Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 32298 times)

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Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #740 on: October 29, 2017, 11:06:50 AM »
I've expressed my general lack of admiration for Gaetano Donizetti here on GMG before, but it is difficult (and useless) to resist the charms of his wonderful, rustic comédie larmoyante L'Elisir d'amore.



This 1952 recording is excellent, expertly conducted by that grand seigneur of Italian opera, Gianandrea Gavazzeni (who had Donzetti's music in his veins, so to speak, as both men were born in Bergamo). The cast is as idiomatic as you can get, with that marvellous tenore di grazia Cesare Valetti standing out as Nemorino.  Afro Poli as Belcore and, especially, Sesto Bruscantini as Dulcamara are also great, but I cannot warm to the soubrette-ish tone of Alda Noni (even if she manages her instrument most admirably, she sounds irredeemably old-fashioned).

The sound is rather congested (50's radio broadcast), but I've read it was greatly improved in later reissues of the recording.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 11:08:29 AM by ritter »
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Offline jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #741 on: October 29, 2017, 08:31:38 PM »
Recently watched this with my 10 year old sister who kept exclaiming 'put on the next one!!!!!!' after each act.



I think I will take her to see Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with me next year.

Offline GioCar

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #742 on: October 29, 2017, 10:18:02 PM »
Recently watched this with my 10 year old sister who kept exclaiming 'put on the next one!!!!!!' after each act.



I think I will take her to see Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with me next year.

Raising another musician in you family? Preparing for the MS duo? Very well done!  :)

Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #743 on: October 30, 2017, 08:10:07 AM »
Recently watched this with my 10 year old sister who kept exclaiming 'put on the next one!!!!!!' after each act.



I think I will take her to see Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with me next year.

For a moment, thanks to those sparks, I thought Siegfried was holding a chainsaw.

Thread Duty: Listening to Euryanthe, what a marvelous opera!
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Offline jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #744 on: October 31, 2017, 04:15:09 PM »
For a moment, thanks to those sparks, I thought Siegfried was holding a chainsaw.

Thread Duty: Listening to Euryanthe, what a marvelous opera!

Nothung as a chainsaw sounds like a great idea really. I hope one day someone comes up with a lumberjack themed Siegfried. ;D
This production is quite sound but frustratingly traditional if one is already very familiar with these works.........................................

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #745 on: November 05, 2017, 01:59:00 PM »
Giacchino Rossini Mose in Egitto, broadcasting from the Bregenz festival



https://bregenzerfestspiele.com/en/programme/moses-egypt
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 02:00:43 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 vandermolen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #746 on: November 06, 2017, 03:58:03 AM »
I enjoyed listening to Mussorgsky's 'Khovanshchina' on the radio over the weekend.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #747 on: November 06, 2017, 04:35:12 AM »


Wretched sound (though somewhat  improved in this Warner transfer) but barnstorming performance.

Bernstein conducts a fiery account of the score, in line with his Beethoven recordings from the same period. Callas is in fabulous voice, though at times you might think this Medea overplays her hand. She is much more subtle in Dallas in 1958, which is my preferred recording of the opera.

One should also point out that, like all Callas recordings of the opera, this edition is something of a hybrid; a translation into Italian of a nineteenth century version with added recitatives by the German composer Franz Lachner. The original version in French, with spoken dialogue, has been recorded a couple of times, but Callas's Medea is hors concours, and one her greatest creations.

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

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #748 on: November 06, 2017, 12:07:42 PM »
Cherubini Medée and its italian adaptation is a top drawer opera.  Although it had been performed by Rosa Ponselle in the past, it is Callas that really revived this opera.  I am still waiting to see a high quality production of the initial french version.  I got this Simon Mayr Medea in Corinto which was performed 20 years after Cherubini opera



The opera only really starts in the middle of act II and has some nice scenes.  But it is much less interesting than Cherubini score & libretto.
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 #749 on: November 07, 2017, 12:56:29 AM »
Cherubini Medée and its italian adaptation is a top drawer opera.  Although it had been performed by Rosa Ponselle in the past, it is Callas that really revived this opera.   

Actually Ponselle never sang Medea. When Callas sang it in Florence in 1953, I'm pretty sure it hadn't been performed since the La Scala premiere (also in Carlo Zanagarini's Italian translation of the Lachner version) in 1909.

Ponselle, however, was renowned for the role of Giulia in Spontini's  La Vestale, which Callas revived at La Scala (the first time she worked with Visconti) in 1954.

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

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #750 on: November 07, 2017, 01:09:10 AM »
Actually Ponselle never sang Medea. When Callas sang it in Florence in 1953, I'm pretty sure it hadn't been performed since the La Scala premiere (also in Carlo Zanagarini's Italian translation of the Lachner version) in 1909.

Ponselle, however, was renowned for the role of Giulia in Spontini's  La Vestale, which Callas revived at La Scala (the first time she worked with Visconti) in 1954.
Indeed..the first performance of Medea at La Scala was, as Tsaraslondon points out, in 1909, with Ester Mazzoleni. I believe the work was not performed there until the 1953 run with Callas and Bernstein (which followed the revival in Florence earlier that year, conducted by Vittorio Gui).

Talking about Gui and Ponselle, the latter sang La Vestale (in Florence once again) in the early 30s IIRC, and the audience was demanding a bis, which Gui would not allow. Someone then shouted "Please! She'll return to America and who knows when we'll hear her again!" and the bis as given.  :D

A much underrated opera, La Vestale, IMHO. And, yes, pity there is no decent recording of the original Médée in French. The live effort (from Martina Franca) with Iano Tamar on the Nuova Era label verges on the disastrous...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 01:11:34 AM by ritter »
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   Luxe, calme et volupté ».

