Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 86503 times)

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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1060 on: May 22, 2018, 12:33:05 PM »
I’ve always liked Arroyo, but « lacking in personality » is the pervasive feeling when the operas she sings in are over. A mite placid, I would say.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1061 on: May 23, 2018, 09:23:26 AM »
Watched the first hour of Debussy, Pelleas et Melisande.



It is available on DVD, but I watched in on amazon prime streaming (free with amazon prime).

It is one of those stylized productions where the actors creep around the stage in slow motion, wearing costumes which are reminiscent of an early star trek episode. Doubtful whether I will continue watching it.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 03:01:19 PM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1062 on: May 23, 2018, 11:56:43 PM »


I have two recordings of Peter Grimes; this one and Britten's own recording with the role's creator Peter Pears. Both are excellent. Both, I would say, are indispensable, representing two different poles of interpretation, Vickers a violent force of nature, Pears more the visionary dreamer. Philip Langridge, whom I saw do the role on stage, presented yet another facet of Grimes.

Like any great masterpiece, the opera can take different interpretations and I would find it impossible to choose between them.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Moonfish

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1063 on: May 24, 2018, 11:08:56 AM »
Verdi: Rigoletto             
Moffo/Merrill/Kraus
RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra/RCA Italiana Opera Chorus
Solti


Rigoletto is heart wrenching and it is in good hands with Moffo, Merrill and Kraus and the RCA forces. A great performance!
Rigoletto (together with Aida) were my first Verdi operas so the story and the music resonate well with me.

*deep sigh of satisfaction*

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1064 on: May 24, 2018, 09:22:37 PM »
Watched the first hour of Debussy, Pelleas et Melisande.



It is available on DVD, but I watched in on amazon prime streaming (free with amazon prime).

It is one of those stylized productions where the actors creep around the stage in slow motion, wearing costumes which are reminiscent of an early star trek episode. Doubtful whether I will continue watching it.

Hmm, lots of operas on Amazon Prime!

The Debussy staging is definitely interesting, but it invokes one's imagination and an almost dreamlike state of mind, don't you think?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 09:26:08 PM by Moonfish »
"Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want...."
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1065 on: May 25, 2018, 12:40:10 AM »


Callas's aristocratic Leonora is certainly one of the chief virtues of this recording of Il Trovatore, but not the only one. Karajan's wonderfully sprung rhythms, his feel for the natural pulse of the music, makes it the best conducted version I've heard.

Di Stefano may have a voice a notch too small for the role of Manrico, but almost convinces with his own unique brand of slancio, Panerai has just the right kind of high baritone the role requires, Barbieri is second only to Simionato and Zaccaria gets the opera off to a terrific start.

A true classic.

I review the set in more detail on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/il-trovatore/
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Baron Scarpia

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1066 on: May 25, 2018, 07:04:32 AM »
The Debussy staging is definitely interesting, but it invokes one's imagination and an almost dreamlike state of mind, don't you think?

Dreamlike, in the sense that it put me to sleep? Not quite, but close. :)

The entire Pelleas et Melisande story does not resonate with me at all, and I find it hard to imagine why the era seemed so enthralled with it. Sturdy man falls in love with mysterious woman, but she falls in love with his poetic, deadbeat brother. What is new? That everyone mostly stands around ruminating about their oh-so-profound feelings, instead of doing anything?

As to the music, the performance seemed so "impressionistic." I wanted the orchestra to play a resolute note, for once. Maybe I should listen to Karajan's recording. It's a CD rather than a video, but staring at the cover would be almost as animated as watching this almost static video.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 09:10:48 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline betterthanfine

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1067 on: May 26, 2018, 02:37:30 AM »
My first-ever listen of this opera:


I'm impressed with the beauty of both the music and the performance.

Offline mjmosca

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1068 on: May 26, 2018, 03:08:24 AM »
Lately I have been listening to the Palazzo bru Zane's recording of Saint-Saens' "Proserpine" and it is excellent. The music is vivid, dramatic and colorful. The cast, headed by Veronique Gens is superb- and while there are some old-fashioned aspects of the libretto, I am sure that it would make a very compelling experience in the opera-house. All of the characters are very well conceived musically. Saint-Saens mentioned at the time that with this work, he carried the use of Wagnerian system of leitmotives further than he had ever done. I recommend it highly. thank you!

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1069 on: May 27, 2018, 12:55:24 AM »


The libretto for Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, with its uncomfortable Christian moralising, has always been something of a stumbling block, but this brilliantly cast studio version, with an outstanding performance from Dame Janet Baker as Lucretia, reveals the beauty of the writing for chamber orchestra, and Britten's masterly control over its elements.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2018, 01:51:33 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline mjmosca

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1070 on: May 27, 2018, 02:31:54 AM »
My first-ever listen of this opera:


I'm impressed with the beauty of both the music and the performance.
    I remember seeing the production of Esclarmonde at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1970's that lead to this recording- it was outstanding in every way and the music is gorgeous! I could never understand why it was never revived- perhaps the "ghost" of Sutherland scared off other sopranos? In any event it is a wonderful, sumptuous, romantic "wallow" - Massenet was a master! Thank heavens that we have this recording!
 

Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1071 on: May 27, 2018, 05:10:32 AM »
Lately I have been listening to the Palazzo bru Zane's recording of Saint-Saens' "Proserpine" and it is excellent. The music is vivid, dramatic and colorful. The cast, headed by Veronique Gens is superb- and while there are some old-fashioned aspects of the libretto, I am sure that it would make a very compelling experience in the opera-house. All of the characters are very well conceived musically. Saint-Saens mentioned at the time that with this work, he carried the use of Wagnerian system of leitmotives further than he had ever done. I recommend it highly. thank you!

