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Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera

Montserrat Caballe Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £55.79
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Oct 2002)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Universal Classics
  • ASIN: B00006LENO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,630 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Overture - Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
2. "Posa in pace" - Robert Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
3. "S'avanza il conte - La rivedrà nell'estasi" - José Carreras, Sona Ghazarian, Robert Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
4. "Il cenno mio" - José Carreras, Ingvar Wixell, Sona Ghazarian, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
5. "Alla vita che t'arride" - Ingvar Wixell, Sona Ghazarian, José Carreras, Robin Leggate, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
6. "Volta la terrea" - Sona Ghazarian, José Carreras, Robin Leggate, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
7. Signori: "oggi d'Ulrica" - José Carreras, Ingvar Wixell, Sona Ghazarian, Robert Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
8. "Zitti...l'incanto non dèssi turbare" - Patricia Payne, José Carreras, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
9. "Su, fatemi largo" - Jonathan Summers, Patricia Payne, José Carreras, William Elvin, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
10. "Che v'agita cosi?" - Patricia Payne, Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. "Ahimè. S'appressa alcun" - Montserrat Caballé, José Carreras, Ingvar Wixell, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
2. "Seguitemi" - Ingvar Wixell, Montserrat Caballé, Robert Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
3. "Ve', se di notte" - Robert Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, Montserrat Caballé, Ingvar Wixell, Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
4. "A tal colpa" - Ingvar Wixell, Montserrat Caballé, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
5. "Morrò, ma prima in grazia" - Montserrat Caballé, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
6. "Alzati; là tuo figlio" - Ingvar Wixell, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
7. "Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima" - Ingvar Wixell, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
8. "Siam soli. Udite" - Ingvar Wixell, Gwynne Howell, Robert Lloyd, Montserrat Caballé, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
9. "Il messaggio entri" - Ingvar Wixell, Sona Ghazarian, Montserrat Caballé, Robert Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
10. "Forse la soglia attinse" - José Carreras, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great recording 7 Jan 2008
Format:Audio CD
Now, where would we be with a Verdi opera without conspirators in the cast? Up a gum tree, I suppose, but it all depends on the calibre of the villains. Well, no problems here with Robert Lloyd and Gwynne Howell taking the parts of Samuel and Tom, respectively - a corking pair of desperadoes! Montserrat Caballé is perhaps a wee bit strident as the bashful Amelia who can't decide whether she should or she shouldn't, although that's not really a criticism but José Carreras gives a terrific rendition as Riccardo. Ingvar Wixell isn't too far behind him as Renato who draws lots with Samuel and Tom for the honour of bumping-off Riccardo.

Colin Davis does his usual masterly job of conducting the orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the chorus is tremendous; `O figlio d'Inghilterra' is a corker.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Carreras 21 Jan 2005
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This may not be the wisest "first" choice of the opera (no-one doubts Ms Caballe's vocal abilities, but whether this is HER role is another question; ditto Mr Vixell) , but my oh my, the sheer beauty of Jose Carreras' voice here!!! I would probably suggest the Muti/Domingo recording as an overall better product if it weren't for the incredible Carreras who is the unsurpassed king on this recording
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Carreras stands out in a mediocre performance 20 Dec 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For me, this rather starry Un Ballo from Covent Garden was sunk by the time the prelude finished -- Davis's conducting is so listless as to be unrecognizable as Verdi, and he doesn't warm up very much for the big dramatic moments, either. The wobbly Ulrica of Patricia Payne and the gritty Renato of Wixell must have sounded satisfactory on a good night at the Royal Opera, but they can't compete on records. Basically we are left with Carreras in excellent voice (although prone to bawling) and one of his favored partners, Caballe, who does very well considering that she isn't naturally a Verdi spinto sosprano-- the microphone helps a lot here. Fans of the two stars won't be gravely disappointed. (The disgruntled reviewer below who finds Caballe in bad voice must have the highest standard for being in good voice.)

