Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 25630 times)

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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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    probably something somebody somewhere is snarling at...wait, Schoenberg! Definitely Schoenberg! (And, let's see, does he have a disciple or two...)...
Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #660 on: September 11, 2017, 03:27:17 PM »
Just ordered the Baudo reissue on the RCA label, as it only cost 5-6 euros on the secondary market.  I am actually quite fond of Lyon orchestra.  Gabriel Bacquier as Golaud also drew my interest.

Nice! Regarding Bacquier, Gramophone has this to say about his Golaud: "Bacquier is superb, capturing every nuance from tenderness to abrupt anger...or agonizing frustration".

And about Command's Melisande: "[she]...makes a shy, fey, Melisande, who remains an enigmatic figure" (important here).

And about Dormoy's Pelleas: "The big surprise of this set is the Pelleas, a sensitive singer...".

In fact, Gramophone goes on to give high praise overall to the cast: "[Baudo]...is fortunate to have a cast without a single weak member".

So perhaps our good Mr. Furie needs to give this version a re-hear!
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #661 on: September 11, 2017, 03:31:37 PM »
I'll certainly try to do so, even if I must confess that Jean Martinon's recordings of Debussy's orchestral music--that you found more or less akin to Baudo's handling of the opera--really did nothing for me, despite my high expectations and general admiration for that conductor   :( .

Thanks for the tip, DD.

Hmm...that's unfortunate. Well, if the day comes you need a new Pelleas at least you know this one exists! :)
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #662 on: September 12, 2017, 12:32:37 PM »
Anna Bolena, Gaetano Donizetti



CD 1 for tonight.  Callas has always a great legato, even in complicated Bel Canto.
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #663 on: September 12, 2017, 04:20:52 PM »
Anna Bolena, Gaetano Donizetti



CD 1 for tonight.  Callas has always a great legato, even in complicated Bel Canto.

One of Callas's' greatest nights. I review the performance on my blog, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/

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

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #664 on: September 13, 2017, 12:59:05 PM »
One of Callas's' greatest nights. I review the performance on my blog, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/
Just finished CD2.  For once I will join your praises for this recording.  Not only Callas is perfect but so is the orchestra and chorus.  I dont think I heard Giuletta Simionato nor Gianni Raimondi & Nicola Rossi-Lemeni before but I found them quite good in their respective role.  As you say in your excellent review, the main melodic line is outlined perfectly with Callas legato.  I dont always agree with the choices she makes in her role characterization, but here she is clearly very close to Donizetti portray of Anna Bolena as a victim.  A very nice recording to have.
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #665 on: September 13, 2017, 01:58:51 PM »
  I dont always agree with the choices she makes in her role characterization, but here she is clearly very close to Donizetti portray of Anna Bolena as a victim.  A very nice recording to have.

I'd aver that all Callas's characterisation choices always came directly from the music. She was such a musical singer and such a superb musician, that she always closely adhered to what the composer actually wrote. Indeed Grace Bumbry once said that if you wrote down what you heard Callas sing, you would reproduce exactly the composer's markings. We are talking here not just of the notes, but the expression marks in the score. Whatever her choices, they were always backed up by what was in the score.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline millionrainbows

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #666 on: September 14, 2017, 12:43:01 PM »
Maria Callas, Carmen, 1964 stereo, EMI. Sounds good, real good. Great melodies and themes throughout. I'm new to opera, and this is my way in, obviously. Would I like anything else?

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #667 on: September 15, 2017, 01:05:14 AM »


Janet Baker has always been my yardstick for the role of Dido. Her superb recording with Anthony Lewis, though performed with modern instruments, could be seen as being part of the dawn of the HIP movement. That said, I've always thought I should have an alternative on original instruments, but resisted because none of the Didos I heard quite did it for me.

This one seemed to have slipped by me. Had I known the wonderful, late lamented Lorraine Hunt Lieberson had recorded the role, I'd have bought it years ago.

