GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: Tsaraslondon on April 10, 2017, 03:29:04 AM

Title: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 10, 2017, 03:29:04 AM
As the opera posts tend to get lost on the What Are You Listening to Now thread, it being something of a minority pursuit on this site, I thought I'd add one for opera in this sub forum.

Today I have been listening to Verdi's I due Foscari.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ZxT4bn7XL.jpg)

A splendid recording of one of Verdi's more interesting galley operas.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 10, 2017, 05:38:26 AM
Here is another rare Verdi opera, which I havent seen yet, but plan to sometime this week.
It is Jerusalem, an opera in french composed by Giuseppe Verdi on a libretto by Alphonse Royer for the opera Le Peletier in 1847.  It is a reworking of "I Lombardi alla prima crociata" given at La Scala in 1843.  A new production by the Opera royal de Wallonie has just been made available for all of us to see (for the time being on Culturebox)

http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/opera-classique/opera/opera-royal-de-wallonie-liege/jerusalem-de-verdi-a-l-opera-royal-de-wallonie-253987 (http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/opera-classique/opera/opera-royal-de-wallonie-liege/jerusalem-de-verdi-a-l-opera-royal-de-wallonie-253987)

The youtube link went dead. This should be a fun moment for all the GMG Verdi's fans (This video may not last real long).

Edit: Just watched the first act during my lunch break.  It is quite nice: the production is very pleaseant, the singers diction is clear and the music has Verdi's golden touch.   I prefer it to Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc) composed just before in 1845, which is the only Verdi's opera which I considered (almost) as a flop.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Drasko on April 10, 2017, 07:57:01 AM
As the opera posts tend to get lost on the What Are You Listening to Now thread, it being something of a minority pursuit on this site, I thought I'd add one for opera in this sub forum.

That's a good idea. Maybe one of the moderators could pin the thread, so it doesn't slip down?

on topic:

(https://s10.postimg.org/4zy4vcqvd/originalslika_klasika_koplet_111966147.jpg)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - The Maid of Pskov

In a very good, and surprisingly clean and clear for its age and provenance, 1947 recording from Bolshoi forces conducted by Simon Sakharov. With Elisabeta Shumilova excellent as the eponymous maiden, strong clear ringing Slavic soprano (never heard her in anything else and any info seems scarce), Georgi Nelepp reliably stentorian as her love interest and Alexander Pirogov imposing, and quite touching in father-daughter scenes, as tsar Ivan Grozny. Until 90s and Gergiev this, I believe, was the only recording of the opera, and it holds up rather well in my opinion. Don't think it was released on CD by Melodiya, but it was available on Aquarius or Great Hall or some other Russian semi-pirate label. It can be heard on youtube in its entirety:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AzkZnOArU0
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 11, 2017, 12:18:53 AM
That's a good idea. Maybe one of the moderators could pin the thread, so it doesn't slip down?

on topic:


Looks as though they've already done so  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 11, 2017, 12:33:09 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51wrMlR-PfL.jpg)

Sticking with Verdi, I move on to Ernani, in this 1967 recording, which still stands up pretty well, though the upper voices make more of an impression than the lower ones. Sereni and Flagello have agreeable voices, but both lack authority. Bergonzi is possibly a little light of voice, but he compensates with phrasing of distinction and singing of great beauty. Price also sings with great beauty of tone, her voice at its early career best. Is it a little churlish of me to point out that a little more flexibility would be desirable in this early Verdi role? One only has to listen to Ponselle, Callas or Sutherland in Elvira's Act I aria and cabaletta to hear what real trills and staccati sound like. It is none the less one of her best recorded roles.

Schippers conducts with clarity and rhythmic vitality.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on April 11, 2017, 12:49:56 AM
Great tread idea. Yesterday I listened to this, on the Met's Sirius/XM channel:

Peter Grimes {22}

Metropolitan Opera House
April 5, 1969 Matinee Broadcast

Peter Grimes............Jon Vickers
Ellen Orford............Lucine Amara
Captain Balstrode.......Geraint Evans
Mrs. Sedley.............Jean Madeira
Auntie..................Lili Chookasian
Niece...................Mary Ellen Pracht
Niece...................Lilian Sukis
Hobson..................Paul Plishka
Swallow.................Raymond Michalski
Bob Boles...............Paul Franke
Rev. Horace Adams.......Robert Schmorr
Ned Keene...............Gene Boucher
Lawyer..................William Mellow
Fisherwoman.............Gail Leonard
Fisherman...............Edward Ghazal
John....................John Allan

Conductor...............Colin Davis
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 11, 2017, 09:28:53 AM
Listening to acts 3&4 of  Offenbach Die Rheinnixen"



This opera is Offenbach at his best.  A lot of melodic and harmonic creativity in this work.  Because Offenbach was in part an autodidact (as Mussorsky) there is a great deal of freshness in the musical writing.  There are some influence but they seem to evolve as the opera proceeds: in the first two acts I thought of Mendelssohn music while in the second part Verdi influences seem quite percertible.  It is also a profoundly European work were pan-european love triumphs over the german nationalism.   :-*


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: springrite on April 11, 2017, 05:08:00 PM
Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini

Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony & Chorus

Kunde, Claycomb, Jeffery, Coleman-Wright, Relyea, Cals, etc.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Que on April 11, 2017, 08:57:10 PM
As the opera posts tend to get lost on the What Are You Listening to Now thread, it being something of a minority pursuit on this site, I thought I'd add one for opera in this sub forum.

Today I have been listening to Verdi's I due Foscari.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ZxT4bn7XL.jpg)

A splendid recording of one of Verdi's more interesting galley operas.

I think this thread is a wonderful idea! :)

And though I am by no means an opera buff, this recording of Verdi's I Due Foscari is actually one of the first opera recordings I ever bought after attending a live performance as a teenager.

Q
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 11, 2017, 09:54:26 PM
Ha, this thread popped up at a rather appropriate time as I'm having a bit of an opera phase right now.

Last night, a favourite of mine and a brilliant production

(http://operalively.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=8049&d=1438047147)

Very funny and very moving
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on April 12, 2017, 01:50:25 AM
Again on the Met's Sirius/XM channel, a 1985 Idomeneo with David Rendall, Benita Valente, Frederica von Stade, and Hildegard Behrens, Jeffrey Tate conducting.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on April 12, 2017, 09:51:26 AM
Love having this thread as well, thanks for starting it!  :)

Saw Massenet's "Werther" on stage at Zurich opera last night, was exhausted after work, but wow, this was a near-epiphany! Juan Diego Flórez IS Werther, really! The moment he enters is amazing, he really owns the part! The production is great as well, really working in a way that the whole thing is great theatre (not just great music in a - more or less - appealing setting). Anna Stéphany gives her role debut as Charlotte, and both her and Mélissa Petit's Sophie were up to the challenge that Flórez presents, and Audun Iversen's Albert was more than adequate. The orchestra, conducted by Cornelius Meister, was wonderful - transparent to the point of reaching a chamber-like lightness often. And did I mention how amazing Juan Diego Flórez was - seriously!
Details here: http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/werther-02-04-2017-18667/
Some thoughts in German: http://forum.rollingstone.de/foren/reply/10143577/

--

Now listening to this for the very first time (some controversy arose last week when I mentioned listening to the somewhat glossy Sutherland/Pavarotti recording two days before catching the opera live at Zurich with the great Nello Santi on the podium, or rather: behind the piano) to this recording that just arrived:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81Bqz6yXw9L._SL1500_.jpg)

First impression, half an hour in, is that quite possibly I will not need to look for another recording (the Sutherland/Pavarotti is the only other complete one I have). The music is wonderful indeed, there's enough melancholy and brooding in the comedy so it really does appeal to me, and the orchestration is so varied and colourful and so well done that I really love listening to it just for the thrill of discovering this little detail here and that nice touch there.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 12, 2017, 01:10:22 PM
Love having this thread as well, thanks for starting it!  :)



(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81Bqz6yXw9L._SL1500_.jpg)

First impression, half an hour in, is that quite possibly I will not need to look for another recording (the Sutherland/Pavarotti is the only other complete one I have). The music is wonderful indeed, there's enough melancholy and brooding in the comedy so it really does appeal to me, and the orchestration is so varied and colourful and so well done that I really love listening to it just for the thrill of discovering this little detail here and that nice touch there.

Pavarotti was always good as Nemorino, but I find Sutherland a bit po-faced as Adina.

My personal favourite has always been the Pritchard, based on highly successful performances at Covent Garden, except that at Covent Garden Carreras was the Nemorino. Domingo almost convinces he has the right voice for the role (he hasn't), but Carreras would have been better. Cotrubas is delightful as Adina. Worth a listen

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SCHARFKZL._SY355_.jpg)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Brewski on April 12, 2017, 01:44:18 PM
Was going to pin this, but another mod beat me to the punch!

Looking forward to a rare Milhaud opera, La mère coupable ("The Guilty Mother"), produced by On Site Opera here in June.

--Bruce
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 12, 2017, 01:54:01 PM
I've been listening to this quite a bit over the last week

(https://i.scdn.co/image/7f36bc834e999a8c8b1dba50389db8b13cbf1592)

And also this

(https://i.scdn.co/image/39925ac33a86aaad3ebf71a8b6e1262e1d2952d1)

Both are amazing, but at the moment I prefer the former slightly more. Still, the latter's cast and sound is unsurpassed and similar to the really just perfect version I have on DVD....although I got no time to watch that one again just yet! Tonight I will actually see if I have time to watch Lohengrin.......(maybe just one or two acts haha)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Brewski on April 12, 2017, 01:54:57 PM
Ha, this thread popped up at a rather appropriate time as I'm having a bit of an opera phase right now.

Last night, a favourite of mine and a brilliant production

(http://operalively.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=8049&d=1438047147)

Very funny and very moving

Saw this live! Great opera, great production, and the orchestra...just fantastic.

--Bruce
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on April 12, 2017, 11:12:13 PM
Pavarotti was always good as Nemorino, but I find Sutherland a bit po-faced as Adina.

My personal favourite has always been the Pritchard, based on highly successful performances at Covent Garden, except that at Covent Garden Carreras was the Nemorino. Domingo almost convinces he has the right voice for the role (he hasn't), but Carreras would have been better. Cotrubas is delightful as Adina. Worth a listen

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SCHARFKZL._SY355_.jpg)

Yes, Pavarotti is wonderful! But Sutherland, based on what rather little I've heard so far (there's lots more to explore in the Pavarotti first decade box of course), will not likely ever become a favourite of mine.

Thanks for the Pritchard recommendation. If I ever feel like buying one more recording, I'll try to remember  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: timh1 on April 12, 2017, 11:17:47 PM
Britten Peter Grimes Haitink 1992.
 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 13, 2017, 06:10:01 AM
Yes, Pavarotti is wonderful! But Sutherland, based on what rather little I've heard so far (there's lots more to explore in the Pavarotti first decade box of course), will not likely ever become a favourite of mine.

Thanks for the Pritchard recommendation. If I ever feel like buying one more recording, I'll try to remember  :)
With Sutherland, it can matter at what age you hear her. Her voice did not always age well, and you can hear it on some recordings more than others. When she was young though, she was as good as anyone (though diction was often an issue even then) and sometimes better.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 13, 2017, 06:33:34 AM
With Sutherland, it can matter at what age you hear her. Her voice did not always age well, and you can hear it on some recordings more than others. When she was young though, she was as good as anyone (though diction was often an issue even then) and sometimes better.

The voice and technique were stunning, that is true, and I do enjoy her Art of the Prima Donna set, for instance, but she is a singer who never really "speaks" to me, and even that recital I can only take piecemeal. I've tried and tried, but I can think of very few of the operas she sang that I don't actually prefer sung by someone else. Even in La Fille de Regiment which is brim full of breath taking vocal feats, the mushy diction drives me potty. Pavarotti, on the same recording, sings with a terrible French accent, but his diction is so good, you can hear just how bad hers is. I know it bothers most people a lot less than me, but it irritates me terribly and consequently I have very few of her recordings.

Incidentally, on the live 1959 Lucia di Lammermoor from Covent Garden which made her a star, her diction is pretty good. Tullio Serafin was in the pit, so maybe that had something to do with it. He actually thought she should go on to sing more dramatic fare, and said he thought she'd have made an excellent Lady Macbeth. The voice was huge. Maybe she would have.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 13, 2017, 07:00:10 AM
I've been listening to this quite a bit over the last week

(https://i.scdn.co/image/7f36bc834e999a8c8b1dba50389db8b13cbf1592)

I have said this before, but Kleiber's recording of Tristan is quite possibly my favorite Tristan recording of all time. I find Price's light timbre extremely fascinating and I think it actually fits Isolde, especially the raptured Isolde of Acts 2 and 3. Funny how it is pretty much only with operas where I pay attention in specific recordings, with everything else anything goes.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 13, 2017, 09:46:29 AM
The voice and technique were stunning, that is true, and I do enjoy her Art of the Prima Donna set, for instance, but she is a singer who never really "speaks" to me, and even that recital I can only take piecemeal. I've tried and tried, but I can think of very few of the operas she sang that I don't actually prefer sung by someone else. Even in La Fille de Regiment which is brim full of breath taking vocal feats, the mushy diction drives me potty. Pavarotti, on the same recording, sings with a terrible French accent, but his diction is so good, you can hear just how bad hers is. I know it bothers most people a lot less than me, but it irritates me terribly and consequently I have very few of her recordings.

Incidentally, on the live 1959 Lucia di Lammermoor from Covent Garden which made her a star, her diction is pretty good. Tullio Serafin was in the pit, so maybe that had something to do with it. He actually thought she should go on to sing more dramatic fare, and said he thought she'd have made an excellent Lady Macbeth. The voice was huge. Maybe she would have.


All fair comments. Since I don't understand Italian, it doesn't bother so much and that is where it would be felt most I think. Have you heard her Norma?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 13, 2017, 01:38:22 PM
All fair comments. Since I don't understand Italian, it doesn't bother so much and that is where it would be felt most I think. Have you heard her Norma?

Yes, and it's probably better than anything we're likely to hear today, but still disappoints. Callas is my yardstick, and I don't think anyone has bettered her. Her hegemony in the role remains unchallenged. She's heard best in live recordings from Covent Garden in 1952 and from La Scala in 1955, but the two studio recordings (1954 and 1960) still head the field, despite declining vocal resources in the 1960 recording. For me Caballe is the closest challenger in a live performance from the Orange Festival, which I have on DVD.

With Sutherland it's not just the diction that bothers me, it's a sort of generalised response to the bel canto repertoire. Amina sounds much like Norma, sounds much like Lucia, sounds much like Anna Bolena. Callas made these characters all into living, breathing creatures, all clearly different one from the other.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 13, 2017, 02:17:30 PM
I have said this before, but Kleiber's recording of Tristan is quite possibly my favorite Tristan recording of all time. I find Price's light timbre extremely fascinating and I think it actually fits Isolde, especially the raptured Isolde of Acts 2 and 3. Funny how it is pretty much only with operas where I pay attention in specific recordings, with everything else anything goes.
Yes, actually I only really got into it this year after having listened to other recordings for a long time. Kleiber is fantastic and Price really adds some magic with her Isolde. Personally I tend to gravitate towards singers like Nilsson and Stemme for Isolde, but Price is certainly giving me something different and just as good!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 12:13:52 AM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/d2/08/a864b2c008a0634bd7f79010.L.jpg)

More Verdi, and this time to the miracle that is Falstaff, that late, great, youthful, masterpiece of Verdi's old age. Not a wasted note in the whole, joyful score.

The Karajan/Philharmonia recording has been my go to recording for well nigh fifty years now, and I can't see that changing any time soon. There isn't a weak link in the whole cast. Some find Gobbi's voice not quite fat enough, whatever that may mean, but no one matches him in verbal acuity, in tonal variety, and in detailed characterisation, his diction so good you can almost taste the words. Panerai's high baritone is exactly the right voice for Ford, singing his jealousy monologue with an intensity akin to Otello's.

The women are superb too, Barbieri's cavernous tones perfectly suited to the slightly more plebeian Quickly. I know there have been cavils about Schwarzkopf's Alice, but I simply cannot understand the objections. For me she is the perfect Alice, with that delicious half-laugh evident in almost every one of her utterances. It is a role she evidently enjoyed, as it is one of the few (the others being the Marschallin, Fiordiligi, the Countess, Donna Elvira and Countess Madeleine) that she kept in her active repertoire, when she took a conscious decision to limit her operatic appearances, and I find it pure joy. Nan Merriman is perfect casting as Meg too.

The young lovers, Moffo and Alva, are a delight. Verdi sprinkles their love music over the score like fairy dust, and they both have a delicious lightness of touch which is just perfect.

Karajan's pacing of the score is spot on, and the score sparkles and fizzes like a good champagne. The Philharmonia play like virtuosi, which indeed they were at that time.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: cilgwyn on April 14, 2017, 12:30:24 AM
Love having this thread as well, thanks for starting it!  :)

Saw Massenet's "Werther" on stage at Zurich opera last night, was exhausted after work, but wow, this was a near-epiphany! Juan Diego Flórez IS Werther, really! The moment he enters is amazing, he really owns the part! The production is great as well, really working in a way that the whole thing is great theatre (not just great music in a - more or less - appealing setting). Anna Stéphany gives her role debut as Charlotte, and both her and Mélissa Petit's Sophie were up to the challenge that Flórez presents, and Audun Iversen's Albert was more than adequate. The orchestra, conducted by Cornelius Meister, was wonderful - transparent to the point of reaching a chamber-like lightness often. And did I mention how amazing Juan Diego Flórez was - seriously!
Details here: http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/werther-02-04-2017-18667/
Some thoughts in German: http://forum.rollingstone.de/foren/reply/10143577/

--

Now listening to this for the very first time (some controversy arose last week when I mentioned listening to the somewhat glossy Sutherland/Pavarotti recording two days before catching the opera live at Zurich with the great Nello Santi on the podium, or rather: behind the piano) to this recording that just arrived:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81Bqz6yXw9L._SL1500_.jpg)

First impression, half an hour in, is that quite possibly I will not need to look for another recording (the Sutherland/Pavarotti is the only other complete one I have). The music is wonderful indeed, there's enough melancholy and brooding in the comedy so it really does appeal to me, and the orchestration is so varied and colourful and so well done that I really love listening to it just for the thrill of discovering this little detail here and that nice touch there.
I bought the slimline reissue of this recording,after reading these posts and the review on Musicweb. I'm unfamiliar with Donizetti's operas,but I like Hilde Gueden,so I had to hear this! Also,I'm a fan of the singing you get on these old,classic studio recordings from the once great,big labels. This one sounds deserving of my attention. Early stereo deficiencies really don't worry me. Only £2.19,post free! (I do hope it doesn't smell like an ashtray,though;like the Koch cd I'm sending back! ???) The lack of a libretto doesn't bother me. When I listen to opera I'm more interested in the music,than the wobbly plotting!! ::)
I must admit Joan Sutherland has never done much for me. Not that she isn't a great singer. I've just never felt particularly thrilled or moved by her singing. Pavarotti? Can't stand anything about him,I'm afraid!!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: cilgwyn on April 14, 2017, 12:34:28 AM
The Pritchard sounds very tempting,if I like this! Still,mustn't break the bank!! I haven't received the Francesco Molinarri-Pradelli recording,yet!! ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 12:40:32 AM
The Pritchard sounds very tempting,if I like this! Still,mustn't break the bank!! I haven't received the Francesco Molinarri-Pradelli recording,yet!! ;D

Well you can't really go wrong at £2.19, but be aware that there are a few cuts in the Molinari-Pradelli, and if you find the Pritchard cheap somewhere, I'd recommend it highly.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: cilgwyn on April 14, 2017, 01:35:21 AM
I should point out;that I don't dislike Joan Sutherland's singing;I just haven't been particularly moved by her singing,to date. This is partly because of here repertoire,which hasn't really appealed to me. But times move on,and your tastes developd,and I've often been tempted to explore some Donizetti. I think part of the problem is the sheer profusion of operas. He composed so many. Not being a wealthy man,I tend to concentrate on certain core areas,and unfortunately some composers get left out!! :(
Having a recording without cuts does make sense,though. You can enjoy a score with cuts if the performance is particularly good;but if you're an intelligent music lover you obviously need to hear what's been left out. My shelf is groaning with the weight of multiple Mozart opera recordings (not many compared to some here,no doubt) so I don't think I'll be able to resist for very long!! ;D I need to know!!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: cilgwyn on April 14, 2017, 02:00:05 AM
Bought it!! ::) ;D The clincher was Geraint Evans. Living in Wales,it was an obvious incentive! I also (sort of) met him a long time ago. I was sitting in my fathers rustbucket (literally) waiting for him to ccome out of school. Suddenly Geraint Evans,who was at a concert there appeared. As he was about to get into his Rolls Royce,which was parked next to my fathers car,he saw me looking at him. He did a sort of double take,and smiled. "Sorry,I thought you were waiting for me!",he said;then got in his Roller!
The review on Musicweb was another incentive. I do like to have more than one recording of an opera,though (generally speaking).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on April 14, 2017, 02:23:47 AM
How is the later Molinari-Pradelli with Freni/Gedda? I love Freni (and I guess the same applies to Gedda, though I haven't heard that much by him yet), so this would possibly be of interest as well.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 02:25:18 AM
I should point out;that I don't dislike Joan Sutherland's singing;I just haven't been particularly moved by her singing,to date. This is partly because of here repertoire,which hasn't really appealed to me. But times move on,and your tastes developd,and I've often been tempted to explore some Donizetti. I think part of the problem is the sheer profusion of operas. He composed so many. Not being a wealthy man,I tend to concentrate on certain core areas,and unfortunately some composers get left out!! :(
Having a recording without cuts does make sense,though. You can enjoy a score with cuts if the performance is particularly good;but if you're an intelligent music lover you obviously need to hear what's been left out. My shelf is groaning with the weight of multiple Mozart opera recordings (not many compared to some here,no doubt) so I don't think I'll be able to resist for very long!! ;D I need to know!!

I don't dislike Sutherland either, but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, she is not a singer who really "speaks" to me. I have very few recordings of hers, but I do have a lot of recordings of bel canto operas, which of course include the operas of Donizetti.

I do have her recording of La Fille du Regiment, which is delightful, though, even here, her mushy diction bothers me somewhat. Pavarotti is superb, even if his French isn't that good. I think it's one of his best recordings.

Other than that, the bel canto operas I have are.

Bellini: I Capuleti e I Montecchi Sills, Baker, Gedda; Patane
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Filipeschi, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Ludwig, Corelli, Zaccaria; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Picchi, Neri: Gui (Live from Covent Garden 1952)
Bellini: Norma Callas, Simionato, Del Monaco, Zaccaria (Live from La Scala 1955)
Bellini: Il Pirata Callas, Ferraro, Ego; Rescigno (Live New York, 1959)
Bellini: I Puritani Callas, Di Stefano, Panerai, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Valletti, Modesti: Bernstein (Live La Scala 1955)
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto (Live Cologne 1957)
Donizetti: Anna Bolena Callas, Simionato, Raimondi, Rossi-Lemeni; Gavazzeni (Live La Scala 1957)
Donizetti: Don Pasquale Saraceni, Schipa, Poli, Badini; Sabjano
Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore Cotrubas, Domingo, Wixell, Evans; Pritchard
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Arie; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Tagliavini, Cappuccilli, Ladysz; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Raimondi, Zaccaria; Karajan (Live Berlin 1955)
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia Caballe, Berbie, Vanzo, Paskalis; Perlea (Live New York 1965)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Caballe, Verrett, Garaventa, Arie; Cillario (Live La Scala 1971)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Baker, Tinsley, Erwen, Garrard; Mackerras (Live in English ENO 1973)
Donizetti: Poliuto Callas, Corelli, Bastianini, Zaccaria; Votto (Live La Scala 1960)
Donizetti: Roberto Devereux Caballe, Carreras, Sardinero, Furlanetto (Live Toulouse 1977)
Rossini: Armida Callas, Albanese, Filipeschi, Ziliani, Raimondi; Serafin (Live Florence 1952)
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia Callas, Alva, Gobbi, Ollendorff, Zaccaria; Galliera
Rossini: La Cenerentola Baltsa, Araiza, Alaimo, Raimondi; Marriner
Rossini: Guillaume Tell Caballe, Mesple, Gedda, Bacquier; Gardelli
Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri Baltsa, Pace, Lopardo, Corbelli, Raimondi; Abbado
Rossini: Semiramide Penda, Pizzolato, Osborn, Regazo; Fogliani
Rossini: Il Turco in Italia Callas, Gardino, Gedda, Stabile, Calabrese; Gavazzeni

There are cuts in many of these too, particularly the older recordings, but I'll put up with them for the exceptional performances.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 02:26:29 AM
Bought it!! ::) ;D The clincher was Geraint Evans. Living in Wales,it was an obvious incentive! I also (sort of) met him a long time ago. I was sitting in my fathers rustbucket (literally) waiting for him to ccome out of school. Suddenly Geraint Evans,who was at a concert there appeared. As he was about to get into his Rolls Royce,which was parked next to my fathers car,he saw me looking at him. He did a sort of double take,and smiled. "Sorry,I thought you were waiting for me!",he said;then got in his Roller!
The review on Musicweb was another incentive. I do like to have more than one recording of an opera,though (generally speaking).

I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 02:29:20 AM
How is the later Molinari-Pradelli with Freni/Gedda? I love Freni (and I guess the same applies to Gedda, though I haven't heard that much by him yet), so this would possibly be of interest as well.

Freni and Gedda are both singers I like, but it's a bit dull to be honest. It's an early recording for Freni, and I don't think she had yet learned the ability to project personality through sound alone, or maybe the producer didn't know how to get the best out of her. Conducting is a bit routine too, to be honest.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on April 14, 2017, 02:50:28 AM
Freni and Gedda are both singers I like, but it's a bit dull to be honest. It's an early recording for Freni, and I don't think she had yet learned the ability to project personality through sound alone, or maybe the producer didn't know how to get the best out of her. Conducting is a bit routine too, to be honest.
Thanks! I think I've read something similar about it before deciding to buy the earlier one ... will put the Pritchard on my list as well, but that'll do as far as "L'elisir" goes, I think.

Btw, as I have read many of your insightful posts here, even before becoming a member, let me use the occasion to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights and opinions, much appreciated!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 03:13:52 AM

Btw, as I have read many of your insightful posts here, even before becoming a member, let me use the occasion to say thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights and opinions, much appreciated!

Thank you.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 14, 2017, 04:30:29 AM
Just watched the first act of this, a little more on the silly side for Wagner but still good

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71N6jlBVUXL._SY606_.jpg)

I will probably go listen to a CD recording of Lohengrin now I guess
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 04:47:18 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/4170FENSEZL.jpg)

This one would be a good choice. Considered by many to still be the best recording of the piece.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 14, 2017, 05:05:27 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/4170FENSEZL.jpg)

This one would be a good choice. Considered by many to still be the best recording of the piece.
I've heard that one, I do like it! Checking out a recent recording though......Vogt is the PERFECT Lohengrin and he's in this aaaa <3

(https://i.scdn.co/image/be98bd85f2be263da3c87f8de665c8a3b05c3787)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 14, 2017, 05:08:15 AM
My favorite recordings just keep popping up in this thread! Karajan's Falstaff and Kempe's Lohengrin are my favorites of those operas. Guess I'm a bit predictable with recordings, eh?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 05:12:00 AM
My favorite recordings just keep popping up in this thread! Karajan's Falstaff and Kempe's Lohengrin are my favorites of those operas. Guess I'm a bit predictable with recordings, eh?

No. You just have good taste  ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 14, 2017, 05:16:26 AM
No. You just have good taste  ;D

Thanks! Likewise!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 14, 2017, 09:24:47 AM
Massenet Werther.  This is a very nice production on DVD/Blu-ray with Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte.  The staging proposed by the (famous) film director Benoit Jacquot is very effective, and Michel Plasson a la baguette is hard to beat in this repertoire.  The only annoying thing is the excess in camera movement.  This unfortunately is often the case in filmed opera.

Kaufmann who has been criticized at times on GMG is an excellent Werther.  He has the physique, a certain fragility in the voice that fits the character perfectly.  I also find Sophie Koch perfect in Charlotte.  Sweet & tender.





Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 14, 2017, 10:18:41 AM
I don't dislike Sutherland either, but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, she is not a singer who really "speaks" to me. I have very few recordings of hers, but I do have a lot of recordings of bel canto operas, which of course include the operas of Donizetti.

I do have her recording of La Fille du Regiment, which is delightful, though, even here, her mushy diction bothers me somewhat. Pavarotti is superb, even if his French isn't that good. I think it's one of his best recordings.

Other than that, the bel canto operas I have are.

Bellini: I Capuleti e I Montecchi Sills, Baker, Gedda; Patane
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Filipeschi, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Ludwig, Corelli, Zaccaria; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Picchi, Neri: Gui (Live from Covent Garden 1952)
Bellini: Norma Callas, Simionato, Del Monaco, Zaccaria (Live from La Scala 1955)
Bellini: Il Pirata Callas, Ferraro, Ego; Rescigno (Live New York, 1959)
Bellini: I Puritani Callas, Di Stefano, Panerai, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Valletti, Modesti: Bernstein (Live La Scala 1955)
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto (Live Cologne 1957)
Donizetti: Anna Bolena Callas, Simionato, Raimondi, Rossi-Lemeni; Gavazzeni (Live La Scala 1957)
Donizetti: Don Pasquale Saraceni, Schipa, Poli, Badini; Sabjano
Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore Cotrubas, Domingo, Wixell, Evans; Pritchard
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Arie; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Tagliavini, Cappuccilli, Ladysz; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Raimondi, Zaccaria; Karajan (Live Berlin 1955)
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia Caballe, Berbie, Vanzo, Paskalis; Perlea (Live New York 1965)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Caballe, Verrett, Garaventa, Arie; Cillario (Live La Scala 1971)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Baker, Tinsley, Erwen, Garrard; Mackerras (Live in English ENO 1973)
Donizetti: Poliuto Callas, Corelli, Bastianini, Zaccaria; Votto (Live La Scala 1960)
Donizetti: Roberto Devereux Caballe, Carreras, Sardinero, Furlanetto (Live Toulouse 1977)
Rossini: Armida Callas, Albanese, Filipeschi, Ziliani, Raimondi; Serafin (Live Florence 1952)
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia Callas, Alva, Gobbi, Ollendorff, Zaccaria; Galliera
Rossini: La Cenerentola Baltsa, Araiza, Alaimo, Raimondi; Marriner
Rossini: Guillaume Tell Caballe, Mesple, Gedda, Bacquier; Gardelli
Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri Baltsa, Pace, Lopardo, Corbelli, Raimondi; Abbado
Rossini: Semiramide Penda, Pizzolato, Osborn, Regazo; Fogliani
Rossini: Il Turco in Italia Callas, Gardino, Gedda, Stabile, Calabrese; Gavazzeni

There are cuts in many of these too, particularly the older recordings, but I'll put up with them for the exceptional performances.

I know Callas is Callas, but you should go for at least one more Norma, etc with someone else. If only to see how much better Callas was.😋

(In seriousness, that Turco in Italia is so cut up a more modern recording is pretty necessary. Same thing can probably be said for Puritani.)

BTW, you may remember I asked about the Callas Remastered box some months ago on TC.  You will be happy to know I did get it, although, the vagaries of listening being what they are, I have yet to listen to any of it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 14, 2017, 10:28:59 AM
You will be happy to know I did get it, although, the vagaries of listening being what they are, I have yet to listen to any of it.
I did not get the full box, just a couple hires CDs in digital form.  As far as I can tell, there is no improvement over the Callas CDs I have.  Marketing does wonders !!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 14, 2017, 10:35:29 AM
I did not get the full box, just a couple hires CDs in digital form.  As far as I can tell, there is no improvement over the Callas CDs I have.  Marketing does wonders !!

There were enough Callas studio recordings I did not have, that for me it was justifiable.  The library did get a number of donated Callas CDs, I must admit.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 10:45:14 AM
I know Callas is Callas, but you should go for at least one more Norma, etc with someone else. If only to see how much better Callas was.😋

(In seriousness, that Turco in Italia is so cut up a more modern recording is pretty necessary. Same thing can probably be said for Puritani.)

BTW, you may remember I asked about the Callas Remastered box some months ago on TC.  You will be happy to know I did get it, although, the vagaries of listening being what they are, I have yet to listen to any of it.

Well. I have heard both Sutherland recordings, the (abridged) Suliotis, the Scotto, the Caballe and the Bartoli (please never again), but have never felt the need to own any of them.

Caballe's Norma is best represented by a DVD, which I do have, of the Orange production (with Jon Vickers). She was on fantastic form that night, and I really enjoy it, even if it is a rather old fashioned production.

Again, I've also heard some of the more complete, more modern versions of "Turco" , but, set beside the effervescently light Callas version, they all sound a bit po faced, which is why I've never felt the need to actually buy one. The same with the more modern versions of Lucia and I Puritani (I quite like the Caballe versions), and I can always listen to them on Spotify.

 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 14, 2017, 11:26:52 AM
I don't dislike Sutherland either, but, as I pointed out in an earlier post, she is not a singer who really "speaks" to me. I have very few recordings of hers, but I do have a lot of recordings of bel canto operas, which of course include the operas of Donizetti.

I do have her recording of La Fille du Regiment, which is delightful, though, even here, her mushy diction bothers me somewhat. Pavarotti is superb, even if his French isn't that good. I think it's one of his best recordings.

Other than that, the bel canto operas I have are.

Bellini: I Capuleti e I Montecchi Sills, Baker, Gedda; Patane
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Filipeschi, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Ludwig, Corelli, Zaccaria; Serafin
Bellini: Norma Callas, Stignani, Picchi, Neri: Gui (Live from Covent Garden 1952)
Bellini: Norma Callas, Simionato, Del Monaco, Zaccaria (Live from La Scala 1955)
Bellini: Il Pirata Callas, Ferraro, Ego; Rescigno (Live New York, 1959)
Bellini: I Puritani Callas, Di Stefano, Panerai, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Valletti, Modesti: Bernstein (Live La Scala 1955)
Bellini: La Sonnambula Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto (Live Cologne 1957)
Donizetti: Anna Bolena Callas, Simionato, Raimondi, Rossi-Lemeni; Gavazzeni (Live La Scala 1957)
Donizetti: Don Pasquale Saraceni, Schipa, Poli, Badini; Sabjano
Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore Cotrubas, Domingo, Wixell, Evans; Pritchard
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi, Arie; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Tagliavini, Cappuccilli, Ladysz; Serafin
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor Callas, Di Stefano, Raimondi, Zaccaria; Karajan (Live Berlin 1955)
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia Caballe, Berbie, Vanzo, Paskalis; Perlea (Live New York 1965)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Caballe, Verrett, Garaventa, Arie; Cillario (Live La Scala 1971)
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda Baker, Tinsley, Erwen, Garrard; Mackerras (Live in English ENO 1973)
Donizetti: Poliuto Callas, Corelli, Bastianini, Zaccaria; Votto (Live La Scala 1960)
Donizetti: Roberto Devereux Caballe, Carreras, Sardinero, Furlanetto (Live Toulouse 1977)
Rossini: Armida Callas, Albanese, Filipeschi, Ziliani, Raimondi; Serafin (Live Florence 1952)
Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia Callas, Alva, Gobbi, Ollendorff, Zaccaria; Galliera
Rossini: La Cenerentola Baltsa, Araiza, Alaimo, Raimondi; Marriner
Rossini: Guillaume Tell Caballe, Mesple, Gedda, Bacquier; Gardelli
Rossini: L'Italiana in Algeri Baltsa, Pace, Lopardo, Corbelli, Raimondi; Abbado
Rossini: Semiramide Penda, Pizzolato, Osborn, Regazo; Fogliani
Rossini: Il Turco in Italia Callas, Gardino, Gedda, Stabile, Calabrese; Gavazzeni

There are cuts in many of these too, particularly the older recordings, but I'll put up with them for the exceptional performances.


Too much Callas! :) But then, you knew I'd say that. How do you like the Algiers on that list? It's a hole on my list.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 14, 2017, 11:33:48 AM
Well. I have heard both Sutherland recordings, the (abridged) Suliotis, the Scotto, the Caballe and the Bartoli (please never again), but have never felt the need to own any of them.

Caballe's Norma is best represented by a DVD, which I do have, of the Orange production (with Jon Vickers). She was on fantastic form that night, and I really enjoy it, even if it is a rather old fashioned production.

Again, I've also heard some of the more complete, more modern versions of some of "Turco" , but, set beside the effervescently light Callas version, they all sound a bit po faced, which is why I've never felt the need to actually buy one. The same with the more modern versions of Lucia and I Puritani (I quite like the Caballe versions), and I can always listen to them on Spotify.

I quite understand how you feel about Bartoli.  She seems good only on recital discs, although her Sonnambula was  fairly good (it helps that JDF is the tenor), but definitely not comparable to Callas. Did you ever try Sills's Norma? Or the Garanca Capuleti e Montecchi?

And there is DiDonato's Cenerentola, which I have on CD (Naxos!) and DVD (a Barcelona production that ends on a sour and stupid note, but again JDF helps make it better).

And on another entry in that list, did you ever give Netrebko's  Anna Bolena DVD a try? Netrebko seemed better than usual in that one, I think, and the production is a rational one.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 14, 2017, 11:39:49 AM
Currently can't listen to a whole opera, but here's an aria that helped launch my interest. I credit Tom and Jerry for much of my love of opera (and classical in general). Pavarotti helped cement it on a live broadcast from Lincoln Center many years ago. But this aria is one I've known since I was a kid from various sources. Here is a more modern performance that I have enjoyed and still enjoy (not perfect, but then nearly impossible to be that, especially live). I usually have to listen to it more than once! :)
https://www.youtube.com/v/sDH288wnHjE
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on April 14, 2017, 12:57:28 PM
I did not get the full box, just a couple hires CDs in digital form.  As far as I can tell, there is no improvement over the Callas CDs I have.  Marketing does wonders !!
What's considered an improvement depends on many factors, but I did replace the old EMI box with the new one and definitely don't regret having spent the money ...

Too much Callas! :)
... impossible!  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 01:35:27 PM
Too much Callas! :) But then, you knew I'd say that. How do you like the Algiers on that list? It's a hole on my list.

There can never be too much Callas! But then, you knew I'd say that.  :)

The Algieri was a bit disappointing, to be honest. I saw Baltsa in the role at Covent Garden, and she was hilarious, but this Abbado set is a bit dull.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 01:51:06 PM
I quite understand how you feel about Bartoli.  She seems good only on recital discs, although her Sonnambula was  fairly good (it helps that JDF is the tenor), but definitely not comparable to Callas. Did you ever try Sills's Norma? Or the Garanca Capuleti e Montecchi?

And there is DiDonato's Cenerentola, which I have on CD (Naxos!) and DVD (a Barcelona production that ends on a sour and stupid note, but again JDF helps make it better).

And on another entry in that list, did you ever give Netrebko's  Anna Bolena DVD a try? Netrebko seemed better than usual in that one, I think, and the production is a rational one.

Yes I have heard Sills as Norma, and she lacks grandeur for me. I have the same problem with the Donizetti Tudor operas. Intelligent artist though she was, the voice was just too pallid and soubrettish for much of the repertoire she sang. Personally, I think one of her most successful recorded roles was Manon, which suited her voice much better.

DiDonato I like better in the flesh than on records, so I'd probably prefer the DVD. She is a superb actress with an electrifying presence, and has a tremendously solid technique. I just don't find the voice itself that interesting. I do think she's one of the most exciting performers in opera at the moment though.

I'm not a fan of Netrebko, and I don't like  her in the bel canto repertoire at all. She simply hasn't got the technique to get round the notes. I've seen bits of her Anna Bolena, and I just can't get on with all that scrabbling on the floor that passes for good operatic acting these days. Anna is a queen, for heaven's sake, and should have more dignity.

I also prefer Sills's Giulietta to Netrebko's. If I were looking for an alternative to the Patane recording, then I would no doubt go with Gruberova and Baltsa under Muti. Both Baker and Baltsa make more of an impression as Romeo than Garanca, whom I find rather uncommunicative.





Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on April 14, 2017, 08:01:56 PM
Just started to listen to this new acquisition

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81y47h9joGL._SL1500_.jpg)

Das Rheingold

The E flat major comes out seamlessly from the initial audience's noise. A very promising incipit.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 14, 2017, 09:38:38 PM
I've seen bits of her Anna Bolena, and I just can't get on with all that scrabbling on the floor that passes for good operatic acting these days. Anna is a queen, for heaven's sake, and should have more dignity.
This is what a british person, especially one who lived with Queen Elisabeth II, would say.  But Donizetti's british queens are outragious women, reaching full dementia at times.  Watch this DVD of Roberto Devereux



Dimitria Theodossiu (who has the technique to go with the notes, and is a true heir of your beloved Callas) camps a totally mad Elisabeth I, which is the exact vision of Donizetti's british royalty.  Devereux is probably the least successful of Donizetti british-inspired opera.  But if you like Callas, try Dimitria Theodossiu, she is quite something.

Anna Netrebko is fantastic in the russian repertoire.  True she sings all her heroin in the same Netrebko way, but can said  of many, if not all, opera singers.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2017, 10:45:25 PM
This is what a british person, especially one who lived with Queen Elisabeth II, would say.  But Donizetti's british queens are outragious women, reaching full dementia at times.  Watch this DVD of Roberto Devereux



Dimitria Theodossiu (who has the technique to go with the notes, and is a true heir of your beloved Callas) camps a totally mad Elisabeth I, which is the exact vision of Donizetti's british royalty.  Devereux is probably the least successful of Donizetti british-inspired opera.  But if you like Callas, try Dimitria Theodossiu, she is quite something.

Anna Netrebko is fantastic in the russian repertoire.  True she sings all her heroin in the same Netrebko way, but can said  of many, if not all, opera singers.

I don't think it has anything to do with being British. It's just remembering a simple truth about a character. Callas's outburst at Giudice ad Anna is a million times more intense than Netrebko's, well a million times more intense than anyone's really, and the miracle is, she achieves that by singing exactly what Donizetti wrote. If photographs are anything to go by, she also didn't have to resort to rolling around on the floor. Callas's genius lay in her superb musicianship (she was probably one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century) and her ability to reveal character just through the notes on the printed page.

I just watched some of Theodossiou's Elizabeth I on youtube, from two different productions. I'd say that, however mad she plays her, she never forgets she is a queen either. Netrebko's Anna is altogether too modern, too vulgar. I had similar misgivings about her Violetta. In an interview somewhere she spouted some nonsense about playing a more assertive, more modern Violetta, pushing people around in the first act, which is all very well, but it goes against the music, and has nothing to do with the Violetta Verdi wrote. Would an assertive, powerful woman give in so easily to Germont's parochial morality? I very much doubt it.

Too many producers these days do all sorts to impose their vision onto a piece, without considering the composer's vision. I have no objection to updatings or drawing parallels with different ages from the one the opera is set in, as long as it doesn't go against what the music is telling them.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 14, 2017, 11:05:11 PM
Just started to listen to this new acquisition

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81y47h9joGL._SL1500_.jpg)

Das Rheingold

The E flat major comes out seamlessly from the initial audience's noise. A very promising incipit.
What's the sound like on this, considering it's an old one?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 15, 2017, 02:10:34 AM
(https://www.hbdirect.com/coverm/thumbnails/825646340002.jpg)

Still on my Verdi binge, I move to Verdi's sprawling, uneven masterpiece, La Forza del Destino. The Preziosilla scenes tend to outstay their welcome for me, but they do add a sort of Shakespearean sweep to the opera, which, though mostly tragic in vein, also introduces us to the comic figure of Fra Melitone, brilliantly played by Renato Capecchi on this recording.

The great virtues of this set are Serafin's masterful conducting of the score and Callas's peerless Leonora. Others (Leontyne Price in her earlier recording, for instance) may have sung the score with more consistent beauty of tone, but none have peered so deeply into Leonora's psyche, nor rendered the score with such uncanny accuracy, perfectly executing all the little graces, with which the score abounds, but which are usually ignored by less technically accomplished sopranos. But, as usual with Callas, she goes beyond accurate observation of the score to reveal the meaning behind the notes. Her very first words (oh angosica) tell us of the conflict in Leonora’s heart, her voice suffused with melancholy. Other sopranos may have given us a more beautifully poised sustained pianissimo top Bb in Pace pace, or drawn a firmer line in La vergine degli angeli, and those for whom such vocal niceties are paramount should probably look elsewhere, but that would be a pity for they would miss

Quote
an unparalleled musical sensibility and imagination, subtle changes of tonal weight through the wonderfully shaped set-pieces, and a grasp of the musico-dramatic picture which is unique.
  (Lord Harewood in Opera on Record).

Rossi-Lemeni is a sympathetic and authoritative, but woolly voiced Padre Guardiano, Tagliabue a bit over the hill as Carlo and Tucker a forthright, virile presence, though he has a tendency to sob and aspirate in, one assumes, what he thought was the Italian manner.

No matter, the great moments are all with Callas and Serafin, the whole scene from Madre pietosa vergine to La vergine degli angeli a locus classicus of her incomparable art.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 15, 2017, 03:25:46 AM
I think I'd like to buy all of Janowski's Wagner recordings. Brilliant modern recordings with great casts

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51DutVNq6-L._SS500.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on April 15, 2017, 06:14:52 AM
What's the sound like on this, considering it's an old one?
Quite good, I'd say. It's a mono recording from the Bavarian radio broadcast archives, recently remastered.
In terms of sound, I've heard much worse things from the Green Hill than this one. And also in terms of performance.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 16, 2017, 01:58:31 AM
If this counts in this thread, I'm listening to this

(https://i.scdn.co/image/54ac0dda579befe5ddc1d326d5133ae81592baa3)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 16, 2017, 02:30:17 AM
Donizetti's Imelda de' Lambertazzi. A delight. This is an odd opera in the canon. Like others, it was a failure at it's premiere and has been rarely performed. No, it's not a happy opera (he's stabbed and she tries to suck out the poison and dies too). What it does have though, is a reversal of male voices. The father (and his brother) are played by tenors, while the lover (and son) is sung by a baritone! For me, it did make for a constant surprise, but the singing is quite good overall from the men (and the chorus, which is excellent). The title role is the only real female role and is sung well.  The orchestra is superb.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 16, 2017, 01:45:12 PM
I'm thinking of doing a complete run of The Ring Cycle while I'm still on short holiday, for now; thinking  ::)



(it's so long, that's also why I haven't stepped into Stockhausen's Licht again either in my current listening cycle)
DO IT! ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 17, 2017, 12:21:24 AM
(https://i.scdn.co/image/ba2d5f53c02d2f1270b48b8e1a2afd52dbe7bcec)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 17, 2017, 03:16:22 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/063/MI0001063159.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I move from late middle period Verdi to his second opera Un Giorno di Regno, an attempt at Donizettian comedy, which is actually quite enjoyable, though it doesn't bear many of the hallmarks of later Verdian style. the opera was not a success and Verdi wasn't to attempt comedy again, until his last, great masterpiece Falstaff, though he does introduce comic elements into Un Ballo in Maschera and La Forza del Destino.

I have two recordings of the opera, the other being the Philips/Gardelli recording, which I will listen to for comparison after this one, which was recorded in 1951. This one uses generally lighter voices than Philips version, with singers adept at Rossinian and Donziettian comedy. The female roles are both taken by light sopranos (Lina Pagliughi and Laura Cozzi), which seems to me more apposite casting than the mezzo Fiorenza Cossoto and dramatic soprano Jessye Norman on the Philips set. Juan Oncina, who was well known as a Rossini and Mozart tenor, makes an excellent Edoardo, though, if memory serves me correctly, the young Carreras also gives a terrific performance on the Philips set. The lower buffo roles are in the safe hands of Sesto Bruscantini and Renato Capecchi and Alfredo Simonetto conducts a jaunty, fleet and effervescent account of the score.

A very enjoyable set.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 17, 2017, 11:39:35 PM
(https://i.scdn.co/image/ba2d5f53c02d2f1270b48b8e1a2afd52dbe7bcec)

I listened just to act 2 of this today. It truly is something.....I guess in the hands of good performers it can evoke more emotion than almost any other single act of Wagner's music.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 18, 2017, 02:52:43 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41zF3DWaifL._SY400_.jpg)

A lesser known Massenet, much, much better than I expected:  I was a little disappointed by Le Mage, (in the same collection), an orientalist opera composed between Manon and Werther.  This is a late Massenet (1907) composed just before his don Quichotte (1910).

The story is reminiscent of Umberto Giordano, Andrea Chenier, as it takes place during the french revolution and Thérèse, the heroin is caught between her husband, a Girondin and Armand an aristocrat who offers her escape as her husband is to be guillotined when the Girondins camp fell against the Montagnards.  Instead, she decided to follow her husband to the scaffold.

The melodramatic libretto is told very simply in a very naturalistic way with much musical reference to the XVII musical style (already perceptible in Manon and Werther).

It's beautifully recorded, Nora Gubisch is a touching Thérèse and Charles Castronovo an ardent Armand, the self centered aristocrat.

It is a very condensed opera with a more modern and more refined musical writing than Manon and prefigures all the 20th century innovation.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 18, 2017, 06:28:29 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51rXyMB5syL.jpg)

Unlike the Cetra version, which I was listening to a couple of days ago, this one is note complete. It also enjoys excellent 1970s Philips stereo sound.

Other than that, I'm not sure I'd prefer it to the Cetra set, which has a greater sense of fun.

Though the Philips has a starry cast, role for role I'd take the Cetra cast in preference, save perhaps for Carreras's youthfully charming, honey- toned Edoardo. Cossotto sounds, to my ears at least, uncomfortable in the light soprano role of the Marchesa, and she lacks Pagliughi's natural charm. Norman too sounds miscast as Giulietta.

All in all, I'd have to say the Simonetto was a more joyous experience, not that the Gardelli is bad, but, next to the Simonetto, it all sounds a bit po faced.

I compare the two recordings on my blog

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/verdis-un-giorno-di-regno-2-recordings/?frame-nonce=2ac6a0730d
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 18, 2017, 12:00:24 PM
Having finally found time to watch act 2 last night, I now feel like enjoying this recording again.

(https://i.scdn.co/image/be98bd85f2be263da3c87f8de665c8a3b05c3787)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 18, 2017, 05:02:41 PM
Finally got around to finishing this. Reaction: :'( :'( :'(  waaaah why can't things just work out happily......I guess sad endings are even better anyway! (well, I tend to enjoy a good sad ending, and this has the perfect music to fit, perhaps not as well paced as Tristan though........Lohengrin is rather on the fast side!!!!)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71N6jlBVUXL._SY606_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 18, 2017, 08:41:29 PM
(well, I tend to enjoy a good sad ending, and this has the perfect music to fit, perhaps not as well paced as Tristan though........Lohengrin is rather on the fast side!!!!)
You can think of Lohengrin as a prelude to Parsifal.  Lohengrin+Parsifal that take a while, no longer a fast paced affair.
By the way, I rather like this DVD which I watched prior to seing the live performance at Paris-Bastille.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 18, 2017, 11:15:20 PM
You can think of Lohengrin as a prelude to Parsifal.  Lohengrin+Parsifal that take a while, no longer a fast paced affair.
By the way, I rather like this DVD which I watched prior to seing the live performance at Paris-Bastille.
That is an iteresting perspective and I can see how that definitely works.....
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 20, 2017, 02:23:23 AM
Olga Neuwirth - Lost Highway  8)


(https://www.kairos-music.com/sites/default/files/cds/0012542KAI_Neuwirth_webcover_0.jpg)

Found some video footage of a Lost Highway performance online. Looked fascinating with its use of several large video screens in back of the stage.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 20, 2017, 02:27:18 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/ZT099PpfvB_VYZMqzfvncdp6_F0=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-7763576-1448282700-1724.jpeg.jpg)

Verdi's seventh opera is patchily distinguished and no doubt holds a peripheral hold on the repertoire, because of his sympathetic treatment of the heroine, a character more well drawn than any of his previous leading ladies. Like all his early operas, it is brim full of wonderful tunes, and well worth hearing in a good performance such as this.

Caballe makes a superb Giovanna, singing with purity, beauty and, when required, strength, brilliantly supported by Domingo and Milnes, the star trio of the day. Levine's conducting tends to the loud and barnstorming, and consequently we lose some of the lyricism in Verdi's score. I prefer Gardelli's approach to early Verdi, EMI recorded the set before Philips had got round to recording it for their early Verdi project, meaning that it is missing from the series. Nonetheless, like the Orfeo recordings of Oberto and Alzira (both conducted by Gardelli) it makes a worthy adjunct to the Philips series.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 20, 2017, 02:27:40 AM
(https://i.scdn.co/image/f85e4a850e8482efbbcecf9bf10baea43fcb620d)

Seeing as there is a DVD available of this, I really really feel the urge to watch this. An incredible score; the vocal writing certainly feels highly emotive, and the instrumental wiring of the ensemble seems to match quite well.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 20, 2017, 02:31:10 AM
Found some video footage of a Lost Highway performance online. Looked fascinating with its use of several large video screens in back of the stage.

Is it from a production available on DVD or anything like that? Yet to be released? I really hope to watch this one day rather than just listen......
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 20, 2017, 02:33:48 AM
Is it from a production available on DVD or anything like that? Yet to be released? I really hope to watch this one day rather than just listen......

Not sure, jessop. Just did a Google search and found a few clips. Here's one I found...


https://vimeo.com/184604214

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 20, 2017, 02:42:22 AM
Not sure, jessop. Just did a Google search and found a few clips. Here's one I found...


https://vimeo.com/184604214



Thanks for this :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 20, 2017, 02:46:38 AM
I must add it seems like such an odd choice from Lynch's catalogue to choose to adapt for a movie. Like everything Lynch has done, it has evocative imagery that stays with you and themes that cut deep but an opera would be the last thing I'd have on my mind, considering too that the movie already has it's own excellent score by Angelo Badalamenti and a bunch of soundtracks from different bands/artists.

Olga created a magnificent score though, I really enjoyed it but it really has to be consumed as a separate identity, in my own opinion.

I suppose the worst thing that an adaptation could do is not add any new perspective on the original work....I'm fond of loose adaptations, or adaptations that really show a unique perspective on what it is based, but if an opera follows very closely to the original story but just with different or added music I feel it can be a bit of a wasted opportunity (e.g. Previn's 'A Streetcar Named Desire'). I don't know the story to 'Lost Highway' but I think Neuwirth writes music which is interesting enough on its own anyway. I'd like to see both the film and the opera for a comparison though.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 20, 2017, 03:40:11 AM
I suppose the worst thing that an adaptation could do is not add any new perspective on the original work....I'm fond of loose adaptations, or adaptations that really show a unique perspective on what it is based, but if an opera follows very closely to the original story but just with different or added music I feel it can be a bit of a wasted opportunity (e.g. Previn's 'A Streetcar Named Desire'). I don't know the story to 'Lost Highway' but I think Neuwirth writes music which is interesting enough on its own anyway. I'd like to see both the film and the opera for a comparison though.


I listened to a clip from the opera where the Mystery Man (played by Robert Blake in the film) tells Fred (Bill Pullman in the film) that he's at his house and hands him a (large) cell phone to call him there. It's a great scene in the movie. The opera used the same dialogue from the film word for word. There were even a few other snippets I listened to that similarly took the dialogue straight from the film script. Perhaps the adaptation doesn't sway too far from the original source?

Also, David Lynch is in my pantheon of filmmakers. I've always really loved Lost Highway, and think the story has all the great elements of a mysterious-tragic operatic tale. However, I think Twin Peaks has the potential to become the contemporary Ring Cycle with all its story lines and characters. Now we need to decide which composer gets the job?  8)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 20, 2017, 04:08:57 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/ZT099PpfvB_VYZMqzfvncdp6_F0=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-7763576-1448282700-1724.jpeg.jpg)

Verdi's seventh opera is patchily distinguished and no doubt holds a peripheral hold on the repertoire, because of his sympathetic treatment of the heroine, a character more well drawn than any of his previous leading ladies. Like all his early operas, it is brim full of wonderful tunes, and well worth hearing in a good performance such as this.

Caballe makes a superb Giovanna, singing with purity, beauty and, when required, strength, brilliantly supported by Domingo and Milnes, the star trio of the day. Levine's conducting tends to the loud and barnstorming, and consequently we lose some of the lyricism in Verdi's score. I prefer Gardelli's approach to early Verdi, EMI recorded the set before Philips had got round to recording it for their early Verdi project, meaning that it is missing from the series. Nonetheless, like the Orfeo recordings of Oberto and Alzira (both conducted by Gardelli) it makes a worthy adjunct to the Philips series.

It's an opera in which you can compare Domingo tenor vs Domingo baritone, but only at the cost of having to listen in Netrebko in the title role....
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 20, 2017, 04:11:28 AM
It's an opera in which you can compare Domingo tenor vs Domingo baritone, but only at the cost of having to listen in Netrebko in the title role....

I happy enough with Domingo as tenor, so I'll probably stick with this one.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 20, 2017, 04:18:39 AM
I happy enough with Domingo as tenor, so I'll probably stick with this one.

Wise decision :P
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 20, 2017, 05:22:18 AM
Listening to the less well known Victor Hugo opera, Ernani, by Verdi.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 20, 2017, 06:03:37 AM
Sorry, I'm busy working on Inland Empire..... :laugh:

Nice!  8)  Just watched that film again last month, crazy good!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on April 20, 2017, 06:40:12 AM
Revisiting Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten:


As a teenager, I was obsessed for a while with this opera, which I got to know throgh Böhm's studio recording on Decca (more or less simultaneous with this live performance, and with a similar cast). Nowadays, I see this work as embodying some of the very best traits of Strauss's art (a superb orchestration, a real talent for theatrical effect, and some of the most effective and touching writing for the soprano voice ever penned by a composer), but also--at moments--some of the worst (some empty-sounding bombast). But overall, this is a very enjoyable work and perfomance. Much of the music harks back to the "expressionistic" Strauss of Elektra, but with some really lovely lyrical moments present as well. I'd say Die Frau ohne Schatten, and not Der Rosenkavalier, is the real turning point in the composer's career; the cool public recpetion of this ambitious work in 1919 may have been the ultimate cause for Strauss abandoning any further experiments in "modernism", and retreating into the more apprachable and ultimately "autumnal" style of the last 30 years of his long life.

The sound is decent for a 1955 broadcast, albeit slightly congested at moments. The 29 year old Leonie Rysanek is simply superb as the Empress, beautifully fresh but vulnerable at the same time, and with her full soprano soaring over the orchestra. No wonder she virtually owned the rôle for over two decades. Hans Hopf's tenor (never the most beautiful of voices, but quite a robust one) is stretched to the limit in his fiendish rôle (something I do not recall from the studio version), Elisabeth Höngen is suitably nasty-sounding as the nurse, and Barak and his wife are very well portayed by Ludwig Weber and Christel Goltz (the major difference in casting with the studio effort is Paul Schöffler instead of Weber as the dyer).

Karl Böhm, the score's greatest champion after WW2, is also excellent here, and get's a wonderful response from his Viennese orchestra. The perfomance stems from the legendary season in which the rebuilt Vienna State Opera was reopened in 1955, and the festive feeling surrounding the whole affair can almost be sensed. The (at the time) standard cuts in the score do not really detract from the enjoyment.

Highly recommended!  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on April 22, 2017, 04:08:19 AM
Prompted by André's recent purchase, revisiting Catel's Sémiramis:


This is a curious piece. The blurb on the back of the hardcover book (I have the original "deluxe" edition, which was available at ca. 5€ some time ago on jpc) mentions that this very late tragédie lyrique incorporates the heritage of Gluck, but I do not really hear much connection with that German reformer of opera. Rather, I find this piece to be very interesting--and innovative--on the orchestral side (a great overture, and some very effective interludes and marches in the acts), but the vocal lines seem to hark back to a much earlier French style, one in which dramatic situations are treated with poised emotional detachment (pushing it to the extreme, in much 18th century French opera, if yo do not pay attention to the words, you would not be able to know whether a character is singing about a placid pique-nique on a sunny day in the country, or about the bloody slaughter of widows and orphans after a year-long siege of a city  :D ). When I realize that this Sémiramis was premièred five years after Cherubini's Medée), I can only think that Catel was essentially a conservative and really disregarded the Gluckian reforms (except, as mentioned before, in the imaginative use of the orchestra). But very pleasant and worthwhile, in any case.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 22, 2017, 04:30:13 AM
I actually read mixt reviews on this Catel opera.  Some people didnt like the declamatory style and the lack of arias.  The press was on the other hand glowing.  You sound positive.  I guess I will wait and see what André says.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 22, 2017, 05:01:57 AM
There is no french music between Rameau and Berlioz, so said a famous critic.  There is in fact a lot, but it stuck to a more classical form while the romantic stampete left them in musical oblivion.  This lovely recital takes arias from, Salieri Danaides, Rodolphe Kreuter Ipsiboé, Christoph Gluck, Alceste, Iphigénie en Tauride, Orphée et Euridice, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Phèdre, Etienne Méhul, Valentine de Milan, Johann Christian Bach Amadis de Gaule, Louis Ferdinand Hérold, Lastenie, Symphonie no 2 , Gaspare Spontini, Olympie

Besides the repertoire, I got this CD also for Jennifer Borghi, an Italo-American mezzo with killer eyes, which is starting to make a name for herself.

(http://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/03/15/5400439001503_600.jpg)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on April 22, 2017, 11:49:07 AM
Went slumming to the farther reaches of the operatic repertoire this afternoon:


Franco Leoni's L'Oracolo is so bad, it's good  ;D. All the clichés of verismo opera are there: a sordid story of lust, greed and murder among the "common folk" in a an exotic setting (San Francisco's Chinatown, which justifies the chinoiserie of the score--and sounds quite faux to me), lot's of effective choruses, a colourful orchestration and many bustling street scenes, alternating with sentimental outbursts (often underscored by a violin solo, of course  ;)), etc. When you've think you've heard it all, then the children's chorus enters (literally singing "la, la, la-la" at one point  ::) ). It all reminds me of some Puccini and, particularly, of Umberto Giordano. Compared to this opera, Cavalleria Rusticana appears as refined as Webern's Das Augenlicht.  0:)

But...it's all great fun. Its 60+ minutes made my drive to a sports center in the outskirts of Madrid and back go in a flash. It must be a riot to see L'Oracolo fully staged. :D

The live performance from Frankfurt a. M. is perfectly serviceable, despite the slight germanic accent of the chorus and the fact that tenor Carlo Ventre must have not been having a good day (sounding slightly hoarse at moments).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on April 23, 2017, 02:16:04 AM
I can't even think about the word "oracolo" without instantly being reminded of that wonderful ensemble Ogni cura si doni al diletto, from Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. I have listened so much to that incredible opera that almost all uses of "oracolo" make me think of that particular oracle, Ulrica.

"Dunque, signori, aspettovi
Signori, aspettovi, aspettovi,
Incognito, incognito, alle tre
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Della gran maga al piè,
Della gran maga al piè."

Maybe I should listen to it right now!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 23, 2017, 02:24:31 AM
I can't even think about the word "oracolo" without instantly being reminded of that wonderful ensemble Ogni cura si doni al diletto, from Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. I have listened so much to that incredible opera that almost all uses of "oracolo" make me think of that particular oracle, Ulrica.

"Dunque, signori, aspettovi
Signori, aspettovi, aspettovi,
Incognito, incognito, alle tre
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Della gran maga al piè,
Della gran maga al piè."

Maybe I should listen to it right now!

Go for it.

Either of the Callas sets would be my choice.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pAV2bK83L._SL1428_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51wmpBfEhWL.jpg)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 24, 2017, 12:56:24 AM
(http://boxset.ru/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Verdi-I-Lombardi-alla-Prima-Crociata-2-CD-APE.jpg)

Another one of Verdi's early "galley" operas, which experienced something of a rebirth in the 1970s. Alternatively inventive, inspired and conventional, it is certainly worthwhile reviving.

This set, if I remember correctly, was the first in Philips early Verdi series, conducted by Gardelli. Domingo and Raimondi are both excellent, but Deutekom makes a pallid Giselda, lacking the range of colour and dramatic bite the role really requires. She was only to sing on one more of the series (Attila), so maybe the creative team also had their doubts.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 25, 2017, 12:31:44 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/084/MI0001084942.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I'm putting my Verdi listening on hold for the moment to listen to something completely different; Delius's gorgeous, but rarely performed, opera A Village Romeo and Juliet.

Excellent performance of the work under Sir Charles Mackerras, though I hear the old Meredith Davies on EMI is also very good.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 25, 2017, 03:43:30 AM
Just watched the first act of this delightful production

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81fgK9L1fFL._SY500_.jpg)

Wagner always manages to be far speedier than I expect in his storytelling. This is captivating through and through. :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 25, 2017, 04:13:58 AM
Another very moving and evocative score from Sciarrino

(https://i.scdn.co/image/007105fc88df46ff72dd300acec2c9c3e563631b)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 25, 2017, 06:06:06 PM
Hard to read, but it's Janacek's Katya Kabanova, Prague National Theatre, Krombholc. Wonderful singing throughout, including stellar contributions from the leads, Tikalova and Blachut. Great sound for 1959.




(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61Xgd%2B05TpL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 26, 2017, 12:51:46 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51s3R9qxebL._SY355_.jpg)

Continuing my Verdi marathon.

Luisa Miller has always been considered as one of the best of Verdi's early operas, and shows Verdi increasingly in command of his craft. It was followed by Stiffelio, which was only recently rediscovered, and the first great masterpiece of his middle period Rigoletto.

Of the three recordings I know quite well (Caballe and Pavarotti under Maag, Ricciarelli and Domingo under Maazel being the others) this, the earliest, is on balance my favourite, though they are all excellent in their own way.

Moffo makes a most affecting heroine, not quite as inside the role as Ricciarelli, but more reliable vocally, though she should probably cede points to Caballe, who, however, can sound a tad too regal. Hard to choose between the three tenors, as all of them are excellent in their own way, but it is always a pleasure to hear Bergonzi's stylish singing of Verdi.

Cornell MacNeil is an excellent Miller and Tozzi and Flagello well in the picture in the two bass roles. Verrett is possibly slight overkill in the role of Federica, but not so disastrous as Obrasztsova on the Maazel and better than the under-cast Reynolds on the Maag.

Cleva is reliable, rather than inspired, but his conducting is in the best Italian tradition.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 26, 2017, 01:49:54 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51s3R9qxebL._SY355_.jpg)

Continuing my Verdi marathon.

Luisa Miller has always been considered as one of the best of Verdi's early operas, and shows Verdi increasingly in command of his craft. It was followed by Stiffelio, which was only recently rediscovered, and the first great masterpiece of his middle period Rigoletto.

Of the three recordings I know quite well (Caballe and Pavarotti under Maag, Ricciarelli and Domingo under Maazel being the others) this, the earliest, is on balance my favourite, though they are all excellent in their own way.

Moffo makes a most affecting heroine, not quite as inside the role as Ricciarelli, but more reliable vocally, though she should probably cede points to Caballe, who, however, can sound a tad too regal. Hard to choose between the three tenors, as all of them are excellent in their own way, but it is always a pleasure to hear Bergonzi's stylish singing of Verdi.

Cornell MacNeil is an excellent Miller and Tozzi and Flagello well in the picture in the two bass roles. Verrett is possibly slight overkill in the role of Federica, but not so disastrous as Obrasztsova on the Maazel and better than the under-cast Reynolds on the Maag.

Cleva is reliable, rather than inspired, but his conducting is in the best Italian tradition.
I was just thinking of this opera the other day when you posted your favorite Ballos. I was thinking of recommending one of the Bergonzi Ballos, which led me to thinking about what other Verdi operas I had with Bergonzi or that I had heard with him. And this Luisa Miller was one of those. And then I forgot I had meant to post some alternative recommendations! lol!  ???

MacNeil is not a favorite, but he's pretty good here, I agree. Amazing to think he had Asthma until his early 20s...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 26, 2017, 03:52:51 AM
Enjoying this a lot. Neuwirth is a fantastic composer.....

(https://www.kairos-music.com/sites/default/files/cds/0012542KAI_Neuwirth_webcover_0.jpg)

I really hope there's a full DVD recording of this one day.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2017, 12:29:51 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719v-j8sIyL._SL1417_.jpg)

One of the great tragedies of the gramophone is that Walter Legge never had the foresight to record Macbeth with Callas and Gobbi in the lead roles. If De Sabata could not have been lured into the studio, then Karajan might well have been the man for the job, and with Di Stefano as MacDuff and Zaccaria as Banquo, EMI would no doubt have ended up with a winner.

As it is, all Callas got to record of the role is Lady Macbeth's three great solos, setting the standard for all Lady Macbeths who followed.

At least we have the live version from La Scala, recorded in 1952 when Callas was at her vocal peak. The sound is not great, apt to crumble in places, but for such a performance its worth persevering.

First off we have De Sabata's symphonic approach to the score. What a shame some of the Act I finale was lost in transmission, for De Sabata's pacing is spot on and absolutely thrilling. Aside from Callas, the cast is a fine one. Some have found Mascherini's Macbeth a relatively weak presence next to his wife, but that is surely the point. Macbeth is a weak character. It is Lady Macbeth who drives the drama, both in Shakespeare, but even more so in Verdi. Italo Tajo and Gino Penno are excellent as Banquo and MacDuff, but it is Callas who dominates the performance and the opera. No other Lady Macbeth has so acutely observed  Verdi's meticulous markings, no other Lady Macbeth has sung with such power and force, and yet with such a range of colour and expression, no other Lady Macbeth has executed the fiendishly difficult fioriture with such uncanny accuracy. This is the stuff of genius, no doubt about it, and anyone who has ever doubted Callas's pre-eminence in the field should listen to it, preferably with score in hand.

Were it not for the sound, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be a top recommendation for the opera. It should be noted however that this Myto transfer is a great deal clearer than the murky EMI version.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2017, 12:39:28 AM
MacNeil is not a favorite, but he's pretty good here, I agree. Amazing to think he had Asthma until his early 20s...

Not a favourite of mine either, but very good as Miller. I didn't know about the asthma.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 27, 2017, 12:50:03 AM
Going to see this next month and I've never heard the whole thing before so I may as well listen to it. It's stunning!

(https://i.scdn.co/image/e82f890a9ce51be4edf45095d7d99e0369718599)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2017, 01:01:59 AM
Going to see this next month and I've never heard the whole thing before so I may as well listen to it. It's stunning!

(https://i.scdn.co/image/e82f890a9ce51be4edf45095d7d99e0369718599)

It's a fairly recent acquisition of mine. Gorgeous score.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 27, 2017, 06:09:39 PM
It's a fairly recent acquisition of mine. Gorgeous score.
Couldn't agree more!

TD

(https://i.scdn.co/image/ffcec94ef484e6a7c86dc6dc1e6b69e193fae67d)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 27, 2017, 06:18:54 PM
Couldn't agree more!

TD

(https://i.scdn.co/image/ffcec94ef484e6a7c86dc6dc1e6b69e193fae67d)

Thanks to PBS, many moons ago, that was the first Britten opera I saw: they showed the Glyndebourne production


I snagged the DVD, and found it matched my memory.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 27, 2017, 06:25:00 PM
Thanks to PBS, many moons ago, that was the first Britten opera I saw: they showed the Glyndebourne production


I snagged the DVD, and found it matched my memory.
Oh it really is wonderful isn't it! It's the only Britten opera I've seen live, and I watched that production afterwards. It's very funny. ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2017, 10:39:53 PM
Oh it really is wonderful isn't it! It's the only Britten opera I've seen live, and I watched that production afterwards. It's very funny. ;D

Oddly enough, it's one Britten opera I've never really taken to, though I agree this Glyndebourne production is very good.

I have recordings of Billy Budd, Peter Grimes, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Gloriana and The Rape of Lucretia, and enjoy them all very much, but have never felt tempted to add Albert Herring. Owen Wingrave is a bit of a blind spot too.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 27, 2017, 11:25:35 PM
Oddly enough, it's one Britten opera I've never really taken to, though I agree this Glyndebourne production is very good.

I have recordings of Billy Budd, Peter Grimes, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Gloriana and The Rape of Lucretia, and enjoy them all very much, but have never felt tempted to add Albert Herring. Owen Wingrave is a bit of a blind spot too.

Hmmm, well Albert Herring certainly seems brighter than many of his others and perhaps just a little bit closer to reality somehow. I think Turn of the Screw, Peter Grimes, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rape of Lucretia and others to be fantastic but somewhat more removed from a happy kind of 'reality' (opera is probably one of the least naturalistic forms of theatre, so any attempts to represent 'reality' in a realistic way would be futile) that you get with Albert Herring, if that makes sense....

Actually you know what, I think it just has some kind of charm throughout it that makes it stand out as unique in his output. And I like that, just as I like his other operas for different reasons.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 28, 2017, 12:35:45 AM
Hmmm, well Albert Herring certainly seems brighter than many of his others and perhaps just a little bit closer to reality somehow. I think Turn of the Screw, Peter Grimes, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rape of Lucretia and others to be fantastic but somewhat more removed from a happy kind of 'reality' (opera is probably one of the least naturalistic forms of theatre, so any attempts to represent 'reality' in a realistic way would be futile) that you get with Albert Herring, if that makes sense....

Actually you know what, I think it just has some kind of charm throughout it that makes it stand out as unique in his output. And I like that, just as I like his other operas for different reasons.

I can't argue with any of that, but for some reason I never find it as funny as I'm supposed to. A personal blind spot no doubt.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 28, 2017, 03:07:46 AM
This is like a blast of fresh air wow I love this

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s500x500/4357182.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 28, 2017, 04:43:39 AM
I can't argue with any of that, but for some reason I never find it as funny as I'm supposed to. A personal blind spot no doubt.

I don't think Albert Herring is funny, per se.  I don't think you suffer from a blind spot there. (And not all "comic" operas have laugh out loud moments.  Think of Elisir d'Amore, Meistersinger, Falstaff, and how limited their use of farce actually is.  Nozze di Figaro is replete with laugh-out-loud moments and comic dialogues, but it's the emotional moments like the Countess's aria which usually stand out.) AH is light toned, sarcastic, small scaled: a sharp look at British country town society (for all that the original source was Maupassant) that induces smiles and an occasional chuckle but no hilarity.  It's the same sort of background that we see in Peter Grimes, but here with no tragedy or emotional angst.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on April 28, 2017, 04:45:27 AM
I must revisit Die Meistersinger relatively often, as this marvelous opera helps me reconcile with the world  ;) :


This is a wonderful performance, with Kubelik getting the most out of his Bavarian orchestra (even if the tempi appear rather relaxed at times). The individual lines in the orchestra (so important in this "apotheosis of counterpoint") are perfectly drawn, and one gets to appreciate all the details of this miraculous score. The cast includes many long-time favourites of mine: Thomas Stewart as a very human and well-rounded Sachs (neither too much the philosopher, nor too much the cobbler), Gundula Janowitz a crystalline Evchen, Sandor Kónya a sweet-toned Walter (one of the few on record to manage his lines in the quintet to fit in nicely with the other singers), Fassbaender excellent as Magadelena, and Gerhard Unger a David that almost steals the show whenever he's onstage. And every single word is understood!

The sound is very good for its vintage (1967), but I do believe the technicians at the Bavarian Radio might have over-engineered this, in an apparent effort to reproduce some sort of stage action. Thus, in the opening chorale of Act 1, the chorus sounds rather far away (at the back of the church?), while the violin solo is right in your face. Also, after the quintet, Sachs suddenly seems to have moved away several feet when he sings "Jetzt all' am Fleck! Den Vater grüss!..." All very interesting, but perhaps not that "natural".

In any case, this is one of the great Meistersinger on record (of those I know, which are quite a few). Still, I have a special fondness for one version that has never really been that admired by critics, Silvio Varviso's live recording from Bayreuth in 1974. I cannot think of any other recording that so vividly captures the town of Nuremberg as one more character in the opera, and it has a wonderful folksy feeling to it. 

This clip is not from either the Kubelik or the Varviso, but in that succession of musical marvels which unfolds from the quintet to the end of Act III, this bit always brings a smile to my face:

https://www.youtube.com/v/yQOJoU4gq4g
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 28, 2017, 04:56:17 AM
David is actually my favorite character in Meistersinger.  So I am glad he steals the show!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 28, 2017, 05:25:00 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719v-j8sIyL._SL1417_.jpg)

A fuller review of the Callas/De Sabata Macbeth I've been listening to.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on April 28, 2017, 06:33:50 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719v-j8sIyL._SL1417_.jpg)

A fuller review of the Callas/De Sabata Macbeth I've been listening to.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/)

Great review. But.. that typo! And of all the places to have it, it had to be the URL!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 28, 2017, 07:29:44 AM
Great review. But.. that typo! And of all the places to have it, it had to be the URL!

As far as I know I can't change the URL, which simply uses my title, but eliminates the apostrophe.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 29, 2017, 01:28:47 AM
Just watched the first act of this delightful production

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81fgK9L1fFL._SY500_.jpg)

Wagner always manages to be far speedier than I expect in his storytelling. This is captivating through and through. :)

Finally got a chance to watch Act 2 haha. I might listen to some more Wagner tonight as well..........probably Boulez's Ring


And so I have chosen this

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51K48tdsZxL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2017, 05:02:21 AM
Going to see this next month and I've never heard the whole thing before so I may as well listen to it. It's stunning!

(https://i.scdn.co/image/e82f890a9ce51be4edf45095d7d99e0369718599)

Indeed it is, but do check out the Kaspszyk performance as, for me, it’s much more emotionally satisfying than Rattle’s.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 29, 2017, 03:55:37 PM
I will check that out once I am done with Boulez Ring :)

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/985/MI0000985254.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 30, 2017, 09:16:58 PM
Live performance of Snegurochka / Snow flower / Opéra de Paris

Nikolaï Rimski-Korsakov
Libretto Nikolaï Rimski-Korsakov/Alexandre Ostrovski

Opera with prologue and 4 acts (1882)

Direction musicale
    Mikhail Tatarnikov
Mise en scène
    Dmitri Tcherniakov

Snegourotchka (La Fille de neige)
    Aida Garifullina
Lel
    Yuriy Mynenko
Kupava
    Martina Serafin
Le Tzar Berendeï
    Maxim Paster
Mizguir
    Thomas Johannes Mayer
La Fée Printemps
    Elena Manistina
Le Bonhomme Hiver
    Vladimir Ognovenko

I spent a wonderful evening attending this opera.  It is an allegoric tale, not unlike Miyasaki anime movies, of love and spring as "snow flower" the daughter of "Spring Dame" and "Mr Frost" lands in a community as spring is coming.  Every young man and girl fall in love except her as she is not a human.  So she begs her mother to give her the ability to fall in love which happens, but then she melts as a consequence.  Somewhat of a folkloric opera, but the transposition by Dimiti Tcherniakov with some unreal scenes such as the forest tree which start moving around on stage provide a nice adaptation for contemporary audiences.

Aida Garifullina, 28yo, who sung the title role was the star of the evening.  A very fine and delicate voice, the perfect girl physique and a diaphanous skin, she was the perfect singer for this  role
Yuriy Mynenko, a countertenor plays the role of the sheperd.  A football player frame with this alto voice, this is quite something
Dame Spring (alto) was really poor, Tsar Berendeï (tenor) was a bit better but not very impessive.

Here are a few photos



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 30, 2017, 09:18:49 PM
And a couple more

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on April 30, 2017, 10:29:26 PM
Spineur, that looks amazing! What a wonderful evening that must have been. :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on April 30, 2017, 11:31:19 PM
Spineur, that looks amazing! What a wonderful evening that must have been. :)
Next: La Cenerentola in june
Don Carlos with Kaufmann and Yoncheva in the Fall
Fastaff in November
La Clemenza di Tito in Jan 2018
Pelleas et Melisande in April 2018
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 02, 2017, 02:33:11 AM
(http://backtovinyls.fr/5598-thickbox/claudio-abbado-verdi-macbeth.jpg)

Abbado's recording of Macbeth came out round about the same time as Muti's, and I have always preferred it. As in the Abbado Simon Boccanegra Cappuccilli is inspired to give one of his best performances on disc, and Verrett, though vocally more fallible than Cossotto on the Muti, is a psychologically more complex and interesting Lady Macbeth. I also prefer Abbado's more symphonic approach to the score, his La Scala forces playing brilliantly for him.

