Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 64056 times)

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #680 on: October 07, 2017, 06:21:30 AM »
A recent acquisition: Donizetti, L'assedio di Calais


It was composed right after Lucia di Lamermoor, which is a favorite opera of mine.  The libretto, written by Salvatore Cammarano is a loose adaptation of the surrender of Calais to the British after a long siege during the 100y war.  It makes ample use of choirs and ensemble singing from duets to the final nonet in the 3rd act.  After 17 performances at the 1836 creation it disappeared from the repertoire until this 1988 revival by Opera Rara.  Since then a DVD was also produced by the RAI.  Why such a well crafted opera has fallen in complete oblivion ?
Maybe because it has no tenor and the leading role (the mayor son) is held by a contralto (Della Jones in this production).  Compared to Lucia, it is also somewhat a throwback to the opera seria style, while the bel canto style was the fury at the time.  It is a very well crafted opera .  The designation of Calais burghers that were to be sacrificed to save the city (the mayor, the mayor son,...) is the highest and most dramatic point at the end of act 2.  There are 2 wonderful duet between the mayor son and his mother.
At the end Donizetti was asked to make a happy ending where queen Elisabeth arrives to save Calais burghers.  This spoils the storys drama some IMHO.  Anyway, I really enjoyed it and this opera rara production will come back to visit the CD player soon.
I agree - pretty wonderful. I love all the chorus and group singing. There are many other good Opera Rara productions of Donizetti too. I have been eying Les Martyrs...
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Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #681 on: October 07, 2017, 06:35:00 AM »
I have been eying Les Martyrs...
  I have it.  A very nice opera.  Michael Spyres is an excellent Polyeucte.  Joyce el Khoury is fine as Pauline.  Her recent disk Echo however is not good.  There is a big difference in talent between her and Spyres.  I bought his solo CD Espoir.  He is really made for the french repertoire.  His diction is quite good, in fact the best for an american tenor.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #682 on: October 07, 2017, 06:37:20 AM »
  I have it.  A very nice opera.  Michael Spyres is an excellent Polyeucte.  Joyce el Khoury is fine as Pauline.  Her recent disk Echo however is not good.  There is a big difference in talent between her and Spyres.  I bought his solo CD Espoir.  He is really made for the french repertoire.  His diction is quite good, in fact the best for an american tenor.
Yes, I don't think we're likely to see a production as good as this for a while (if ever). When I get the set, it will be my first introduction to Spyres I think, unless I am forgetting him in something else.
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Offline betterthanfine

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #683 on: October 07, 2017, 06:44:53 AM »
My first time listening to this particular recording:



Cossotto is a fine Lady, but her high notes are little shrill and sometimes even slightly flat. I like her hushed and intimate reading of the letter. Milnes fares better as Macbeth, even if he's not particularly memorable. Carreras is in gorgeous youthful voice for Macduff's aria, and I very much enjoy Muti's conducting. The chorus sounds very good too. Overall, an enjoyable recording of one of my favourite Verdi operas!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 06:47:04 AM by betterthanfine »

kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #684 on: October 07, 2017, 09:58:11 AM »
A recent acquisition: Donizetti, L'assedio di Calais


It was composed right after Lucia di Lamermoor, which is a favorite opera of mine.  The libretto, written by Salvatore Cammarano is a loose adaptation of the surrender of Calais to the British after a long siege during the 100y war.  It makes ample use of choirs and ensemble singing from duets to the final nonet in the 3rd act.  After 17 performances at the 1836 creation it disappeared from the repertoire until this 1988 revival by Opera Rara.  Since then a DVD was also produced by the RAI.  Why such a well crafted opera has fallen in complete oblivion ?
Maybe because it has no tenor and the leading role (the mayor son) is held by a contralto (Della Jones in this production).  Compared to Lucia, it is also somewhat a throwback to the opera seria style, while the bel canto style was the fury at the time.  It is a very well crafted opera .  The designation of Calais burghers that were to be sacrificed to save the city (the mayor, the mayor son,...) is the highest and most dramatic point at the end of act 2.  There are 2 wonderful duet between the mayor son and his mother.
At the end Donizetti was asked to make a happy ending where queen Elisabeth arrives to save Calais burghers.  This spoils the storys drama some IMHO.  Anyway, I really enjoyed it and this opera rara production will come back to visit the CD player soon.

