Verdi: Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball)

This page lists all recordings of Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball), by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) on CD, DVD, Blu-ray & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Plácido Domingo (Riccardo), Piero Cappuccilli (Renato), Katia Ricciarelli (Amelia), Elizabeth Bainbridge (Ulrica), Reri Grist (Oscar), William Elvin (Silvano), Gwynne Howell (Samuele), Paul Hudson (Tom), Francis Egerton (Un Giudice), John Carr (Un servo)

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Opera Chorus, Claudio Abbado (conductor) & Otto Schenk (director)

Illicit love, suspicion, deception and supernatural portents of doom lead to a shocking drama at a masked ball in 1790s Sweden. The incomparable Plácido Domingo stars as the dashing King Gustavus III, whose reforms have inspired talk of assassination among the conservative nobility. Katia Ricciarelli is Gustavuss beloved Amelia, married to his closest friend, Anckarström, sung by Piero Cappuccilli. Claudio Abbado conducts the distinguished cast, supported by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera Chorus, in Otto Schenks classic production of this Verdi favourite for The Royal Opera. This recording, with English subtitles, is preserved in its original Standard Definition and 4:3 picture format.

NB This product has burnt-in English subtitles and no alternative language-options

“The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House are intelligently conducted by the great Claudio Abbado in this classic 1975 production directed by Otto Schenk, with traditional costumes and attractive sets. This is one of the finest productions of one of Verdi's best operas, with outstanding vocal and acting performances” New Classics, May 2017

“There's Claudio Abbado's fleet and polished conducting, then Plácido Domingo's suavely sung and acted Gustavus, and Piero Cappuccilli's stentorian Anckarström...Perhaps most interesting is Katia Ricciarelli as Amelia, a role a size too big for her, showing off both her stunningly limpid and velvety soprano and at the same time just how she pushed it to tatters.” Opera Now, June 2017 ****

“What Schenk achieves...is no mean feat: a show in which the main characters meaningfully interact, have credibility and generate sympathy...[Domingo] is enjoying himself as a devil-may-care ruler with a twinkle in both eye and voice...[Cappuccilli] offers a masterclass in what we really mean by ‘Verdi baritone’.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2017

“Abbado motivates this traditional Otto Schenk staging using the Swedish setting. Domingo is a marvellously vivid Gustavo, Cappuccilli an implacable Anckarström, while Grist steals the soprano honours from Ricciarelli.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

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Opus Arte - OA1236D

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Piotr Beczala (Riccardo), George Petean (Renato), Anja Harteros (Amelia), Okka von der Damerau (Ulrica), Sofia Fomina (Oscar)

Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Zubin Mehta

Staged by Johannes Erath

Munich’s new Ballo in maschera has received much critical acclaim: ‘This production shows what a utopia opera can be’ (Abendzeitung). Ten years after stepping down as music director of the Bavarian State Opera, Zubin Mehta returned to Munich in March 2016 to celebrate his 80th birthday conducting Verdi’s masterpiece for the first time in a staged production. His cast features some of today’s finest Verdi singers: soprano Anja Harteros, singing Amelia for the first time and ‘filling every note with Verdian intensity’, tenor Piotr Beczala as a ‘visually and vocally dashing Riccardo’ and George Petean as an ‘exemplary’ Renato (Neue Musikzeitung). In director Johannes Erath’s super-sensitive new production, this historically-based tale of illicit love, conspiracy and betrayal unfolds in a surrealistic, shadowy setting transformed by lighting and projections. Special praise was showered by the enthusiastic critics on Maestro Mehta, whom ‘creates concentrated musical connections, miraculously guiding his orchestra and unsurpassable voices the way a thermal lifts a paraglider... Musically the performance was a dream‘ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).

SOUND FORMAT:DVD: Dolby Stereo, DTS 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

SUBTITLES: Italian (original language), German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese

BOOKLET: English, German, French

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 149 mins

“Musically things are more than fine. Beczała pulls off this one hell of a tenor role…with style and confidence. Harteros gives her usual tightly focused emotional performance. With good sound and helpful shot selction the release is strongly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“the production looks glamourous and slick…As Riccardo, Piotr Beczala is a dashing and vocally elegant protagonist…” Opera Now, May 2017

