Author Topic: Fidelio  (Read 9555 times)

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Brünnhilde ewig

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2009, 08:36:00 AM »
Yeah, that one!  ;D

When Kaufmann sings the 'Gott! Wie Dunkel Hier! this most famous note in 'Gott' is on the button, no searching or diving for it, it's there and stays there. And the half-starved Fidelio does not weigh the usual 250 pounds, he is slim!  8)

Offline Valentino

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2009, 08:51:10 AM »
 ;D

You made me think of the rather matronly looking Carmen in the recent Norwegian Opera production. Like a mountain to climb, as a friend of mine quite acidly put it.

Thanks for the input. I must get myself a Fidelio of course, with a Leonore with waist.
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Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2009, 10:11:50 AM »
This DVD ought not to be overlooked.



Bernstein is very much on-form. There is nothing odd about the production. All the singing is excellent. Janowitz perhaps disappoints in only the climactic note of her main aria. She is perhaps surprisingly positive as a character, her acting is good. I don't know of any production where the singer playing main role makes a convincing man, but if you can suspend the disbelief, then it is a dramatic and satisfying performance with the VPO sounding dramatic and fervent.

Mike
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ChamberNut

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2009, 02:54:13 PM »
This DVD ought not to be overlooked.



Bernstein is very much on-form. There is nothing odd about the production. All the singing is excellent. Janowitz perhaps disappoints in only the climactic note of her main aria. She is perhaps surprisingly positive as a character, her acting is good. I don't know of any production where the singer playing main role makes a convincing man, but if you can suspend the disbelief, then it is a dramatic and satisfying performance with the VPO sounding dramatic and fervent.

Mike

Haven't seen the DVD, but this was the first opera CD I've ever purchased!  :)

Offline Marc

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2009, 08:42:33 PM »
This DVD ought not to be overlooked.



Bernstein is very much on-form. There is nothing odd about the production. All the singing is excellent. Janowitz perhaps disappoints in only the climactic note of her main aria. She is perhaps surprisingly positive as a character, her acting is good. I don't know of any production where the singer playing main role makes a convincing man, but if you can suspend the disbelief, then it is a dramatic and satisfying performance with the VPO sounding dramatic and fervent.

Mike

Recommendations? Well, the Bernstein/Vienna production has been mentioned, and I like both the studio-CD's and the live-DVD set, with a slight preference for the live-performance. Watching Bernstein conduct, and to hear and see Lucia Popp sing "O, wär ich schon mit dir vereint" is really very moving.

In short: agreement here! :)
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Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2009, 12:00:00 AM »
My first LP set of Fidelio was Karajan's, mainly because I'd seen Helga Dernesch perform the role of Leonore with Scottish Opera, and wanted a memento of her performance. I had always loved this set; however, when I came to replace LP with CD, I bowed to popular opinion, and purchased the Klemperer recording.

I am in a minority, I know (and I know this could well be because the Karajan was the one I'd got to know the opera with), but I was a mite disappointed with Klemperer, and a couple of years ago I replaced it with the Karajan. Returning to this performance after many years, it was exactly as I remembered; thrillingly dramatic, wonderfully played by the orchestra, and marvellously sung by a superb cast (all, mercifully, delivering their own dialogue). Many have said that they can hear the strain the role of Leonore puts on Dernesch, but I believe that they are being wise after the event (Dernesch, you will remember, retired from the opera stage for a while, after suffering a vocal crisis, and re-emerged a dramatic mezzo). To my ears, she sounds absolutely radiant, the climax to Abscheulicher!, shiningly and glowingly achieved. From her first entrance in the Act I canon, which is as a ray of light in the gloom of the prison, she is the very epitome of the faithful Leonore. I prefer her even to Ludwig on the Klemperer. Vickers is, if anything, even finer for Karajan than he was for Klemperer. Keleman's snarling bass-baritone seems to me just right for the evil Pizzaro (superbly matched by Karajan's blaring brass in his aria), and Ridderbusch makes a fatherly, kindly Rocco. With Jose Van Dam as Ferrando and Helen Donath as Marzelline (like Schwarzkopf, who sang the role for Furtwangler, an Eva of note), the cast could hardly be bettered. Karajan's tempi in the more dramatic moments of the score are usually that bit faster than Klemperer's (the moment when Leonore reveals herself is urgently thrilling), but he has plenty of repose in the more lyrical and reflective moments too.
 
Fidelio is a great opera, and there is no doubt the Klemperer is a great recording, but my personal preference is for Karajan, which works for me on a slightly more visceral level.



How did I miss this post, I could have written every word of it myself.

