Prime Music

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

Sell Us Your Item
For up to a $1.00 Gift Card
Trade in
Have one to sell? Sell yours here

Verdi - Un ballo in maschera / James Levine, The Metropolitan Opera (1980)

Katia Ricciarelli , William Wildermann , Brian Large  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.

Other Formats & Versions

Amazon Price New from Used from
DVD 2-Disc Version $35.78  
  1-Disc Version --  
Deal of the Week: 55% Off "Justice League: The Complete Series"
This week only, save 55% on "Justice League: The Complete Series". The series contains all 91 episodes as well as a 15th disc which includes a retrospective on the DC universe. The offer to own this series ends October 5, 2014, 11:59 pm PST. Shop now

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Product Details

  • Actors: Katia Ricciarelli, William Wildermann, Judith Blegen, Julien Robbins, Bianca Berini
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Antonio Somma
  • Format: Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • 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: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2000
  • Run Time: 149 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y9PZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,017 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Verdi - Un ballo in maschera / James Levine, The Metropolitan Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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 because their freshness and seemingly inexhaustible supply keep listeners' ears attuned even when the characters in this historically based tragedy perform the usual operatic deeds to each other: betrayal, revenge, and murder. This 1980 Metropolitan Opera production sets the opera in colonial Massachusetts, which was Verdi and his librettist's alternate location after Italian censors insisted it not take place in Europe. (The Met's more recent stagings have returned it to the original Sweden.) Elijah Moshinsky's production works surpassingly well on video, focusing the eyes on the performers, all of whom surpass themselves dramatically and vocally. Louis Quilico makes a credible Renato, who must decide whether his best friend--who is also the "Governor of Boston" (!)--is in love with his beautiful wife. Katia Ricciarelli displays a sweet tone as Renato's wife, Amelia, and none other than Luciano Pavarotti plays Riccardo, torn between loyalty to his friend and love for his friend's wife. Never the subtlest actor, Pavarotti made his name on his one-of-a-kind tenor voice, and in 1980 he was in his prime, making this disc a valuable document. The conducting of Giuseppe Patané is more than adequate. --Kevin Filipski

