Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera'

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' Verdi's 'Un Ballo in Maschera' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Join us at 1 pm for a live broadcast of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ballroom Dance) from the Metropolitan Opera. 

Ricardo Tamura plays the self-destructive King Gustavo III of Sweden in this afternoon’s performancereplacing Piotr Beczala, who is ill. Sondra Radvanovsky is Amelia, the woman the King loves. Dmitri Hvorostovsky is Anckarström, Gustavo’s friend and Amelia’s husband; Dolora Zajick is Ulrica, the fortune-teller who predicts the king’s murder; and Heidi Stober is the pageboy Oscar.

David Alden's production of Un ballo in maschera first arrived at the Met in 2012.


ConductorJames Levine
AmeliaSondra Radvanovsky
OscarHeidi Stober
Madame ArvidssonDolora Zajick
Gustavo IIIRicardo Tamura
AnckarströmDmitri Hvorostovsky

Comments [13]

Rosanna from NYC

This production of "Ballo" is indeed ugly and muddled, another waste of money by P. Gelb. Why does Oscar prance around wearing a set of (shedding) wings that are supposed to drag the Icarus myth into this opera? Why, oh, why are several metal office desks wisked on then off stage in Act I, Scene 1? It's the Met, folks, not the Broadway theater district. HOWEVER, thanks to the major talents of Radvanovsky, Beczala, Zajick, Hvorostovsky, & the Met Orchestra I & most audience members had a wonderful evening at the Met last week, and I also enjoyed the matinee broadcast with R. Tamura substituting for the indisposed P. Beczala. ALL CREDIT IS DUE TO PRINCIPAL MET SINGERS WHO SUPPORT VERDI'S INTENT DESPITE SOME POOR-QUALITY PRODUCTIONS THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH THESE DAYS.

May. 04 2015 02:00 AM
Cherubino from Down South

What did Don Carlo & Ballo b'casts have in common?

They were both weakened sadly by one of the principals.

And that's as kind as I can be.

May. 03 2015 09:47 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

From all the principal singers today we got a sampling of perhaps their worst night out on the town. They certainly were not up ti snuff. Certainly not up to previous MET OPERA standards. When TOSCANINI prepared for his broadcast of BALLO he chose BJORLING, but BJORLING was indisposed, so JAN PEERCE sang and outdid himself. One of the minor roles major singers sing is OSCAR, which one of my voice teachers the legendary singer of the Golden Age of Opera, the coloratura FRIEDA HEMPEL sang at the MET opposite CARUSO and sang with him on Viictor Records in his two selections from BALLLO. Luckily for records we can hear what the composers in their best dream days hoped to hear.

May. 02 2015 05:23 PM
Madison from Manhattan

Another idiotic destructive update. The royal court of Sweden has been turned into the lobby of the Chrysler building with the 7 Santini Brothers moving stainless steel chairs around non stop, the King of Sweden joins a Broadway chorus line, Renato is dressed as The Great Gatsby and the chorus is perpetually in motion gyrating to the music one way or another. Sandra was in great voice, Tamura sounded better than his Don Carlo disaster and Dimi sang a heart breaking Eri tu. Let's see, with Rigoletto, The Ring, Traviata,Lucia, Cav and Pag, that makes 7 of Gelb's updating disasters I won't be seeing anymore. Makes me both sad and angry.

May. 02 2015 04:46 PM
Suzanne from New York

Oh Scott, I wouldn't worry about offending anyone with your remarks now that WQXR has permitted Uncle Charlie to run an only slightly altered (and transparent) rendering of the F word on this site. . . . Aren't comments moderated here? See "Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief" at the bottom of this page.

May. 02 2015 04:44 PM
Scott Foreman-Orr from United States

wow Sondra's chest voice has developed so nicely! A beautiful performance! I'm look forward to her 3 Queens next season! Dimitri for me is barking his way through the opera. He used to have a more relaxed way of singing, now its less nuanced, lots of testosterone/force.If there is enhancement, then why plow your way through? Even if there isn't why not sing something different at the Met and save this for a smaller house? I'd sing lyrical stuff at the Met because its so large and sing more dramatic repertoire in much smaller houses. Just my humble opinion. Hopefully my comments won't offend anyone!Not pleased with the Gustavo.