Sonically, of course, it is in a different league from the De Sabata live performance with Callas, and this would be my studio choice, but Callas is unbeatable in the role of Lady Macbeth, so the De Sabata is still the one I listen to most often.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 02, 2017, 03:39:53 PM
I listened to act 1 of this a couple of days ago so now I guess I'll do acts 2 and 3

(https://i.scdn.co/image/b84dbaf24cc84962c9fa4afe02e79cf823cfebcb)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Turner on May 02, 2017, 09:21:56 PM
Mozart - Idomeneo / Adam Fischer & soloists, Danish Radio Sinfonietta

First listen to this recording.
Haven´t paid much attention to the work before, but recently I got very fond of Lucio Silla/Harnoncourt.

Bought the Fischer recording second hand via a gift card, and I also have the Davis and Harnoncourt versions as LPs.

Once again, an attractive work & a fine recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 02, 2017, 09:46:28 PM
next up on stage:

Haydn - Orlando Paladino (Riccardo Minasi)
http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/orlando-paladino-16-05-2017-18724/

Verdi - Macbeth (Gianandrea Noseda)
http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/macbeth-05-05-2017-18702/

Prokofiev - The Fiery Angel (Gianandrea Noseda)
http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/der-feurige-engel-07-05-2017-18710/

So far have heard none of them, looking forward a lot!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 03, 2017, 11:32:50 PM
(https://img.discogs.com/Nw_itLI9tUue_mhCtUKYKlJUQL4=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-7357595-1439718358-9405.jpeg.jpg)

Verdi's I Masnadieri was a commission for London's Her Majesty's Theatre, the leading soprano role, Amalia written specifically for the talents of the Swedish nightingale, Jenny Lind. Though written after Macbeth, it was conceived before and consequently lives more in the world of Attila, with few of the original touches we find in even the first version of Macbeth. You will look in vain for anything as startling as Lady Macbeth's Sleepwalking Scene. There are of course some wonderful moments, prefiguring what we will hear in the middle period masterpieces, but they are just moments, less bound into the whole than they are in Macbeth.

Another excellent performance in the Philips series, with Caballe perfectly fulfilling the gentle coloratura requirements of Lind's role. Bergonzi is as stylish as ever as Carlo, Cappuccilli a fine Francesco and Raimondi excellent in the Lablache role of Massimiliano. Gardelli conducts as ever with a fine appreciation of early Verdian style.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 05, 2017, 12:23:20 AM
The final stretch!

(https://img.discogs.com/VXlpfkAvt53KdfQwTHm_zzHbgC4=/fit-in/500x434/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-4409320-1465017795-1679.jpeg.jpg)

Also, my favourite of the four but just by a tiny little bit ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 05, 2017, 05:03:52 AM
Antonio Salieri "Les Danaides"

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/713TMfevNdL._SL1500_.jpg)

This is what Berlioz wrote after attending this opera
One evening I paid a visit to the Opéra. There I saw Les Danaïdes, by Salieri. The gorgeous splendor of the spectacle, the rich fullness of the orchestra and the chorus, the wonderful voice and pathetic charm of Madame Branchu, rugged power [] filled me with an excitement and enthusiasm that I cannot attempt to describe.

Les Talens Lyriques under Christophe Rousset give here a very convincing performance of this blody mythological tale.  Next step: a live performance ?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 06, 2017, 10:07:12 AM
Being ill these days I am cutting my listening program to not too demanding pieces.  I chose Rockwell Blake a very light tenor with an extremely agile voice perfectly suited to Rossini.  In this light french repertoire he is adorable.  His aria from "La Dame Blanche" will break the most harden hearts

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 09, 2017, 09:03:26 AM
La forza del destino



Such a powerful Verdi !
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 10, 2017, 01:13:30 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Uu9UBFByL.jpg)

On balance this is still the best recording of Nabucco out there. Gobbi was nearing the end of his career, but is still superb, bringing the character alive like no other. Souliotis, at the beginning of her brief career, is stupendous as Abigaille, though the seeds of her demise can be heard in the thrilling recklessness of her singing. None of her later recordings is so successful.

None of the other singers is as interesting, but Gardelli's conducting is, as always, first rate, and the 1960s Decca recording wonderfully clear.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on May 10, 2017, 03:12:51 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Uu9UBFByL.jpg)
...Souliotis, at the beginning of her brief career, is stupendous as Abigaille, though the seeds of her demise can be heard in the thrilling recklessness of her singing....
Very true! Her "Salgo già nel trono aurato...", in its sheer recklessness (as you rghtly point out), always sends shivers down my spine...  :)

I must say that Sinopoli's Berlin version on DG (with another fantastic Abigaille in Ghena Dimitrova , and with the recklessness--in a good way--coming from the conductor's handling of the orchestra) is also quite good IMHO.

Regards,



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 10, 2017, 11:49:41 AM
(https://i.scdn.co/image/d0eb33b92af2ac50dec36391b78f2e25bfa8410c)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 12, 2017, 12:39:05 AM
(https://pxhst.co/avaxhome/39/ce/0014ce39_medium.jpeg)

On balance, this is probably my favourite recording of Otello, though I don't much care for Leonie Rysanek's Desdemona. It was recorded before Vickers had stage experience of the role, but he is still a great Otello and Gobbi arguably the best Iago on disc. Serafin conducts in the central Italian tradition; no great surprises, but unfailingly and unobtrusively right.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 14, 2017, 03:44:10 AM
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/5fOEk_kbLi4/maxresdefault.jpg)

There is little doubt in my mind that Vickers and Domingo were the two greatest Otellos of the latter part of the twentieth century, so it is only right that I should follow Vickers with Domingo. Though Domingo probes deeper in his later recordings (and in the many visual documents we have of his portrayal), I value this first one for the imaginative and musical singing of Scotto as Desdemona. Others (Tebaldi, for instance) may have sung the role with more beauty of tone, but few make the character come alive so well. Milnes is also in fine form, and, I think, better than any of the Iagos on Domingo's other recordings (Leiferkus is also interesting, but less vocally entitled). This is also one of Levine's best Verdi recordings, a lot less bombastic than he was apt to be in early Verdi.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on May 14, 2017, 05:59:53 AM
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/5fOEk_kbLi4/maxresdefault.jpg)

There is little doubt in my mind that Vickers and Domingo were the two greatest Otellos of the latter part of the twentieth century, so it is only right that I should follow Vickers with Domingo. Though Domingo probes deeper in his later recordings (and in the many visual documents we have of his portrayal), I value this first one for the imaginative and musical singing of Scotto as Desdemona. Others (Tebaldi, for instance) may have sung the role with more beauty of tone, but few make the character come alive so well. Milnes is also in fine form, and, I think, better than any of the Iagos on Domingo's other recordings (Leiferkus is also interesting, but less vocally entitled). This is also one of Levine's best Verdi recordings, a lot less bombastic than he was apt to be in early Verdi.

Given how easy it is to be bombastic in early Verdi....

I saw Milnes do Iago live when the Met toured the Zeffirelli production in 1979.   Richard Cassilly sang Otello: a substitute for Vickers, who claimed illness (rumor said he did this so often that the announcement before the performance was no surprise to most of the audience), and Gilda Cruz-Romo sang Desdemona.  Levine conducted, but I don't remember anything beyond the general feeling the man knew what he was doing.

When I say Milnes did Iago, I mean that he did more than just sing it, he also acted it, and to get the full impact of his performance one would need the video record.

I think I have this recording in a set not yet listened to....
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 14, 2017, 09:07:33 AM
Given how easy it is to be bombastic in early Verdi....


Well that rather depends on the conductor. Gardelli mostly avoids it in his Philips series, whereas Levine, in Giovanna d'Arco for instance, which he recorded for EMI, doesn't.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 14, 2017, 09:44:52 PM
Well that rather depends on the conductor. Gardelli mostly avoids it in his Philips series, whereas Levine, in Giovanna d'Arco for instance, which he recorded for EMI, doesn't.


I disagree. I have both of those Levine recordings and I think the generalization doesn't really fit. Of course, I like the Arco/Levine, but still, it isn't a characterization that strikes me as apt. Levine partners rather well. While listening to it, I was even struck by how much it reminds me of certain parts of other Verdi operas that were to come later. 

The Otello, on the other hand, is probably my favorite of any Otello (though the congestion in the recording can be maddening at times). It certainly ranks up there....
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 15, 2017, 12:20:55 AM
I disagree. I have both of those Levine recordings and I think the generalization doesn't really fit. Of course, I like the Arco/Levine, but still, it isn't a characterization that strikes me as apt. Levine partners rather well. While listening to it, I was even struck by how much it reminds me of certain parts of other Verdi operas that were to come later. 

The Otello, on the other hand, is probably my favorite of any Otello (though the congestion in the recording can be maddening at times). It certainly ranks up there....

It's also one of my favourites, though, as I intimated, Domingo's Otello is not yet the towering creation it was to become. Shame about the congested recording, though, which is not even as good as the earlier Serafin (also RCA) and nowhere near as good as the Karajan for Decca.

But I stand by my comments on Levine's Giovanna d'Arco. I just find that, in comparison to Gardelli, his conducting can be a bit too loud and over emphatic.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on May 15, 2017, 01:39:02 AM
When I say Milnes did Iago, I mean that he did more than just sing it, he also acted it, and to get the full impact of his performance one would need the video record.



Though it was never released commercially, the 1979 Met telecast with Milnes, Domingo, and Cruz-Romo, Levine conducting, is available from the Met's "On Demand" service:

http://www.metopera.org/Season/On-Demand/opera/?upc=811357012833

You do have to pay to "rent" it, or subscribe, though they do have a seven day free trial offer.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 15, 2017, 03:28:16 AM
This is a little off-topic, but I got this brand-new guide to russian opera

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/511tHVCn6TL._SY400_.jpg)

which is already one of the best selling book on amazon.fr
It gives a lot of valuable informations of the relationship with litterature.  Of course Pushkin is omipresent.  It will be translated to english.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 15, 2017, 11:47:38 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ylhlzAvdL.jpg)

Despite the cuts (traditional at the time) this recording, made in 1955, has managed to hold sway for over sixty years, and remains one of most regularly recommended. No other Rigoletto sings with such tonal variety, nor created a character of such psychological complexity; no other Gilda has so successfully captured the touch of wilfulness in the Gilda, nor managed the transition from virginal innocence to shame and self sacrifice with such truthfulness; no other tenor (though some have sung more stylishly) creates a Duke of such carefree charm. The opera can seem like a long series of duets for father and daughter, and here Gobbi and Callas are in perfect empathy with one another. Serafin's pacing of the score is absolutely spot on, and the La Scala forces play brilliantly.

Nothing is perfect in life, of course. There are the aforementioned cuts, and the recording is mono, though the voices come through well. Still this remains my favourite recording of Rigoletto. For a more detailed review of it, please take a look at my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/rigoletto/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/rigoletto/)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on May 16, 2017, 05:46:38 PM
Strictly speaking, this should go on the New Releases thread, but of relevance here.
1)Sony is reissuing Toscanini's Verdi recordings as part of its Classical Masters series


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81DviZ%2B79UL.jpg)
2) Warner/EMI is adding some titles to its budget "Home of Opera". That's the series without librettos.  Among the more interesting items:
Pretre conducting Samson et Delila
Rostropovich conducting War and Peace
Christie conducting Zauberflote
Less exciting but may be of interest.
Harnoncourt conducting Aida and Entfuhrung aus dem Serail
Dessay's Sonnambula
Sills in Barber of Seville (Levine) and Thais (Maazel)
Gruberova and Kraus in Lucia di Lammermoor (Rescigno)
Barenboim conducting Nozze di Figaro
3) DVD releases:
Moses und Aron from Paris National Opera
Floyd's Susannah from St Petersburg FLORIDA (on Naxos)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 17, 2017, 01:11:58 AM
I'm curious to know what is so particularly good about Verdi's music that he is one of the most recorded composer of operas in history. I love Verdi and I believe his own dramatic approach to structure based on existing forms worked brilliantly for him, but I've never felt his music interests me quite so much as Wagner, Bizet, Berlioz and composers after them on into the twentieth century.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 17, 2017, 02:04:54 AM
I will be seeing Rossini la Cenerentola, at Paris opera in a new staging by film director Benoit Jacquot.

So I picked the last MET dvd to get a good feel of this opera considering that the libretto differs significantly from Cinderella story.

The MET staging is a cold and unimaginative transposition to 1920 NYC, stripping the opera from its magic.  Fortunately, Elina Garanca in the title role carries the whole production with flying colors.  The rest of the cast is just OK.  The chorus assembled for this production is quite good.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 19, 2017, 01:21:51 AM
(https://i.scdn.co/image/53dc4c77dee42fbee3a607f8ea4b019d80f0296a)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 19, 2017, 09:07:41 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61lh7ii9ZHL._SL1063_.jpg)

Terrific! - my kind of thing as far as Operas go.. :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 20, 2017, 01:41:43 AM
I'm curious to know what is so particularly good about Verdi's music that he is one of the most recorded composer of operas in history. I love Verdi and I believe his own dramatic approach to structure based on existing forms worked brilliantly for him, but I've never felt his music interests me quite so much as Wagner, Bizet, Berlioz and composers after them on into the twentieth century.

It's a rather large topic to discuss here, which is really just a listeners' thread. If his music doesn't interest you, then that might just be down to personal taste.

As it happens, I also love Berlioz (Wagner not so much, though I appreciate his greatness), and I think his Les Troyens is one of the greatest masterpieces of opera ever written. That said, I know others who just think it's one long bore and no pleading on my part will make the slightest difference.

Verdi has his own thread, by the way, so you could start by taking a look at that and maybe posting your question there.
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,425.0.html (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,425.0.html)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 20, 2017, 01:46:36 AM
Les Troyens is so far pretty much the only work from Berlioz I've heard that I don't like.  :-[
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 20, 2017, 01:52:12 AM
Les Troyens is so far pretty much the only work from Berlioz I've heard that I don't like.  :-[
The problem with Les Troyens is that it is way too long and the second half (the Didon an Enée part) is much better than the first part.  Next time start at act III, and see if you feel the same way.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 20, 2017, 01:52:52 AM
Les Troyens is so far pretty much the only work from Berlioz I've heard that I don't like.  :-[

There you go then.

I love pretty much all Berlioz's music, and Les Troyens seems to me like the summation of his life's work.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 20, 2017, 02:00:47 AM
The problem with Les Troyens is that it is way too long and the second half (the Didon an Enée part) is much better than the first part.  Next time start at act III, and see if you feel the same way.

People often say that, but it's shorter than Gotterdammerung.

There is some great music in the first two acts. It would be a shame to miss out on that. It does need careful handing, though, and, so far, I haven't heard anyone who paces the opera as well as Colin Davis in both of his recordings.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 20, 2017, 02:28:45 AM
Yeah, the length is not an issue to me, after all Wagner is my favorite composer. I just find that the music is uninteresting and the orchestration is way too thin, based on what I heard about Les Troyens before I listened to it, I expected typical Berliozian bombing, instead it sounded almost like a chamber orchestra, especially the opening. I have no issue with refined and subdued sound, if it is combined with interesting music. To me, it was not. Admittedly I have heard it only a couple of times. Also, with Berlioz something like that was unexpected.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 20, 2017, 04:02:46 AM
Yeah, the length is not an issue to me, after all Wagner is my favorite composer. I just find that the music is uninteresting and the orchestration is way too thin, based on what I heard about Les Troyens before I listened to it, I expected typical Berliozian bombing, instead it sounded almost like a chamber orchestra, especially the opening. I have no issue with refined and subdued sound, if it is combined with interesting music. To me, it was not. Admittedly I have heard it only a couple of times. Also, with Berlioz something like that was unexpected.

This is where the conductor is so important. It doesn't sound thin in either of the two Davis recordings, quite the reverse in fact.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 20, 2017, 02:37:31 PM
The problem with Les Troyens is that it is way too long and the second half (the Didon an Enée part) is much better than the first part.  Next time start at act III, and see if you feel the same way.
No way the whole thing is amazing!!! :o
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 20, 2017, 02:39:05 PM
People often say that, but it's shorter than Gotterdammerung.

There is some great music in the first two acts. It would be a shame to miss out on that. It does need careful handing, though, and, so far, I haven't heard anyone who paces the opera as well as Colin Davis in both of his recordings.
Götterdämmerung is really fast paced though.....

And I agree, Colin Davis is excellent for Les Troyens.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 20, 2017, 07:58:01 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719robrmDzL._SL1286_.jpg)

Top stuff - almost finished now but may give it another spin when it has ended.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on May 20, 2017, 08:30:04 PM
It's a rather large topic to discuss here, which is really just a listeners' thread. If his music doesn't interest you, then that might just be down to personal taste.

As it happens, I also love Berlioz (Wagner not so much, though I appreciate his greatness), and I think his Les Troyens is one of the greatest masterpieces of opera ever written. That said, I know others who just think it's one long bore and no pleading on my part will make the slightest difference.

Verdi has his own thread, by the way, so you could start by taking a look at that and maybe posting your question there.
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,425.0.html (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,425.0.html)

And the best one can get, stunning cast and recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 20, 2017, 11:00:00 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71UNGdjDobL._SL1200_.jpg)

Another Bergonzi recording - like his work (may have to seek out more of his recordings in future).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 21, 2017, 05:55:38 PM
Recent listening:

(http://img.cdandlp.com/2013/06/imgL/115988284.jpg) (http://pictures1.kyozou.com/pictures/_20/19927/19926000.jpg)

From:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51rVS1DNaNL.jpg)

I was listening to Solti's Rheingold on the weekend so I thought I'd give this one a try too and I was really suprised by how good it was (it does'nt seem to be a top pick for this work on the internet AFAIK..).
Enjoyed the Janowski Rheingold so now continuing with Die Walkure.




Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 21, 2017, 07:48:53 PM
Janowski is such a fantastic Wagner conductor. Brilliant, but not given a great deal of praise for his truly excellent recordings.....his more recent ones on Pentatone are some of my favourite recordings of Wagner ever made.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 22, 2017, 12:09:20 AM
Re: "Les Troyens", "the two" Colin Davis recordings are the two studio/official ones, I assume? There are more by him that seem to be bootleg:
http://www.operadis-opera-discography.org.uk/CLBZTROY.HTM
Haven't listened to any recording of this opera (nor to a live performance), but I have Dutoit (1993) and Davis (LSO live 2002) on my shelves. Should I look for the earlier Davis as well?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 22, 2017, 05:37:05 AM
Haven't listened to any recording of this opera (nor to a live performance), but I have Dutoit (1993) and Davis (LSO live 2002) on my shelves. Should I look for the earlier Davis as well?

Both the earlier studio Davis recordings are, I think, superb, but I marginally prefer his studio cast, Vickers and Veasey in particular, though Janet Baker would have been even better (to judge from her EMI recording of the final scenes).

Dutoit isn't in the same league, I'm afraid.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 22, 2017, 09:56:29 AM
Both the earlier studio Davis recordings are, I think, superb, but I marginally prefer his studio cast, Vickers and Veasey in particular, though Janet Baker would have been even better (to judge from her EMI recording of the final scenes).

Dutoit isn't in the same league, I'm afraid.
Philips 1969 and ...?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 22, 2017, 02:01:22 PM
Re: "Les Troyens", "the two" Colin Davis recordings are the two studio/official ones, I assume? There are more by him that seem to be bootleg:
http://www.operadis-opera-discography.org.uk/CLBZTROY.HTM
Haven't listened to any recording of this opera (nor to a live performance), but I have Dutoit (1993) and Davis (LSO live 2002) on my shelves. Should I look for the earlier Davis as well?

Of Davis' two commercial recordings, only one is studio (Philips). The 2002 is live (LSO Live). As far as Dutoit's, I have it and love it. It's a fine achievement, as is all of Dutoit's Berlioz. That said, Davis' Philips studio effort is a solid first choice. Great "Berlioz" feel, great cast, and fantastic sound, eclipsing that of LSO Live's (the Barbican is a dud, acoustics-wise).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 22, 2017, 08:18:16 PM
Of Davis' two commercial recordings, only one is studio (Philips). The 2002 is live (LSO Live). As far as Dutoit's, I have it and love it. It's a fine achievement, as is all of Dutoit's Berlioz. That said, Davis' Philips studio effort is a solid first choice. Great "Berlioz" feel, great cast, and fantastic sound, eclipsing that of LSO Live's (the Barbican is a dud, acoustics-wise).
Okay, thanks - let's see if Universal will reissue the Philips one eventually ...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 22, 2017, 08:29:42 PM
Okay, thanks - let's see if Universal will reissue the Philips one eventually ...

Perhaps in a box set of other Colin Davis Berlioz recordings? Somehow I think that is much more of a possibility than a reissue of that Les Troyens alone, in a nice box and with a printed libretto.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 22, 2017, 09:06:06 PM
Perhaps in a box set of other Colin Davis Berlioz recordings? Somehow I think that is much more of a possibility than a reissue of that Les Troyens alone, in a nice box and with a printed libretto.

Not sure, as single operas in cheapo editions are still popping up regularly ... but a reissue of this would be an option I guess:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41FPP76SHJL.jpg)

(They could also add the bits they left off the "complete" orchestral & sacred box.)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 23, 2017, 04:20:21 AM
Listening to one of my favourite things at the moment

(https://i.scdn.co/image/048c1002caf3986706711af598e45603438b67de)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 26, 2017, 11:48:54 AM
I had this dvd in its sealed box for close to a year.  After seeing the snow maiden also staged by Tcherniakov, I started to watch this production, which is a bit on the dark side.

The cast is dominated by Tatania Monogarova in the key role of Fevronia

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 26, 2017, 07:38:44 PM
Janowski is such a fantastic Wagner conductor. Brilliant, but not given a great deal of praise for his truly excellent recordings.....his more recent ones on Pentatone are some of my favourite recordings of Wagner ever made.

Managed to listen to Janowski's ring this week and I was very impressed - agree he's a great Wagner conductor! :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 26, 2017, 07:44:57 PM
Today's listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71UNGdjDobL._SL1200_.jpg)

Listening to this work again - think this is one of the best Karajan recordings in my collection (really like his Cavalleria Rusticana too).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/7164QF3z6BL._SL1200_.jpg)

Good good :)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 27, 2017, 03:45:57 AM
Caught the final night of the repeat of "Macbeth", done last season with Teodor Currentzis conducting (he chickened out from this year's gig and had Maxim Emenchyalev jump in (a local newspaper review that didn't like it at all created the rumour that Currentzis didn't conduct because of the silly production ... I wasn't of that same opinion). For the repeat, Gianandrea Noseda took over and did a very good job. Never saw the opera before, and with this amazing production got a perfect start, I think. Minimalist stage setting, lots of off voices (witches, most of the choir, except for the lame scene in the fourth act that has to be staged of course), very little "action", as the director, Barrie Kosky, read the piece as taking place mostly in the heads of the Macbeths ... Tatiana Serjan and Dalibor Jenis were magnificient in the main roles, the rest kept up well, but of course is of much less importance to this opera. Serjan was part of the original production already, but Jenis obviously owned his part just as much. Some more impressions in German over here, as usual:
http://ubus-notizen.blogspot.ch/2017/05/verdi-macbeth-jenis-serjan-noseda-kosky.html

Now playing the recording of "Macbeth" to be found in here:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/469/MI0003469841.jpg)

Callas and Mascherini at La Scala in 1952, cond. Victor de Sabata. Have the Leinsdorf, Gardelli, Abbado and Muti lined up, too, for later.

When I got home last night, I needed a break, then watched a short portrait of ... Teodor Currentzis' (of course) that had been lying on our TV box for months (I'm being scolded for that all the time, but the mood has to be right for all things music, no?) - fascinating of course, in both positive and negative ways - guess he ranks with the most extreme dictator=conductors, there's even a scene where Vito Priante who voiced his opinion while they were recording "Don Giovanni", had to publicly apologize ... kinda practiced Stalinism, but of course dressed in - you may say disguised as - nowadays cloth of true bondism and friendship and all that fake "social" crap ... either way, as the "Macbeth" from the set above will be over in a few minutes, watching that documentary, which was shot the time that Currentzis and his forces re-did "Don Giovanni" (the first production a year before was left in the can as Currentzis felt it wasn't right - so finally I got to hear what caused that delay), has me curious to finally listen to this a first time, it has been on the pile since its release:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81zX62-0AtL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 27, 2017, 04:10:56 AM
Caught the final night of the repeat of "Macbeth", done last season with Teodor Currentzis conducting (he chickened out from this year's gig and had Maxim Emenchyalev jump in (a local newspaper review that didn't like it at all created the rumour that Currentzis didn't conduct because of the silly production ... I wasn't of that same opinion). For the repeat, Gianandrea Noseda took over and did a very good job. Never saw the opera before, and with this amazing production got a perfect start, I think. Minimalist stage setting, lots of off voices (witches, most of the choir, except for the lame scene in the fourth act that has to be staged of course), very little "action", as the director, Barrie Kosky, read the piece as taking place mostly in the heads of the Macbeths ... Tatiana Serjan and Dalibor Jenis were magnificient in the main roles, the rest kept up well, but of course is of much less importance to this opera. Serjan was part of the original production already, but Jenis obviously owned his part just as much. Some more impressions in German over here, as usual:
http://ubus-notizen.blogspot.ch/2017/05/verdi-macbeth-jenis-serjan-noseda-kosky.html

Now playing the recording of "Macbeth" to be found in here:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/469/MI0003469841.jpg)

Callas and Mascherini at La Scala in 1952, cond. Victor de Sabata. Have the Leinsdorf, Gardelli, Abbado and Muti lined up, too, for later.

Good stuff KU :) - I've listened to Macbeth a couple of times but Im not really familiar with it at all: I must try and re-visit this one at some stage.

Listening to some Verdi tonight too:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719robrmDzL._SL1286_.jpg)

Sublime recording - I would dearly love to get that big Karajan Opera box on DG but it is beyond my budget at the moment.. :'(
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Drasko on May 27, 2017, 04:39:45 AM
Caught the final night of the repeat of "Macbeth", done last season with Teodor Currentzis conducting (he chickened out from this year's gig and had Maxim Emenchyalev jump in

Maybe he just fancied better another gig? Don't know exactly what days was that Macbeth run but Currentzis is at the moment conducting the finale of Diaghilev Festival in Perm with super starry cast - Natalia Osipova as the Firebird and Diana Vishneva as Petrushka (would love to see that!)

http://diaghilevfest.ru/en/programme/detail/4824

on topic:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Rw8pcglsL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 27, 2017, 06:47:07 AM
Maybe he just fancied better another gig? Don't know exactly what days was that Macbeth run ...

It was "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" that he let go (official version was he fell ill, I don't know anything more, but you never really know anyway). He did the first run of this "Macbeth" production and got great reviews.

Serail was this here:
http://www.opernhaus.ch/vorstellung/detail/die-entfuehrung-aus-dem-serail-06-11-2016-18491/

I enjoyed it a lot, but then I love Olga Peretyatko, and the whole ensemble was pretty fine. On top of that the stage production made sense to me as a whole, even if I didn't consider every aspect of it to be good.

Reaching the end of the "Don Giovanni" now ... not going to be my favourite recording by a stretch, but there's lovely playing and some mighty fine singing here. I've always liked Karina Gauvin, and I think Kenneth Tarver as Don Ottavio is stunning!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 27, 2017, 07:01:59 AM
Listening to some Verdi tonight too:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719robrmDzL._SL1286_.jpg)

Sublime recording - I would dearly love to get that big Karajan Opera box on DG but it is beyond my budget at the moment.. :'(

That's a recording I've not yet heard ... but one of the Verdi operas I'm quite familiar with (the others being: Don Carlo, La Traviata, Rigoletto, and to a somewhat lesser extent La forza del destino, Nabucco, Il Trovatore ... and yes, that means I've never yet heard Un ballo in maschera - I actually might have, live 20 years back, can't say for sure -, Otello and Simon Boccanegra ... Falstaff I've heard live 20 years ago, I know, but somehow that opera so far doesn't do a lot for me ... also got recordings of a few lesser known ones ready: Il Corsaro, I Due Foscari, Ernani, Giovanna d'Arco, I Lombardi, Luisa Miller, I Masniaderi, I Vespri Siciliani, though I guess that one may be one of the better knowns, all things considered? And the French Don Carlos by Abbado has been waiting for a while, too) ... and actually I just realise the Leinsdorf recordings of "Macbeth" from the "Great Recordings" and the "Verdi at the Met" boxes don't seem to be identical ... the former lacks to provide recording dates, lousily, but the timings differ quite a bit, provided we have the same cast and forces and probably within a year or so.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: marvinbrown on May 27, 2017, 07:59:27 AM


  One fateful day, Alberich that wretched lascivious troll shall lust after 3 voluptuous maidens and set into motion a series of events that shall bring the end of the gods and usher in a new, and hopefully better world.

 



  This ring cycle MUST be in every opera fan's collection. Fast, gripping and utterly electrifying!

  marvin

 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on May 27, 2017, 09:13:21 AM
and actually I just realise the Leinsdorf recordings of "Macbeth" from the "Great Recordings" and the "Verdi at the Met" boxes don't seem to be identical ... the former lacks to provide recording dates, lousily, but the timings differ quite a bit, provided we have the same cast and forces and probably within a year or so.

RCA make the studio recording (in the "Great Recordings" box) in Feb. 1959, the month of the opera's first Met performances (including the broadcast in the "Verdi at the Met" box). IIRC, the studio recording makes fewer cuts than the live Met performances did, accounting for the difference in timings.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 27, 2017, 11:11:33 AM
RCA make the studio recording (in the "Great Recordings" box) in Feb. 1959, the month of the opera's first Met performances (including the broadcast in the "Verdi at the Met" box). IIRC, the studio recording makes fewer cuts than the live Met performances did, accounting for the difference in timings.

So they're even from the same month ... that *is* confusing. But thanks for confirming my new finding!

Btw, next up, next week:
http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/der-feurige-engel-07-05-2017-18710/

Never yet heard any Prokofiev opera, and the reviews are very positive. And I like the "2 hours without break" ... I guess by skipping the lame parts of acts III and IV, you could do the same with "Macbeth" (though you'd need to find a way to explain the end, but I'm sure that would be quite feasible with the right stage production ... just have them suckers go insane, they don't even need outside force to go bonkers).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 27, 2017, 04:45:17 PM
That's a recording I've not yet heard ... but one of the Verdi operas I'm quite familiar with (the others being: Don Carlo, La Traviata, Rigoletto, and to a somewhat lesser extent La forza del destino, Nabucco, Il Trovatore ... and yes, that means I've never yet heard Un ballo in maschera - I actually might have, live 20 years back, can't say for sure -, Otello and Simon Boccanegra ... Falstaff I've heard live 20 years ago, I know, but somehow that opera so far doesn't do a lot for me ... also got recordings of a few lesser known ones ready: Il Corsaro, I Due Foscari, Ernani, Giovanna d'Arco, I Lombardi, Luisa Miller, I Masniaderi, I Vespri Siciliani, though I guess that one may be one of the better knowns, all things considered? And the French Don Carlos by Abbado has been waiting for a while, too) ... and actually I just realise the Leinsdorf recordings of "Macbeth" from the "Great Recordings" and the "Verdi at the Met" boxes don't seem to be identical ... the former lacks to provide recording dates, lousily, but the timings differ quite a bit, provided we have the same cast and forces and probably within a year or so.

The only Verdi Operas I know to any extent are Aida, Rigoletto and La Traviata - I own the box of "Great Opera" recordings on EMI/Warner but have not gotten to it yet.. So much Verdi to listen to - Opera is one area of my collection where my buying has gotten far ahead of my listening :-[.
Its been a pretty long time since I listened to any Opera but I am feeling enthusiastic about it now - hopefully I can get to some of that unheard stuff in my pile (and Im sure there are some good discoveries to be made!) :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 27, 2017, 04:55:20 PM

  One fateful day, Alberich that wretched lascivious troll shall lust after 3 voluptuous maidens and set into motion a series of events that shall bring the end of the gods and usher in a new, and hopefully better world.

 



  This ring cycle MUST be in every opera fan's collection. Fast, gripping and utterly electrifying!

  marvin

 

Another recording (as part of the big Wagner live "cube") thats in my pile at the moment - Soon I hope... :o

Now listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91hHJwvdGnL._SL1500_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51rVS1DNaNL.jpg)

Been listening to Janowski and Solti's Ring Cycles this week - good stuff! :D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on May 27, 2017, 05:08:19 PM
That's a recording I've not yet heard ... but one of the Verdi operas I'm quite familiar with (the others being: Don Carlo, La Traviata, Rigoletto, and to a somewhat lesser extent La forza del destino, Nabucco, Il Trovatore ... and yes, that means I've never yet heard Un ballo in maschera - I actually might have, live 20 years back, can't say for sure -, Otello and Simon Boccanegra ... Falstaff I've heard live 20 years ago, I know, but somehow that opera so far doesn't do a lot for me ... also got recordings of a few lesser known ones ready: Il Corsaro, I Due Foscari, Ernani, Giovanna d'Arco, I Lombardi, Luisa Miller, I Masniaderi, I Vespri Siciliani, though I guess that one may be one of the better knowns, all things considered? And the French Don Carlos by Abbado has been waiting for a while, too) ... and actually I just realise the Leinsdorf recordings of "Macbeth" from the "Great Recordings" and the "Verdi at the Met" boxes don't seem to be identical ... the former lacks to provide recording dates, lousily, but the timings differ quite a bit, provided we have the same cast and forces and probably within a year or so.

Not yet heard Otello? That does need fixing. Since you have the MET box you can try the one there. It's from 1940. I have no idea of how good it is. (I have a hard time getting past sonics on anything recorded, say, 1948 or before. And even past that date in some cases, especially in orchestral choral and opera.) Beyond that you have your pick of several modern recordings.

BTW, checking on that MET box brought this to my attention.


Going by the casting, there should be several great performances there.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 28, 2017, 06:08:24 AM
Pelleas et Mélisande, Claude Debussy

Inghelbrecht 1962 live recording at the Theatre des Champs Elysées.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51KD6F12H0L._SY400_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 28, 2017, 06:23:34 AM

  One fateful day, Alberich that wretched lascivious troll shall lust after 3 voluptuous maidens and set into motion a series of events that shall bring the end of the gods and usher in a new, and hopefully better world.

 



  This ring cycle MUST be in every opera fan's collection. Fast, gripping and utterly electrifying!

  marvin

 

Böhm's Götterdämmerung is disappointing. Gutrune sounds like an old woman.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 28, 2017, 10:59:03 PM
Not yet heard Otello? That does need fixing. Since you have the MET box you can try the one there. It's from 1940. I have no idea of how good it is. (I have a hard time getting past sonics on anything recorded, say, 1948 or before. And even past that date in some cases, especially in orchestral choral and opera.) Beyond that you have your pick of several modern recordings.

BTW, checking on that MET box brought this to my attention.


Going by the casting, there should be several great performances there.

Not heard in this case just means: all of this needs time, and time for "Otello" will certainly come   :)

I have plenty of recordings ready for that time!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 29, 2017, 04:50:14 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71GwzMPZe8L._SL1500_.jpg)

Das Rheingold, WWV 86A
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 30, 2017, 04:01:11 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61z9pByEjRL.jpg)

Listening to this new recording for the first time - sounds great so far.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on May 30, 2017, 07:44:49 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61z9pByEjRL.jpg)

Listening to this new recording for the first time - sounds great so far.

Dream cast made in heaven.  :-*
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Contemporaryclassical on May 30, 2017, 08:08:32 PM
Dream cast made in heaven.  :-*

Do you recommend this recording?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 30, 2017, 11:38:24 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71GwzMPZe8L._SL1500_.jpg)

Das Rheingold, WWV 86A

My first (and favorite) Ring!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 30, 2017, 11:39:43 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61z9pByEjRL.jpg)

Listening to this new recording for the first time - sounds great so far.

My first (and favorite) rigoletto!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 31, 2017, 12:54:56 AM
That's a recording I've not yet heard ... but one of the Verdi operas I'm quite familiar with (the others being: Don Carlo, La Traviata, Rigoletto, and to a somewhat lesser extent La forza del destino, Nabucco, Il Trovatore ... and yes, that means I've never yet heard Un ballo in maschera - I actually might have, live 20 years back, can't say for sure -, Otello and Simon Boccanegra ... Falstaff I've heard live 20 years ago, I know, but somehow that opera so far doesn't do a lot for me ... also got recordings of a few lesser known ones ready: Il Corsaro, I Due Foscari, Ernani, Giovanna d'Arco, I Lombardi, Luisa Miller, I Masniaderi, I Vespri Siciliani, though I guess that one may be one of the better knowns, all things considered? And the French Don Carlos by Abbado has been waiting for a while, too) ... and actually I just realise the Leinsdorf recordings of "Macbeth" from the "Great Recordings" and the "Verdi at the Met" boxes don't seem to be identical ... the former lacks to provide recording dates, lousily, but the timings differ quite a bit, provided we have the same cast and forces and probably within a year or so.

I review 5 different recordings of Aida here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/verdis-aida-a-comparative-review-of-5-different-recordings/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/verdis-aida-a-comparative-review-of-5-different-recordings/), though not the above Solti recording, which, for me anyway, is ruined by Solti's over loud, bombastic conducting; nor do I really join in with the general round of praise for Gorr's Amneris, though Price and Vickers are excellent.

I have recordings (sometimes more than one) of all Verdi's operas except, Oberto, Jerusalem (his re-working of I Lombardi and Aroldo (the re-working of Stiffelio.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 31, 2017, 01:01:26 AM
Now playing the recording of "Macbeth" to be found in here:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/469/MI0003469841.jpg)

Callas and Mascherini at La Scala in 1952, cond. Victor de Sabata. Have the Leinsdorf, Gardelli, Abbado and Muti lined up, too, for later.



Shame that EMI did such a bad job of the transfer, which is just a copy of one of the pirates. EMI didn't even notice that the copy they had splices in (from a performance with Leyla Gencer) part of the Act I finale which was lost in transmission.

The best sound I've heard is on Myto and it's a hundred times clearer than the EMI.

(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/719v-j8siyl-_sl1417_.jpg?w=1024)

I review the Callas version here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/)



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 31, 2017, 11:41:15 AM
@Tsaraslondon: thanks a lot - crazy times here and off for a short vacation (I really do need it!) from tomorrow on ... will read upon my return! And hopefully the recently announced Callas live box will improve that situation, that Callas Verdi box was dirt-cheap anyway (but I've amassed so many live recordings, not sure how attractive the upcoming box really is, had no time to run against what I already have, and I guess in many cases we're talking of improving sound from extremely poor to very poor, so the question is: how much does it really matter?)

On top of the crazy times, btw, just did attend a show of Profokofiev's "The Fiery Angel" (and fought sleep a few times, I'm afraid) - musically excellent I found, very dense and intense and dissonant and most though-provoking, with an amazing Ausrine Stundyte in the main role (and an excellent Leigh Melrose in the male main role) and Gianandrea Noseda conducting - all very good, but I still found it lacking as far as theater goes. And I'm okay with that quite often in opera, but this time after the good reviews I had somewhat higher expectations and found the whole action just to be mostly make-believe, movement that had no connection to the plot really, which is a story, not a play. But either way, I guess I need to investigate some recordings of Prokofiev operas, of which I have none. This was my very first exposure, and as such it was mighty good for sure! Any recommendations?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on May 31, 2017, 12:11:01 PM

... This was my very first exposure, and as such it was mighty good for sure! Any recommendations?

I attended the Fiery angel in Lyon opera house last fall and also found it to be a difficult work.  The supertitle were not quite enough to follow the action.

I have quite a few Prokofiev opera on dvd.  I would definitively recommend this one (if you can find a copy).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51K0QKJPH4L._SY400_.jpg)

great singers, very intelligent staging and extraordinary ballets.  It is much more accesdible than the Fiery angel.  It is a very convincing opera.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on May 31, 2017, 12:24:57 PM
I attended the Fiery angel in Lyon opera house last fall and also found it to be a difficult work.  The supertitle were not quite enough to follow the action.

I have quite a few Prokofiev opera on dvd.  I would definitively recommend this one (if you can find a copy).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51K0QKJPH4L._SY400_.jpg)

great singers, very intelligent staging and extraordinary ballets.  It is much more accesdible than the Fiery angel.  It is a very convincing opera.
This here seems to be the same, but different cover?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51zyQ8k3PpL.jpg)

Will make a note, thanks!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 31, 2017, 04:16:06 PM
Dream cast made in heaven.  :-*

Thanks - yes I really enjoyed this one (ended up listening to it several times!) :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on May 31, 2017, 04:22:01 PM
My first (and favorite) Ring!