Since this studio recording of Un Ballo has its problems, one can turn to a griping, intensely dramatic Carreras-Caballe pirate on Opera d'Oro that more than makes up for it in fire power, assuming you don't mind inferior but listenable sound.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad BALLO 7 July 2007
By G. Dowling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
It seems to me that the one other reviewer (Sherlock Holmes' ladyfriend?)has been overly harsh on this recording. No question that tempos are a bit slower and more deliberate than usual and that Carreras sounds as good as he's ever been. Caballe does not sound listless or uninvolved to me -- more like someone caught in a romantic plot beyond her control. This recording strikes me as a bit of a warmup for DON CARLOS, with its king, queen and courtiers, all with their various agendas and all pretty much doomed. The Callas EMI set is also very good, with Gobbi a fine Renato. Listen to them both; this one has the advantage, so far, of mediuim price.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Carreras fans only 27 April 2006
By Irene Adler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The best (and only) reason to get this recording: Jose Carreras caught at his prime. His gorgeous voice will make you wish that Verdi had written more arias for Riccardo. Heck, he might as well have just sung all the male parts in this opera.

As long as you buy this recording with the understanding that Carreras' performance is the only merit it has, you won't be disappointed. In terms of overall performance, this is far from the best Ballo committed to record. Go for one of the more popular recordings if you are new to Ballo (either the Solti/Pavarotti/Price or one of the di Stefano/Callas recordings will do fine). The conducting is lackluster, which places a serious limitation on how the orchestra sounds. Caballe here is inexplicably mediocre: spiritless, wobbly interpretation; it's a marvel how she can sing such an elegant Violetta for Pretre just years earlier and somehow turn in such an ugly performance here. Wixell is an awful Renato, with none of the passion of Brunson. However, without a doubt, the worst performance here is the Ulrica. Her octave-wide vibrato on every single note sustained longer than a quarter-second is irritating in the extreme. If Ludwig and Simionato are the major leagues, this Ulrica doesn't know what a ball looks like.

If you decide that that's too much garbage to deal with for the sake of Jose Carreras, Opera d'Oro has a live recording of him in this opera, also in his prime. The individual performances there are better, though there are other caveats. Personally, it's a total toss-up between the two.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing 29 Feb 2012
By sam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Although Caballe performed Amelia throughout her career, in truth she was never a natural for the part. Among other things, the lower part of her voice was never especially strong. She could, however, give a good performance in the role through the early 1970s. Like Ricciarelli in this part, her young voice was strong enough to allow her to get through especially challenging parts of the vocal writing that really called for a different voice type. But by the time of this recording, Caballe was going through a difficult period vocally (as well as in other aspects of her health). In other recordings from this period it usually just amounted to a certain unexpected amount of wear or graininess in the voice (which was still capable of staggering beauty at times). But by 76-77, Amelia was a role that exposed both her weak lower register as well as her new problem singing higher notes without having the voice spread and become really harsh (unless she dodged the problem with one of her famous high pianissimi). Eventually she would settle into this later voice better and even find ways to use it to dramatic effect, for example in Gioconda. This recording doesn't really give us a satifactory Amelia and it presents a picture of Caballe's voice that is not flattering. You can, if you wish, hear her make a better case for her Amelia in live recordings from Scala and Barcelona both a crucial few years earlier. (The Barcelona sound is particularly bad but the singing is easily her best in the part.) Amelia is not an easy role vocally. It is no accident that there are far more successful Aidas than Amelias: Aida sings more but Amelia puts much greater demands on the soprano. It is also, like Traviata, an opera where many sopranos are brilliant in the first part or brilliant in the second half but very few are equally brilliant in both.
Carreras' voice is lovely here but it is not an especially insightful performance and the rest of the cast is best passed over without comment. Davis is good with the lighter parts of the score but he is no Verdian. I am an admirer of Caballe and, as such, I find it best to stay away from this album as much as I can. :)
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