Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 31970 times)

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Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2017, 08:00:10 AM »
I've been listening to this quite a bit over the last week



I have said this before, but Kleiber's recording of Tristan is quite possibly my favorite Tristan recording of all time. I find Price's light timbre extremely fascinating and I think it actually fits Isolde, especially the raptured Isolde of Acts 2 and 3. Funny how it is pretty much only with operas where I pay attention in specific recordings, with everything else anything goes.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2017, 10:46:29 AM »
The voice and technique were stunning, that is true, and I do enjoy her Art of the Prima Donna set, for instance, but she is a singer who never really "speaks" to me, and even that recital I can only take piecemeal. I've tried and tried, but I can think of very few of the operas she sang that I don't actually prefer sung by someone else. Even in La Fille de Regiment which is brim full of breath taking vocal feats, the mushy diction drives me potty. Pavarotti, on the same recording, sings with a terrible French accent, but his diction is so good, you can hear just how bad hers is. I know it bothers most people a lot less than me, but it irritates me terribly and consequently I have very few of her recordings.

Incidentally, on the live 1959 Lucia di Lammermoor from Covent Garden which made her a star, her diction is pretty good. Tullio Serafin was in the pit, so maybe that had something to do with it. He actually thought she should go on to sing more dramatic fare, and said he thought she'd have made an excellent Lady Macbeth. The voice was huge. Maybe she would have.


All fair comments. Since I don't understand Italian, it doesn't bother so much and that is where it would be felt most I think. Have you heard her Norma?
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2017, 02:38:22 PM »
All fair comments. Since I don't understand Italian, it doesn't bother so much and that is where it would be felt most I think. Have you heard her Norma?

Yes, and it's probably better than anything we're likely to hear today, but still disappoints. Callas is my yardstick, and I don't think anyone has bettered her. Her hegemony in the role remains unchallenged. She's heard best in live recordings from Covent Garden in 1952 and from La Scala in 1955, but the two studio recordings (1954 and 1960) still head the field, despite declining vocal resources in the 1960 recording. For me Caballe is the closest challenger in a live performance from the Orange Festival, which I have on DVD.

With Sutherland it's not just the diction that bothers me, it's a sort of generalised response to the bel canto repertoire. Amina sounds much like Norma, sounds much like Lucia, sounds much like Anna Bolena. Callas made these characters all into living, breathing creatures, all clearly different one from the other.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 02:47:30 PM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2017, 03:17:30 PM »
I have said this before, but Kleiber's recording of Tristan is quite possibly my favorite Tristan recording of all time. I find Price's light timbre extremely fascinating and I think it actually fits Isolde, especially the raptured Isolde of Acts 2 and 3. Funny how it is pretty much only with operas where I pay attention in specific recordings, with everything else anything goes.
Yes, actually I only really got into it this year after having listened to other recordings for a long time. Kleiber is fantastic and Price really adds some magic with her Isolde. Personally I tend to gravitate towards singers like Nilsson and Stemme for Isolde, but Price is certainly giving me something different and just as good!

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2017, 01:13:52 AM »


More Verdi, and this time to the miracle that is Falstaff, that late, great, youthful, masterpiece of Verdi's old age. Not a wasted note in the whole, joyful score.

The Karajan/Philharmonia recording has been my go to recording for well nigh fifty years now, and I can't see that changing any time soon. There isn't a weak link in the whole cast. Some find Gobbi's voice not quite fat enough, whatever that may mean, but no one matches him in verbal acuity, in tonal variety, and in detailed characterisation, his diction so good you can almost taste the words. Panerai's high baritone is exactly the right voice for Ford, singing his jealousy monologue with an intensity akin to Otello's.

The women are superb too, Barbieri's cavernous tones perfectly suited to the slightly more plebeian Quickly. I know there have been cavils about Schwarzkopf's Alice, but I simply cannot understand the objections. For me she is the perfect Alice, with that delicious half-laugh evident in almost every one of her utterances. It is a role she evidently enjoyed, as it is one of the few (the others being the Marschallin, Fiordiligi, the Countess, Donna Elvira and Countess Madeleine) that she kept in her active repertoire, when she took a conscious decision to limit her operatic appearances, and I find it pure joy. Nan Merriman is perfect casting as Meg too.

The young lovers, Moffo and Alva, are a delight. Verdi sprinkles their love music over the score like fairy dust, and they both have a delicious lightness of touch which is just perfect.

Karajan's pacing of the score is spot on, and the score sparkles and fizzes like a good champagne. The Philharmonia play like virtuosi, which indeed they were at that time.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 04:14:53 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2017, 01:30:24 AM »
Love having this thread as well, thanks for starting it!  :)

Saw Massenet's "Werther" on stage at Zurich opera last night, was exhausted after work, but wow, this was a near-epiphany! Juan Diego Flórez IS Werther, really! The moment he enters is amazing, he really owns the part! The production is great as well, really working in a way that the whole thing is great theatre (not just great music in a - more or less - appealing setting). Anna Stéphany gives her role debut as Charlotte, and both her and Mélissa Petit's Sophie were up to the challenge that Flórez presents, and Audun Iversen's Albert was more than adequate. The orchestra, conducted by Cornelius Meister, was wonderful - transparent to the point of reaching a chamber-like lightness often. And did I mention how amazing Juan Diego Flórez was - seriously!
Details here: http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/werther-02-04-2017-18667/
Some thoughts in German: http://forum.rollingstone.de/foren/reply/10143577/

--

Now listening to this for the very first time (some controversy arose last week when I mentioned listening to the somewhat glossy Sutherland/Pavarotti recording two days before catching the opera live at Zurich with the great Nello Santi on the podium, or rather: behind the piano) to this recording that just arrived:



First impression, half an hour in, is that quite possibly I will not need to look for another recording (the Sutherland/Pavarotti is the only other complete one I have). The music is wonderful indeed, there's enough melancholy and brooding in the comedy so it really does appeal to me, and the orchestration is so varied and colourful and so well done that I really love listening to it just for the thrill of discovering this little detail here and that nice touch there.
I bought the slimline reissue of this recording,after reading these posts and the review on Musicweb. I'm unfamiliar with Donizetti's operas,but I like Hilde Gueden,so I had to hear this! Also,I'm a fan of the singing you get on these old,classic studio recordings from the once great,big labels. This one sounds deserving of my attention. Early stereo deficiencies really don't worry me. Only £2.19,post free! (I do hope it doesn't smell like an ashtray,though;like the Koch cd I'm sending back! ???) The lack of a libretto doesn't bother me. When I listen to opera I'm more interested in the music,than the wobbly plotting!! ::)
I must admit Joan Sutherland has never done much for me. Not that she isn't a great singer. I've just never felt particularly thrilled or moved by her singing. Pavarotti? Can't stand anything about him,I'm afraid!!

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2017, 01:34:28 AM »
The Pritchard sounds very tempting,if I like this! Still,mustn't break the bank!! I haven't received the Francesco Molinarri-Pradelli recording,yet!! ;D

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2017, 01:40:32 AM »
The Pritchard sounds very tempting,if I like this! Still,mustn't break the bank!! I haven't received the Francesco Molinarri-Pradelli recording,yet!! ;D

Well you can't really go wrong at £2.19, but be aware that there are a few cuts in the Molinari-Pradelli, and if you find the Pritchard cheap somewhere, I'd recommend it highly.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2017, 02:35:21 AM »
I should point out;that I don't dislike Joan Sutherland's singing;I just haven't been particularly moved by her singing,to date. This is partly because of here repertoire,which hasn't really appealed to me. But times move on,and your tastes developd,and I've often been tempted to explore some Donizetti. I think part of the problem is the sheer profusion of operas. He composed so many. Not being a wealthy man,I tend to concentrate on certain core areas,and unfortunately some composers get left out!! :(
Having a recording without cuts does make sense,though. You can enjoy a score with cuts if the performance is particularly good;but if you're an intelligent music lover you obviously need to hear what's been left out. My shelf is groaning with the weight of multiple Mozart opera recordings (not many compared to some here,no doubt) so I don't think I'll be able to resist for very long!! ;D I need to know!!

