9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Grand, if grandiose
, 1 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Verdi: Aida [DVD]  (DVD)
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 this La Scala presentation.
OK, Pavarotti was already overweight, but his voice was at its peak. While he stands stiffly, Chiara and Dimitrova not only sing gloriously but also act superbly.
There is indeed a lot of statue-shifting by the slaves but I've never seen such a huge cast so magnificently directed shifting such remarkable scenery on such a large stage. By the way, the ladies and boys, in Act II, are not naked as claimed by another reviewer -- they are wearing something, even if it's not very much.
As for the Italian language spoken in the documentary, yes, I too was disappointed that there are no sub-titles. But that is no reason to reject the whole thing. For a start, we hear the beautiful Yorkshire diction of Melyvn Bragg, who is always worth listening to. We hear snatches of some of the great singers of the past, such as Gigli and Martinelli. And we are taken to many of the places associated with Verdi and the opera, and shown many contemporary documents.
This is not a bargain basement set of DVDs but well worth buying, I reckon.
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