") a work 'frightfully real, frightfully present, frightfully modern'...this is a Ballo about things that matter." This presentation of Un Ballo in Maschera is subtitled in English and was taped during the February 16, 1980 performance at the Metropolitan Opera. No material was taken from rehearsals, other performance, or remake recording sessions.

One thing you could emphatically never say about Verdi was that he skimped on melodies: Un Ballo in Maschera is a veritable greatest-hits opera, not because most of the arias are so familiar (though some surely are), but because their freshness and seemingly inexhaustible supply keep listeners' ears attuned even when the characters in this historically based tragedy perform the usual operatic deeds to each other: betrayal, revenge, and murder. This 1980 Metropolitan Opera production sets the opera in colonial Massachusetts, which was Verdi and his librettist's alternate location after Italian censors insisted it not take place in Europe. (The Met's more recent stagings have returned it to the original Sweden.) Elijah Moshinsky's production works surpassingly well on video, focusing the eyes on the performers, all of whom surpass themselves dramatically and vocally. Louis Quilico makes a credible Renato, who must decide whether his best friend--who is also the "Governor of Boston" (!)--is in love with his beautiful wife. Katia Ricciarelli displays a sweet tone as Renato's wife, Amelia, and none other than Luciano Pavarotti plays Riccardo, torn between loyalty to his friend and love for his friend's wife. Never the subtlest actor, Pavarotti made his name on his one-of-a-kind tenor voice, and in 1980 he was in his prime, making this disc a valuable document. The conducting of Giuseppe Patané is more than adequate. --Kevin Filipski

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