Author Topic: Currentzis Opera Recordings  (Read 9316 times)

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Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2014, 12:10:56 PM »
Sarge - buy it. And try the Shostakovich while you're at it.

I already have his Shostakovich 14 and the Piano Concertos, and his great Dido. Definitely a conductor to collect.

Sarge
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Offline ritter

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2014, 12:54:10 PM »
I must confess I'm tempted by this Figaro, since I think it should be interesting to listen to a fresh (and apparently well-rehearsed and researched) take on the opera from our days...but, then again, my only experience with Currentzis live was quite a disappointment. It was an all-Mahler program, with the Teatro Real's pit orchestra, the Sinfónica de Madrid, about a year and a half ago. We had several Wunderhorn-Lieder (beautifully sung by Matthias Goerne  :) ), and then the First Symphony; the latter piece was really not that good. The orchestra (which had improved tremendously during Gerard Mortier's tenure as artistic director) seemed to be having an off day (the trumpets in particular verged on the disastrous  :-[ ), but Curentzis's approach to the piece struck me as "vulgar"....Granted, there is an inherent "vulgarity" to Mahler's music (and this is one of the many components that united make his symphonies so unique), but here everything sounded coarse, even when it shouldn't. There was no mystery in the "Wie ein Naturlaut" opening bars, the tempo fluctuations sounded capricious, and the dynamic contrasts were sometimes too extreme (IMHO)...by no means a memorable concert. But one shouldn't assess an artist by one single performance, and perhaps this Figaro gives a different, better picture... And, yes, the way this set is presented adds to its allure; these days, you don's see that many CD sets with such high presentation standards . It actually looks like something from the good old LP days... ;)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 12:40:31 AM by ritter »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2014, 01:34:27 PM »
I already have his Shostakovich 14 and the Piano Concertos, and his great Dido. Definitely a conductor to collect.

Sarge

Oh yes -- I forgot about that extraordinary Dido. I haven't heard the concertos.
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2014, 01:49:18 PM »
Oh yes -- I forgot about that extraordinary Dido. I haven't heard the concertos.

The "Dido" performance seems very good. It seems challenging for new performers and ensembles to become established in the recorded repertoire....
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Offline knight66

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2014, 10:35:49 PM »
I have found the Dido on Spotify and have just started it. The overture sounds like Rebel's Chaos!

Mike

Edit: Oh well, that's that ordered now. Amazing music making.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2014, 11:00:51 PM by knight66 »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2014, 11:20:54 AM »
I have found the Dido on Spotify and have just started it. The overture sounds like Rebel's Chaos!

Mike

Edit: Oh well, that's that ordered now. Amazing music making.

Same here. Resistance is futile.....     
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Offline knight66

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2014, 11:43:28 AM »
 
Same here. Resistance is futile.....   


 >:D

Mike
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2014, 10:03:04 PM »
Here's the press release about the Mozaty Operas cucle

http://theatre.perm.ru/en/about/news/news/show/1022


News
Sony Classical announces a major new Mozart opera project with Teodor Currentzis and musicAeterna

    CONDUCTOR TEODOR CURRENTZIS, WITH HIS ORCHESTRA & CHOIR ”MUSICAETERNA”, IS MAKING A NO-COMPROMISE STUDIO RECORDING CYCLE OF MOZART’S THREE DA PONTE OPERAS

    LIVING IN A UNIQUE ARTISTIC COMMUNITY ESTABLISHED ON THE EDGE OF URAL, THESE MUSICIANS WORK AND RECORD UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS

    CURRENTZIS’ STATED GOAL WITH THIS PROJECT IS ”TO SHOW WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED IF YOU AVOID THE FACTORY APPROACH OF THE CLASSICAL MUSIC MAINSTREAM”

    THE RECORDINGS REPRESENT AN UNPRECEDENTED COMMITMENT BY THE ARTISTS IN TERMS OF PREPARATION, SESSION & POSTPRODUCTION TIME, QUEST FOR BEST POSSIBLE SOUND

    THE RECORDINGS EMBODY A RADICAL NEW APPROACH TO ORCHESTRAL VIRTUOSITY AS WELL AS TO SCORE FIDELITY, VOCAL STYLE AND PERFORMANCE PRACTICE