The ending is actually true to history (although the queen's name was Phillippa, and produced one of Rodin's greatest works

Details about the statue and a summary of the history
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burghers_of_Calais

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #685 on: October 07, 2017, 11:12:49 AM »
The ending is actually true to history (although the queen's name was Phillippa, and produced one of Rodin's greatest works

Details about the statue and a summary of the history
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burghers_of_Calais
And I believe it's the same subject that the now almost forgotten (but in his day relatively well-known) Rudolf Wagner-Régeny used in his Die Bürger von Calais (from the late 30s):


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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #686 on: October 07, 2017, 02:57:01 PM »
My first time listening to this particular recording:



Cossotto is a fine Lady, but her high notes are little shrill and sometimes even slightly flat. I like her hushed and intimate reading of the letter. Milnes fares better as Macbeth, even if he's not particularly memorable. Carreras is in gorgeous youthful voice for Macduff's aria, and I very much enjoy Muti's conducting. The chorus sounds very good too. Overall, an enjoyable recording of one of my favourite Verdi operas!

Personally I prefer the Abbado recording. Verrett is a superb Lady Macbeth, but even she has to cede to Callas live at La Scala in 1952. No Lady Macbeth comes within a mile of her achievement in the role, and De Sabata is a pretty great conductor too.



The sound isn't very good, but is reasonable enough in the new Warner transfer.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #687 on: October 08, 2017, 01:03:19 PM »
Saw Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in Lucerne last night - what a blast!  ;D
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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kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #688 on: October 08, 2017, 05:41:56 PM »
A purchase crossposted from the main Purchase thread



As a kid, I used to listen to a recording of Acts 1 and 2 of Traviata on a set of 78s that belonged to my mother.  It was a heavy bulky folder of disks, and the companion set for the remainder of the opera was nowhere to be found. That set was my introduction to opera. I think the recording in this set is the one I played so often.

The "others" referred to on the cover include a couple of overtures, the Te Deum, the Hymn of the Nations, and various highlights from Rigoletto and Luisa Miller.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #689 on: October 08, 2017, 08:18:03 PM »
Saw Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in Lucerne last night - what a blast!  ;D

Lucky you! I would love to see that..........but it seems more likely I would have to travel to another country than wait for it to come down here in Australia.

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #690 on: October 09, 2017, 02:54:05 AM »
Lucky you! I would love to see that..........but it seems more likely I would have to travel to another country than wait for it to come down here in Australia.

Some info here (there are "DE" and "EN" buttons to switch from DEutsch to ENglish):
http://www.luzernertheater.ch/legrandmacabre

Don't know any of the involved ones, not sure if I saw play directed by Fritsch years ago ... but the musical director is the same that was part of the huge success they had last season with Nono's "Prometeo" (that was life-changing in a way that the Maccabee won't ever be, the piece isn't deep enough for that, I think - but a blast it was, hellyeah!) ... seems the new direction wants to start the season with a 20c opera now - would be cool if that became a tradition, I'd certainly make it a point to be there each year!
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/

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #691 on: October 09, 2017, 03:07:20 AM »
Some info here (there are "DE" and "EN" buttons to switch from DEutsch to ENglish):
http://www.luzernertheater.ch/legrandmacabre

Don't know any of the involved ones, not sure if I saw play directed by Fritsch years ago ... but the musical director is the same that was part of the huge success they had last season with Nono's "Prometeo" (that was life-changing in a way that the Maccabee won't ever be, the piece isn't deep enough for that, I think - but a blast it was, hellyeah!) ... seems the new direction wants to start the season with a 20c opera now - would be cool if that became a tradition, I'd certainly make it a point to be there each year!

Traditions like that are always good fun, especially when they promote operas not commonly performed.

Offline king ubu

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #692 on: October 09, 2017, 03:38:05 AM »
Traditions like that are always good fun, especially when they promote operas not commonly performed.

Yes indeed!

There's also a new Holliger opera coming up at Zurich opera this season:
https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/lunea/season_11232/
Will definitely go and catch it!

Also planning to catch a new one by Sciarrino at La Scala in late November with GioCar  ;D
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/

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #693 on: October 09, 2017, 12:49:32 PM »
Discussion on the generazione dell'ottanta (started by Mirror Image in the polls thread) has prompted me to revisit Respighi's charmingly nostalgic comedy Belfagor:


I don't really care much for Respighi's orchestral music, which I find flashy and derivative; I was listening to some piece--can't remember which--recently on the radio, and kept sayng to myself "look, now it sounds like Richard Strauss, but wait, now it's Debussy, oh no, it's Rimsky" until I said "Basta!;D .

