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Thread: Operas by Verdi on DVD, Blu-ray, and CD

          
   
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  1. #301
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    I just posted a link to a performance of the Met's Macbeth with her nibs-ship on the Anna N thread.

  2. #302
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    Yikes I can see both views. I listen to different casts and to add drama to the debate I will skip parts where the guy sadly may be over the hill and just sings for the house payment on his 2nd Villa. Yet life is too short t miss hearing your favorite say soprano. Another fun thing is when one of the stars is a superstar and he or she nurses along the partner in the duet instead of really leaving them in the dust. Then, how about voices that even though trained so well are suited perfect for some roles but you may not like them in others. Toti del Monte in that Mad Scene from Lucia comes to mind as her claim to fame Aria that probably will never be duplicated for its unique interpretation. That Anna sure has it down for not letting audio advances cause her to slide in a beautiful voice and unique
    Sound but I think she'd make it in the Golden Age if she rested her voice and ate organic food. do you guys think the male tenors wear out quicker or??

  3. #303
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    There is an exceptional La Traviata Blu ray that is absent from this list. I watched it last night for the first time, although I bought in in 2011. More on that below.

    This performance in on Art Haus and features Georghiu, Vargas and Frontali. It is a La Scala performance and it is beautifully conducted by Loren Maazel. It is nearly complete, missing the second verse of "O mio rimorso" and the entirety of the post "Di provenza cabaletta. Georghiu is compelling, both vocally and dramatically. While "she who must be obeyed" does not like Vargas (based on the lack of cuteness), I think that his Alfredo is a very moving one, if the viewer pays close attention to facial and body language.

    It is a traditional staging. In Blu ray, the vividness of the colors and the definition are amazing! In HD MA sound, I felt embraced by the ambiance.

    It has 70 minutes of Art Haus trailers, in addition to the opera.

    Amazon has it for $7.31!!!

    To me, it is an essential version, based on the quality of the performance.

    So why did it take three years to watch? (Blush) The menu to access the sound and subtitles requires using the "top menu" button on the player remote. It is the only disc I have that has this requirement. My older son was most pleased to demonstrate its function -- several times. I suspect that he and his brother will be discussing a supervised environment for me.

    But this disc at this price is an absolute no brainer.
    Yes, I own this blu-ray as well and liked it; I don't know why I never formally reviewed it. It is neat, and indeed the price can't get much better than that. The 70 minutes of trailers are fun to watch, as well.

    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  4. #304
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    As well as some "cough cough" displays in Act I. As the old blues song says,"It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that!"

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  6. #305
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Strange that this old performance has never been reviewed here.

    Un Ballo in Maschera on DVD



    Un Ballo in Maschera, melodramma in three acts, sung in Italian
    Music by Giuseppe Verdi
    Libretto by Antonio Somma, based on the five act libretto which playwright Eugène Scribe had written for Daniel Auber's 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué, based on the real life event of the assassination in 1792 of King Gustav III of Sweden

    Premiered in Rome, Teatro Apollo, February 17, 1859

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine
    Chorus master John Keenan
    Production, Sets, Costumes, and Lighting design all by Piero Faggioni
    Video Director Brian Large

    Cast

    Gustavo III - Luciano Pavarotti
    Renato Anckarström - Leo Nucci
    Amelia - Aprile Millo
    Ulrica - Florence Quivar
    Oscar - Harolyn Blackwell
    Cristiano - Opera Lively interviewee Gordon Hawkins
    Horn - Terry Cook
    Ribbin - Jeffrey Wells
    Un giudice - Charles Anthony
    Un servo di Amelia - Richard Fracker

    Deutsche Grammophon release on DVD, 1991, NTSC 4:3, PCM stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, region 0 (worldwide), subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese, running time 137 minutes, bonuses picture gallery "Un Ballo at the Met" and trailer. Insert with credits, musical numbers with characters and duration, a 2-page essay, and a very detailed, scene by scene 5-page synopsis, all repeated in English, German, and French, with two color and six black-and-white production pictures, a portrait of Verdi, and a portrait of Levine.

