Masked Ball at Covent Garden

Karita Mattila (Amelia)
Un ballo in maschera, Royal Opera House, London
By Andrew Clark [Financial Times, 14 Apr 05]
The aesthetics of this new staging have been determined by a co-production deal with Madrid and Houston, rather than by any wish to explore Verdi in a modern context. Like La forza del destino earlier this season, it is an old-fashioned singers’ show – safe, bankable, peppered with big-house spectacle but oblivious to the characters’ psychology and Verdi’s elegantly crafted dramatic situations. The onus for making those situations come alive once again falls on Antonio Pappano.
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Un Ballo in Maschera
Andrew Clements [The Guardian, 14 Apr 05]
The Royal Opera’s previous version of Un Ballo in Maschera was looking its age when it was last seen (with a cast including Pavarotti) 10 years ago. Its replacement, though, already looks old before its time. The new staging by the Italian film director Mario Martone is couched in the kind of deadening naturalism and approximate acting that do nothing for opera as living theatre. Even by the mediocre production standards at Covent Garden since the arrival of Antonio Pappano as music director, it’s a desperately poor show.
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How Mario went to the ballo
Robert Thicknesse [Times Online, 8 Apr 05]
AS OPERAGOERS know to their cost, an opera can turn decent theatre and film directors into bunnies in headlights. They freeze. Theatrical talent flies out of the window. They produce pantos and naturalistic jokes. They ruin the lives and confidence of singers.
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