Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 86641 times)

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Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #820 on: February 04, 2018, 09:17:53 AM »
In 6 weeks from now, I will be attending the new production of Verdi's Macbeth at the Opera de Lyon, the closest opera house from where I live.  The distribution

Conductor: Kazushi Ono
Macbeth Evez Abdulla
Banco Riccardo Zanellato
Lady Macbeth Iano Tamar

Staging: Ivo van Hove

It is very rarely staged in France.  So I am listening the 1976 recording led by Claudio Abbado leading the Scala orchestra and a dream cast of singers



I may eventually buy a DVD of the opera after I see it live in Lyon.  There are many available.


Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #821 on: February 04, 2018, 06:52:56 PM »
Copied from the main thread:



Completed and premiered in 2012 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Commisioned by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Bernard Foccroulle (better known to most as an outstanding organist), on a text by Martin Crimp. A curious mix of genres, it reminds me of stage works by widely different composers, such as Henze’s L’Upupa or Turnage’s Greek. A good gramophone opera - there’s no real action, merely dialogue. This excellent production provides 2 booklets, including an essay, an interview, a good synopsis and the libretto. There is a short piano and orchestra work by Benjamin as a filler to the second disc (Pierre-Laurent Aymard is the soloist). A rewarding issue.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #822 on: February 05, 2018, 07:08:16 PM »
I think it’s impossible to remain indifferent to this production of Die Zauberflöte. I couldn’t stop watching it.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t5hqh5VxEOU


Mozart meets George Lucas meets Teletubbies.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #823 on: February 05, 2018, 07:47:06 PM »
I think it’s impossible to remain indifferent to this production of Die Zauberflöte. I couldn’t stop watching it.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t5hqh5VxEOU


Mozart meets George Lucas meets Teletubbies.

OH my goodness I am in love with this production already PLEASE don't post stuff like this when I am supposed to be composing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #824 on: February 05, 2018, 09:15:42 PM »
Revisited Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges tonight (the classic Maazel recording) and I remain completely astonished by it. The sense of child-like wonder, rapture, lyricism, and opulence are why I continue to come back to this work. I can’t say many operas have this effect on me, but I believe this is truly a work that transcends the genre and really becomes something of it’s own entirely.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #825 on: February 06, 2018, 12:02:30 AM »
Revisited Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges tonight (the classic Maazel recording) and I remain completely astonished by it. The sense of child-like wonder, rapture, lyricism, and opulence are why I continue to come back to this work. I can’t say many operas have this effect on me, but I believe this is truly a work that transcends the genre and really becomes something of it’s own entirely.

I'll have to check out the recordings I have of Ravel's operas - both of them, but I'm expecting "L'Enfant" to be the one were my perception may change and evolve, while I think I "got" "L'Heure", basically, upon first listen (though maybe not in its fully glory, but the general idea, the perfection of the music and the typically French "musical speech" and all).

Either way, on Sunday afternoon I caught my first production of La Traviata in Basel, and it was wonderful:

Musikalische Leitung Ansi Verwey
Inszenierung Daniel Kramer
Choreografie Teresa Rotemberg
Bühne Lizzie Clachan
Kostüme Esther Bialas
Licht Charles Balfour
Chor Michael Clark
Dramaturgie Juliane Luster

Violetta Valéry Corinne Winters
Flora Bervoix Kristina Stanek
Annina Anastasia Bickel
Alfredo Germont Pavel Valuzhyn
Giorgio Germont Ivan Inverardi
Gastone Karl-Heinz Brandt
Barone Doupholl Domen Križaj
Marchese d’Obigny José Coca Loza
Dottore Grenvil Andrew Murphy
Giuseppe Matthew Swensen
Domestico di Flora Marco Pobuda
Commissionario Vladimir Vassilev
Chor des Theater Basel
Sinfonieorchester Basel

The production was nicely made, reflection the entire approach which was focused on Violetta in a way that the story was seen through her eyes. The first act and scene two of the second presented worlds full of decadence and glitter, the choir doing all kinds of trampy (not so nasty) things, including some sex games and stuff, but even there the focus remained on Violetta, the mirrors built into the stage reinforced that - it kinda all came back at her, no matter what. In scene one of act two, the same round stage set-up was used, but it was an empty garden this time, with a bed hung from the ceiling and some flowers - including a whole to dig and put in a pot of flowers. The dirt and digging returned for the grim third act scenery which saw Violetta dig her own grave amidst dirty kaputt matrasses that symbolized both the plight of the sex workers and a field of graves.