    SONY CLASSICAL TO LAUNCH THE SERIES WITH ”LE NOZZE DI FIGARO” IN FEBRUARY 2014; ”COSÌ FAN TUTTE” TO FOLLOW IN AUTUMN OF 2014 AND ”DON GIOVANNI” TO COMPLETE THE CYCLE IN AUTUMN OF 2015

    IN ADDITION TO THE CD AND ALL DIGITAL FORMATS, THE OPERAS WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE AS HIGH RESOLUTION BLU-RAY AUDIO AND ON VINYL

Fourteen hundred kilometres east ofMoscow, in the Russian city ofPerm, the charismatic and provocative conductor Teodor Currentzis and MusicAeterna, the orchestra and choir he created, are recording Mozart’s Da Ponte operas. These no-compromise studio recordings are the fruit of a unique way of living and working which Currentzis has established in this remote, formerly closed city which was dedicated to arms manufacturing in Soviet times.

In 2011, when invited to the post of Artistic Director at Perm’s opera house, Currentzis negotiated unheard-of conditions: unlimited rehearsal time; the freedom to schedule performances depending on the quality reached in rehearsals; the necessary resources to explore with his musicians anything deemed necessary for a fuller understanding of the repertoire, from Baroque dance steps to 20th-century poetry and avant-garde cinema.

The orchestra and choir emphatically embrace a non-establishment attitude, constantly putting themselves in question and striving for perfection. As important as their musical prowess (many members are laureates of international competitions) is their willingness to undergo exceptional rigours to reach the shared artistic goals. Figaro was recorded in sessions of up to fourteen hours over eleven straight days and nights. It is an accepted part of these musicians’ daily routine to spend a whole night of work and discussion about its progress at the opera house if necessary – or to devote a full rehearsal to shaping one single chord to perfection. Currentzis has tried to create an environment for those who search for what he calls ”a real life in music.” Since the founding of MusicAeterna, Currentzis and the ensemble have been awarded 4 Golden Masks –Russia’s top performing arts award.

Born in Athensin 1972, Teodor Currentzis moved to St. Petersburgin 1994 to study conducting with legendary teacher Ilya Musin, who has, among others, also trained Valery Gergiev and Semyon Bychkov. While music director of the Novosibirskopera from 2004, Currentzis founded MusicAeterna. After making headlines with various productions, including the controversial so-called ”Chechnya Aida” directed by Dmitry Tcherniakov, Currentzis soon gained recognition beyond the Russian scene. One of Germany’s leading newspapers, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, recently described Currentzis as ”a hugely talented individual who has proven a sensation on the international stage... Everything about him exudes power and intensity.” Peter Culshaw, writing in the London Telegraph, said: ”Currentzis could be one of those rare artists capable of shifting the ground of his chosen art, and pulling off something extraordinary –  perhaps even miraculous.”

Currentzis’ approach to the Mozart scores is based on the conviction that it is virtually impossible today to hear them performed precisely and in full. His stated intention is to undo what he considers the effects of 20th-century operatic tradition focused on simplification and vocal volume at all cost. For Currentzis, these recordings represent the culmination of a decade-long research project dedicated to the discrepancies between the composer’s will and what our ears have become used to. About his Figaro, he says:

”The radicality of this recording is its precision. It is through strictest discipline that you unlock the perfume, bring the composer’s text into real life, create all these colours that are impossible on the stage. This is why we spent such a significant amount of time in the studio – because we were pushing to reach our limits, to jump above our limit and reach a new understanding of this music. That is the privilege of a no-compromise studio recording. There are so many recordings which convey the general spirit of Mozart’s music. The only point in making a new one is to give the audience a chance to hear and learn about all the magic which this score holds. I made this recording because I wanted to show what can be achieved if you avoid the factory approach of the classical-music mainstream. My credo is that every performance you give has to be like a pregnancy. You have to dream and you have to wait until the time comes when you see the miracle happening. If you’re not like that in music, you lose the central idea of music. Music is not a profession and it’s not about reproduction. It’s a mission.”

Currentzis’ rigorous approach extends to all stages of the recording set-up as well as to the post-production sequence. The editing and mixing of Figaro inParis was a process of several weeks in which every single decision was made and its execution supervised by the conductor. Currentzis, a diehard devotee of high-end audio equipment, took particular care in the shaping of the overall soundscape for these recordings.

