Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 87466 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1160 on: August 04, 2018, 06:59:38 AM »


I've always thought Sills was a little light of voice for the Donizetti queens, for all her musicality and dramatic gifts. Consequently I tend to prefer the richer, grander voice of Caballé, at least in this role.

This live performance from Tououse in 1977 benefits from Carreras's honeyed tones as Essex. Caballé, as usual, displays her superb breath control and ravishing pianissimi, but she doesn't overplay them as she was apt to do later in her career. The more dramatic parts of the score are also well handled.


Excellent support from, especially, Vicente Sardinero as Nottingham and Ferrucio Furlanetto as Cecil, and from Julius Rudel in the pit.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 07:01:16 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1161 on: August 04, 2018, 10:59:58 PM »


Verdi's sixth opera is rather different from those that surround it. It strikes a new note of intimacy, with much more sensitive scoring than many of the early operas. It's problems are a somewhat undramatic libretto, based on a pretty undramatic play by Byron, but musically there is much to commend it.

I've always enjoyed it and find this splendidly cast Philips version one of the best in Gardelli's Philips series, with Carreras, Ricciarelli, Cappuccilli and Ramey all on top form.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1162 on: August 04, 2018, 11:13:51 PM »


Verdi's sixth opera is rather different from those that surround it. It strikes a new note of intimacy, with much more sensitive scoring than many of the early operas. It's problems are a somewhat undramatic libretto, based on a pretty undramatic play by Byron, but musically there is much to commend it.

I've always enjoyed it and find this splendidly cast Philips version one of the best in Gardelli's Philips series, with Carreras, Ricciarelli, Cappuccilli and Ramey all on top form.
Probably my favourite among the operas from the anni di galera. And, as you point out, a splendid recording.  :). Ricciarelli is ravishing here....
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1163 on: August 04, 2018, 11:30:34 PM »
Probably my favourite among the operas from the anni di galera. And, as you point out, a splendid recording.  :). Ricciarelli is ravishing here....

Indeed, as she is also in the recording of La Battaglia di Legnano, recorded around the same time.


I heard Ricciarelli live and she could be a variable singer. Her Elisabetta in Don Carlo was a little disappointing, especially set beside Agnes Baltsa's thrilling Eboli. The same cast of that Covent Garden Don Carlo gave a performance of the Verdi Requiem to raise funds for the family of a stage hand, who had been killed in an accident during the set up for the opera. I believe the idea had been hers and Baltsa's. Again Baltsa took the honours, but I remembered another performance of the Requiem under Gardelli (stepping in for an indisposed Giulini) at the Royal Festival Hall, at which she was absolutely amazing, and the best of all the soloists.


I also heard her in a concert of operatic arias at the Barbican, and, though the voice was past its best by then, her use of it, and the way she coloured it was really wonderful.
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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1164 on: August 04, 2018, 11:49:54 PM »
Indeed, as she is also in the recording of La Battaglia di Legnano, recorded around the same time.


I heard Ricciarelli live and she could be a variable singer. Her Elisabetta in Don Carlo was a little disappointing, especially set beside Agnes Baltsa's thrilling Eboli. The same cast of that Covent Garden Don Carlo gave a performance of the Verdi Requiem to raise funds for the family of a stage hand, who had been killed in an accident during the set up for the opera. I believe the idea had been hers and Baltsa's. Again Baltsa took the honours, but I remembered another performance of the Requiem under Gardelli (stepping in for an indisposed Giulini) at the Royal Festival Hall, at which she was absolutely amazing, and the best of all the soloists.


I also heard her in a concert of operatic arias at the Barbican, and, though the voice was past its best by then, her use of it, and the way she coloured it was really wonderful.
Great you could see her in the Requiem. It’s not a work I really care for, but I think she is simply wonderful in the otherwise generally dismissed recording conducted by Abbado. Her Libera me is beautiful...

I only saw her live once, lateish in her career, as Mimì in La Bohème in Chicago in ‘86. It’s not a role that really permitted her to display her virtues, but at that stage in her career it also prevented the vocal problems from being too apparent. Still, she had a full command of the stage (too full, perhaps, given the role) and was beautiful.

Even when her instrument had already deteriorated significantly, she had such a unique and distinctive tone, of such intrinsic beauty, that all the stir around her was fully justified IMHO. Flaws and all,one of my favourite sopranos on record.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 12:14:24 AM by ritter »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1165 on: August 05, 2018, 01:51:01 AM »
I LOVE the Requiem and have heard it live quite a few times. It rarely fails to stir the emotions, though I remember one performance conducted by Sinopoli, which completely failed to do that. It was as if he took apart the score, laying its inner details out for display, but somehow lost its heart somewhere in the process.