    Available from Amazon for under $22 [clicky]

    -----------

    This DVD starts very well with a phenomenal display of orchestral excellence in the overture (listening attentively, this is a good demonstration of what a good orchestra does) and Levine is truly great in his energetic reading of this dense and sonorous score. Pavarotti is certainly very impressive in his opening aria, showing that he had no trouble whatsoever with warming up or being exposed.

    This is a traditional staging with luxurious period costumes and heavy scenery - the kind with ornamented columns, candelabra, and big curtains. It contains the original Swedish setting (no Boston shenanigans).

    Exquisite singing by Pavarotti is immediately matched by the great Leo Nucci. The page Oscar on the other hand is less compelling: Broadway singer Harolyn Blackwell although with engaging stage presence is kind of shrill and shouty - granted, this is how Verdi wrote the role and her voice is certainly powerful, but it lacks a bit of refinement, which is probably due to her being less used to the operatic medium than her counterparts.

    Sound quality in this oldish DVD is rather stunning. I'm listening to the DTS track and it is full, clear, and well balanced. Image on the other hand is a bit dark and is of low definition, and it is not widescreen.

    Ulrica is sung very well by Florence Quivar, a great Verdian mezzo with beautiful lower register. Gordon Hawkins is also impressive in the small comprimario role of Cristiano, and other comprimarios are equally good - very homogeneous cast!

    To complete the set of great singers, an Aprile Millo in great vocal form at age 33 is a fabulous Amelia, putting her spinto instrument to good use.

    This is a production with many singers who possess powerful voices that project loudly and are therefore able to match the rather bombastic orchestration of one of the most intense of Verdi's operas. It's a pleasure to listen to this performance with these high musical values. The acting of course is a bit static, which was common at the time.

    With decent documentation and great sound, singing, and orchestral playing, this product only misses the maximum score of A++ due to the oldish, low definition image in 4:3 which now that we're used to so much better, looks disappointing; also the acting at the time wasn't great so we cant grant to this a perfect score. Still, musically it is phenomenal. A+, recommended to all opera lovers.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 2nd, 2015 at 05:22 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  7. #306
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Strange that this old performance has never been reviewed here.

    Un Ballo in Maschera on DVD



    Un Ballo in Maschera, melodramma in three acts, sung in Italian
    Music by Giuseppe Verdi
    Libretto by Antonio Somma, based on the five act libretto which playwright Eugène Scribe had written for Daniel Auber's 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué, based on the real life event of the assassination in 1792 of King Gustav III of Sweden

    Premiered in Rome, Teatro Apollo, February 17, 1859

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine
    Chorus master John Keenan
    Production, Sets, Costumes, and Lighting design all by Piero Faggioni
    Video Director Brian Large

    Cast

    Gustavo III - Luciano Pavarotti
    Renato Anckarström - Leo Nucci
    Amelia - Aprile Millo
    Ulrica - Florence Quivar
    Oscar - Harolyn Blackwell
    Cristiano - Opera Lively interviewee Gordon Hawkins
    Horn - Terry Cook
    Ribbin - Jeffrey Wells
    Un giudice - Charles Anthony
    Un servo di Amelia - Richard Fracker

    Deutsche Grammophon release on DVD, 1991, NTSC 4:3, PCM stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, region 0 (worldwide), subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese, running time 137 minutes, bonuses picture gallery "Un Ballo at the Met" and trailer. Insert with credits, musical numbers with characters and duration, a 2-page essay, and a very detailed, scene by scene 5-page synopsis, all repeated in English, German, and French, with two color and six black-and-white production pictures, a portrait of Verdi, and a portrait of Levine.

    Available from Amazon for under $22 [clicky]

    -----------

    This DVD starts very well with a phenomenal display of orchestral excellence in the overture (listening attentively, this is a good demonstration of what a good orchestra does) and Levine is truly great in his energetic reading of this dense and sonorous score. Pavarotti is certainly very impressive in his opening aria, showing that he had no trouble whatsoever with warming up or being exposed.

    This is a traditional staging with luxurious period costumes and heavy scenery - the kind with ornamented columns, candelabra, and big curtains. It contains the original Swedish setting (no Boston shenanigans).