Corinne Winters was wonderful in the main role, her dark hued voice fit the production and entire approach perfectly well, and she sung with ease - and made use of an amazing pianissimo again and agin, yet always projecting her voice into the faceless modern hall. That hall is too wide to generate the typical 19c opera house sound, which I do love (and am used from the local opera house in Zurich) ... so it took a while to get used to that. The orchestra, too, displayed a great knack for very low-volume playing, the entire production based on lots of piano and pianissimo playing, and it built on that in a very effective manner. It actually got blazingly loud a few times, but somehow I failed to consciously notice the build-ups.

Ansi Verwey, the conductor for several of the nights, is not officially acknowledged by the theatre to do duty there, no pre-announcement, no nothing. Not sure what that is about, but it's pretty disgraceful I find, listing Titus Engel for the entire production run on the website, only printing her name in the line-up leaflet that you get when you buy a programme ... either way, she had the orchestra and singers in check, there were very few spots that lacked a bit of precision, but then she did conduct in a manner mostly devoid of the huge operatic gestures ... I was glad to have a seat on the side from where I could watch her, not just most (80% or more) of the stage (in that respect, the hall is good: there's probably not one seat with a real bad view, of which there are hundreds in the traditional opera houses).

The Germonts were pretty good, Pavel Valuzhyn singing a very lyrical Alfredo, in act one thus he was a bit weak maybe, but his profile got sharper as the play went on. Ivan Inverardi a pretty strong Giorgio Germont (he may not be the most precise of singers, but his voice and stage presence were convincing I found). The minor characters acquitted themselves well, and both choir and orchestra were excellent I found. The Basel SO seems to put up some interesting concerts, too - but it gets a bit too much to travel there regularly and there's so much stuff going on in Zurich that I don't want to miss out on ...

So: full marks for Corinne Winters, near full marks for orchestra and production and the rest of the singers.

And no, I will not check out the Zurich production (I was quickly tempted, but the good among the cheap seats are sold out ...) and I'm actually not worried about missing the Lucerne production (a re-hash of the 2011 Hannover production with Violetta alone on stage). Actually I hesitated to check out *any* "Traviata" on stage as I love the opera so much and don't want to spoil that with mediocricy ... happy that did not happen!  :)
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 mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #826 on: February 06, 2018, 12:45:50 AM »
I think it’s impossible to remain indifferent to this production of Die Zauberflöte. I couldn’t stop watching it.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t5hqh5VxEOU


Mozart meets George Lucas meets Teletubbies.
Definitely not indifferent. I hate it, but will tolerate it if this is what it takes for people to learn about opera. Just too gimmicky for me. I'd be upset if I went to this expecting a 'normal' presentation of the opera. I find the space sounds during the recitatives totally unnecessary.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #827 on: February 06, 2018, 05:58:16 AM »
A very different experience, to be sure. The fact that it’s sung in the vernacular points to some educational intent. I think it’s a resounding success in view of its capacity to grab the attention and transport the listener in a fantasy world (I cracked up when the Three Boys made their entrance - what a hoot !).

Compare this to the « normal » type of production like Rolf Liebermann’s:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c0cKnC3UvWU
. Scroll to the Queen of the Night’s entrance around 27’30’’ and you get a stunning non-event.

Offline Ken B

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #828 on: February 06, 2018, 02:23:29 PM »
Definitely not indifferent. I hate it, but will tolerate it if this is what it takes for people to learn about opera. Just too gimmicky for me. I'd be upset if I went to this expecting a 'normal' presentation of the opera. I find the space sounds during the recitatives totally unnecessary.

