Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 72533 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1240 on: September 10, 2018, 04:52:38 AM »


This magical set has certainly withstood the test of time. Schürhoff's Witch is possibly a bit over the top, but everything else is just about perfect.

I have several more modern sets, all good. But this is stil my favourite, a winter comfort, warm bath of a performance. It still sounds remarkably fresh despite its age.

Mike
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1241 on: September 10, 2018, 06:19:33 AM »


Such a gorgeous score and absolutely magical in this Decca mackerras version. Fabulous orchestral playing in the many orchestral interludes and a pretty much perfect cast.

Bliss.
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Online André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1242 on: September 10, 2018, 09:07:32 AM »


A very strange opera, a work within another work, both coexisting somewhat uncomfortably IMO. A rich nobleman wants to entertain his many guests by hosting a banquet, then offer a light divertissement followed by an opera and conclude the evening with fireworks. He realizes time will not permit all that, so he orders the opera and the farce to take place simultaneously. That’s when the work starts.

The Prologue demands to be seen as well as heard - an audio only recording can hardly convey the hustle and bustle of the evening’s festivities mingled with the Composer’s moods and emotional states. Exit the Composer (neither seen or heard for the rest of the work). This is followed by the opera itself, an extended cantata, practically static (singing greek statues, really). A comic interlude intrudes, bringing some humour and welcome diversity. The two greek statues embrace. Curtain.

The music is quite beautiful, with transparent textures (Strauss specified an orchestra of 38). The two most glamorous and gratifying roles are the Composer and Zerbinetta. It’s hard to develop much interest for the characters of Bacchus and Ariadne. Zerbinetta attempts to kick Ariadne’s butt and bring her into reality, but it’s a lost cause: she elopes with Bacchus, thinking he’s really Theseus. Talk about a confused mind... ::)

The audio was taped at the end of 1977 and the film was shot a few months later. Lipsync is perfect. I did not detect any voice or facial discrepancy, the singers obviously singing along when filmed, with everybody up to the task. The singing of all involved is fabulous. Gruberova steals the show both vocally and visually.

Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1243 on: September 10, 2018, 09:35:14 AM »
Andre, When it was issued as a DVD I reviewd it...


http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,142.msg153620/topicseen.html#msg153620


It is some time since I watched the disc.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
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Online André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1244 on: September 10, 2018, 10:07:41 AM »
Thanks Mike, I just read it. We seem to be pretty much on the same wavelength  ;).

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1245 on: September 10, 2018, 02:37:50 PM »
I have several more modern sets, all good. But this is stil my favourite, a winter comfort, warm bath of a performance. It still sounds remarkably fresh despite its age.

Mike

As so often, you and I are as one on this.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1246 on: September 11, 2018, 11:59:27 PM »


Absolutely gorgeous music in Szymanowski's seldom performed opera. I have nothing to compare it to, but it sounds absolutely splendid to me in this Rattle recording.

If you don't know the opera, try it.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1247 on: September 12, 2018, 12:10:51 AM »
I bought this set second hand and it arrived without a libretto.....Grrrrrr.

I saw it at Covent Garden the day I retired from work and quite literally bumped into Theresa May in the foyer, her two guards were not pleased. That was when she was merely the detested Home Secretary.

Anyway, I agree, it is a shimmering, beautiful score. I wish there was more of the opening Byzantine sonorities. There is much beauty and a very mysterious feel to the piece.

The Rattle sounds good to me.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1248 on: September 12, 2018, 12:15:16 AM »
I bought this set second hand and it arrived without a libretto.....Grrrrrr.

I saw it at Covent Garden the day I retired from work and quite literally bumped into Theresa May in the foyer, her two guards were not pleased. That was when she was merely the detested Home Secretary.

Anyway, I agree, it is a shimmering, beautiful score. I wish there was more of the opening Byzantine sonorities. There is much beauty and a very mysterious feel to the piece.

The Rattle sounds good to me.

Mike

I have the reissue, which also, as is usual these days, comes without libretto. I've taken to seeking out second hand copies of the original release of opera issues, as they usually come with libretto and notes. I can't understand why companies always drop them when they re-release a recording. Smaller companies, like LSO Live, manage to include full librettos and notes, which they simpy copy from the original programme notes of the recorded performance.

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

Offline North Star

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1249 on: September 12, 2018, 12:18:39 AM »
The Rattle is very fine indeed, and the only one I own. But I remember thinking even more highly of Kaspszyk's recording.

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1250 on: September 12, 2018, 04:27:53 AM »


Probably Janacek's most popular opera in this famous performance under Janáček scholar and long time devotee, Sir Charles Mackerras. The cast, which includes Lucia Popp in the secondary role of Karolka, is excellent and includes two stand out performances in Elisabeth Søderstrøm's Jenůfa and Eva Randová's Kostelnička.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 06:21:30 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1251 on: September 13, 2018, 03:07:23 AM »
[Ariadne] elopes with Bacchus, thinking he’s really Theseus. Talk about a confused mind... ::)


She only thinks that initially, and briefly. Her very next line after she calls him "Theseus" is "No, no, it is the beautiful quiet god!" He's still not exactly who she thinks he is, but she knows it's not Theseus.
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline Draško

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1252 on: September 15, 2018, 03:31:50 AM »


First time hearing it. It's quite beautiful musically, shimmering.  Not very dramatic in the usual sense. Without proper hero or heroine, more an ensemble piece, like the play itself, to which it sticks quite closely (sans the most of the first act). I quite like it.