While period instruments are being used in this cycle, no dogmatic ”authentic performance” claim is made. Currentzis chooses the orchestra’s instruments depending on repertoire. For the Da Ponte cycle, historic instruments were chosen because, as Currentzis explains:

”They give me the vibrancy, the speed, the taut, tight, crisp sound which fully delivers the thrill of this music. I use them because they sound better. If I thought this music sounded better on electric guitars, I would perform it on electric guitars.”

The soloists’ vocal technique is also markedly different to modern operatic interpretation, with a focus on intimacy and clarity, a use of vibrato remarkably restrictive even by today’s ”period practice” standards as well as an approach to melodic ornamentation derived from historical sources which cannot be heard in other performances of these works.

A LONG-TERM EXCLUSIVE CONTRACT WITH SONY CLASSICAL

In 2012 Sony Classical signed an exclusive long-term agreement with Currentzis under which all of his recordings will be made with MusicAeterna. The first two opera recordings, already finished, were Mozart’s Figaro and Così. Don Giovanni will be recorded in October 2014.

The lead soloists appearing in Le nozze di Figaro are Andrei Bondarenko as Count Almaviva, Simone Kermes as Countess Almaviva, Christian Van Horn as Figaro and Fanie Antonelou as Susanna. The Così fan tutte lead soloists are Simone Kermes as Fiordiligi, Malena Ernman as Dorabella, Christopher Maltman as Guglielmo, Kenneth Tarver as Ferrando, Konstantin Wolff as Don Alfonso, and Anna Kasyan as Despina.

Sony Classical will release Le nozze di Figaro first in February 2014. Così fan tutte will follow in autumn 2014 and the cycle will be completed with Don Giovanni in the autumn of 2015.

Le nozze di Figaro will be available internationally on February 17, 2014:

    on CD in a limited edition deluxe book;
    on high-resolution Blu-ray;
    on vinyl LP; and
    in all popular digital formats including Mastered for iTunes.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2014, 10:23:44 PM »
And this is the review of Dido by John Culshaw

 http://tiny.cc/wy3ccw

Vugarity, to the point of hilarity, is definitely a trait of what he does. Like at the end of this performance of the Lacrimosa from Mozart's requiem

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/gAyKJz7IjkQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/gAyKJz7IjkQ</a>

Unfortunately I can't find the requiem recording on spotify so I can't hear the rest.





« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 10:27:52 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline knight66

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2014, 10:32:23 PM »
He does sound like he can be deeply irritating. But clearly he inspires his musicians. Quite a chunk of his previous orchestra and chorus upped and moved with their families to Perm. He negotiated good salaries for them and is often very kind. I read a long post on a discussion about him by one of his soloist singers in the Figaro. She said he could be maddening and frustrating: but he made her find new things in the music and produced the most inspirational rehearsals and performances that she had been involved in.

Elsewhere I wrote of a Bryn Terfel disc that his way of whispering alternating with blasting had tipped over into an empty show. I wonder that a bit with this man where he drives the tempi or luxuriates in it. I have ordered the Purcell because it sounds so alive, but he does this push-pull with the speeds a lot and perhaps we will tire of it if this is simply a knee jerk technique to provide contrast and novelty.

What is linked to above is a very good interview with a nice judgement at the end, let's hope his ego does not overtake his talent.
Mike
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 10:40:29 PM by knight66 »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2014, 10:42:05 PM »

Unfortunately I can't find the requiem recording on spotify so I can't hear the rest.

Thanks for the review Mandryka!

Here is the requiem link on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/album/2Xmv8i4sclEB696PwW9Wdq
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2014, 10:50:56 PM »
Thanks for the review Mandryka!

Here is the requiem link on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/album/2Xmv8i4sclEB696PwW9Wdq

Not available in the UK
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Offline knight66

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2014, 10:53:54 PM »
Thanks for the review Mandryka!

