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Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Levine, Pavarotti, Nucci, Metropolitan Opera (1991)

Aprile Millo , Luciano Pavarotti , Piero Faggioni  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Levine, Pavarotti, Nucci, Metropolitan Opera + Verdi - Rigoletto / Luciano Pavarotti, Ingvar Wixell, Edita Gruberova, Victoria Vergara, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Riccardo Chailly + Verdi - Aida / Levine, Domingo, Millo, Metropolitan Opera
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Product Details

  • Actors: Aprile Millo, Luciano Pavarotti, Harolyn Blackwell, Gordon Hawkins, Leo Nucci
  • Directors: Piero Faggioni
  • Writers: Antonio Somma
  • Format: Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006CXFD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,372 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera / Levine, Pavarotti, Nucci, Metropolitan Opera" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Ballo!!! October 10, 2002
It's great to finally have this BALLO on DVD! This has always been one of Verdi's best works and it is handled here with a terrific cast and conductor. I prefer this recording to the medicore BALLO from 1980, also with Pavarotti, but Ricciarelli and Quilico are nowhere near as effective as Millo and Nucci. NOt to mention, this production, with a historically acruate setting of Sweden, is much more pleasing on the eye than the barren attempt to recreate colonial Boston of the older production.
BALLO falls flat without a strong tenor, and here we have Luciano Pavarotti, in his mid-fifties, and still producing one of the best tenor sounds out there. THough his voice is clearly darker and heavier than what it was in 1980, he still handles all the top-notes with ease. On top of all that, this is the role that he seems most comfortable with- and it shows! He actually attempts to act at times and his death scene is surprisingly very touching and effective.
Aprille Millo is heard here in the midst of her short-lived zenith. She sings quite possibly the greatest "Ecco L'Orido Campo" I have heard at the start of the second act.
Leo Nucci doesn't have the most elegant voice, but he manages to do an excellent job in this and clearly edges out the competition (Quilico & Cappucilli) on the competing versions.
Strong support comes from mezzo-soprano Florence Quivar and soprano Harolyn Blackwell as Ulrica and Oscar, respectively.
James Levine keeps it all together very well and, once again, proves himself a Verdi specialist.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballo at the Met October 12, 2005
By Raffles
After hearing to this wonderful performance, I couldn't avoid and started to compare it (mentally) to the Met's DVD of this same opera taped in 1980. Both have their strong and weak points:

1- The production: Both Moshinsky (1980) and Faggioni (1991) offer the viewer rather conventional productions that, however, work very well, being inobtrusive to the action (something essential to me).

2- The conducting: Personally, I prefer Giuseppe Patane's (1980) to James Levine's (1991). Sometimes Levine doesn't underline certain moments where this would be most welcome and can also be a bit crude, but these are minor quibbles. Both he and Patane were on the helm of one of best orchestras in the world, so nothing could go wrong.

3- The singers: PAVAROTTI's voice is clearly heavier and darker in 1991 rather than in 1980, but his is a performance to treasure (in both productions). He is to me, the one who best knows how to perform this character. Just watch, in both productions) the way he acts when he learns from Ulrica that he will be murdered. He almost has Gustavo (Ricardo) in his blood. APRILE MILLO is a very good singer, with a nice, resounding voice and with very good acting abillities (just watch her "Morrò, ma prima in grazia"). Her Amelia is a very moving portrayal. I just would like her to sing a little more pianissimo in some moments, which I know she can but, some how, doens't manage to do. KATIA RICCIARELLI in 1980, has a more sweet, less powerful voice, and she, like Millo, plays Amelia with great sensivity and care for the music. Both Amelia's are very good, among the best one can come across with. In my own opinion, both Renato's (almost) steal the show.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Opera.... The Best Ballo!!!!! October 25, 2004
By Spinto
I am, as you might glisten from the title, a big fan of this production. It is right on, from begging to end. the Metropolitan goes with Verdi's original, set in Sweeden.

Pavarotti is in his very best form as Gustav. He has often written that he has a special identification with the Role, we can tell. he really tries to act. He is incredibly believable. He looks like a Big, naieve, fun loving Aristocrat, who waxes melodramatic. pavarotti brings this straishtforward across wonderfully. his voice rings solid throuought.

April Millo is just smashing, no complaints. her Amelia is perfect, and the audience knows it, showering her with praise after her 3nd act Aria.