As for Ricciarelli, she is a singer I've come to appreciate more over the years. I once did a comparison of what I consider the three main contenders for best recording of Luisa Miller. Moffo with Cleva, Caballé with Maag and Ricciarelli with Maazel, which usually comes out third. However Ricciarelli is easily the most affecting Luisa, if more vocally fallible than the others. Caballé sings divinely of course, but she misses something of Luisa's simplicity, and tends to sound just a bit grand. It's one of Moffo's best roles on disc, but, as so often, there is a slight sense of her skating over the role's deeper emotions, lovely and accomplished though her singing is. Ricciarelli, on the other hand, is totally inside the character, presenting a real flesh and blood character.

I am reminded of something she once said in interview about Callas, and I paraphrase

Quote
'All sopranos get up in the morning, pour the orange juice and coffee, and then settle down to listen to Callas's recordings to try to learn from them''.


All is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist, and Riccarelli, though she had a completely different voice and a gentler personality, had something of Callas's dramatic commitment.


\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1166 on: August 05, 2018, 02:05:50 AM »


A change from Italian opera as I turn to Dvorák's gorgeous and most well known opera Rusalka.


Apart from the two lead roles, the cast, orchestra and chorus are all Czech, so I fail to understand any complaints of inauthenticity. Admittedly I can't comment on Fleming's or Heppner's Czech pronunciation, but both had a great deal of stage experience in their respective roles. Fleming sings ravishingly, and Heppner brings an appropriately heroic ring to the Prince's music.

I used to own the Supraphon set with Benackova on LP, but, good though that is and much though I enjoyed it, this glorious performance supersedes it in my view.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1167 on: August 05, 2018, 02:14:03 AM »
All this talk about Ricciarelli  ;) has  prompted me to revisit this wonderful recording of one of Rossini’s Neapolitan miracles, La donna del lago:



In this opera seria, Rossini really outdoes himself, with music that is very rich and coherent, and richly orchestrated; furthermore, he never lapses into the (occasional) excessese found in some of his other works. Mauricio Pollini (in what AKAIK was a one-off appearance in the operatic pit) conducts stylishly, and all soloists are top notch. This is surely Katia Ricciarelli’s best Rossini recording (followed IMO by her Ninetta in La gazza ladra); the entrance aria “Oh mattutini albori” and the stunning final rondò “Tanti affetti” are delivered with panache, beautiful fioriture and great expressiveness.  But she is outshone by Lucia Velentini-Terrani’s Malcolm: her “Mura felici...Oh quante lacrime” is a Rossini recording for the ages, engagingly delivered with her rich, velvety tone and spotless coloratura technique. The men are also excellent throughout.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in Rossini or romantic opera in general.
Ritter
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1168 on: August 05, 2018, 02:24:17 AM »
All this talk about Ricciarelli  ;) has  prompted me to revisit this wonderful recording of one of Rossini’s Neapolitan miracles, La donna del lago:



In this opera seria, Rossini really outdoes himself, with music that is very rich and coherent, and richly orchestrated; furthermore, he never lapses into the (occasional) excessese found in some of his other works. Mauricio Pollini (in what AKAIK was a one-off appearance in the operatic pit) conducts stylishly, and all soloists are top notch. This is surely Katia Ricciarelli’s best Rossini recording (followed IMO by her Ninetta in La gazza ladra); the entrance aria “Oh mattutini albori” and the stunning final rondò “Tanti affetti” are delivered with panache, beautiful fioriture and great expressiveness.  But she is outshone by Lucia Velentini-Terrani’s Malcolm: her “Mura felici...Oh quante lacrime” is a Rossini recording for the ages, engagingly delivered with her rich, velvety tone and spotless coloratura technique. The men are also excellent throughout.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in Rossini or romantic opera in general.

You've reminded me I used to own this on LP, but never got round to buying it on CD. I'll have to see if there are any cheap copies on Amazon UK.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1169 on: August 05, 2018, 02:52:16 AM »
You've reminded me I used to own this on LP, but never got round to buying it on CD. I'll have to see if there are any cheap copies on Amazon UK.
It’s been recently reissued by Sony in their budget opera line:


Amazon UK link
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1170 on: August 05, 2018, 02:58:47 AM »
It’s been recently reissued by Sony in their budget opera line:


Amazon UK link

So I see, but I think I might go for a second hand copy of the original release, which comes with full notes, texts and translations.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1171 on: August 05, 2018, 03:02:24 AM »
I’ve got the Italian Finit-Cetra release I showed above (notes but no libretto). I usually shy away from the original CBS opera CDs, as they often only had one track per act (I don’t know if that would be the case here).
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1172 on: August 05, 2018, 03:11:39 AM »
I’ve got the Italian Finit-Cetra release I showed above (notes but no libretto). I usually shy away from the original CBS opera CDs, as they often only had one track per act (I don’t know if that would be the case here).