“Nigh on unimpeachable, Beczala’s Riccardo is sung throughout with clean edges and unforced lyricism… he gives a marvellous performance. There’s excellent work from Fomina’s brilliantly sung, female cross-dressing Oscar, and grand vocal depths from Okka von der Damerau’s glamourous soothsayer. Working with top-quality forces, Zubin Mehta provides motivational conducting” Opera, July 2017

“The foregrounding of Oscar’s character is fascinating. It’s a striking performance amid a clutch of stellar turns…The ensembles are expertly balanced by Zubin Mehta, and the orchestra plays with a reliably silky tone.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - May 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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C Major - 739408

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Piotr Beczala (Riccardo), George Petean (Renato), Anja Harteros (Amelia), Okka von der Damerau, Sofia Fomina (Oscar)

Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Zubin Mehta

Staged by Johannes Erath

Munich’s new Ballo in maschera has received much critical acclaim: ‘This production shows what a utopia opera can be’ (Abendzeitung). Ten years after stepping down as music director of the Bavarian State Opera, Zubin Mehta returned to Munich in March 2016 to celebrate his 80th birthday conducting Verdi’s masterpiece for the first time in a staged production. His cast features some of today’s finest Verdi singers: soprano Anja Harteros, singing Amelia for the first time and ‘filling every note with Verdian intensity’, tenor Piotr Beczala as a ‘visually and vocally dashing Riccardo’ and George Petean as an ‘exemplary’ Renato (Neue Musikzeitung). In director Johannes Erath’s super-sensitive new production, this historically-based tale of illicit love, conspiracy and betrayal unfolds in a surrealistic, shadowy setting transformed by lighting and projections. Special praise was showered by the enthusiastic critics on Maestro Mehta, whom ‘creates concentrated musical connections, miraculously guiding his orchestra and unsurpassable voices the way a thermal lifts a paraglider... Musically the performance was a dream‘ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).

SOUND FORMAT: BluRay: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD MA 5.1

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

SUBTITLES: Italian (original language), German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese

BOOKLET: English, German, French

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 149 mins

“Musically things are more than fine. Beczała pulls off this one hell of a tenor role…with style and confidence. Harteros gives her usual tightly focused emotional performance. With good sound and helpful shot selction the release is strongly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“Eminently enjoyable, this marvellous if underrated Verdi opera Un Ballo in maschera is compellingly performed with Piotr Beczała in masterly form.” MusicWeb International, May 2017

“Nigh on unimpeachable, Beczala’s Riccardo is sung throughout with clean edges and unforced lyricism… he gives a marvellous performance. There’s excellent work from Fomina’s brilliantly sung, female cross-dressing Oscar, and grand vocal depths from Okka von der Damerau’s glamourous soothsayer. Working with top-quality forces, Zubin Mehta provides motivational conducting” Opera, July 2017

“The foregrounding of Oscar’s character is fascinating. It’s a striking performance amid a clutch of stellar turns…The ensembles are expertly balanced by Zubin Mehta, and the orchestra plays with a reliably silky tone.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Blu-ray of the Month - May 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Blu-ray Disc

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Summer Opera Sale

C Major - 739504

(Blu-ray)

Normally: $34.00

Special: $27.20

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Teatro Regio/Verdi Festival Parma, October 2011


Francesco Meli (Riccardo), Vladimir Stoyanov (Renato), Kristin Lewis (Amelia), Elisabetta Fiorillo (Ulrica), Serena Gamberoni (Oscar), Filippo Polinelli (Silvano), Antonio Barbargallo (Samuel), Enrico Rinaldo (Tom), Cosimo Vassallo (Un giudice), Enrico Paolillo (Un servo)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma, Gianluigi Gelmetti

Staged by Massimo Gasparon

The next instalment in C Major’s Tutto Verdi project is the Teatro Regio di Parma production of Un ballo in maschera.

The cast is led by Francesco Meli who has performed extensively at the world’s biggest opera houses. He is supported by Kristin Lewis and Elisabetta Fiorillo.