Not sure about the witches (but then I'm not sure about them on the Baker recording either), but the rest is superb, and Hunt Lieberson is as movingly communicative as ever.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 01:48:23 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #668 on: September 15, 2017, 02:03:20 AM »
Maria Callas, Carmen, 1964 stereo, EMI. Sounds good, real good. Great melodies and themes throughout. I'm new to opera, and this is my way in, obviously. Would I like anything else?

I've been thinking about this a lot, and actually I'm not sure where one would go after Carmen. It's something of a one off. Nothing else really like it in Bizet's oeuvre, nor by any other composer.

For "great melodies and themes" try Rigoletto maybe. If you like Callas, there's a superb recording featuring her and Gobbi. This was the first of Verdi's triumvirate of middle period masterpieces. The others are Il Trovatore and La Traviata. All of the operas he wrote after that show Verdi's increasing dramatic skill, until his final two masterpieces, the tragic Otello and the comic Falstaff.



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

Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #669 on: September 15, 2017, 02:12:20 AM »
Maria Callas, Carmen, 1964 stereo, EMI. Sounds good, real good.

I'm quite surprised, honestly. I should have thought that any music dating from 1875 is too old and too simple for your taste.



(sorry, couldn't resist!  ;D  :P   )
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #670 on: September 15, 2017, 02:16:45 AM »
I'm quite surprised, honestly. I should have thought that any music dating from 1875 is too old and too simple for your taste.



(sorry, couldn't resist!  ;D  :P   )

Surprised me too, but didn't even Boulez eventually come round to some of the music he despised in his youth?

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

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #671 on: September 16, 2017, 11:18:35 AM »
Tonight: Inghelbrecht 1962 version of Pélleas et Melissande:
 100% french cast: Jacques Jansen, Micheline Grancher, Michel Roux, André Vessières



Fantastic diction.  French in opera is a discourse, and when the articulation is perfect so is the melody.  Hearing this, one realizes how unforgiving the language is compared to italian or even german.  Inghelbrecht orchestra is also very good. This is a place where Abbado version holds its ground very well: the Wiener Philarmoniker sound is marvelous and the rendering on disk is significantly better due to the progresses in sound engineering.

I'll add the overall impressions when I am done through the 3 CDs.

A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #672 on: September 16, 2017, 12:14:29 PM »
Surprised me too, but didn't even Boulez eventually come round to some of the music he despised in his youth?

Well, let's keep things in proportion, please!...  ;D  >:D  :P
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #673 on: September 16, 2017, 01:30:34 PM »
Tonight: Inghelbrecht 1962 version of Pélleas et Melissande:
 100% french cast: Jacques Jansen, Micheline Grancher, Michel Roux, André Vessières



Fantastic diction.  French in opera is a discourse, and when the articulation is perfect so is the melody.  Hearing this, one realizes how unforgiving the language is compared to italian or even german.  Inghelbrecht orchestra is also very good. This is a place where Abbado version holds its ground very well: the Wiener Philarmoniker sound is marvelous and the rendering on disk is significantly better due to the progresses in sound engineering.

I'll add the overall impressions when I am done through the 3 CDs.

That one needs reissue!

I'd love to be able to live through the wonderful live experience at Zurich opera again, btw. Not an all-french cast, but a near perfect night for sure, with the orchestra and the singers finding together and with that magic of sung dialogue indeed happening for the entire lenght. Alain Altinoglu conducted and it got very clear that he knew how to handle it. One of the greatest nights at the opera ever, as far as I'm concerned.
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!

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Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #674 on: September 17, 2017, 11:46:04 AM »



Maazel's La fanciulla del West.  Generally well performed (who knew Domingo could sing?), in good sound for a live recording, with only occasional interruptions from the audience, like pesky post-aria applause, this is a fine recording.  I prefer Mehta's set, which is better in every way.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 11:47:53 AM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #675 on: September 18, 2017, 06:34:09 AM »
Part of the special Maria Callas program on France Musique.

- Sansom and Dalila and Carmen, George Prêtre directing Paris Opera orchestra

The role of Dalila suits her like a glove, on the other hand I am not convinced by her Carmen.

