Passion, loyalty and political conspiracy are the three pillars of Un ballo in maschera (1859), the most operatic of all operas . Set in XIX century Boston, Mario Martone s athmospheric production for the Teatro Real in Madrid brings out all the innate theatricality and drama of Verdi s work. World famous Argentinean tenor Marcelo Álvarez in the role of Riccardo leads a fabulous cast including Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana as his love Amelia and Elena Zaremba playing the witch Ulrica. Jesús López Cobos conducts the Madrid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a performance that shows the lyricism and grandeur of this beautiful work, which marries grand opera and opera comique features with Verdi's classical Italian opera tradition.
The main singers are all terrific in this video. Bonfadelli as Lucia is a delight, and very pretty. She has a darker voice than you generally hear in this role, but it is not super-dark, and her high notes are rock-solid. Alvarez' voice is gorgeous and he sings with great passion becoming Edgardo. The Enrico has a very strong voice and solid high notes and his facial expressions remind me of Renato Bruson - not as pretty of a voice as Bruson's, but pleasant enough and easy to hear. The Chaplain has a beautiful voice and is a good singer. The Normanno (captain of the guard), isn't as good as the principles; the Arturo, with his handful of lines, is awful; and the Alisa (Lucia's companion), is quite good.By figaro "jacoba"
…These performances come together brilliantly in this impressive recording. With the nicely balanced Met orchestra reproduced effectively here, the sound sometimes evokes the carefully voiced balances of studio recordings. Yet this is a live performance in which the musicians’ fine interactions add to the excitement. While some would hold that Il trovatore requires the finest principals for an effective performance, this recording also suggests that the sense of theatricality Verdi infused in this score affects the singers and drives them to give the intensely moving performances found in this exceptional release. More than that, the visual dimensions are enhanced with shots and angles that take the viewer to the stage. It is difficult not to become involved in this production through this well-crafted disc.
Il Trovatore was based on the play El Trovador by Antonio García Gutiérrez and was an instant success. The cast is here led by Marcelo Alvarez, Norma Fantini and Leo Nucci and is conducted by Yuri Temirkanov.
Large symbols…make an effective home for a serious Il Trovatore, precisely paced and balanced by Yuri Temirkanov…Especially notable is his handling of what one might term 'old' Verdi orchestral tricks (ironic Bellinian wind counterpoints of parodistic military brass). The casting here is led by a Manrico from Marcelo Alvarez worthy of vocal and dramatic attention. (Gramophone Magazine)