Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 67017 times)

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Undersea

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #860 on: March 03, 2018, 09:36:58 PM »
Now playing:



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Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde, WWV 90 - Wolfgang Windgassen, Birgit Nillsson, Etc.; Karl Böhm:  Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra


Well that's this afternoon's listening sorted - top stuff. :)

Offline anothername

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #861 on: March 03, 2018, 10:27:26 PM »

Undersea

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #862 on: March 04, 2018, 11:00:56 PM »
Now playing:



From:



Verdi: Il Trovatore - Leontyne Price, Plácido Domingo, Etc.; Zubin Mehta: Ambrosian Opera Chorus & New Philharmonia Orchestra

Great recording ;) - I'll seeyou guys later; enjoy your listening. :)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:06:58 PM by Undersea »

kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #863 on: March 05, 2018, 07:03:54 PM »
Now playing:



From:



Verdi: Il Trovatore - Leontyne Price, Plácido Domingo, Etc.; Zubin Mehta: Ambrosian Opera Chorus & New Philharmonia Orchestra

Great recording ;) - I'll seeyou guys next weekend; enjoy your listening. :)

Great recording from a great set.

Undersea

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #864 on: March 06, 2018, 07:08:41 PM »
Great recording from a great set.

It's a good set for sure - you own the Box too right Jeffrey?.
Hard to go wrong with Plácido. :)

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #865 on: March 07, 2018, 01:13:13 AM »
First listen to the first-ever complete recording of Puccini's Turandot:



The sound is surprisingly good for the recording's vintage (1938), and actually better than that of some Cetra recordings of 15 years later. The star of the recording is Gina Cigna, who has all the power and top note for the fiendishly difficult title role, but also displays a vulnerability which makes the character much more interesting (and is absent IMO from the "viking" sopranos that dominated the field after WW2). Magda Olivero is a fine Liù, but sounds almost soubrettish (this is before her retirement in 1941--when she reappeared after a 10-year hiatus, her voice had become richer and more expressive). Franceso Merli, one of the leading Italian tenors of the time, is a strong Calaf. Chorus and orchestra are not world-class, but perform with enthusiasm and conviction under conductor Franco Ghione.

A very successful recording IMHO.

Listening to this after having read Rubens Tedeschi's book on late 19th and early 20th century opera, I tend to agree with his notion that the inclusion of the character of Liù (absent from Carlo Gozzi's play) is an attempt to add the standard puccinian "sacrificial virgin" heroine to a plot that really doesn't need it (even if some of her music is lovely), and IMO the lachrymose and saccharine components she introduces are the low and most conventional points of the score. As a result, the dilemma of finding a suitable ending for the opera--after the death of Liù in Act 3--seemed inevitable. I have recently ordered the only more or less readily available (even if it's OOP) recording of Franco Alfano's complete, unabridged ending (with Josephine Barstow under John Mauceri), and it might be interesting to listen to the complete Alfano, shortened (by Toscanini) "standard" Alfano, and Luciano Berio endings in succession.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 02:46:47 PM by ritter »
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #866 on: March 07, 2018, 07:56:09 AM »
Berg: Wozzeck
Franz Grundheber, Hildegard Behrens, Vienna Philharmonic, cond. Abbado

"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #867 on: March 08, 2018, 03:12:23 AM »
This recording of La forza del destino (one of only a handful of Verdi operas I really like) landed yesterday, and I've listened to Acts 1 & 2:



Even if made in one of Italy's great opera houses, there's very few star names in the cast (I had never even heard of the lead tenor, the mezzo or the conductor). Carlo Menippo as Alvaro is serviceable, but not much more than that, and Franca Mattiucci is an engaging Preziosilla. The performance is conducted with vigour but little finesse by Pasquale de Angelis. But then you have Elena Souliotis in her (brief) prime, and...wow! Her Leonora is really fantastic. She might not been in full control of her instrument, but uses it so generously (recklessly?) that one can only admire her commitment, and the resulting portrayal is tremendous. An ardent, passionate portrayal (the complete opposite of the regal, grand Zinka Milanov in her late studio recording I was listening to some time ago). The audience goes wild with enthusiasm after every apparence of Mme. Souliotis, and it's easy to understand why. She might have destroyed her voice within 5 years, but with nights like the one preserved in this recording, one would say it was worth it. Great, great fun!



« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 03:22:22 AM by ritter »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #868 on: March 08, 2018, 09:50:07 PM »
I didn’t want to open the Pelléas et Mélisande thread since this particular thread gets much more traffic, but I have a question for you guys, what do you think of Haitink’s account on Naive with Otter et. al.? Rafael (ritter)? Do you have any particular favorites in this opera? I own Abbado, Jordan, and Boulez (my personal favorite right now). Thanks in advance!
“I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.” - Claude Debussy

Offline anothername

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #869 on: March 08, 2018, 10:38:26 PM »
This recording of La forza del destino (one of only a handful of Verdi operas I really like) landed yesterday, and I've listened to Acts 1 & 2:



Even if made in one of Italy's great opera houses, there's very few star names in the cast (I had never even heard of the lead tenor, the mezzo or the conductor). Carlo Menippo as Alvaro is serviceable, but not much more than that, and Franca Mattiucci is an engaging Preziosilla. The performance is conducted with vigour but little finesse by Pasquale de Angelis. But then you have Elena Souliotis in her (brief) prime, and...wow! Her Leonora is really fantastic. She might not been in full control of her instrument, but uses it so generously (recklessly?) that one can only admire her commitment, and the resulting portrayal is tremendous. An ardent, passionate portrayal (the complete opposite of the regal, grand Zinka Milanov in her late studio recording I was listening to some time ago). The audience goes wild with enthusiasm after every apparence of Mme. Souliotis, and it's easy to understand why. She might have destroyed her voice within 5 years, but with nights like the one preserved in this recording, one would say it was worth it. Great, great fun!
This one is bloody expensive,  you can get it for next to nothing  sounding just as good on a live CD shop.

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #870 on: March 08, 2018, 11:00:49 PM »
This one is bloody expensive,  you can get it for next to nothing  sounding just as good on a live CD shop.
It’s available on Berkshire.
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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #871 on: March 09, 2018, 01:00:51 AM »
I didn’t want to open the Pelléas et Mélisande thread since this particular thread gets much more traffic, but I have a question for you guys, what do you think of Haitink’s account on Naive with Otter et. al.? Rafael (ritter)? Do you have any particular favorites in this opera? I own Abbado, Jordan, and Boulez (my personal favorite right now). Thanks in advance!
IIRC, I have the following in my collection (N.B.: The performers between brackets are for the roles pf Pelléas, Mélisande and Golaud, followed by the orchestra, the dates are those in which the recordings were made, and the labels the ones of the releases I own):


- Roger Désormière (Jansen / Joachim / Etchevérry - Conservatoire) - Andante 1941
- Emil Cooper (Singher / Sayão / Tibbett - Metrpolitan Opera) - Naxos 1945
- D.-E. Inghelbrecht (Maurane / Danco / Etchéverry - Philharmonia) - Testament 1951
- D.-E. Inghelbrecht (Jansen/ Grancher / Roux - Orchestre National) - Disques Montaigne 1962
- Vittorio Gui (Wilbrink / Duval / Roux - Royal Philarmonc) - Glyndebourne 1963
- Pierre Boulez (Shirley / Söderström / McIntyre - Royal Opera House) - Sony 1970
- Armin Jordan (Tappy / Yakar / Huttenlocher - Monte-Carlo) - Warner 1979 (from the big box, and still unlistened to  :-[)
- Claudio Abbado (Le Roux / Ewing / van Dam - Vienna Philharmonic) - Deutsche Grammophon 1990 (from the "old" big box)
- Pierre Boulez (Hagley / Archer / Maxwell - Welsh National Opera) - Deutsche Grammophon DVD 1992

They all have something nice to offer (well, at least those I've listened to - I should pull out the Jordan sometime soon). The 1970 Boulez was my first, and remains a favourite, as I see it as a very coherent effort, which also shows it is based on a run of live performances in London at the time). Bidù Sayão is a lovely Mélisande in the Cooper set on Naxos, but the sound of the 1945 broadcast from the MET is poor, as you'd expect. The best all-round performance, though, remains IMO the legendary 1941 under Désormière. You must make allowances for the vintage sound (it was a studio recording in occupied Paris in 1941), but the intimacy, the clarity of the text that are achieved are stunning, and all the lead singers are excellent in their roles. I got it first in a super-budget release on Documents which was terrible (it sounded as if they had set a microphone next to a 78-rpm record player and transferred that to CD), but then got hold of a used copy of the lavish release on the now defunct Andante label, and things improved tremendously. I haven't listened to any of the various EMI releases of the set. As you can see, the Andante issue includes extracts from earlier recordings of the opera.