Offline Que

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1253 on: September 15, 2018, 03:41:55 AM »
.


Q
À chacun son goût.

Offline Cato

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1254 on: September 15, 2018, 03:52:36 AM »
From 1994: DVD with excellent sound...



Hildegard Behrens is excellent as the implacable Elektra: watching her jump onto a fallen statue of a horse and shake her fist during the line "Agamemnon hoert dich!" is an exciting moment.  Watching her shake Deborah Voigt around (before the weight loss) is another interesting sight!  0:)
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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1255 on: September 15, 2018, 05:36:47 AM »
.


Q

A lovely disc, I enjoy his voice a great deal. Have you bought the single disc Orfeo he is in? The crits were pretty bad, but I liked the idea of the opera lasting 80 minutes and I thought he would be good in it.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Online André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1256 on: Today at 10:42:23 AM »


The cast:

Don Giovanni: George London
Leporello: Walter Berry
Donna Anna: Hilde Zadek
Don Ottavio: Leopold Simoneau
Donnal Elvira: Sena Jurinac
Zerlina: Graziella Sciutti
Masetto: Eberhard Waechter
Il Commendatore: Ludwig Weber

This was Philips’ official bicentenary year offering. It was recorded in Vienna’s Musikverein in May 1955. In those days it took the better part of a year to tape, cut, produce and distribute an opera set. Recorded in mono, it was instantly upstaged by the rival stereo Decca set with the charismatic Cesare Siepi in the title role, recorded in the same year.

Both casts deliver outstanding, top of the line mozartian singing. By and large the Decca (under Krips) can be said to be more characterfully sung, giving a better sense of the drama and comedy. Under Moralt the superb singers are more prone to a stand up and sing delivery. Krips’ singers are (in the same order as above): Cesare Siepi, Fernando Corena, Suzanne Danco, Anton Dermota, Lisa della Casa, Hilde Gueden, Walter Berry (the only cast overlap, but not in the same role) and Kurt Böhme. None of these distinguished singers is any less than very, very good.  Picking and choosing from both sets, I’d go for Siepi, Corena, Danco, della Casa, Gueden, Waechter and Weber, with a toss between Dermota and Simoneau. A mix of the two then, but with more roles stemming from the Decca roster.

The biggest difference comes from the vocal and dramatic presence of the two Giovannis. For my taste, Siepi has the edge in terms of beauty of sound, humour and sexiness. As has sometimes been mentioned, he is not immune from hamming - but better that than a constipated Giovanni. London is commanding but almost overbearing, a predator more than a seducer. Superb singing informs the performances of Berry and Corena as Leporello, but Corena has the edge dramatically, with just the right dose of the giocoso to his temperamental character. Berry’s servant (under Moralt) is in a bad mood from his opening number and seldom turns the comic switch on.

Both Donna Annas have slightly unwieldy voices, but Danco oozes aristocratic demeanor. My favourite Anna is Margaret Price (on the Solti set). Her singing is enough to move that version in the top contenders. I find it a tossup between Dermota and Simoneau, the former more subtle and affecting, the latter more manly yet singing with incredible beauty and security. Gueden’s and Sciutti’s Zerlinas are equally delightful, but if pressed I’d rather duet with Gueden  :). Waechter (Giulini’s Giovanni) brings a menacing touch to his character, making one believe this jealous peasant can easily turn into a potentially violent character. Della Casa is a more interesting Elvira than Jurinac (a superb singer who nonetheless never convinces me her character is more than a little mentally troubled).  Cielo! Que aspetto nobile, que dolce maesta ! seems to have been written to describe della Casa’s Elvira.

In terms of orchestral playing and conducting, I can’t find a decisive factor one way or another. Both maestros pace the work to perfection, never rushing the singers or dragging the pace. When it comes to the recorded sound, there are grounds for preferring the mono Philips recording - with precise, transparent, very solid sound - over the bigger but slightly fuzzy Decca effort. The voices are better caught, too. If one prefers a more blended singers/orchestra balance, the choice could very well go the other way.

All told, these two historic sets are still very much top contenders in a crowded field. No other set since comes close to offering such a well-equipped and stylish lineup of soloists. I do retain an immense admiration for the Annas of Margaret Price and Edda Moser, the Commendatore of Kurt Moll or the Leporello of Gabriel Bacquier. Although unsympathetic, Ruggero Raimondi’s Marquis de Sade Giovanni is a tour de force (him and Moser’s Anna are on the Maazel set). Some prefer performances where individual voices blend in rather than stand out, with a tighter, less star-turn type of ensemble singing. Personally I think Da Ponte/Mozart’s characters are anything but Watteau-like in dramatic personality.