Author Topic: Fidelio  (Read 9113 times)

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Offline Superhorn

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2011, 07:18:23 AM »
   I haven't heard this new Fidelio, but would certainly like to.  I recently borrowed the EMI
   Tristan  with Stemme and  Domingo from my library, and  she sounds quite beautiful on it.
   If she is a bad as you say on the new Fidelio, her vouice may have declined badly, which sometimes
   happens , and wobble and strain set in.  To bad.  Her voice sounds pristine and immaculate on the Tristan set,
   which was recorded only about six or seven years ago. 

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2011, 08:25:59 AM »
You can hear Kaufmann on an earlier recording of Fidelio conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Zurich Opéra 2004.  But the visuals can be easily dispensed with. Here Leonora (Camila Nylund) and Florestan stand in a gutter and look straight out into space, singing "oh how wonderful to be in your arms at last", a directional idea suited more perhaps to Orpheus and Euridice when they were not permitted to look at one another.  This has got to be one of the silliest, most unbelievable stagings I have seen of any opera.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPZP4l7c26M&NR=1

ZN
Igitur primo pecuniae, deinde imperi cupido crevit.

Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2011, 09:07:30 AM »
   I haven't heard this new Fidelio, but would certainly like to.  I recently borrowed the EMI
   Tristan  with Stemme and  Domingo from my library, and  she sounds quite beautiful on it.
   If she is a bad as you say on the new Fidelio, her vouice may have declined badly, which sometimes
   happens , and wobble and strain set in.  To bad.  Her voice sounds pristine and immaculate on the Tristan set,
   which was recorded only about six or seven years ago.

The voice seems to be in the ear of the listener. People certainly experience the same sounds differently from one another. Here you go: the woman herself in the performance we are discussing. Let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Kvp8S0J1c

Compare it with this...a singer who garnered very little international acclaim. Too much competition back then. Gertrude Grob-Prandl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8MnB_eRsbQ

Mike
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 09:17:39 AM by knight66 »
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Offline mjwal

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2011, 10:44:18 AM »
Point taken. The Grob-Prandl is magnificent. If I were offered a free ticket to hear Ms. Stemme singing, i would politely decline. Her performance was what I would call a laboured catastrophe, painful to listen to.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #44 on: July 01, 2011, 03:33:29 PM »
The voice seems to be in the ear of the listener. People certainly experience the same sounds differently from one another. Here you go: the woman herself in the performance we are discussing. Let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Kvp8S0J1c

Compare it with this...a singer who garnered very little international acclaim. Too much competition back then. Gertrude Grob-Prandl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8MnB_eRsbQ

Mike

I hate to say it, but if one wanted to illustrate declining vocal standards, then these two performances would be evidence enough.

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

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2011, 09:17:02 AM »
The voice seems to be in the ear of the listener. People certainly experience the same sounds differently from one another. Here you go: the woman herself in the performance we are discussing. Let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Kvp8S0J1c

Compare it with this...a singer who garnered very little international acclaim. Too much competition back then. Gertrude Grob-Prandl

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8MnB_eRsbQ

Mike

Very interesting. I heard Stemme on some other clips and don't mind the voice as instrument. I am also a enthusiast of covering that reminded me of Scotto at times, but sorry to say, she just barks though this one.

It seems that Gertrude Grob-Prandl hardly sang in the US, only in San Francisco in 1953 (just taking this from her biography). Someone commented below the wonderful Abscheulicher that "She was absolutely famous in Italy for Turandot alone. Oddly, or perhaps not, she is never mentioned by Nilsson in interviews. She never appeared at the met, and speculation was that Rudolph Bing and Nilsson made sure that she never did." Well, what other reason could there be? Did anyone else hear about this?

ZB
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 09:20:28 AM by zamyrabyrd »
Igitur primo pecuniae, deinde imperi cupido crevit.

Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2011, 01:54:01 PM »
I have read much the same; but who knows how reliable it is. Sometimes it ia about being in the right place at the right time.

Mike
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Offline Harry Powell

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2011, 03:49:39 PM »
Hi,

Stemme had a beautiful voice indeed but, alas, a lyric one suitable for Sieglinde, Senta and the like. The shortgage of dramatic sopranos has driven her to heavy roles that have taken their toll on her voice. I think she would have been perfect for Leonore, but after much straining and pushing it's usual that a lyric voice shall not be able to sing its favourable roles. Soon she will be taking Brünnhilde and in few years we will see another gifted singer decline too early.

You cannot compare Stemme to Grob-Prandl, whot had a voice of pure steel - a real Hochdramatischersopran. Still, I feel she was too heroic. Historically speaking, Wagnerism has appropriated Leonore. This is role closer to Vitellia than to Isolde. I'll try to find out about G-P's failure to establish herself as a leading sopran.

Another "Fidelio" you have not mentioned is Erich Kleiber's live recording. A performance with much electricity about it. As for the Abbado set, criticism has been severe in Italy. The man has made "sound" his main obsession and a beautiful sound may detract from a Beethoven performance. In this, he has closely followed Karajan's steps. I do not care too much for "customized" voices like Kauffman's, but some days ago he made a fine impression in Valencia singing the role. I must admit he is really an interpreter. I alos liked him in the recent "Die Walküre" from the Met (at the cinema). I will try to listen to the whole thing.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 03:52:32 PM by Harry Powell »
I'm not an native English speaker, so please feel free to let me know if I'm not expressing myself clearly.

Offline Harry Powell

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2011, 01:29:52 PM »
Hi,

Nilsson mentions this Grob-Prandl issue in her Memoirs. She obviously denies the whole thing, but one could say: excusatio non petita...
I'm not an native English speaker, so please feel free to let me know if I'm not expressing myself clearly.

