Written January 29, 2015
This was the 4th performance of Un Ballo in Maschera that I've seen, and it was by far the best sung. My only disappointment was in the sound quality, especially in the first act. Other Live in HD performances that I've attended have made me feel as if I'm really at a live performance, but this one sounded more like a recording. The problem wasn't the theater where I saw the opera: that became clear during the first intermission. The sound when Joyce Di Donato was rehearsing Maria Stuarda was breathtakingly good. It was what I had hoped for (and expected) in Ballo, but something in Ballo wasn't right: perhaps the microphones were poorly placed in the opera house but not in the rehearsal room? The sound seemed to improve in the 3rd act, but perhaps I was just used to it by then, I'm not sure. Had this been my first Live in HD performance, I'm not sure I'd have attended a second one.
Written August 27, 2014
If you love opera, go to see it. If you don't love opera, go to see it. Nowadays, with subtitles, you follow every plot twist. Also, nowadays, the singers are not only fabulous singers, but are excellent actors and physically attractive. Verdi's music is amazing.
Written September 30, 2014
Some very beautiful singing; however, a bit too heavy and not very good diction. Could hardly tell it was in Italian. New production very stark and rather cold to me. Prefer the traditional.
Written January 31, 2015
David Alden's resetting of this new production to late 1920's Stockholm, with marvelously creative sets by Steinberg and gorgeous costumes by Reiffenstuel, works beautifully, as did the very inventive staging - - BRAV-O !!! Vocally, for me, Radvanovsky was the clear stand-out; the many colors, nuances and excellent control over her instrument, as well as appropriate and attentive acting of the role, only served to present a stirring, fine Amelia. Alvarez was, in my opinion, a rather studied and lack-luster Gustavo ... pleasant enough to listen to, but not very "natural" or gifted an actor, and noticeably short on vocal shadings. Hvorostovsky was, well, HVOROSTOVSKY - - very Russian, with his typical macho depth and swagger, but you've gotta love the power and breadth with which he performs: it's as if he utilizes the cavity of his entire body, all the way into his fingers and toes, to produce such expansive sound ! Blythe's instrument was rich and round as ever.
Written March 28, 2015
The singing was good, the direction was ludicrous. This is exactly what keeps opera goers away. Amalia going to the gallows hill (which has a shiny, alabaster-type of ground with a small herb on it) in a fancy dress with all her jewelry on; Oscar, who should be a teenager with that voice having a mustache and beard; (and if he is a grown-up, why the soprano voice???); the conspirator openly defacing Gustavo's picture in front of Oscar, who is wearing wings off-and-on; What kind of insane asylum was it? and we were, watching it?
I definitely will put the director on the never again watch list.