I love Saint-Saëns's operas but don't think I've heard Proserpine yet. My favorite operas from him are Le timbre d'argent, La princesse jaune and Samson and Delilah.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1072 on: May 28, 2018, 04:42:39 PM »



Killed the afternoon with John Nelson's take on Les Troyens.  The three leads all do good work, but I prefer others in every case - Antonacci for Cassandra; for Dido, Michelle DeYoung on disc, Susan Graham in person; Jon Vickers as Aeneas (with Mario del Monaco appealing in his own way in Italian).  The choral work is excellent, the smaller roles well done, and the orchestral playing and sound are superb.  Maybe the engineers could have softened the end of Act IV just a bit, but that's a quibble.  For recordings, Davis II is still probably my overall favorite, but after seeing a proper production in person in San Francisco in 2015, sound recordings, and even DVD productions, just lack something.  And when one gets to see and hear someone like Graham earn her keep for real, it adds an extra dimension.  I'm still displeased that I couldn't schedule it so that I could hear Antonacci and Graham in the same show.  I'll probably keep buying new versions of the opera when they appear.  I should probably buy Nelson's Béatrice et Bénédict.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Baron Scarpia

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1073 on: May 28, 2018, 08:48:04 PM »
I was fed up with string quartets, so I listened to Scene I of Rheingold, a recording conducted by Bernard Haitink on EMI.



No one ever seems to mention this recording, but I find it splendid. Recently I've been consuming Opera on DVD, but there is an appeal of an audio-only recording with text. This one has a good booklet which even has relevant leitmotivs notated in the margins to help you follow the musical argument.

« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 08:15:59 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline mjmosca

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1074 on: May 29, 2018, 01:39:05 AM »
I love Saint-Saëns's operas but don't think I've heard Proserpine yet. My favorite operas from him are Le timbre d'argent, La princesse jaune and Samson and Delilah.

I think that you will enjoy Proserpine, too. Have you heard Henry VIII and Etienne Marcel? I think Henry VIII is a major masterpiece- excellent libretto, great characters created with beautiful, strong music! Great ensembles, too. And Etienne Marcel may have some libretto issues, but the music is also magnificent. I can only think that these works, along with the other operas of Saint-Saens were not sufficiently appreciated at the time because of the Wagner frenzy that gripped France from ca. 1880-1914. Saint-Saens was too independent a composer to suit the Wagnerites! I share your appreciation of Samson and Delilah [which will open the Metropolitan Opera's next season], La princesse jaune, and Le timbre d'argent. thank you!

Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1075 on: May 29, 2018, 04:25:54 AM »
I know something about Henry VIII but haven't heard it in its entirety. About Etienne Marcel I know next to nothing. Thank you for the recommendations!
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1076 on: May 29, 2018, 08:13:47 AM »


I have six recordings of La Traviata, four of them featuring Callas as Violetta, who, as far as I'm concerned, is hors concours. She sang the role more than any other role apart from Norma, and it was continually developing in her psyche. It is a great pity that the only studio recording she made was in 1953 for Cetra, with inferior support, and before she had truly conquered its depths.

My favourite recording is the one from Covent Garden in 1958, but this recording of the opening night of the famous La Scala Visconti production, with Giulini at the helm, was an important stage in her conquering of the role, and there is no doubting she was in better voice in 1955 than in 1958. The production could be said to have changed the course of operatic history, and, though it would no doubt seem pretty tame these days, many elements were revolutionary and controversial, the acting having a naturalness rarely seen before; for instance, Callas sang Ah fors'e lui, sitting by the fire, undoing her hair, and then kicked off her shoes as she started Sempre libera. Giulini is a palpable presence, leaving the audience little chance to applaud between numbers and disrupt the flow of the performance, not that he can stop them after Amami, Alfredo, when the short orchestral postlude is completely drowned out by a spontaneous and riotous bout of applause, the audience no longer able to hold back after the white hot intensity unleashed by Callas. Di Stefano is an ardent Alfredo, but Bastianini, fine voice though he has, is disappointingly four square and monochrome as Germont. It is remarkable that Callas does so much in the great Act II duet with so little coming back from her partner.

A superb memento of a defining moment in Callas's career. This Ars Vocalis transfer is a good deal better than anything I've ever headr before too.


« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 11:43:21 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 #1077 on: May 30, 2018, 12:52:23 AM »


Britten's own recording of The Turn of the Screw was made shortly after the Venice premiere in 1954, with the original cast, and has, I think, never been bettered.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1078 on: May 30, 2018, 03:26:10 AM »


Written just before Rigoletto, Stiffelio was not a success, and Verdi later re-fashioned the score into Aroldo, at the same time withdrawing the score of Stiffelio. Thought lost for many years, it wasn't performed again until the 1960s. In fact the autograph was not found until 1992, so this 1979 recording differs in a few aspects from the score as now performed. Nevertheless it is an excellent performance, with Carreras at his most honeyed, and Sass excitingly dramatic, if occasionally a little squally.

The opera, both musically and as regards its subject matter was quite original for its day, and deserves to be better known than it is.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1079 on: May 30, 2018, 05:06:20 AM »


Not sure what genre I'd place this in. Not really an opera, though performed by opera singers. Not really a musical either. Maybe operetta, with its roots in zarzuela. Entertaining and tuneful, whatever it is.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

 

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