But I've always had a soft spot for this little opera. Puccinian in some aspects, but with a very distinctive melancholy and nocturnal tinge to the comedy, and less melodic ease (compensated by very intelligible declamatory sung lines). The orchestration is very colourful, as could be expected.  Falstaff, and probably Gianni Schicchi as well, were most probably Respighi's direct models.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 12:57:53 PM by ritter »
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Online GioCar

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #694 on: October 10, 2017, 07:40:08 AM »

Also planning to catch a new one by Sciarrino at La Scala in late November with GioCar  ;D

 8) 8) 8)

Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #695 on: October 10, 2017, 11:21:40 AM »
You lucky man. From the clips I've seen, it looked like an excellent production, and Tsallagova sounded superb.
Pélleas et Mélisande: recension of the live Paris Opera performance (Robert Wilson staging) and the new Simon Rattle LSO recording



Summary: if it had been possible to combine these two performances, we would have had the perfect Pelleas

Paris performance.  2 great singers/actors
1) Melisande was sung by Elena Tsallagova.  Phyically, as a young and frail woman, she is a perfect Melisande:

Her voice is quite pure, with little vibrato, exactly what you expect for Melisande.  Her diction was absoltely perfect.  She also fitted very much in Robert Wilson staging, which translates Maeternink symbolic poetry into symbolic gesture, mostly using arms and hands.

Another great actor singer was Jodie Devos (a belgian soprano) as Yniold (Golaud's son)

She had a very strong presence and acted and sung her role beautifully.
Pelleas was sung by Etienne Dupuis who did not convince me completely.   He is a real big guy, not quite compatible with the image I have of Pelleas.
Golaud was sung Luca Pisaroni, an italian barytone.  I did not like the way he interpreted nor sung Golaud.  Always opting for the darkest option for the caracter, rough, and brutal. This may be appropriate for the fourth act but not for the two first acts, I would say.
Jordan and Paris orchestra were OK, but I expected more orchestral colors, at least from this talented french chef directing a french orchestra.  Also, he did not use the full dynamic of his orchestra, except in the pianissimo introduction and the fortissimo for the deadly kiss at the fourth act.
One word about Wilson staging.  It is quite appealing, with interesting ideas: Melisande makes exactly the same gesture as she drops her crown at the beginning of the opera and Golaud ring at act II.  At act 3, the ring projected on the blue background breaks in two.  Otherwise, the staging is cold, as the character always avoid physical contact even when the text say the opposite (Yniold, "votre barbe pique, petit père").  This contributes to add distances which I did not feel are in Maeternink texts.

Now Rattle take.  I think his orchestra is really beautiful, one of the best I have heard in this piece.  Beautiful colors, exactly the dynamical ranges I expected.  He tends to use some Malherian inflections at times, but these are passing allusions which I actually found interesting.
Magdalena Kozena (one of my favorite mezzo) isnt a very good Melisande.  Her french diction isnt very intelligible I found.  Also she sings Mélisande as the mature woman she is and not Mélisande a young girl.  This is bothersome in the first two act.  During the last act, where Mélisande is portrayed as living in a parallel world, Kozena is much better, in fact her singing becomes suddenly appropriate.
The other singer are Gerhaher as Pelleas.  He has never disappointed me and here again he is a very good Pelleas.  Nearly perfect french diction, exactly the intonations and the nuances I expected.  As Golaud, Gerald Finley is also convincing.  His diction is good, maybe nt as perfect as Gerhaher.  But he portraits Golaud as the multifaceted man that he is.  Arkel is sung by Franz‑Josef Selig as in the Paris live performance.  A deep and beautiful bass voice.  Excellent.  Yniold is sung by Elias Mädler.  Not as good as Jodie Devos, I thought
In spite of Kozena weaknesses during the first two acts, I would recommend this new recording.  The orchestra is great and Gerhaher and Finley are excellent in their role.   You can download it on the LSO live site for a modest price.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 11:58:35 AM by Spineur »

Offline betterthanfine

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #696 on: October 10, 2017, 02:13:42 PM »
^Thanks for that review, Spineur. I've been curious about the new Rattle set, as it's a piece he's been performing for years, and I'm a huge Gerhaher fan. Kozena to me seemed the weakest link here, which you have just confirmed. Still, I think I might get it.

kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #697 on: October 10, 2017, 05:17:54 PM »
Probably some great performances.  But how is the audio?  All mono?

I am not sure, since it's in transit now. I assume some, if not all, is mono. Looking at the contents, I also expect some major cuts:

How do you fit a trio, a chorus, and an entire act of Rigoletto onto the second CD of Traviata?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 05:20:19 PM by Jeffrey Smith »

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #698 on: October 11, 2017, 01:43:13 AM »
Das Rheingold


Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #699 on: October 11, 2017, 04:17:52 AM »
I don't think I've seen such an interesting, positive master class in some time. Really fascinating:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGCOxk6sGk
I love how he spends more time on the basics of singing and breathing and key things rather than minor phrasing as some do. Hampson is very articulate and has a wonderful manner.
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