Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi - Aida / Gencer Bergonzi Cossotto Colzani Giaiotti Pugliese Capuana Arena di Verona|
Actors: Leyla Gencer, Carlo Bergonzi, Fiorenza Cossotto, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Anselmo Colzani
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A record of some awesome performances
John P. | Kennett Square, PA USA | 08/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best opera DVDs I've ever seen. The film quality is not great -- it's a black-and-white Italian TV broadcast from the 1960s. But the singing is out of this world. Carlo Bergonzi, as Radames, looks a little silly with his leotard and plump figure, but can he sing! Leyla Gencer,as Aida, likewise sounds fanastic. I know Cossotto has her detractors, but I think she's does a terrific job here as Amneris. The production, in a huge outdoor theater, is lavish, with an enormous set, tons of supernumeraries, and a ballet sequence that is as fun as it is dated. Don't miss this one!"
Time-Travel and Transcendence: An Aida For the Ages
V. Stasov | 10/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Carlo Bergonzi stepped out onto the stage in his baggy little body suit and started singing `Celeste Aida' my heart stopped. I was in my astral body, transported back to 1966 witnessing an opera performance for the gods and for the lucky, hysterically appreciative audience in the Verona Arena.
An assembly of singers with superb gifts - Leyla Gencer, Carlo Bergonzi and the sultry Fiorenza Cossotto - sang that night with such fervent ardor, such focused beauty and power that the impact was nearly devastating. Gencer, the great Turkish soprano, was unfortunate in the timing of her incarnation. She was eclipsed by Callas and Tebaldi, but not because her talent was in any way inferior. The shadows cast by this pair of titanic archetypal sopranos were too great for Gencer to surmount.
She was under-recorded and under-rated. This performance, her Trovatore with Del Monaco and a recently released Don Giovanni (which I have not yet seen) are the only opportunities I am aware of in which we can actually view her work. In Trovatore Gencer's almost a Victoria's Secret Leonora. By the time she sings this Aida nine years later, she looks (and is dressed) like someone's bubby from Miami.
But who cares? This is Verdi singing of the highest order. I was instantly swept up by the warmly wooden and so-awful-it's-funny style of acting. It was like watching a bad silent movie of Aida with one of the world's greatest sound tracks added as an afterthought. The staging and costumes for this performance were also tasteless to the point of jocularity. The directing was so old-fashioned, and the singers so wrapped up in their voices (except for Cossotto and Colzani) that the cast appeared oblivious to any necessity for anything even resembling what we would call acting today. Again, it made no difference at all for me. I was joyously enraptured by the refulgent quality of singing and the magnitude of brilliant talent in the principals.
Carlo Bergonzi had a magnificent and exemplary tenor voice with all the power, beauty and romance a Radames could ever require. I was utterly captivated as I watched him stare into space as he concentrated on his exquisite singing, unconsciously and repetetively stroking Gencer's flabby arm like a loving husband of thirty years.
Gencer's was one of the most beautifully sung Aidas I've ever experienced, with extraordinarily refined and exceptional vocal power and control. What I've heard of Galina Vishnevskaya's Aida places her in the same league as Callas, Tebaldi and Gencer.
Peering through this (literally) dim veil of time at her Nile scene with Anselmo Colzani's overwhelming and threatening Amonasro (the obligatory Verdian power-tripping father), I witnessed the greatest performance of this famous scene I've yet encountered. His ferocity and erupting fury, expressed through a huge and beautiful voice more than compensated for the dubious, outdated acting of the other singers (mainly Gencer and Bergonzi - but they're not even really trying).
The other dramatic powerhouse with the vocal sumptuousness to match was the shapely Fiorenza Cossotto. Her Amneris was a shimmering, serpentine Theda Bera who used the full impact of her seductive magnetism to try and ensnare Carlo Bergonzi. But it didn't work - after all, he'd been married to Leyla Gencer and living in Florida for the past thirty years - there was no way that this petulant, nubile princess was going to tear him out of his comfy and stable relationship.
Okay, I made that up. It just seemed like Bergonzi and Gencer were an old married couple.
I worship this performance. Because of the splendor and authority of the singing, it's one of the all-time great artistic achievements ever captured on video. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding document of operatic history. The costumes, production, even the scrunchy quality of the black and white film are ideally representational artifacts of cultural history from that period.
Chilean Opera lover | Santiago, Chile | 10/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a perfect cast. Bergonzi and Gencer at their best and the young Cossotto as you never heard her. Really wonderfull. The sound is very good but not the image. Anyway it does not matter when you hear them singing. This is history and a valuable document. Actually you can try but never find an AIDA like this, not even Pavarotti's at la Scala."