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2017, 03:00:05 AM »
Bought it!! ::) ;D The clincher was Geraint Evans. Living in Wales,it was an obvious incentive! I also (sort of) met him a long time ago. I was sitting in my fathers rustbucket (literally) waiting for him to ccome out of school. Suddenly Geraint Evans,who was at a concert there appeared. As he was about to get into his Rolls Royce,which was parked next to my fathers car,he saw me looking at him. He did a sort of double take,and smiled. "Sorry,I thought you were waiting for me!",he said;then got in his Roller!
The review on Musicweb was another incentive. I do like to have more than one recording of an opera,though (generally speaking).

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2017, 03:23:47 AM »
How is the later Molinari-Pradelli with Freni/Gedda? I love Freni (and I guess the same applies to Gedda, though I haven't heard that much by him yet), so this would possibly be of interest as well.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2017, 03:25:18 AM »
I should point out;that I don't dislike Joan Sutherland's singing;I just haven't been particularly moved by her singing,to date. This is partly because of here repertoire,which hasn't really appealed to me. But times move on,and your tastes developd,and I've often been tempted to explore some Donizetti. I think part of the problem is the sheer profusion of operas. He composed so many. Not being a wealthy man,I tend to concentrate on certain core areas,and unfortunately some composers get left out!! :(
Having a recording without cuts does make sense,though. You can enjoy a score with cuts if the performance is particularly good;but if you're an intelligent music lover you obviously need to hear what's been left out. My shelf is groaning with the weight of multiple Mozart opera recordings (not many compared to some here,no doubt) so I don't think I'll be able to resist for very long!! ;D I need to know!!

I don't dislike Sutherland either, but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, she is not a singer who really "speaks" to me. I have very few recordings of hers, but I do have a lot of recordings of bel canto operas, which of course include the operas of Donizetti.

I do have her recording of La Fille du Regiment, which is delightful, though, even here, her mushy diction bothers me somewhat. Pavarotti is superb, even if his French isn't that good. I think it's one of his best recordings.

Other than that, the bel canto operas I have are.

Bellini: I Capuleti e I Montecchi Sills, Baker, Gedda; Patane
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Filipeschi, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Ludwig, Corelli, Zaccaria; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Picchi, Neri: Gui (Live from Covent Garden 1952)
Bellini: Norma Callas, Simionato, Del Monaco, Zaccaria (Live from La Scala 1955)
Bellini: Il Pirata Callas, Ferraro, Ego; Rescigno (Live New York, 1959)
Bellini: I Puritani Callas, Di Stefano, Panerai, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Valletti, Modesti: Bernstein (Live La Scala 1955)
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto (Live Cologne 1957)
Donizetti: Anna Bolena Callas, Simionato, Raimondi, Rossi-Lemeni; Gavazzeni (Live La Scala 1957)
Donizetti: Don Pasquale Saraceni, Schipa, Poli, Badini; Sabjano
Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore Cotrubas, Domingo, Wixell, Evans; Pritchard
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Arie; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Tagliavini, Cappuccilli, Ladysz; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Raimondi, Zaccaria; Karajan (Live Berlin 1955)
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia Caballe, Berbie, Vanzo, Paskalis; Perlea (Live New York 1965)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Caballe, Verrett, Garaventa, Arie; Cillario (Live La Scala 1971)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Baker, Tinsley, Erwen, Garrard; Mackerras (Live in English ENO 1973)
Donizetti: Poliuto Callas, Corelli, Bastianini, Zaccaria; Votto (Live La Scala 1960)
Donizetti: Roberto Devereux Caballe, Carreras, Sardinero, Furlanetto (Live Toulouse 1977)
Rossini: Armida Callas, Albanese, Filipeschi, Ziliani, Raimondi; Serafin (Live Florence 1952)
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia Callas, Alva, Gobbi, Ollendorff, Zaccaria; Galliera
Rossini: La Cenerentola Baltsa, Araiza, Alaimo, Raimondi; Marriner
Rossini: Guillaume Tell Caballe, Mesple, Gedda, Bacquier; Gardelli
Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri Baltsa, Pace, Lopardo, Corbelli, Raimondi; Abbado
Rossini: Semiramide Penda, Pizzolato, Osborn, Regazo; Fogliani
Rossini: Il Turco in Italia Callas, Gardino, Gedda, Stabile, Calabrese; Gavazzeni

