La Scala goes crazy for this "ballo".....
PhantomOfTheOpera | Norway | 09/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a live recording from 18th February 1975 at the Teatro alla Scala di Milano. (José Carreras' debut at this theatre took place 5 days earlier and was one of his biggest successes ever.) As most people who already own some of opera D'Oro's recordings know, it can be risky business buying their recordings. Not for the sake of the performers, but the sound quality. Children of the digital era buying opera D'Oro will probably be disappointed.... These recordings can be wonderful or close to inaudible. I find this recording to be something inbetween. (It's closer to "good" than "bad"... Actually, I own some other recordings by opera D'Oro where the sound is far worse and based on my knowledge about these recordings I would rate this as a 4 stars out of 5.) There is a sort of a hissing sound and the occasional coughing, but I don't have any problems hearing the performers on stage. And this is certainly not a performance to be missed by any opera lover.
All the singers seem to be in top form; especially José Carreras (as Riccardo) who makes the audience go completely crazy after the arias "forse la soglia attinse" and "Ah, dessa e la, potrei vederla". It sounds like they're standing on their seats, cheering and applauding and literally bringing the house down. And it's well deserved. He sounds wonderfully young and fresh (which he actually was in 1975...). He's spinning his notes with no effort at all and his voice is so glorious and powerful that it's almost unbelievable - unless you already know how Carreras sounded during the 70s. If not you'll have a major surprise in wait, I'll assure you. His "forse la soglia attinse" is giving me goose-flesh all over and I feel like joining the audience in La Scala; standing on my seat and cheering.....
To me, the surprise here is the voice of Montserrat Caballé. (Amelia). It's clear as a bell..!!?! I've always accused her of having a shrill and squeaky voice with a "steely" edge. I sincerely apologize, madame Caballé and I'm hereby withdrawing everything I've ever said. I think my mouth fell open at the beginning of the opera and I didn't close it again until curtain call. By the way, the audience are going crazy again after her aria "Morro ma prima in grazia."
The rest of the cast is more than adequate, it sounds as if they are all putting in an extra effort to make this a memorable evening. Renato Bruson as Amelia's husband also deserves an extra word of praise; his performance is outstanding; his voice excellent.
I guess it doesn't come as a surprise when I say that this recording is absolutely well worth possessing. I like the live recordings because they're more "spontaneous" than a studio recording and you feel almost like you're in the audience. Highly recommendable."
Amazingly, this could be the best Un Ballo on ecords
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although it remains one of Verdi's most popular operas, Un Ballo has had a spotty career on disc. Callas and Di Stefano are great on a studio performance on EMi but are let down by prosaic conDucting from Votto. Leinsdorg's wooden conducting also lets down Leontyne Price on her RCA set, but she was getting a bit old for the part of Amerlia already. The late-Eighties swansong uner Karajan is listeless and features an inferior Amelia in Josephine Barstow. for me, the reigning champ was the Solti set with Pavarotti and Margaret Price, a carefully prepared performance that shows off the whole opera in a veyr dramatic light with excellent work by the two leads.
Which brings us to this ultra-bargain live performance from La Scala in 1975. It is in good broadcast stereo, and there is no reason to complain about the sound as long as one keeps the source in mind. The great attraction here is the pairing of Carreras and Caballe, and they are superb, both in best voice and doing their all dramatically. the other cast members, especially ruson as Renato, keep things going at a high plane, and even the usually prosaic Milonari-Pradelli is having a good night.
Given the electicity in the air and the true Verdi spirit that prevails, I think this just might be the best Un Ballo I've ever heard. Certainly it's one of the most enjoyable."