In this recording Riccardo Chailly directs Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera for the first time in his function as General Music Director of the Leipzig Oper on the 2nd of November 2005. Un ballo in maschera is as exciting as a thriller, but with a passion that can only be experienced in a Verdi opera. It stands to reason that only a man of equal passion would have the ability of bringing this spectacle to the stage adequately.
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.
This set was recorded in 1970, first appeared in 1971, and now is re-issued on CD as Decca - London ,there is just SOMETHING about the freedom and vocal ease of the 35-year-old Pavarotti (pre-beard!). The high notes shine and soar and he just seems to be the young, impetuous King. Milnes shows us why he was the logical American baritone successor to Tibbett, Warren, Weede, Merrill and MacNeil in the great Verdi roles .Grand Dame Renata Tebaldi as Amelia and Regina Resnik as Ulrica–both at the end of their best years; don't forget, their careers started in the mid-1940s ,the ladies acquit themselves well enough vocally and also add involved characterizations of their roles.