Ballo in Maschera


Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera opera to libretto by Antonio Somma. Directed 2016 by Johannes Erath at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera).  Stars Piotr Beczala (Riccardo), George Petean (Renato), Anja Harteros (Amelia), Okka von der Damerau (Ulrica), Sofia Fomina (Oscar), Andrea Borghini (Silvano), Anatoli Sivko (Samuel), Scott Conner (Tom), Ulrich Reß (Judge) and Joshua Owen Mills (Amelia's servant). Zubin Mehta conducts the Bayerisches Staatsorchestra (Bavarian State Orchestra) and Chor (Chorus Master Sören Eckhoff). Sets by Heike Scheele; costumes by Gesine Völlm; videos by Lea Heutelbeck; lighting by Joachim Klein; and dramaturgy by Malte Krasting. Directed for TV by Tiziano Mancini. Subtitles in 8 languages: Italian, German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese! Released 2017, this title is available as a normal 2K Blu-ray and as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

We have previously reviewed a traditional Ballo HDVD (from Madrid) and another with surreal Pomodoro designs (Leipzig). Here are our comments on Ballo staging from 2015:

Although Un ballo in maschera was inspired by a regicide in Sweden, it's not an historical opera. Different versions exist set in several counties. Setting it in America is unconvincing. Because it's about human relationships and nothing else, you could stage it in a colony on Mars with a computer as fortune teller. So there's no reason other than habit for Ballo to be performed as a period costume piece. The dream world created by Olmi, Pomodoro, and staff works fine.

Well, according to José M. Irurzun (a fine reviewer) writing for in March 2016, subject Johannes Erath's version of Ballo at the Bayerische Staatsoper has to be understood as a "nightmare of Riccardo obsessed by his love for Amelia . . . otherwise, everything would be totally ridiculous. I doubt that a spectator who is not familiar with the plot would understand what is happening on stage." Mike Ashman says in the May 2017 Gramophone at page 99 that this release is "strongly recommended."

Before we could decide whether to buy this in 2K Blu-ray for a detailed review, it appeared in 4K (without HDR). So we intend to review the 4K version only.

Here are 2 clips about this production (not sure if these are 100% the same as the disc):

To buy the 2K Blu-ray, click below:


To buy the 4K UltraHD Blu-ray, click below: