Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 63644 times)

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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1120 on: July 05, 2018, 09:03:02 AM »
First (and, if I can help it, last  ::)) listen to Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s I gioielli della Madonna, in this relatively recent release (which is the opera’s only “legitimate” recording AFAIK):



Wolf-Ferrari’s diversion into über-verismo territory is of a vulgarity that would probably make even someone like Umberto Giordano blush. The extremely unpleasant story of lust and blasphemous theft in the Neapolitan underworld has music to match, with all the cheap effects you can think of to provide “local colour”: bells galore, an accordion, the inevitable children’s chorus.... Next to this, the Te Deum from Puccini’s Tosca has the purity of a Webern cantata!  :D Despite all the busy going-ons onstage and in the pit, you’d be hard press to find a memorable theme or musical idea.

It’s surprising that a man who produced all those delightful Goldonian comedies, but who could also succeed in heavier fare (Das Himmelskleid, or even Sly) would come up with this repulsive concoction. ???

I always applaud enterprising opera companies or orchestras that resurrect obscure works (even if they’re not worth the effort, like in the case at hand), but this performance from Bratislava sounds very provincial, particularly as far as the vocal soloists are concerned .

Un orrore! >:(
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 10:43:19 AM by ritter »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1121 on: July 10, 2018, 07:59:09 AM »


I Masnadieri might seem a backward step from even the 1947 version of Macbeth, which preceded it, but it was actually completed in all essentials before it. It is true that nowhere do we hear the imagination and originality of pieces like Lady Macbeth's Sleepwalking Scene, for instance, but it is not entirely negligible. and there are some fine moments, such as the prelude, the end of Act I, the Act III duet for Amalia and Carlo (though its cabaletta is unremarkable stuff) and so on.

Gardelli's 1975 set makes the best possible case for it, with Bergonzi, Caballé, Cappuccilli and Raimondi all on top form.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1122 on: July 10, 2018, 10:24:57 AM »


Third version, this is Vanzo’s last recording, from 1977. It's quite good, and very well recorded, but overall I would place it behind the 1953 Fournet (Simoneau) and the Rosenthal (Vanzo again). In some ways the earliest is also the most clearly and cleanly recorded. An embarrassment of riches, really, for this superb score.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1123 on: July 11, 2018, 12:18:20 AM »



There is much more to Delius's gorgeous, but rarely performed, opera A Village Romeo and Juliet than the Walk to the Paradise Garden. Well worth a listen.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1124 on: July 11, 2018, 04:09:54 AM »
It’s a beautiful opera. The character of the Dark Fiddler is a nice touch.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1125 on: July 12, 2018, 12:39:17 AM »
I really can't understand why it's not more popular or staged more often.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1126 on: July 12, 2018, 04:47:35 AM »


Preceded by Attila and followed by I Masnadieri, Macbeth is a much more original work than either, even in its original version without the 1865 revisions, which included Lady Macbeth's magnificent La luce langue, though not the arrestingly original Sleepwalking Scene, which was part of the original score.


The Abbado is my top choice of all studio recordings, more subtle and more murkily mysterious than Muti's fine, but more theatrically dramatic version. Both casts are superb, but I prefer Verrett's more psychologically interesting Lady Macbeth. That said, she doesn't quite erase memories of Callas on De Sabata's live 1952 La Scala account, who is, without question, the most thrilling Lady Macbeth you will ever hear.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Guido

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1127 on: July 12, 2018, 05:48:57 AM »
I really can't understand why it's not more popular or staged more often.

Hello, long time no post, but decided to log on and see if any of the old regulars were still here!

 Live, the music comes across as turgidly scored and rather flat, and sadly it's also a dramatic dud. I like the best of Delius, but this isn't top drawer (the lovely orchestral interlude mentioned notwithstanding.)
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1128 on: July 12, 2018, 08:06:01 AM »
Hello, long time no post, but decided to log on and see if any of the old regulars were still here!

 Live, the music comes across as turgidly scored and rather flat, and sadly it's also a dramatic dud. I like the best of Delius, but this isn't top drawer (the lovely orchestral interlude mentioned notwithstanding.)


Well I haven't seen it staged, so can't comment on a production, but can't agree with you re the music, which I find absolutely glorious. I like it more every time I listen to it. Dramatically too, in this Mackerras recording, it hangs together very well. I'm sure the right director could make it work.



« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 08:20:35 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 #1129 on: July 15, 2018, 01:10:05 AM »


OK, the score is cut to shreds, but this is the performance which put both the opera and Donizetti's more serious works back on the map, paving the way for revivals of operas that had lain in obscurity for years. Without this one revival the careers of Sutherland, Caballé, Sills et al might have been very different.

Callas's Anna remains one of her greatest creations. This Visconti production was a huge success and was revived the following year, and this recording of the opening night stands, despite the cuts and live 1950s sound, as the opera's greatest recorded testament. Simionato is a superb Giovanna, Rossi-Lemeni authoritative but woolly toned and Raimondi an adequate, if not inspired, Percy.

Unfortunately the recent transfer should be avoided, as their source material is not the best and the recording is muffled and dull, where the Divina issue is bright and clear; worth every penny of the extra outlay.

Reviewed on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1130 on: July 15, 2018, 04:48:20 AM »
Currently listening to snatches of Massenet's Le Cid being rehearsed. I am working in Admin for the Dorset Opera Festival where they prep and perform two operas from scratch in two weeks. The other opera is La Boheme.

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