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A. Chew "An Opera Lover" (Glasgow, UK)

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Verdi: Aida -- La Scala [DVD]
Verdi: Aida -- La Scala [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paata Burchuladze
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £27.55

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One For All Time, 24 Feb. 2007
What is opera? An opera is a staged dramatic work that is set to music where the words are entirely or primarily sung. This definition may imply that the visual element is predominant to the uninitiated. Whilst this is important, an opera is so much more. Opera lives and dies by the music that accompanies the drama on stage. Where the words alone are sad, the music throws it into a whole other dimension making it heart wrenchingly poignant. If the words stir thought then the music aims straight for the soul and instinctive comprehension.

And so to this Aida that La Scala (thankfully) preserved for posterity. Surely it is one to hold up as a standard for it is beautifully sung by the principles and sympathetically backed up by the maestro and his orchestra in the pit. The musical part of this dvd easily holds it's own against any cd recording. Yes some would argue that the acting is not up to scratch compared to other Aidas on dvd but that would be to miss that the singing here is finer. And the La Scala staging is sumptuous feast for the eyes.

Yes Pavarotti may be a hundred pounds more than the ideal Radames would be but here we have him in his prime producing a thrilling timbre and an open top. And the two leading ladies Dimitrova and Chiara carry their parts ably. Maazel, too, plays his part leading the orchestra and chorus into shaping a performance that is never ponderous yet seemingly always providing time for certain passages to linger on. (Listen to Aida when she sings "Numi, pieta del mio soffrir" as a prime example of this.)

There are other Aidas on dvd but this is one to have first and foremost for the musical content.

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