Ah, I didn't know that, though I do have the CBS Masterworks releases of the Pritchard L'Elisir d'Amore and the Scotto Adrianna Lecouvreur and they are both tracked adequately.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1173 on: August 06, 2018, 07:03:54 AM »


My favourite studio recording of Verdi's great flawed masterpiece would still be the Giulini's EMI set in Italian, but this Abbado set is still worth the occasional spin. It has a historical significance in being the first recording in French, and in including, in an appendix, music that was excised at various points over the opera's history. The decision to record the opera in French is vitiated by the choice of a cast (Domingo possibly excepted) not used to singing the language, and it is Domingo who provides the greatest performance here, much more inside the role than he was for Giulini thirteen years prior.


I've come to appreciate the other singers more over the years, but none of them would be my first choice in their various roles. Ricciarelli is arguably the most affecting of Elisabeths on disc, but her lovey voice is not always up to the heavier demands of the role. Valentini-Terrani I liked more this time round too, whilst still noting that the upper reaches of the role tax her up to and sometimes beyond her limits. Nucci, as usual, is a bit of a dry old stick as Posa and Raimondi doesn't really command the depths required for Philippe, but then nor did he for Giulini. Ghiaurov is a suitably implacable Inquisitor, and mention must be made for the imposingly dark voiced Monk of Nikita Storojev.


The digital recording is not as clear or well balanced as EMI's analogue recording for Giulini, which still sounds excellent today. Abbado conducts with a sure understanding of Verdi, and paces the score assuredly, though I would not place this on the same level of achievement as his Simon Boccanegra and Macbeth.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1174 on: August 06, 2018, 11:01:02 AM »
Made the mistake to watch the new Salzburg Zauberflöte - what a discgrace! Bad playing, nonsense tempi, nothing took any kind of shape ... the singers were partly not able to shine (Karg, Peter), partly miscast (Goerne), the stage production I felt wasn't too bad itself, but maybe it was too much to really pull it off. Best were the three boys and the quite great idea to replace the dialogue by a narration (granddad Brandauer telling the three boys the story - and Brandauer was great, too).

Uff, what a disgrace indeed!

The new "Salome", which seems to be pretty great, will be broadcast next Saturday, but I'm afraid it'll turn September until I'll find the time to watch it, let's see.
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Fick mich, lieber Peter!
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Fick mich, lieber Peter!

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1175 on: August 08, 2018, 05:28:28 AM »


You're unlikely to hear Orfeo ed Euridice done like this these days, an amalgamation of Vienna and Berlioz, with modern instruments, but at least Leppard makes a nod towards eighteenth century practice.


It's worth it for Dame Janet's wonderful interpretation of Orfeo, though neither Elisabeth Speiser as Eurydice and Elizabeth Gale as Amor are in her class. Dame Janet's quiet intensity suits the role wonderfully well, her rapt singing of Che puro ciel having a particularly special sense of awe. The Glyndebourne chorus is splendid and the playing of the LPO, even on modern instruments, exemplary.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1176 on: August 10, 2018, 11:41:32 PM »


I always think Verdi's Il Corsaro should be better known than it is. True, much is formulaic, but there are flashes of real invention and originality, and has a great role for the tenor, splendidly sung here by Jose Carreras, one of the best things he has done on disc. Superb performances from Caballé and Norman too, though Mastromei is not quite on the same level of excellence. As usual, Gardelli's conducting is spot on, avoiding the pitfalls of over emphasis and brashness that some fall into. I doubt we'll ever get another recording as good.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1177 on: August 12, 2018, 12:17:55 AM »


Opera? Musical? Flamenco? Golijov's Ainadamar refuses to be classified, but it's hugely enjoyable whatever it is, and this superb performance vividly brings it to life. Certainly worth a spin, if you feel like something just a little bit different.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1178 on: August 12, 2018, 04:08:40 AM »
I love that piece of Golijov’s, right from the opening of the sounds of a splashing fountain and galloping horses. It was my intro to his music and still my favourite of those I know. It only lasts about an hour, so it fits nicely onto one disc. It is full of colour and Spanish and Arabic rhythms and it has grateful vocal lines. The part of Lorca is written as a breaches role.

I once stayed in what had been the house in Granada where Lorca was arrested. He was shot dead: and the opera is largely about that event, though the facts of exactly why he was murdered are still murky and open to speculation.

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1179 on: August 13, 2018, 11:55:08 PM »


Verdi's La Battaglia di Legnano was one of Verdi's favourite works from his galley years, though it's rarely performed today, which is a shame as it displays Verdi's increasing confidence with form and orchestration. It is very much in the same grand vein as works like Nabucco, I Lombardi and Attila, but displays a refinement often lacking in those earlier works. Rigoletto, after all, was only two years in the future.


This superb performance, with Ricciarelli and Carreras at the top of their game, ably supported by Manuguerra and Ghiuselev, and Gardelli conducting with spirit and élan states the very best case for the opera.


Warmly recommended.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 11:57:03 PM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

 

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