I made the mistake of collecting Haitink's Ring as my first recording (it wasn't too bad in most respects but I agree with the people who thought Eva Marton's Brunnhilde was horrible).
I bought this Solti ring a couple of years back (although I only listened to it last week) and I think it's brilliant! - I can see how this could be a favourite recording :).

My first (and favorite) rigoletto!

Good stuff haha - yes this one is great for sure! :D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 31, 2017, 11:07:09 PM
Do you recommend this recording?

It depends on what you want from an opera recording. If it's chiefly beautiful singing, then it might be the one for you.

However if you want something a little more dramatically truthful, then I'd go for Serafin with Gobbi, Callas and Di Stefano (unfortunately in mono with the cuts traditional at the time),

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ylhlzAvdL.jpg)

or Giulini, with Cappuccilli, Cotrubas and Domingo.

(http://www.paminasopera.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/51H-gi1-WKL.jpg)



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 31, 2017, 11:15:56 PM
@Tsaraslondon: thanks a lot - crazy times here and off for a short vacation (I really do need it!) from tomorrow on ... will read upon my return! And hopefully the recently announced Callas live box will improve that situation, that Callas Verdi box was dirt-cheap anyway (but I've amassed so many live recordings, not sure how attractive the upcoming box really is, had no time to run against what I already have, and I guess in many cases we're talking of improving sound from extremely poor to very poor, so the question is: how much does it really matter?)

On top of the crazy times, btw, just did attend a show of Profokofiev's "The Fiery Angel" (and fought sleep a few times, I'm afraid) - musically excellent I found, very dense and intense and dissonant and most though-provoking, with an amazing Ausrine Stundyte in the main role (and an excellent Leigh Melrose in the male main role) and Gianandrea Noseda conducting - all very good, but I still found it lacking as far as theater goes. And I'm okay with that quite often in opera, but this time after the good reviews I had somewhat higher expectations and found the whole action just to be mostly make-believe, movement that had no connection to the plot really, which is a story, not a play. But either way, I guess I need to investigate some recordings of Prokofiev operas, of which I have none. This was my very first exposure, and as such it was mighty good for sure! Any recommendations?

Well it remains to be seen what the sound on the Warner box will be like, and what sources they used. I heard that they approached Pablo Berruti at Divina Records, who goes to great lengths to find the very best sources and transfers them painstakingly, but Warner weren't prepared to pay him a reasonable fee, so I fear we will just get a re-hash of the EMI, where there is one, and copies of whatever CD issue they can get their hands on.

I can't really help with Prokoviev operas. Years ago I saw the ENO production of War and Peace, which was excellent and a Sendak designed production of The Love for Three Oranges at Glyndebourne, also excellent and also a long time ago. The only recording I have any real knowledge of is the Bolshoi War and Peace, with a starry cast under Melik-Pashayev.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/517W65054SL.jpg)

Well worth investigating.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 02, 2017, 12:13:15 PM
A nice recital with arias ranging from the sort of familiar to the totally unknown.  All phases of Mayerbeer's career are represented.  Two arias are marked "world premiere recording".

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 02, 2017, 04:33:06 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71J40tA0N-L._SL1200_.jpg)

Another work Im not especially familiar with - quite an old recording but it sounds good in this incarnation.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on June 03, 2017, 01:33:30 AM
I hate to sound like a broken record but Don Giovanni is IMO Mozart's greatest opera. I am not familiar with that recording but with Fischer-Dieskau in the lead role you can't go wrong. Hope you enjoy it!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on June 03, 2017, 05:23:56 AM
Earlier this morning Act 1 & 2


Now just finished Act 3. It makes me shiver all the times.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 03, 2017, 09:08:48 AM
A nice recital with arias ranging from the sort of familiar to the totally unknown.  All phases of Mayerbeer's career are represented.  Two arias are marked "world premiere recording".


This is indeed a very nice album, with some of the finest music Meyerbeer composed.  Half of the operas (2 in German-Alimek - Ein Feldlager in Schlesien, 2 in italien-Il crociato in Egitto-Emma di Resburgo) were unknown to me.

Veronique Gens just recorded also a Grand Opera album

, with 100% obscure french operas.  In spite of the very strong presence of Veronique Gens, I have to admit that there are here good reasons why some of these operas have been forgotten.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on June 03, 2017, 09:42:40 AM
Earlier this morning Act 1 & 2


Now just finished Act 3. It makes me shiver all the times.

After reading about Jeffrey Tate's death, I decided to give this another listen:

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 03, 2017, 05:18:20 PM
This is indeed a very nice album, with some of the finest music Meyerbeer composed.  Half of the operas (2 in German-Alimek - Ein Feldlager in Schlesien, 2 in italien-Il crociato in Egitto-Emma di Resburgo) were unknown to me.


Meyerbeer's Crociato is available in at least one CD version from Naxos, but I think there are other recordings, including a DVD.  Beyond this Damrau CD I haven't heard a note of it, however.

TD
Doing two operas today.  It's time to get serious with my Opera Pile.
This afternoon starting Karajan's Ring with Rheingold


There seems to be a budget reissue from last year btw



Then tonight, after some other CDs, the first opera, Armida, in this set, which I have had for eight years or more but never played until tonight.


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81fJZ3xINbL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 03, 2017, 06:50:06 PM
I hate to sound like a broken record but Don Giovanni is IMO Mozart's greatest opera. I am not familiar with that recording but with Fischer-Dieskau in the lead role you can't go wrong. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks very much for your reply - I really enjoyed the recording of Don Giovanni and am listening to it again now :):

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71J40tA0N-L._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71XedbCZp2L._SL1374_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 03, 2017, 09:31:01 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vVyz1DKcL._SL1200_.jpg)

I wasn't sure if I liked this work at first but I am enjoying it now - the vocal cast in this version is superb! :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 04, 2017, 10:42:07 PM
Current listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Jn7VpG67L._SL1200_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 04, 2017, 10:54:07 PM
Current listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Jn7VpG67L._SL1200_.jpg)
Wonderful recording IMHO. My go-to Figaro...Karl Böhm at his best, and a wonderful cast (Janowitz & Mathis!  :) )
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 04, 2017, 11:38:37 PM
Wonderful recording IMHO. My go-to Figaro...Karl Böhm at his best, and a wonderful cast (Janowitz & Mathis!  :) )

Thank you :) - I can't fault this one and think it's my kind of thing.
Up till last weekend this was the only version of the work that I owned (I hope the new versions I bought measure up to this though perhaps that might be a bit difficult..).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Maestro267 on June 05, 2017, 05:15:02 AM
Wagner: Das Rheingold
John Wenger (Wotan), Oleg Bryjak (Alberich), Simon Yang (Fasolt), Malcolm Smith (Fafner), Hans-Jorg Weinschenk (Loge)
Badische Staatskapelle/Neuhold
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 05, 2017, 10:41:22 AM
Two days ahead of you
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-wHSeD6nL.jpg)
Yesterday I did Walkure, tomorrow I hope to do at least the first half of Gotterdammerung.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Maestro267 on June 06, 2017, 05:43:17 AM
I must point out that right now this is no conscious intention to listen to the entire Ring cycle. Not long after I got the set, I listened to Götterdämmerung, and while I enjoyed it, I was mentally exhausted at the end of it. I probably couldn't do the whole thing in 4 days, or even in a week. I'm effectively treating them as four separate operas. This may well end up being the time where I listen to it in order, but maybe one a week. I am not committing myself to anything rn.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 06, 2017, 02:13:59 PM
I must point out that right now this is no conscious intention to listen to the entire Ring cycle. Not long after I got the set, I listened to Götterdämmerung, and while I enjoyed it, I was mentally exhausted at the end of it. I probably couldn't do the whole thing in 4 days, or even in a week. I'm effectively treating them as four separate operas. This may well end up being the time where I listen to it in order, but maybe one a week. I am not committing myself to anything rn.

I don't blame you. I have extra time on my hands, and decided to give it a try.  In fact, I am listening to Act II of Gotterdammerung right now, and will listen to it all the way through. But I didn't try to listen to it all in one go. I listened to the first two hours (Prologue and Act I) this morning, then ate, did errands, ate supper. So a long break between the two halves.  And all the other music I listened to this week, with one exception, was by Rameau, Bach, and Haydn. On purpose.  (The exception was Richter playing the Diabelli Variations.)

And I will give Wagner a bit if a rest, but not a long one.  This was a first listen to the Karajan. But I also have four other Rings (Solti, Barenboim, Janowski, and a mono hotchpotch) and a number of the non Ring operas sitting in a pile....
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 06, 2017, 04:39:17 PM
How do you balance a heavy Wagner diet?
With this
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41TVERSHRVL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 06, 2017, 09:45:16 PM
Aribert Reimann: Medea

A more recent work of his (premiered in 2010 at Vienna State Opera) and I have only heard Lear out of everything he has composed, so it's nice to explore his works more.

(https://i.scdn.co/image/30238c7d93c4206b4cd7656c6a814e4449a345a9)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 07, 2017, 01:37:05 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51k2e%2BmRQjL._SS500.jpg)

Sound isn't great of course, but the coruscating brilliance of Callas's performance burst through like a scorching blaze of fire.

Fuller review on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/1986/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/1986/)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: James on June 07, 2017, 02:06:00 AM
this over the last few wks, and will continue for many, many more ..

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 07, 2017, 03:26:45 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51k2e%2BmRQjL._SS500.jpg)

Sound isn't great of course, but the coruscating brilliance of Callas's performance burst through like a scorching blaze of fire.

Fuller review on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/1986/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/1986/)
Ah, a different Medea to the one I listened to....how is the treatment to the plot? Which source is this opera based on mostly?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 07, 2017, 06:13:08 AM
Ah, a different Medea to the one I listened to....how is the treatment to the plot? Which source is this opera based on mostly?

I'm not sure whether you meant a different composer or a different performance.

Callas only ever sang Cherubini's Medea, which is based on Euripides. It starts from when Medea arrives in Corinth and follows Euripides pretty closely after that.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 07, 2017, 10:27:37 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51k2e%2BmRQjL._SS500.jpg)

Sound isn't great of course, but the coruscating brilliance of Callas's performance burst through like a scorching blaze of fire.

Fuller review on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/1986/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/1986/)
Do you know these Callas recordings with Bernstein and Tulio Serafin?





Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 07, 2017, 11:11:41 AM
Spineur, note his avatar.

You are addressing THE Callas Expert of GMG.

I think the only way he could increase his devotion to her would be to travel back in time and become her lover.  >:D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 07, 2017, 11:36:47 AM
Spineur, note his avatar.

You are addressing THE Callas Expert of GMG.

I think the only way he could increase his devotion to her would be to travel back in time and become her lover.  >:D
I know !! This is why I am kindly asking Tsaras to make a comparison between these recordings. Actually, I would be really interested in a good recording of the french version which has all the recitative.  The compiegne version is OOP and not that good from what I have heared.  The modern adaptation on DVD from La monnaie is more interesting, although judging from the cover it may not be my cup of tea (the inked arm among other things).

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 07, 2017, 11:50:44 AM
...Actually, I would be really interested in a good recording of the french version which has all the recitative. 

Well, there's this one...


...but sadly, it's not really any good.  :(
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 07, 2017, 11:59:46 AM
Do you know these Callas recordings with Bernstein and Tulio Serafin?





The Bernstein performance, once issued by EMI and to be included in the Warner Live Opera Box out in September, is a justly famous one. Callas is in terrific voice, and interest lies in the different textual choices taken by Gui and Bernstein, and the differences in their approach, Gui more Classical, Bernstein verging on the Romantic. Gui also gives us more of the score. The sound is better on the Bernstein, and is best sampled on Ars Vocalis (if you can find it) or Myto.

The Serafin is a studio performance, recorded in stereo in 1957, and, for that reason, enjoys the best sound of all. Serafin's conducting is disappointingly staid, and Callas is not in her best voice. However she is incapable of being dull, and I was happy enough with this performance until I heard some of the live versions.

My favourite of all is from Dallas in 1958, with Rescigno conducting, Vickers as Giasone, Berganza as Neris and Zaccaria as Creon. Though Callas's voice doesn't have the heft it had in Florence under Gui, and at La Scala under Bernstein, her concept of the part is more subtle, and it was recorded on a night when she was on top form. Some say that the vitriol she poured out was aimed at Bing, who had just cancelled her Met contract. Whatever it was, it finds her singing with more security than at any other time in 1958. Again. it's best to look for Ars Vocalis or Myto.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 07, 2017, 12:28:16 PM
Thank you Tsaras !   This really finished convincing me that the warner live box was really worth getting.  Her mexico city performance of Aida is quite famous as is her Lisbon Traviata.  I have her Visi d'Arte from this performance on a CD but that's it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 07, 2017, 02:55:40 PM
I'm not sure whether you meant a different composer or a different performance.

Callas only ever sang Cherubini's Medea, which is based on Euripides. It starts from when Medea arrives in Corinth and follows Euripides pretty closely after that.

A different opera, the post I made right above yours is Medea by Aribert Reimann. The Reimann one is based on a play by Franz Grillparzer which I think is just another version of the same story. Reimann adapted the work for his opera and retold it in a contemporary setting. The opera is only seven or eight years old by now, but I would be interested to know what you think if you have found the time to hear it or see it since then. :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 07, 2017, 05:31:50 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71dqWYAE-vL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Feeling a little bit tentative about posting this - I get the impression Puccini isn't much liked around GMG? (I enjoy his music a lot so will essentially be posting stuff about him whether it bothers other people or not.. >:D ;D).
Excellent recording - all the cast are in fine form.. :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 07, 2017, 05:37:31 PM
No, no, Puccini gets some respect here
TD
Haydn
La Vera Constanza
Dorati conducting Jessye Norman et al.

A very Mozartean tinge to this one.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 07, 2017, 05:42:37 PM
No, no, Puccini gets some respect here

Ahhh thats great Jeffrey, thanks for letting me know (feeling better already!) :D.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 07, 2017, 07:37:29 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71dqWYAE-vL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Feeling a little bit tentative about posting this - I get the impression Puccini isn't much liked around GMG? (I enjoy his music a lot so will essentially be posting stuff about him whether it bothers other people or not.. >:D ;D).
Excellent recording - all the cast are in fine form.. :).

That is putting it mild, the best around .
full stop.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 07, 2017, 07:57:10 PM
That is putting it mild, the best around .
full stop.
It's my favorite too, but there are some other quite outstanding ones.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Contemporaryclassical on June 07, 2017, 08:03:49 PM
That is putting it mild, the best around .
full stop.

Would you recommend it to a seasoned listener getting into Puccini's music?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 07, 2017, 10:12:07 PM
Would you recommend it to a seasoned listener getting into Puccini's music?

I do, together with the outstanding Butterfly recording ( same principal singers), I would say: go for it
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 08, 2017, 12:42:16 AM
Would you recommend it to a seasoned listener getting into Puccini's music?

It's certainly one of the best around, and the sound is excellent, but I would not want to be without this one

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61EwVwiOFaL.jpg)

or this one

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51u85HRXaNL.jpg)

Both are in mono only, but the sound is very acceptable, if not in the demonstration class (like the Karajan).

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Cato on June 08, 2017, 02:47:54 AM
Taneyev's The Oresteia, from the Bard Festival of 2013, Leon Botstein conducting the American Symphony Orchestra:


Available here:

https://www.amazon.com/Taneyev-Botstein-American-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B00FOTT6TS/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1496922285&sr=1-1-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=taneyev+oresteia (https://www.amazon.com/Taneyev-Botstein-American-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B00FOTT6TS/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1496922285&sr=1-1-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=taneyev+oresteia)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 08, 2017, 03:43:37 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Vw0%2BUt0LL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

Der Fliegende Holländer, WWV 63

First listen Fridays :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2017, 04:53:40 AM
Great fun. A remarkable score, a bizarre and rather funny plot with excellent music to match.

(https://i.scdn.co/image/26e2b4f40fbe87e785dd9a0cac7777706ac0fc2e)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 09, 2017, 07:29:43 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YLvfMKQcL._SX425_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Another first listen..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 09, 2017, 09:25:23 AM
Great fun. A remarkable score, a bizarre and rather funny plot with excellent music to match.

(https://i.scdn.co/image/26e2b4f40fbe87e785dd9a0cac7777706ac0fc2e)

I keep getting tempted by a used DVD of that in the local used CD store. I think it was filmed during the original​ production.  Problem is, what I have heard by Henze has not appealed to me.   You might be more interested.

TD
First Listen Friday
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oX6Wmzi7L.jpg)
My set came used (from that same CD store, in fact) with no booklet, so I am relying on Wikipedia to follow the storyline.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 09, 2017, 09:33:34 AM
Re Henze
I don't see the DVD on Amazon. But this LP issue had the same cover image.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91nKuiujnLL.jpg)
I would guess your CD is the reissue of this, and the DVD is the film version.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2017, 01:38:19 PM
Well I guess no music is for everyone. Der junge Lord has a rather large range of styles that Henze used for the purpose of the drama whilst still being remarkably true to his own style of writing. Perhaps it could be this mixture of neo-classical, neo-romantic and other styles that people might not be so fond of?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 09, 2017, 03:01:53 PM
Well I guess no music is for everyone. Der junge Lord has a rather large range of styles that Henze used for the purpose of the drama whilst still being remarkably true to his own style of writing. Perhaps it could be this mixture of neo-classical, neo-romantic and other styles that people might not be so fond of?

It was the violin concertos that I tried and didn't like.  Whichever style(s) he used there.

To be honest, I was chiefly concerned that if I got the DVD, it would simply join the unwatched pile of DVDs.

But I thought you might be interested in it, if you ever come across it. (It's obviously long OOP.)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2017, 04:45:57 PM
It was the violin concertos that I tried and didn't like.  Whichever style(s) he used there.

To be honest, I was chiefly concerned that if I got the DVD, it would simply join the unwatched pile of DVDs.

But I thought you might be interested in it, if you ever come across it. (It's obviously long OOP.)
Ah I do like the violin concertos haha. And yes I think a Henze DVD would be something I'd seek out. 8) the one I'd most like to see is The Bassarids, but with the original libretto by Auden. I think the German translation is more often performed but I don't know for sure....anyway it's one of those Apollonian vs Dionysian plots which I love so much. I don't know if it's on DVD...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2017, 04:47:13 PM
Re Henze
I don't see the DVD on Amazon. But this LP issue had the same cover image.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91nKuiujnLL.jpg)
I would guess your CD is the reissue of this, and the DVD is the film version.
Just noticed that this cover has a huge spoiler in the image that points out the twist ending. :laugh:
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 09, 2017, 05:20:26 PM
Now playing:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/062/MI0001062869.jpg?partner=allrovi.com) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

First time listening to Böhm's Ring Cycle - sounds pretty good for an old live recording!.
Edit: Just listened to the first couple of Discs today (I'll finish it off later as after taking a break I felt like continuing with something different) but I was essentially impressed with what I heard so far and thought it was a strong version..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 09, 2017, 10:43:38 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81Mc8avxh1L._SL1200_.jpg)

Been listening to excerpts from this recording the last few days - I really like this (Cotrubas and Domingo are wonderful!)..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 10, 2017, 12:32:12 AM
Haven't heard this one before so now would be the time to check it out I think

(http://s.mxmcdn.net/images-storage/albums4/5/6/2/5/8/8/32885265_500_500.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 10, 2017, 12:51:22 AM
I haven't heard that but Kurt Weill's works are always excellent  8)
For someone who has such mixed feelings about opera in general you should read up about what he was doing here. You might like it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 10, 2017, 01:03:27 AM
Of course I know the Alabama Song  ;) but just the opera as a whole. Kurt Weill's music (like Gershwin) is very close to my heart, I'm surprised I haven't heard the whole thing yet  ???

What do you think of it?  :)
Well I am only listening to it for the first time on spotify and I find the music quite enjoyable.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 10, 2017, 01:16:34 AM
Alright  :) I think I'm gonna put it on my to-do list  ;D

Btw, have you ever heard his symphonies?

I have but not since 2013 when I was was listening to a lot of Krenek, Weill, Hindemith, Eisler etc
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 10, 2017, 12:36:06 PM
Richard Strauss Der Rosenkavalier
Carlos Kleiber Bayerischen Staatsoper.

Production director Otto Schenk


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 10, 2017, 06:13:32 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51X0QFQTVTL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Listening to this again - terrific recording ( theres essentially nothing to complain about!).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 10, 2017, 07:54:09 PM
(http://s6.postimg.org/5wxuhx4sx/81_Ns_POa_F_a_L_SL1400.jpg) (http://postimage.org/)

Just purchased this set, starting with: La Boheme.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 10, 2017, 08:13:52 PM
(http://s6.postimg.org/5wxuhx4sx/81_Ns_POa_F_a_L_SL1400.jpg) (http://postimage.org/)

Just purchased this set, starting with: La Boheme.

Good stuff that looks like a nice set (I noticed it may have gone OOP as it is now very expensive..).
Do you think "Webernian" will ask you for a recommendation about this one? (j/k sort of.. ;)).
I purchased the Stereo version of Tebaldi's La Boheme on Decca earlier in the week - is that the one you are listening to?.
Anyway would love to know what you think of it..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 10, 2017, 08:31:03 PM
Good stuff that looks like a nice set (I noticed it may have gone OOP as it is now very expensive..).
Do you think "Webernian" will ask you for a recommendation about this one? (j/k sort of.. ;)).
I purchased the Stereo version of Tebaldi's La Boheme on Decca earlier in the week - is that the one you are listening to?.
Anyway would love to know what you think of it..
You didn't ask me but it's a very fine version with Tebaldi and Bergonzi. I very much like the contrast of Bergonzi with Pavarotti/Bjorling. Bergonzi has such a sweet voice here. Sound isn't ideal, but Serafin does a wonderful job with the orchestra and crafting the ideal atmosphere. It does have a very Italian feel, full of nuance (something I miss from Pav/Freni/Karajan at times, as beautiful as that one is).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 10, 2017, 08:44:30 PM
You didn't ask me but it's a very fine version with Tebaldi and Bergonzi. I very much like the contrast of Bergonzi with Pavarotti/Bjorling. Bergonzi has such a sweet voice here. Sound isn't ideal, but Serafin does a wonderful job with the orchestra and crafting the ideal atmosphere. It does have a very Italian feel, full of nuance (something I miss from Pav/Freni/Karajan at times, as beautiful as that one is).

Thanks neal I appreciate your response - I have been trawling this section of the forum lately and I remember you responded (or were the OP?) of the thread about the passing of Bergonzi a few years back.
I have a few of his recordings already and think them to be excellent - I am really looking forward to that recording of La Boheme now! :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 10, 2017, 10:37:55 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61-uRYKOB7L.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Listened to Act 1 from this recording for the first time - I loved it! (a predictable response perhaps): At this stage I am saying that it's as good as it's reputation would suggest.

Now playing:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/062/MI0001062869.jpg?partner=allrovi.com) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

Picking up (from a little bit before) were I left off yesterday..


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 11, 2017, 02:06:04 AM
Birtwistle's early operatic masterpiece

(http://is4.mzstatic.com/image/thumb/Music5/v4/42/a1/00/42a10052-b958-1383-d220-2b7a9270b0ba/source/1200x630bb.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 11, 2017, 06:51:42 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Vw0%2BUt0LL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

Giving this work another listen - enjoying it so far (though I suspect it will take me many more listens to get the most out of it).

Later:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51GckFrzYLL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

Will be listening to this work for the first time (not sure if I will have time for all of it today so possibly to be continued..).

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 11, 2017, 07:50:10 PM
Thanks neal I appreciate your response - I have been trawling this section of the forum lately and I remember you responded (or were the OP?) of the thread about the passing of Bergonzi a few years back.
I have a few of his recordings already and think them to be excellent - I am really looking forward to that recording of La Boheme now! :).

As the rest is already be commented  by others, I only can say,buy it, he was one of the best tenors the world ever seen, no matter what anyone else saying.Just remeber one of the Met gala's where he sung in his 70ties, and still as  clears as crystal .
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 11, 2017, 09:03:21 PM
As the rest is already be commented  by others, I only can say,buy it, he was one of the best tenors the world ever seen, no matter what anyone else saying.Just remeber one of the Met gala's where he sung in his 70ties, and still as  clears as crystal .

I purchased the recording already - I was just curious to know what you thought about it (as you are endorsing it that would seem to answer my question however so thanks ;)).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on June 12, 2017, 04:23:39 AM
That Sawallisch recording of Lohengrin was the first one I heard and I'm afraid that it was the reason for my lack of enthusiasm for the opera back then. When I heard Kempe's on the other hand, I fell in love with it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 12, 2017, 05:05:09 AM
I highly recommend Sir Mark Elder's recording of Lohengrin. The best I've heard, particularly the cast.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 12, 2017, 04:15:01 PM
That Sawallisch recording of Lohengrin was the first one I heard and I'm afraid that it was the reason for my lack of enthusiasm for the opera back then. When I heard Kempe's on the other hand, I fell in love with it.
I highly recommend Sir Mark Elder's recording of Lohengrin. The best I've heard, particularly the cast.

Alright Guys - thanks for your replies and suggestions :).
Im finding the Sawallisch acceptable so far - Im a bit wary of getting more Wagner recordings ATM (as I have a lot unlistened to) but yes, I'll keep your recommendations in mind.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 12, 2017, 04:18:02 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51GckFrzYLL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

Continuing with this recording - now listening to Act 3.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 12, 2017, 04:42:24 PM
Found this in the used CD shop for $5.99.
Never heard of this early Rossini (1812).  But Amazon reveals there are four other recordings, plus a DVD.  This apparently was the first recording, on Vanguard, and includes Jose Carreras.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/21KMD6318PL.jpg).
Initial impression: If you like Rossini, get one of the recordings, although I doubt you need more than one.

Wikipedia article including plot summary
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_pietra_del_paragone
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 12, 2017, 08:13:40 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/QXhgSCR.jpg?1)
I am going to sit down and watch this stunning Rusalka.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 12, 2017, 11:14:06 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71oaWFkG8aL._SL1050_.jpg)

This just arrived a couple of hours ago and now listening for the first time.
Almost finished the first Disc and enjoying it so far - Bergonzi and Tebaldi are great! :D.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 13, 2017, 01:08:23 AM
(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/dvn018_l.jpg)

Fantastic transfer of this famous performance, a performance which changed the face of operatic history. This is absolutely where the bel canto revival started.

Callas is in fabulous form, and, though the opera is heavily cut, none of the Annas in the various studios sets (Sutherland, Sills, Souliotis, Gruberova) comes within a mile of her vocal and dramatic acumen and her supreme musicality. In the words of Richard Fairman in Opera on Record III, "she alone, of latter-day artists, has the power to grasp the emotional crux of every line and put it across."

Without doubt one of the most thrilling nights in Callas's career.

Review on my blog here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 13, 2017, 03:49:36 AM
An oldie but a goody

(https://i.scdn.co/image/1a5ea82bceaa00223e5b155736cc4892153161a8)

The world premiere recording of Lear. I'll compare with a more recent one soon I hope.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 13, 2017, 03:51:15 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71oaWFkG8aL._SL1050_.jpg)

This just arrived a couple of hours ago and now listening for the first time.
Almost finished the first Disc and enjoying it so far - Bergonzi and Tebaldi are great! :D.

Did you buy the whole Tebaldi box or separated recordings?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 13, 2017, 04:33:46 PM
Gluck as adapted by Wagner.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/411iLkTNeTL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51E8mST-PML.jpg)

Just beginning, so it's hard to say what changes Wagner made.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 13, 2017, 06:35:17 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71dqWYAE-vL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

:)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 13, 2017, 06:41:27 PM
Did you buy the whole Tebaldi box or separated recordings?

I bought the individual (stereo) issues of La Boheme and Madama Butterfly from your box.
I commented on the box when you posted it last week and noted that it's now possibly OOP or down to the last few copies (as it's now very expensive).
Basically I couldn't afford the box and was just pointing out that you were lucky to own a copy (as Im sure its got a lot of good stuff in it)..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 13, 2017, 07:04:56 PM
I bought the individual (stereo) issues of La Boheme and Madama Butterfly from your box.
I commented on the box when you posted it last week and noted that it's now possibly OOP or down to the last few copies (as it's now very expensive).
Basically I couldn't afford the box and was just pointing out that you were lucky to own a copy (as Im sure its got a lot of good stuff in it)..

I bought the boc for €99.00 when it came out, on the other hand you better buy them separate, the whole box is a shamble to the artist.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 13, 2017, 07:47:23 PM
I bought the boc for €99.00 when it came out

The box was released in 2014 - why did you say this then?:

(http://s6.postimg.org/5wxuhx4sx/81_Ns_POa_F_a_L_SL1400.jpg) (http://postimage.org/)

Just purchased this set

Just curious? (Im a pretty friendly person in case theres any doubt..)  ;)

on the other hand you better buy them separate, the whole box is a shamble to the artist.

I agree: Univeral Classics boxes are always pretty minimal - Sony and Warners sort of lead the way with their big Artist Commemorative boxes (stuff like the Rubinstein, glenn Gould and Callas boxes come to mind).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 13, 2017, 08:31:12 PM
Not a long one, but very intriguing

(https://i.scdn.co/image/5df32b4d2855f157153798034a5dde72ae1e165f)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 13, 2017, 09:14:02 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71BVy7X-UNL._SL1376_.jpg)

Recieved this recording in the mail this afternoon and now listening to it for the first time.
Edit: Almost finished the final Disc - found this not quite as compelling as Abbado's version but it is quite nice and can't really be faulted on anything other than individual preference.
Only a first listen so not a firm opinion.. :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 13, 2017, 09:26:11 PM
The box was released in 2014 - why did you say this then?:

Just curious? (Im a pretty friendly person in case theres any doubt..)  ;)

I agree: Univeral Classics boxes are always pretty minimal - Sony and Warners sort of lead the way with their big Artist Commemorative boxes (stuff like the Rubinstein, glenn Gould and Callas boxes come to mind).

I do think that's a very reasonable price for 66 CD's , no idea how the prices are now, that's why.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 14, 2017, 12:17:51 AM
(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/dvn018_l.jpg)

Fantastic transfer of this famous performance, a performance which changed the face of operatic history. This is absolutely where the bel canto revival started.

Callas is in fabulous form, and, though the opera is heavily cut, none of the Annas in the various studios sets (Sutherland, Sills, Souliotis, Gruberova) comes within a mile of her vocal and dramatic acumen and her supreme musicality. In the words of Richard Fairman in Opera on Record III, "she alone, of latter-day artists, has the power to grasp the emotional crux of every line and put it across."

Without doubt one of the most thrilling nights in Callas's career.

Review on my blog here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/)

Thanks for this - I visited your Blog today and I was very impressed!.
I appreciate your enthusiasm for Callas - I dont know much about her or her discography yet.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 14, 2017, 12:36:45 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71BVy7X-UNL._SL1376_.jpg)

Recieved this recording in the mail this afternoon and now listening to it for the first time.
Edit: Almost finished the final Disc - found this not quite as compelling as Abbado's version but it is quite nice and can't really be faulted on anything other than individual preference.
Only a first listen so not a firm opinion.. :)

This is one of the two recordings of Carmen I own (the other is the Callas recording).

I bought it after seeing Baltsa and Carreras in the opera at Covent Garden, one of my most memorable evenings in the opera house. I do like their performances on this set, and also that of Jose Van Dam as Escamillo, but Ricciarelli, a singer I've enjoyed in other repertoire, is woefully miscast as Micaela. I don't like having the spoken dialogue delivered by actors, whose voices bear no relation to the singers', and, beautiful though much of the orchestral playing is, I find the speeds ponderous and slow. This is a heavy, Teutonic Carmen, not really to my taste. I keep it for the performances of the two principals, but that's the only reason really.

My favourites are, predictably, the Callas version, which is very French in feel, having been recorded in Paris with a mostly French cast, conductor, chorus and orchestra; the Abbado, probably the most central recommendation, and the Beecham, which is wonderfully suave and elegant, though De Los Angeles doesn't convince me for one moment that she would pull a knife on a fellow worker in a cat fight. Her singing is of course unfailingly musical.

Of these, Abbado's version uses the original spoken dialogue (spoken by the singers). The Callas and Beecham versions use the Guiraud recitatives, which were traditionally used back then.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 14, 2017, 12:51:44 AM
This is one of the two recordings of Carmen I own (the other is the Callas recording).

I bought it after seeing Baltsa and Carreras in the opera at Covent Garden, one of my most memorable evenings in the opera house. I do like their performances on this set, and also that of Jose Van Dam as Escamillo, but Ricciarelli, a singer I've enjoyed in other repertoire, is woefully miscast as Micaela. I don't like having the spoken dialogue delivered by actors, whose voices bear no relation to the singers', and, beautiful though much of the orchestral playing is, I find the speeds ponderous and slow. This is a heavy, Teutonic Carmen, not really to my taste. I keep it for the performances of the two principals, but that's the only reason really.

My favourites are, predictably, the Callas version, which is very French in feel, having been recorded in Paris with a mostly French cast, conductor, chorus and orchestra; the Abbado, probably the most central recommendation, and the Beecham, which is wonderfully suave and elegant, though De Los Angeles doesn't convince me for one moment that she would pull a knife on a fellow worker in a cat fight. Her singing is of course unfailingly musical.

Of these, Abbado's version uses the original spoken dialogue (spoken by the singers). The Callas and Beecham versions use the Guiraud recitatives, which were traditionally used back then.


Thanks for your response - I haven't tried Callas or Beecham's version yet but I'll keep them in mind:
I don't have any experience with Callas' recordings from the 1950's yet - I bought her Madama Butterfly with Karajan/La Scala from 1955 and it's pretty much an experiment to see how I find the sound from this series of recordings.
Im not fully allergic to Mono recordings and have a number of Jazz and Rock recordings from the 50's/60's in Mono which I enjoy a lot but not many Classical recordings in Mono that I would listen to very often.
But I am curious about Callas - If I like the MB I will possibly pick up more of her recordings :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 14, 2017, 12:51:51 AM
Thanks for this - I visited your Blog today and I was very impressed!.
I appreciate your enthusiasm for Callas - I dont know much about her or her discography yet.

Thank you.

As you will have noted, Callas is my passion, but there are a couple of blog posts about other opera recordings.

Callas divides opinion to this day. The voice, a magnificent one in her early days, is completely individual and was never conventionally beautiful, and she was never afraid to sacrifice beauty of tone to expressive use of the voice. But even those who dislike her voice would aver her fantastic musicality.There is no doubt she was one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century, something that cannot be said of a lot of singers.

That said, there are those who just don't like the sound of her voice, even when she was at her peak. I accept that. But, if you do get the bug, the rewards are infinite.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 14, 2017, 01:00:02 AM
Thanks for your response - I haven't tried Callas or Beecham's version yet but I'll keep them in mind:
I don't have any experience with Callas' recordings from the 1950's yet - I bought her Madama Butterfly with Karajan/La Scala from 1955 and it's pretty much an experiment to see how I find the sound from this series of recordings.
Im not fully allergic to Mono recordings and have a number of Jazz and Rock recordings from the 50's/60's in Mono which I enjoy a lot but not many Classical recordings in Mono that I would listen to very often.
But I am curious about Callas - If I like the MB I will possibly pick up more of her recordings :).

All Callas's recordings up until 1957 are mono, and that year, though the Il Barbiere di Siviglia, recorded in London, is stereo, all the recordings she made in Milan are in mono. It is a great pity that Legge was so wary of mono. Decca were making excellent stereo recordings with Tebaldi at the same time. That said, some are better than others; the famous De Sabata Tosca, recorded in 1953, is particularly good.

The Madama Butterfly is a bit boxy, but sounds well enough to me in the recent Warner pressing, though obviously not as lush as Karajan's second Decca recording. My review of it here

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/madama-butterfly/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/madama-butterfly/)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 14, 2017, 01:02:45 AM
All Callas's recordings up until 1957 are mono, and that year, though the Il Barbiere di Siviglia, recorded in London, is stereo, all the recordings she made in Milan are in mono. It is a great pity that Legge was so wary of mono. Decca were making excellent stereo recordings with Tebaldi at the same time. That said, some are better than others; the famous De Sabata Tosca, recorded in 1953, is particularly good.

The Madama Butterfly is a bit boxy, but sounds well enough to me in the recent Warner pressing, though obviously not as lush as Karajan's second Decca recording. My review of it here

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/madama-butterfly/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/madama-butterfly/)

Excellent - thanks for your replies :).
I'll be sure to check out your review of the MB recording soon.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 14, 2017, 10:08:19 AM
(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/dvn018_l.jpg)

Fantastic transfer of this famous performance, a performance which changed the face of operatic history. This is absolutely where the bel canto revival started.

Callas is in fabulous form, and, though the opera is heavily cut, none of the Annas in the various studios sets (Sutherland, Sills, Souliotis, Gruberova) comes within a mile of her vocal and dramatic acumen and her supreme musicality. In the words of Richard Fairman in Opera on Record III, "she alone, of latter-day artists, has the power to grasp the emotional crux of every line and put it across."

Without doubt one of the most thrilling nights in Callas's career.

Review on my blog here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/)

^ I

*LOVE*

this

review!

- especially the much fuller in extenso exegesis of it at your site.

I couldn't agree more with the analysis and conclusions. . . and of course how- for some of us at any rate- Callas' innate musicality coupled with her ingenious dramatic instincts just sends galvanizing seismic shifts of emotional resonances though us.

For me, her singing may not always be the most beautiful 'singing,' but it is without cavil or question the most beautifully 'expressed,' the most 'moving,' and the most dramatically 'true.'

No artist moves me like she does.

Callas' characterization of Anna Bolena can be so alternately tender and loving- and then shifting gears: so absolutely-and-incandescently 'thrill-ing' at the same time-  that my emotions are just all over the map!

If Aristotle ever needed a more concrete artistic example of how catharsis is attained, the shining exemplar of Callas' Anna Bolena is it.

She's not just the singer of the century, but (I imagine) the Singer of Many Centuries.


(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/de/74/e4/de74e4d9ac7728ab3f08bd0a8d618818.jpg)






Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 14, 2017, 05:10:36 PM
A Marsch sighting! Good to see you.
TD
I may have heard this opera a few decades ago on a Met matinee broadcast, but if  I did I don't remember it. So this was effectively a first listen.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SN5PR8DAL.jpg)

Since it's based on Schiller, the story is a bit convoluted/improbable, and the music sometimes falls into the merely oom pah pad blood and bombast type of Verdi. But much of the music rises above that, anyway.

Besides, sometimes you need oom pah pah blood and bombast Verdi.

The recording is the first of six in this set.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL.jpg)

(The other five: Trovatore, Sicilian Vespers, Forza del Destino, Aida, Otello)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 12:00:38 AM
A Marsch sighting! Good to see you.
TD
I may have heard this opera a few decades ago on a Met matinee broadcast, but if  I did I don't remember it. So this was effectively a first listen.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SN5PR8DAL.jpg)

Since it's based on Schiller, the story is a bit convoluted/improbable, and the music sometimes falls into the merely oom pah pad blood and bombast type of Verdi. But much of the music rises above that, anyway.

Besides, sometimes you need oom pah pah blood and bombast Verdi.

The recording is the first of six in this set.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL.jpg)

(The other five: Trovatore, Sicilian Vespers, Forza del Destino, Aida, Otello)
A Marsch sighting! Good to see you.
TD
I may have heard this opera a few decades ago on a Met matinee broadcast, but if  I did I don't remember it. So this was effectively a first listen.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SN5PR8DAL.jpg)

Since it's based on Schiller, the story is a bit convoluted/improbable, and the music sometimes falls into the merely oom pah pad blood and bombast type of Verdi. But much of the music rises above that, anyway.

Besides, sometimes you need oom pah pah blood and bombast Verdi.

The recording is the first of six in this set.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL.jpg)

(The other five: Trovatore, Sicilian Vespers, Forza del Destino, Aida, Otello)

If these are all Sony recordings, none of them are quite the best representatives of the various operas, despite the presence of Domingo.

For Luisa Miller, I always head for Moffo/Bergonzi on RCA, Caballe/Pavarotti on Decca or Riccciarelli/Domingo on DG.
Caballe sings gloriously, but I don't really believe in her as a village girl, Moffo is also at her best and I find her portrayal a little more sympathetic. Ricciarelli is the most affecting of all, but also the most vocally fallible. All three tenors are superb. Best conducted is probably the Decca under Maag.

It's an important opera in Verdi's development, the duets for father and daughter hunting at what Verdi would eventually achieve in the Violeta/Germont duets in La Traviata.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 01:04:35 AM
^ I

*LOVE*

this

review!

- especially the much fuller in extenso exegesis of it at your site.

I couldn't agree more with the analysis and conclusions. . . and of course how- for some of us at any rate- Callas' innate musicality coupled with her ingenious dramatic instincts just sends galvanizing seismic shifts of emotional resonances though us.

For me, her singing may not always be the most beautiful 'singing,' but it is without cavil or question the most beautifully 'expressed,' the most 'moving,' and the most dramatically 'true.'

No artist moves me like she does.

Callas' characterization of Anna Bolena can be so alternately tender and loving- and then shifting gears: so absolutely-and-incandescently 'thrill-ing' at the same time-  that my emotions are just all over the map!

If Aristotle ever needed a more concrete artistic example of how catharsis is attained, the shining exemplar of Callas' Anna Bolena is it.

She's not just the singer of the century, but (I imagine) the Singer of Many Centuries.


(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/de/74/e4/de74e4d9ac7728ab3f08bd0a8d618818.jpg)

How fabulous to have you back!

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 15, 2017, 06:20:08 AM
A Marsch sighting! Good to see you.
TD
I may have heard this opera a few decades ago on a Met matinee broadcast, but if  I did I don't remember it. So this was effectively a first listen.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SN5PR8DAL.jpg)

Since it's based on Schiller, the story is a bit convoluted/improbable, and the music sometimes falls into the merely oom pah pad blood and bombast type of Verdi. But much of the music rises above that, anyway.

Besides, sometimes you need oom pah pah blood and bombast Verdi.

The recording is the first of six in this set.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL.jpg)

(The other five: Trovatore, Sicilian Vespers, Forza del Destino, Aida, Otello)

Hi Jeffrey!- the enthusiasm's mutual; especially with 'Verdi' fans ;D . . .

Switching gears from pleasantries: The sometimes repetitive and pedictable "oom-pah-pah" of Verdi's orchestration never really chafes on me because his vocal lines (as opposed to the merely orchestral ones) are just so absolutely dramatically stellar.

I may incline to Wagner and Strauss' 'orchestrations' but I vastly prefer the dramatic finessings of Verdi when it comes to the singing. . . . . . . 'and,' Donizetti, 'and' Bellini, and even Rossini for that matter.

I'll take the dramatic powerhousings of Callas' Armida or Lady Macbeth over Brunnhilde any 'day.'
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 15, 2017, 06:22:45 AM
How fabulous to have you back!

And how fabulous to bask in such illustrious company.

Cheers.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2017, 06:43:09 AM
If these are all Sony recordings, none of them are quite the best representatives of the various operas, despite the presence of Domingo.
I have a few recordings of Aida and Otello already, but the others are ones I will be probably be content with one recording only.   In fact, I don't remember ever hearing Vespri before (unless that too was broadcast by the Met matinee, which it may well have been).  Aida and Otello, on the other hand, I will be soon getting at least one more each.  Such is the way things go, each will have Domingo.  Meaning I will have three Domingo Otellos and two Domingo Radames.

But my liking for Domingo goes well back, since I decided that out of "I Tre Tenori" he seemed to be the best actor.   Watching Luciano can be like watching a large ham walk aimlessly around the stage. (A very very large ham by the time he got to the end of his career.)  Then, a few years ago, I got two recordings of Don Carlo at the same time, and was able to a back to back comparison of the two.  Domingo won.

Quote
For Luisa Miller, I always head for Moffo/Bergonzi on RCA, Caballe/Pavarotti on Decca or Riccciarelli/Domingo on DG.
Caballe sings gloriously, but I don't really believe in her as a village girl, Moffo is also at her best and I find her portrayal a little more sympathetic. Ricciarelli is the most affecting of all, but also the most vocally fallible. All three tenors are superb. Best conducted is probably the Decca under Maag.
I'll keep this in mind if I do ever go for another recordings.
Quote
It's an important opera in Verdi's development, the duets for father and daughter hunting at what Verdi would eventually achieve in the Violeta/Germont duets in La Traviata.

I noticed them.  And the father son scenes between the Count and Rodolfo weren't shabby either.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2017, 06:44:19 AM
Hi Jeffrey!- the enthusiasm's mutual; especially with 'Verdi' fans ;D . . .

Switching gears from pleasantries: The sometimes repetitive and pedictable "oom-pah-pah" of Verdi's orchestration never really chafes on me because his vocal lines (as opposed to the merely orchestral ones) are just so absolutely dramatically stellar.

I may incline to Wagner and Strauss' 'orchestrations' but I vastly prefer the dramatic finessings of Verdi when it comes to the singing. . . . . . . 'and,' Donizetti, 'and' Bellini, and even Rossini for that matter.

I'll take the dramatic powerhousings of Callas' Armida or Lady Macbeth over Brunnhilde any 'day.'


Have to disagree with you.  But then I'm the one that just actually did the Ring in four days (last week). :P
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 07:42:25 AM
I have a few recordings of Aida and Otello already, but the others are ones I will be probably be content with one recording only.   In fact, I don't remember ever hearing Vespri before (unless that too was broadcast by the Met matinee, which it may well have been).  Aida and Otello, on the other hand, I will be soon getting at least one more each.  Such is the way things go, each will have Domingo.  Meaning I will have three Domingo Otellos and two Domingo Radames.

I agree with you about Domingo, but you really ought to investigate Vickers in the role of Otello too. I have his earlier performance under Serafin, with Gobbi, the very best of all Iagos, though I don't care much for Rysanek as Desdemona. He also recorded it with Karajan, but Karajan takes a heinous cut in the great Act III ensemble, which puts it out of the running for me, despite Freni's affecting Desdemona. There is also a tremendous video of a Zeffirelli Met production with Scotto as Desdemona and Cornell MacNeil as Iago, with Levine in the pit.

For Aida, predictably, I turn to Callas, for all that I don't think she was ever that suited to the role. She brings the rather placid character of Aida to life more than any other soprano on record. Vocally she is a lot better live in Mexico than she is on the EMI recording, but the sound on the Mexico performance is a stumbling block. Muti's recording with Caballe and Domingo is a good central recommendation, but the new Pappano is definitely worth considering. Kaufmann is superb as Radames, arguably one of the greatest recorded.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2017, 08:05:05 AM
I agree with you about Domingo, but you really ought to investigate Vickers in the role of Otello too. I have his earlier performance under Serafin, with Gobbi, the very best of all Iagos, though I don't care much for Rysanek as Desdemona. He also recorded it with Karajan, but Karajan takes a heinous cut in the great Act III ensemble, which puts it out of the running for me, despite Freni's affecting Desdemona. There is also a tremendous video of a Zeffirelli Met production with Scotto as Desdemona and Cornell MacNeil as Iago, with Levine in the pit.

For Aida, predictably, I turn to Callas, for all that I don't think she was ever that suited to the role. She brings the rather placid character of Aida to life more than any other soprano on record. Vocally she is a lot better live in Mexico than she is on the EMI recording, but the sound on the Mexico performance is a stumbling block. Muti's recording with Caballe and Domingo is a good central recommendation, but the new Pappano is definitely worth considering. Kaufmann is superb as Radames, arguably one of the greatest recorded.

Got almost all of those.
The Vickers/Serafin Otello was among the first opera recordings I ever got, and is still the only Otello I have that's not with Domingo.
Don't have the Karajan or the DVD, but I saw the production (a great one in its own right, no matter who was in the cast) live

Quote
Atlanta, Georgia
May 1, 1979


OTELLO {235}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Richard Cassilly
Desdemona...............Gilda Cruz-Romo
Iago....................Sherrill Milnes
Emilia..................Jean Kraft
Cassio..................Frank Little
Lodovico................James Morris
Montàno.................Robert Goodloe
Roderigo................Andrea Velis
Herald..................Arthur Thompson

Conductor...............James Levine

Cassilly was a "last minute" sub for a "sick" Vickers.  People were always skeptical about Vickers calling in sick.  Anyone who wanted to be better than Milnes in that role has a very high hurdle to clear....

As for Aida,  I've got the Pappano, am getting ready to order the Muti, and have both Callas recordings (although the studio recording is still unheard, sitting in THE BOX). I've also got the Karajan EMI (the one with Carreras and Freni).

In the Domingo box, the recordings are the Otello with Levine and the Aida with Leinsdorf.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 15, 2017, 08:25:25 AM
Mario del Monaco is the legendary otello



He recorded it several times, but his prestance is so strong that I keep coming back to this live performance.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 08:39:16 AM
As for Aida,  I've got the Pappano, am getting ready to order the Muti, and have both Callas recordings (although the studio recording is still unheard, sitting in THE BOX). I've also got the Karajan EMI (the one with Carreras and Freni).

In the Domingo box, the recordings are the Otello with Levine and the Aida with Leinsdorf.

I like that Karajan recordings, especially Baltsa's Amneris, a spoiled young Princes, rather than the harridan she is often portrayed.

I have the Levine Otello too, and I do like it, not least for Scotto's Desdemona.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dee Sharp on June 15, 2017, 08:40:38 AM
Rossini: Semiramide. Studer/Ramey/Larmore Marin/LSO.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51KS92PDnlL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 08:40:46 AM
Mario del Monaco is the legendary otello



He recorded it several times, but his prestance is so strong that I keep coming back to this live performance.

He had the perfect voice for the role, and I still have a soft spot for Karajan's first recording, but I think both Vickers and Domingo probe more deeply.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 15, 2017, 09:02:02 AM
I like that Karajan recordings, especially Baltsa's Amneris, a spoiled young Princes, rather than the harridan she is often portrayed.

I have the Levine Otello too, and I do like it, not least for Scotto's Desdemona.

Oh my God yeah!

I can't exhaust superlatives on how affecting Scotto's Act I love duet before dawn is with Domingo.

I mean I was just floored with it when I heard it.

It has to be my overall favorite Othello.

- although I'll still take the ferocious majesty of Karajan's opening choruses on the EMI/BPO performance.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2017, 11:39:41 AM
Purchases from the local used CD store.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71aUprujtzL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51jQIbHQ0BL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/711ojpSUZcL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41DAVNADZTL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/21PTDGP2H3L.jpg)

This means I can now do a Placido threeway with Otello.
I didn't even notice Domingo was in the Cilea until I got home. I got it because I have no recordings of this opera.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 11:51:49 AM

As for Aida,  I've got the Pappano, am getting ready to order the Muti, and have both Callas recordings (although the studio recording is still unheard, sitting in THE BOX).

You'll never hear a better Nile scene than this one with Callas and Gobbi. Serafin is also at his best here too. No other conductor quite makes the violins weep the way he does as Aida sings that sublimely moving phrase on O patria, patria quanto mi costi.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 11:53:36 AM
Oh my God yeah!

I can't exhaust superlatives on how affecting Scotto's Act I love duet before dawn is with Domingo.

I mean I was just floored with it when I heard it.

It has to be my overall favorite Othello.

- although I'll still take the ferocious majesty of Karajan's opening choruses on the EMI/BPO performance.

I find it hard to choose between Serafin and Levine. Vickers and Gobbi are a hard act to follow, but Rysanek is nowhere near as affecting as Scotto. I need them both.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 12:02:28 PM
Purchases from the local used CD store.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71aUprujtzL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51jQIbHQ0BL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/711ojpSUZcL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41DAVNADZTL.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/21PTDGP2H3L.jpg)

This means I can now do a Placido threeway with Otello.
I didn't even notice Domingo was in the Cilea until I got home. I got it because I have no recordings of this opera.

I have the Giulini Il Trovatore and the Cilea.

I like the Trovatore very much, though not as much as the Callas/Karajan, which is one of the great Verdi recordings. Karajan is so alive to its rhythmic vigour, and Giulini can be a tad slow in comparison. That said, Plowright has just the right tinta for Leonora, and Fassbaender is an extremely interesting, if unconventional Azucena.

The Cilea is a load of old hokum, if you ask me, but this recording makes the very best case for it.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2017, 12:42:03 PM


The Cilea is a load of old hokum, if you ask me, but this recording makes the very best case for it.

Yes, that's why I didn't have a recording of it before. This is the one in which she dies from poisoned flowers, isn't it?  Since it came used, there's no libretto book, just the CDs.

I'm hoping this Chenier is better than the Pavarotti, which I have...and was not impressed with. This store also had copies of the Corelli and Carreras recordings. Have you heard either of those?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 15, 2017, 01:44:08 PM
Yes, that's why I didn't have a recording of it before. This is the one in which she dies from poisoned flowers, isn't it?  Since it came used, there's no libretto book, just the CDs.

I'm hoping this Chenier is better than the Pavarotti, which I have...and was not impressed with. This store also had copies of the Corelli and Carreras recordings. Have you heard either of those?

I used to have the Chenier on LP many moons ago, but never replaced it on CD. It's not an opera I like much, to be honest, but I think that Domingo/Levine recording is the best I've heard.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 15, 2017, 01:50:28 PM

Have to disagree with you.  But then I'm the one that just actually did the Ring in four days (last week). :P

The entire tetraology? In four days?

You're dedicated.

Talk about a Gesamtkunstquirk.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 15, 2017, 02:04:10 PM
I find it hard to choose between Serafin and Levine. Vickers and Gobbi are a hard act to follow, but Rysanek is nowhere near as affecting as Scotto. I need them both.

Oh sure.

Discernment implies appreciation as well as censure.

But on the other hand, sometimes the very act of choosing is diminishment.

So yeah,  hedge your bet.

Love 'em both. . . I do.

"My name is Blair and I'm a shop-o-holic."


(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/46/54/bc/4654bc9b63ab7fe4b69aecb4bd5c50de.jpg)

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on June 15, 2017, 02:20:28 PM
I have the Giulini Il Trovatore and the Cilea.

I like the Trovatore very much, though not as much as the Callas/Karajan, which is one of the great Verdi recordings. Karajan is so alive to its rhythmic vigour, and Giulini can be a tad slow in comparison. That said, Plowright has just the right tinta for Leonora, and Fassbaender is an extremely interesting, if unconventional Azucena.

The Cilea is a load of old hokum, if you ask me, but this recording makes the very best case for it.

I remember reading some critic saying that the conducting on Karajan's Callas Trovatore was 'vulgar'- as if that floating abstraction was some sort of a demerit.

It's a full-blooded and spirited reading- to be sure.

Italianate and Spanish in flavor definitely.

But 'vulgar'?

Do the corpses who make these feckless indictments even have blood pumping through their veins?

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 15, 2017, 03:45:53 PM
Henze: The Bassarids

https://www.youtube.com/v/uavtwpyBQmU
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2017, 05:18:26 PM
The entire tetraology? In four days?

You're dedicated.

Talk about a Gesamtkunstquirk.

It's not an enterprise I propose to repeat. But I have four more Rings never played in my pile yearning for their day in the sun.

But tonight
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81LfEB4UNHL.jpg)(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51E4xp1VyhL.jpg)
I started in on this set some years ago, but Life Intervened, and I never got back to it until now. So I resume with Ascanio in Alba.
Although the whole thing is fluffy enough to float away on a cloud. Even Mozart didn't actually call it an opera. But it's certainly better than most people can produce at age 15.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 16, 2017, 02:13:04 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71oaWFkG8aL._SL1050_.jpg)

Quite delighted with this recording.

Later:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vRqG0IdNL._SL1029_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Have listened to everything in the box apart from Turandot - will be playing it tonight for a first listen (the recording and the work - never heard this Opera  before).


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on June 16, 2017, 04:04:43 AM

Later:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vRqG0IdNL._SL1029_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)

Have listened to everything in the box apart from Turandot - will be playing it tonight for a first listen (the recording and the work - never heard this Opera  before).

You'll love it. And this is a stellar performance.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 16, 2017, 05:56:44 AM
You'll love it. And this is a stellar performance.

That might well be the best overall (meaning singers, conducting, and sonics combined) recording of Turandot.

TD
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51jQIbHQ0BL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 16, 2017, 10:24:30 AM


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vRqG0IdNL._SL1029_.jpg) [img width=300]
Have listened to everything in the box apart from Turandot - will be playing it tonight for a first listen (the recording and the work - never heard this Opera  before).
That recording is famous for Sutherland having never sung that role on stage and for her bewildered consonant-popping next to the natural, florid Italian of Pavarotti and the equally fine contribution of Caballe. It is very comical if you pay attention.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 16, 2017, 02:05:25 PM
Curiously, what do people think of this Turandot?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hs-Cw1kNL.jpg)

My own favourite
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 16, 2017, 02:24:13 PM
Curiously, what do people think of this Turandot?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hs-Cw1kNL.jpg)

My own favourite
Well now you are talking about a role that Nilsson more or less owns, the security of the high notes, the absolute evenness of her registers. Like Sutherland not a very subtle performance but who cares right? Not sure whether that is the exact recording I have but I have some version  of Nilsson. I think both this one and the Mehta are very good.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 16, 2017, 02:36:01 PM
Well now you are talking about a role that Nilsson more or less owns, the security of the high notes, the absolute evenness of her registers. Like Sutherland not a very subtle performance but who cares right? Not sure whether that is the exact recording I have but I have some version  of Nilsson. I think both this one and the Mehta are very good.

There are two studio recordings with Nilsson. The other one is conducted by Leinsdorf, with Bjorling and Tebaldi, using the same orchestra and chorus even though it is on a different label  (RCA). I think both are about equal. There are also several live recordings listed on Amazon. I prefer the Mehta because the sonics are better, and I like the handling of the chorus, which is a very important part of Act I.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 16, 2017, 02:38:36 PM
There are two studio recordings with Nilsson. The other one is conducted by Leinsdorf, with Bjorling and Tebaldi, using the same orchestra and chorus even though it is on a different label  (RCA). I think both are about equal. There are also several live recordings listed on Amazon. I prefer the Mehta because the sonics are better, and I like the handling of the chorus, which is a very important part of Act I.
Yes the DECCA sonics is very fine, demonstration class I think.

Interestingly there aren't THAT many Turandots (not counting all the bootlegs I mean) as compared to something like Butterfly.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 16, 2017, 02:59:39 PM
Yes the DECCA sonics is very fine, demonstration class I think.

Interestingly there aren't THAT many Turandots (not counting all the bootlegs I mean) as compared to something like Butterfly.

OTOH, there are some Turandots on both CD and DVD brought out smaller opera companies with sometimes casts you never heard of.  All my recordings are with big names: the Mehta, the two studio Nilssons,  a bootleg with Nilsson from Opera d'oro,  Lombard (Caballe sings the title role), the Callas,  and one DVD (the Met, with Domingo and (I think) Eva Marton.)

Meanwhile, may as well report the Opera part of my purchase earlier today.
(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/2223837.jpg)(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/2185236.jpg)(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/2167962.jpg)
The Falstaff will join five others plus a DVD, the Aida will join five others (including another Domingo), but the Capriccio will have for company only one DVD I have never gotten around to watching.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 16, 2017, 07:29:19 PM
You'll love it. And this is a stellar performance.
That might well be the best overall (meaning singers, conducting, and sonics combined) recording of Turandot.
That recording is famous for Sutherland having never sung that role on stage and for her bewildered consonant-popping next to the natural, florid Italian of Pavarotti and the equally fine contribution of Caballe. It is very comical if you pay attention.

Thanks for all your replies - I enjoyed the Turandot enough to listen to it twice.
I cant fault the recording with Pavarotti/Sutherland (although it is only my first experience with the work).

Curiously, what do people think of this Turandot?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hs-Cw1kNL.jpg)

My own favourite

I own this recording (its part of a Puccini box-set from Warner Classics) although I have not listened to it yet.
Hopefully I will get to this next week or thereabouts - thanks for advocating it (I am certainly more interested in hearing it now).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 16, 2017, 08:22:01 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/418BTNB9M1L.jpg)

Enjoying this recording more with successive listens (although I think I have imprinted on Abbado's version of the work somewhat).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 16, 2017, 11:13:14 PM
....
(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/2185236.jpg)
... but the Capriccio will have for company only one DVD I have never gotten around to watching.
That Capriccio is considered by many to be the reference recording of the piece. I do not own it (as I have never been a fan of Frau Schwarzkopf's art), but thoroughly enjoy the Böhm on DG (with a wonderful Gundula Janowitz). It's a very conversational opera, but has many outstanding moments, such as a string sextet in lieu of an overture, and the ravishing final scene (Strauss at his considerable best as far as writing for the soprano voice). 

You will be pleasantly surpsrised by a (brief) quote from Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide that appears in Strauss's operatic swansong... ;)

Regards,

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 17, 2017, 01:32:09 AM
That Capriccio is considered by many to be the reference recording of the piece. I do not own it (as I have never been a fan of Frau Schwarzkopf's art),

And I'd be one of those many. But then I adore Mme Schwarzkopf, and Countess Madeleine might just be her best role. Janowitz sings beautifully with that lovely silvery top, but she makes much less of the words, which, in this of all operas, are so important.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on June 17, 2017, 02:55:58 AM
Curiously, what do people think of this Turandot?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hs-Cw1kNL.jpg)

My own favourite

I haven't heard that many Turandot recordings, but of those that I have heard, that is definitely one of the greatest, maybe even THE greatest. My personal favorite (once again).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 17, 2017, 04:06:19 AM
And I'd be one of those many. But then I adore Mme Schwarzkopf, and Countess Madeleine might just be her best role. Janowitz sings beautifully with that lovely silvery top, but she makes much less of the words, which, in this of all operas, are so important.
I am familiar with Mme. Schwarzkopf's Countess, from this live recording from Vienna (with a rather stellar cast):

(http://russiancdshop.com/velke%20rcd/gm3.0001.jpg)
Unfortunately, it seems as if the microphone was placed under the cushion of one of the bergères of the sets, so it's almost impossible to get a clear picture of her portayal... >:(

Curiously, the only recording by Schwarzkopf I truly like is the exceprts from William Walton's Troilus and Cressida (she had famously refused to perfome the rôle in that opera's world première, and the task fell to Magda László)...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 17, 2017, 09:50:00 AM
That Capriccio is considered by many to be the reference recording of the piece. I do not own it (as I have never been a fan of Frau Schwarzkopf's art), but thoroughly enjoy the Böhm on DG (with a wonderful Gundula Janowitz). It's a very conversational opera, but has many outstanding moments, such as a string sextet in lieu of an overture, and the ravishing final scene (Strauss at his considerable best as far as writing for the soprano voice). 

You will be pleasantly surpsrised by a (brief) quote from Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide that appears in Strauss's operatic swansong... ;)

Regards,

I figured any recording in which Christa Ludwig gets bottom billing must be of interest....
Thanks for the tip about the Gluck quote.
TD
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51gyWvDzKML.jpg)
Continuing with the Mozart opera box.  This one he wrote at age 16.  Next time anyone complains about the length of Wagner's operas, point out this one: 3 1/2 hours long. And, it being an opera seria, the plot is so convoluted, it's best to just sit back and enjoy the music.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 17, 2017, 02:28:19 PM
.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 17, 2017, 04:00:45 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81yu%2BZSpDsL._SL1400_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

I enjoyed listening to Lohengrin last week so I decided to listen to Parsifal for the first time.
Found the work to be an easy listen and thought it was very beautiful - possibly the best Wagner Opera I have heard so far but I am really only in the formative stages of listening to his work.
I don't have any complaints about the live recording with Levine - I think it might be worthwhile to pick up the Wagner: Complete Opera's box on DG at some stage as it collects some interesting studio recordings of Wagner's work.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 17, 2017, 04:38:44 PM
Boulez's Parsifal, though on the fast side, is probably the most refreshingly expressive performance I've heard.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 17, 2017, 06:35:53 PM
Boulez's Parsifal, though on the fast side, is probably the most refreshingly expressive performance I've heard.

Hey Jessop,
I was browsing for Alt. recordings of Parsifal and I seen the Boulez for a good price - I've got my heart set on picking up a studio performance of Parsifal at the moment (and will probably buy another box-set for that) but thanks for your input :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 17, 2017, 06:38:40 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51GckFrzYLL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 17, 2017, 06:47:57 PM
My zweipfennigen:

I rate the Boulez the worst, precisely because of its speed.
My favorites are Knappertsbusch and Solti. Solti is studio.
Of the other studio recordings I see on Amazon, I only have the Kubelik. It's actually as good as Solti, but pricey. The Barenboim is in the pile of operas not yet listened to.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 17, 2017, 07:00:07 PM
My zweipfennigen:

I rate the Boulez the worst, precisely because of its speed.
My favorites are Knappertsbusch and Solti. Solti is studio.
Of the other studio recordings I see on Amazon, I only have the Kubelik. It's actually as good as Solti, but pricey. The Barenboim is in the pile of operas not yet listened to.

Good stuff Jeffrey - thanks for your thoughts.
It seems to me that Knappersbuch/Philips is the most popular recommendation for Parsifal, and I was tempted by that one because I can get a second-hand copy for a good price, but it is essentially another live/Bayreuth performance (I know its got a different cast and stuff but still..).
Solti's box of Wagner recordings looks good to me but I own his Ring already and that seems like a bit too much duplication - I had considered picking up some of his Wagner recordings seperately though so thanks for vouching for them :).
Not sure what others think but individual Wagner recordings seem a bit pricey to me - thats why I am considering just picking up another box (the DG or Warner's ones both look pretty good IMO).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 18, 2017, 04:56:02 AM
My zweipfennigen:

I rate the Boulez the worst, precisely because of its speed.
My favorites are Knappertsbusch and Solti. Solti is studio.
Of the other studio recordings I see on Amazon, I only have the Kubelik. It's actually as good as Solti, but pricey. The Barenboim is in the pile of operas not yet listened to.
And my deux sous  ;):

I rate Boulez very highly. His fleet tempi, transparent textures and dramatic momentum, eradicating all the (unnecessary) faux-ritual aspects of this astonishing composition, make Parsifal shine in its own right as what it is: one of the greatest artistic creations ever produced by the human mind... :)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 18, 2017, 09:00:35 AM
And my deux sous  ;):

I rate Boulez very highly. His fleet tempi, transparent textures and dramatic momentum, eradicating all the (unnecessary) faux-ritual aspects of this astonishing composition, make Parsifal shine in its own right as what it is: one of the greatest artistic creations ever produced by the human mind... :)

That's may be why I don't like the Boulez: for me the faux ritual is one of the most important elements of the opera, and one reason why it's such a great opera.

As the French don't quite say, chaconne a son gout.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 18, 2017, 09:25:00 AM
I've got my heart set on picking up a studio performance of Parsifal at the moment....

The Barenboim is in the pile of operas not yet listened to.

Run, don't walk, to that unlistened-to-pile and crack open the Barenboim. Studio, but not studio-bound, fluid, bracing, grand, multi-layered etc...and, of course, fantastically recorded. Barenboim's inspiration (which doesn't happen all too often for me with him) is infectious, and as a whole, the performance is a definite statement. 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 18, 2017, 12:02:19 PM
Run, don't walk, to that unlistened-to-pile and crack open the Barenboim. Studio, but not studio-bound, fluid, bracing, grand, multi-layered etc...and, of course, fantastically recorded. Barenboim's inspiration (which doesn't happen all too often for me with him) is infectious, and as a whole, the performance is a definite statement.
I second the Barenboim recommendation. Besides some great playing and good recorded sound the singing is great also. Siegfried Jerusalem I feel is very underrated as a Wagnerian and what can you say about Waltraut Meier, who owns this role for about 25 yrs.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 18, 2017, 02:40:23 PM
Trouble is, there's a whole bunch of other stuff that's been waiting far longer to be heard and seen, including a DVD Parsifal with Jerusalem (but not Meier) that I couldn't get past the first act*

Meanwhile, a change of pace
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41DAVNADZTL.jpg)

Actually I liked it, but it's hampered by a slightly improbable plot (the poisoned violets actually make sense in symbolic terms) and no memorable "big melody" such as Puccini could bring forth.

*This one
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ziM54jPiL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 18, 2017, 03:55:36 PM
Trouble is, there's a whole bunch of other stuff that's been waiting far longer to be heard and seen, including a DVD Parsifal with Jerusalem (but not Meier) that I couldn't get past the first act*


*This one
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ziM54jPiL.jpg)
Not surprising really as Eva Randova was way past her prime at this point. If you like your Parsifal fast that is is it though at under 4 hrs.

The costumes are so atrocious it is actually funny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcvXAHjsYyI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcvXAHjsYyI) Scroll over to around the 16 min mark and you see the "knights" dressed as if they share the same closet with the cast of Star Trek the Next Generation...

The one I like with Jerusalem and Meier is this one that I got to know in college:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ogT%2BCPanL._SY445_.jpg)
where you catch a thirty-something year old Waltraud Meier in her vocal prime (before she tried such disastrous stunts like singing Isolde).

I also like the MET brass, much brighter than the more mellow Bayreuth forces.


Interestingly there is a MET CD version from around the same time with Domingo and Jesse Norman (of all people !) which I find interesting because it HAS to be one of the most well-sung Parsifals out there. Who doesn't love Domingo right? That was about the time when he set out to conquer all the Wagner roles.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 18, 2017, 06:33:42 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81yu%2BZSpDsL._SL1400_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61uALVHOszL.jpg)

Very impressed by this work for sure (so dark and solemn.. :o).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 18, 2017, 06:54:27 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/510p0YTACxL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vMVW8Cv3L._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 18, 2017, 09:27:16 PM
Parsifal. Barenboim is way better than Boulez here. The orchestra (for Barenboim) is gorgeous and the pacing mostly excellent (and singing also at a high level). If you want a dvd, the Barenboim (with Maier again) is even better (my opinion of course). On CD, I think Barenboim is in the second group (maybe more like 1B) after Kubelik, Knapps, and maybe a couple others. Of more recent recordings, it is probably the most successful.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 18, 2017, 09:38:22 PM
HELLLLLLLLLL... is emmpty!  ;D ;D :o :o :o ;D ;D ;D

(https://i.scdn.co/image/1c9865401b029ec61ad40aa0753022848c9ac50b)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 22, 2017, 03:30:31 AM
Been listening to this one this evening

(https://i.scdn.co/image/53dc4c77dee42fbee3a607f8ea4b019d80f0296a)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 22, 2017, 05:36:49 AM
Parsifal. Barenboim is way better than Boulez here. The orchestra (for Barenboim) is gorgeous and the pacing mostly excellent (and singing also at a high level). If you want a dvd, the Barenboim (with Maier again) is even better (my opinion of course). On CD, I think Barenboim is in the second group (maybe more like 1B) after Kubelik, Knapps, and maybe a couple others. Of more recent recordings, it is probably the most successful.
Is Kubelik this one?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51tZ3uJCg4L._SY355_.jpg)

I like it as well. Nicely paced and everything is very natural. I am not a big fan of Yvonne Minton's Kundry - the voice is a bit small and too shrill for the role I think. One of James King's finer efforts on disc.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 22, 2017, 06:49:45 AM
I remember this being suggested for one of the best recordings of Falstaff.  Whoever made the suggestion was correct
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-e3dD3qQL.jpg)

For some reason, Amazon does not show the reissue I have, which is the most recent iteration of EMI/Warner's budget opera series.

EDIT: Found the version I have at AmazonUK

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 22, 2017, 07:48:46 AM
Arrived today, and have (casually) listened to Act I:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/411iLkTNeTL._SX355_.jpg)

I must say I find Kurt Eichhorn's conducting sluggish and heavy-handed, robbing the music (particularly the overture) of its dramatic thrust and much of its beauty.  >:( I don't even want to imagine a Parsifal conducted by this man.  ::)  ;D

Fi-Di impressive as Agamemnon, with his trademark attention to the words.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 22, 2017, 08:00:14 AM
I remember this being suggested for one of the best recordings of Falstaff.  Whoever made the suggestion was correct
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-e3dD3qQL.jpg)



That might have been me. I absolutely love this recording. A superb orchestra and chorus conducted with style, elan and dash by Karajan, with a well-nigh faultless cast. You can't go wrong.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 23, 2017, 08:14:44 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TP8M13txL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL._SL1500_.jpg)

Listened to this version of Aida for the first time.
Quite a good cast for the recording - found this to be an enjoyable one.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 23, 2017, 08:17:42 PM
I remember this being suggested for one of the best recordings of Falstaff.  Whoever made the suggestion was correct
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71-e3dD3qQL.jpg)

For some reason, Amazon does not show the reissue I have, which is the most recent iteration of EMI/Warner's budget opera series.

EDIT: Found the version I have at AmazonUK



This recording is in my big Warner Verdi box - pleased to know it's a good one and I look forward to hearing it at some stage.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 23, 2017, 11:03:40 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71mKQ6inFzL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WoFXvv-RL._SL1200_.jpg)

Listened to this for the first time last week and I was knocked out by it - quite a sublime work: there seems to be one beautiful Aria after another.
So far I am rating this as one of Puccini's best Operas..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Drasko on June 24, 2017, 03:27:22 AM
(https://img.cdandlp.com/2015/03/imgL/117438764.jpg)

Rimsky-Korsakov - May Night

Lemeshev, Borisenko, Krasovskiy, Maslennikova, Bolshoi Theatre, Nebolssin

https://www.youtube.com/v/0DJU9cnEpKg

https://www.youtube.com/v/zeNxVR08UkE

https://www.youtube.com/v/UVve8XYfJ98
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on June 24, 2017, 03:55:17 AM
(https://s6.postimg.org/qqglgdwlt/51_CDU05_XYe_L.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/cws8rc40d/)
Verdi : Don Carlo.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 24, 2017, 04:28:26 AM
(https://s6.postimg.org/qqglgdwlt/51_CDU05_XYe_L.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/cws8rc40d/)
Verdi : Don Carlo.

Possibly my favourite Verdi opera, though, aside from Gobbi and Christoff, this set doesn't have much to commend it. I did a comparative review of three off my favourites on my blog.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/verdis-don-carlos-a-comparison-of-three-different-recordings/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/verdis-don-carlos-a-comparison-of-three-different-recordings/)

Gobbi and Christoff are probably best represented on this live recording of the famous Covent Garden Visconti production, if you can get hold of it.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51sMOsor2ML.jpg)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 24, 2017, 08:53:44 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71mKQ6inFzL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WoFXvv-RL._SL1200_.jpg)

Listened to this for the first time last week and I was knocked out by it - quite a sublime work: there seems to be one beautiful Aria after another.
So far I am rating this as one of Puccini's best Operas..

I think that's the only mature Puccini opera I have yet to hear. I have the Callas recording, just not yet played it.

TD
First listen to this recording
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61AkKBIwzhL.jpg)
One of the recordings I haven't heard from this box.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/812m%2BXsF1eL.jpg)
Crespin as Marschallin, Minton as Oktavian, Donath as Sophie. And Pavarotti in the tenor cameo (the Italian singer).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 24, 2017, 10:53:51 AM
I think that's the only mature Puccini opera I have yet to hear. I have the Callas recording, just not yet played it.

Not my favourite Puccini by a long chalk, but Callas makes as good a case for it as is possible, even though she's not in her best voice.


TD
First listen to this recording
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61AkKBIwzhL.jpg)
One of the recordings I haven't heard from this box.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/812m%2BXsF1eL.jpg)
Crespin as Marschallin, Minton as Oktavian, Donath as Sophie. And Pavarotti in the tenor cameo (the Italian singer).

This recording has its devotees, but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. I've never really taken to Solti, and find Crespin just a bit too matronly for my taste.

My favourite is still the first Karajan with Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Stich-Randall, Edelmann and Gedda as the Italian Singer.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Florestan on June 24, 2017, 11:26:32 AM
Tsaraslondon, please let me know which are your top 3 La Sonnambula's. TIA.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 24, 2017, 11:39:46 AM
Not my favourite Puccini by a long chalk, but Callas makes as good a case for it as is possible, even though she's not in her best voice.

This recording has its devotees, but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. I've never really taken to Solti, and find Crespin just a bit too matronly for my taste.

My favourite is still the first Karajan with Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Stich-Randall, Edelmann and Gedda as the Italian Singer.
I tend to agree. The HVK recording is one of my favorite opera recordings, of anything. Everything comes together in that. Sound is wonderful also.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 24, 2017, 11:56:39 AM
I tend to agree. The HVK recording is one of my favorite opera recordings, of anything. Everything comes together in that. Sound is wonderful also.

Having heard the full recording, I am inclined to say I also agree.

My first recording was the Haitink, with Te Kanawa and Otter.  Then I got the DVD with Fleming, Koch, and Damrau, and was so taken with that I had no urge to get another recording. It's also available as audio CD if are interested in it (conductor is Theilemann).  I have the film with Schwarzkopf somewhere in my pile of DVDs that have yet to be viewed.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 24, 2017, 03:02:03 PM
Tsaraslondon, please let me know which are your top 3 La Sonnambula's. TIA.

1. Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto (Live La Scala in Cologne 1957)
2. Callas, Valetti, Modesti; Bernstein (Live La Scala 1955)
3. Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto  (Studio 1957).

Well, you did ask!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 24, 2017, 04:39:12 PM
1. Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto (Live La Scala in Cologne 1957)
2. Callas, Valetti, Modesti; Bernstein (Live La Scala 1955)
3. Callas, Monti, Zaccaria; Votto  (Studio 1957).

Well, you did ask!

All right, which three senza Callas!

I will point to the Bartoli, myself--which I mention for Florestan's benefit because I know you don't like it.

TD
Strauss Capriccio
The EMI recording with Schwarzkopf, DFD, Gedda, etc conducted by Sawallisch.
First listen ever to this opera so I will make only two trivial observations

1. Strauss actually had an affinity for one act operas, this merely being the last of a string that started with Salome.
2. I guess I will keep referring these recordings as EMI productions no matter how many years Warner keeps the catalogue.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 24, 2017, 10:19:42 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51OhUbwteOL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WoFXvv-RL._SL1200_.jpg)

Freni is in good voice here (as she is in her other recording with Pavarotti) and the rest of the principals were great too - enjoyable version (I will certainly be playing it again!).
Quite an old recording I guess but the SQ was acceptable (and it didn't detract from the music in any way).

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71PropGjNhL._SL1500_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL._SL1500_.jpg)

Very good work - lots of nice Aria's as usual.
Domingo was great as would be expected (I love his work!).
I'll be re-visiting this one again for sure.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 24, 2017, 11:38:36 PM
I think that's the only mature Puccini opera I have yet to hear. I have the Callas recording, just not yet played it.

I liked it enough to listen to it several times already - it gets the thumbs up from me! :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on June 24, 2017, 11:51:18 PM
https://www.youtube.com/v/IOxpbOb9hwk
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 25, 2017, 12:51:59 AM
All right, which three senza Callas!

I will point to the Bartoli, myself--which I mention for Florestan's benefit because I know you don't like it.


To be honest, without Callas I find the opera a bit of a bore. Callas is the only singer I know who manages to breathe life into the otherwise somewhat cardboard character of Amina. Bartoli sounds all wrong to me, and not just because she is singing the Malibran mezzo version. Von Stade (also a mezzo) sang it (though, as far as I am aware, there are no recordings) and I would imagine her voice would be more suited to it. Bartoli's style is altogether too vibrant in the wrong way.

I've heard both Sutherland versions. In the first the droopy style and mushy diction drive me mad, and in the second she sounds much too mature. Others tell me the Naxos/Organasova and the Dessay recordings are quite good, but I admit I haven't heard either.

So I'm happy with Callas.



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 25, 2017, 01:50:40 AM
To be honest, without Callas I find the opera a bit of a bore. Callas is the only singer I know who manages to breathe life into the otherwise somewhat cardboard character of Amina. Bartoli sounds all wrong to me, and not just because she is singing the Malibran mezzo version. Von Stade (also a mezzo) sang it (though, as far as I am aware, there are no recordings) and I would imagine her voice would be more suited to it. Bartoli's style is altogether too vibrant in the wrong way.

I've heard both Sutherland versions. In the first the droopy style and mushy diction drive me mad, and in the second she sounds much too mature. Others tell me the Naxos/Organasova and the Dessay recordings are quite good, but I admit I haven't heard either.

So I'm happy with Callas.
The Naxos is quite good overall, though Organasova is not my personal favorite. Dessay is excellent, though there are other issues with that set. I am sorry to say, that for me (on CD anyway), that none of them really get a full recommendation. I think it's just a matter of which one has more that works for you.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 25, 2017, 02:37:35 AM
Enjoying this at the moment. What do people here think of this? Are there other recordings available?

