Author Topic: VERDI King of Italian Opera  (Read 76455 times)

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Offline marvinbrown

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VERDI King of Italian Opera
« on: April 20, 2007, 12:50:59 PM »
  Yes there is Mozart and of course Rossini and Donezzeti but when I need to listen to a Great Italian Opera I always turn to Verdi. No collection is complete without Guisseppe Verdi.  I was surprised to see that no one in this forum had created a post about this great man so I decided that I would do it. 
 
 

  He had a remarkable sense of drama and wrote passionate music for the masses. What is remarkable about Verdi is that he produced one hit opera after another. Here are a list of my favorite Verdi Operas:


     Aida: One of my all time favorites. This one has it all and in spades.  From the opening notes of that opera, Verdi's music transports me to that mythical world of ancient Egypt.  (I have the Karajan recording with Renata Tibaldi-still looking for a great recording of this on dvd)

     Otello: Easily Verdi's darkest opera and arguably one of his best, I always like Placibo Domingo in this role.  This opera demands a powerful tenor.  Verdi was always fascinated with Shakespeare and he was able to express all the emotions: rage, anger, jealousy of Otello so eloquently in music.

     La Traviata: Ahh....I love the music for soprano in this opera. The plot is not terribly interesting (high class call girl threatens to ruin the life of her lover only to be separated from him by his  father...etc.) but the music, the saddness Verdi expresses in music is timeless.

      Rigolleto: La Donne E mobile, Rigolleto's split personality (Rigolletto wickedly mocks the Dukes Guests yet shows so much heartfelt love for his daughter Gilda) , revenge, what more could you ask for.

      Falstaff: One of the very few comedies Verdi wrote, this one is truely unique.  When I first heard it I wasn't sure it was Verdi, light orchestration mercurial......charming.  At first hearing it sounded like those operas from the Classical Era (light in texture yet not very melodic) 
     
       Don Carlo: Another dark opera from Verdi (musically speaking), love the fontainblue scene....

      Un Ballo in Maschera: I love this piece of work, the scene in the hut with the fortune teller is one of my favorites.

       Il Trovatore: A convoluted plot involving gypsies, brothers speparated at birth, death and revenge, can get quite confusing but the music is so captivating. Verdi moves from one great melody to the next (remember the Anvil Chorus)     
       
        Finally the REQUIEM-Verdi's rebellion against death, sorrow over the death of a collegue and Rossini.  That Requiem is a very powerful work indeed.


     So for all the Verdi fans out there, what are your favorite Verdi operas, which dvds do you own? Feel free to contribute
         
           
     

  Edited by Knight to remove the title hyphen; it prevented the 'search' finding the thread using the term 'Verdi'.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 05:03:58 AM by knight »

Offline Anne

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2007, 01:40:35 PM »
I like all of Verdi's operas.  Two from his early period that I enjoy are Ernani and Attila.  The Met version of Ernani has Pavarotti (on DVD).  The female lead is also good but I can't recall her name right now.  Another DVD of that opera that I like has Domingo and Mirella Freni.

The second opera, again from the early period, is Attila.  My absolute favorite DVD is from La Scala with Muti conducting.  Sam Ramey is Attila and is his singing (bass) great!  Many people have recommended this performance.  The other singers are Cheryl Studer and Giorgio Zancanero.  Zancanero and Ramey sing a wonderful duet that, for me at least, makes chills and thrills run down my spine.  Another place in that opera occurs when the "pope" appears on stage and the chorus is singing and Cheryl Studer's voice floats high above all the others.  That send chills also.  If you decide to get this DVD, I'd love to hear your opinion.  (Negative is also ok.  I'll make it.  LOL!)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 08:22:55 AM by Anne »

Offline Maciek

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 02:57:19 PM »
Who wants a thread about Verdi when we already have 2 about Moniuszko! ;D ;)

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 03:19:26 PM »
I like all of Verdi's operas.  Two from his early period that I enjoy are Ernani and Atilla.  The Met version of Ernani has Pavarotti (on DVD).  The female lead is also good but I can't recall her name right now.  Another DVD of that opera that I like has Domingo and Mirella Freni.

The second opera, again from the early period, is Attila.  My absolute favorite DVD is from La Scala with Muti conducting.  Sam Ramey is Atilla and is his singing (bass) great!  Many people have recommended this performance.  The other singers are Cheryl Studer and Giorgio Zancanero.  Zancanero and Ramey sing a wonderful duet that, for me at least, makes chills and thrills run down my spine.  Another place in that opera occurs when the "pope" appears on stage and the chorus is singing and Cheryl Studer's voice floats high above all the others.  That send chills also.  If you decide to get this DVD, I'd love to hear your opinion.  (Negative is also ok.  I'll make it.  LOL!)