I watched part of it. I like the idea of scruffing it up a bit, with such bits of pop culture, because that’s what Singspiel was, so I think it that is the sort of thing Wolfie would have liked. Not that I thought all the gimmicks worked or were all thought out. But musically it seemed a second rate performance, and the translation got in the way — maybe only because I know the thing so well.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline Ken B

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #829 on: February 06, 2018, 02:38:31 PM »
A very different experience, to be sure. The fact that it’s sung in the vernacular points to some educational intent. I think it’s a resounding success in view of its capacity to grab the attention and transport the listener in a fantasy world (I cracked up when the Three Boys made their entrance - what a hoot !).

Compare this to the « normal » type of production like Rolf Liebermann’s:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c0cKnC3UvWU
. Scroll to the Queen of the Night’s entrance around 27’30’’ and you get a stunning non-event.

That was a section I watched. Submitted for your consideration a conventional staging, with Damrau

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YuBeBjqKSGQ
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #830 on: February 06, 2018, 04:08:05 PM »
Yes, that one is very good. Damrau has owned the part in these past few years.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #831 on: February 06, 2018, 06:20:47 PM »
Short of attending an actual performance at the Met, I can only hope its current production of Parsifal will be brought to a theatre near me  :P. Critics are very laudatory, uniformly commending a very strong cast, stunning visuals and great work from the pit.

From the NYT Anthony Tommasini:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/arts/music/review-parsifal-met-opera.html?hpw&rref=arts&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well


From Norman Lebrecht:
https://slippedisc.com/2018/02/yannick-is-the-star-of-mets-parsifal-of-blood/
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 06:24:07 PM by André »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #832 on: February 06, 2018, 06:31:36 PM »
I'll have to check out the recordings I have of Ravel's operas - both of them, but I'm expecting "L'Enfant" to be the one were my perception may change and evolve, while I think I "got" "L'Heure", basically, upon first listen (though maybe not in its fully glory, but the general idea, the perfection of the music and the typically French "musical speech" and all).

L’enfant is an opera that has continued to enthrall me over the years. I didn’t enjoy it much upon first-hearing many years ago, but it took me some time to understand it’s musical language as there’s quite a lot to take in and make sense of. Perhaps other listeners took to it immediately, but I had to work at it a bit, but I remained intrigued by it, so that’s one reason why I was so persistent in trying to understand it. L’Heure is a different kettle of fish and, as I mentioned before (or not), I don’t know this opera well at all, which I should be slapped for even saying since I consider myself a ‘Ravelian’. Hopefully, I’ll get to L’Heure over the weekend.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 06:49:25 PM by Mirror Image »
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #833 on: February 07, 2018, 02:16:17 PM »
Listening to a vintage recording of Mefistofele, one of my favourite Italian operas of the second half of the 19th century:


I found this for a pittance at the “Club del Amigo del Disco” not far from my home. I already new Giulio Neri’s superb portrayal of the title role from his Cetra recording with Ferrucio Tagliavini and Marcella Pobbè, and here he’s partnered by the even obscurer Rosetta Noli (who apparently was quite successful as Margherita in the late  40s and early 50s (as I write her character hasn’t appeared yet). Faust is Gianni Poggi, the memory of which in a DG recording of Un ballo in maschera under Gavazzeni still makes me shudder. It turns out that here he’s quite good and idiomatic, and his tone even pleasant. Helen of Troy is Simona dall’Argine, who has sunk into oblivion, but whose name I remember from a history of opera in Caracas (my hometown when I was younger), where she sang Tosca in the 50s.

The performance under Franco Capuana is in general a bit rough, but very engaging. These forces of the “Milan Opera” must be those of La Scala shorn of their name, presumably for contractual reasons (I say this because the chorus master is Vittore Veneziani, who famously led La Scala’s chorus at the time—1952).

What a fascinating figure, Arrigo Boito!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 10:35:00 AM by ritter »
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Undersea

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #834 on: February 10, 2018, 09:04:45 PM »
.



From this Box-Set:



Wagner: Lohengrin - Jess Thomas,‎ Anja Silja,‎ Astrid Varnay,‎ Ramon Vinay,‎ Franz Crass,‎ Tom Krause; Wolfgang Sawallisch: Chor & Orchester Der Bayreuther Festspiele

Offline anothername

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #835 on: February 10, 2018, 10:22:21 PM »
.



