Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 77403 times)

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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1300 on: October 11, 2018, 07:05:51 AM »
My favorite recording is the Salzburg premiere of the best known staging that'll run for years. It's in mono, unlike the Solti studio, but it's decent mono, and the main cast is to me preferable to Solti.


I'm not enough of an expert in this field to know - I have the Keilbeth studio recording - where does that rate.....?

« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 12:15:22 PM by Que »

Offline Draško

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1301 on: October 11, 2018, 08:00:49 AM »
I'm not enough of an expert in this field to know - I have the Keilbeth studio recording - where does that rate.....?

The link doesn't work for me but that's the one on DG, right? I haven't heard it, but I always thought it was a live recording as well and never pursued it.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1302 on: October 12, 2018, 05:32:20 AM »


Oh what bliss! From the first moment of the orchestral introduction, which capture brilliantly that expectation before the curtain rises, this famous recording is pure joy. Brilliantly cast and produced, it has a real whiff of the theatre, and yet you would be hard pressed to ever hear a performance of such class there. Principal among its delights is Schwarzkopf's gloriously sung Hanna Glawari, singing with the same sort of care she lavishes on Mozart and Strauss. Indeed the moment she realises that Danilo is still in love with her (Allein liebt er mich, nur allein! in the finale of the second act would hardly sound out of place in Strauss's Der Rosenkavaier.

This was Schwarzkopf's second recording of the opera, and, as in the first, Legge chooses a baritone for Danilo, rather than the usual tenor. However Wächter's high baritone has no problems with the higher lying passages that Kunz (on the first recording) had to transpose down. Furthermore he sounds younger and more dashing. Gedda and Steffek make an excellent pair of lovers, the Pavillion duet in the second act a properly erotic affair, and the rest of the cast could hardly be bettererd with excellent contributions from Josef Knapp and Kurt Equiluz. Fabulous playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra under Lovro von Matacic.

Yes, there are fuller versions of the score around, but, frankly I couldn't care less. I doubt this wonderfully styish, fun packed recording will ever be bettered.
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Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1303 on: October 12, 2018, 04:59:34 PM »


Oh what bliss! From the first moment of the orchestral introduction, which capture brilliantly that expectation before the curtain rises, this famous recording is pure joy. Brilliantly cast and produced, it has a real whiff of the theatre, and yet you would be hard pressed to ever hear a performance of such class there. Principal among its delights is Schwarzkopf's gloriously sung Hanna Glawari, singing with the same sort of care she lavishes on Mozart and Strauss. Indeed the moment she realises that Danilo is still in love with her (Allein liebt er mich, nur allein! in the finale of the second act would hardly sound out of place in Strauss's Der Rosenkavaier.

This was Schwarzkopf's second recording of the opera, and, as in the first, Legge chooses a baritone for Danilo, rather than the usual tenor. However Wächter's high baritone has no problems with the higher lying passages that Kunz (on the first recording) had to transpose down. Furthermore he sounds younger and more dashing. Gedda and Steffek make an excellent pair of lovers, the Pavillion duet in the second act a properly erotic affair, and the rest of the cast could hardly be bettererd with excellent contributions from Josef Knapp and Kurt Equiluz. Fabulous playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra under Lovro von Matacic.

Yes, there are fuller versions of the score around, but, frankly I couldn't care less. I doubt this wonderfully styish, fun packed recording will ever be bettered.

Are there recordings with a tenor Danilo? I have only heard baritones in the role, and indeed one of the reasons I like this opera is that, being a baritone, I am happy to find a baritone as the hero/lover.

Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1304 on: October 13, 2018, 12:17:03 AM »

Oh what bliss! From the first moment of the orchestral introduction, which capture brilliantly that expectation before the curtain rises, this famous recording is pure joy. Brilliantly cast and produced, it has a real whiff of the theatre, and yet you would be hard pressed to ever hear a performance of such class there. Principal among its delights is Schwarzkopf's gloriously sung Hanna Glawari, singing with the same sort of care she lavishes on Mozart and Strauss. Indeed the moment she realises that Danilo is still in love with her (Allein liebt er mich, nur allein! in the finale of the second act would hardly sound out of place in Strauss's Der Rosenkavaier.