One of the great opera recordings of all time IMHO.

Our fellow GMGer Dancing Divertimentian had excellent things to say about the recording led by Serge Baudo on RCA (OOP), but I haven't got round to buying that set (do I really need a 10th recording of the work?  ;)).
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 10:47:47 AM by ritter »
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Offline anothername

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #872 on: March 09, 2018, 04:10:56 AM »
It’s available on Berkshire.


This one suits me fine.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #873 on: March 09, 2018, 07:20:44 AM »
IIRC, I have the following in my collection (N.B.: The performers between brackets are for the roles pf Pelléas, Mélisande and Golaud, followed by the orchestra, the dates are those in which the recordings were made, and the labels the ones of the releases I own):


- Roger Désormière (Jansen / Joachim / Etchevérry - Conservatoire) - Andante 1941
- Emil Cooper (Singher / Sayão / Tibbett - Metrpolitan Opera) - Naxos 1945
- D.-E. Inghelbrecht (Maurane / Danco / Etchéverry / Philharmonia) - Testament 1951
- D.-E. Inghelbrecht (Jansen/ Grancher / Roux / Orchestre National) - Disques Montaigne 1962
- Vittorio Gui (Wilbrink / Duval / Roux - Royal Philarmonc) - Glyndebourne 1963
- Pierre Boulez (Shirley / Söderström / McIntyre - Royal Opera House) - Sony 1970
- Armin Jordan (Tappy / Yakar / Huttenlocher - Monte-Carlo) - Warner 1979 (from the big box, and still unlistened to  :-[)
- Claudio Abbado (Le Roux / Ewing / van Dam - Vienna Philharmonic) - Deutsche Grammophon 1990 (from the "old" big box)
- Pierre Boulez (Hagley / Archer / Maxwell - Welsh National Opera) - Deutsche Grammophon DVD 1992

They all have something nice to offer (well, at least those I've listened to - I should pull out the Jordan sometime soon). The 1970 Boulez was my first, and remains a favourite, as I see it as a very coherent effort, which also shows it is based on a run of live performances in London at the time). Bidù Sayão is a lovely Mélisande in the Cooper set on Naxos, but the sound of the 1945 broadcast from the MET is poor, as you'd expect. The best all-round performance, though, remains IMO the legendary 1941 under Désormière. You must make allowances for the vintage sound (it was a studio recording in occupied Paris in 1941), but the intimacy, the clarity of the text that are achieved are stunning, and all the lead singers are excellent in their roles. I got it first in a super-budget release on Documents which was terrible (it sounded as if they had set a microphone next to a 78-rpm record player and transferred that to CD), but then got hold of a used copy of the lavish release on the now defunct Andante label, and things improved tremendously. I haven't listened to any of the various EMI releases of the set. As you can see, the Andante issue includes extracts from earlier recordings of the opera.


One of the great opera recordings of all time IMHO.

Our fellow GMGer Dancing Divertimentian had excellent things to say about the recording led by Serge Baudo on RCA (OOP), but I haven't got round to buying that set (do I really need a 10th recording of the work?  ;)).

Wow, thanks for this feeback, Rafael! A pleasure to read for sure. I do have a question: have you heard either Haitink’s or Ansermet’s Pelléas recordings? I’m certainly in agreement with you about the Boulez right now.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 07:26:36 AM by Mirror Image »
“I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.” - Claude Debussy

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #874 on: March 09, 2018, 10:21:13 AM »
Quote from: Mirror Image link=topic=26890.msg1132896#msg11 :)32896 date=1520608844
Wow, thanks for this feeback, Rafael! A pleasure to read for sure.
Mais je vous en prie, cher ami.  :)
Quote
I do have a question: have you heard either Haitink’s or Ansermet’s Pelléas recordings?
Hélas, neither one nor the other. Haitink has Anne Sophie von Otter as Mélisande, a great artist with a not so great voice IMO, and the Dutchman is a conductor I’ve never really “digged” (for no particular reason, even if I saw  him live once leading a very satisfactory Das Rheingold at Covent Garden).