Her tone is dark, and there are no issues with vibrato as stated elsewhere. Visually she works well with Pavarotti, they are both middle aged and large. this is not to say that Millo is not beautiful, for she is. But is is just the type of beauty that is appropriate for Pavarotti's Gustav.

To me, Leo Nucci streals the show. His Renato (Ive forgotten the swedish equivalent) is incredible. his high notes go right to your ear. The resonace is so alive. The A flats and G's are right on pitch with no strain. As an actor he bumbles around the stage capable, a very grumpy character, always scowling. One could understand the coolness between he and Amelia.

The Ocscar of this production, the name escapes me, deserves special mention for a incredible soprano tone and energentic acting.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Opera February 11, 2007
This opera runs a little over two hours, and it will be the fastest two hours of opera you will ever see. James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra support a superstar cast. The costumes and set are magnificent. This DVD is a must-have for your collection.

One thing that I found unusual about this opera is the lack of any big choruses, the normal Verdi trademark. It doesn't matter. What choruses there are were well-sung by the Met chorus.

The principals are stunning, starting with former Broadway star Harolyn Blackwell as Oscar. She has a leggiero soprano that is clear as a bell, and she is captivating on stage. The great baritone Leo Nucci sings the role of Renato, the jealous husband of Amelia, and the guy who gets to stab Pavarotti in Act 3. His best scene was definitely the opening aria of Act 3 ("A tal colpa e nulla il pianto"). In this aria, he is convinced that wife Amelia has been having an affair with King Gustavus, and vows to kill her then and there. It was very well sung and convincingly acted.

Big-voiced mezzo Florence Quivar sings the juicy part of Ulrica, the gypsy/witch/fortuneteller. You will not believe her low notes, so have the home theatre system or TV speakers turned up. She is a true Verdi mezzo. Her voice has serious cut in all the registers. She dominated the stage every time she sang.

The legendary Luciano Pavarotti sang Gustavus. This performance was recorded in 1991, when Pavarotti was still on his game. What is so amazing to me in watching him is that he had absolutely no tension anywhere. He proves that you don't have to bust a vein to produce sound. He has some spectacular moments in this opera. I loved the singing in his big scene with Amelia in Act 2 ("Teco io sto"/"Gran Dio!").
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 day ago by Susan Hays
5.0 out of 5 stars Verdi; Parvorotti; Levine; The Metropolitan Opera Orchastra...
Verdi; Parvorotti; Levine; The Metropolitan Opera Orchastra ....nothing more to say.....for your collection if you do not have it and you love the opera; the singers; the Met; or... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Fred T. Isquith
4.0 out of 5 stars an old pro comes through
Having been disappointed with the Pavarotti/Solti recording of "Ballo" -- mainly because of problems with microphone placement -- it was interesting to go to this video of a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Stanley Crowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Upgraded to Metropolitan high standards
I previously had the Sydney Opera version which looked as if it were a good stage production in there trying to get out that was not captured in their published DVD. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Wifi
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballo with Pavarotti and Milo
Both protagonists are at their prime in this version of Ballo. Luciano is simply excellentissimo in voice, timbre, presence and even acting. Read more
Published 13 months ago by deirdre
4.0 out of 5 stars Pavarotti shines
This is a great performance with a wonderful cast led by Luciano Pavarotti in great form. His singing is masterful and I did not realise how good an actor he was. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Richard J. Milner
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous
A gorgeous opera in all respects. Voices, plot, libretto, costumes, orchestra, scenery. No weak links. Read more
Published on April 16, 2011 by sergei kochkin
4.0 out of 5 stars An Opera Neophyte
All in all a very good presentation. The Soprano took a little while to warm up, "Oscar" was a delight, and Pavarotti was not in his strongest voice but, as I said, a very good... Read more
Published on May 14, 2008 by Valentino
4.0 out of 5 stars Pavarotti's Ballo
I purchased this after hearing a number of interviews with Luciano in which he satated repeatedly that Un Ballo In Maschera is his favorite opera. Read more
Published on January 8, 2008 by Claire Y.
5.0 out of 5 stars Tears Amid Perfection
Un Ballo In Maschera has long been my favorite Verdi opera since seeing it first, live, with Placido Domingo and Gilda Cruz-Romo in Ft. Worth in the late 60's. Read more
Published on October 6, 2007 by Diana B. Porter
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