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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

Price: £49.99
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Product details

  • Performer: Michèle Crider, Richard Leech, Vladimir Chernov, María Bayo
  • Orchestra: Welsh National Opera Chorus, Welsh National Opera Orchestra
  • Conductor: Carlo Rizzi
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (18 Mar. 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B000000SQY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 619,692 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The singers rule this set of Un Ballo - in my opinion there is not one single weak link in this cast. Crider being one of my favourite sopranos sings Amelia with feeling and security in both lower and top registers. I find her much more preferable to Martina Arroyo, whose lower register is weak and she seems to glosses over the text, although she sings the role well enough. Some may find Crider's tone jarring and her technique beyond reproach, but she still scores in my books, and she does this well! Leech and Chernov are excellent in their respective parts, with both Zaremba and Bayo offering fine support. The letdown in this set is the slack conducting of Carlo Rizzi. I think the cast and orchestra would have been more inspired with a Muti or Solti. Imagine that.................! PS Having heard Crider live in AIDA a few years ago, I cannot wait to hear Crider Amelia at the MET later this year.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9cba3870) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d093810) out of 5 stars Crider embraces Amelia's sorrow with shimmering beauty... 23 Oct. 2000
By Bob Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording of BALLO should be in every serious Verdi lovers collection. Leech, of course, dominates this version with a heart rendering pathos rarely heard nowadays. His tenor is warm and lush in the middle and secure with a thrusting top; plying out the kings desperation. Crider is a revelation. Her lovely soprano finds no difficulty tackling this role and she scores a hit with the big second act aria, "Ecco l'orrido campo". She embraces Amelia's sorrow with shimmering beauty. And how refreshing to have a dramatic soprano who gives us that lush chest voice and not a mere whisper. Bayo is sparkling as the page; her bell like soprano magical in its delivery. The only negative is Chernov, whose interpretation is adequate but the voice can't meet the demands. His sound is pushed and tremulous with an annoying forced and uneven vibrato. He should have stayed in bed for this recording. Rizzi manages his orchestra with finesse; pulling out the rich and hautingly lovely nuances of the Ballo score. Kudos for the fine chorus aptly led by Gareth Jones. Zaremba does a good turn with Ulrica, but one longs for the mezzo of another Pia Tassinari from the old Cetra days.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e34e114) out of 5 stars An underrated set 4 Dec. 1999
By Michael K. Halloran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When this set was first released a couple of years ago, I hesitated in purchasing it because of the mostly negative reviews it received. I should stop listening to the critics.
Carlo Rizzi's recordings of "La Traviata" and "Rigoletto" are both highly enjoyable and well conducted. This one is no exception -- Rizzi leads a spirited, engaging performance that nicely balances Verdi's lyricism and drama, never trying to smooth over parts that other conductors do because of their perceived "vulgarity."
The cast is quite good, certainly much better than critics have given them credit for. Richard Leech sings with heady beauty and handsome tone; forget Cura and Alagna, he outclasses both of them. Vladimir Chernov does here what he excels at, namely, spinning out a rich, velvety voice, and singing with an authority that is quite compelling. The mezzo, Elena Zaremba, is a bit gusty and not ideally steady, but her dark, Russian, contralto-like tones are right on for Ulrica. Maria Bayo is a charming Oscar, with clean, sharp coloratura and without a trace of acidity in the voice. She is my favorite Oscar on records.
Which brings us to the Amelia of Michele Crider. Judging by the harsh reviews she has received, one would expect an large, unwieldy, undersupported voice of limited dramatic expression. How unjust that verdict is can be heard by listening to her first aria, "Ma dall' arido stelo divulsa." Crider is dramatically alive and possesses a warm, rich spinto soprano: brilliant and blazing at the top, full and creamy at the middle, strong and steady at the bottom. She can sing with clarion power or spin a high pianissimo line reminiscent of Caballe. Critics have not been kind (I cannot understand why), but I for one would like to hear more from Ms. Crider.