PICTURE: 16:9, HD

BD: DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM 2.0

RUNNING TIME: TOTAL: 146 MINUTES (OPERA: 136 MINUTES, BONUS: 10 MINUTES)

SUBTITLES ITALIAN (ORIGINAL LANGUAGE), ENGLISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, SPANISH, CHINESE, KOREAN, JAPANESE; BONUS: ENGLISH, ITALIAN

AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE

“It's aptly cast - Francesco Meli's Riccardo with fine legato, Stoyanov an uncommonly civilised Renato whose remorse after the assassination is all the more credible, Samuel and Tom not overdone in their laughing ensemble” Gramophone Magazine, February 2014

“Lewis has a welcome firm middle to her voice and brings much character to the love duet...As always in this series, the chorus act and sing with involvement. They are quite thrilling in the final scene” MusicWeb International, 16th July 2013

“Gasparon’s production is painterly and sumptuous...Meli’s Riccardo is finely sung, with some elegance and a good ‘ping’ to the tone, but one does feel that the role is a size too big for him...Fiorillo’s Ulrica takes her alarming chest register as high as she possibly can...Gelmetti’s conducting is idiomatic and detailed” Opera Now **

Blu-ray Disc

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C Major TUTTO VERDI - 724304

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Leontyne Price (Amelia), Carlo Bergonzi (Riccardo), Robert Merrill (Renato), Shirley Verrett (Ulrica), Reri Grist (Oscar), Mario Basiola Jnr (Silvano), Ezio Flagello (Samuele), Ferruccio Mazzoli (Tom)

RCA Italiana Opera Chorus & RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf

CD includes a booklet with a three-language synopsis (English/French/German), full cast list and detailed track list.

“With Leontyne Price's regal Amelia, Carlo Bergonzi's fervent Riccardo, Robert Merrill's imposing Renato, and Reri Grist's button-cute Oscar, Erich Leinsdorf's 1966 Ballo with the RCA Italiana Opera forces still packs a real punch; the eerie melodrama of both the incantation-scene (a hair-raising Shirley Verrett as Ulrica) and the graveyard sequence chill to the bone.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical

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RCA - The Sony Opera House - 88697581322

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera


Jan Peerce (Riccardo), Robert Merrill (Renato), Herva Nelli (Amelia), Claramae Turner (Ulrica), Virginia Haskins (Oscar), George Cehanovsky (Silvano), Nicola Moscona (Samuele), Norman Scott (Tom), John Carmen Rossi (Un Giudice/Un servo), Robert Shaw Chorale (chorus)

NBC Symphony Orchestra, Arturo Toscanini

Released or re-released in last 6 months

RCA - G010003678625T

Download only from $10.00

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

(Remastered)


Carlo Bergonzi (Riccardo), Robert Merrill (Renato), Leontyne Price (Amelia), Shirley Verrett (Ulrica), Reri Grist (Oscar), Mario Basiola jnr. (Silvano), Ezio Flagello (Samuele), Ferruccio Mazzoli (Tom), Piero De Palma (Un Giudice), Fernandino Jacopucci (Un servo), RCA Italiana Opera Chorus (Chorus)

RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra, Erich Leinsdorf

“With Leontyne Price's regal Amelia, Carlo Bergonzi's fervent Riccardo, Robert Merrill's imposing Renato, and Reri Grist's button-cute Oscar, Erich Leinsdorf's 1966 Ballo with the RCA Italiana Opera forces still packs a real punch; the eerie melodrama of both the incantation-scene (a hair-raising Shirley Verrett as Ulrica) and the graveyard sequence chill to the bone.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

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Sony - G0100035637285

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Live Recording: 26th October 1986


Luciano Pavarotti (Gustavo III), Piero Cappuccilli (Renato), Gabriele Lechner (Amelia), Ludmila Semtschuk (Ulrica), Magda Nador (Oscar), Georg Tichy (Cristiano), Franco De Grandis (Horn), Goran Simic (Ribbing), Alexander Maly (A judge) & Franz Kasemann (A servant)

Orchester und Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Claudio Abbado

Luciano Pavarotti’s repertoire comprised only a few roles, but his performances and recordings of them wrote and rewrote history. Pavarotti’s Riccardo (Gustavo III) in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera in his studio recording of 1983 is given pride of place because of its surface brilliance (not least thanks to Georg Solti on the podium); in his live TV broadcast of the same role three years later under Claudio Abbado he offers a striking sense of musical and dramatic immediacy. In this recording of that broadcast from the Vienna State Opera, we can hear a performance both highly nuanced and possessed of an immense radiance, from his very first “Amici mei” to his touching death scene. After the famous canzona in the first act of this recording (“Di’ tu se fedele il flutto m’aspetta”), the audience of the Vienna State Opera justifiably burst into a storm of applause (and not for the last time either).