From this Box-Set:



Wagner: Lohengrin - Jess Thomas,‎ Anja Silja,‎ Astrid Varnay,‎ Ramon Vinay,‎ Franz Crass,‎ Tom Krause; Wolfgang Sawallisch: Chor & Orchester Der Bayreuther Festspiele

Did you like it?

Undersea

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #836 on: February 10, 2018, 10:48:57 PM »
Did you like it?

Hello there - sure, I'm liking it! (still listening ATM; replaying the 1st Disc of the work). :)
Been on a bit of a Wagner binge this week. I only heard the work Lohengrin once before..

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #837 on: February 12, 2018, 02:11:16 AM »
Listening to a vintage recording of Mefistofele, one of my favourite Italian operas of the second half of the 19th century:


I found this for a pittance at the “Club del Amigo del Disco” not far from my home. I already new Giulio Neri’s superb portrayal of the title role from his Cetra recording with Ferrucio Tagliavini and Marcella Pobbè, and here he’s partnered by the even obscurer Rosetta Noli (who apparently was quite successful as Margherita in the late  40s and early 50s (as I write her character hasn’t appeared yet). Faust is Gianni Poggi, the memory of which in a DG recording of Un ballo in maschera under Gavazzeni still makes me shudder. It turns out that here he’s quite good and idiomatic, and his tone even pleasant. Helen of Troy is Simona dall’Argine, who has sunk into oblivion, but whose name I remember from a history of opera in Caracas (my hometown when I was younger), where she sang Tosca in the 50s.

The performance under Franco Capuana is in general a bit rough, but very engaging. These forces of the “Milan Opera” must be those of La Scala shorn of their name, presumably for contractual reasons (I say this because the chorus master is Vittore Veneziani, who famously led La Scala’s chorus at the time—1952).

What a fascinating figure, Arrigo Boito!

Thanks for sharing your impressions!

I've got Serafin (Tebaldi), Rudel (Caballé) and de Fabritiis (Freni) around, haven't listened to Serafin yet ... the fact that I'm listing the sopranos is that I so much love "L'altra notte in fondo al mare" ... and I guess there, Caballé is my winner (generally, of the three, Freni would be my favourite I think ... but Tebaldi too, depending a bit on composers/parts).
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 ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #838 on: February 12, 2018, 04:08:08 AM »
Thanks for sharing your impressions!

I've got Serafin (Tebaldi), Rudel (Caballé) and de Fabritiis (Freni) around, haven't listened to Serafin yet ... the fact that I'm listing the sopranos is that I so much love "L'altra notte in fondo al mare" ... and I guess there, Caballé is my winner (generally, of the three, Freni would be my favourite I think ... but Tebaldi too, depending a bit on composers/parts).
Thanks, king ubu! Great to see someone shares my enthusiasm for Mefistofele. I own the old Angelo Questa recording on Cetra (with Marcella Pobbè, an excellent Margherita), the Oliviero de Fabritiis with Freni, the live Muti from La Scala on RCA (with the harshly treated Michèle Crider), and now this Capuana set. Overall, I think the Angelo Questa is the best (having Ferruccio Tagliavini as Faust is an added bonus). Rosetta Noli sounds a bit soubrettish in the higher register, but then her voice gains weight in the lower notes. Not the best Margherita ever, but still, a quite accomplished performance.

Not only "L'altra notte...", but the whole of Act III is marvelous: those hesitant orchestral phrases after the aria, and before Faust's exhortation to Mefistofele "Salvala!", the beautiful duet "Lontano, lontano...", Margherita's "Spunta l'aurora pallida" and the final celestial chorus. As good as opera gets IMHO!  :)

I should check out the Serafin (not a great fan of Mario del Monaco, I must confess, but in general Tebaldi is considered a great exponent of her role), and also the first recording ever (from 1930), with that wonderful soprano Mafalda Favero.

Cheers,
Ritter
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Offline anothername

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #839 on: February 12, 2018, 04:23:40 AM »