Verdi - Un Ballo In Maschera - Verdi [DVD] 
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Sir Georg Solti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in this production of Verdi's opera recorded live at the Salzburg Festival in 1990. Originally planned by Herbert von Karajan, Solti agreed to conduct the opera at short notice after Karajan's sudden death in 1989. Set in Stockholm in the 1790s at the court of King Gustav III of Sweden, the production features performances by Plácido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Josephine Barstow and Florence Quivar.
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Top Customer Reviews
The sets are imginative and are what I would expect, and as they revolve and change the audience applaud spontaneously.
The costumes are again all that I would expect to see, magnificent for the Royals and appropriate for the others.
The acting is very good and credible and last but not least the voices, Domingo and Nucci are on top form, Nucci having a nice line in suspicion and malevolence.
Josephine Bairstow is a mellow mezzo, and is very listenable. I love the agile soprano voice of Sumi Jo as Oscar, I have only seen her in concert performances before and I am impressed with her presentation.
The other parts are sung and acted to near perfection.
The booklet gives the usual timed arias etc for each act, with a background to the production. There is no synopsis however, but I did not find this a problem with the subtitles. There is a good synopsis on Wikipedia if you need it.
I thoroughly recommend.
Placido Domingo is at his most ardent and impulsive as King Gustav. Jesephine Barstow (Amelia) is very good, if not outstanding, in the role of the woman torn between husband and royal lover. She brings out the feelings of a distraught and vulnerable woman. Leo Nucci (Renato) is in his element, at first warm-hearted in his friendship for the King, then forceful in his desire for revenge when he realizes that Amelia loves the King. His voice is full and firm. Florence Quivar (Ulrica the magician) is vital, while Sumi Jo is a pert Oscar.
Solti's conducting is sympathetic and steady, and he supports the singers very well. The stage sets and costumes are, thankfully, traditional, and are pleasing to the eye. The picture quality is good, and the stereo sound is very clear. All in all, this is a very enjoyable performance to watch and listen to. Brian Large's film direction is exemplary.
The stand-out performer at Salzburg as so often is Placido Domingo, who is at his ardent best both as singer and actor and here the purchase of the DVD is justified by his contribution alone. The fine Italian baritone Leo Nucci is, I think, in better form at the Met but he is always a true professional. With her fine low voice Florence Quivar impresses as the witch Ulrica. One of the productions few misfortunes is that the Oscar of Sumi Jo comes across as under recorded and at times it is not always easy to hear her. That said I far prefer her performance to the strutting Oscar of Harolyn Blackwell at the Met. Among the smaller but still important roles the two bass voices of the conspirators Horn and Ribbing (Kurt Rydl & Goran Simic) are excellent. They are especially effective during the mocking chorus of act two.
The production's one outstanding pecularity is the surprise casting of Josephine Barstow as Amelia, who comes across as not being ideally suited for Verdi.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although this is a very good production of Un Ballo in Maschera it's not without its faults, one of the main one's of which is the miscasting of Josephine Barstow in the lead role... Read morePublished on 19 Mar. 2013 by H. A. Weedon
This performance of Verdi's opera was recorded in 1990 at the Salzburg Festival. The team of principals are excellent and the production designed by John Schlesinger is beautifully... Read morePublished on 1 Jun. 2005 by Robert Petersen