AFAIK, there’s two recordings led by Ansermet (one in mono with Suzanne Danco—who’s already present in my collection in one of the Inghelbrecht sets—and Perre Mollet, and one in stereo with Erna Spoorenberg and Camille Maurane—who also appears in that same Inghelbrecht recording on Testament). I really have lost all enthusiasm for Ansermet in recent years, as I increasingly find his recordings dry and uninteresting.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 10:59:50 AM by ritter »
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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #875 on: March 09, 2018, 12:26:21 PM »
This recording of La forza del destino (one of only a handful of Verdi operas I really like) landed yesterday, and I've listened to Acts 1 & 2:



Even if made in one of Italy's great opera houses, there's very few star names in the cast (I had never even heard of the lead tenor, the mezzo or the conductor). Carlo Menippo as Alvaro is serviceable, but not much more than that, and Franca Mattiucci is an engaging Preziosilla. The performance is conducted with vigour but little finesse by Pasquale de Angelis. But then you have Elena Souliotis in her (brief) prime, and...wow! Her Leonora is really fantastic. She might not been in full control of her instrument, but uses it so generously (recklessly?) that one can only admire her commitment, and the resulting portrayal is tremendous. An ardent, passionate portrayal (the complete opposite of the regal, grand Zinka Milanov in her late studio recording I was listening to some time ago). The audience goes wild with enthusiasm after every apparence of Mme. Souliotis, and it's easy to understand why. She might have destroyed her voice within 5 years, but with nights like the one preserved in this recording, one would say it was worth it. Great, great fun!
Listened to the remainder of the opera today. Unfortunately, the once “standard” cuts in Act 3 (the ronda ”Compagni, sostiamo”—Verdi at his best IMHO—and the “Sleale” duet) are not lifted. The Preziosilla manages her big scene in Act 3 very well (even if there’s some minor intonation problems in the vocalises of “Rataplan!”. Mario Sereni is a solid Don Carlo throughout the whole opera, with commendable attention to the pronunciation of the text, the tenor gets worse and more strained as the opera progresses, and Suliotis’s Leonora is impressive throughout, managing to simultaneously convey youth, ardor and frailty with a voice that in those years was beautiful, flexible and potent. The death of her character is very touching. All in all, an exciting performance, and an invaluable document of a flawed but fascinating singer in her best moment.
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #876 on: March 09, 2018, 03:11:32 PM »
I have both of Ansermet’s Pelléas recordings and prefer the first one by a fair margin. It is exceptional in its directness and intimacy (the oppposite of the Karajan on EMI). That being said, the stereo recording is very good, simply less verbally specific than the older one.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #877 on: March 09, 2018, 03:24:28 PM »
I really have lost all enthusiasm for Ansermet in recent years, as I increasingly find his recordings dry and uninteresting.

I have had the exact opposite trajectory. I used to dismiss him, but recently find his work refreshingly colorful, both in the area he is traditionally associated with, and in more mainstream repertoire, like Brahms. Looking forward to hearing his Beethoven.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #878 on: March 09, 2018, 07:23:28 PM »
Haitink has Anne Sophie von Otter as Mélisande, a great artist with a not so great voice IMO...

Von Otter has a GREAT voice...only I'm not so keen on her Melisande. Not flighty/exotic enough. Haitink's conducting is very fine, though, as is Abbado's (I have both).

However, for great conducting, great sound, and great singing, my go-to is still Baudo. OOP, but still available secondhand.



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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    probably something somebody somewhere is snickering 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 #879 on: March 09, 2018, 07:45:55 PM »
I really have lost all enthusiasm for Ansermet in recent years, as I increasingly find his recordings dry and uninteresting.

Here we agree, ritter. Ansermet as the last word in French repertoire doesn't do it for me.
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