Author Topic: ~ Baroque Opera ~  (Read 43550 times)

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Offline FideLeo

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2009, 12:34:49 AM »
I've given serious thought to buying that, but when I checked out a few snippets from You tube there seemed to be a good deal of merely spoken dialogue, rather than music. Is it so?

Indeed - Moliere was a (superb) playwright; Lully only composed the incidental music.  But the features you mentioned in your review are all there, including a chaconne in the final chorus.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 12:36:31 AM by traverso »
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Elgarian

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2009, 12:45:44 AM »
Indeed - Moliere was a (superb) playwright; Lully only composed the incidental music.  But the features you mentioned in your review are all there, including a chaconne in the final chorus.

Thanks, but I'll pester you again, if I may. Is Lully's music mostly instrumental, then, and confined to the 'ballet' sections? You mentioned a final chorus - but how much singing is there apart from that (if any)??

Offline FideLeo

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2009, 12:54:05 AM »
Thanks, but I'll pester you again, if I may. Is Lully's music mostly instrumental, then, and confined to the 'ballet' sections? You mentioned a final chorus - but how much singing is there apart from that (if any)??

Vocal music is mostly limited to the prologue, first act and final act (an extended, colourful divertissiment).  About one third of Lully's total contribution there is texted and therefore sung.

edit. Sorry I am forgetting the marvellous gibberish Turkish song in the third (fourth?) act as well.  But it is true that most songs are found at either the beginning or the end.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2009, 01:00:47 AM by traverso »
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Elgarian

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2009, 01:00:41 AM »
Vocal music is mostly limited to the prologue, first act and final act (an extended, colourful divertissiment).  About one third of Lully's total contribution there is texted and therefore sung.

Thanks for this. I think if I'd discovered Gentilhomme, and then moved on to Cadmus, I'd be thrilled; but I'm not so sure about the reverse: I have the feeling that there won't be enough music in Gentilhomme for me, even though I'd love to support these Alpha folk in their endeavours.

Offline FideLeo

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2009, 01:04:10 AM »
Thanks for this. I think if I'd discovered Gentilhomme, and then moved on to Cadmus, I'd be thrilled; but I'm not so sure about the reverse: I have the feeling that there won't be enough music in Gentilhomme for me, even though I'd love to support these Alpha folk in their endeavours.

No Gentilhomme is emphatically not a tragedie lyrique.  But superb entertainment it is, and for drama I will definitely take Moliere over Quinault.  :)
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Offline Draško

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2009, 09:24:57 AM »
Is anyone familiar with Hugo Reyne Lully series on Accord. I'm particularly interested in Isis and Amadis and there doesn't seem to be many reviews around. Where is erato, our tragedie en musique loving Norwegian? Have you heard any?
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Offline The new erato

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2009, 09:42:26 AM »
Is anyone familiar with Hugo Reyne Lully series on Accord. I'm particularly interested in Isis and Amadis and there doesn't seem to be many reviews around. Where is erato, our tragedie en musique loving Norwegian? Have you heard any?
I'm here, but even though this series have been on my wishlist for quite some years, they are not easy or inexpensive to get, so I never got around to it, there always was something else more easily available. But thanks for remembering that, much appreciated. My baroque opera moneyspending recently have gone towards recent Handel opera (Faramoondo & Ezio) issues, Handel cantatas (the Glossa series), and some Hyperion oratorio sets, as well as filling out the holes in my Opus 111 Vivaldi opera series, and the K 617 Cavalli Gli Amori di Apolllo et Daphne (superb BTW). So the French baroque has suffered (though I did buy Tharauds Couperin disc on Harmonia Mundi).

Offline Draško

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2009, 10:07:59 AM »
My baroque opera moneyspending recently have gone towards recent Handel opera (Faramoondo & Ezio) issues, Handel cantatas (the Glossa series), and some Hyperion oratorio sets, as well as filling out the holes in my Opus 111 Vivaldi opera series, and the K 617 Cavalli Gli Amori di Apolllo et Daphne (superb BTW).

