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VERDI - Aida [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC]


Price: £11.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Sophia Loren, Renata Tebaldi, Lois Maxwell, Ebe Stignani, Luciano Della Marra
  • Directors: Clemente Fracassi
  • Producers: Aida ( Aida ), Aida
  • Format: Import, PAL, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Run Time: 92.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001WAVUME
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,220 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. A. Hardy on 31 May 2008
Format: DVD
This is the 'Holy Grail' of missing opera performances. In the 1950s the Italians decided to release a series of opera films. They used the best voices of the period but who to put on the screen? In the event they used the starlets working in the studios at that period. Thus we had both Tito Gobbi and Gina Lollobrigida [not singing] in 'I Pagliacci.'
In this 'Aida' we have Renata Tebaldi singing Aida but she is acted by the young Sophia Loren. What a perfect match! Fortunately I am unaware of a performance where the title part is acted by Renata Tebaldi and sung by Sophia Loren. The performance uses film sets and not the stage - to this opera's great advantage. Overall both singing and acting are excellent. Finally the part of Amneris is well played by Lois Maxwell - was this Miss Moneypenny's daydream? It is not perect but it is wonderful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wotan on 29 April 2009
Format: DVD
This is a very interesting movie. Unlike most of the DVDs on sale it is a filmed version of the opera, rather than the recording of a staged opera. I think so much is clear anyway, but I thought I'd mention it in case somebody is in doubt.

So, first the problem: The picture quality is really bad and there are no subtitles. The latter is not such a problem because every scene is introduced by a speaker from the off and a short synopsis of what is to come is given. The picture quality....well is really borderline and drags the movie down. A thorough restoration would be needed.

What about the movie itself? I personally enjoyed it, bearing in mind that it is a Hollywood movie, very much in the style (albeit not the scale) of monumentals such as Spartacus. S. Loren (with a nice tan) looks stunning. In fact, I think she looks better with her artificial black skin color, then she does in reality. She also acts the part well, which is rather rare in opera films.

Summary: If you are into opera-movies, as I am, then this is a must-have. If you are into S. Loren (I am not) then you might consider this film as a curiosity. If you are simply after a good production of Aida, then this DVD is not for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Djinn on 12 April 2010
Format: DVD
I adore this film version of Aida - yes, I had to get used to the garish colour and the dubbing of the songs at first, but 10 minutes into the film it stopped bothering me and I started loving this condensed but convincing version of the famous opera. Sopia Loren "sings" all her arias with great feeling - I tend to forget that she is dubbed. The supporting cast is strong (Amneris and Radames are both eye-candy) and the singing, of course, is glorious.

The only down-side is that there are no subtitles - yes, I know it is advertised as having subtitles, but only the 'narrator' (they have one at the begging of each act) is 'subtitled'. The remainder of the opera is subtitleless. Not that it matters much - the actors tell the story more than well enough.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
this is a rare one that my husband wanted. He is an opera buff and this is his favourite so ....he loved it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A collector's item! 2 Sep 2001
By "rockyshore-81" - Published on Amazon.com
I'm a Tebaldi fan so there IS a bias. For 1951 this is an excellent introductory offering. The opera purist can find much to complain about here. The biggest of these would be that gorgeous pieces of music are not included or cut. IF you've never heard Aida in its entirety you probably won't notice. The Tebaldi voice in '51 was at its youthful best -- I have yet to hear ANY singer do "pianissimos" the way Tebaldi could! The story is that of a love triangle that ends with the death of two leaving the third desperate with self-recrimination. Sad all around. Aida is in love with Rhadames. Unfortunately so is Amneris the Egyptian Princess. And while Aida is an Ethiopian princess she has been captured by Egypt and is Amneris' slave. Both Amneris & Aida are in love with Rhadames an Egyptian warrior. Rhadames is in love with Aida -- sticky isn't it? During a pivotal battle Aida's father Amonasro is captured but the captors think they've killed the Ethiopian warrior king. One of my personal favorite parts of Aida is "Ma tu oh Re.." in which Aida pleads for the lives of the captured Ethiopians. In this selection you get only a taste of what the entire selection is like. Aida & Rhadames plan on escaping to Ethiopia. Enter Amonasro who having convinced Aida to trick Rhadames into devulging the secret route his soldiers will take for the next battle against Ethiopia announces "There will my army be!" As Rhadames is about to flee with Aida to Ethiopia Amneris arrives and accuses him of treason. Rhadames presents his sword to the high Priest while Aida & Amonasro flee.. During the trial Amneris is distraught "Oh chi l'o salva?" Who will save him? Rhadames id found guilty and sentanced to be buried alive in the tomb. Meanwile, Aida has made her way into the tomb to die with her beloved Rhadames. Above Amneris prays to the gods to give him (Rhadames) peace. Curtain falls. The major arias are left intact. But I still found myself wishing they had NOT left out ANY of the gorgeous music and singing that abound in this opera. IF you're looking to "get your feet wet" this is a very good selection BUT bear in mind that you're not hearing ALL the music. I gave it a 4 because it's incomplete to me AND I would rather have seen Tebaldi than Loren. BUT IT IS A COLLECTOR'S ITEM!! This one film helped launch the careers of both performers. It's worth having for that alone.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Aida - the film (after the Verdi opera) 23 Sep 2012
By Discophage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
No, wait: this is a GREAT Aida. I see that most reviews here are lukewarm to negative, but they miss the point of what can and must be said in favor of this version.