    Exquisite singing by Pavarotti is immediately matched by the great Leo Nucci. The page Oscar on the other hand is less compelling: Broadway singer Harolyn Blackwell although with engaging stage presence is kind of shrill and shouty - granted, this is how Verdi wrote the role and her voice is certainly powerful, but it lacks a bit of refinement, which is probably due to her being less used to the operatic medium than her counterparts.

    Sound quality in this oldish DVD is rather stunning. I'm listening to the DTS track and it is full, clear, and well balanced. Image on the other hand is a bit dark and is of low definition, and it is not widescreen.

    Ulrica is sung very well by Florence Quivar, a great Verdian mezzo with beautiful lower register. Gordon Hawkins is also impressive in the small comprimario role of Cristiano, and other comprimarios are equally good - very homogeneous cast!

    To complete the set of great singers, an Aprile Millo in great vocal form at age 33 is a fabulous Amelia, putting her spinto instrument to good use.

    This is a production with many singers who possess powerful voices that project loudly and are therefore able to match the rather bombastic orchestration of one of the most intense of Verdi's operas. It's a pleasure to listen to this performance with these high musical values. The acting of course is a bit static, which was common at the time.

    With decent documentation and great sound, singing, and orchestral playing, this product only misses the maximum score of A++ due to the oldish, low definition image in 4:3 which now that we're used to so much better, looks disappointing; also the acting at the time wasn't great so we cant grant to this a perfect score. Still, musically it is phenomenal. A+, recommended to all opera lovers.
    As much as I love this DVD my first choice will always be the one from Salzburg.
    Solti conducting the Karajan production

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  9. #307
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Verdi: Jérusalem on DVD



    Jérusalem, Grand-Opéra in four acts, sung in French
    Music by Giuseppe Verdi; libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaéz,
    based on the Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera for Verdi's earlier opera I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata
    Premiered in Paris, France, at the Opéra Garnier, on 26 November 1847

    Conductor - Michel Plasson - November 2000 (Live)
    Orchestra - Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova
    Chorus - Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova (chorus master Ciro Visco)
    Corps de Ballet of the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova

    Stage Director - Piergiorgio Gay, applying concepts from his mentor, cineast Ermanno Olmi
    Set and Costumes - Danilo Donati
    Choreography - Mauro Bigonzetti
    Video Director - Paola Longobardo

    Cast:
    Gaston, Vicomte de Béarn - Ivan Momirov
    Le comte de Toulouse - Alain Fondary
    Roger - Carlo Colombara
    Ademar de Monteil - Carlo Di Cristoforo
    Raymond - Giorgio Casciarri
    Hélène - Verónica Villaroel
    Isaure - Federica Bragaglia
    Un soldat - Giancarlo Tosi
    Un Héraut - Alessandro Patalini
    L'Émir de Ramla - Reda Al (El) Wakeel (Wakil)
    Un officier de l'Émir - Enrico Facini

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    DVD (Video) - TDK «Mediactive» DV-OPJER (2003)
    Aspect ratio 4:3, NTSC all regions, 2 DVDs. Sound formats LPCM, AC3 Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
    Optional subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Italian
    Running time 166 minutes
    The insert contains credits, chapter list with names of arias and characters, duration
    There is a two-page essay in English only, talking about the opera for one page and a half, and about the production for half a page, followed by a two-page synopsis in English only

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Image quality - reasonable, but not great; dark and low in resolution
    Sound quality - thin, and surround effect is primitive (about the same sound comes from the five speakers, not much better than a stereo track (this is valid for both the DD and the DTS tracks; the latter is a bit better). Balance between singers and orchestra clearly favor the latter; while the recording of the sounds coming from the orchestra is full and resonant, the sounds coming from the stage seem muffled and distance.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Orchestra and conductor - Impeccable, exhilarating, great sonority and energy, beautiful transitions, nice French reading of the score; they have a great start with the beautiful overture, and continue to perform well throughout the opera. The chorus does a good job too, which is very important for this chorus-heavy opera.