Among the other pieces played an Oberon (Carl Maria von Weber) from a 1964 performance Salle Wagram (Paris).  I thought it was quite good.
Some wonderful excerpts of Ambroise Thomas Hamlet with all the lightness this repertoire demands (a studio recording I dont know)
From a 1957 concert in Athens, a Liebestod from Tristan&Isold.  Not your typical Liebestod, but nevertheless interesting.

Some stuff from La Gioconda, which I did not care for all that much.




« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 10:49:49 AM by Spineur »
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #676 on: September 18, 2017, 11:03:06 AM »
Part of the special Maria Callas program on France Musique.

- Sansom and Dalila and Carmen, George Prêtre directing Paris Opera orchestra

The role of Dalila suits her like a glove, on the other hand I am not convinced by her Carmen.

Among the other pieces played an Oberon (Carl Maria von Weber) from a 1964 performance Salle Wagram (Paris).  I thought it was quite good.
Some wonderful excerpts of Ambroise Thomas Hamlet with all the lightness this repertoire demands (a studio recording I dont know)
From a 1957 concert in Athens, a Liebestod from Tristan&Isold.  Not your typical Liebestod, but nevertheless interesting.

Some stuff from La Gioconda, which I did not care for all that much.

Oddly enough, I find her Carmen one of her most exacting and intelligent creations. But then, with Callas isolated arias will never satisfy on their own. You have to listen to her take on the whole role. She is certainly not the conventional hip-swinging vamp we often get. but definitely dangereuse, as she is described in the libretto.

I review the compete set here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-callas-carmen/.

Her Gioconda is also a justly renowned characterisation; and she recorded it twice.

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

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #677 on: September 18, 2017, 11:45:34 AM »
An old recording, but one of the very best Carmen



Costs 2.94$ on A.com for a double CD.  Another cover with the same material
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 12:00:59 PM by Spineur »
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #678 on: September 18, 2017, 11:30:10 PM »
After having seen it live at the Teatro Real here in Madrid earlier this year, revisiting Alberto Ginastera's Bomarzo:


This is an earlier, semi-private release (courtesy of the Argentine consulate in Miami) of the 1967 Washington Opera recording recently reissued by Sony.

It is a wonderful opera, very well constructed as far as the libretto is concerned, and with an " accessible" avant-garde idiom which nowadays can sound slightly dated at some points, but is nevertheless very effective. Great stuff.


Ritter
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"Muchacho, no te metas en dibujos, sino haz lo que ese señor te manda: sigue tu canto llano y no te metas en contrapuntos, que se suelen quebrar de sotiles".

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #679 on: September 18, 2017, 11:38:17 PM »


My new Callas Live Remastered box set arrived yesterday, and I am now listening to the first of the operas in the set, Nabucco from 1949.

The big question is going to be about the sound. I wasn't expecting miracles, especially with this opera, which has always sounded pretty bad.

All I can say is that, so far (I've listened to the overture and opening chorus, superbly paced by Gui by the way), it is at least listenable, which was not quite true of my previous version.

Others tell me that Ars Vocalis' new version is even better, but my ears aren't that great and I wonder if it will be so much better that I need to acquire it too.

Looking forward to Callas's entrance. Her Abigaille is sans pareil, though she never sang the role again. She thought the role a voice wrecker, and even counselled Caballe against singing it ("It would be like putting a precious Baccarat glass in a box and shaking it around. It would shatter.") Caballe heeded the advice and never sang the role.

One should note that this Live box is a far better reflection of Callas's career than her studio output, which includes a lot of Puccini, a composer she mostly ignored when her career was at its zenith. Even Tosca was a relative rarity for her after she made the 1953 recording. Apart from her two seasons at the Met, she ignored it until it became the vehicle for her come back at Covent Garden in Zeffirelli's 1964 production.

Her Abigaille causes regret that, apart from Lady Macbeth, she didn't sing any more of Verdi's early soprano roles.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

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