Sure, it is heavily cut. It doesn't purport to be the complete operatic Aida, it is a cinematographic adaptation, trimmed down to feature-film length. And when David Lean films Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago or King Vidor Tolstoi's War and Peace you don't expect the film the run the week or month it takes you to read the novel, do you? Here, it is not just that some whole numbers are cut, with especially the finale of Act I reduced to a few seconds (other than its ballet of priestresses): there are also many slashes within the duets, trios and Finale of Act II, some of them huge, or some get interrupted (way) before their operatic end to segue into the next scene. This editing is usually stylishly done and the transitions from one scene to the next are very cleverly managed, and if you don't know the opera well you are likely not to notice the seams (and some of them even if you do know the opera well - but to be honest, a few are very perceptible, and jarring). Note also that the two great arias, "Celeste Aida" and "Ritorna vincitor" are sung complete (not "Patria mia" alas), and the final scene is complete from the "immense Ftah" chorus and Aida's line "triste canto". All the ballets are also played complete and danced - the "Sacred Dance of the Priestesses" at the end of Act I, the Dance of the little Moorish slaves at the beginning of Act II and the Ballabile in the Finale of Act II. Yeah, it is totally kitsch and campy - but that's also part of the opera, and you must put it to the credit of film director Clemente Fracassi that he didn't cower in front of those setpieces. Incidentally, I often see the choreography attributed to Leonide Massine, but he is not mentioned at all in the opening credits, neither as choreographer nor as dancer: Margherita Wallman is. And, naturally, the opera's signature, the famous triumphal march, is there, complete. Still, when you do know the opera well, some of those cuts are very frustrating because a lot beautiful music is left out - just as some wonderful episodes are left out of the cinematographic adaptations of Dr Zhivago or War and Peace.

But the loss of the music wouldn't be half as frustrating if this Aida wasn't so well sung, at least by its three principals. Both Tebaldi (Aida) and Stignani (Amneris) had recorded it together just the year before for Decca with Alberto Erede (with Del Monaco as Radames, Guiseppe Verdi: Aida), but in many aspects this is better. I don't know who conductor Giuseppe Morelli is, but he and the RAI Roma orchestra acquit themselves very competently, where Erede often pulled his Aida down through sluggish tempos and lack of bite. The ballets are even conducted with true verve and dynamism, and the march isn't as vulgar as it can be, and quite convincing as background music to the triumphant return of the Egyptian armies seen not with the "voluntary suspension of disbelief" required of an opera staging but as a (admittedly, rather cheap) filmed historical epic set in Ancient Egypt, something like RKO's version of Michael Curtiz' "The Egyptian" or Cecile B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandements" - and you can easily fancy Mussolini's armies returning from their own conquest of Ethiopia, a few millennia later "(search on Google "The Ancient Egypt Film Site" for more on the topic).

