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Verdi: Aida [US-Import] Import

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • DVD Audio
  • Please Note: This is a DVD-Audio disc which is playable on most DVD players as well as all DVD-Audio players.
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Digital Sound
  • ASIN: B00004SVGB
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,119,535 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Franco Corelli made two commercial recordings of “Aida”: the first was for Cetra in 1956 and has been ably reviewed by my MusicWeb colleagues Göran Forsling and Calvin Goodwin. It is in good mono and sports a fine cast, but is rather similar to this live recording under review, insofar as all the singers are between good and excellent but the Radamès clearly remains the star of the show. In 1956 Corelli was in freshest voice and less inclined to grandstand but the incipient tremolo and lisp, partially remedied by study under Lauri-Volpi, are both very apparent and he had not yet begun to cultivate the famous diminuendo required by Verdi for the concluding B flat of “Celeste Aida” which was always so impressive yet might have hastened his vocal decline.

The second studio recording made ten years later in 1966 for Mehta, finds him able to produce that famous effect but also coarser and less obviously the star, being paired with the formidable Birgit Nilsson in a role which did not ideally suit her gifts.

To my ears, despite being in mono, this live Metropolitan recording from mid-way the two previously mentioned represents the ideal of Corelli’s Radamès, apart from the absence of that diminuendo on the closing note of the opening aria. He is absolutely thrilling throughout, admittedly grandstanding shamelessly on the repeated, absurdly prolonged high A’s of the “Io resto a te” at the close of Act III, but that forms an electrifying climax to the wonderfully dramatic confrontation with Irene Dalis’s desperate Amneris. I find him wholly believable as the lovestruck young warrior who refuses to compromise his honour.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought a used copy of these highlights only to hear how these famous singers sound in this revered performance. They sound excellent but listening to this opera in parts like here is not that enjoyable. This opera is very much a whole rather than a sum of the parts and does therefore not work at all as highlights. Therefore, only three stars.
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i am so glad that sony have rereleased this set again. as i love aprille millo as a singer.what a shame she dropped out of the opera circle so suddenly,amazing voice and expression and on top of all that, quite a character in real life,with that winning smile and cheeky look that was unique to her espeacially in live concerts.you are missed miss millo and i hope you are happy where ever you are now.
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Format: DVD Audio Verified Purchase
I read that this said in the advert that it was in DVD form I already had this cd within my own collection,
very disappointed that was not the case. poor marks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x964280e4) out of 5 stars 24 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96442024) out of 5 stars THE LAST GREAT AIDA 4 Jan. 2012
By Opera Mystery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
ABOUT THIS RECORDING: Verdi Aida CAST: Aprile Millo, soprano (Aida), Placido Domingo, tenor (Radames), Dolora Zajick, mezzo soprano (Amneris) James Morris, baritone (Amonasro) Samuel Ramey, baritone-bass (Ramfis) Terry Cook, baritone (Pharaoh), The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Conductor James Levine, Recorded in New York City's Manhattan Center, May 18-26, 1990

This Sony label studio recording was recorded for CD 21 years ago in 1990, following the successful 1989 Metropolitan Opera season's Aida under the baton of Maestro James Levine. It starred big names in the opera scene of the time: Aprile Millo, the definitive Aida of the 80's, Placido Domingo, by then a veteran star tenor, Dolora Zajick who was being celebrated as the reigning modern Verdi mezzo , James Morris the Wagnerian baritone who had successfully mastered such roles as Wotan fro Wagner's Ring at the Met and Samuel Ramey who was fast becoming a big baritone star. This is a magnificent recording and truly the last great studio Aida. This opera doesn't get the studio treatment these days because it's hard to find a suitable Aida with the right voice, much like we don't have an amazing Norma among any of today's sopranos. Fans of this opera look toward the past: Maria Callas with her legendary Mexico City performance at the Palacio de Bellas Artes from the 50's in which she brought down the house with her high Eb note at the end of the Act 2 ensemble, Renata Tebaldi who sang ravishing Aidas for Karajan, Zinka Milanov who enjoyed enormous success as Aida and was the Met's star dramatic soprano for a period, Leontyne Price who is basically the owner of the role and sang it with remarkable expression and depth and beauty. Montserrat Caballe and Mirella Freni, two lyric sopranos who you'd never imagine could make fine Aidas, actually do sing superb Aidas. But Aprile Millo deserves equal praise. Millo possessed a spinto voice, completely suited to the Verdi heroines of such operas as Don Carlos and Aida. Millo was also capable of hitting the high Eb note that Callas used for the Act 2 finale but she rarely did it (Millo did this in the Verona amphitheater). She had solid high notes and excellent technique. Perhaps she may not get in character as much as Leontyne Price did, but it's a wonderful Aida nonetheless. This studio recording captures her in sublime voice, even better than she sang it in most live performances. She lacks some of the lower notes that otherwise make an even better Aida but she has a rich sultry voice in the middle register and her high notes and pianissimi are heavenly.