    Staging - static in blocking; acting is in general sub-par with lots of park-and-bark. Scenery (traditionalist, set to the libretto's timeline) is grand in dimensions (depth/height), but I'm less impressed than the commentator in the insert, and don't find it that extraordinary. But it doesn't get in the way - and it does have its strong points, although there are ups and downs. The first scene, for example, has beautiful background with the Church windows, but the left and right of the stage have rather tacky, heavy altars. The second scene has cardboard rocks that also look fake. However the mouth of a cave in the background looks impressive. The harem and the Jerusalem scene look appropriately visually rich, but again, maybe some restraint would have been better. Costumes are rather unappealing in my opinion, with bright colors and big crests with fake precious stones on people's chests that look rather over-the-top. I believe there is an excess of color throughout the staging, and its overuse actually impacts on the credibility of the sets. The ballet scene, however, is beautiful, and the costumes there are not bad. Hm... I do like the Jerusalem scene. Overall, the staging is better in the later scenes as compared to the opening ones.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Singing - I'm not a fan of Veronica Villarroel. She is not charismatic on stage, her looks are average, and her singing, while it can be beautiful in her mid-range, suffers at the top: her passagio to the top is unstable and allows for some undesirable pitch variation. Ivan Morimov as Gaston has beautiful timbre but his voice seems small (although it's hard to say from a rather unbalanced sound track) and his French articulation is defective, sounding like he's singing with an egg in his mouth. On the other hand, Carlo Colombara as Roger is significantly better than the other two main characters (or anybody else in this production, for that matter), and delivers excellent bass singing. Comprimario roles as usual in a good Italian regional opera house are solid - for example, Giorgio Casciarri and Federica Bagaglia who both do well, although the former's French has rather terrible diction. Alain Fondary has a somewhat aging large vibratto but still performs well, given that the Count is a role for an older man anyway so his voice matches the character.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    I Lombardi is one of my least favorite Verdi operas, and its French remake does appear to me to be more appealing. First of all, its new and improved overture is a real asset. I Lombardi's strength is in its choruses, and Verdi beefed them up even more for the French version. There is an additional dramatic court scene in the third act. There's a new funeral march, and an entirely new ballet, as required by the French Grand-Opéra tradition. According to the Maestro himself, his numerous other tweakings to the score make of this a truly new opera, or at least, a remake that is different enough to stand on its own.

    This product has no competition on DVD. There are three old versions on VHS by bootleg makers, and the new Tutti Verdi boxset doesn't include Jérusalem. Therefore, one can't look the horse in the mouth, and I'm grateful for this DVD even though it has many shortcomings. Besides, it isn't horrible by any means, and strengths also exist, the most notable ones being the formidable performance from the pit, and the beautiful and well executed chorus numbers. And we get a good bass.

    B+, recommended to Verdi lovers, and to lovers of a chorus feast.
    Thanks for the review. I am considering purchasing this one and from what I have seen on You Tube it is pretty good.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

  10. #308
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    It is a good performance. Unlike Luiz, I like L Lombardi, especially the Tutto Verdi version on C Major, where the enthusiasm of the Parma audience shows the same appreciation as I have, despite some somewhat primitive costuming and staging. The final trio is superbly executed.

  11. #309
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGerald View Post
    It is a good performance. Unlike Luiz, I like L Lombardi, especially the Tutto Verdi version on C Major, where the enthusiasm of the Parma audience shows the same appreciation as I have, despite some somewhat primitive costuming and staging. The final trio is superbly executed.
    I didn't say I don't like it. I said *one of my least favorite*, which is not the same as saying it is not good. It's just that there are many other Verdi operas that I prefer. Like I said, I Lombardi has the merit of many beautiful chorus numbers.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  12. #310
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I have my eye on the CD recording of the French language version of this opera with Ricciarelli and Carreras. I would have preferred the Italian original, but it's hard to argue with a couple of my favorite singers in the two leads.

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  14. #311
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I have my eye on the CD recording of the French language version of this opera with Ricciarelli and Carreras. I would have preferred the Italian original, but it's hard to argue with a couple of my favorite singers in the two leads.
    I think it's a fair call to listen to the French version Jérusalem as Verdi authorised the translation himself and thought it would work well as French Grand Opera.
    Natalie

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  16. #312
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    I'm going to watch Un ballo for the first time next week (already in love with the music). Which one of these should I watch?: The Tutto Verdi edition with Francesco Meli, the La Scala version with Licitra, or the Met Live in HD recording with Radvanovsky & Hvorostovsky?

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