Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 83268 times)

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Online mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1380 on: November 18, 2018, 06:53:29 AM »
I listened to Mehta and Karajan more or less back to back myself recently, and I pretty much agree with all your points on both sets. Though it's a lot better here than on some of her other sets, Sutherland's muddy diction bothers me more than most, I suppose, especially when set beside Pavarotti's well nigh perfect enunciation of the text, but there is the compensation of the beauty of the voice itself, an aural equivalent of the beauty that so many princes risk their lives for. For me, Nilsson, for all her clarion top notes, doesn't sound, in any way shape or form, alluring, one of the problems I also have with her Salome. Ricciarelli is an experiment that doesn't quite come off. Callas, the most interesting of them all, was recorded just a few years too late. If only the Serafin had been recorded when she recorded In questa reggia for her Puccini recital.

Pavarotti is probably my favourite of modern day Calafs, for all the reaosons you mention. As for Liu, well Hendricks, gorgeously vulnerable and sweet-toned, takes the palm for me. I love both Caballé and Scwharzkopf, and they both sing divinely, but neither of them really sounds like a slave girl. Caballé is too much the grande dame and Schwarzkopf too much the Austrian duchess. Zaccaria is my favourite Timur, and Serafin also has a wonderfully characterful Ping, Pang and Pong, not to mention Giuseppe Nessi, who sang Pang at  the first performance of Turandot, as the Emperor.

Had Serafin been accorded the sort of sound Mehta and Karajan get, I might well also have placed him higher than either Mehta or Karajan. His unforced, totally natural, italianate conducting is rarely given the credit it deserves.


I agree pretty much with both of you about the relative pros and minuses of the Karajan and Mehta performances. A couple of weeks ago, I said pretty much the same thing as you about Hendricks (either here or in general listening thread). She is really the star of that set. Her voice is much more suited to the role and her characterization is just perfect.

I'm sorry I haven't been posting here much, but haven't really been listening to much of anything lately because of my job (and time limitations from that). But I have been reading everything even if I could not comment. It's been very enjoyable to read such well thought out comments.

I almost bought the new Semiramide on Opera Rara, so I'd love to hear how that compares to the Naxos, which was what I was originally going to buy (an opera i don't yet own on disc).
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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1381 on: November 18, 2018, 10:48:40 AM »
It's gone very quiet here recently. Where has everyone gone?
...
I haven't been listening to much opera lately, but I always read your contributions with interest, Tsaraslondon.

Cross-posted from the WAYLTN thread in the general forum:

First listen to this rarity:



Walter Braunfels’s Verkündigung is a setting (in German translation) of Paul Claudel’s mystery play L’annonce faite à Marie, and thus can be seen as a reflection of i) the composer’s fervent Catholicism  after his conversion  from Judaism, ii) the allure Claudel’s verse had for composers (cf. Honegger and Milhaud), and iii) the to me rather surprising positive reaction to Claudel’s oeuvre in Germany (I remember once seeing a huge tome dealing with “Paul Claudel and the German Stage” in a bookstore in Berlin, but the subject matter was really too specialised for me to look into it any further).

This opera was completed in “internal exile” in 1935, but only premiered in 1948 (performances under the Nazi regime were out of the question  >:(). To be honest, I don’t find Claudel’s (early) play very alluring (a medieval story of self-renunciation, involving leprosy and the resurrection of a dead child), and Braunfel’s late-romantic style, with a declamated singing line, becomes rather tedious. The best bits IMHO are some orchestral passages and accompaniments, but these are unfortunately few and far between. One reviewer of another, more recent recording, points out that the work is almost entirely uninfluenced by Wagner, but I can’t help but thinking that long stretches of it do remind me of Wagner (Siegfried, that is, not Richard  ;)). Wagner junior’s usually pagan medievalism sounds uncannily similar to Braunfel’s Christian one... ::)
Ritter
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1382 on: November 19, 2018, 01:34:20 AM »


I almost bought the new Semiramide on Opera Rara, so I'd love to hear how that compares to the Naxos, which was what I was originally going to buy (an opera i don't yet own on disc).

I still haven't heard the new Opera Rara set, but the Naxos isn't bad at all. Penda is thrilling, if occasionally a little wayward, Pizzolato a bit dull, and the men, especially Osborn, really good. The Naxos is a good deal cheaper too.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1383 on: November 19, 2018, 05:46:32 PM »
Not listened to, but ordered last night


The blurb on Arkivmusic's item page
Quote
A vivid demonstration of how widely Fabio Biondi’s musical imagination runs comes with his new recording of Giuseppe Verdi’s work of genius, Macbeth, issued on Glossa. It is the original Florentine 1847 version of the work, shorn of the Paris revisions more typically found on record, which Fabio Biondi has opted to conduct, the director believing in its greater dramatic and stylistic coherence. Verdi was of the opinion that the Shakespearean tragedy was “one of the greatest creations of the human spirit” and set himself the task of rendering the fire of its drama into music during and following a period when his physical health had broken down. With its scenes of murder, battle and sleep-walking, brindisi and witches’ choruses all creating a somber atmosphere drenched with paranoia and a lust for power, the dramatic flow of the opera places vast demands on the soloists, notably upon the unhappy title-role couple. Fabio Biondi’s version comes with baritone Giovanni Meoni, a leading Verdi specialist as Macbeth whilst the larger-than-life role of Lady Macbeth is taken by a noted present-day Salome, Médée (and Medea), the soprano Nadja Michael. Bass Fabrizio Beggi assumes the part of Banquo, both when alive and as a ghost. Important also in the work is the chorus, a leading protagonist for the composer, and here the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir. Critical also is Verdi’s orchestral writing for Macbeth, introducing rare and radical tonal colorings and Fabio Biondi, directing his Europa Galante from the violin, is just the radical, challenging musical spirit to breathe new life into Verdi’s masterpiece and its search for dramatic truth


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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1384 on: November 20, 2018, 12:45:02 AM »


I saw Baltsa as Isabella at Covent Garden in the production on which this Vienna recording was based back in 1988. Common to it and the recording were Baltsa, Lopardo and Corbelli, but it was conducted by Gabriele Ferro and the Mustafa was the experienced buffo bass Paolo Montarsolo. I remember it as being particularly high spirited, with Baltsa hilarious as the Italian Girl, who runs rings round every man she comes in contact with. Unfortunately this studio recording, which was made the following year in Vienna, fails to take off in quite the same way, and it's all a bit earthbound, all a bit po-faced.

Something of a disappointment.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1385 on: November 20, 2018, 07:59:27 AM »


First listen to this opera. I'm not a huge fan of Rossini - his operas often sound like a bad copy of Mozart (and Mozart is not my top composers either) but this has been so far fairly interesting.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1386 on: November 20, 2018, 10:24:51 AM »


First listen to this opera. I'm not a huge fan of Rossini - his operas often sound like a bad copy of Mozart (and Mozart is not my top composers either) but this has been so far fairly interesting.

I prefer the original French version, and fortunately there is a very good recording of it featuring Bacquier, Gedda and Caballé under Lamberto Gardelli.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas