Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 94371 times)

0 Members and 6 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline André

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6975
  • Location: Laval, QC
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #440 on: August 07, 2019, 05:52:34 AM »
Since this thread is about vocal, not necessarily ‘operatic’ recitals, I will indulge by writing about this one  :D :

Quote


From 1987, this is the first of an eventual series that would reach some 10 albums of american pop ballads (Johnny Mercer, Alec Wilder and other masters of the genre). I own 8 of them and treasure every single track. Farrell’s mastery of word-pointing, perfect diction and incredible control of soft dynamics (very hard to achieve for such a huge voice) are a pure delight. Everything is so clear that there is no need for the texts, they can be written down straight from her singing them. One of the most surprising career twists among the legendary operatic divas.

Offline Tsaraslondon

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2278
    • My blog
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #441 on: August 13, 2019, 12:43:51 AM »


The Czech soprano Jarmila Novotna made few recordings but had a long and illustrious career. She made her debut in 1925 at the age of 17, in no less a role than that of Violetta and retired in 1956 at the age of 49. No doubt some will remember her for her appearance in the Hollywood movie The Great Caruso in which she played the diva Maria Selka.

This disc collects together recordings selected by Novotna herself and taken from her own collection, and shows the voice still firm and true in 1956, when the recording of Rusalka's Song to the Moon (with piano) was recorded.

The disc doesn't, however, get off to the best of starts as, to my ears, the voice sounds strained in the upper reaches of Smetana's Lark Song from The Kiss (also with piano), which was recorded in 1926. Nor do I find her Cherubino particularly characterful, though the voice itself is quite lovely here and sounds more comfortoble in this tessitura, as it is in Pamina's arias, though she dosen't quite find the pathos needed for Ach ich fühls.

For me the most treasurable items are the piano accomapanied Songs of Lidice (Czech Folk Songs) which exploit her rich middle voice. The voice is also beautifully captured in a 1945 recording of the the folk song, Umrem, umrem, this time with orchestra and chorus, but arguably best of all is the vocal arrangement of Fibich's Poème, a piece I know from my teenage years, when I used to play it on the piano, which is deeply felt and eloquenty performed.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2278
    • My blog
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #442 on: August 13, 2019, 10:25:40 PM »
An extraordinary vocal actor, indeed. He owned the role of Gianni Schiccchi. I can’t hear another singer in this opera without noticing how his (Gobbi’s) every voice inflections and word pointing steal every scene he’s in. In some roles (Scarpia, Iago) he is properly frightening, but in others (Michele, Amonasro) the streak of nastiness may seem overdone and I’m not sure that’s what the composer intended. But you never know: both of these characters have a fanatical streak. The average person is never comfortable with displays of insanity. It could be argued that Amonasro was a psychopath and a manipulator.

Gobbi designed his own stage costumes. He had a totally integrated, even holistic conception of the characters he portrayed. Although I have no evidence on the subject, I would imagine his moves and acting owed more to his own instinct than to a director’s instructions - he himself directed many opera productions.

I differ from you in your assessment of his Amonasro. I think Gobbi plays the terrifyingly single-minded patriot Amonasro to the hilt and, for my money, the Nile scene with Callas is the greatest on disc. Though pushing forward his agenda and reducing his daughter to tears, I hear the love he has for her when he sings Pensa che un popolo vinto, straziato, Per te soltanto risorger può....

As for Michele, well there is already the suggestion (as with Canio) that he is a bit of a bully. Gobbi brings out the brutishness but also manages to elicit my pity when he sings, with such feeling, the lines perche non m'ami piu. I can hear then in my mind's ear now. Admittedly, with less than great singers in the roles of Giorgetta and Luigi, Gobbi's Michele becomes the central character of Il Tabarro, but he is also the reason I prefer his recording to all others.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 10:38:00 PM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2278
    • My blog
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #443 on: August 15, 2019, 02:01:32 AM »


The Trinidadian/British soprano Jill Gomez was a mainstay of my early opera going life, and I heard her on more than one occasion. I particularly remember seeing her as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro and Elizabeth in Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers with Scottish Opera, as Ilia in Idomeneo and the Governess in the The Turn of the Screw with English Opera Group and as Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The voice was not large, but she was a strikingly good looking woman with a great stage presence and also a good actress. She is probably best known for creating the role of Duchess of Argyll in Thomas Adès's Powder Her Face and singing the title role in William Alwyn's Miss Julie.