This was Schwarzkopf's second recording of the opera, and, as in the first, Legge chooses a baritone for Danilo, rather than the usual tenor. However Wächter's high baritone has no problems with the higher lying passages that Kunz (on the first recording) had to transpose down. Furthermore he sounds younger and more dashing. Gedda and Steffek make an excellent pair of lovers, the Pavillion duet in the second act a properly erotic affair, and the rest of the cast could hardly be bettererd with excellent contributions from Josef Knapp and Kurt Equiluz. Fabulous playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra under Lovro von Matacic.

Yes, there are fuller versions of the score around, but, frankly I couldn't care less. I doubt this wonderfully styish, fun packed recording will ever be bettered.

This is one of my all-time favourite performances of anything. The whole thing feels live and everyone brings their roles to life and sound like they are having fun. The secondary couple are as aluring and attractive as the Widow and Danilo, their main duet is swooningly delightful. I also have the Ackermann version and it is very good. Additionally I have Gardiner, but with the best will in the world, I don’t connect to it. As usual with Gardiner it garnered lots of praise and I was left in my usual frame of mind with Gardiner’s work. I admire it a lot more than I enjoy it.

Mike
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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1305 on: October 13, 2018, 12:23:47 AM »
You mean she cut his head off, too ? ;D

It would have been a good idea Andre. It surprised me that she presumably needed or wanted that help. I assume they all wear ear pieces these days. I heard one prompter describe how different singers want prompting in different ways, some want the prompt a bar ahead, alternatively, others need the word exactly to the score’s timing. Certain singers want just the word, others want the word on the note.

Mike
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 12:49:36 AM by knight66 »
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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1306 on: October 13, 2018, 12:41:42 AM »
The Caballe material is starting to arrive. I got exerpts of Turandot (5 pence plus postage). I wanted this for her Turandot, I have her as Liu in the complete Mehta. I was interested to hear what a soft grained, but powerful voice makes of the main role.

It is conducted by Alain Lombard and the other main singers are Carreras at his healthiest and Freni. The disc suggests a very successful performance. Caballe does not try to emulate the hieratic Nilsson way with the role and she sings quietly a number of phrases that are normally declaimed. I enjoyed the sheer beauty and the care with phrasing, but it did not seem like the ice princess. I did however enjoy the music making.

Another which arrived is the complete Pretre Traviata with Bergonzi and Milnes. What a healthy trio of voices. Things go well, though not theatrically. I never feel the singers are right inside the parts. The conducting seems quite careful, nothing extreme, nothing either that sets the pulse racing or raises the hair on your neck. Caballe is effective in getting round all of the notes, but her emotions seem generalised until close to the death when pathos is achieved. So, a lot of pleasure, great skills are on display. But we don’t have the full story.

Mike
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 08:09:40 AM by knight66 »
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Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1307 on: October 13, 2018, 08:01:10 AM »


From all the recordings of Les Troyens that I've heard, this remains unquestionably at the very top. Singers and orchestra (as well as naturally the conductor, Davis) are superb. Davis must be my favorite Berlioz conductor and this one is even better than the much earlier 1969 recording.
"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."

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1308 on: October 13, 2018, 08:25:09 AM »
This is one of my all-time favourite performances of anything. The whole thing feels live and everyone brings their roles to life and sound like they are having fun. The secondary couple are as aluring and attractive as the Widow and Danilo, their main duet is swooningly delightful. I also have the Ackermann version and it is very good. Additionally I have Gardiner, but with the best will in the world, I don’t connect to it. As usual with Gardiner it garnered lots of praise and I was left in my usual frame of mind with Gardiner’s work. I admire it a lot more than I enjoy it.