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #751 on: November 07, 2017, 05:54:15 AM »
And, yes, pity there is no decent recording of the original Médée in French. The live effort (from Martina Franca) with Iano Tamar on the Nuova Era label verges on the disastrous...

I too would love to hear it in the original French, with spoken dialogue. That said, I can't imagine anyone bringing the role and music to life in quite the way Callas does. Her performances, especially in Florence and Milan in 1953, and in Dallas 1958, bring the music alive in a way I've never heard from anyone else. As one critic quipped after the Florence performances, she sounds as if she were born singing it!
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #752 on: November 07, 2017, 07:33:19 AM »
Actually Ponselle never sang Medea. When Callas sang it in Florence in 1953, I'm pretty sure it hadn't been performed since the La Scala premiere (also in Carlo Zanagarini's Italian translation of the Lachner version) in 1909.

Ponselle, however, was renowned for the role of Giulia in Spontini's  La Vestale, which Callas revived at La Scala (the first time she worked with Visconti) in 1954.
Thanks for correcting me.  I mixed La Vestale and Medea, both revived by Callas
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 #753 on: November 07, 2017, 12:26:23 PM »
Thanks for correcting me.  I mixed La Vestale and Medea, both revived by Callas

Well they are both operas by Italian composers, contemporaries, who were working in France at the turn of the nineteenth century. Easy to mix them up, I suppose, though, if I'm honest, I can't really imagine Ponselle as Medea. I'm not sure that Rolls Royce of a voice would ever have had the vitriolic edge it needs.


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

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #754 on: November 08, 2017, 12:49:12 PM »
I found this OOP live recording of Meyerbeer, Robert le Diable


This is a 1985 production of Paris opera, with a casting de reve.  Alain Vanzo as Robert has a perfect french diction, Samuel Ramey as the father/mephistopheles is at the summit of his art and June Anderson and Michèle Lagrange as Robert sister and wife.  The orchestra directed by the late Thomas Fulton has a gorgeous sound.

I already had the Royal opera house recent blue ray



which isnt bad by any means but I did not care for the carton pate staging nor the strong accent of most of the cast.  Also for some reason the orchestra did not sound as big as on this CD.  Still the strong presence of John Reylea (father-mephistopheles) makes this blu ray worth while.  Too bad he steals the show from everybody else.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 12:54:16 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 Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #755 on: November 10, 2017, 01:42:59 AM »


Not a lot Warner can do with the sound for this recording, as the source material is so compromised.

The edition used wouldn't take much scrutiny today, but Giulini has a keen understanding of the music. The supporting cast is not great, but Callas is superb; "a Gluck soprano of the highest order" according to Max Loppert in Opera on Record 2, who "answers almost every demand the role has to make".

Worth hearing if you can put up with the sound, which distorts quite badly in the choruses.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #756 on: November 10, 2017, 03:03:48 AM »
Prologue and act 1 with my youngest sister, who is enjoying it very much.


Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #757 on: November 10, 2017, 09:05:07 AM »


Taking a break from the Callas box for a first time listen, via Spotify, to Chausson's Wagner inspired Le roi Arthus, and rather enjoying it.

The libretto deals with the Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere love triangle, with definite echoes of Tristan und Isolde. However, though the score is definitely influenced by the music of Wagner, it still sounds very French to me.

The performance is pretty good too, though I might have preferred a more girlish voice for Guinevere. Zylis-Gara's creamy tone sounds a little too sophisticated and soignee for the role. It doesn't seem to lie too high, and I can imagine it would have suited De Los Angeles well, or even Von Stade. The men are fine, particularly Quilico.


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

Online Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #758 on: November 10, 2017, 10:30:51 AM »

Taking a break from the Callas box for a first time listen, via Spotify, to Chausson's Wagner inspired Le roi Arthus, and rather enjoying it.

The libretto deals with the Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere love triangle, with definite echoes of Tristan und Isolde. However, though the score is definitely influenced by the music of Wagner, it still sounds very French to me.

The performance is pretty good too, though I might have preferred a more girlish voice for Guinevere. Zylis-Gara's creamy tone sounds a little too sophisticated and soignee for the role. It doesn't seem to lie too high, and I can imagine it would have suited De Los Angeles well, or even Von Stade. The men are fine, particularly Quilico.
I saw this opera live last year directed by Philippe Jordan, Armin son.  Many people listen to this opera as a 19th century work, i.e. singers dueling together with an orchestra accompagment to enhance the effects and emotions.  However, for Chausson, the singers and their voices were just instruments of the orchestra, and one has to listen to this work as if the singers are actually embedded into the orchestra.  If one listens to this opera in this way it makes so much more sense and one enjoys this opera all the more.  This way of writing operatic music does bears some resemblence with Wagner, and this is probably what makes people think of Tristan&Isolde.  My only reservation with Le roi Arthus is the overall darkness of Chausson libretto.

In his most famous work, Le poeme de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19 Chausson treats the voice exactly in the same fashion, i.e. as an instrument of the orchestra.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 10:40:48 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 jessop

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #759 on: November 11, 2017, 03:44:50 AM »
Prologue and act 1 with my youngest sister, who is enjoying it very much.



Finished watching this. Wonderful ending, made me cry.

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