And anyway Aida is an opera of singers more than of conductor. A Karajan won't save a trio of lousy singers, but a trio of glorious singers will make a great performance of Aida, whoever the conductor. Tebaldi is fab - the tonal purity, the ease of delivery draw tears from me, I don't think she has sung it better in her two "official" recordings, Erede's and Karajan's in 1959, (Verdi: Aida). In truth, part of it comes from the fact that the soundtrack runs a semi-tone too high, giving the voice a purer, more girlish timbral quality. For the same reason, Ebe Signani sounds less mezzo-ish than on the Decca recording, maybe not mezzo-ish enough for Amneris, but the voice is differentiated enough from Aida/Tebaldi's, easy and wonderfully enacted. But Giuseppe Campora, singing Radames, isn't, I think, recognized as one of the great tenors of the 20th Century. His Radames is great. He was thirty when he recorded it (and Tebaldi 31 - a perfect match), and he sounds it, the voice is youthful, clear, valiant, easy. The timbre (as heard here, a semi-tone too high) may not be as intrinsically beautiful as Del Monaco's, Björling's, Corelli's or Bergonzi's, but there is such an adequacy between the vocal color and the juvenile looks of actor Luciano Della Marra that one doesn't even notice. As most tenors he rings out the concluding b-flat of "Celeste Aida" rather than sing it pianissimo as Verdi instructs, but his characterization throughout is great (try his "è vero è vero" in the tomb scene, a phrase that can be ridiculously matter of fact), and whatever he does vocally, even the small sobs in his voice in the opening of the tomb scene that, on a record, might sound too sentimental, make entire sense as acted here by Della Marra.

And that is the whole point of this movie and that is why, added to the fine singing of its three principals, it is so great. This is an Aida in which, for once, the visuals match the singing. So, the actors lip-sync the lyrics, and they do it expertly, to make you believe that they were all Conservatory-trained and read music (in fact, the actor playing Amonasro, Afro Poli, was indeed an operatic baritone, to make one wonder why they took Gino Bechi to sing it and not him). There is a total adequacy of the physical looks, the facial expressions of the three principals, and their respective vocal timbres. In "Celeste Aida", hard to think that this very voice is not emanating from this very person, and the youthful loving enthusiasm of Della Marra makes Campora's ringing final b-flat entirely convincing. And how great it is to see these arias, those high notes, those fortissimos, sung with no trace of muscular effort, no mouths hugely gaping, as if they were naturally spoken. And I must add that Della Marra is the only Radames I've ever seen who doesn't look utterly ridiculous in an Egyptian mini-skirt.

In truth, Luciano Della Marra, beyond his handsome and youthful looks, isn't hugely expressive, but it sits well with the character: straightforward, pure, innocent, naïve, entirely un-political, the kind of guy who'd be ready to let the whole world collapse rather than do the slightest compromise - and not even realize it. But with an Aida like dark-skinned Sophia Loren, you really understand why this young general is ready to relinquish fame, honor, glory, power (hey, he's slated to become the next Pharaoh) for this girl. Until then, based purely on voice, I had thought it was for her innocent purity. Well, there is that. But guys, it is also for her HUGE TITS! I'd happily relinquish all that too, for just one night with 19-year old Sophia... And isn't great to have Miss Moneypenny as Amnéris. Hey, she was beautiful. And what emanates simply from her eyes... The baneful look she directs at Radames when she starts realizing that something is cooking between him and Aida... James Bond, you're an ass, running after all those Soviet bimbos and being blind to the gem you have right there at the office, just sitting by the hat-hanger (truth is, her boobs don't compete with those of Ursula Andress. That's probably the secret link between Radames and Bond). There's some great acting, too, some of it so subtle that I noticed only on second viewing. When, at the beginning, she asks Radames why that look of noble pride in his eyes and comments that a women would be fortunate to be the cause of such a look, and he answers that he was contemplating an adventurous dream: how obvious it is that, for an instant, she believes - and hopes - that SHE may be that adventurous dream! And then, when he adds that he was hoping to be elected as the chief of the Egyptian armies, the slight - princely Egyptian proprieties do not allow for outward spectacle, I'll say - air of disappointment on her face... Well done, Lois! That said, I find that she acts with not enough fury for the character and a touch of British - I'm sorry, Egyptian - understatement in the 4th Act's Judgment scene, in her anathema hurled at Ramfis and the priests. Small detail.

