Verdi - Aida
Top Customer Reviews
It sould be noted that this production omits the ballet in the midst of the triumphal march - and in this case it matters not a bit. The earlier dance of the priestesses and the vesting of Radames is conceived as religous ritual that evokes a sense of awe, fearful awe.
Everything about this DVD makes it a worthwhile purchase, very much including the documentary of "The Making of Aida," in which we see Franco Zeffirelli working with the young singers scene by scene, encouraging them to live into their characters and honoring the phyisical support required by their voices. The conductor (Massimiliano Stefanelli) and the lead singers (Adina Aaron, Kate Alrich, Scott Piper) may not be known to the viewer before seeing this DVD, but once one has seen it one is on the watch for other recordings by any of them.
I did an immeidate comparison of this production on DVD with that of the MET on DVD. The young Scott Piper out-sings and out-acts Placido Domingo.Read more ›
Every part of the Zeffirelli-designed production is stunning. The sets Zeffirelli squeezes into the tiny Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, the costumes, head-dresses and wigs, the make-up (dig those lapis-lazuli faces on Pharoah's retainers!) are all worth watching closely, even studying. The big parade scene is cleverly "cheated" by having the crowds face away from the audience as if watching a parade go by which we can't see. This prevents the opera from sagging into mere spectacle.
At the time of filming, the singers were young newcomers chosen by Zeffirelli himself. It's great to see the assurance of a proven director/designer blend with the eagerness and confidence of these soon-to-be stars.
A bonus: subtitles are in multiple languages, including Italian, for those who want the actual lyrics and not a translation.
The great Verdi tenor from the 1950's, Carlo Bergonzi, serves as their vocal coach. Zeffirelli is their stage director and works with them on character interpretation and development. We're not used to seeing singers in their early 20's perform the roles of Radames, Amneris, and Aida. Zeffirelli challenges them (and us) to think about the characters in a new way - as young people, who, for the first time are exploring love, witnessing the cruelty of the world, facing the decision of whether to choose another over oneself. (Aida and Amneris both must face this choice and, as we know, follow different paths.)
Zeffirelli talks about each character in detail as the performers, in street clothes and in a small rehearsal room, practice their arias just inches in front of him. For example, Zeffirelli tells Kate Aldrich that she is not to play Amneris as the femme fatale we're used to seeing, but instead should think of her as a young, inexperienced girl of privilege who is used to getting her way and has no idea that her impulsive actions could have such tragic real-life consequences. The result of Zeffirelli's work with these young performers is that we see this familiar opera through new eyes.
The performance of the opera itself is captivating.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the best Aida I have seen in 65 years of seeing opera. Instead of a spectacle it presents a drama that is truly engaging. Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by Ken
Had this thing typed then it went away. Why am I doing it again? Someone who read the insert said no one in it was over 21. Looks it. Beautiful faces and voices. Read morePublished on August 6, 2011 by Joe Hart
This 2001 Aida is visually the best Aida I ever saw. All my students agree on this. Vocally it is satisfying. Zeffirelli worked wonder on that small 350 seats theater in Busseto. Read morePublished on April 28, 2011 by Dante Rochetti
I was originally attracted to opera by "grand" opera, and there is no grander opera than Verdi's "Aida". Read morePublished on April 10, 2011 by Cy Reese
This tremendous Zeffirelli production of Aida from the Busseto Theater is the only film of this opera I think I will watch over and over again. Read morePublished on December 14, 2010 by pekinman
It's kind of a paradox: the biggest Verdi work staged in a mini opera house. As all reviewers do mention, the result is surprisingly good, and heavy cutting in second act is not a... Read morePublished on November 3, 2010 by J. Espinosa Ihnen
If you are willing to skip the big name singers, this performance will reward you with a delightful opera experience. It is engaging, believable, and very satisfying. Read morePublished on February 28, 2010 by Randy Craven
Franco Zefferelli's portrayal of each character to each of the young singers is as delightful to watch as the performance itself. Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by Colston
How many times it has been said that Verdi's Aida is an intimist play! This minimal but sumptuous staging by Franco Zeffirelli at The Teatro Verdi, Busseto, proves this assertion. Read morePublished on November 9, 2009 by Francisco Roca Zalba
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