Infidel >:( [I'm thinking of getting Cavalli's La Calisto Jacobs DVD]

I'm currently in a Lully phase - Gentilhomme and Cadmus from Alpha, Herreweghe Armide, Minkowski's Phaeton, lots of motets on Naxos, Malgoire's second Alceste (mp3 rip unfortunately, it is ridiculously oop)...with Rousset's Roland on order from europadisc (fingers crossed they can deliver)...so I'd probably be getting those anyhow, but lack of info, plus quite negative amazon review combined with rather unimpressive scene du froid excerpt on their own site makes me undecided for now.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 10:10:42 AM by Drasko »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2009, 10:16:38 AM »


I'm currently in a Lully phase - Gentilhomme (have it!) and Cadmus from Alpha, Herreweghe Armide (have it!), Minkowski's Phaeton (have it!) , lots of motets on Naxos (have all three discs!), Malgoire's second Alceste (mp3 rip unfortunately, it is ridiculously oop)...with Rousset's Roland on order from europadisc (have it!)

Why not go for the superb productions of Psyche and also Thesee on cpo from the Boston Early Music Festival?

Offline Draško

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2009, 10:56:53 AM »
Why not go for the superb productions of Psyche and also Thesee on cpo from the Boston Early Music Festival?


They are on my shopping list, along with fe other things, but first want to see what'll happen with my Roland order, excerpts I heard on Ambroisie sampler were stunning.

Another thing I'm considering is unofficial DVD of legendary Christie 1987 Atys, it's actually French TV rip but it's not that expensive and I'll probably give it a go (if I ever figure where was the site that was offering it ::)). Why that production wasn't ever offered officialy on DVD when it was recorded for TV is beyond me.

NewOlde on the other hand seems to unconditionally love Reyne:
http://www.newolde.com/lully.htm
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Elgarian

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #50 on: September 09, 2009, 01:56:45 AM »
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This was highly recommended in Gramophone on release last year, and I bought one (partly because I have a special interest in the Persephone myth), but I've only now got around to seriously listening to it. To summarise - I'm delighted with it.

I think I've underestimated Lully in my Baroque explorations (which is surprising given the impact made by the stupendously fine DVD of Cadmus & Hermione). In particular, there's something very special about the harmonies in the choral passages (and in duets, etc, too). Those passages can be very 'heroic' in character - but they're also capable of achieving a very moving plaintiveness and delicacy. An example here would be the passage where Proserpine and her friends are in the fields picking flowers. There's a certain poignancy to this moment because we know that disaster is about to strike, but here, now, she and her friends are delighting in the flowers and the moment; and the music - the interplay between Proserpine and the female chorus - expresses that arcadian delight perfectly.

Lully/Quinault have played havoc with the usual structure of the myth, but it doesn't matter in the least. The strangest is the promotion of Arethusa from a bit part to a main player in the drama, but it works well. Of course the whole scheme is constructed as usual to celebrate Kingship, so that Jupiter (symbolising the King) restores harmony to the world by intervening in Proserpine's fate; but that's OK; these great myths (and this is one of the most profound) retain their imaginative power no matter what way you twist them.

Presentation is unimpressive. There's a nice enough booklet/libretto, but the 2CDs are each housed in separate slimline CD cases (why not a double?), and the whole inserted into a flimsy card slipcase which is too tight a fit, and so at risk of damage. Because everything has been squeezed onto 2 CDs there's an unfortunate break in the music in mid-Act, at a great dramatic moment: Pluto is hidden; we hear Persephone approaching through the meadows with her friends ... and then you have to change the CD.

But these are quibbles. The music is the thing, and it's stupendous. Just get one.

Youtube sample (start of Act III):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ9VscoLcEs
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 11:10:42 PM by Que »

Offline The new erato

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #51 on: September 09, 2009, 02:08:57 AM »


But these are quibbles. The music is the thing, and it's stupendous. Just get one.


I have got one, and I am contemplating the other french baroque operas on Glossa, eg Marais Semele etc.

But whatever you do; BE SURE to pick up the cpo Psyche if this has wetted your appetite for Lully!  

Elgarian

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #52 on: September 09, 2009, 09:26:44 AM »
But whatever you do; BE SURE to pick up the cpo Psyche if this has wetted your appetite for Lully!  

Oh yes indeed - I already have one on order, Erato. And also a copy of Phaeton (Minkowski).

I was listening to Act III again today - really, the music accompanying Ceres's realisation that her daughter is lost is simply marvellous; there's an ache, a real heartache, in it.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 09:29:14 AM by Elgarian »

Offline The new erato

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #53 on: September 09, 2009, 09:33:13 AM »
Oh yes indeed - I already have one on order, Erato. And also a copy of Phaeton (Minkowski).

I have them all. Don't forget Minkowskis Acis & Galatee on Archiv if available, it's a particular favorite of mine. I'm a Lulliste.

Elgarian

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #54 on: September 09, 2009, 01:21:37 PM »
I'm a Lulliste.