Dolora Zajick is perhaps the one mezzo soprano who sang Amneris the most times in a single career. She has sung it for 30 years, and I believe has sung it as recently as 2009. Her voice was in much better shape in the 80's. It is of the high mezzo kind with high notes that are like blasts of wind, she certainly provides enough drama to make the role her own but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've heard better Amneris in Shirley Verrett, who totally got in character and understood the part as being important and pivotal. Amneris has much more to say and sing than even Aida, consequently being a harder role to undertake. Grace Bumbry sang many fine Amnerises and made it look too easy. Fiorenza Cossotto sang the role numerous times well into her old age (like Zajick) and is hailed as a true Italian Verdi mezzo. Zajick sings very well here as she is still in her prime. Her Act 1 and 2 singing is magnificent. The duet with Domingo's Radames and Millo's Amneris are outstanding. The Judgement Scene, one of Verdi's most powerfully emotional operatic moments, was often a thrilling climatic performance by Zajick. Here she sings it well but I prefer to be moved and touched by Amneris in this scene. Previously Amneris has been imperious, haughty, jealous and a bitch. In her final scene, she is vulnerable with emotions ranging from grief to righteous anger at the Priests and the Council who sentence Radames to death by being buried alive underneath the temple. Few mezzos can really move you as Amneris in this scene. Shirley Verrett could do it, as could Rita Gorr and Agnes Baltsa. Dolora has a powerful voice that lacks the tiny bit of warmth that is needed for the Judgement Scene, especially in the first phrases "Ohime Morir Mi Sento...il luto eterno dell'mio cor segnasti".

Placido Domingo sang Radames many times and made it a signature role. He is caught in better voice in the studio recordings he made in the 70's such as the second studio Aida of Leontyne for RCA under Leinsdorf from 1960 or the live performance under Abbado with Martina Arroyo from about '72, as well as his best - the Caballe studio recording Aida with Muti from '74. Domingo's voice here is showing his age or at least his experience with the role and doesn't do anything especially interesting with the role. But it is still Domingo in excellent voice from 21 years ago with great style and with insight.

Jame Morris' Amonasro is exemplary. He was a baritone who was comfortable singing such diverse roles as Mozart's Figaro and the Almighty Wotan in Wagner's Ring. His Amonasro is imperious and powerful, it sounds just right despite the fact that Verdi was out of his usual repertoire. But he sings everything so well here that you wonder why he never sang more Verdi opera. His duet with Millo in the final act has been compared to the classic baritones like Tito Gobbi and Leonard Warren. I wouldn't go as far as saying that but it's certainly a striking performance.

James Levine conducts the score to Aida with energy and thrust. One scene flows into another with forward momentum. It is neither too brisk not too slow. It doesn't have the full-fledged loud spectacle treatment of Solti and Karajan and he misses some more intimate details I'd like to hear in such scenes as the Act 1 Ritual scene "Possente Ftha" and again the Judgement Scene could have sounded better, but he definitely shines in the Triumphal March and the Tomb Scene at the end, not to mention the entire Nile scene. Levine was well known as a hard working conductor who pushed his orchestra to do their best. Endless rehearsals and preparations resulted in unforgettable magical nights at the Met in the 70's and 80's. He knew the score and understood Verdi opera. There is really nothing to complain about the way he conducts the score. In studio recording, he was often better as a conductor allowing more attention to the music to be showcased. I still think perhaps Karajan, Solti, Abbado and Mehta do superior jobs with the score but Levine is definitely a fine interpreter of the Verdi repertoire.

All in all a great recording, the last great Aida on recording. If you're a fan of a well done Aida, this is definitely one of them. But even as such I recommend any Aida with Leontyne Price (the Solti recording from '62 and the Leinsdorf from 1970) the Tebaldi Aida with Karajan, the Milanov Aida with Perlea and the Caballe Aida with Muti.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9692175c) out of 5 stars A classic recording made even better 20 Sept. 2004
By P. SIMPSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Audio
This has always been a top "Aida", - just look at the cast of Caballe, Domingo et al - and the music was in Muti's blood. It also always sounded great, but could never be heard as intended on redbook because it was originally recorded in Quadrophonic sound.