Here is the requiem link on Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/album/2Xmv8i4sclEB696PwW9Wdq

Interesting, it does not matter what search terms I put in, Spotify will not disgorge this recording. Nor will it do other than buffer when I use your links. I wonder if we can't all access the same library of recordings from different countries. I am in the UK. I find the Spotify search facility generally frustrating, you often have to know a recording is there to find it by obscure search terms. So I still don't know whether this Mozart Requiem is mad or compulsive.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2014, 11:01:54 PM »
Not available in the UK

It makes sense that there are different availability in different countries. I didn't consider that factor.   :(


I did find an interview in English with Currentzis (perhaps it was posted earlier - didn't check). Interesting character for sure....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXp9aj-0MyI

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/eXp9aj-0MyI" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/eXp9aj-0MyI</a>
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 06:33:35 PM by Moonfish »
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2014, 07:41:31 AM »
Or Mozart himself was known for adding improvisation to the continuo? Check the booklet, Mr. critic...
Yeah.  Everyone added things to the music in Mozart's time.  If you didn't, they questioned your musical ability. :o ;D
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2014, 11:35:16 PM »
I must confess I'm tempted by this Figaro, since I think it should be interesting to listen to a fresh (and apparently well-rehearsed and researched) take on the opera from our days...but, then again, my only experience with Currentzis live was quite a disappointment. It was an all-Mahler program, with the Teatro Real's pit orchestra, the Sinfónica de Madrid, about a year and a half ago. We had several Wunderhorn-Lieder (beautifully sung by Matthias Goerne  :) ), and then the First Symphony; the latter piece was really not that good. The orchestra (which had improved tremendously during Gerard Mortier's tenure as artistic director) seemed to be having an off day (the trumpets in particular verged on the disastrous  :-[ ), but Curentzis's approach to the piece struck me as "vulgar"....Granted, there is an inherent "vulgarity" to Mahler's music (and this is one of the many components that united make his symphonies so unique), but here everything sounded coarse, even when it shouldn't. There was no mystery in the "Wie ein Naturlaut" opening bars, the tempo fluctuations sounded capricious, and the dynamic contrasts were sometimes too extreme (IMHO)...by no means a memorable concert. But one shouldn't assess an artist by one single performance, and perhaps this Figaro gives a different, better picture... And, yes, the way this set is presented adds to its allure; these days, you don's see that many CD sets with such high presentation standards . It actually looks like something from the good old LP days... ;)

I have a recording of him playing Mahler 1, from 2010, I'm not sure where. I've uploaded it to symphonyshare. If anyone wants it and can't get it from there, they can PM me for the file.
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2014, 02:36:11 PM »
Here is what feels to me like an extraordinary and in most ways a superb new Figaro recording from Sony. I heard part on Spotify and what I heard sent me scurrying to buy the set, read all about the performance and ensure the best sound I could get for myself.


Mike

Thanks for starting this thread Mike!  :)
First of all it made me aware of Currentzis and at this point I have thoroughly enjoyed his 'Dido & Aeneas". After rereading your first post I think I am ready to thoroughly sample his rendition of Mozart's 'Figaro'. Has any other GMG member listened to this "Figaro" over the last two weeks?

So it seems like Currentzis is gravitating between all types of repertoire (from baroque to modern)....  Does he specialize in any specific repertoire at all?
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Offline knight66

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2014, 08:24:39 PM »
Thanks Moonfish, I am waiting on the Dido. I heard some snippets on Spotify and have resisted listening to it all. Like you, I am now actively looking for his work.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2014, 09:56:58 PM »
Currentzis conducts Verdi's Macbeth in a 2000 performance in this DVD set. Does anybody know anything about that specific performance (or the other two for that matter)? The reviews on Amazon seem to point to these being pretty much Eurotrash in terms of the staging..    :'( :'(



Also available separately as

« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 10:14:45 PM by Moonfish »
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Offline ritter

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Re: Mozart Marriage of Figaro from Perm
« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2014, 06:38:24 AM »
So it seems like Currentzis is gravitating between all types of repertoire (from baroque to modern)....  Does he specialize in any specific repertoire at all?
I think that Currentzis is an example of a relatively new phenomenon:  conductors who find themselves at ease in different repertoires, different styles and different performing practices. One day they will do a HIP baroque interpretation, the next "big band" Beethoven with an established symphony orchestra,  the day after that  Stockhausen with a group specialising in 20/21st century music, and finally Turandot at a traditional opera house. Another example that springs to mind is my fellow countryman Pablo Heras-Casado  :).

Some friends of mine take exception to this "trend", saying it's just a symptom of the increasing homogenisation of musical practice across time and space ("everything sounds the same, everywhere", they'll say  ::) ). I, for one,  think it is just fantastic that young conductors can absorb the legacy of previous generations and be fluent in different idioms and repertoires. It's our gain as music lovers!
Ritter
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