I think I am a soon-to-be-Lulliste. (I already think Cadmus & Hermione is the finest opera I have ever seen on DVD.)

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #55 on: September 09, 2009, 08:25:08 PM »
Lully is a most underrated composer. He gave French Baroque music its own unique voice. You can't sneer on that.  

Offline Draško

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #56 on: September 10, 2009, 06:41:54 AM »
Spotted this at jpc for 9,99 euros, which is a steal.

No, steal-ing is jpc shipping rate at 19.99 euros, but I'm still tempted.

I think I am a soon-to-be-Lulliste.

In which case don't miss Armide, still my favorite Lully tragedie en musique. But avoid the truncated Naxos recording, Herreweghe on HM is the way to go.
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Elgarian

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2009, 06:57:50 AM »
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I've now listened to the whole of this recording, and I can confirm that it's worth buying purely for the astonishing performance of Carolyn Sampson as Psyche, backed up by Karina Gauvin as a frighteningly vengeful Venus. Really, the portrayal of Psyche by Carolyn Sampson is superb. It's not just great singing - it's great drama: the delicacy of the little nuances in her voice is such that I feel I could never quite get to the bottom of it no matter how many times I listen. When she comes to L'Amour's (Cupid's) palace, for example, it seems that every inflection in her singing has dramatic meaning as well as beauty. She has a way of making little flourishes - no, I need to invent a word: 'fritillations' - that flicker so briefly across my hearing that they're gone before I can quite register them, but the effect is like a thrilling little shiver of expectation. For me, she is the highlight of this recording, this performance, but I can't say I found any aspect of it disappointing.

When I saw how long the last act is (it really adds little to the plot because it's just a celebration of the immortalising of Psyche), I wondered if I might get a bit squirmy; but no - there's some very varied music here. Jupiter/Louis (read it how you like) has made everything turn out right yet again, and the music is determined to make sure we realise it and enjoy ourselves. I found it quite hard to sit still in places - such is the infectious character of the music.

So the range of dramatic and musical experience here is considerable - taking in the poignancy of Psyche's predicament, the wonderfully devilish encounter with the Furies, and the celebration of everyone living happily ever after. I don't think this replaces Proserpine as my favourite, but that's a matter of personal preference. As a performance, this may reach places that Proserpine doesn't, quite. Best to get both.

There are lots of little b/w photos of a live production in the booklet, running alongside the libretto - a nice touch.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 11:09:17 PM by Que »

Offline Draško

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #58 on: October 06, 2009, 04:59:53 AM »
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Phaëton is a story of great dramatic potential, of blind ambition and greed for power and glory which pushes everything else aside to end in inevitable fall and demise. Story which is relevant in any age, and much more straightforward in its plot than many other labyrinthine Arcadian tales favored by french baroque composers and librettists and as such should appeal more easily to todays audiences. Quinault handles it very well, until the last act that is, where in the desire to deal with all of his characters he makes the act far too episodic, almost promenade like, and loses cumulative buildup to a finale which has the potential to easily match Don Giovanni in its flair. Don't think much can be done about this but I still think the opera more than deserves a new recording, because this one is hardly perfect. Sound quality, orchestra and chorus are all quite fine. Minkowski drives hard, too hard at times, perhaps avoiding longueurs but also losing charm in dance episodes and interludes, and maybe if he had been les relentless he could have made some key moments more telling. Singers are mixed bunch, female part being the problematic one for me. Out of three main female roles two are chore to listen to. I haven't the slightest idea what is the appeal of Jennifer Smith's voice (Theone), it's not exactly pretty one and constant back of the throat tone production is terribly annoying. Rachel Yakar was acceptable in Leonhardt's Campra L'Europe Galante some twenty years earlier but she is way past her prime here, heavy, matronly (even if the role of Clymene is the mother) and straining. Rest of the cast is mostly fine: Crook, Gens, Fouchecourt ...
Even though I'm not completely happy with this recording it is definitely worth having, who knows when or even if the next will come, and it's currently available at almost giveaway price of 11 euros.

http://www.amazon.de/Lully-Fouchécourt-Huttenlocher-Musiciens-Minkowski/dp/B000005EAR    
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 11:07:19 PM by Que »
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DavidW

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Re: ~ Baroque Opera ~
« Reply #59 on: October 06, 2009, 09:16:47 AM »
What do people think of Lully's Persee?  It's on my netflix queue, and I'm hoping that it will be good. :)

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