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Verdi - Aida

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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(Nov 21, 2006)
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$79.99 $72.45

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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Aldrich, Scott Piper, Adina Aaron, Massimiliano Stefanelli, Paolo Pecchioli
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Italian, German, English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Tdk DVD Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,934 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I agree with the earlier reviewer's five star assessment of this production. What a joy to hear and see an "Aida" in which the singers (coached by Carlo Bergonzi!) are young and excellent, both vocally and dramatically, and who are allowed to sing in an opera house small enough to honor the human voice - and in Verdi's hometown, at that. This "Aida" focuses upon the relationships among the various characters of the story and not upon spectacle. The sets and costumes are stunningly beautiful in any case, but they serve to support the action and the development of the characters. I have never before been so profoundly moved by a performance of this opera in my 50 years of listening and watching.

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.
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If you're looking for elephants, camels and everything else that can be thrown into the grand parade scene of AIDA, this is not the DVD for you. However,if the singing is what you're interested in, this is definitely worth seeing. Scott Piper is a handsome actor/singer and portrays Radames shifting allegiances well. Gorgeous voice. Adina Aaron as Aida is magnificent--a singer of great dignity and prescence (beautiful too) who makes you believe every word she sings. The third side of this traingle, Kate Aldrich as the Pharoah's daughter, is a bit petulant and tends to play with her wig a lot. The effect is of a spoiled teenager not getting her way--but that may have been how she was directed.

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.
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To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi's death, Franco Zeffirelli organized this performance of "Aida" as a workshop for young performers. The opera is staged in Verdi's hometown of Busetto at the small 350 seat Teatro Giuseppe Verdi. This set of two DVD's is worth owning just to see the 45 minute documentary feature in which we are flies on the wall at the master classes conducted by Zeffirelli for the young soloists who were selected after an international audition.

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.
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