Finally, thanks to DTSE, we can hear this fine recording as it was meant to be heard, in splendid surround sound. Okay, so its not DSD or 24/96, but the 20 bit transfer is still very successful and an immensely enjoyable experience.

Like the other (second) reviewer, I too cannot believe that our first reviewer would give this just one star because they didn't know what 5.1 or DTS was. The disc cover clearly states that a DTS decoder is required. To rate the discs "one" is just spiteful and reflects on the reviewer, not the discs.

Definitely five stars, a classic recording made even better.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9690fab0) out of 5 stars A great night in the theater 31 July 2009
By Timothy R. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
The audience at the December 7, 1956 performance of Aida at La Scala got their money's worth!
After a really horrible "Celeste Aida", Di Stefano pours out refulgent sound (mostly), but it's evident that the voice is under tremendous pressure and that he shouldn't be singing Radames at all.
Giangiacomo Guelfi is a powerhouse as Amonasro. He sounds as though he is genuinely terrorizing Aida during their act 2 confrontation. No wonder she gives in! And speaking of Aida; Stella has a beautiful voice, but it sounds as though it will give out at any moment. The high c in the Nile scene is especially precarious. Simionato as Amneris is spectacular and Zaccaria as Ramfis is very good. Neither oversings or shouts - unlike Stella, Di Stefano and Guelfi.
Votto, a usually restrained (boring?) conductor, is on fire here and the La Scala orchestra plays very well. The audience roars its approval and spurs the performers on with much shouting and applause.
Lots of overload and distortion (a radio broadcast?) - but I found it listenable.
The notes, written by Laura Bosio, are from The Dictionary of the Opera (1996) and refer the reader to "memorable" performances by "Callas and Del Monaco, Tebaldi and Bergonzi, Caballe and Domingo". What? no Simionato? no Cossotto? no Price? no Milanov and Bjoerling? You get the idea...
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9690fbb8) out of 5 stars Near the top of the pack 19 July 2008
By bert1761 - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite recordings of Aida. Vocally, it is terrific, with Caballe and Cossotto particularly magnificent. Cossotto again proves herself to be perhaps THE Verdi mezzo (although Shirley Verrett is strong competition for that "title), and she and Caballe blend together magnificently (as they did in their recording of Verdi's Requiem). Caballe gives one of her best performances on disc; her pianissimi are as exquisite here as in any of her best recordings, and dramatically she is stronger than one might have expected. Domingo is an expectedly solid Radames. My only complaint is with Muti's conducting, which I feel is too self-conscious and self-indulgent in his extremes of tempi. He certainly gives Caballe the space to float her beautiful top notes, expecially in "O patria mia," but his hard charging attack in other places leave an overall impression of something less-than-organic.

While I will return often to this recording, it still does not come close to what I consider the definitive recording by Solti with Leontyne Price and Rita Gorr as the best Aida and Amneris, respectively, and Vickers in one of his strongest performances.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9644260c) out of 5 stars THIS COULD HAVE BEEN 5 STARS BUT FOR THE TENOR!!! 8 Feb. 2012
By R. Olsavicky - Published on Amazon.com
Kurt Baum,the Radames is the only reason I could not give this otherwise wonderfully sung and conducted AIDA 5 STARS. He is mediocre at best; and even that is being extremely kind. His sound is so constricted in the middle high passagio. To be fair, at times he does put out a decent high note but, that is not enough. He does absolutely no interpretation or acting with his voice. His throaty bloated vocal production will not allow it. I don't understand his use at the MET. Now, for the good stuff - The amazingly REALLY GOOD STUFF! The ladies are Spectacular!!!
Antonietta Stella is a wonderful AIDA. I'm a fan. She is just so much better and into the role than I imagined. Great high notes, floated pianissimos, regal phrasing and great vocal acting are just the basics. She totally identifies with this great role. Aida and Butterfly were probably her greatest roles according to friends of mine who have heard her live at the MET. (There is also a Magnificent UN BALLO IN MASCHERA with Carlo Bergonzi on DVD from Japan - DON'T MISS IT)! I love Blanche Thebom. She is a magnificent Amneris; it's just that I have always associated her with Wagner and THE RING! She is a very pleasant surprize as Amneris. This role has no fears or vocal demands for her splendid vocal gifts and ample technique. Fausto Cleva is very much alive on the podium and is livelier than I remember. The sound is very good broadcast Mono. Highly recommended as a second choice AIDA; with reservations only for the lackluster tenor.
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