Product Description

Luciano Pavarotti in his first Met Ballo heads an illustrious cast in the revolutionary production of Verdi's opera. His portrayal of the ill-fated Riccardo is "peerless Pavarotti." Katia Ricciarelli ("...a brilliant lyric spinto soprano...used to impressive effect...") is heard in her first Amelia at the Metropolitan Opera. Louis Quilico ("...his 'Eri tu?' was one of the real highlights of the evening..."), Judith Blegen ("...focal point of pure light."), and Bianca Berini ("...sang with taste and authority.") round out the cast. For his Metropolitan Opera debut, Elijah Moshinsky places his provocative Un Ballo in Maschera in 18th-Century Boston, on the eve of the American Revolution. It's a time of unrest and transition, when the conflict between civic obligation and personal desire is drawn into even sharper focus. Moshinsky's interpretation of the 1859 classic strips away all the familiar conventions and, as Andrew Porter in The New Yorker sums it up, we see "Verdi's opera to be (in Shaw's words for "The Ring") a work 'frightfully real, frightfully present, frightfully modern'...this is a Ballo about things that matter." This presentation of Un Ballo in Maschera is subtitled in English and was taped during the February 16, 1980 performance at the Metropolitan Opera. No material was taken from rehearsals, other performance, or remake recording sessions.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
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.
Was this review helpful to you?
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outsanding production only hampered by poor visuals November 18, 2001
By David
The Met's 1980 production of Un Ballo in Maschera is set in colonial Boston on the eve of the Revolutionary War. This is the setting Verdi chose after the censor's refusal to allow the opera to take place in Sweden. It was to have been based on a historical event, the assassination of Sweden's King Gustav III. History or not, having a king assassinated at a masked ball on the operatic stage was simply too controversial in 1859, and Verdi was forced to change the setting to Boston and the king to a governor! Ballo would be an outstanding work no matter where it were placed, as it has an rivetting story filled with growing tension set to some of Verdi's most beautiful music. Pavarotti is at the peak of his illustrious career as the Governor of Boston, and for that reason alone this DVD will be of great interest to opera fans. That is not to say that Pavarotti outshines the rest of the cast, for it made up of a fine constellation of stars. Katia Ricciarelli is inspired and truly gets into her character, Amelia. Louis Quilico has what must be one of the great performances of his career, and Judith Blegen shines in the travesti role as Oscar. Bianca Berini as Ulraca is somewhat lackluster, as her performance lacks fire and menace. That aside, this is a great performance of Ballo, and it would be difficult to top it. It is therefore a great shame that the picture quality is so poor, especially in the numerous night scenes. In the more dimly lit scenes the picture is often grainy and blurred to the point of distraction. This truly great performance deserved much, much better treatment. The sound quality is average, but fortunately it fares much better than the overall picture quality. In short, this is a diamond performance that should have been one of the all-time great opera performances captured on DVD but for serious short-comings on the technical end.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verdi's triumph over censorship October 18, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
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.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PAVAROTTI AT HIS PRIME February 21, 2001
This DVD features a dream cast of singers with Pavarotti at his prime in a role that is coveted by many tenors. This is one of Pavarotti's best recorded renditions of this role and possibly his best performance on DVD so far. He seems relaxed, confident and almost enjoying himself. The rest of the staff is stellar. The conductor Patanè is an old hand in this repertoire. It's pure joy to listen to his experienced and attentive tailoring of his tempi to the singers (and vice versa - very good team work), as well as taking charge with gusto when the soloists aren't in center stage. He achieves this with no idiosyncratic mannerisms or forcing of his style. His approach sounds so natural that it's easy to overlook his contribution to the success of this unforgettable performance.
Despite the memorable performance the picture quality is barely acceptable. Practically all the Pioneer Classics ("PC") DVD's have poor picture quality. Worse examples are: La forza del destino, Lucia di Lammermoor, Hansel and Gretel, Metropolitan Opera - Centennial Gala and Manon Lescaut. The Francesca da Rimini is of equal picture quality. The best is the Idomeneo DVD, also with Pavarotti. But even that falls short of what can be expected on this medium. Inadequate lighting exacerbates the problem in many of the MET productions issued by PC DVD's. All of them are copied from the laser disc masters rather than from the originals. In addition to that, most are from the 80's and show their age.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Sound Quality
Yes, the picture quality of this DVD is poor, but much worse, the sound quality is terrible. I had this production on video tape probably 20 years ago and, if memory serves, it... Read more
Published 15 months ago by PaPe
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the Ballo
My favorite Ballo! Katia Ricciarelli is a brilliant Amelia. Pavo and Quilico both sing very well. I recommend it highly.
Published 16 months ago by Ann M Askew
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Central Performance By Pavarotti.
Finding an appropriate locale for the setting of Verdi's UN BALLO DE MASCHERA has been as replete with melodrama as is any of the composer's operas. Read more
Published on October 21, 2007 by rsoonsa
2.0 out of 5 stars Great singing, but Hideous Production makes it bornig
I won't really comment on the singing, because I am in agreement with most of the other reviewers, but in my opinion if you want to hear amazing voices sing Ballo, get the CD... Read more
Published on November 12, 2005 by operafan
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous performance rendered mediocre by poor recording
This is a wonderful performance of Un Ballo, but, I tend not to watch it because the recording techniques were so poor. Read more
Published on August 14, 2004 by Tenor in LA
2.0 out of 5 stars amateur video
the conductor is'nt James Levine but Patané ! and the videotechnic very poor without light and focus...The Berini voice is a murmur far away in the crowd
Published on February 17, 2002 by Bernard Cracosky
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling opera production filled with great music.
This is the best available video production of an opera which is packed with great music. The "Masked Ball" takes place in Boston and deals with politics, love, betrayal... Read more
Published on September 19, 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars VERDI, UN BALLO IN MASCHERA
This performance is not by Jammy Lvine but a famous Itallian conductor GIUSEPPE PATANE,who supported the Krajan's Vienner State Opera Era with Mitropoulos in Itallian Operas. Read more
Published on August 26, 2001 by shujiro yano
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Ballo - possibly the best!
This is an excellent production of "Un Ballo in maschera" from the Met. I have sometimes heard this production described as a "controversial setting of Verdi's masterpiece". Read more
Published on February 23, 2001 by N. Gallimore
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category