  Hello Anne, Nabucco is I would say the only opera from Verdi's early period that I am very familiar with.  I have only seen parts of Atilla from a documentary about Verdi.  Wasn't Atilla the opera that Verdi used to promote his nationalistic veiws? I vaguely remember a remarkable scene from one of Verdi's early operas where there is struggle over world/universe domination which inspired the quote "You may have the universe if I may have Italy".  Anyhow, I will look into these dvd recordings that you suggest.

   marvin 

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 03:25:42 PM »
Who wants a thread about Verdi when we already have 2 about Moniuszko! ;D ;)

  No worries MrOsa, plenty of GREAT operas to go around-by the way the Italians invented opera (meaning "work") and Verdi's contribution and talent can never be ignored.


   marvin

           








Offline Maciek

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 03:29:41 PM »
I'm sure you understand I love Verdi. In fact, I was watching a Verdi opera DVD (Traviata with Gheorghiu, under Solti) only two days ago. And I'll be watching another one (Traviata with Netrebko, under Rizzi) in another couple of days.

But of course, let us not forget $:) that Moniuszko is the best opera composer that ever lived. ;) 0:)

uffeviking

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 06:18:50 PM »

But of course, let us not forget $:) that Moniuszko is the best opera composer that ever lived. ;) 0:)

Thrilled to read the totally non-opinionated, unbiased and non-partisan view on Verdi!  ::)

We did have a Verdi thread on the previous incarnation of GMG, and what a hot topic it was too! Instead of wasting time searching for the old one, I am very happy to see a new one. Whenever I want to watch a genuine Italian opera I go to Il Trovatore, preferably an older recording where the tenor is coerced by the audience into a repeat of his high C. I have the CD with Giuseppe Sinopoli conducting and Dennis O'Neill doing the singing. Yes, O'Neill, not an Italian!  ::)

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 08:11:43 PM »
I only listened to Giovanna D'Arco and i really couldn't get into it. I hope it's not representative of his entire output.

Offline knight66

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2007, 11:04:26 PM »
I only listened to Giovanna D'Arco and i really couldn't get into it. I hope it's not representative of his entire output.

It is not typical in that there is little there that catches the memory. His mature works are packed full of melody and dramatic effect.

One early work that should not be ignored is Macbeth. He revised it to tighten it up, but most of what you hear is a foretelling of the mastery he brought to his later output. Again, inspired by Shakespeare. He did however bow to the conventions of the time by having a chorus-full of witches and a chorus-full of assassins. That certainly makes the bungled murder attempt of Banquo's son Fleance seem all the more unlikely.

He uses such other conventions as the cabaletta to express the mood, so the one at the banquet becomes febrile almost hysterical and moves the plot forward, rather than simply being a showpiece for the singers. There is real depth to the characterisation.

There is a wonderful mad scene for Lady Macbeth, but many other highlights.

I have the Abbado set on CD and would recommend it unreservedly.

As to a request for recommendations for a DVD of Aida, I would avoid many of the high profile singer sets, watching Pavarotti and Chiara is like looking at two over stuffed armchairs who holler across 40 feet of space as a suggestion that they have a relationship with one another. Try this one...


You may not have heard of anyone who is in it, but the voices are excellent, the singers are glamorous and look the ages of the characters and for once the director does not overwhelm the singers in stage effects and pageantry. It really works as drama.

For a CD version, I have owned quite a few, but the Solti with Leontine Price and Vickers still remains my favourite, the thrust of the drama is exceptional and the voices are superb. The old fashioned schooling of Rita Gorr as Amneris pays dividends, she almost destroys the speakers in her anger at the priests.

Mike
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 11:09:53 PM by knight »
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uffeviking

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2007, 01:26:43 AM »
Absolutely, this is the one and only Aida I watch. The enthusiasm of the young singers, all of them from the title role to the last member of the chorus impress me with their talented acting and singing. When Scott Piper, Radames, accepts his well-earned enthusiastic applause, he is so overwhelmed by the audience's appreciation, he is biting his lower lip to control his emotion, verging on tears. You'll never see Pavarotti so intensely involved!

Offline Maciek

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2007, 02:43:15 AM »
Thrilled to read the totally non-opinionated, unbiased and non-partisan view on Verdi!  ::)

Thank you, Lis. I knew everyone agreed with me that Moniuszko was the greatest composer ever but I felt that sometimes even the obvious has to be clearly stated, for educational purposes if for none other. 0:)

Offline val

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2007, 04:15:44 AM »
Good to remind this giant. Verdi is an extraordinary composer, to me the greatest opera composer after Mozart and Wagner.

Otello, Falstaff, Aida, Don Carlo, Un Ballo in Maschere are absolute masterpieces.

But even in other operas there are always remarkable things:

The soprano aria of the first act and the "Miserere" from Il Trovatore, the duo Violeta/Germont in the 2nd act, and all the 3rd act of Traviata, and so many other pages even in Macbeth, Nabucco or Atila.

Offline knight66

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2007, 07:08:39 AM »
I do like Traviata, but I find the plot a difficult one to swallow. It must have been that to be believeable Dumas and Verdi were living in quite different mores. What father would NOW claim his daughter's marriage prospects were ruined because her brother took up with a loose woman...indeed how many brothers these days would give a damn?