All in all, this is an engaging and highly enjoyable performance of "Ballo," perhaps not the best available, but one to which I will frequently return.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d07c948) out of 5 stars Crider caresses the Verdi line most lovingly... 28 Oct. 2000
By Bob Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This particular set is well worth having in your collection, particularly if you're a Verdi fan. Rizzi evokes a strong reading from the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, however some of his choice in tempi are a bit perplexing. The brief overature, lovely as it is, seems to drag on veiled by a cloak of lethargy. The soloists for the most part, make this recording and most noteworthy is tenor Richard Leech as the ill- fated king. Leech is the possessor of a lovely and rich middle with a soaring free top. His interpretation portrays our protagonist ardor and flippancy, despair and revelation. Leech can and does, deliver the goods.
Michele Crider has a gorgeous full bodied voice and lovingly caresses the Verdi line. Her dramatic soprano has no difficulties negotiating the demands of this score. Her big second act aria, 'Ecco l'orrido campo' is not only beautifully executed (listen to Crider's impeccable phrasing and the way she colors her tone) but she manages the ascending climax with total confidence and produces an anchored lower register which is thrilling. So many sopranos manage the top but wither out where the low rich chest register is required but never realized.
Maria Bayo sparkles as the page. Her bell like tones and silvery timbre are a delight. Her arias are most impressive but it is in the large ensembles where Bayo is a standout.
Vladimir Chernov as Renato is the weakest link vocally. Though there are moments where we hear a rich a warm sound, there are equal moments (too many) where the voice appears forced and his tone, tremulous. Perhaps he wants his audience to hear him 'working', but it left this listener frustrated and exhausted.
Elena Zaremba manages the difficulties of Ulrica and even has the feel for the spooky enchantress. Her tone however, is dry and void. While she has the potential for an Ulrica, one still longs for a Pia Tassinari from the old Cetra days.
Gareth Jones has success with his chorus who add to this thrilling score with aplomb.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cb048d0) out of 5 stars Unjustly maligned 23 Nov. 1999
By Michael K. Halloran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When this set was first released a couple of years back, all the reviews dismissed it as a failure. I truly cannot understand why. Certainly, it's not the greatest "Ballo" ever recorded, but it is a strong, persuasive performance. Richard Leech sings with heady beauty of tone and a real feeling for line -- forget Alagna and Cura, Leech outclasses both of them. Vladimir Chernov does here what he does best -- namely, sing with a vocal richness and beauty which is rare in the modern crop of Verdi baritones.
Michele Crider has been unjustly criticized: this is the first recording I have heard of her, and from what I've read I expected to hear a hooty, gusty, ill-supported soprano. What I got instead was a rich voice, brilliant and blazing at the top, full and rich at the bottom, able to negoatiate the subtle piano passages beautifully. It also helps that Ms. Crider sings with a real feeling for the text (listen to "Ecco l'orrido campo" and the following aria). The voice might not have the ultimate degree of rock-solid steadiness that such sopranos as Margaret and Leontyne Price bring to this music, but that is in keeping with the vacillating nature of Amelia's character. I hope to hear more from Ms. Crider.
Elena Zaremba as Ulrica may be the weak link in the cast -- changes in register do not always happen smoothly -- but she brings a dark, ominous sound perfectly in keeping with the character. Maria Bayo is a charmer in the breeches role of Oscar. There is no trace of acidity or shrillness in her voice, merely lovely tone with excellent coloratura. She is my favorite Oscar on records.
All in all, this recording is much more of a success than critics would have us believe. I got a great deal of enjoyment out of this set, and I recommend it highly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca47294) out of 5 stars Great singers let down by so-so conducting 14 Aug. 2007
By Robert Petersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The singers rule this set of Un Ballo - in my opinion there is not one single weak link in this cast. Crider being one of my favourite sopranos sings Amelia with feeling and security in both lower and top registers. I find her much more preferable to Martina Arroyo, whose lower register is weak and she seems to glosses over the text, although she sings the role well enough. Some may find Crider's tone jarring and her technique beyond reproach, but she still scores in my books, and she does this well! Leech and Chernov are excellent in their respective parts, with both Zaremba and Bayo offering fine support. The letdown in this set is the slack conducting of Carlo Rizzi. I think the cast and orchestra would have been more inspired with a Muti or Solti. Imagine that.................! PS Having heard Crider live in AIDA a few years ago, I cannot wait to hear Crider Amelia at the MET later this year.
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