In this San Francisco Opera production, Verdi?s enduring masterpiece of musical theatre, Aida, is a marvellous blend of human emotion and grand spectacle, full of Egyptian pomp and pageantry. In Sam Wanamaker?s lavish prod... more »uction, highly acclaimed for its extraordinary musical performances, Margaret Price is outstanding as the Ethiopian slave, Aida, Luciano Pavarotti makes a triumphant debut in the role of Radames, commander of the Egyptian Army, and the entire performance is masterfully shaped by the Spanish conductor, García Navarro.« less
"There's a little too much gold lame on display here for my taste, but for those who like their opera productions big and flashy, this "Aida" should thrill. Pavarotti, looking downright boyish at times, is in beautiful voice, as is Margaret Price, his leading lady. (On the other hand, her wild eyes and melodramatic gestures have to go.) Unfortunately, Simon Estes as Aida's father is from the louder is better school of opera singing, but, hey, he's not around too long. The real news for me is Stefania Toczyska, who's remarkable as Amneris. I thought the Met's Delora Zajick owned this part, but Toczyska gives her a run for her money. Superbly sung, dramatically valid, this is one of those performances that gets you hunting for more of her...only this seems to be it on DVD. Too bad, but grab it while you can. As for the production, when I stopped looking for taste and gave myself up to the tacky opulence, I found myself enjoying it a lot. Kinda like Zeffirelli's "Turandot," though on a smaller scale. And it's "Aida," after all, so, really, how can you go wrong?"
Welcome DVD release
Joseph L. Ponessa | Glendive MT USA | 06/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance was telecast from San Francisco to Europe, and features a Pavarotti at the height of his powers. There is a lot of tight-angle camera work, which highlights the performers rather than the staging. The miking also is close -- and what a relief it is by comparison with the undermiking of singers that was common in those early days of televised opera. The 1997 Japanese laserdisc release of this performance received a magnificent audio and visual transfer. Therefore the forthcoming DVD has the potential for demonstration quality."
THE OTHER "PRICE"
GEORGE RANNIE | DENVER, COLORADO United States | 03/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am sure that Margaret Price will be remembered primarily as a supreme performer of Lieder. However, to me, she was also wonderful in the few operatic roles she took on with this DVD of Aida being an excellent example of how good she was as an opera performer. (I place this recording right up there with my other favorite operatic recording that she did-Verdi's Masked Ball with Solti) Her Aida is great aurally and visually. She pours out great sound-exhibiting loads of power along with her known ravishing pianissimos. She fails to "nail" O Patria Mia; however, everything else is great especially her final duet with Pavarotti. I can remember friends of mine that were members, at the time of this performance, of the San Francisco Opera Chorus saying that Margaret Price was very unhappy during this "run" of Aida (she cancelled one performance with Leontyne Price (!!) substituting for her) This sadness comes across as vulnerability (very touching) in the performance. She indeed looks very sad during bows; anyway, she performs that dear ole girl Aida wonderfully. I can remember, at the time, Margaret was referred to as the "other" Price with Leontyne being, of course, first.; nevertheless, I do feel, in this performance of Aida, she "stands on her own" as an opera performer not being second to any one. The BIG star of these performances of Aida was, of course, Luciano Pavarotti (making his debut in the role of Radames). Pavarotti, at this time, was in his vocal prime. Once past "Celeste Aida", he settles down and gives a great performance singing with power, beauty and tenderness. Never a great actor, he is very much involved and with the sound he is making one soon forgets that he wasn't a good actor-after all opera, to me, is foremost about voice At this time Luciano's voice was a spendid instrument indeed. His big scene with Stefania Toczyska as Amneris is great. Stefania Toczyska as Amneris is splendid. She is at one moment ripping the Pyramids down with the power of her voice and artistry and at the next moment expressing Amneris' hurt and love of Radames with much tenderness. At the time of this performance she was a gorgeous woman making the role of Amneris very exciting both vocally and visually! Brava! I am afraid that Simone Estes makes for an unrelentingly LOUD Amoroso exhibiting the kind of singing that kept him from becoming the supreme operatic bass that he should have become.
The production is wonderful with all of the scenery and costumes being extremely beautiful!
Garcia Navarro conducts the opera with passion and plenty of tenderness holding the vast resources together masterfully.
The sound and picture qualities on this DVD are superb. If you love Verdi's Aida do yourself a favor and buy this disc. "
Aida /M Price / Pavarotti / Tozcyska /Estes
Gordon Sholes | Denver CO USA | 03/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reviewer: Gordon Sholes (Denver CO)
I have also the '91 Met Aida - Domingo, Millo, Zajick etc. The San Francisco version is one of the greatest. It's unusual to have such a good visual and audio restoration of an '81 performance. W e are fortunate to have one of Pavarotti and the other principles when they were in their prime. It's worth having for that reason alone. Each version has its own good scenes such as Zajick's strong performance as Amneris in act IV of the Met's version. Also in the San Francisco version, Simon Estes' strong performance as Amonasro in the duet Ciel, Mio padre! portrays a regal commander of the Egyptian army. This resulted in excellent casting. Which version one likes best will depend on one's preference for singers. Very few will regret buying the San Francisco one. (there are always a few) "
Stefania Toczyska - a splendid Amneris. 3.5 stars.
Kersi Von Zerububbel | San Diego, CA USA | 08/05/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get me wrong. This Aida is well worth viewing and having in your collection. Pavarotti is in top form although his Celeste Aida is a notch below the earlier La Scala recording. All through Pavarotti's singing is superb BUT the acting is another matter. I am told that because of his girth and bad knee his movements throughout seem stunted and hesitant.
Margaret Price is good but for some reason I cannot pinpoint what is missing. But something definitely is. I could do with less of her gesticulations but other than that I cannot really contribute to what is lacking.
Stefania Toczyska is just superb. Oh..I was thrilled by her performance and presence and acting. She just nailed it as Amneris.
What bothered me most was the triumphal march scene. A sadder example I cannot think of. Instead of depicting the grandeur pomp and circumstance (aka the Met version Levine/Domingo), we are treated to an engineered version of moving pillars and other assorted rubbish. This definitely took away from the entire performance.
All in all, this is a good Aida, a very good Ramases, an excellent Amneris, and definitely worth watching and probably having in your collection."