As in the studio recording with Pavarotti and Solti, the role of Amelia was sung by Margaret Price on the opening night of this production. In the second performance, the then 25-year-old Gabriele Lechner had to stand in for her – and she did so not just with an overwhelming, fiery, youthful vigour, but also with astonishing luminosity and conviction. Just listen to the opening of the second act when Amelia waits fearfully for her beloved Riccardo alone at night – and then finally meets him. It’s rare to experience such a truthful performance as this. But the Russian mezzosoprano Ludmila Semtschuk as the fortune-teller Ulrica is also beguiling with her passion and profound depth. Piero Cappuccilli had been well known to the Vienna audience for decades. He too is unmistakeable in his timbre and his art of musical characterisation. Like many famous Verdi baritones he was not free of vanity, but this has no adverse impact on his performance as the jealous husband of Amelia and the friend of Riccardo. Claudio Abbado had been the new music director of the State Opera since the autumn of 1986. He had given his highly successful debut there just two years earlier. As ever – and not just with Verdi – Abbado is convincing here in his insistence on a lean, sinewy, tense performance from the Vienna Philharmonic, and this is wholly in the interests of the musical drama.

“[Pavarotti] was on some form this evening, fearless in the high tessitura of the ‘Teco io sto’ duet…the second hero of this performance is Claudo Abbado, who piles on the tension without ever pressing too much…there’s no shortage of emotion but little sentimentality…I would place this set very high up the recommendable list for this opera” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

“‘Lucky Luciano’ in top form singing a favourite role” MusicWeb International, 27th May 2016

“Luciano Pavarotti offers one of his finest Verdi Interpretations in this October 1986 production: the 51- year old tenor’s singing is brimming with vitality in every phrase and more sweeping than in the Decca recording made with Solti four years earlier.” Opera, August 2016

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Orfeo - Wiener Staatsoper live - C907162I

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Recorded: Salzburger Festspiele, 1990


Plácido Domingo (Gustavo III), Leo Nucci (Count Anckarström), Josephine Barstow (Amelia) & Florence Quivar (Madame Arvidson)

Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker, Georg Solti (conductor) & John Schlesinger (director)

The outstanding production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera at the Salzburg Festival 1989/90 was Herbert von Karajan's legacy to the Festival.

Supported by a cast of superlative actor-singers in opulent scenery, Sir Georg Solti agreed to conduct the opera at short notice after Karajan's unexpected death in 1989. The production had been expected to be a highlight in Karajan's series of Verdi operas at Salzburg. But this was not to be: stage rehearsals had already begun for the opening performance of the 1989 festival when Karajan died on 16 July. So it was extraordinarily lucky that a conductor of Sir Georg Solti's standing was prepared to undertake the task just a week before the premiere, and with the whole world watching.

He and the staging by Hollywood film director John Schlesinger were acclaimed by audience and press alike.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

Original Language: IT

Subtitles: IT, GB, DE, FR, ES, CN

Running Time: 145 mins

Resolution: 1080i High Definition (Upscale)

Blu-ray Disc 25 GB (Single Layer)

FSK: 0

Region: worldwide

Worldwide available

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Region: all

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Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109105

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Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

Recorded: Salzburger Festspiele, 1990


Plácido Domingo (Gustavo III), Leo Nucci (Count Anckarström), Josephine Barstow (Amelia) & Florence Quivar (Madame Arvidson)

Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker, Georg Solti (conductor) & John Schlesinger (director)

The outstanding production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera at the Salzburg Festival 1989/90 was Herbert von Karajan's legacy to the Festival.

Supported by a cast of superlative actor-singers in opulent scenery, Sir Georg Solti agreed to conduct the opera at short notice after Karajan's unexpected death in 1989. The production had been expected to be a highlight in Karajan's series of Verdi operas at Salzburg. But this was not to be: stage rehearsals had already begun for the opening performance of the 1989 festival when Karajan died on 16 July. So it was extraordinarily lucky that a conductor of Sir Georg Solti's standing was prepared to undertake the task just a week before the premiere, and with the whole world watching.

He and the staging by Hollywood film director John Schlesinger were acclaimed by audience and press alike.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

Original Language: IT

Subtitles: IT, GB, DE, FR, ES, CN

Running Time: 145 mins

DVD 9 / NTSC

FSK: 0

Region Code: 0

Worldwide available

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Summer Opera Sale

Arthaus Musik Legendary Performances - 109104

(DVD Video)

Normally: $17.00

Special: $13.60

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