Offline Alberich

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #49 on: July 14, 2011, 02:28:52 PM »
Fidelio has best villain aria ever: Ha! welch ein Augenblick, sung by Don Pizarro.
"I am a shadowy reflection of you."

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2011, 11:50:44 AM »
No mention of the Fricsay CD so far?? That's the version I play the most.

Likewise.

This opera isn't has bad as many make it out to be but i don't think it compares favorably with those of Mozart. The latter loved writing operas, Beethoven didn't seem to be as fond of this medium. The results cannot but reflect those different attitudes.

Offline Alberich

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #51 on: September 15, 2016, 08:38:11 AM »
Out of curiosity, do you disagree or agree with often popular opinion that, apart from Rocco, the characters in Fidelio are flat and don't really develop? I kind of agree but I still enjoy their flatness, kind of a guilty pleasure. Of course I massively like Rocco's "roundness" as well. Pizarro is a very enjoyable over-the-top villain, with one of the greatest villain arias ever.
"I am a shadowy reflection of you."

Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #52 on: September 15, 2016, 09:05:43 AM »
Perhaps it depends how it is played, but Marzelline has a fairly rounded character in Act 1, but is then sidelined altogther after that. Mostly they are stock characters redeemed by the music. I see this topic has been resurrected after five years!

Mike
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #53 on: September 15, 2016, 09:59:31 AM »
I think it is to some extent true that Fidelio is an opera about "ideas" rather than characters. However, I often have the impression that because Beethoven is such a great composer the small shortcomings of Fidelio (like the somewhat flat characters) have been exaggerated. The piece has been very successful on stage for about 200 years which should be enough to prove that it "works" on stage. And there are cardboard villains in other operas as well. Is Scarpia really so much more subtle than Pizarro?

Of course, in an Italian opera there would probably have been a duel between Fidelio and Jacquino because of the latters jealousy and Leonore/Fidelio would have had to sleep with Pizarro to get into the dungeons or whatever.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline ritter

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #54 on: September 15, 2016, 11:02:21 PM »
....there would probably have been a duel between Fidelio and Jacquino because of the latters jealousy and Leonore/Fidelio would have had to sleep with Pizarro to get into the dungeons or whatever.
Just the thought of this makes me shudder. Giusto ciel::)
Ritter
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Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #55 on: September 16, 2016, 12:42:25 AM »
Pizarro is not given much to work with up against Scarpia whose character can be filled out a bit with a lot more music and stage time. I agree that Fidelio was an opera that was more about an ideal: how courage can obtain freedom from tyranny. I really prefer listening to it than watching a woman pretending to be a man and no one noticing the bleedin' obvious. Somehow I can more easily accept it when it is either a traditional trousers role or, where the castrato roles are involved.

Although it is a pity that Beethoven did not write further operas, I can't see him being drawn to most operatic plots. An LvB Barber of Seville...Cosi fan Tutti....! Clemency of Titus might have been up his street, or perhaps Orfeo. What might have been...

Considering what we hear is a revision of a first attempt, it is pretty amazing. It gets a lot of criticism, but none of Verdi's, Puccini's or Wagner's first operas see the light of day beyond a bit of musical archeology let alone are played in all opera houses on a regular basis.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #56 on: September 16, 2016, 01:34:57 AM »
Why does hardly anybody complain about the Shakespeare pieces with women successfully posing as men (or the silly disguises (men only) in Cosi fan tutte or Don Giovanni)?

FWIW Fidelio was based on a real story and there are a bunch of credibly documented stories of women passing as men in the military or on ships in the 18th century for months or years! Leonore supposedly only has to keep it up for a few weeks.
It might not sound plausible to us but again I have the impression that (maybe because Fidelio is so impressive in other respects) we are far more picky than we would be with most other operas where similar (or more implausible) suspensions of disbelief are demanded.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline knight66

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #57 on: September 16, 2016, 05:14:42 AM »
Yes, I was aware of the possibility of it being based on real life, also of women pirates etc, only discovered to be women at death. However, most female opera singers cannot manage even an approximate simulation of being a man. One who did it and was totally convincing is Sarah Connelly the English Mezzo. The evidence is on the Handel Julius Caesar DVD from Glyndbourne. Within five minutes I was no longer thinking of her as a woman pretending to be a man.

The Shakespeare disguises have never convinced me; but of course the history was that all the roles were played by men.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #58 on: September 16, 2016, 10:57:18 AM »
Yes, I was aware of the possibility of it being based on real life, also of women pirates etc, only discovered to be women at death. However, most female opera singers cannot manage even an approximate simulation of being a man. One who did it and was totally convincing is Sarah Connelly the English Mezzo. The evidence is on the Handel Julius Caesar DVD from Glyndbourne. Within five minutes I was no longer thinking of her as a woman pretending to be a man.

The Shakespeare disguises have never convinced me; but of course the history was that all the roles were played by men.

Mike

Yes, that is the main problem I have with Rosenkavalier and Nozze di Figaro, and one of the problems I have with Adriane auf Naxos.

Actually, most females roles in Shakespeare were originally played by prepubescent boys.  So the audience in the Globe would have seen a preteen male pretending to be a woman who was pretending to be a man.....

Offline Jo498

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Re: Fidelio
« Reply #59 on: September 16, 2016, 11:16:06 AM »
There are some similar occasions in opera: Most famously when Cherubino (boy sung by a woman) is disguised as a girl. And there is a similar case in Handel's Alcina, I think, although with castrato roles sung by women it is not a big deal for a woman to "disguise" herself as a mezzosoprano singing young male hero.

It never bothered me at all in Fidelio.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

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