Most of the other plots....to the extent they are coherent, (Trovatore) stand up reasonably well. Perhaps my difficulty is that he makes the emotional content so telling that the ruination of lives is just a headscratcher.

Mike
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 07:12:27 AM by knight »
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Offline Anne

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2007, 09:33:30 AM »
My favorite performance of La Traviata is a Franco Zeffirelli film with Placido Domingo, Theresa Stratas, and Cornell MacNeil.

My favorite version of (sorry this isn't Verdi!) of Bizet's Carmen is again a film by Francesco Rosi.  Singers are Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson, Raimondi, and Esham.  The last 2 are not especially remarkable but the 2 leads are great.  Migenes-Johnson has to be the sluttiest Carmen I have ever seem!  Lorin Maazel conducts.  Thanks to Maazel, Domingo and Migenes-Johnson the story is so tragic!

Although I have seen several other performances of Carmen, none has ever compared to this one.  Be sure to get the DVD and not the VHS tape as the tape is not well made.  Video is not sharp and clear.  Hope no one minds a plug for Carmen.  It is such a good opera for new listeners and more experienced ones also.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 09:57:08 AM by Anne »

Haffner

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2007, 09:46:00 AM »
Good to remind this giant. Verdi is an extraordinary composer, to me the greatest opera composer after Mozart and Wagner.





You know, I used to believe Mozart was the superior opera composer to Verdi, but after having listened extensively to both I must put Verdi at the top of my favorite composers of Italian Opera.

For me, Mozart was pretty much unbelievable at everything, but I think he reigned mostly in the area of piano and wind chamber music (concertos, brass and woodwind ensembles, etc.). I personally believe his last four Symphonies were never surpassed as well.

If we're discussing German Opera, I give that to "Wolfie", the Magic Flute just might be the greatest German opera ever, surpassing even the extraordinary "Ring..." cycle by Wagner.

Verdi is such a great master, and my admiration for him is profound.

uffeviking

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2007, 09:52:04 AM »
Has anybody been here when this subject made it's debut on the old GMG? Then you are probably waiting, as I am, to hear the howitzers go off, together with fireworks, started by our Puccini adherents!

Don't be shy, we Verdi lovers can take it - and defend ourselves!  ;D

Haffner

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2007, 09:54:24 AM »
Has anybody been here when this subject made it's debut on the old GMG? Then you are probably waiting, as I am, to hear the howitzers go off, together with fireworks, started by our Puccini adherents!

Don't be shy, we Verdi lovers can take it - and defend ourselves!  ;D




I love Puccini! :)


But, Verdi is Verdi! Bravississima!!!!

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2007, 10:11:24 AM »
It is not typical in that there is little there that catches the memory. His mature works are packed full of melody and dramatic effect.

One early work that should not be ignored is Macbeth. He revised it to tighten it up, but most of what you hear is a foretelling of the mastery he brought to his later output. Again, inspired by Shakespeare. He did however bow to the conventions of the time by having a chorus-full of witches and a chorus-full of assassins. That certainly makes the bungled murder attempt of Banquo's son Fleance seem all the more unlikely.

He uses such other conventions as the cabaletta to express the mood, so the one at the banquet becomes febrile almost hysterical and moves the plot forward, rather than simply being a showpiece for the singers. There is real depth to the characterisation.

There is a wonderful mad scene for Lady Macbeth, but many other highlights.

I have the Abbado set on CD and would recommend it unreservedly.

As to a request for recommendations for a DVD of Aida, I would avoid many of the high profile singer sets, watching Pavarotti and Chiara is like looking at two over stuffed armchairs who holler across 40 feet of space as a suggestion that they have a relationship with one another. Try this one...


You may not have heard of anyone who is in it, but the voices are excellent, the singers are glamorous and look the ages of the characters and for once the director does not overwhelm the singers in stage effects and pageantry. It really works as drama.

For a CD version, I have owned quite a few, but the Solti with Leontine Price and Vickers still remains my favourite, the thrust of the drama is exceptional and the voices are superb. The old fashioned schooling of Rita Gorr as Amneris pays dividends, she almost destroys the speakers in her anger at the priests.

Mike

  Thanks for the Aida dvd recommendation Mike, I was able to find this recording today at the record shops.   I definitely do NOT want to see Pavarotti as Radames, on a CD recording OK, but the singer should fit the part of the character (Radames should be valiant, muscular, lean a true war hero...Pavarotti hardly fits this bill)   

Haffner

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2007, 10:12:53 AM »
I loved Placido and company in the Levine dvd, maybe I'm the only one?

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2007, 10:14:18 AM »
I only listened to Giovanna D'Arco and i really couldn't get into it. I hope it's not representative of his entire output.
 

    Josquin if Giovanna D'Arco is the only Verdi opera you have heard you are missing alot.  It is Verdi "mature" works that are masterpieces.  Please refer to the list in my opening post and pick an opera from that list (keep Falstaff till the end though) you won't be disappointed.

  marvin

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