(https://i.scdn.co/image/5a5f9259abfb089604d59036c2690ec1747b93f5)

I can imagine the interchange between Feldman and Beckett

B: I don't like this opera
F: Me neither
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 25, 2017, 05:42:14 AM
Spending Sunday with Solti's Strauss
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81EFrBn8k0L.jpg)
From here
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/812m%2BXsF1eL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 25, 2017, 11:08:08 AM
Morning with Strauss
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41QPvw8G4rL.jpg)
From the Solti Mozart Operas set which was part of the same series as the Strauss set I posted this morning.

This was Solti's first recording of Cosi, and seems to have much less availability than his second one.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 25, 2017, 06:08:31 PM
Todays listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71mKQ6inFzL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WoFXvv-RL._SL1200_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71dqWYAE-vL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HgWS7k41L._SL1050_.jpg)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 25, 2017, 10:13:43 PM
Does anyone know of other recordings of Neither? Despite what its creators think of it, I think it is a very good opera. Interested to hear your thoughts.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on June 25, 2017, 10:27:44 PM
Besides Amina, Callas brought a depth of character, a quality of despair to Manon that is hard to believe coming out of the flighty character of the first two acts:

https://www.youtube.com/v/nRCY18PWv8w

Thank goodness Callas left recordings of Puccini heroines that she did not perform onstage.
I have a German score (no Italian) of Manon Lescaut (honestly don't remember how I acquired it), published by Ricordi in 1893.
There are stamps of "Hofoper" in it. I wonder if it is valuable...

ZB
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 25, 2017, 11:15:21 PM

Thank goodness Callas left recordings of Puccini heroines that she did not perform onstage.

ZB

True, but I would rather we had been vouchsafed studio recordings of some of the roles she did sing on stage; Lady Macbeth, Anna Bolena, Armida, Imogene in Il Pirata, Elena I I Vespri Siciliani, Gluck's Alceste and Iphigenie.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 26, 2017, 12:06:12 AM
Does anyone know of other recordings of Neither? Despite what its creators think of it, I think it is a very good opera. Interested to hear your thoughts.

Now that I think of it, it's probably best to simply say it's a very good piece of music. :laugh: it is an opera, but because of its uniqueness amongst the repertoire it is impossible to make any comparative judgement.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 26, 2017, 01:32:29 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5188N2F2y3L.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 26, 2017, 03:00:13 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5188N2F2y3L.jpg)

Gorgeous opera.

I haven't heard this version, though. I have the Mackerras version in the original Czech

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/615pQN2kNqL.jpg)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 26, 2017, 04:36:23 AM
I had a listen to the Mackerras as well, and although I do love the singers it was the sloppy orchestral playing that made me turn it off. :/
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 26, 2017, 05:46:43 AM
I had a listen to the Mackerras as well, and although I do love the singers it was the sloppy orchestral playing that made me turn it off. :/

The VPO sloppy? Really?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 26, 2017, 09:49:16 AM
This week-end live at the Paris opera, La Cenerentola, Giacomo Rossini, with a staging by the actor Guillaume Gallienne (5 Cesar in the film Guillaume, les garçons, à table)

https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-16-17/opera/la-cenerentola (https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-16-17/opera/la-cenerentola)

Ottavio Dantone led Paris opéra orchestra

Don Ramiro: Juan José De León
Dandini: Alessio Arduini
Don Magnifico: Maurizio Muraro
Clorinda: Chiara Skerath
Tisbe:  Isabelle Druet
Angelina (La Cenerentola, title role):Teresa Iervolino
Alidoro: Roberto Tagliavini

There are many ensemble singing in this opera, including a septet in the second act.  This require for all the singers to be exactly together, and this was the case with this distribution, which succeded in the most demanding part of the opera.  These ensemble singing are quite amazing, and demonstrate that Rossini is definitively not the "Barber shop" opera composer that some people claim.

Teresa Iervolino, who was making her Paris debut, was just a bit below Elina Garanca in the otherwise disappointing MET production.

Guillaume Gallienne staging was I found quite appropriate to this opera.  Some critics did not like his departure from the "Opera bouffe" style, but this was quite OK with me.

Here are a few pictures from culturebox

Don Magnifico decrepit palace

(http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/voyageur-de-notes/wp-content/blogs.dir/393/files/2017/06/Vincent_Pontet___Opera_national_de_Paris-Repetitions-La-Cenerentola-16.17-Vincent-Pontet-OnP-70-1600-1024x553.jpg)

Baldini, the perfect italian lover between the two sisters

(http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/voyageur-de-notes/wp-content/blogs.dir/393/files/2017/06/Vincent_Pontet___Opera_national_de_Paris-La-Cenerentola-16.17-Vincent-Pontet-OnP-6-1600-1024x637.jpg)

Don Magnifico during the bal scene

(http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/voyageur-de-notes/wp-content/blogs.dir/393/files/2017/06/Vincent_Pontet___Opera_national_de_Paris-Repetitions-La-Cenerentola-16.17-Vincent-Pontet-OnP-37-1600-1024x667.jpg)

The finale, with the triumph of La Cenerentola

(http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/voyageur-de-notes/wp-content/blogs.dir/393/files/2017/06/Vincent_Pontet___Opera_national_de_Paris-Repetitions-La-Cenerentola-16.17-Vincent-Pontet-OnP-81-1600-1024x639.jpg)

For those interested by this performance, it is available online starting today for a period of 6 months on culturebox

http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/opera-classique/opera/la-cenerentola-par-guillaume-gallienne-au-palais-garnier-257789 (http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/opera-classique/opera/la-cenerentola-par-guillaume-gallienne-au-palais-garnier-257789)



 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ken B on June 26, 2017, 10:27:27 AM
George Rochberg
Symphony 6
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 26, 2017, 12:29:53 PM
The VPO sloppy? Really?
They tend to be, at least to my ears (whose preference lies in the very tight, secure and synchronised sounds of Royal Concertgebouw, Cleveland, EIC, Klangforum Wien etc).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 26, 2017, 04:30:00 PM
'As One' by Laura Kaminsky

Watching it here where it is available to view in its entirety until the 30th of June for pride month:
http://www.aopopera.org/AsOne/worldpremiere/index.html
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 26, 2017, 05:43:56 PM
George Rochberg
Symphony 6

Senior moment? :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 26, 2017, 05:45:43 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513dweJeSCL.jpg)

Enjoying this recently arrived recording :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 26, 2017, 07:06:05 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/515GqgI%2B8BL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pnA4fqHGL._SL1200_.jpg)

Going to walk to work today - I will be listening to this recording on the way.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 27, 2017, 12:10:03 PM
From the Solti does Strauss box
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/611c6fU3TcL.jpg)
It seems all individual issues of this recording are OOP, which is a shame, because I am enjoying it greatly, and it may be the best thing in the set.  Used copies are available, especially in vinyl.
(Troyanos is the Composer, Gruberova is Zerbinetta, and Price is the Prima Donna/Ariadne.)


After this, I have only the bonus CD to play. I am skipping the Elektra and Arabella recordings, which I already have as individual recordings and don't particularly care for.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ken B on June 27, 2017, 04:53:44 PM
Senior moment? :)

Oops.

I like to imagine the violinists acting  ;)

TODAY: Wagner, Siegfried, Levine. I do like his Ring.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on June 27, 2017, 05:09:08 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91g8EeCc2SL._SX425_.jpg)


Mehta's Salome.  Excellent playing and singing.  Mehta seems content to rely on beautiful, lush Straussian style even sometimes when more bite is called for.  That written, he makes sure to make the massive orchestra generate a massive sound in the last minutes of the work.  I doubt this will be the first version I reach for going forward (that would still be Sinopoli), but it's definitely nice to have.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 28, 2017, 10:18:10 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61QenI47mnL.jpg)
A favorite recording of a favorite opera.
Part of this set.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71846zqJVpL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on June 28, 2017, 09:14:10 PM
I always wondered why this beautiful opera by one of the most celebrated composer is neglected today

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81SYJFEC0OL._SL1000_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61wnLu6cKKL.jpg)

This is also true of so many opera seria.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on June 28, 2017, 11:44:56 PM
I always wondered why this beautiful opera by one of the most celebrated composer is neglected today
This is also true of so many opera seria.

Opera buffa is more fun.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on June 29, 2017, 01:03:40 AM
I always wondered why this beautiful opera by one of the most celebrated composer is neglected today

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81SYJFEC0OL._SL1000_.jpg)

This is also true of so many opera seria.

I agree. I know I'm in the minority, but I'll take Tito over Zauberflöte, which was composed at the same time, any day.

My own listening:



The cast also includes Donald Grobe, Julia Hamari, and Hermann Prey. The dialogues are spoken by actors. Actually, it's often whispered by actors, so occasional volume adjustment is necessary.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 29, 2017, 02:12:46 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61Vd1I9nM7L.jpg)(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91E39PPazfL._SX450_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on June 29, 2017, 07:29:42 AM
In a couple of hours, at La Scala

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Direttore: Zubin Mehta
Regia: Giorgio Strehler
Scene e costumi: Luciano Damiani
Konstanze Lenneke Ruiten
Blonde   Sabine Devieilhe
Belmonte   Mauro Peter
Pedrillo   Maximilian Schmitt
Osmin   Tobias Kehrer
Selim           Cornelius Obonya
Servo Muto   Marco Merlini

A great production of the past (Salzburg 1965) I never had a chance to see it live. Very happy to fill the gap tonight  :)
 

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 29, 2017, 08:00:01 AM
In a couple of hours, at La Scala

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Direttore: Zubin Mehta
Regia: Giorgio Strehler
Scene e costumi: Luciano Damiani
Konstanze Lenneke Ruiten
Blonde   Sabine Devieilhe
Belmonte   Mauro Peter
Pedrillo   Maximilian Schmitt
Osmin   Tobias Kehrer
Selim           Cornelius Obonya
Servo Muto   Marco Merlini

A great production of the past (Salzburg 1965) I never had a chance to see it live. Very happy to fill the gap tonight  :)
Looks very enticing...I envy you.  ;)

I've seen three Strehler productions; one of a "straight play", Arlecchino servitore di due padroni, and two operas, Così fan tutte and Falstaff (the latter at La Scala), and they ware all memorable. Falstaff, in particular, was breathtakingly beautiful.  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on June 29, 2017, 11:09:55 PM
Looks very enticing...I envy you.  ;)

I've seen three Strehler productions; one of a "straight play", Arlecchino servitore di due padroni, and two operas, Così fan tutte and Falstaff (the latter at La Scala), and they ware all memorable. Falstaff, in particular, was breathtakingly beautiful.  :)

Yes, it was. It was a gorgeous performance indeed  :)
Maybe the stage scenery, although very simple, is a bit dated, but the very lively acting, and the idea to alternate the singers' position from the well-lit centre of the stage (spoken parts) to a darker frontstage (where they sang all arias, duets, etc), thus "projecting" their silhouettes on the bright backdrop, were wonderful.
Here's the Bachtrack review https://bachtrack.com/review-entfuhrung-strehler-mehta-peter-ruiten-la-scala-milan-june-2017

Yes, I remember very well that Falstaff, with Lorin Maazel conducting. A true gem.
And from those years I also remember his medieval, dark & glittering Lohengrin, with Claudio Abbado on the podium.

His Arlecchino is staged every year in Milan...we all miss Strehler's genius here.... :(

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 29, 2017, 11:15:28 PM
I don't know too much about American opera, but thanks to our friend nathanb I have become very interested in the very intriguing works of Robert Ashley.

This is an opera called 'Concrete' and from his own website it gives this information:

Quote
Concrete follows from Robert Ashley’s preoccupation in two previous operas with the kind of speech that has not been explored in opera — in Dust, the speech of the homeless; in Celestial Excursions, the speech of people living together in a home for old people. The three operas are not a “trilogy” in any sense, but they all come from this preoccupation with or fascination with special kinds of speech and special kinds of states of mind.

“The characters I’m interested in,” Ashley explains, “are marginal, because everybody is marginal compared to the stereotypes. I am interested in their profoundly good qualities, and I’m not interested at all in evil. The characters in my work are as bizarre and unreal as the characters in William Faulkner. They just happen to be ordinary people who are spiritually divine.” (The Wire, 2003).

Though in Concrete it is not made explicit in any way, the libretto might be considered to be the “musings” of an old man alone. He thinks about strange questions and even as the questions are asked they are answered in various forms of sarcasm, indifference, questions about the questions and explanations. In other words, he is talking to himself.

The opera takes the form of five “discussions” about matters he wonders about: Why do people keep secrets about themselves? Why do the buildings in the city all line up perfectly (vertically) when the surface of the planet is round? Why is it that so many things that people do as recreation are played counter-clockwise? What has happened to the many women friends (“lovers”) he has had and “left behind” and why were they left behind? And, finally, the fact that he has recently seen a “flying carpet” (in his bedroom.)

The five “internal” discussions alternate with four reminiscences about people the old man has worked with and loved. The reminiscences are short and detailed biographies of seemingly ordinary people who in the past did extraordinary things — sometimes criminal, sometimes just brave in an unusual way — but will never be recognized for what they did. The stories will never be known, except to the audience. No one is named. These are secret lives.

The singers in the opera are not “characters” in any traditional way. They take part in the very fast “discussions” sections as voices in the old man’s musings. Then each of the singers is given one of the “biographies” as a solo aria.

The musical technique of the opera allows the singers, in ensemble and as soloists, complete freedom with regard to vocal pitch, speech nuance and inflection. The opera will be sung differently in every performance. The orchestra, recorded in the computer, is made up of some hundreds of composed, short orchestral “samples” which can be chosen at the moment to make up the accompaniment to the singers’ decisions about how to tell the story. In short, every performance, but based on the same libretto, will be different.

Listening on youtube here:

https://www.youtube.com/v/SFWYrAVAXrg


I am sure there are other American opera fans here who know more about his works than I do. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts, especially if you have seen any productions live. :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 30, 2017, 02:47:29 AM
The last two operas I listened to, as you can see, were sung with a very definite American accent. One thing I probably have to do to get more into American opera is become used to the way they pronounce things over there. Because I barely hear the accent at all, hardly even spoken, I have to concentrate quite hard to understand what people are saying. This is even more difficult when sung! The Ashley opera is rather easier to understand because the voices are actually closer to speaking than singing quite a bit of the time.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 30, 2017, 06:01:30 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81m57yhkIaL._SL1500_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL._SL1500_.jpg)

Not long finished work - relaxing for a couple of hours before bed with this excellent recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 30, 2017, 06:04:10 AM
Oops.

I like to imagine the violinists acting  ;)

TODAY: Wagner, Siegfried, Levine. I do like his Ring.

Haha good stuff :D
I have a number of Levine's (many) Opera recordings and he always pleases my ears - I imagine his Ring Cycle is very good too :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ken B on June 30, 2017, 07:13:29 AM
Haha good stuff :D
I have a number of Levine's (many) Opera recordings and he always pleases my ears - I imagine his Ring Cycle is very good too :).

I'm on to Gotterdamerung today. It is splendid IMO, helped by terrific sound.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 30, 2017, 11:00:13 AM
Revisiting an all-time favourite opera of mine:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71u238TOD7L._SL1500_.jpg)

Ariadne of Naxos (even if it made good old Igor Feodorovich "want to scream"  ;D ) is a delight from beginning to end. The mix of the buffo and the tragic, the "theatre within theatre", the progression of the plot both in the prologue and the "opera", all these elements are masterfully managed by Strauss and Hofmannsthal (what a great libretto!). And the paired down orchetsration is admirable. 

And as always, Strauss's writing for the soprano voice is stunning. Lines such as Ariadne's "Ein Schönes war"... or "Gibt es kein Hinüber?" are  simply extraordinary. Also, Zerbinetta's tongue-in-cheek self quote "Kommt ein neuer Gott gegangen..." at the very end, never fails to bring a smile to my face.  :)

Excellent performance from all involved. I understand this was Giuseppe Sinopoli's last studio recording...a fine swan song...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 30, 2017, 11:05:05 AM
Revisiting an all-time favourite opera of mine:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71u238TOD7L._SL1500_.jpg)

Ariadne of Naxos (even if it made good old Igor Feodorovich "want to scream"  ;D ) is a delight from beginning to end. The mix of the buffo and the tragic, the "theatre within theatre", the progression of the plot both in the prologue and the "opera", all these elements are masterfully managed by Strauss and Hofmannsthal (what a great libretto!). And the paired down orchetsration is admirable. 

And as always, Strauss's writing for the soprano voice is stunning. Lines such as Ariadne's "Ein Schönes war"... or "Gibt es kein Hinüber?" are  simply extraordinary. Also, Zerbinetta's tongue-in-cheek self quote "Kommt ein neuer Gott gegangen..." at the very end, never fails to bring a smile to my face.  :)

Excellent performance from all involved. I understand this was Giuseppe Sinopoli's last studio recording...a fine swan song...

Having listened to the Solti recording the other day,  I can only say, Du hast recht.

I have Voight in this DVD
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51PbrAQEPVL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on June 30, 2017, 11:12:21 AM
Having listened to the Solti recording the other day,  I can only say, Du hast recht.
  :)

I must say that the idea of Leontyne Price in the title role is very appealing! I should look the Solti up...

Cheers,

EDIT:

And now listening to the end of the opera (starting at Bacchus's entrance) in the original 1912 version, in this recording:


Substantial differences (and a lot  more music) compared to the "standard" revised 1916 version...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on June 30, 2017, 12:23:19 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Hif4kGbqL._SS425_.jpg)


Some somewhat distracting background music for the afternoon.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 30, 2017, 12:31:49 PM
  :)

I must say that the idea of Leontyne Price in the title role is very appealing! I should look the Solti up...

Cheers,

EDIT:

And now listening to the end of the opera (starting at Bacchus's entrance) in the original 1912 version, in this recording:


Substantial differences (and a lot  more music) compared to the "standard" revised 1916 version...

Solti is a bit swift for my taste, and Price was a bit past her best by the time of this recording.

My go to remains the mono Karajan, with Schwarzkopf a soaringly radiant Ariadne, Seefried a glorious Composer and Streich a sparkling, but surprisingly sympathetic Zerbinetta. The men may not all be on the same lofty level of achievement, but none of them lets the side down, and Rudolf Schock is at least as good as any other Bacchus I've heard.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71tw4Z8spgL._SX355_.jpg)

Highly recommended.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 30, 2017, 01:16:29 PM
Having listened to the Solti recording the other day,  I can only say, Du hast recht.

I have Voight in this DVD
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51PbrAQEPVL.jpg)

Dessay is truly remarkable here. A fun production, I must say, nothing that makes you think, nothing that brings new ideas to the work, but a delight from beginning to end.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on June 30, 2017, 02:28:40 PM
  :)

I must say that the idea of Leontyne Price in the title role is very appealing! I should look the Solti up...

Cheers,

EDIT:

And now listening to the end of the opera (starting at Bacchus's entrance) in the original 1912 version, in this recording:


Substantial differences (and a lot  more music) compared to the "standard" revised 1916 version...

That looks most interesting...
Warning : the Solti is represented on CD only by the set I have and by this
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81XNZUqnE6L.jpg)
If the Amazon US listings are correct. The other CD issue is marked unavailable. Maybe the situation is better in Europe.

I have never heard the Karajan recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 30, 2017, 05:39:09 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/512iphMedNL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pnA4fqHGL._SL1200_.jpg)

Listening to this work for the first time - enjoying it so far.
I've gotten to really like Verdi after initially being a bit put off by some aspects of his style.
I haven't heard a poor Verdi work yet though!.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 30, 2017, 07:12:04 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ThMuUbbaL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WoFXvv-RL._SL1200_.jpg)

Another first listen.
I'm not sure if I appreciated Birgit's work in the recording of Aida I listened to earlier in the week - She's great in Wagner but perhaps shes a bit much for these Italian roles?.
I haven't listened to her Turandot recording yet (which is also in the Puccini box pictured above)..
Edit: Listened to the first 2 Acts of the work - Pretty much my first experience with the Opera: I liked it (so far). The singing was good as would be expected. I tried to keep an open mind but I still kept thinking that Nillson wouldn't be my ideal choice for this work. I think she is not very "lyrical" if that makes sense? - I realize I'm probably being an idiot and as it was only a first listen Ill probably change my mind later...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 30, 2017, 07:56:54 PM
Ligeti - Le Grand Macabre

(http://www.audiophileusa.com/covers400water/115377.jpg)

Everything you could ever want from and opera, and then some! IMO  :D

Good stuff! - I really like Ligeti's music but I haven't listened to his Opera yet.
I do have a recording of it though:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71jJWQDhvqL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51IODakFXcL.jpg)

I'll have to check this one out soon - also the recent posts about R. Strauss's Operas got my attention (I may have to listen to these at some stage..) :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on June 30, 2017, 10:10:58 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81AeD0J1UPL._SL1200_.jpg)

Another one of Birgit's - haven't listened to this is yonks.
This is the only R. Strauss Opera I own ATM - I used to have Solti's Rosenkavalier with Crespin (Jeffrey played it earlier this week I remember) but I appear to have deleted it from my library (which was foolish as I wouldn't have minded giving it another spin :-[)..
Edit: I made it as far as the Dance of the seven Veils before having to stop - Maybe it wasn't the right time to listen to this work but I didn't find it very interesting :-X.
At this stage I think I probably prefer the "older" style of Operas with Arias and such to the "through-composed" format.
I'll return to Strauss Operas at a later date perhaps..

TD:

Now listening to Puccini's La Fanciulla Del West with Nillson again - Act 3.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 01, 2017, 12:16:25 AM
I have never heard the Karajan recording.

You should. It's a classic.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 01, 2017, 12:22:26 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/512iphMedNL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pnA4fqHGL._SL1200_.jpg)

Listening to this work for the first time - enjoying it so far.
I've gotten to really like Verdi after initially being a bit put off by some aspects of his style.
I haven't heard a poor Verdi work yet though!.

The thing that puts this recording out of the running for me is the heinous cut Karajan makes in the great Act III ensemble (which he didn't do in his earlier Decca set with Del Monaco). Otello is a work of Verdi's mature genius, and there isn't a wasted note. It's a shame because Vickers is definitely one of the greatest Otellos on disc, and Freni is a most affecting Desdemona.

I usually turn to Vickers's earlier recording under Serafin, with Gobbi superb as Iago. Unfortunately Rysanek is not really suited to the role of Desdemona, but the set still ranks very high.

(https://pxhst.co/avaxhome/39/ce/0014ce39_medium.jpeg)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 01, 2017, 12:56:09 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81AeD0J1UPL._SL1200_.jpg)

Another one of Birgit's - haven't listened to this is yonks.
This is the only R. Strauss Opera I own ATM - I used to have Solti's Rosenkavalier with Crespin (Jeffrey played it earlier this week I remember) but I appear to have deleted it from my library (which was foolish as I wouldn't have minded giving it another spin :-[)..
Edit: I made it as far as the Dance of the seven Veils before having to stop - Maybe it wasn't the right time to listen to this work but I didn't find it very interesting :-X.
At this stage I think I probably prefer the "older" style of Operas with Arias and such to the "through-composed" format.
I'll return to Strauss Operas at a later date perhaps..

TD:

Now listening to Puccini's La Fanciulla Del West with Nillson again - Act 3.

This set has its fans, and the recording is pretty spectacular, but Nilsson never sounds remotely like the spoiled teenager of Strauss's imaginings. Remember he once stated that Elisabeth Schumann had the ideal voice, though whether she would have been heard above the orchestra is a moot point.

Ljuba Welitsch has always been my yardstick, though she is only represented in distinctly lo-fi live recordings, the best of them being from the Met in 1949 under Reiner. There is a later one from 1952, but her voice was already beginning to show signs of wear by this time. Anyone who loves this opera should also seek out a stunning recording of the Final Scene made for radio in 1944 under Lovro von Matacic.

(http://plade-klassikeren.dk/1452-thickbox_default/ljuba-welitsch-opera-arias-from-salome-tosca-aida-la-boheme-1-cd-emi.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8hCm-M-dI0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8hCm-M-dI0)

Of more modern recordings I tend to prefer the Karajan, with Hildegard Behrens a superbly silvery voiced Salome, and a starry cast that includes Jose Van Dam as Jokanaan and Agnes Baltsa as Herodias.

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0002/909/MI0002909117.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Sinopoli is also an excellent choice, and Studer too is more suited to the role than Nilsson (though hers is a voice I've never quite taken to).

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4318102.jpg)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 01, 2017, 01:08:04 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ThMuUbbaL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81WoFXvv-RL._SL1200_.jpg)

Another first listen.
I'm not sure if I appreciated Birgit's work in the recording of Aida I listened to earlier in the week - She's great in Wagner but perhaps shes a bit much for these Italian roles?.
I haven't listened to her Turandot recording yet (which is also in the Puccini box pictured above)..
Edit: Listened to the first 2 Acts of the work - Pretty much my first experience with the Opera: I liked it (so far). The singing was good as would be expected. I tried to keep an open mind but I still kept thinking that Nillson wouldn't be my ideal choice for this work. I think she is not very "lyrical" if that makes sense? - I realize I'm probably being an idiot and as it was only a first listen Ill probably change my mind later...

You've actually hit on something that I have a problem with too. Except for Turandot, Nilsson just never sounds right in Italian opera to me, not even as Lady Macbeth. Her Turandot was a marvel it is true, but even here I prefer Sutherland under Mehta, or Callas under Serafin.

Fortunately there are two other great recordings of La Fanciulla del West.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oJEhZuJLL.jpg)

and

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4748402.jpg)

My preference would be for the latter with Neblett, which actually won the Gramophone Award for Best Opera Recording the year it was released. Neblett has a large lyrical voice, which is never taxed by the upper reaches of the role, where Tebaldi can sound a bit strained. She also has the benefit of Domingo as Johnson, and Milnes as Rance. It's a superb set.




Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 01, 2017, 01:50:24 AM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81AeD0J1UPL._SL1200_.jpg)

Another one of Birgit's - haven't listened to this is yonks.
This is the only R. Strauss Opera I own ATM - I used to have Solti's Rosenkavalier with Crespin (Jeffrey played it earlier this week I remember) but I appear to have deleted it from my library (which was foolish as I wouldn't have minded giving it another spin :-[)..
Edit: I made it as far as the Dance of the seven Veils before having to stop - Maybe it wasn't the right time to listen to this work but I didn't find it very interesting :-X.
At this stage I think I probably prefer the "older" style of Operas with Arias and such to the "through-composed" format.
I'll return to Strauss Operas at a later date perhaps..

The french version of Salomé which uses the original Oscar Wilde text has been entirely rewritten by Strauss to match the french text and accentuation.  The result is a less agressive Salomé than in the german version.  In a staged version, it is more easily understandable why Salome is so aggressive.  When I am just listening to the opera, this version is more pleasing to the ear.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51NepkXh9dL._SY400_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 01, 2017, 02:07:54 AM
That Neblett recording of Fanciulla is the one I liked the best. And Fanciulla is, in my opinion, Puccini's greatest opera, even greater than Tosca or Turandot. Speaking of Turandot, Nilsson sings her absolutely gorgeously in that recording with her and Corelli.

Solti's Salome recording is a great favorite of mine.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 01, 2017, 02:16:43 AM
The french version of Salomé which uses the original Oscar Wilde text has been entirely rewritten by Strauss to match the french text and accentuation.  The result is a less agressive Salomé than in the german version.  In a staged version, it is more easily understandable why Salome is so aggressive.  When I am just listening to the opera, this version is more pleasing to the ear.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51NepkXh9dL._SY400_.jpg)
Good day, Spineur!

I've been considering that recording for quite a while now, as this "revised yet original" French Salomé looks very interesting. And (almost ) everything I know by Kent Nagano on his enterprising Lyon years is superb...

THREAD DUTY:

And now for something completely different (or perhaps not so much  ;) ); Manuel de Falla's El retablo de Maese Pedro, under the great Pedro de Freitas Branco, from this set:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51iYvZQ%2BE8L.jpg)

I got to know this gem of an opera in this recording (on an Hispavox LP almost 40 years ago), and it remains my favourite. Even if Falla's music is very distant from R. Strauss's sound world, as with Ariadne auf Naxos I was listening to last night, we have a pared-down instrumentation and metatheatrical "play within a play".

Falla resolutely abandons any Andalusion colour and, so to speak, moves north to the much sterner Castillian Weltanschaung. Some very subtle neo-classicism (but with no real direct allusion to any "classical" composers) and a real feel for the folk aspects of Castille and the spirit that imbues Don Quixote (the libretto being based  on an episode of part II of Cervantes's novel). Thus, this work oscillates between folklorism, classiscism and full modernity, and IMHO represents the zenith of Falla's small but extraordinary output. I can understand why a man like Boulez felt inclined to conduct this late in his career (in a triple bill, along Renard and Pierrot Lunaire in Aix-en-Provence in 2006--what an evening that must have been!).

Half an hour of pure joy.  :)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 01, 2017, 03:40:22 AM
I had the pleasure of seeing a performance in Melbourne of El retablo de Maese Pedro (along with Carter's What Next?) several years ago. A wonderful opera! Shame it seems difficult to come by recordings of it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 01, 2017, 04:27:18 AM
You've actually hit on something that I have a problem with too. Except for Turandot, Nilsson just never sounds right in Italian opera to me, not even as Lady Macbeth. Her Turandot was a marvel it is true, but even here I prefer Sutherland under Mehta, or Callas under Serafin.

Fortunately there are two other great recordings of La Fanciulla del West.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oJEhZuJLL.jpg)

and

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4748402.jpg)

My preference would be for the latter with Neblett, which actually won the Gramophone Award for Best Opera Recording the year it was released. Neblett has a large lyrical voice, which is never taxed by the upper reaches of the role, where Tebaldi can sound a bit strained. She also has the benefit of Domingo as Johnson, and Milnes as Rance. It's a superb set.





Pretty much agree on all points. The DG recording is fabulous.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: cilgwyn on July 01, 2017, 04:39:46 AM
Solti is a bit swift for my taste, and Price was a bit past her best by the time of this recording.

My go to remains the mono Karajan, with Schwarzkopf a soaringly radiant Ariadne, Seefried a glorious Composer and Streich a sparkling, but surprisingly sympathetic Zerbinetta. The men may not all be on the same lofty level of achievement, but none of them lets the side down, and Rudolf Schock is at least as good as any other Bacchus I've heard.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71tw4Z8spgL._SX355_.jpg)

Highly recommended.
That would be my choice,too! :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 01, 2017, 08:49:17 AM
This set has its fans, and the recording is pretty spectacular, but Nilsson never sounds remotely like the spoiled teenager of Strauss's imaginings. Remember he once stated that Elisabeth Schumann had the ideal voice, though whether she would have been heard above the orchestra is a moot point.

Ljuba Welitsch has always been my yardstick, though she is only represented in distinctly lo-fi live recordings, the best of them being from the Met in 1949 under Reiner. There is a later one from 1952, but her voice was already beginning to show signs of wear by this time. Anyone who loves this opera should also seek out a stunning recording of the Final Scene made for radio in 1944 under Lovro von Matacic.

(http://plade-klassikeren.dk/1452-thickbox_default/ljuba-welitsch-opera-arias-from-salome-tosca-aida-la-boheme-1-cd-emi.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8hCm-M-dI0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8hCm-M-dI0)

Of more modern recordings I tend to prefer the Karajan, with Hildegard Behrens a superbly silvery voiced Salome, and a starry cast that includes Jose Van Dam as Jokanaan and Agnes Baltsa as Herodias.

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0002/909/MI0002909117.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Sinopoli is also an excellent choice, and Studer too is more suited to the role than Nilsson (though hers is a voice I've never quite taken to).

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4318102.jpg)

I found Nilsson to be downright screechy in that Salome. But I think I don't really like the opera. I have the Sinopoli, and it didn't gel with me. The two best things in that Solti Strauss box are Ariadne and FrOSch.

TD
Siegfried, from this cheapo hotch potch set I got a few years back for about $1.00 per CD.


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81tgncDAdDL.jpg)
No indication of what the source material was, or even a full cast list, just a track list, but the sound is relatively good
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 01, 2017, 01:59:14 PM
Balance out Wagner with some frothy Mozart
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61qbZhAUt4L.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 01, 2017, 06:19:42 PM
The thing that puts this recording out of the running for me is the heinous cut Karajan makes in the great Act III ensemble (which he didn't do in his earlier Decca set with Del Monaco). Otello is a work of Verdi's mature genius, and there isn't a wasted note. It's a shame because Vickers is definitely one of the greatest Otellos on disc, and Freni is a most affecting Desdemona.

I usually turn to Vickers's earlier recording under Serafin, with Gobbi superb as Iago. Unfortunately Rysanek is not really suited to the role of Desdemona, but the set still ranks very high.

Good stuff - thanks for your reply and recommendation.
I didn't know about the cut in Karajan's EMI version - I have 2 more Otello's in my collection (one of which is Karajan's other version on Decca) so I do possess an "intact" version for comparison.
I really enjoyed Otello and thought it was one of the best Verdi Opera's I have heard so far - I intend to listen to the work more intently over the next few days.

Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71fm2q-4S%2BL._SL1500_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL._SL1500_.jpg)

For a first listen.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 01, 2017, 06:26:59 PM
You've actually hit on something that I have a problem with too. Except for Turandot, Nilsson just never sounds right in Italian opera to me, not even as Lady Macbeth. Her Turandot was a marvel it is true, but even here I prefer Sutherland under Mehta, or Callas under Serafin.

Fortunately there are two other great recordings of La Fanciulla del West.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oJEhZuJLL.jpg)

and

(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4748402.jpg)

My preference would be for the latter with Neblett, which actually won the Gramophone Award for Best Opera Recording the year it was released. Neblett has a large lyrical voice, which is never taxed by the upper reaches of the role, where Tebaldi can sound a bit strained. She also has the benefit of Domingo as Johnson, and Milnes as Rance. It's a superb set.
That Neblett recording of Fanciulla is the one I liked the best. And Fanciulla is, in my opinion, Puccini's greatest opera, even greater than Tosca or Turandot. Speaking of Turandot, Nilsson sings her absolutely gorgeously in that recording with her and Corelli.
Pretty much agree on all points. The DG recording is fabulous.

Thanks for all your replies.
I did enjoy Nilsson's La Fanciulla Del West despite my misgivings - I have the DG recording of the work with Domingo & Neblett on order (and it should arrive in the next couple of weeks) so I look forward to hearing that one (especially now as it has been recommended a number of times).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 01, 2017, 09:55:11 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81AeD0J1UPL._SL1200_.jpg)

Thanks for the recent replies and recommendations about this Opera.
I got the urge to try the work again (despite my negative comments yesterday) - I have no idea what happened but to cut a long story short I did enjoy this listen..
I'm quite interested in exploring R. Strauss other Operas and may pick up the Box-Set from Warner Classics (which would appear to have some popular versions of these works).

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 01, 2017, 11:08:44 PM
Good stuff - thanks for your reply and recommendation.
I didn't know about the cut in Karajan's EMI version - I have 2 more Otello's in my collection (one of which is Karajan's other version on Decca) so I do possess an "intact" version for comparison.
I really enjoyed Otello and thought it was one of the best Verdi Opera's I have heard so far - I intend to listen to the work more intently over the next few days.

Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71fm2q-4S%2BL._SL1500_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716oZKRVwxL._SL1500_.jpg)

For a first listen.

Another favourite of mine.

Domingo's Otello is not quite here the towering achievement it was to become, but he still sings superbly, Milnes is a formidale Iago, if not quite in Gobbi's class, and Renata Scotto makes more of the role of Desdemona than anyone. Others (Tebaldi, Te Kanawa, Rethberg, Freni) might sing the role with more consistent beauty of tone. None of them probes so deeply into Desdemona's tragedy. An excellent set.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 02, 2017, 12:21:29 AM
Another favourite of mine.

Domingo's Otello is not quite here the towering achievement it was to become, but he still sings superbly, Milnes is a formidale Iago, if not quite in Gobbi's class, and Renata Scotto makes more of the role of Desdemona than anyone. Others (Tebaldi, Te Kanawa, Rethberg, Freni) might sing the role with more consistent beauty of tone. None of them probes so deeply into Desdemona's tragedy. An excellent set.

Thanks, I enjoyed this one too (plan to give it another spin soon!).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 02, 2017, 12:34:19 AM
Some really fantastic music here

(https://i.scdn.co/image/67ba99d9a4675ad441fee4099f1333dae68085bb)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 02, 2017, 06:11:10 AM
Some really fantastic music here

(https://i.scdn.co/image/67ba99d9a4675ad441fee4099f1333dae68085bb)
indeed. Actually, Krenek almost made it on my "10 favourite opera composers" list  (I mentioned him among the runner-ups). I highly recommend his magnum opus Karl V, and also Orpheus und Eurydike, with a libretto by Oskar Kokoschka. Both have been released on the Orfeo label  (live recordings from Salzburg).

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on July 02, 2017, 12:18:25 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hnJl4HouL._SS425.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 02, 2017, 04:43:04 PM
This afternoon, from the Zyx hotchpotch Ring, this performance
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51ucTAc2oTL.jpg)
Followed by the Bugs Bunny short, "What's Opera, Doc?".
If you've seen, the relevance to the Ring should be obvious. If you haven't, it's on Youtube....
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 02, 2017, 06:00:31 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719robrmDzL._SL1286_.jpg)

Love this..

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716%2B8qQfQaL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pnA4fqHGL._SL1200_.jpg)

For a first listen (it's great so far!).


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 02, 2017, 06:03:08 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hnJl4HouL._SS425.jpg)

Nice one! - I think this is my preferred version of the work ATM.
Going to have to spin it again soon..
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on July 02, 2017, 07:56:50 PM
(https://s6.postimg.org/3qjqcxgcx/otello_renee.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/yxidgu499/)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 03, 2017, 01:48:46 AM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/719robrmDzL._SL1286_.jpg)

Love this..


I've always preferred Karajan's second recording for EMI, which is less self consciously beautiful, and a good deal more dramatic. Freni and Carreras could be considered rather light of voice, I suppose, but they both sing most beautifully, and Baltsa is my favourite Amneris of all, reminding us that she is a young, spoiled princess, and a valid rival for Radames.

(http://s6.postimg.org/ms59aqbgx/Verdi_Aida.jpg)


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716%2B8qQfQaL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pnA4fqHGL._SL1200_.jpg)

For a first listen (it's great so far!).

Muti's first Traviata is interesting, but he was going through his rigid, straightjacketing phase, which means the score exactly as written. Violetta is not even allowed a high Ab at the end of Sempre libera, let alone the traditional Eb in alt. Scotto and Kraus are somewhat past their prime too, though their singing is, as usual, unfailingly musical.

I actually prefer his second recording, based on a spectacular La Scala production. Fabricini is vocally fallible, but none the less very affecting, though probably best seen as well as heard in the video of the production.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/615Q7m-P7ML.jpg)

My favourite studio recording is the Kleiber, with Cotrubas a most affecting Violetta, and Domingo and Milnes as the Germonts.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vVyz1DKcL._SL1200_.jpg)

That said, I don't think any soprano has ever matched Callas's achievement in the role, the one she sang most after Norma, and the one she continued to refine throughout her career. The Cetra studio recording made in 1952 is let down by a second rate orchestra and chorus, and rather provincial support. Callas is in fresher voice here than in some of the later live recordings, and she is still very much inside the role, but it is still to those later live recordings that I always return; Giulini at La Scala in 1955 (with Di Stefano and Bastianini), Ghione in Lisbon in 1958 (with a young Kraus and Sereni), and, best of all, Rescigno at Covent Garden in 1958 (with Valletti and a wonderfully sensitive Mario Zanasi). She was not in good health for these performances, but her portrayal is full of detail, deeply affecting, and almost too real. It leaves me completely drained every time. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the audience.

(https://i.scdn.co/image/e247fd29c38d0fd2f3c88dddaf5ce3586f7f8005)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 03, 2017, 01:54:55 AM
(https://s6.postimg.org/3qjqcxgcx/otello_renee.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/yxidgu499/)

What a dreadful wig (I assume it's a wig) Fleming is wearing. She can look so much more attractive.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 03, 2017, 05:29:13 AM
What a dreadful wig (I assume it's a wig) Fleming is wearing. She can look so much more attractive.

With all due respect, so many of her gowns over the years were simply weird.
As per the above Fanciulla del West, I cannot get out of my head: "Spaghetti Western".
(I'm in a funny mood today...)

I see Tebadi has been mentioned a few times lately. She manages to keep an even sound despite the treacherous leaps in this aria:

http://www.youtube.com/v/E_HmhrtIvg0
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 03, 2017, 05:07:17 PM
Took a break from Wagner today
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61Xl5LhEznL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 03, 2017, 06:19:08 PM
I've always preferred Karajan's second recording for EMI, which is less self consciously beautiful, and a good deal more dramatic. Freni and Carreras could be considered rather light of voice, I suppose, but they both sing most beautifully, and Baltsa is my favourite Amneris of all, reminding us that she is a young, spoiled princess, and a valid rival for Radames.

(http://s6.postimg.org/ms59aqbgx/Verdi_Aida.jpg)

Muti's first Traviata is interesting, but he was going through his rigid, straightjacketing phase, which means the score exactly as written. Violetta is not even allowed a high Ab at the end of Sempre libera, let alone the traditional Eb in alt. Scotto and Kraus are somewhat past their prime too, though their singing is, as usual, unfailingly musical.

I actually prefer his second recording, based on a spectacular La Scala production. Fabricini is vocally fallible, but none the less very affecting, though probably best seen as well as heard in the video of the production.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/615Q7m-P7ML.jpg)

My favourite studio recording is the Kleiber, with Cotrubas a most affecting Violetta, and Domingo and Milnes as the Germonts.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71vVyz1DKcL._SL1200_.jpg)

That said, I don't think any soprano has ever matched Callas's achievement in the role, the one she sang most after Norma, and the one she continued to refine throughout her career. The Cetra studio recording made in 1952 is let down by a second rate orchestra and chorus, and rather provincial support. Callas is in fresher voice here than in some of the later live recordings, and she is still very much inside the role, but it is still to those later live recordings that I always return; Giulini at La Scala in 1955 (with Di Stefano and Bastianini), Ghione in Lisbon in 1958 (with a young Kraus and Sereni), and, best of all, Rescigno at Covent Garden in 1958 (with Valletti and a wonderfully sensitive Mario Zanasi). She was not in good health for these performances, but her portrayal is full of detail, deeply affecting, and almost too real. It leaves me completely drained every time. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the audience.

(https://i.scdn.co/image/e247fd29c38d0fd2f3c88dddaf5ce3586f7f8005)

Thanks for your detailed reply - I've read a few times that Kleiber's La Traviata is the one to have and luckily I do own it.
I dont have many Ileana Cotrubas recordings but I particularly like her work in this and also her Carmen and Rigoletto performances.

Im not sure about picking up Karajan's earlier recording of Aida because I don't appreciate Jose Carreras yet (though perhaps i have not heard him at his best) but Ill keep the recommendation in mind.

Im still in the proces of investigating Maria Callas - I have 3 or 4 of her recordings already in various box-sets and such.
I didnt post it here yet but I really loved her Madama Butterfly recording with Karajan and have listened to it a few times already (the sound quality was quite good too for a Mono too).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 04, 2017, 12:23:50 AM
Thanks for your detailed reply -

Im not sure about picking up Karajan's earlier recording of Aida because I don't appreciate Jose Carreras yet (though perhaps i have not heard him at his best) but Ill keep the recommendation in mind.

Im still in the proces of investigating Maria Callas - I have 3 or 4 of her recordings already in various box-sets and such.
I didnt post it here yet but I really loved her Madama Butterfly recording with Karajan and have listened to it a few times already (the sound quality was quite good too for a Mono too).

But the Carreras/Freni is Karajan's second recording, made in 1979, when Carreras's voice was still a beautiful, lyric tenor. You might argue he had no business singing Radames, and it probably didn't do him much good, and he is a little strained by the more heroic parts of the opera. It's all gain in the lyrical sections though. Karajan must have preferred a more lyrical approach too, as he chose Bergonzi for the earlier recording, rather than Tebaldi's usual partner of Del Monaco. This Decca one was recorded in 1959.

Callas can be an acquired taste, but, once acquired, it can be very addictive. Callas is my preferred singer for all the roles she sang and recorded, though that does not prevent me for enjoying other singers in those same roles. It's just that Callas has a way of imprinting phrases on the brain, and I miss her insights when they are not there. Others for whom beauty of tone is paramount will have other priorities, but I prefer singing that is beautifully expressed.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 04, 2017, 03:53:39 AM
Any Reimann fans around? I absolutely adore opera in German above all others, perhaps because of the enormous wealth of interesting and unique works constantly being created since the 19th century. Reimann is certainly one of the greatest composers of opera in German, if not one of the greatest of all time.

(http://www.musicalcriticism.com/recordings/cd-reimann-lear.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 04, 2017, 06:29:29 AM
But the Carreras/Freni is Karajan's second recording, made in 1979, when Carreras's voice was still a beautiful, lyric tenor. You might argue he had no business singing Radames, and it probably didn't do him much good, and he is a little strained by the more heroic parts of the opera. It's all gain in the lyrical sections though. Karajan must have preferred a more lyrical approach too, as he chose Bergonzi for the earlier recording, rather than Tebaldi's usual partner of Del Monaco. This Decca one was recorded in 1959.

Ahhh ok - I think of Karajan's EMI recordings as being from the "earlier" phase of his career but I forgot he made some for them later on too..
I have only listened to 2 Jose Carreras recordings as yet - his Carmen with Karajan (from 1982) and his Tosca with Karajan also (from 1979) so it would seem his voice was still in good shape for these?.
I must admit to finding his singing a bit disappointing so far - Perhaps I am being unfair/unkind but I think his voice lacks a sense of gravitas and I find his phrasing to be a bit too polished/fussy (for want of a better word).
I'll not give up on Jose just yet - I admit I might not have heard him in his best roles. I have his recording of Macbeth with Muti and the reviews I read suggest his interpretation of Banqo to be the best. I will make a point of checking this one out when Im able (and Ill youtube some excerpts from his Aida while im at it) :).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 04, 2017, 07:23:26 AM
Ahhh ok - I think of Karajan's EMI recordings as being from the "earlier" phase of his career but I forgot he made some for them later on too..
I have only listened to 2 Jose Carreras recordings as yet - his Carmen with Karajan (from 1982) and his Tosca with Karajan also (from 1979) so it would seem his voice was still in good shape for these?.
I must admit to finding his singing a bit disappointing so far - Perhaps I am being unfair/unkind but I think his voice lacks a sense of gravitas and I find his phrasing to be a bit too polished/fussy (for want of a better word).
I'll not give up on Jose just yet - I admit I might not have heard him in his best roles. I have his recording of Macbeth with Muti and the reviews I read suggest his interpretation of Banqo to be the best. I will make a point of checking this one out when Im able (and Ill youtube some excerpts from his Aida while im at it) :).

One small point. Carreras sings MacDuff in the Muti Macbeth, not Banquo, which is a bass role.

I think his voice had a lovely lyricism in his earlier years, right up to the Karajan Carmen, and I find his singing musical rather than fussy. I like his Don Carlo for Karajan too, well at least when the weird recording balance lets you hear him. Best of all are his performances in the Philips early Verdi series. Excellent in I due Foscari, La Battaglia di Legnano, Il Corsaro and Stiffelio and he's the best thing about the slightly po-faced Un Giorno di Regno with Norman and Cossotto both too heavy of voice and manner for their respective roles. There's actually an earlier and much better version of this light Donizettian comic opera on disc, with Lina Paghliughi, Renato Capecchi and Sesto Bruscantini, but I prefer Carreras to Juan Oncina, good though he is.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41PGpMuia9L._SL256_.jpg)


 

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 04, 2017, 04:45:01 PM
If you like Carreras in Giorno you will probably also like him here
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SbkX8LA1L.jpg)
If you can find it! I stumbled over it in the used CD store. This was supposedly his first complete opera recording.
TD
From my cheapo hotchpotch Ring
The Rheingold from this cycle (but not that issue, I assume)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/419M35927NL.jpg)

I have one installment to go, the Gotterdammerung from that cycle. For a cheap edition of (mostly) live early1950s recordings taken from unnamed sources, this has surprisingly good quality.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 05, 2017, 09:33:30 AM
If you like Carreras in Giorno you will probably also like him here
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SbkX8LA1L.jpg)
If you can find it! I stumbled over it in the used CD store. This was supposedly his first complete opera recording.
TD

Looks interesting. Thanks for mentioning it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 05, 2017, 06:26:27 PM
One small point. Carreras sings MacDuff in the Muti Macbeth, not Banquo, which is a bass role.

Haha thanks - I seem to be making a lot of mistakes this week :-[ :D

I think his voice had a lovely lyricism in his earlier years, right up to the Karajan Carmen, and I find his singing musical rather than fussy. I like his Don Carlo for Karajan too, well at least when the weird recording balance lets you hear him. Best of all are his performances in the Philips early Verdi series. Excellent in I due Foscari, La Battaglia di Legnano, Il Corsaro and Stiffelio and he's the best thing about the slightly po-faced Un Giorno di Regno with Norman and Cossotto both too heavy of voice and manner for their respective roles. There's actually an earlier and much better version of this light Donizettian comic opera on disc, with Lina Paghliughi, Renato Capecchi and Sesto Bruscantini, but I prefer Carreras to Juan Oncina, good though he is.

Thanks for your thoughts - I felt a bit bad about criticizing Jose's work in my previous posts so I'm going to work a bit harder to give him a fair chance. :)
I received his recording of Simon Boccanegra with Abbado in the mail yesterday and will try to listen to that soon (along with the previously mentioned recordings).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 05, 2017, 06:30:24 PM
Now playing:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716%2B8qQfQaL._SL1200_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81pnA4fqHGL._SL1200_.jpg)

Listening to this recording again (will be spinning C. Kleiber's version of the same work soon too).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 05, 2017, 10:29:06 PM
Haha thanks - I seem to be making a lot of mistakes this week :-[ :D

Thanks for your thoughts - I felt a bit bad about criticizing Jose's work in my previous posts so I'm going to work a bit harder to give him a fair chance. :)
I received his recording of Simon Boccanegra with Abbado in the mail yesterday and will try to listen to that soon (along with the previously mentioned recordings).

It's a stunner, one of the best recordings of a Verdi opera ever. I have a fondness for the old mono Santini, mostly for the contributions of Gobbi, Christoff and De Los Angeles, but the Abbado is in a different class.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ken B on July 06, 2017, 10:51:32 AM
Selections from Einstein on the Beach
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 06, 2017, 05:11:10 PM
Finishing off the Solti Mozart with
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51xpRJdrGCL.jpg)
DFD as the Speaker, Rene Kollo and Hans Sotin as the two Armored Men, and Yvonne Minton as the second of the Queen of the Night's ladies, probably counts as luxury casting
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 06, 2017, 08:21:52 PM
Currently streaming Hamlet from Glyndebourne. Up to the interval right now. So far the sets and costumes don't interest me so much except for some cool transitions where the walls break away or characters gesture to one another through windows, but the music is remarkable. Even if the opera quite fast paced, I feel that single moods are sustained for a fairly long time. The conflict between dark and light in the tone of the story was very prominent in his first opera (the cynical/dark-humoured 'Bliss') and its music I felt really matched this perfectly, although changes of mood were quite abrupt. Hamlet, to me, seems a little more seamless in its storytelling, everything is a lot more conversational, even the 'to be or not to be' is hardly a monologue in this opera, but an inner conflict that is referenced throughout the action.

Barbara Hannigan is no less than amazing, as usual.

It would have been great to see this live. Dean was very particular about the placement of musicians, not only in the pit, but in small groups around the auditorium as well. It is a slight shame that only the people in the stalls will have the best experience of this. I do believe that the way opera house auditoriums are traditionally designed does no real favour to the music and drama being presented........perhaps if a composer really wishes to create the theatrical effects of spatialised sound it would be far better to do away with opera houses altogether (and instead opt for an opera theatre which is 'transformable' depending on the requirements of whatever opera is being performed). I would like to see this live, but preferably in a theatre that will serve the music and the drama best.

I look forward to watching the rest of this very soon.

Brett Dean's new opera  Hamlet will be available to stream from the 6th of July: http://www.glyndebourne.com/tickets-and-whats-on/events/2017/watch-hamlet/

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 07, 2017, 02:46:01 AM
Finished it. Wow. I really hope there will be a release of it on DVD/BD. I don't know whether I prefer Hamlet or Bliss; both operas are excellent and both are quite different yet sharing similar characteristics. There seems to be a particular way Dean's operas work now that there are two of them. One can hear similarities in the music during a scene where an important character dies/almost dies amidst a large crowd, similarities in the melodies and orchestration of slow arias, comic relief characters and the funnier scenes in his operas really have some kind of underlying consistency in the music between both operas, but also when it comes to his treatment of humour in other works. There are things now which are recognisably his own when it comes to opera and I hope there are more to come as I would love to see how these elements evolve as his career continues.

Oh, and if anyone is interested (and I can't imagine why any fan of opera wouldn't be drawn in by this), here is a trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/v/Sg1osUcNP_s
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: marvinbrown on July 07, 2017, 04:19:19 AM
  I was going to post this on the Purchases thread but I believe it would be better appreciated here, so here goes:

  Yes! Yes! Yes! I FINALLY got my hands on this little gem:

 



  Currently Listening to CD1,  Tebalidi, Del Monaco and Bastianini.....OH MY! Can it get better than this?

  marvin
 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 07, 2017, 11:16:12 AM

  ...Tebalidi, Del Monaco and Bastianini.....OH MY! Can it get better than this?

And don't forget Gianandrea Gavazzeni! A gran signore of Italian opera, a man of immense culture (his writings are all very interesting, in particular his diaries collected under the title Il sipario rosso--unfortunately never translated AFAIK), and a conductor who excelled in this repertoire...

THREAD DUTY:

In my CD player right now (hat tip to Spineur):

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51NepkXh9dL._SY400_.jpg)

Salomé is an opera I've known since my teens, seen several times on stage, and know practically by heart. On the other hand, I read Oscar Wilde's play in French many years ago (after getting to know the opera); to have both worlds, so to speak, now combined is rather fascinating. Yes, you can notice the difference in the vocal lines between the standard German version and this "back-adaptation", but also the whole sound of the opera changes form one language to the other. Less "expressionsitic" and ultimately more decadent (cliché as this may sound). An excellent performance as well in my IMHO, with Karen Huffstodt a fragile and vulnerable lead (no "steel princess" here, thank God), José van Dam repeating his superb Jochanaan (after recording it in German for Karajan's justly famous EMI set), and Nagano handling the orchestra masterfully. Great stuff!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 07, 2017, 11:27:21 AM
Glad that you liked it.  For me the change of language and melodic line leads to a smoother flowing work, were Salomé agressivity has been filed away.  I am not sure it translates in decadence.  Van Dam in french is indeed fantastic.  He is OK in german but here his expressivity just gets me.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 07, 2017, 11:40:05 AM
(https://i.scdn.co/image/e247fd29c38d0fd2f3c88dddaf5ce3586f7f8005)

No other singer has quite got to the heart of Violetta as Callas did, and this shatteringly moving live performance from Covent Garden in 1958 represents the very best of her art. She is wonderfully supported by Nicola Rescigno in the pit and Cesare Valletti and Mario Zanasi as the Germonts.

I intend to write a full review on my blog very soon.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 07, 2017, 10:18:58 PM
I tried some Donizetti, but after watching Brett Dean's new work 'Lucrezia Borgia' from Valencia (via Opera Platform) seemed about as appealing as food from McDonald's.

So instead I have opted for a production of Mussorgsky's Sorochintsy Fair (http://www.theoperaplatform.eu/en/opera/mussorgsky-sorochintsy-fair) from Komische Oper Berlin. It is fun and the music is wonderful. The stage is mostly quite bare but the costumes are great and this only draws more attention to the hilarious acting in a very good way.

Here's a rather busy image from the production:

(http://static-cdn.arte.tv/cdnp-opera/cdn/farfuture/8KXpjfJ_9pHN2tojViJ1hjpdBmL4_Dk-OewcS-xnE6g/mtime:1490625083/sites/default/files/styles/alw_rectangle_1176/public/atoms/image/20170327/berlin_jahrmarkt_cut_1.jpg?itok=gIClqy5s)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 08, 2017, 08:56:05 AM

TD
From my cheapo hotchpotch Ring
The Rheingold from this cycle (but not that issue, I assume)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/419M35927NL.jpg)

I have one installment to go, the Gotterdammerung from that cycle. For a cheap edition of (mostly) live early1950s recordings taken from unnamed sources, this has surprisingly good quality.



This afternoon, doing the Gotterdammerung.
SQ is not quite as good as on the other installments, at least so far (the Prologue just ended and Siggy has just started his Fahrt im Rhein) and the tenor may be a bit stretched in the high notes but still satisfying.  (No cast listing so I am not sure who the tenor is.)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on July 08, 2017, 02:21:26 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YCXqzQuOL._SS425.jpg)


Gonna kill the rest of the afternoon.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 08, 2017, 04:04:07 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51YCXqzQuOL._SS425.jpg)


Gonna kill the rest of the afternoon.

Nice! I like this except for Peter Seiffert actually :laugh:

No one does Lohengrin better than...................

https://www.youtube.com/v/gcSq3R6PzOg

Probably one of the best Heldentenors alive. Quite excited to watch a new production of Tannhäuser that he is in from Bayerische Staatsoper on their live stream.

https://www.youtube.com/v/0D5hByvNlvc
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 09, 2017, 05:40:12 AM
Vasco de Gama
Giacomo Meyerbeer



This is a very clean CPO release.  The orchestra sound is gorgeous. The opera could have used some of Puccini concision (4 CD close to 5 hours).  Lots of very theatrical moments with choruses, quartets and quintet.  Some lovely music.  It must be great fun to see live.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 09, 2017, 11:14:10 AM
Vasco de Gama
Giacomo Meyerbeer



This is a very clean CPO release.  The orchestra sound is gorgeous. The opera could have used some of Puccini concision (4 CD close to 5 hours).  Lots of very theatrical moments with choruses, quartets and quintet.  Some lovely music.  It must be great fun to see live.
I've never much cared for Meyerbeer (after listening to Il Crociato..., Les Huguenots, Le Prophète and Robert le diable--the latter I found particularly revolting  ::) );  but, I  did find things to enjoy in this Ur-L'Africaine... I remember Sélika's farewell in Act V to be rather touching.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 09, 2017, 11:43:04 AM
Vasco de Gama
Giacomo Meyerbeer



This is a very clean CPO release.  The orchestra sound is gorgeous. The opera could have used some of Puccini concision (4 CD close to 5 hours).  Lots of very theatrical moments with choruses, quartets and quintet.  Some lovely music.  It must be great fun to see live.

I've had my eye on this for a while. I enjoy Meyerbeer and the excerpts sounded great. What do you think of the singers?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 09, 2017, 11:53:40 AM
I am only half way through (I had to go to work today and got back at 9PM).  I will give you a full recension at the end, i.e. probably mid-week

The quality of Meyerbeer productions are quite uneven .  All the DVD released so far are particularly disappointing.  I am waiting for decent productions of Le prophete & Robert le Diable.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 09, 2017, 02:11:38 PM
Just watched Tannhäuser from Bayerische Staatsoper. More traditional than I expected somehow. There was a real medieval feel to it throughout, which was perfect.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: timh1 on July 09, 2017, 11:01:02 PM
Messiaen Saint François d'Assise part of the complete edition.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on July 10, 2017, 01:50:51 AM
(https://s6.postimg.org/tjvegyd3l/51_Ci_QVOQg_ML._SX466.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/qps93iax9/)
Solti conducting Strauss.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 10, 2017, 12:17:32 PM
I've had my eye on this for a while. I enjoy Meyerbeer and the excerpts sounded great. What do you think of the singers?
In expectation of Spineur's comments, I venture to say (after revisiting parts of the recording of Vasco de Gama today) that this is splendid production. The singing in general is excellent (even if at some--very few--moments, some strain can be heard on the tenor and the soprano incarnating Sélika). Also, from the international cast, only the baritone singing Nelusko has a French name, but the Chemnitz opera company must have one hell of a language coach, because the text is pronounced very clearly.

If you're interested in this opera, I wouldn't hesitate: IMHO, a producton that does all artists involved, the Chemnitz Opera House and Meyerbeer proud. You wouldn't guess it comes from the (deep) German provinces if you did not know beforehand.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Mahlerian on July 11, 2017, 05:25:49 AM
Finished it. Wow. I really hope there will be a release of it on DVD/BD. I don't know whether I prefer Hamlet or Bliss; both operas are excellent and both are quite different yet sharing similar characteristics. There seems to be a particular way Dean's operas work now that there are two of them. One can hear similarities in the music during a scene where an important character dies/almost dies amidst a large crowd, similarities in the melodies and orchestration of slow arias, comic relief characters and the funnier scenes in his operas really have some kind of underlying consistency in the music between both operas, but also when it comes to his treatment of humour in other works. There are things now which are recognisably his own when it comes to opera and I hope there are more to come as I would love to see how these elements evolve as his career continues.

I just finished it myself, and I fully agree with your review.  An altogether engrossing work.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 11, 2017, 10:58:52 AM
In expectation of Spineur's comments, I venture to say (after revisiting parts of the recording of Vasco de Gama today) that this is splendid production. The singing in general is excellent (even if at some--very few--moments, some strain can be heard on the tenor and the soprano incarnating Sélika). Also, from the international cast, only the baritone singing Nelusko has a French name, but the Chemnitz opera company must have one hell of a language coach, because the text is pronounced very clearly.

If you're interested in this opera, I wouldn't hesitate: IMHO, a production that makes all artists involved, the Chemnitz Opera House and Meyerbeer proud. You wouldn't guess it comes from the (deep) German provinces if you did not know beforehand.
Here are a few additions to Raphael excellent comments.  Prior to the production, there has been some musicological work done by Frank Beermann, the musical director and conductor: this is the complete score of Meyerbeer last opera as he left it.  Because of its length, it is often cut, most of the time not very wisely.  The background of this opera is colonialization, and confrontation between portugese civilization with other cultures and traditions.  It was a relevant theme then and it is also today.  So it is best taken seriously and literally as this production does.  As noted by Raphael, the Chemnitz chorus is top level as is the orchestra which does full justice to Meyerbeer orchestral writing.  The singers are good, and more importantly totally committed to their role and Meyerbeer music.  The barytone/bass singing Nelusko (one of the slave) Pierre-Yves Pruvost has a dark almost satanic voice that suits his role perfectly.  Claudia Sorokina who sings Selika (the other slave) is dramatic in her duo with Nelusko as they are condemned to death in act III.  I also liked Guibee Yang who sings Inès, Don Diego daughter.
As in most Meyerbeer opera things really pick up at act III and culminate at the last act (V).  But in this opera, the music is quite nice right from the beginning.

The book has picture from the Chemnitz production and the text in french/german/english. The market price is high but fluctuate widely in time and space (44 on amazon.it, over 60 on amazon.de right now).  I got my copy for 40€ a  few months back. 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 12, 2017, 08:52:09 AM
Thanks for all the great comments on the Meyerbeer! At this point, it is just a question of when I buy it, not if I buy it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Autumn Leaves on July 12, 2017, 06:01:03 PM
Recent listening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51N3wECMAIL.jpg)

Enjoying this newly arrived recording.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71dqWYAE-vL._SL1200_.jpg)

Superb recording - Pavarotti singing "Che gelida manina" is the best thing about this IMO.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 13, 2017, 09:16:48 PM
Nice performance but disappointing opera.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/415m5VCvL%2BL._SY400_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 13, 2017, 09:24:59 PM
Nice performance but disappointing opera.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/415m5VCvL%2BL._SY400_.jpg)
Oh bummer, I was considering that...The Herold opera issued some months ago is quite good though if you'd like something French from that series...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on July 14, 2017, 03:11:14 AM
(https://ec-assets.sheetmusicplus.com/items/20155610/cover_images/cover-large_file.png)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 14, 2017, 11:31:26 PM
(https://img.discogs.com/4log248mc6JRaxYV7-fnfNKHo9s=/fit-in/600x594/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-9310901-1478378068-9301.jpeg.jpg)

Playing Verdi's "Macbeth" (Leinsdorf, Met 1959 - from the "Giuseppe Verdi - Great Recordings" box on Sony)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 12:38:07 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/4log248mc6JRaxYV7-fnfNKHo9s=/fit-in/600x594/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-9310901-1478378068-9301.jpeg.jpg)

Playing Verdi's "Macbeth" (Leinsdorf, Met 1959 - from the "Giuseppe Verdi - Great Recordings" box on Sony)

One of my favourite Verdi operas. This isn't a bad recording of the opera by any means, but I think it was completely superseded by the excellent Muti and Abbado recordings, which arrived in quick succession in 1976. My personal favourite would be the La Scala based Abbado, with Cappuccilli, Verrett, Domingo and Ghiaurov in great form; indeed Verrett's Lady Macbeth is the greatest since Callas, whose live 1952 recording of the opera under Victor De Sabata's baton is a must for anyone who likes this opera. The sound is typical for its period and source (distinctly lo-fi), but is just about listenable in its Myto pressing. The EMI should be avoided at all costs, and it is to be hoped that Warner have not just copied it for their issue in September of Callas Live.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61VBv4yBk6L.jpg)

(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/719v-j8siyl-_sl1417_.jpg?w=1024)

(http://i66.tinypic.com/2r76cut.jpg)





Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 15, 2017, 01:33:04 AM
One of my favourite Verdi operas. This isn't a bad recording of the opera by any means, but I think it was completely superseded by the excellent Muti and Abbado recordings, which arrived in quick succession in 1976. My personal favourite would be the La Scala based Abbado, with Cappuccilli, Verrett, Domingo and Ghiaurov in great form; indeed Verrett's Lady Macbeth is the greatest since Callas, whose live 1952 recording of the opera under Victor De Sabata's baton is a must for anyone who likes this opera. The sound is typical for its period and source (distinctly lo-fi), but is just about listenable in its Myto pressing. The EMI should be avoided at all costs, and it is to be hoped that Warner have not just copied it for their issue in September of Callas Live.

Thanks! I have the Abbado and Muti lined up for listening (all of these are first listens, the previous one was the Leinsdorf Met from the "Verdi at the Met" box). As for Callas, I have that Verdi live box ... it was dirt cheap. Waiting for the new Warner box and first reviews before deciding what else to get in terms of live recordings. Plenty here, but never acquired in a systematical way or with much previous research, just snatched up stuff that was recommended here or elsewhere, or recordings I was curious about, or ones that cost almost nothing ... and may be worth same  ;)

I have one more recoding with DFD in the title role (Gardelli, 1970, with Souliotis as Lady and Ghiaurov as Banco) ... must be weird, but when that gorgeous Pavarotti "First Decade" box went cheap, I just had to get it and that "Macbeth" is in there. Guess Pavarotti doing MacDuff is the main interest there (at least for me).

Anyway, Leonie Rysanek is mighty fine with Leinsdorf (I'm not familiar with her at all), and I immediately started listening with more attention when Bergonzi came on in the fourth act! We can easily agree on "very good/not great" here though.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 02:44:18 AM

I have one more recoding with DFD in the title role (Gardelli, 1970, with Souliotis as Lady and Ghiaurov as Banco) ... must be weird, but when that gorgeous Pavarotti "First Decade" box went cheap, I just had to get it and that "Macbeth" is in there. Guess Pavarotti doing MacDuff is the main interest there (at least for me).


Well Souliotis might just have the voice of a she-devil in this recording, but her Lady M is something of a disaster. The voice seems to have aged twenty years since her fantastic Abigaille, recorded just a few years earlier, opening up chasms rather than breaks between the registers, the top squally, the middle voice hollow and unsupported, the chest voice overused and forced. D F-D makes an interesting Macbeth, with a Lieder singer's attention to the text, but he never sounds idiomatically correct. The set's only real assets are Gardelli's conducting, Pavarotti's MacDuff and Ghiaurov's Banquo.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 15, 2017, 03:03:04 AM
Well Souliotis might just have the voice of a she-devil in this recording, but her Lady M is something of a disaster. The voice seems to have aged twenty years since her fantastic Abigaille, recorded just a few years earlier, opening up chasms rather than breaks between the registers, the top squally, the middle voice hollow and unsupported, the chest voice overused and forced. D F-D makes an interesting Macbeth, with a Lieder singer's attention to the text, but he never sounds idiomatically correct. The sets only real assets are Gardelli's conducting, Pavarotti's MacDuff and Ghiaurov's Banquo.

Thanks again - not familiar with Souliotis at all so far, but that confirms what I've read about that recording of "Macbeth". What recording of "Nabucco" is she in? The mid sixties Vienna one with Gardelli? Or are there others?

The Abigailles I have: Callas in an early live recording, Rysanek again - these two not yet heard, I think -, Scotto, and Dimitrova... I guess the Sinopoli may be my favourite there, Scott with Muti is somewhat too old for the role as well. But it's been a few years since I played any recording of "Nabucco".
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 03:21:23 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oJAJptQqL.jpg)

Watching some of the live telecast of the Covent Garden Turandot led me seek out this recording today; one I haven't listened to in a long time, and it certainly justifies its reputation. I even found the Ping Pang Pong episodes less irritating than I usually do.

Sutherland seemed strange casting at the time (and she never sang the role on stage) but it's a casting decision that definitely paid off. Her diction is better here than it usually is, though she doesn't make as much of the text as Callas does. On the other hand, by the time Callas came to record the complete role in 1957, she couldn't disguise the strain the role made on her resources. (Too bad she didn't record it a few years earlier, when she recorded a stunningly secure, and subtly inflected version of In questa reggia for her Puccini recital.) Anyway for my money, Sutherland has much more vocal allure in the role than Nilsson, and surely Turandot has to have allure if one is to make any sense at all out of the plot.

Pavarotti is caught at his mid career best and Caballe sings beautifully, spinning out her fabulous pianissimi to glorious effect. If I'm absolutely honest, I prefer a slightly lighter voice in the role, like, say, Moffo, Freni or Scotto. Caballe sounds as if she could sing Turandot, which indeed she did, but there's no doubting her class. The rest of the cast is superb and Mehta conducts a splendidly dramatic and viscerally beautiful version of the score. On balance, it's probably still the best recording of the opera around.





Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 03:25:02 AM
Thanks again - not familiar with Souliotis at all so far, but that confirms what I've read about that recording of "Macbeth". What recording of "Nabucco" is she in? The mid sixties Vienna one with Gardelli? Or are there others?

The Abigailles I have: Callas in an early live recording, Rysanek again - these two not yet heard, I think -, Scotto, and Dimitrova... I guess the Sinopoli may be my favourite there, Scott with Muti is somewhat too old for the role as well. But it's been a few years since I played any recording of "Nabucco".

Yes, the Gardelli, which I still think is the best studio recording of Nabucco. Souliotis is absolutely thrilling, though her recklessness sends out warning signals, and indeed the voice didn't last. This is, hands down, the best thing she ever did n the studio, second only to Callas's glorious assumption of the role, which, as you know, is in absolutely dreadful sound. I wonder what it will sound like in the new Warner version. the Gardelli also benefits from Gobbi's superb Nabucco. It's a little late in his career to be sure, but he makes more of the role than anyone.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 15, 2017, 03:41:32 AM
One would think that Sutherland's lyrical voice would suit better Liú rather than ruthless Turandot. But I have heard this recording and she freaking nails it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 03:43:17 AM
One would think that Sutherland's lyrical voice would suit better Liú rather than ruthless Turandot. But I have heard this recording and she freaking nails it.

More than one critic at the time thought that the pre-publicity was wrong and that Caballe was to be Turandot and Sutherland Liu.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 15, 2017, 03:51:41 AM
Yes, the Gardelli, which I still think is the best studio recording of Nabucco. Souliotis is absolutely thrilling, though her recklessness sends out warning signals, and indeed the voice didn't last. This is, hands down, the best thing she ever did n the studio, second only to Callas's glorious assumption of the role, which, as you know, is in absolutely dreadful sound. I wonder what it will sound like in the new Warner version. the Gardelli also benefits from Gobbi's superb Nabucco. It's a little late in his career to be sure, but he makes more of the role than anyone.

Okay, you have me curious ... just ordered the Gardelli "Nabucco"!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 04:08:51 AM
Okay, you have me curious ... just ordered the Gardelli "Nabucco"!

Excellent choice
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 15, 2017, 04:25:55 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oJAJptQqL.jpg)

Watching some of the live telecast of the Covent Garden Turandot led me seek out this recording today; one I haven't listened to in a long time, and it certainly justifies its reputation. I even found the Ping Pang Pong episodes less irritating than I usually do.

Sutherland seemed strange casting at the time (and she never sang the role on stage) but it's a casting decision that definitely paid off. Her diction is better here than it usually is, though she doesn't make as much of the text as Callas does. On the other hand, by the time Callas came to record the complete role in 1957, she couldn't disguise the strain the role made on her resources. (Too bad she didn't record it a few years earlier, when she recorded a stunningly secure, and subtly inflected version of In questa reggia for her Puccini recital.) Anyway for my money, Sutherland has much more vocal allure in the role than Nilsson, and surely Turandot has to have allure if one is to make any sense at all out of the plot.

Pavarotti is caught at his mid career best and Caballe sings beautifully, spinning out her fabulous pianissimi to glorious effect. If I'm absolutely honest, I prefer a slightly lighter voice in the role, like, say, Moffo, Freni or Scotto. Caballe sounds as if she could sing Turandot, which indeed she did, but there's no doubting her class. The rest of the cast is superb and Mehta conducts a splendidly dramatic and viscerally beautiful version of the score. On balance, it's probably still the best recording of the opera around.

My favorite Liu on record is Barbara Hendricks. She sings beautifully and meshes well with Domingo on that recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2017, 04:45:26 AM
My favorite Liu on record is Barbara Hendricks. She sings beautifully and meshes well with Domingo on that recording.

I heard Hendricks sing it in concert at the Barbican, and she had an appreciable success in a so-so evening, which included the original full-length Alfano ending. Sylvia Sass was a variable Turandot, though she was better here than at the other times I heard her live (Norma and Elisabetta in Don Carlo) and Franco Bonisolli a Calaf who played to the gallery. Unfortunately for him the gallery tittered every time he thrust his chest out expecting applause every time he hit a high note. His performance stays in the memory for all the wrong reasons whereas Hendricks's does for all the right ones. A shame that on disc Hendricks sings Liu to a Turandot who should have stuck to Liu.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 17, 2017, 10:18:25 AM
Classical-Music article: their 15 operas ripe for rediscovery

http://www.classical-music.com/article/15-operas-ripe-rediscovery (http://www.classical-music.com/article/15-operas-ripe-rediscovery)

Not really esoteric stuff: I have Rimsky Tsar Saltan, Lalo Le Roi dYs (dvd) and Offenbach Die Rheinnixen.  All 3 are great.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 17, 2017, 10:18:51 AM
(https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/51wr-jbwwjl.jpg)

In case anyone's interested, I've now written a full length review of this superb Covent Garden performance of La Traviata.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 17, 2017, 10:38:31 AM
And the sound ? The Guilini disc is "inaudible"
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 17, 2017, 11:03:26 AM
And the sound ? The Guilini disc is "inaudible"

One of the best live Callas sets.

Actually the Giulini is pretty good on ArsVocalis. The EMI, like most of their live Callas sets, is awful.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 17, 2017, 11:38:32 AM
Excellent choice

Furthermore, I realized the Myto Callas "Nabucco" is on the shelves already (it's not even part of the cheapo EMI Callas Verdi Live set anyway). You must have mentioned that one before  ;)

Next up, in two weeks: "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" in Munich. I saw that very same production on TV with a more prominent line up before ... but am looking forward a lot to catching it live again! Not sure I'll have time to revisit any recordings before that.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 20, 2017, 08:21:45 AM
Next up, in two weeks: "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" in Munich. I saw that very same production on TV with a more prominent line up before ... but am looking forward a lot to catching it live again! Not sure I'll have time to revisit any recordings before that.

Yowzah! Just got the second mail noting about line-up changes for "Les Contes" - and now this one's great: Diana Damrau will sing Antonia/Giulietta/Stella. (The first one was that Nicolas Tèste will do half of the 17 male roles - don't know him, didn't know the initially announced singer either.)

https://www.staatsoper.de/stueckinfo/les-contes-dhoffmann/2017-07-27-19-00.html
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 20, 2017, 08:46:03 AM
Yowzah! Just got the second mail noting about line-up changes for "Les Contes" - and now this one's great: Diana Damrau will sing Antonia/Giulietta/Stella. (The first one was that Nicolas Tèste will do half of the 17 male roles - don't know him, didn't know the initially announced singer either.)

https://www.staatsoper.de/stueckinfo/les-contes-dhoffmann/2017-07-27-19-00.html

Interesting....Damrau will do all the roles on Thursday the 27th but another singer will do Olympia on Sunday the 30th.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 20, 2017, 08:53:49 AM
Interesting....Damrau will do all the roles on Thursday the 27th but another singer will do Olympia on Sunday the 30th.

Well, in the mail I just got, it's announced that Damrau will do the three, and Olga Pudova will do Olympia - not making a difference between the dates. That would be quite unusual indeed ... and checking again, I see that's how it's listed for both dates, at least if you open the site in German. Either way, looking foward, this will be the first live music during the summer break (more to come end of August, including Gardiner and his forces doing "L'Orfeo" at Lucerne Festival).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 20, 2017, 11:40:43 AM
Well, in the mail I just got, it's announced that Damrau will do the three, and Olga Pudova will do Olympia - not making a difference between the dates. That would be quite unusual indeed ... and checking again, I see that's how it's listed for both dates, at least if you open the site in German. Either way, looking foward, this will be the first live music during the summer break (more to come end of August, including Gardiner and his forces doing "L'Orfeo" at Lucerne Festival).

That's a nice one.  Forty years ago the music department of my college put on L'Orfeo, with musicians untrained in HIP and on a budget most high school plays would consider measly---and they produced an impressive result. I can only imagine what a real production must be like.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 20, 2017, 11:47:23 AM
That's a nice one.  Forty years ago the music department of my college put on L'Orfeo, with musicians untrained in HIP and on a budget most high school plays would consider measly---and they produced an impressive result. I can only imagine what a real production must be like.

It won't be a real production (no proper opera at Lucerne Festival, I think ... or maybe there's something from the theatre that is shown as part of the festival, the way that regular stages sometimes take part in seasonal festivals, too - don't really know), just a concert performance - but nonetheless I look forward to it bigtime!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2017, 01:11:09 AM


  Currently listening to a digital file copy of this:

 



  I am thoroughly enjoying it, Boulez is brisk and surprising light, this is easily the best of the modern rings recorded at Beyreuth, there is far less stage noise than the Barenboim set. All in all a very pleasant experience!

  marvin
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 21, 2017, 01:38:14 AM

  Currently listening to a digital file copy of this:

 



  I am thoroughly enjoying it, Boulez is brisk and surprising light, this is easily the best of the modern rings recorded at Beyreuth, there is far less stage noise than the Barenboim set. All in all a very pleasant experience!

  marvin
Great to see good things said about the Boulez Ring, which is usually much maligned. Yes, the singing is variable, but the Frenchman's brisk and light handling of the score, which you point out, represents an interesting angle to Wagner's music, and IMHO sounds as fresh today as almost 40 years ago. Of course I'm biased, because I got to see this in the theatre as a young man in 1979--a thrilling experience!

Cheers,
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 22, 2017, 12:37:26 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ERa2s-CsL.jpg)

Hadn't heard this version in a while, so thought I would give it another chance. I liked it more than I thought I would.

Sonically it's gorgeous. Karajan's speeds tend to the spacious and he reveals beauties in the orchestration I'd never heard before, not even in the superb Mehta.

When it comes to the cast, I think Barbara Hendricks's Liu sounds just right, a lovely lyric soprano, perfectly suited to the demands of the role. By contrast Caballe sounds too much the grande dame, Schwarzkopf too much the Princess Werdenberg, though both sing divinely. Domingo makes a most interesting, more psychologically complex Calaf than Pavarotti, but I do miss Pavarotti's ringing top notes. Domingo is taxed by the upper reaches of the part.