Mike

The Karajan is also a bit po-faced, I always think. I have the first Schwarzkopf with Ackermann too, but I've always found this one even better. The older Schwarzkopf is a more knowing Hanna perhaps, but that is not at all inapt for the character. If you like operetta at all, and maybe even if you don't, it's one THE great recordings.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 01:15:57 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1309 on: October 13, 2018, 08:31:42 AM »
The Caballe material is starting to arrive. I got exerpts of Turandot (5 pence plus postage). I wanted this for her Turandot, I have her as Liu in the complete Mehta. I was interested to hear what a soft grained, but powerful voice makes of the main role.

It is conducted by Alain Lombard and the other main singers are Carreras at his healthiest and Freni. The disc suggests a very successful performance. Caballe does not try to emulate the hieratic Nilsson way with the role and she sings quietly a number of phrases that are normally declaimed. I enjoyed the sheer beauty and the care with phrasing, but it did not seem like the ice princess. I did however enjoy the music making.

Another which arrived is the complete Pretre Traviata with Bergonzi and Milnes. What a healthy trio of voices. Things go well, though not theatrically. I never feel the singers are right inside the parts. The conducting seems quite careful, nothing extreme, nothing either that sets the pulse racing or raises the hair on your neck. Caballe is effective in getting round all of the notes, but her emotions seem generalised until close to the death when pathos is achieved. So, a lot of pleasure, great skills are on display. But we don’t have the full story.

Mike

There is a live performance with Caballé as Turandot, from San Francisco in 1977, and it's really rather good. Chailly conducts with Pavarotti, Leona Mitchell and Giorgio Tozzi. Well worth looking out.



Her Violetta is beautifully sung, but she doesn't probe anywhere so deeply as Callas, who is, in any case, hors councours. Best represented by the live performance in Covent Garden in 1958, and the sound on this isn't too bad at all.  Just avoid the ICA (official release). They completely botched the transfer.





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

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1310 on: October 13, 2018, 08:33:22 AM »


From all the recordings of Les Troyens that I've heard, this remains unquestionably at the very top. Singers and orchestra (as well as naturally the conductor, Davis) are superb. Davis must be my favorite Berlioz conductor and this one is even better than the much earlier 1969 recording.

Personally, I still marginally prefer the first recording. It has Vickers for a start and I much prefer Veasey to de Young, whose voice has too much vibrato for my taste. Lang is better than Lindholm, I grant you, but I don't think Lindholm is as bad as people make out.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 08:50:24 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Alberich

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1311 on: October 13, 2018, 08:54:22 AM »


A magical performance of Rachmaninoff's seldom heard and seldom recorded operatic masterpiece. I have never understood the accusations that Rachmaninoff supposedly couldn't write well for the human voice.
"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 knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1312 on: October 13, 2018, 09:12:24 AM »
Personally, I still marginally prefer the first recording. It has Vickers for a start and I much prefer Veasey to de Young, whose voice has too much vibrato for my taste. Lang is better than Lindholm, I grant you, but I don't think Lindholm is as bad as people make out.

I am with you all the way there. I retain my affections for that first set. On LP the box was much thicker than expected. This first complete recording was celebrated with two thick glossy booklets. It was a really exciting issue.

I have the new very highly praised set conducted by Nelson. I really looked forward to it. However, it somehow did not engage me like the Davis. Although I like De Donato in a lot of music, I don’t think she has the right weight of voice and at the top reaches of her part she really toils. Nor do I like the Cassandra, better than Lindholm for sure, but I dislike the wobble when she puts pressure on the voice, which she does for much of the part. Again, I think he has chosen a voice that is too small for the weight of the music.

I did attend a prom performance of this that Davis gave with almost the same cast as in his second recording. I just did not think that de Young suited the role. If only we had on CD the Met version with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.....

Mike

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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1313 on: October 13, 2018, 09:14:55 AM »
There is a live performance with Caballé as Turandot, from San Francisco in 1977, and it's really rather good. Chailly conducts with Pavarotti, Leona Mitchell and Giorgio Tozzi. Well worth looking out.