May. 02 2015 04:02 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Awful productions. The Ring with the ramps, Forza with the loading dock at Costco, very dark for Sunny Spain, the filty Tosca, Traviata, etc.etc. and this one. Cannot pass judgment on Cav and Pag.
not too crazy for the Fidelio they did.

May. 02 2015 03:14 PM

the tenor sounds great, more Italianate than Beczala for sure.

I can't defend the MET on this one, it's an ugly ass show. I saw it opening night and will never see it again. Especially since I have in my memory the previous Ballo, so stunning and magnificent. I have it on dvd, with Pavarotti, Nucci, Blackwell and Millo for f*ck sake, enough said.

May. 02 2015 02:14 PM

I think the tenor replacement's going to just get me to listen to WKCR's Forza del Destino tonight with Giuseppe di Stefano, Cesare Siepi, and Leyla Gencer instead. WKCR's opera show is becoming an invaluable resource to NYC opera lovers.

May. 02 2015 01:35 PM
Adele F (aka AF) from Nassau County, Long Island

I was shocked when I saw the above photo of this production! Horrible!

I guess it's just as well I can't make it into the city anymore! Who wants to see something like this?? Certainly wouldn't want to spend money to see it!!!

May. 02 2015 01:19 PM
Peter Feldman from New York City

The sets are so horrible that many members of the audience close their eyes. Who wants to see something like this regardless of how good the singers are? How the Met management allows such HORRIBLE production? Does not the Met have any production and artistic management to prevent spending in so HORRIBLE productions?

May. 02 2015 12:24 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

There are two unwritten traditions I always hope will be followed when I hear "Un Ballo in Maschera" and one of them is not the nonsensical updating that I'll ignore. (My orchestra score is the Ricordi Plate Number PR 159 which has the 17th Century Boston setting and character names.) First is the interpolated laughter by Riccardo (King Gustavo) in the aria "`E scherzo...". Alessandro Bonci, a Caruso contemporary whose Riccardo was a tremendous success, is believed to have started it. Other tenors whom I have documentation of that interpolated the laughter in the quick-moving aria are Bjoerling/Panizza/Met 1940, Gigli/Serafin/Rome 1943, Peerce/Toscanini/NBC 1954, di Stefano/Votto/La Scala 1957, Pavarotti/Patane'/Met/1980. In listening to the opening night broadcast, I heard close to nothing from Piotr Beczala, whom I think is a proud addition to the lineage. The second is the orchestra peroration after Sam and Tom (the two Counts) finish their lines about what an uproar will occur in the city when it's discovered Renato (Ankarstro"m) had an assignation with his own wife. All the above-mentioned conductors played the last four bars "presto" (or the equivalent), rather than keep the tempo at the outset which Verdi writes as "Andante mosso, quasi allegretto". The faster tempo that Maestro Levine doesn't take, seems to make the point of the scene fall flat. This is the first time I think in 40 or so years I've disagreed with his interpretive judgments! Sondra Radvanovsky is reminiscent to me of the young Callas. The three high C's --- two in Act II right before the duet that also calls for one and the Act III "Morro'.." sounded clear resonant and true. Her voice seems to me to have a sleightly veiled sound, also reminiscent of the young Callas. I look forward to hearing her and Beczala in any future roles they choose to sing. For me, Dimitri Hvorostovsky has a rather raw and sometimes pushed sound when he sings Verdi; and Dolora Zajick has acquired a wide vibrato in the middle register, though capable of singing a resonant low G that resolves to middle C in her opening aria ending with "...silenzio." Heidi Stober's Oscar sounded a bit strident in Act I, but not at all so in Act III. At times, Beczala reminded me of the young Pavarotti. I'm looking forward to today's matine'e.

May. 02 2015 07:05 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Beautiful music in this one. Hope the singers do it justice. Sets and whole production awful. One of the sets reminded me of a school cafeteria.
CBC: Hope you are well. Beautiful day out here.

May. 02 2015 06:59 AM

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