Sunday Classics: Remembering Margaret Price, Part 9 -- Verdi's "A Masked Ball" with two Prices and another luminary
VERDI: Aida: Act III, Aida, "O patria mia"
Margaret Price sings Aida's Act III aria, "O patria mia," in San Francisco, 1981.
We're still remembering the Welsh soprano Margaret Price, and finishing up today with our listenback to her notable Verdi roles. Last night we sampled her Élisabeth in Don Carlos and heard more of her Desdemona in Otello. Today, as we did in Part 7, devoted to Otello, we're going to use our Margaret Price retrospective as an occasion to focus on the opera itself, in this case the middle-period gem A Masked Ball, based on the assassination of Sweden's King Gustav III, but transposed -- at the insistence of censors apprehensive about allowing the depiction of an actual royal assassination onstage -- to a wild and woolly colonial Boston, where the erstwhile King Gustav serves as the governor, Riccardo.
To get us in a Masked Ball kind of mood, let's listen to the brief orchestral Prelude, from a complete recording of the opera conducted by probably the most interesting Verdi conductor on records, Gianandrea Gavazzeni.
VERDI: Un Ballo in maschera: Prelude
Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, cond. DG, recorded 1960
FOR TONIGHT'S QUICK AMELIA-BASED
SAMPLING OF A MASKED BALL, CLICK HERE
REMEMBERING MARGARET PRICE: The series so far
Career beginnings (plus the Act I Love Duet from Verdi's Otello)
Part 1: From Handel's Messiah to Wagner's Tristan, emerging in Mozart
Part 2: The Countess in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (plus "Or sai chi l'onore" from Don Giovanni)
Part 3: Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte
[Plus postscript: more of "Soave sia il vento" in the later post Sunday, Bloody Sunday and the depths of Mozart's humanity]
Part 4: Pamina in Mozart's Magic Flute
Part 5: Agathe in Weber's Der Freischütz
Part 6: Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos
Part 7: Verdi's Otello with Price and others as Desdemona
Part 8: Elisabeth in Verdi's Don Carlos and more of Price as Desdemona
Part 9: Verdi's A Masked Ball with Margaret Price, Leontyne Price, and Maria Callas as Amelia (today)
Still to come: Price the song-singer