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Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera
Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera
Actor: Luciano Pavarotti
Director: Levine
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2008     2hr 29min

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 ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Luciano Pavarotti
Director: Levine
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Decca
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/08/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 29min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Powerful Singing and Acting from Pavarotti and Ricciarelli
Robert Petersen | Durban, South Africa | 04/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The MET opera's previous production of Ballo, set in colonial America was premiered and recorded in 1980. Both Luciano Pavarotti and Katia Ricciarelli were at the height of their vocal powers and it shows. Pavarotti's love for the score translates well to the screen, even though he may not be the most imaginative actor around. Ricciarelli is even more effective as Amelia; as a singing actress of the highest order, her interpretation is both strong voiced and well acted. Louis Quilico as Renato is in good voice and Judith Blegen is a dashing Oscar. Bianca Berini is a bit of a low point as Ulrica, not eclipsing Florence Quivar in the subsequent MET recording. Patane's conducting is often at odds with his lead singers and the camera focus could be better at times, but this is a fantastic opportunity to see and hear both Pavarotti and Ricciarelli in their prime."
Verdi's triumph over censorship
E. A. Lovitt | Gladwin, MI USA | 10/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Giuseppe Verdi originally got this opera past the censors by disguising the liberal Swedish monarch Gustavus III, who really was shot in the back, as the fictional Riccardo, Governor of Boston. This Metropolitan Opera production follows Verdi's political change of scene, and is set in 18th century Boston on the eve of the American Revolution (one of the conspirators is a ringer for a youthful Tom Paine in glasses). This Elijah Moshinsky production is true to history in that the tenor is also shot in the back, so ignore the fact that our hero claps his hands to his massive chest before he tumbles to the ballroom floor.Viva Verdi! Viva Pavarotti! Like all great singers, Pavarotti possesses an instantly recognizable voice. His is an unusually large lyric tenor, and in this 1980 recording of Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera," he displays a youthful beauty of tone. His bright timbre and exuberant personality might seem more appropriate to the Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto," rather than the conscientious Riccardo, governor of Boston. However, it is also a very special experience to hear Pavarotti sing Riccardo and he does much to lighten up this rather dark production. It is easy to understand why Kattia Ricciarelli as Amelia falls in love with him.Pavarotti has a relatively lean stage presence in this production, without his famous handkerchief and tent-like costume, but it would still be too much to expect him to act out a subdued death scene at the masked ball. Lean physique or not, we can't conceive of lean acting from this exuberant tenor.Katia Ricciarelli, who has also recorded a 'Ballo' with Placido Domingo, is in her prime in this recording, which takes place before the heavier Verdi soprano roles and 'Turandot' supposedly ruined her voice. Here, she possesses a sweet lyric soprano and a lovely stage presence that surely would have melted a heart less hard than her husband's, as she kneels before him and sings "Morrò, ma prima in grazia."If only Amelia had stayed on stage and listened to Renato's dramatic and sorrowful "Eri tu," I'm convinced this operatic couple would have been tenderly reconciled.Oh well, this is opera, not life. The late Louis Quilico was 55 in 1980 when this production was recorded. His baritone was not as smooth or beautiful as other baritones that the Met had in its stable at the time, but I think his portrayal as the ageing husband of Ricciarelli's young, beautiful, tempted-to-stray wife was very poignant. He would not have gotten such a tumultuous reception to his big aria, "Eri tu" if he had not convinced the audience of his rage and sorrow.The American soprano Judith Blegen, who was a frequent duettist with Frederica von Stade, is one of the highlights of this recording. She sings a buoyant, brilliant Oscar, most especially in her teasing aria, "Saper vorreste" in reply to Renato's inquiry about Riccardo's disguise at the masked ball."