Poll

Favorite Beethoven Opera?

Fidelio
6 (37.5%)
Fidelio is OK, but Elgar's operas rule!
10 (62.5%)

Total Members Voted: 11

Author Topic: Favorite Beethoven Opera  (Read 6485 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2007, 01:00:44 PM »
Gabriel, Welcome and do give us a lead on the various versions.

Mike
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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2007, 02:21:54 PM »
Thanks, Gurn and Mike! I'm glad that I'll have more time now for these musical subjects! :)

Leonore (1805) has some sections which were unfortunately cut from the final version. I wonder how could Beethoven omit the formidable duo Leonore/Marzelline, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful vocal numbers he ever wrote (which is, in fact, a duo/quartet, for there is a marvellous dialogue between soli violin and cello, which interacts with the vocal duo). That, as just an example. The trio Rocco/Jaquino/Marzelline is a delicious Singspiel fragment; the whole first act makes not just musical, but theatrical sense, with the original scene structure; while there is in the final version a too quick transition from the climax in the dungeon to "O namenlose Freude", in Leonore there is a recitativo that makes the music and the action naturally flow; and the last act finale much more effective and "human" (and in the parts that share similar material there is a sometimes quite different scoring).

But not everything is better to me in the original version. For example, I prefer Florestan's aria in Fidelio (1814). I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to make great comments on the second version, for I don't have the recording with me right now (I'm not in Chile).

Finally, I find the Blomstedt recording extraordinary, much better than Gardiner's hybrid experiment in Archiv, a collection of his personal preferences from all three 1805-1806-1814 versions.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2007, 03:07:06 PM »
Thanks, Gurn and Mike! I'm glad that I'll have more time now for these musical subjects! :)

Leonore (1805) has some sections which were unfortunately cut from the final version. I wonder how could Beethoven omit the formidable duo Leonore/Marzelline, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful vocal numbers he ever wrote (which is, in fact, a duo/quartet, for there is a marvellous dialogue between soli violin and cello, which interacts with the vocal duo). That, as just an example. The trio Rocco/Jaquino/Marzelline is a delicious Singspiel fragment; the whole first act makes not just musical, but theatrical sense, with the original scene structure; while there is in the final version a too quick transition from the climax in the dungeon to "O namenlose Freude", in Leonore there is a recitativo that makes the music and the action naturally flow; and the last act finale much more effective and "human" (and in the parts that share similar material there is a sometimes quite different scoring).

But not everything is better to me in the original version. For example, I prefer Florestan's aria in Fidelio (1814). I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to make great comments on the second version, for I don't have the recording with me right now (I'm not in Chile).

Finally, I find the Blomstedt recording extraordinary, much better than Gardiner's hybrid experiment in Archiv, a collection of his personal preferences from all three 1805-1806-1814 versions.

Well, it was not something that he undertook lightly. The story (told in Thayer) of how he was coerced by his friends and the people who were sponsoring the production to cut great chunks of it for the purpose of streamlining it at all costs is really one of the great low spots of his life. It is not that there was anything wrong with the original, it was just felt to be too long and demanding on the audience. There is Rossini to compete with, after all. ::)   So the deed was done and he never made another serious effort at an opera, he only ever talked about it. I think he was afraid to have to endure that again.

Fidelio met with instant success, but then, everything he did in 1814 met with instant success. This was the period of "Wellington's Victory", after all, the single greatest period of public acceptance and popularity of his entire life. So Fidelio lived on and Leonore was virtually forgotten. Glad it was revived, it is truly enjoyable to listen to, composed as it was at the height of his creative power, contemporaneous with the 5th & 6th symphonies, "Coriolan Overture", the Op 69 cello sonata &c &c.   :)

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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2007, 03:22:16 PM »
And it seems that the political situation in Austria in those years also frustrated a success of Leonore.

Don't forget we have a surviving fragment of another opera: Vestas Feuer (Hess 115), which anticipates in its final section 'O namenlose Freude'.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2007, 10:02:54 PM »
Well, the descriptions have my mouth watering. I had assumed it was a weak try-out causing it to be so utterly ignored. But if there is apprecably more music and it is at his mature best, I have to hear it, thanks.

I have just ordered the double set from Amazon.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2007, 01:56:46 PM »
The set has followed me to my new home, delayed by various vagaries. I have been very much enjoying the Leonore. It somehow has a more backward feel to it than the final product. For instance in Act 1 there is a substantial duet with a violin obbligato which very much echos Haydn. It helps make more sense of the infactuation that Marzelline has for Fidelio. The aria for Pizarro is tightened up in the final version, to its advantage in its more direct dramatic thrust.

Fascinating to get these organic thoughts from Beethoven as they developed.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

karlhenning

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2007, 03:41:49 PM »
Frankly I am tired of how people laugh at my Elgar stuff.

Take heart! We're none of us laughing at Elgar.

We're laughing at . . . other occasions which you so readily and continuously furnish.

karlhenning

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2007, 03:49:03 PM »
Thanks, Gabriel, Gurn & Mike!

Offline BachQ

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2007, 04:24:13 PM »
Don't forget we have a surviving fragment of another opera: Vestas Feuer (Hess 115), which anticipates in its final section 'O namenlose Freude'.

Yes, I prefer the WoO operas .......... personally ...........

Offline BachQ

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2007, 04:25:11 PM »
((shouldn't this thread be in the opera/vocal room????))


Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2007, 05:16:58 PM »
Yes, I prefer the WoO operas .......... personally ...........

Hess, actually, but who's picking?

The fragments of Vesta's Fire are quite tantalizing, actually. Damn his eyes for leaving so many things hanging  >:(

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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Favorite Beethoven Opera
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2007, 12:43:36 PM »
Now, if you are even more interested in following Beethoven's thoughts on Leonore-Fidelio, you can think of getting the recording of Leonore in its second version (1806), which has been recorded in Dabringhaus & Grimm, conducted by Marc Soustrot. Alas, the recording is far from being as good as Blomstedt's in the 1805 version.