I used to have season tickets to Scottish Opera and caught all the roles Dernsch sang for them. Her Leonora was certainly world class. Then her voice was big and healthy. I recall in the last scene she pulled off her hat and her long blond hair cascaded to her shoulders, itself like a golden ray of light denoting the change from misery to joy.

I love that Karajan version, I like the way the spoken dialogue in the dungeon scene is handled, close and claustraphobic, plosive consonants within urgently whispered dialogue and above all spine tinglingly dramatic. Vickers is terrific, he overwhelms with his projection of a moral centre, suffering heroically.

Another aspect that I feel adds to the drama is that you move immediately from the joy of 'O namenlose Freude' into the triumph of the final scene without the interpolation of Leonora number III, which I feel hold up the drama a lot.

Keleman makes a terrific aggressive villain, his opening aria biting and dramatic.  Don't be fooled if you happen to have the EMI Karajan box, it wrongly attributes the part to Ridderbusch! All the voices sound in prime condition and any strain detectable at the top of Dernsch's range is slight. We would be grateful these days for a clutch of singers who could inject that beauty of tone and evenness of production into the role, no wobble, no squall, no uncertain pitch, no spreading of tone.

It really is a terrific set all round from acoustic to conducting, orchestra and the voices.

Another set to consider is the Haitink with Jessye Norman, she is excellent in the part. Clearly not one she would have performed on stage. I sometimes think there is a quiet collusion to downgrade recordings where the singers have not won their spurs in the role on stage. I would prefer to consider the issue on an individual basis. Of course, catching Vickers in a recorded Otello once he has worked through and refined his interpretation is as good as it gets, but Callas was fascinating in her recorded Carmen, Norman also makes a first rate job of the part and her Leonora has all the vocal attributes one could wish for. She brings out the nobility and the anguish, her voice is in excellent condition.

Haitink is of course sane and deeply musical, the Staatskapelle Dresden sounds wonderful. There is weight, but not bloat, perhaps some grit ought to be allowed, but it is a great orchestra performing at the top of its form.  The rest of the cast is very good, no weak links. Reiner Goldberg does not disappoint at his first entry, a steady clamant call. Haitink does as Karajan does with the final scenes, then the Leonora III is added as a bonus track after the end of the opera. A good solution, as it is a shame to lose such music.

Haitink can sometimes to me seem underdramatic,(his Verdi Don Carlos), but not here. I always stress that timing is but one indicator in a performance. The final scene timing is one second different from the Karajan performance across over 14 minutes of music. It has the same sweep and joy to it.

We are fortunate in having such a good selection of recordings. I also have the Flagstad Furtwangler on EMI, the Naxos set it terrific until Don Ferrando's infirm tones enter, to close, I have the same feeling about the Klemperer set as TL has. I was underwhelmed.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2009, 12:39:02 AM »
How did I miss this post, I could have written every word of it myself.


I love that Karajan version, I like the way the spoken dialogue in the dungeon scene is handled, close and claustraphobic, plosive consonants within urgently whispered dialogue and above all spine tinglingly dramatic.
Mike

It may seem odd to praise the spoken dialogue in a recording of an opera, but, actually, I have always felt that this is one of those sets that gets it absolutely right. Judiciously pruned, it is delivered, by the singers, in a way that brings to mind a radio play. One example is the reduction of Leonore's and Florestan's dialogue before O namelose Freude, to just, "Leonore!" "Mein Florestan!". Do we need any more, when the succeeding duet so brilliantly expresses all the joy in their hearts?




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

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2009, 06:34:12 AM »
I have the Fidelio of Karajan/Vickers/Dernesh. After the reading the posts here I will take it out again. (Now that I listened to Traviata about 6 times over the past week.)

ZB
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Offline Daverz

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2009, 05:53:08 PM »
I love Fidelio, also.  My favorite recording is the Furtwängler from 1953 with Poell, Edelmann, Windgassen, Modl, Frick, and Jurinac, and the best transfer by far was on Andante, who had access to the original radio tapes.  It really sounds quite good.  It's an electrifying performance.  The Klemperer sounds quite studio bound in comparison.

http://www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com/search.php?row=0&brocode=14234

It's coupled with another live performance from 1944 conducted by Böhm.

Offline Hollywood

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2009, 10:27:59 PM »
Lucia Popp and Gundula Janowitz are my two favorite female opera singers so I have them both in the Bernstein performance of Fidelio, which was my first opera cd purchase as well.

You can see and hear Popp's performance, as Marcellina, of "Oh war' ich schon mit dir vereint" here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIjym8C95V0



« Last Edit: July 30, 2009, 08:38:09 AM by Hollywood »
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Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2009, 05:56:04 AM »
Hollywood are you sure about Ludwig on a Bernstein version? The only Bernstein version that I know of has Popp and Janowitz. Is it a live version from somewhere?

