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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand, if grandiose
Years ago, I saw "Aida" at Sydney Opera House. The theatre stage in that strange complex is too small for grand opera so it was presented in the concert hall. Impressive, but in need of backdrops and scenery. A later production at the Melbourne Arts Centre was smaller, with a chorus only as large as the budget would permit. Neither attained the level of sheer spectacle of...
Published on 1 Aug. 2009 by Brian Barratt

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Marmoreal Aida and an Untranslated Documentary
This is a video of a 1985 La Scala performance of Aida with Luciano Pavarotti as Radamès, Maria Chiara as Aïda, Ghena Dimitrova as Amneris, Juan Pons as Amonasro, Nicolai Ghiaurov as Ramfis and Paata Burchuladze as the King. It has been released several times before: Verdi - Aida / Maazel, Chiara, Pavarotti, La Scala or Verdi / Pavarotti / Chiara / Dimitrova /...
Published on 11 Jun. 2009 by J Scott Morrison

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional singing and staging, 22 April 2012
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This review is from: Verdi: Aida [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
The DVD market bulges with productions of this famous tragedy but pride of place should go to this 1985 production from La Scala. Initially I decided to make the purchase as a homage to Pavarotti and as a long overdue introdution to Maria Chiara and Ghena Dimitrova. It was money well spent for not only is there marvellous singing by the three leads but the other important soloists (Juan Pons as Amonasro, Paata Burchuladze as the king and the great bass Nicolai Ghiaurov as Ramphis) are also excellent. I was particularly impressed by Ghena Dimitrova whose full ample tone came across as ideally suited to the mercurial nature of Amneris. Both orchestra and chorus, under the experienced baton of Lorin Maazel are also very fine. Viewed as a "team effort" I doubt if there is vocally a superior performance available on CD or DVD.

Among the three leads the best acting performance is given by Ghena Dimitrova who creates a compelling Amneris, both selfserving and confused. The elegant Maria Chiara certainly looks the part of Aida but she tends to rely on some rather artificial hand gestures more often associated with an older generation of singers. Of course the great man himself does not actually act. At times almost motionless he limits himself to an occasion hand gesture, licking of the lips and the odd chest heave. It was not always thus for in the Met's 1982 production of Idomeneo Pavarotti turns in a very acceptable performance. The weight issue was never a serious problem for this performer for somehow he successfully succeeded in making his outsize an essential part of his personna and in common with Dame Joan Sutherland the presence on stage alone was sufficient to reassure an audience. Other singers of fullfigure, including the fine soprano Sharon Sweet, have not fared so well.

This is a amazingly staged production which works very well. In the first two acts legions of slaves manipulate massive blocks and statues about the stage, which must always hold audience attention. The seriously complicated work demanded of the artistes playing the slaves alone is a testament to masterly direction. The justly celebrated climax to act 2 finishes with a rather insipid ballet (the feeding of the female slaves) which is a minor disappointment. The slaves are absent in the last two acts and there is no frenetic movement of blocks and statues. Both acts are staged in a traditional manner and in particular the staging of act 3 is very effective.

For the aficionado of truly first class singing this spectacular production is a great plus to any Verdi collection. For a viewer seeking an introduction to the opera the Met's amazingly staged version, under the baton of James Levine, with a jaw-dropping Triumphal March is a very good starting point

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Verdi: Aida [DVD] [2006]
Verdi: Aida [DVD] [2006] by Lorin Maazel (DVD - 2007)
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