Still, the great success of this Aida is that even when the voices are no more than average or even less than that, as is the case with the nasal and tremulous Amonasro of Gino Bechi, you hardly notice it because the dramatic presence of the actors conveying those voices make them sound entirely natural. You are not so much listening to (and for) a vocal performance as you are when hearing a disc or even watching the video of an opera production, you are watching a film and those actors simply have the voices they have.

There's some great camera work too. One fine moment is when, during her "Rintorna vincitor", Aida sings of her brothers ("vincitor dei miei fratelli"), and the camera show the two-dimensional Egyptian bas-relief on a pillar, before having Sophia enter the image. And the final trio is great, with the visual and sonic focus on Amneris alone, with the voices of Aida and Radames sounding from afar, as if already in heaven, in a Wagnerian transfiguration.

Some reviewers complain that there are no subtitles and an English voice over the Italian voice that introduces each act and summarizes the plot. Selfishly, this is not a problem for me: I've bought the Italian DVD, Aida - IMPORT (zone 2) and I know the opera well enough not to need subtitles. Some also complain about poor picture quality: not on the Italian DVD. In fact - I shouldn't say this, it's not going to help sales on Amazon - but someone has posted the complete video on You Tube, search Verdi Aida Opera Film Sophia Loren. That's how I first viewed it. Well, Amazon, it didn't prevent me from buying the DVD, on the contrary, it prompted me to do so.

Unlike most reviewers, I find this film suited both for the Aida cognoscenti, and as a first introduction to the opera (just as any film can serve as an introduction to the novel from which it derives).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Better Than I Expected 3 Mar 2008
By David Cady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Everything the other reviewers have said is true, so there's not too much to add. I will say, however, that I was impressed with the sets and costumes, which were far more sumptuous (albeit tacky) than I had expected. And Loren and Maxwell (what bizarre casting!) are fabulous lip-synchers and throw themselves into their roles with passion and tremendous energy. Unlike the supremely wooden Luciano Della Marra, the ladies look as if they could actually be singing. No, Verdi doesn't quite survive, despite Tebaldi and Company, but one has to believe that the filmmakers had their hearts in the right place, as their respect and affection for the material is palpable in every frame. Given the noble idea of bringing opera to a wider audience, the fact that this "Aida" isn't very good is almost beside the point.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
AIDA---wonderful--SOPHIA LOREN 14 April 2010
By M. K. Hammour - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting movie. Unlike most of the DVDs on sale it is a filmed version of the opera, rather than the recording of a staged opera. I think so much is clear anyway, but I thought I'd mention it in case somebody is in doubt.

So, first the problem: The picture quality is really bad and there are no subtitles. The latter is not such a problem because every scene is introduced by a speaker from the off and a short synopsis of what is to come is given. The picture quality....well is really borderline and drags the movie down. A thorough restoration would be needed.

What about the movie itself? I personally enjoyed it, bearing in mind that it is a Hollywood movie, very much in the style (albeit not the scale) of monumentals such as Spartacus. S. Loren (with a nice tan) looks stunning. In fact, I think she looks better with her artificial black skin color, then she does in reality. She also acts the part well, which is rather rare in opera films.

Summary: If you are into opera-movies, as I am, then this is a must-have. If you are into S. Loren (I am not) then you might consider this film as a curiosity. If you are simply after a good production of Aida, then this DVD is not for you.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
No Triumphal March for this cast. 19 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
A great addition to anyone's collection of cinema oddities. Sophia Loren in blackface, cheesey sets and unusual choreography for the ballet sequences put this film right up there with such classics as "Queen of Outer Space", with Zsa Zsa Gabor. The plot synopsis spoken in English during various parts of the film is somewhat distracting, as are the cuts in the opera score. If your looking for amusement, this may be the Aida for you, but if want a serious production of this opera, you may wish to look elsewhere. There weren't even any elephants in the Triumphal March (that part of the score was hacked too).
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