There are cuts in many of these too, particularly the older recordings, but I'll put up with them for the exceptional performances.

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

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2017, 03:26:29 AM »
Bought it!! ::) ;D The clincher was Geraint Evans. Living in Wales,it was an obvious incentive! I also (sort of) met him a long time ago. I was sitting in my fathers rustbucket (literally) waiting for him to ccome out of school. Suddenly Geraint Evans,who was at a concert there appeared. As he was about to get into his Rolls Royce,which was parked next to my fathers car,he saw me looking at him. He did a sort of double take,and smiled. "Sorry,I thought you were waiting for me!",he said;then got in his Roller!
The review on Musicweb was another incentive. I do like to have more than one recording of an opera,though (generally speaking).

I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2017, 03:29:20 AM »
How is the later Molinari-Pradelli with Freni/Gedda? I love Freni (and I guess the same applies to Gedda, though I haven't heard that much by him yet), so this would possibly be of interest as well.

Freni and Gedda are both singers I like, but it's a bit dull to be honest. It's an early recording for Freni, and I don't think she had yet learned the ability to project personality through sound alone, or maybe the producer didn't know how to get the best out of her. Conducting is a bit routine too, to be honest.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2017, 03:50:28 AM »
Freni and Gedda are both singers I like, but it's a bit dull to be honest. It's an early recording for Freni, and I don't think she had yet learned the ability to project personality through sound alone, or maybe the producer didn't know how to get the best out of her. Conducting is a bit routine too, to be honest.
Thanks! I think I've read something similar about it before deciding to buy the earlier one ... will put the Pritchard on my list as well, but that'll do as far as "L'elisir" goes, I think.

Btw, as I have read many of your insightful posts here, even before becoming a member, let me use the occasion to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights and opinions, much appreciated!
Es wollt ein meydlein grasen gan:
Fick mich, lieber Peter!
Und do die roten röslein stan:
Fick mich, lieber Peter!
Fick mich mehr, du hast dein ehr.
Kannstu nit, ich wills dich lern.
Fick mich, lieber Peter!

http://ubus-notizen.blogspot.ch/

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2017, 04:13:52 AM »

Btw, as I have read many of your insightful posts here, even before becoming a member, let me use the occasion to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights and opinions, much appreciated!

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

Offline jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #36 on: April 14, 2017, 05:30:29 AM »
Just watched the first act of this, a little more on the silly side for Wagner but still good



I will probably go listen to a CD recording of Lohengrin now I guess

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2017, 05:47:18 AM »


This one would be a good choice. Considered by many to still be the best recording of the piece.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2017, 06:05:27 AM »


This one would be a good choice. Considered by many to still be the best recording of the piece.
I've heard that one, I do like it! Checking out a recent recording though......Vogt is the PERFECT Lohengrin and he's in this aaaa <3


Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #39 on: April 14, 2017, 06:08:15 AM »
My favorite recordings just keep popping up in this thread! Karajan's Falstaff and Kempe's Lohengrin are my favorites of those operas. Guess I'm a bit predictable with recordings, eh?
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