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Rod Corkin

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2009, 07:36:23 AM »
No mention of the Fricsay CD so far?? That's the version I play the most.
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Offline Que

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2009, 08:01:07 AM »
I love Fidelio, also.  My favorite recording is the Furtwängler from 1953 with Poell, Edelmann, Windgassen, Modl, Frick, and Jurinac, and the best transfer by far was on Andante, who had access to the original radio tapes.  It really sounds quite good.  It's an electrifying performance.  The Klemperer sounds quite studio bound in comparison.

http://www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com/search.php?row=0&brocode=14234

It's coupled with another live performance from 1944 conducted by Böhm.


Yes!  :) Indeed!  :) Definitely! :)

(And still avaible - click picture)

That Böhm is pretty good as well, BTW.



Q
À chacun son goût.

Offline Hollywood

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2009, 08:41:09 AM »
Hollywood are you sure about Ludwig on a Bernstein version?
Mike

Sorry about that Chief. I meant to say Gundula Janowitz but since I had Beethoven on the brain it came out Ludwig instead. Error noted and corrected. Danke Mike.  ;D
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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2009, 02:37:23 PM »
I love Fidelio and I have never understood the heavy criticisms it sometimes receives. Other than the excellence of the music, it is amusing to analyze the differences between the three versions (1805, 1806 and 1814). There are recordings of each, and one - excellent - recording where the conductor (if I remember correctly) recorded his favourite version of each number (Gardiner for Archiv).

Offline Rod Corkin

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2009, 10:11:30 AM »
I love Fidelio and I have never understood the heavy criticisms it sometimes receives. Other than the excellence of the music, it is amusing to analyze the differences between the three versions (1805, 1806 and 1814). There are recordings of each, and one - excellent - recording where the conductor (if I remember correctly) recorded his favourite version of each number (Gardiner for Archiv).
Gardiner's 'Leonore' CD is a mockery, an insult.
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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2009, 10:29:39 AM »
Gardiner's 'Leonore' CD is a mockery, an insult.

A musical insult?

Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2009, 02:34:52 AM »
This opera will be broadcast live from the London Proms this coming Sat. Baremboim is conducting. It will also be on TV. I will miss it, bit hope to pick it up on IPlayer.

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DarkAngel

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2009, 03:38:18 PM »
No mention of the Fricsay CD so far?? That's the version I play the most.

I am also a big fan of the Fricsay/DG which is cheap used at Amazon



I think it is better than reviewer fav Bernstein/DG, and the popular Maazel/Decca was a big disappointment for me with
poor sound to boot.


For Klemperer/EMI GROTC, a great version but do yourself a favor and go for the live 1961 Testament version,
even better performance for the same price with good sound (don't worry that Ludwig is not present, still the better one overall)

« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 04:27:25 PM by DarkAngel »

Offline knight66

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Fidelio
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2011, 12:01:09 PM »
Beethoven Fidelio: Abbado Lucerne forces from 2010, Nina Stemme, Kaufmann.

I have quite a few versions of this piece. It is a sort of Grail where it is rare for everything to conspire and provide the near perfect experience. Recently I reviewed an Otello with basically a vacuum at the centre of it. Here we have a Leonora where I would happily replace the singer with that from ANY of the other sets I have: Flagstad, Ludwig, Janowitz, Dernesch, Norman, Brewer, Schnaut, Nielsen, Modl.

I just don't like the actual sound that Stemme emits. I won't go into great detail; but here is one example, when she is reunited with Florestan she sings his name. What should be ecstatic is hard, wobbly and strained. Lots of critics like this voice. I have her on the Glyndebourne DVD of Tristan. I admired her acting and the visual distracts from her actual voice. The tone is sour, the approach seems somehow generalised. I have her altogether on three albums, this will be the last.

The recording is live, two performances and patching to produce the discs.

I have read reviews of the semi-staged performance which sounds like a bit of a mess. But we have no visual distractions here, just pure sound. If you can deal with a cast that is universally excellent on the male side, but has one OK female singer and one that to my ears is plain unpleasant; then go for it.

The orchestra is superb and Abbado provides the organic feel that I look for. It is not total excitement and spine tingles, but it is dramatic. The men are all superb: I have never heard Don Ferando sung with such line as Mattei provides, deeply touching too. Kaufmann is committed and his opening aria is a stand-out element. He is stressed by the upper reaches of it; but to sail through it glisteningly would be to miss much of the point of it.

What a pity Abbado did not choose a different Leonora. What a pity.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

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