Friday, 21 January 2011

Watching Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli

I have just watched the DVD of Verdi's Ballo in Maschera from Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducted by Claudio Abbado. This is a historical recording from 1975 with Plácido Domingo as Gustavo, Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia, Reri Grist as Oscar and the superb Piero Cappuccilli as Renato. It is subtitled in English. The subtitles are big white 1975 text. Not everything gets its translation which can make the novice sometimes a little lot but everything is explained in the inlay.

Who is singing Horn, Ribbing or Ulrica? They are not mentioned not even after the opera on the DVD and not elsewhere. I recognize Gwynne Howell, I think.

Chorus Director of The Royal Opera House Chorus : Robin Stapleton.
Leader of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House : Meyer Stolow.
Conductor : Claudio Abbado
Director : Otto Schenk
Designer : Jürgen Rose
Original Stage Lighting : William Bundy

Director for television - John Vernon

"The names of the characters correspond to the version of Boston by Verdi, except for the main  character, Gustavo, in which case, the name of the original version set in Sweden has been respected."  = why not alter all character's name to the orginal version ???

This is a beautiful video production of a beautiful opera production. A young and healthy Claudio Abbado lead a fantastic cast.

Plácido Domingo as Gustavo
He is Gustavo III of Sweden and he lives and breaths in this role. He is in glorious voice. His acting is superb.

Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia
Oh, so young and with such a curly hear. She sings, she acts, a lovely, wonderful portrayal that makes us realize that Amelia is YOUNG.

Piero Cappuccilli as Renato (Anckarström)
He is a powerhouse. He is a magnet. Where Gustavo dances around, he is serenity until it is broken. He loves Amelia and his King.  This portrayal is of a man who really loves his wife not just a man filled with pride. A glorious voice and superb acting. He touched me in this role.

Reri Grist as Oscar
What a singer, actor? She captured Oscar's boyishness perfectly.

Ulrica/Madame Arfvidson (Elizabeth Bainbrigde)
In the swedish version she is a gypsy. And here she lives in a tent camp. Seldom is the scenes really working, but here is does. It doesn't feel stupid as in do they really expect us to believe this? We believe. Not in any supernatural power, but that a smart woman can delude people and maybe even herself. She has enough power in her voice, even if it is just barely, to really capture us and believe. This is one of this roles where just a mezzo soprano voice seldom does it, a real alto is required. Or at least deep voice that can cast shadows.

I can with truly recommend this DVD. It is worth watching, maybe even worth finally buying a new DVD machine so that I can watch it on my TV rather than on my computer.

This review is from: Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Abbado, Domingo, Ricciarelli, Royal Opera (DVD)
After spend some time in researches , I founded a complete list of the cast on this '75 ROH production:

Amelia - Katia Ricciarelli
Gustavo III - Placido Domingo
Anckarstroem - Piero Cappuccilli
Oscar - Reri Grist
Mlle. Arvidson - Elizabeth Bainbridge
Silvano - William Elwin
Samuel - Gwynne Howell
Tom - Paul Hudson
Un giudice - Francis Egerton
Amelia's servant - John Carr
ROH Chorus and Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

For more reviews from my travels, see

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