Looks interesting, I generally like Chailly’s work and Leona Mitchell was once very promising.

Mike
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Offline Wendell_E

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1314 on: October 13, 2018, 11:01:53 AM »
If only we had on CD the Met version with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.....

Mike

Why don't you have it?



Expensive now, but I got it in the in the Levine 40th anniversary box when it was issued.

The picture doesn't work, but the link does.
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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1315 on: October 13, 2018, 11:59:49 AM »
The cost, clearly.

I know about that CD set. It was on the Met catalogue, but they don’t export orders. I waited until I was in NY three years ago, went to the shop and discovered that the disk was no longer available despite appearing on-line. So....end off.

I would even put up with Levine’s flattening of the orchestral textures. When I have heard his Berlioz he submerges the important woodwind lines to the point that they often disappear.

Mike
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1316 on: October 13, 2018, 04:17:51 PM »
I am with you all the way there. I retain my affections for that first set. On LP the box was much thicker than expected. This first complete recording was celebrated with two thick glossy booklets. It was a really exciting issue.

I have the new very highly praised set conducted by Nelson. I really looked forward to it. However, it somehow did not engage me like the Davis. Although I like De Donato in a lot of music, I don’t think she has the right weight of voice and at the top reaches of her part she really toils. Nor do I like the Cassandra, better than Lindholm for sure, but I dislike the wobble when she puts pressure on the voice, which she does for much of the part. Again, I think he has chosen a voice that is too small for the weight of the music.

I did attend a prom performance of this that Davis gave with almost the same cast as in his second recording. I just did not think that de Young suited the role. If only we had on CD the Met version with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.....

Mike

We do, but it's incredibly expensive on Amazon, and really Hunt Lieberson is the only reason to have it. Levine doesn't really have the measure of it.



As for the Nelsons, there is a lot I like about it, but quite a few of the voices are a bit too light. I heard Michael Spyres at the Proms last year in a performance of La Damnation de Faust under Gardiner. He is a most musical singer, but even then he seemed a mite underpowered. I can't imagine him ever having enough voice for Aeneas.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 04:22:02 PM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1317 on: October 14, 2018, 01:24:55 AM »


Another in the series of operettas made in the early 50s by Walter Legge. Though rarely performed outside German speaking countries these days Der Zigeunerbaron is Strauss's second most popular work for the stage after Die Fledermaus. Hearing this wonderful performance, it's hard to understand its neglect. Admittedly the plot is somewhat convoluted, but no more so than many comic operas of the period, and the music is glorious.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 05:43:18 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1318 on: October 14, 2018, 05:42:14 AM »
The cost, clearly.

I know about that CD set. It was on the Met catalogue, but they don’t export orders. I waited until I was in NY three years ago, went to the shop and discovered that the disk was no longer available despite appearing on-line. So....end off.

I would even put up with Levine’s flattening of the orchestral textures. When I have heard his Berlioz he submerges the important woodwind lines to the point that they often disappear.

Mike

I was going to mention that the Met shop still offers the complete Levine box-set (at half-price), and some individual operas from it, though not Les Troyens. But if they don't export, that doesn't help you. Still, if anyone in the U.S. is interested:

https://www.metoperashop.org/shop/james-levine-celebrating-40-years-at-the-met-cd-4113
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Online Mandryka

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1319 on: October 14, 2018, 10:00:19 AM »
Arabella has always struck me as having really strong first act but then falls off rather steeply, though there are some moments of quality later. Most often I find myself just listening to the first act alone.

I agree with Tsaraslondon about Solti, he seems to be conducting against his singers instead supporting them. My favorite recording is the Salzburg premiere of the best known staging that'll run for years. It's in mono, unlike the Solti studio, but it's decent mono, and the main cast is to me preferable to Solti.



When I first started to post on music sites on the web I was listening to Arabella and wondering what name to give myself.

It’s a hard opera to follow partly because of the bed trick type device in it. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed it at home much but in the opera house it can be a perfectly good night out.
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