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A curious DVD might tempt you if you ever reminisce about stars of the 1970s and ’80’s: Arena di Verona: The Golden Years, a documentary about the Festival at that time. I do have to start with a clutch of caveats: the sound is fuzzy, the picture quality is worthy of a dodgy bootleg video bought from the back of a van, the background music is 1980s Eurotrash at its moronic perkiest, matched by the alarming clothes and hair of the time – when hair was big, shoulder pads even bigger, and shorts very short. However, it’s such a period piece that it’s quite fun, and even manages to be interesting in patches. The cast of Rigoletto, including Sherrill Milnes, completely ignore their bewildered director, there are tempting glimpses of Ricciarelli’s Traviata, a chat with Fiorenza Cossotto (seemingly an absolute pussycat – surely worthy of an Oscar) and best of all, an interview with Raina Kabaivanska: she cheerfully confesses that she would love to perform in Aida there... not singing the title role, but as the elephant, because it gets the most applause of the evening! You have been warned.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Opera Now, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing