I have loved opera for as long as I can remember, and Verdi is one of my absolute favourites when it comes to composers of this wonderful art. Un Ballo in Maschera is not my favourite Verdi opera, however I like it very much.
It may have a story that is not the most plausible or compelling of Verdi's operas, but I just cannot fault the music which is sublime throughout, Eri Tu always has been and still is one of my favourite arias of any of Verdi's operas.
This production is one of my favourites, up there with the 1975 and 1980 productions, and while I did like the 1991 Met production a huge deal it is my least favourite Ballo so far(for some of the acting).
Visually, the production cannot be faulted. The costumes are sumptuous, and the sets ornate. The video directing, make-up and lighting are just excellent, with Eri Tu and the end of Act 2 having a great foreboding quality to them and the ballroom scenes are spectacular.
The orchestra are wonderfully stylistically and dramatically, and they are conducted with firmness and precision by an on-top-form Claudio Abbado.
The performances can't be faulted either. Luciano Pavarotti sings absolutely beautifully and gives one of his more believable performances in this role. His death scene is appropriately moving.
Gabriele Lechner is a beautifully-sung and heartfelt Amelia, the chorus are excellent and Ludmilla Semptschuk is one of the most vocally and dramatically compelling Ulricas I've heard and seen.
My favourite is Piero Cappuccilli as Renato. He is believable as an actor, but it's his beautiful voice and technique that really impresses. His Eri Tu is also exquisite and in the top 10 of the best renditions of that amazing aria.
Overall, great. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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