I have known and loved this recital since I bought the original LP soon after it was first released in 1974, and was delighted to find that it had been reissued on CD. The programme is attractive and Gomez has a lovely voice, which she uses imaginatively and musically. Indeed one wonders why such accomplished singing has received so little attention.

We start with a group of songs by Bizet, possibly of slight musical value but direct and charming in their appeal. Gomez is delectably light and airy but also delivers a deliciously sensuous and coquettish Adieux de l'hôtesse arabe, which is probably the most well known of the group. The Berlioz items, especially La belle voyageuse, are also sung with distinction and charm.

The Debussy Proses lyriques are not performed as often as some of Debussy songs, and they are quite hard to bring off. Gomez is fascinating and vividly personal, superbly seconded by John Constable's realisation of the tricky piano part. In many places I was reminded of Mélisande's music in Pelléas et Mélisande. A superbly characterised Noël des enfants qui non plus de maisons brings ths wonderful recital to a close.

Gomez brings something personal to all that she does and John Constable provide estimable support throughout. Highly recommended if you can get hold of a copy.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 02:23:41 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9838
  • Location: Edinburgh
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #444 on: August 15, 2019, 02:56:45 AM »
That post brought back memories and as so often ones that overlap with yours. I had that recording on LP, but not subsequently. I agree Gomez had/has a beautiful voice with a good top extension. She was an excellent linguist and clearly trusted by a number of contemporary composers to present their work.

I saw her in Mozart and Tippet, in Stravinsky and as Violetta. I also saw her in concert. I am listening on Spotify to her very appealing Songs of the Auvergne, the voice sweet and creamy at the top. So, that and four other of her discs have been ordered including the French Song recital. All told, £8 plus postage.

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

Offline André

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6975
  • Location: Laval, QC
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #445 on: August 15, 2019, 03:08:21 AM »
+ 1 for her Canteloube songs (although I am still partial to Netania Davrath).

Her recital of Mozart songs is the best. These are very fragile flowers indeed, easily made uninteresting by less perceptive interpreters. Gomez makes them enchanting.

Offline knight66

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9838
  • Location: Edinburgh
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #446 on: August 15, 2019, 03:17:32 AM »
+ 1 for her Canteloube songs (although I am still partial to Netania Davrath).

Her recital of Mozart songs is the best. These are very fragile flowers indeed, easily made uninteresting by less perceptive interpreters. Gomez makes them enchanting.

Yes, I am still partial to the Davrath which I have had in one format or another for 50 years. I think it was the first complete version, earthy and gritty as well as alluring and fun. She did not seem to record much other material.

I had forgotten the Mozart Songs disc of Gomez, I recall now having seen it. No trace of it for sale or on Spotify.

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

Offline Tsaraslondon

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2278
    • My blog
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #447 on: August 15, 2019, 04:24:02 AM »
I was brought up on the De Los Angeles Chants d'Auvergne and I have them on CD, as well as Jill Gomez's version. I did have the Davrath version on LP, but never replaced it on CD for some reason. I also have the selection Anna Moffo did with Stokowski.

I also have a lovely version of Britten's early Quatre chansons françaises with Gomez  as the soloist and Rattle conducting and an interesting recital called A Spanish Songbook, which collects together various Spanish songs as well as songs by non-Spanish composers in a Spanish style.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9838
  • Location: Edinburgh
Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #448 on: August 15, 2019, 05:00:00 AM »
The Spanish disc is one of those that I have ordered. I do have the Rattle four Britten songs. That was the first recording of the pieces and remained the only one for quite some time.

Sparked by this discussion, I have been reviewing what is available of Alfreda Hodgson, another better than merel stalwart of that era.

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