The set's biggest stumbling block however remains Ricciarelli. Truth to tell, this time round I didn't find her casting quite as disastrous as I once thought. A most intelligent and musical singer, she adapts the role to suit her basically lyric soprano. She sings the opening of In questa reggia with a white, vibrato-less sound which is most effective, but she can't really disguise the fact that, even in the recording studio, her voice is a couple of notches too small. As I intimated above, she has to use all her intelligence to survive the role's treacherous demands. Sutherland sounds as if she was born to sing it.

Certainly worth hearing though for Karajan's superb realisation of the score, for Hendricks's wonderful Liu, and, apart from at the very top of the voice, Domingo's musical Calaf.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 22, 2017, 05:34:49 AM
Got a few Opera Rara lately and today I am starting with Donizetti "Les Martyrs" on a E. Scribe libretto, the french version Poliuto, censored in Italy, and eventually produced there after Donizetti death.



Although there are 3 operas "Polyeucte", the one by Gounod and Polieuct of the contemporary polish composer Zygmundt Krause, it is at the start a tragedy by Pierre Corneille based on the martyrdom of Polyeucte of Metylene in 262 AD.  Despite its religious theme this play is popular in France and is regularly given at "La Comedie Francaise" and other theater.  It is in fact one of my favorite classical tragedy as it explore the social (Polyeucte) and psycological effect (Pauline, his wife) of a religious conversion.  Pauline who witnesses Polyeucte martyrdom is a fantastic character as she discovers and embraces christianism through her husband.  For once, Donizetti & E. Scribe are faithful to Corneille play (how can one change perfection !).

This Opera Rara production has the orchestra of the age of enlightment, Michael Spyres  as Polyeucte and Joyce El Khoury as Pauline, all excellent.  I plan to get Gounod opera as well, if it exists in recorded form.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 22, 2017, 01:46:13 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61ERa2s-CsL.jpg)

Hadn't heard this version in a while, so thought I would give it another chance. I liked it more than I thought I would.

Sonically it's gorgeous. Karajan's speeds tend to the spacious and he reveals beauties in the orchestration I'd never heard before, not even in the superb Mehta.

When it comes to the cast, I think Barbara Hendricks's Liu sounds just right, a lovely lyric soprano, perfectly suited to the demands of the role. By contrast Caballe sounds too much the grande dame, Schwarzkopf too much the Princess Werdenberg, though both sing divinely. Domingo makes a most interesting, more psychologically complex Calaf than Pavarotti, but I do miss Pavarotti's ringing top notes. Domingo is taxed by the upper reaches of the part.

The set's biggest stumbling block however remains Ricciarelli. Truth to tell, this time round I didn't find her casting quite as disastrous as I once thought. A most intelligent and musical singer, she adapts the role to suit her basically lyric soprano. She sings the opening of In questa reggia with a white, vibrato-less sound which is most effective, but she can't really disguise the fact that, even in the recording studio, her voice is a couple of notches too small. As I intimated above, she has to use all her intelligence to survive the role's treacherous demands. Sutherland sounds as if she was born to sing it.

Certainly worth hearing though for Karajan's superb realisation of the score, for Hendricks's wonderful Liu, and, apart from at the very top of the voice, Domingo's musical Calaf.
I am actually quite fond of this recording. I think Karajan's preciosity and attention to orchestral detail suits this score like a glove, and agree with you, Tsaraslondon, that Barbara Hendricks's Liù is pure delight. Her "Tanto amore segreto, e incofessato tanto così..." is one of the most beautiful examples of lyric singing I have ever heard. And yes, Ricciarelli is overparted, but has some great moments (that start of "In questa reggia" you pointed out, and also e.g. the way she sings "Qui pose tanta forza nel tuo cuore" to Liù just before that passage ("Tanto amore...")  I pointed out before. There's a fragility that is a welcome change to the "standard" Scandianvian Turandots that I find quite refreshing. But, of course, I am biased, as I've always been partial to Ricciarelli, who had such a distinctive and beautiful instrument, and used it with great (but also elegantly controlled) expressivity. A pity how she evidently mismanaged her career.

A little known fact is that Ricciarelli did get to sing Turandot on stage, several years after the Karajan recording. She stepped in for an ailing colleague in some performances in Tokyo (apparently, there was no understudy, and if it hadn't been for her, the performances would have had to be cancelled). The audience apparently thanked her with warm appause on those nights.

Cheers,
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 22, 2017, 02:25:24 PM
But, of course, I am biased, as I've always been partial to Ricciarelli, who had such a distinctive and beautiful instrument, and used it with great (but also elegantly controlled) expressivity. A pity how she evidently mismanaged her career.

A little known fact is that Ricciarelli did get to sing Turandot on stage, several years after the Karajan recording. She stepped in for an ailing colleague in some performances in Tokyo (apparently, there was no understudy, and if it hadn't been for her, the performances would have had to be cancelled). The audience apparently thanked her with warm appause on those nights.

Cheers,

I have a soft spot for Ricciarelli too. She was a very intelligent and musical singer, and I really enjoy her contributions to the Philips early Verdi series, ditto her early recording of Suor Angelica and her Luisa Miller. I just think that her basically lyric soprano was completely unsuited to Turandot. She cleverly husbands her resources and consequently gives us a more multi-faceted character than we usually get, but she simply cannot ride the orchestra when she needs to. Callas, another soprano who gives us a more rounded character, was past her best when she recorded the role, and it is a great pity that she didn't record it just a few years earlier when she recorded a superb version of In questa reggia, but, though the role taxes her rather beyond her 1957 limits, she sounds less strained than Ricciarelli.

I was lucky enough to catch Ricciarelli a few times live; twice in the Verdi Requiem, once in Don Carlo, and once. most memorably, in a concert of opera arias with orchestra at the Barbican. If I remember correctly the programme was a mixture of bel canto and verismo, and though I can't now remember all the arias she sang, I do remember she sang Giulietta's Oh quante volte divinely, spinning out the melismas to heavenly lengths; so well in fact that she had to repeat it in the encores at the end.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 22, 2017, 02:35:31 PM
How well does Karajan do with the chorus in that recording?  For me the chorus is one of the main features of Turandot, especially the mercurial changes in mood which fill Act I.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 22, 2017, 02:38:41 PM
I have a soft spot for Ricciarelli too. She was a very intelligent and musical singer, and I really enjoy her contributions to the Philips early Verdi series, ditto her early recording of Suor Angelica and her Luisa Miller. I just think that her basically lyric soprano was completely unsuited to Turandot. She cleverly husbands her resources and consequently gives us a more multi-faceted character than we usually get, but she simply cannot ride the orchestra when she needs to. Callas, another soprano who gives us a more rounded character, was past her best when she recorded the role, and it is a great pity that she didn't record it just a few years earlier when she recorded a superb version of In questa reggia, but, though the role taxes her rather beyond her 1957 limits, she sounds less strained than Ricciarelli.

I was lucky enough to catch Ricciarelli a few times live; twice in the Verdi Requiem, once in Don Carlo, and once. most memorably, in a concert of opera arias with orchestra at the Barbican. If I remember correctly the programme was a mixture of bel canto and verismo, and though I can't now remember all the arias she sang, I do remember she sang Giulietta's Oh quante volte divinely, spinning out the melismas to heavenly lengths; so well in fact that she had to repeat it in the encores at the end.
I only saw her live once, late(ish) in her career as Mimì in La Bohème in Chicago. That's another role that suited her IMHO (I think she's quite good in Colin Davis's recording of the opera). The only problem was that she was really too tall and beautiful to make a credible stage character  :D.

I envy you for those concerts of the Verdi Requiem. I think her Libera me in Abbado's (not really universally acclaimed) first recording of the work is simply fantastic.

With her, and just a handful of other singers (most notably and towering above them all, of course, Maria Callas) a strange thing happens to me: a repertoire I'm no really that much into (or, to be more precise, I have lost almost all interest in in the recent past--after having explored it with enthusiam when I was younger), I can still find rather attractive. No mean feat for her, I venture to say.

Regards,
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 22, 2017, 02:46:31 PM
How well does Karajan do with the chorus in that recording?  For me the chorus is one of the main features of Turandot, especially the mercurial changes in mood which fill Act I.

Orchestra and chorus are practically the stars of the recording. It's quite a different reading from Mehta's, much more measured in tempo, but still vitally dramatic. I like them both.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 22, 2017, 02:50:17 PM
Orchestra and chorus are practically the stars of the recording. It's quite a different reading from Mehta's, much more measured in tempo, but still vitally dramatic. I like them both.

Thanks.  That goes onto The List.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 22, 2017, 10:38:20 PM
I only saw her live once, late(ish) in her career as Mimì in La Bohème in Chicago. That's another role that suited her IMHO (I think she's quite good in Colin Davis's recording of the opera). The only problem was that she was really too tall and beautiful to make a credible stage character  :D.

I envy you for those concerts of the Verdi Requiem. I think her Libera me in Abbado's (not really universally acclaimed) first recording of the work is simply fantastic.

With her, and just a handful of other singers (most notably and towering above them all, of course, Maria Callas) a strange thing happens to me: a repertoire I'm no really that much into (or, to be more precise, I have lost almost all interest in in the recent past--after having explored it with enthusiam when I was younger), I can still find rather attractive. No mean feat for her, I venture to say.

Regards,

It is no surprise, I suppose, that the most expressive singers are also the ones who are most fallible vocally. They put expression above vocal beauty and purity. Well, if truth is beauty, then, as far as I'm concerned, these singers have beautiful voices.

The conductor Nicola Rescigno revealed that, when he conducted her in La Traviata, Callas kept having problems with the final top A in Addio del passato. She strove for such a fine thread of sound, that the note would sometimes crack. He kept telling her to give the note a bit more volume and support, but she would not compromise. Though a firmer top A might have been safer, it did not reveal so well Violetta's emotional and physical collapse. Those for whom total vocal purity is paramount will never understand, I suppose. 


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 23, 2017, 01:03:14 AM
Re: Katia Ricciarelli:
... Verdi Requiem. I think her Libera me in Abbado's (not really universally acclaimed) first recording of the work is simply fantastic.

Would that be the 1979 recording with Verrett, Domingo, Ghiaurov and the Scala forces? I have that included in the "Great Operas from La Scala" box, but haven't yet played it ... not really familiar with Verdi's requiem yet, anyway. That Karajan "Turandot" is here as well, part of another box (the Domingo one on DG, I think) ... but that's another opera I haven't yet spent much time with.

Thread duty:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/062/MI0001062477.jpg)

Jacques Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann - not quite the way it shall sound in Munich next Sunday, but this is incredibly enjoyable indeed, very light, conversational, and even the sometimes extreme French diction doesn't trouble the fun a bit. Just finishing Act 1. Will segue with this (both first listens, both the then usual three act with prologue/epilogue version of course), where it seems the stars (or rather their egos) of the Met make sure that Monteux's aim at the same conversational lightness does not succeed:

(http://cdn-s3.allmusic.com/release-covers/500/0003/475/0003475626.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 23, 2017, 01:21:43 AM
Re: Katia Ricciarelli:
Would that be the 1979 recording with Verrett, Domingo, Ghiaurov and the Scala forces? I have that included in the "Great Operas from La Scala" box, but haven't yet played it ... not really familiar with Verdi's requiem yet, anyway.

That's the one...its original cover was this:

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 23, 2017, 01:27:50 AM
Thanks! Will pay particular attention to Ricciarelli then, whenever I come around ...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 23, 2017, 07:02:02 AM
I felt like some Mozart this afternoon. And, as of late, when I think Mozart, Così fan tutte is the first thing that come to mind... :)

First listen to Charles Mackerras's recording...



...which I got dirt cheap in this set some time ago:



The overture is really fast, with very dry attacks (i like my Mozart slightly sweeter and gentler), but then things thankfully take on a slightly more relaxed feeling. The women have just come in ("O guarda sorella..."), and Felicity Lott appears wonderful (as could be expected)...but there's still much to happen here, so let's see how things evolve.. ;)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 23, 2017, 07:47:37 AM
I have still never heard Cosi fan tutte in its entirety. Nor Figaro. From Da Ponte operas the only one that piques my interest is Don Giovanni. In fact, I think it's his greatest composition ever.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 23, 2017, 08:39:38 AM
I have still never heard Cosi fan tutte in its entirety. Nor Figaro. From Da Ponte operas the only one that piques my interest is Don Giovanni. In fact, I think it's his greatest composition ever.

Da Ponte's?  ;)

Dare I say: your loss! These operas are so amazing and full of musical beauty that is often hard to believe ... "Così" is likely my favourite opera, period. Don't make the mistake and consider it a frivolous lightweight affair.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 23, 2017, 09:35:13 AM
Tonight I am watching a recent Bolshoi production of Borodin "Prince Igor" which I recorded a few month back on the Mezzo channel.  As far as I checked it, the DVD/CD of this production hasnt been released yet.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on July 24, 2017, 02:49:04 AM
Da Ponte's?  ;)

Well yes, both Da Ponte's and Mozart's.  :) I've read the libretti of Figaro, Giovanni and Cosi and Don Giovanni stands out among them as a libretto as well as musically. Of course the fact that I've not heard Figaro or Cosi in its entirety kind of destroys my argument.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 24, 2017, 05:55:38 AM
Well yes, both Da Ponte's and Mozart's.  :) I've read the libretti of Figaro, Giovanni and Cosi and Don Giovanni stands out among them as a libretto as well as musically. Of course the fact that I've not heard Figaro or Cosi in its entirety kind of destroys my argument.
If I were to choose only one, I too would stick to Don Giovanni (one of my top operas ever). But still, both Figaro and Così are full of musical wonders. Do give tham a chance, it's well worth it...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 24, 2017, 06:34:39 AM
Well yes, both Da Ponte's and Mozart's.  :) I've read the libretti of Figaro, Giovanni and Cosi and Don Giovanni stands out among them as a libretto as well as musically. Of course the fact that I've not heard Figaro or Cosi in its entirety kind of destroys my argument.

Well, as you point out yourself, you can't really say Don Giovanni "stands out musically" if you've never actually seen or heard Cosi fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on July 24, 2017, 06:44:47 AM
Well yes, both Da Ponte's and Mozart's.  :) I've read the libretti of Figaro, Giovanni and Cosi and Don Giovanni stands out among them as a libretto as well as musically. Of course the fact that I've not heard Figaro or Cosi in its entirety kind of destroys my argument.

I can understand not being attracted to Cosi; it took me a couple of decades to give it a full hearing, and the story itself leaves me mildly disgusted.  The only character I find attractive is Despina.  But musically Cosi is just as rich and rewarding as any of Mozart's other operas.

 But you have to remember that of the three Giovanni is the one that got cut, pasted, and interpolated by other people from the get-go.  Beaumarchais's play is the basis for Figaro, but at the least the cut and paste there was done by DaPonte himself to the orginal play. 

Personally, I find that out of Mozart's "mature" operas Idomeneo and Figaro have the strongest libretti, followed by Giovanni and Cosi, then Clemenza di Tito and the two singspiels.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on July 24, 2017, 09:52:48 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516Vdqf2nAL._SX425_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 25, 2017, 12:28:52 AM
Revisiting this now (working at home sometimes is good):

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_1080/MI0001/141/MI0001141806.jpg)

Krips' "Don Giovanni" will probalby remain my favourite recording of that opera ... and it's great to have at this live recording of his "Così fan tutte" with a gorgeous Janowitz as Fiordiligi. They don't make opera like this anymore ... this is from the tail end of the Vienna Mozart ensemble, but everything is still quite where it needs to be, methinks. Cuts, cuts, cuts ... they don't really bother me all that much in such cases - if you want uncut, go for recent recordings, but then you'll miss the Vienna Mozart ensemble ... thinking of this, I would sell all my grannies if we could go back in time and have Furtwängler conduct the EMI recording of "Così" that Karajan hushed and rushed ... the voices are gorgeous, the playing is great, but the pace just doesn't gel, too often if feels like he couldn't wait to get it over with.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jo498 on July 25, 2017, 04:20:56 AM
I can understand not being attracted to Cosi; it took me a couple of decades to give it a full hearing, and the story itself leaves me mildly disgusted.  The only character I find attractive is Despina.  But musically Cosi is just as rich and rewarding as any of Mozart's other operas.
musically, all from Idomeneo on are great. The Così plot is rather "artificial" and ancien régime, that's why it fell out of favor in the 19th century. (It is also very long concerning the silly plot with not that much happening.)

Figaro is more obviously critical of the pre-revolutionary society although it is not a simple reversal of roles/authority because everyone is fooled to some extent. Still, the count (the male aristocrat) is the least sympathetic and Susanna (the female servant) the most capable and sympathetic character. In any case the Figaro characters seem more "realistic", more "rounded", less exaggerated clichés than the one's in Cosi and also Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni has the advantage of the darker and more dramatic music but it has the problem with a "hole" in the beginning/middle of the second act and the corresponding problem of versions (both of Ottavio's arias or only one? Which of Leporello/Zerlina etc.)

Zauberflöte has still a lot of silly comedy in it but a genius like Goethe (who would not have been overwhelmed by Schikaneders doggerel verse) found the plot overall interesting enough to sketch a sequel to the piece (which remained a fragment)!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 25, 2017, 11:16:42 AM
Listening to the end of Meistersinger live from Bayreuth (it's opening night) on Spanish National Radio.

Philippe Jordan is conducting, and this is sounding excellent, with every detail of the orchestra coming through. The singing seems first-rate to me as well.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 25, 2017, 11:19:55 AM
In my student days, I had the privilege to attend a recital of Victoria de los Angeles with Alicia de Larrocha at the piano.  This was memorable, and I fell in love with her light voice with a narrow vibrato, a "pure" voice with great expressivity.  I never had a chance to hear her in any operas.  I came accross this Myto cd of Manon, her most famous role with Niccolai Gedda in a live 1959 MET performance.  Both of them have marvelous french diction.  Manon is a difficult character to do right: naive, spontaneous, a woman of the instant.  Victoria de LosAngeles comes as close to this character as I can imagine.  An Niccolai Gedda is an excellent de Grieux.
The sound, mono, with a few saturation spots is fair and typical of the period.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 25, 2017, 12:14:16 PM
In my student days, I had the privilege to attend a recital of Victoria de los Angeles with Alicia de Larrocha at the piano.  This was memorable, and I fell in love with her light voice with a narrow vibrato, a "pure" voice with great expressivity.  I never had a chance to hear her in any operas.  I came accross this Myto cd of Manon, her most famous role with Niccolai Gedda in a live 1959 MET performance.  Both of them have marvelous french diction.  Manon is a difficult character to do right: naive, spontaneous, a woman of the instant.  Victoria de LosAngeles comes as close to this character as I can imagine.  An Niccolai Gedda is an excellent de Grieux.
The sound, mono, with a few saturation spots is fair and typical of the period.


Do you know the studio set conducted by Monteux? It was recorded in 1955 with Opera-Comique forces, and is an absolute classic, which sounds authentically in style. I don't think anyone has quite captured Manon's mixture of innocence and worldliness quite as well as De Los Angeles. It was one of her best roles, and this is arguably the opera's best recording.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61HL-mMJM1L._SL1071_.jpg).

This Testament transfer is the best. EMI, as so often, botched theirs.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 25, 2017, 12:18:25 PM
Revisiting this now (working at home sometimes is good):

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_1080/MI0001/141/MI0001141806.jpg)

Krips' "Don Giovanni" will probalby remain my favourite recording of that opera ... and it's great to have at this live recording of his "Così fan tutte" with a gorgeous Janowitz as Fiordiligi. They don't make opera like this anymore ... this is from the tail end of the Vienna Mozart ensemble, but everything is still quite where it needs to be, methinks. Cuts, cuts, cuts ... they don't really bother me all that much in such cases - if you want uncut, go for recent recordings, but then you'll miss the Vienna Mozart ensemble ... thinking of this, I would sell all my grannies if we could go back in time and have Furtwängler conduct the EMI recording of "Così" that Karajan hushed and rushed ... the voices are gorgeous, the playing is great, but the pace just doesn't gel, too often if feels like he couldn't wait to get it over with.

Do you know the later Böhm recording, though? Still my favourite Cosi fan Tutte.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71XRk9TmafL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on July 26, 2017, 02:55:06 AM
Do you know the later Böhm recording, though? Still my favourite Cosi fan Tutte.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71XRk9TmafL._SL1500_.jpg)

I have both that and the earlier one (with Della Casa) ... but I think ever so slightly I prefer the mid seventies live one with Janowitz. Got to revisit all three sometime soon!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 26, 2017, 04:47:19 AM
I have both that and the earlier one (with Della Casa) ... but I think ever so slightly I prefer the mid seventies live one with Janowitz. Got to revisit all three sometime soon!
I'm missing the first Böhm in my collection (something to be remedied soon, as I am a great fan of Lisa della Casa). I think the EMI version is a very strong contender, even if it includes two singers who are almost universally admired but whose art I really do not enjoy, Mme. Schwarzkopf and Sr Kraus. The latter had some less than warm words on his collaboration with Böhm (reproduced in Arturo Reverter's book on the tenor) the gist of which was that Böhm was a routinier and came unprepared to the recording sessions IIRC, or something to that effect  ::). I find that surprising, because Böhm was probably the keenest defender of Così in the post-WW2 years (the piece not having yet fully established itself as a repertory piece by then), had conducted the piece innumerable times (he almost held a monopoly on it in Salzburg AFAIK), and the orchestral contribution is sublime in that recording. My dad got to see Böhm conduct Così very late in his career (at Covent Garden in 1979), and was highly impressed.

I actually saw, as a very young man,  Kraus live once in one of his signature roles, Werther, and since then I profoundly dislike that opera, and cannot really warm to his tone ("canonic" as his singing may be).

The DG Böhn Così is very good all around, boasts the wonderful Janowitz, but has some significant cuts and, once again, the tenor disappoints IMHO; Peter Schreier's Italian diction is really too germanic for me, even if I think he's an admirable artist.

One recording of the work I'm really interested in is this (unfortunately, almost impossible to find at a decent price):

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91WK7rlxqnL._SX355_.jpg)
Rudold Moralt's Don Giovanni (from the same season and source) is superb in my opinion, and I would like to hear Stich-Randall (an extraordinary singer) in the rôle under studio conditions when she was quite young. I have her in a live recording from Aix-en-Provence under Rosbaud (quite good, but with a piano for the recitatives  >:( and sub-par sound), and a later effort under Peter Maag, where her voice is no longer that fresh. Anyone heard this Moralt recording?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 26, 2017, 05:44:19 AM
I'm missing the first Böhm in my collection (something to be remedied soon, as I am a great fan of Lisa della Casa). I think the EMI version is a very strong contender, even if it includes two singers who are almost universally admired but whose art I really do not enjoy, Mme. Schwarzkopf and Sr Kraus. The latter had some less than warm words on his collaboration with Böhm (reproduced in Arturo Reverter's book on the tenor) the gist of which was that Böhm was a routinier and came unprepared to the recording sessions IIRC, or something to that effect  ::). I find that surprising, because Böhm was probably the keenest defender of Così in the post-WW2 years (the piece not having yet fully established itself as a repertory piece by then), had conducted the piece innumerable times (he almost held a monopoly on it in Salzburg AFAIK), and the orchestral contribution is sublime in that recording. My dad got to see Böhm conduct Così very late in his career (at Covent Garden in 1979), and was highly impressed.

I actually saw, as a very young man,  Kraus live once in one of his signature roles, Werther, and since then I profoundly dislike that opera, and cannot really warm to his tone ("canonic" as his singing may be).

The DG Böhn Così is very good all around, boasts the wonderful Janowitz, but has some significant cuts and, once again, the tenor disappoints IMHO; Peter Schreier's Italian diction is really too germanic for me, even if I think he's an admirable artist.

One recording of the work I'm really interested in is this (unfortunately, almost impossible to find at a decent price):

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91WK7rlxqnL._SX355_.jpg)
Rudold Moralt's Don Giovanni (from the same season and source) is superb in my opinion, and I would like to hear Stich-Randall (an extraordinary singer) in the rôle under studio conditions when she was quite young. I have her in a live recording from Aix-en-Provence under Rosbaud (quite good, but with a piano for the recitatives  >:( and sub-par sound), and a later effort under Peter Maag, where her voice is no longer that fresh. Anyone heard this Moralt recording?

Considering the meticulous preparation that went into the recording of Böhm's EMI Cosí fan Tutte, I find it hard to believe any claims that Böhm was a routinier.

I should also mention that I am a great admirer of the art of both Schwarzkopf and Kraus, by the way, and think their performance of the duet Fra gli'amplessi one of the most erotically charged I have ever heard. Eroticism is rather alien to the art of the perennially virginal, Janowitz, whom I have somewhat equivocal feelings about. The voice has an arrestingly silvery beauty, to be sure, but she is not the most communicative of artists, and, though I can revel in the beautiful sounds of, say, her Vier letzte Lieder with Karajan, the songs tend to sound like mere vocalise. They are not. They are Lieder, and the texts should be given their due worth, as they are with Schwarzkopf and Szell.

Another favourite Cosí of mine is the Davis, with Caballé, Baker, Cotrubas, Gedda and Ganzarolli.

(http://cfile28.uf.tistory.com/image/11431F134AED6E35A40D6C)

and I have very fond memories of this live performance, as I actually saw it.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51V5SQbhFyL._SX355_.jpg)

Being live, it is not as polished as the Böhm or Davis's studio performance, but it settles down nicely after the first scene. Te Kanawa sings divinely, if with less character than Schwarzkopf, and Baltsa is, as I remember in the theatre, a deliciously flirtatious and very funny Dorabella.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 26, 2017, 08:19:15 AM
I added to my amazon.it super-dupper cheap bargain order, this box



with one disc for each singer

Mirella Freni/Anna Moffo/Monserrat Caballé/Leontine Price/Renata Scotto/Leonie Rysanek/Inge Borkh/Sherley Verrett/Eleanor Steber/Richard Tucker/Placido Domingo/John Vickers/Sherrill Milnes/Georges London/Fritz Wunderlich.

The absence of Callas, Tebaldi, Pavarotti... may surprise, but there are here some wonderful voices which I had never heared before (I think).  Right now listening to Eleanor Steber - really magnificent.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 26, 2017, 08:54:29 AM
I added to my amazon.it super-dupper cheap bargain order, this box



with one disc for each singer

Mirella Freni/Anna Moffo/Monserrat Caballé/Leontine Price/Renata Scotto/Leonie Rysanek/Inge Borkh/Sherley Verrett/Eleanor Steber/Richard Tucker/Placido Domingo/John Vickers/Sherrill Milnes/Georges London/Fritz Wunderlich.

The absence of Callas, Tebaldi, Pavarotti... may surprise, but there are here some wonderful voices which I had never heared before (I think).  Right now listening to Eleanor Steber - really magnificent.

Which Steber disc is it? I really like her recording of Les Nuits d'Eté.

I assume the absence of Callas, Tebaldi, Pavarotti, and other great names like Schwarzkopf, Sutherland, De Los Angeles has more to do with the provenance of the original recitals. These seem to be RCA, Sony, and (I think) Eurodisc.

Looking at the cover, there are at least two classics there - Caballé's first recital for RCA and Verrett's French Arias recital. I also really like Scotto's Verismo Arias, which seems to be included.

Enjoy.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 26, 2017, 09:06:10 AM
Listening to the end of Meistersinger live from Bayreuth (it's opening night) on Spanish National Radio.

Philippe Jordan is conducting, and this is sounding excellent, with every detail of the orchestra coming through. The singing seems first-rate to me as well.
This is a critique (in french) of this performance which was broadcasted on tv except in France.  They didnt seem to appreciate the critique of Wagner antisemitism in this staging.  Angela Merkel and the king&queen of Sweden attended the performance

http://www.olyrix.com/articles/actu-des-operas/1209/les-maitres-chanteurs-denoncent-lantisemitisme-de-wagner-pour-ouvrir-bayreuth-2017-barrie-kosky-nuremberg-actualite-polemique-judaisme-dans-la-musique-antisemite-invite-angela-merkel (http://www.olyrix.com/articles/actu-des-operas/1209/les-maitres-chanteurs-denoncent-lantisemitisme-de-wagner-pour-ouvrir-bayreuth-2017-barrie-kosky-nuremberg-actualite-polemique-judaisme-dans-la-musique-antisemite-invite-angela-merkel)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 26, 2017, 09:36:23 AM
Which Steber disc is it? I really like her recording of Les Nuits d'Eté.
No, its 50% Mozart, 50% french repertoire excluding Berlioz.

Quote
... I also really like Scotto's Verismo Arias, which seems to be included.
Spinning righr now !
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 26, 2017, 09:58:24 AM
No, its 50% Mozart, 50% french repertoire excluding Berlioz.

The only Steber recital I have is this one

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51XnjTg5RPL._SX300_.jpg).

No Mozart, but sacred arias by Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn, coupled to her wonderful performance with Mitropoulos of Les Nuits d'Eté.

I'd be interested to hear the Mozart and French Arias.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 27, 2017, 12:30:26 AM
This is a critique (in french) of this performance which was broadcasted on tv except in France.  They didnt seem to appreciate the critique of Wagner antisemitism in this staging.  Angela Merkel and the king&queen of Sweden attended the performance

http://www.olyrix.com/articles/actu-des-operas/1209/les-maitres-chanteurs-denoncent-lantisemitisme-de-wagner-pour-ouvrir-bayreuth-2017-barrie-kosky-nuremberg-actualite-polemique-judaisme-dans-la-musique-antisemite-invite-angela-merkel (http://www.olyrix.com/articles/actu-des-operas/1209/les-maitres-chanteurs-denoncent-lantisemitisme-de-wagner-pour-ouvrir-bayreuth-2017-barrie-kosky-nuremberg-actualite-polemique-judaisme-dans-la-musique-antisemite-invite-angela-merkel)
In general, the reviews I've read in the German and Spanish press are favourable. I am of those who think that Wagner's rabid antisemtism is not reflected in the plots, characters or music of his dramatic works, but rather that the issue is completely ignored by him (in that context, obviously). Still, I am open to interpretations that take a different angle, and Barrie Kosky apparently has made a very eloquent and intelligent use of this notion in his work, and has garnered a resounding success. I will apply (again  ::)) for tickets next year, to see if I get lucky.  ;)

Some stills from the staging:

(https://i1.wp.com/ximo.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/mei_100717_032_enriconawrath_presse.jpg?w=549&h=365&crop&ssl=1)
Act 1 (set in Villa Wahnfried - a device already used by Sttefan herheim in his brilliant Parsifal staging).

(https://i1.wp.com/ximo.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/mei_110717_161_enriconawrath_presse.jpg?w=262&h=174&crop&ssl=1)
The Festwiese in Act 3 is the hall in which the Nuremberg trials were held after WW2.

(https://www.ft.com/__origami/service/image/v2/images/raw/http%3A%2F%2Fcom.ft.imagepublish.prod.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fdf295d7e-71fc-11e7-93ff-99f383b09ff9?source=next&fit=scale-down&width=700)
Beckmesser turned into a caricature of the jew as supposedly seen by Wagner.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 27, 2017, 06:03:49 AM
... Right now listening to Eleanor Steber - really magnificent.

The only Steber recital I have is this one

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51XnjTg5RPL._SX300_.jpg).

No Mozart, but sacred arias by Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn, coupled to her wonderful performance with Mitropoulos of Les Nuits d'Eté.

I'd be interested to hear the Mozart and French Arias.

Indeed, Eleanor Steber was a singer of the highest rank, IMHO. Those Nuits d'été are truly wonderful, and her Mozart (there's a live Don Giovanni form the Met under Karl Bóhm, with George London and Lisa della Casa) is also first-rate. There's also a recording of Strauss's Four Last Songs (under Levine), but unfortunately it's from late in her career (1970), coupled with excerpts from Die Frau ohne Schatten (again under Bóhm--from 1953 and in dismal sound). And she's a powerful Elsa in the classic Bayreuth recording of Lohengrin under Keilberth (from 1953). I read somewhere that she originally was cast to be Donna Anna in the Krips Don Giovanni on Decca, but she was also notoriously unreliable (or so it is said), and had to be replaced by Suzanne Danco.

You gentlemen mentioning her has prompted me to pull the trigger on this:


Steber sings Cassandre, and the great Regina Resnik is Didon. The score is cut (as was customary then), but I've read generally positive reviews of the performance.

Regards,


EDIT:

Now listening to Eleanor Steber's "Don Ottavio, son morta!...Or sai chi l'onore" from the 1957 Met performance:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51OXV0XzoiL.jpg)

Outstanding!  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on July 27, 2017, 11:49:08 AM
So tonight I am starting the listening of Meyerbeer "Il Crociato in Egitto" produced by Opera Rara.  There is another cheaper production available but the Opera Rara is supposed to be the better of the two.



This opera is from his italian period just before he moved to France.  The orchestral writing, the difficult vocal parts, the scenic effects with large chorus, and I may add, the lack of focus are already all there.  There is perhaps a certain italian classism in the music which help to see where Meyerbeer style comes from.  I am always amazed how good the Opera Rara production sound despite the lack of vocal stars.  In fact many young singers who have started with them have moved on to big opera house.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on July 28, 2017, 10:06:49 AM
(http://www.concertport.com/image/data/file/thumbnail/name/018e492cae66f0c48de2c440e2bd47ea.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 28, 2017, 10:55:44 AM
(http://www.concertport.com/image/data/file/thumbnail/name/018e492cae66f0c48de2c440e2bd47ea.jpg)
A great recording of a wondeful opera! Berganza is stunning there, combining her beautiful and sweet tone with a zesty interpretation of the role. A classic...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 28, 2017, 01:31:16 PM
A great recording of a wondeful opera! Berganza is stunning there, combining her beautiful and sweet tone with a zesty interpretation of the role. A classic...

I've always found it a bit dull to be honest. On CD, I quite like the Marriner with Baltsa perhaps a slightly too feisty Cenerentola, but my favourite version has always been the DVD with Von Stade, also conducted by Abbado. Von Stade could have been born for the role.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/7135qul-0AL._SY445_.jpg)


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 29, 2017, 12:24:42 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/4xzYH434kJAWFAqiCaYG-jftmgE=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-5245393-1444072907-8073.jpeg.jpg)

A while since I've listened to this set, which, unlike the movie it was the soundtrack to, is note complete.

The principal problem with it is the sound. There are some very strange balances, and it sometimes sounds as if the singers are in different acoustics. Diaz doesn't make much of an impression as Iago, certainly no match for Gobbi on the Vickers/Serafin or Milnes on Domingo's first recording with Levine, but Domingo is superb, and more inside the role than he was for Levine, which he recorded before he'd had stage experience in it. Ricciarelli is a most affecting Desdemona, much preferable to Rysanek on Serafin, but I wouldn't necessarily prefer her to Scotto on the Levine. Nor would I prefer Maazel's conducting to either Serafin or Levine. He makes all the right gestures, but seems somewhat detached.

An interesting listen none the less.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on July 31, 2017, 05:07:38 AM
I am listening to "The Marriage of Figaro". It is composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte.
Great stuff! Are you enjoying it?

One of the greatest operas ever, IMHO... :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on July 31, 2017, 09:09:20 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Q7NhfjyvL._SY425_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 04, 2017, 08:38:30 AM
From the diaposon "great voices" box.  A fantastic disc

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61CredZ%2BjuL._SY400_.jpg)

The verissmo disc of Renata Scotto was also excellent.  I found Montserrat Caballé and Shirley Verrett discs nice but not as thrilling as this one is.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 04, 2017, 11:01:45 AM
From the diaposon "great voices" box.  A fantastic disc

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61CredZ%2BjuL._SY400_.jpg)

The verissmo disc of Renata Scotto was also excellent.  I found Montserrat Caballé and Shirley Verrett discs nice but not as thrilling as this one is.

Funny how people differ. The Moffo is lovely, but I find both the Caballe and Verrett discs much more thrilling. Mind you I prefer the repertoire on those discs.

I like Scotto's Verismo disc, but actually prefer the Verdi disc she did at around the same time.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on August 05, 2017, 02:29:33 AM
The verissmo disc of Renata Scotto was also excellent.  I found Montserrat Caballé and Shirley Verrett discs nice but not as thrilling as this one is.

Prompted by the discussion on Moffo's disk, I took mine out to have a listen.
Also, I would not call it "thrilling" but excellent and expressive.
A lyric soprano could not compete with dramatic voices on their own territory.
But this collection is echt-lyric-coloratura material and she shines like a diamond.
It was recorded in Rome, 1960, with no less a conductor than Tullio Serafin.

ZB
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 05, 2017, 02:53:08 AM
I've always found it a bit dull to be honest. On CD, I quite like the Marriner with Baltsa perhaps a slightly too feisty Cenerentola, but my favourite version has always been the DVD with Von Stade, also conducted by Abbado. Von Stade could have been born for the role.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/7135qul-0AL._SY445_.jpg)

Watched a pretty nicely done (partly) animated film of "La Cenerentola" from Torino on telly last night (or rather I've had it on the temporary drive there, together with several other operas, and have been scolded by the missus to watch them and free up space many times ... last night, the new "Clemenza" from Salzburg was added whilst "La Cenerentola" was then deleted). There's a - mostly negative, I gather, my Italian is most modest - review with some pics here:
https://musicofilia.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/la-cenerentola-di-rossini-secondo-andermann-verdone-gelmetti-e-raiuno/
I nonetheless quite enjoyed it for what it was, found the music and singing pretty gorgeous for most of the time.

Also had a great time last Sunday at Munich State Opera with Les Contes d'Hoffmann (and in my absence, another recording of it arrived, Rudel 1972 with Sills etc., already five-act but in wrong sequence). Anyway, I was deeply impressed by the great acoustic in Munich. I had asked Jens for pointers - thank you kindly! - and sat front row, almost centre, in the gallery, at the very top that is, with perfect view and indeed glorious acoustic - I never heard an opera sounding so good!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 05, 2017, 04:32:14 AM
I attended the live performance in 2006 at the Opera de Lyon



I think the analytical orchestral direction by Evelino Pidò is a big asset for this version.  Even in the tutti with the chorus, you hear distinctively the horn and the piccolo.   Dessay portrays Amina as a young girl with a ravishing lightness which soothes me.   Lisa is the weak point.  She is supposed to be consumed with jalousy, which I fail to percieve.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ghost Sonata on August 05, 2017, 09:43:05 AM
What Operetta am I listening to?: 



Hitler, fond of this composer, reportedly offered him "Honorary Aryan" status which Kálmán declined; he quickly emigrated to Paris and then the U.S.  His work was then banned in the Third Reich.  Ayn Rand liked him, too.  But don't let that turn you off:  he's precisely what you want from an operetta composer - a lotta fun with lilting melodies, amusing lyrics, and charming theatricality.  This issue is w/o libretto, but the recording from the 50s (no more precision is provided than that!) is clean and clear.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 06, 2017, 12:11:28 AM
I attended the live performance in 2006 at the Opera de Lyon



I think the analytical orchestral direction by Evelino Pidò is a big asset for this version.  Even in the tutti with the chorus, you hear distinctively the horn and the piccolo.   Dessay portrays Amina as a young girl with a ravishing lightness which soothes me.   Lisa is the weak point.  She is supposed to be consumed with jalousy, which I fail to percieve.

I like this recording! Would have loved to see Dessay on stage in an opera production, only managed to catch her once, roughly ten years later, in a concert dedicated to excerpts on Händel's "Cleopatra" (with a countertenor participating, too, would have to look up his name, still have the proramme somewhere, he was very much okay but didn't leave a lasting impression).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 06, 2017, 02:57:15 AM
I like this recording! Would have loved to see Dessay on stage in an opera production, only managed to catch her once, roughly ten years later, in a concert dedicated to excerpts on Händel's "Cleopatra" (with a countertenor participating, too, would have to look up his name, still have the proramme somewhere, he was very much okay but didn't leave a lasting impression).
She was at her peak at the time.  I saw her again in Lucia after her surgery, and the top register was definitively more strained, not as clear.  I have heared her again in a broadcasted concert last year and found that her voice had continued to deteriorate.  This is a real pity because with her acting skills and her musicianship her appearances were a knockout.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 06, 2017, 05:05:51 AM
She was at her peak at the time.  I saw her again in Lucia after her surgery, and the top register was definitively more strained, not as clear.  I have heared her again in a broadcasted concert last year and found that her voice had continued to deteriorate.  This is a real pity because with her acting skills and her musicianship her appearances were a knockout.

Yeah, I guess I agree, though my experience, other than that concert in late 2014 (I think) is from CDs only ... one recent thing I have on the stacks is her Antonia in "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" (Denève, Liceu, 2013, DVD) - but I have just decided to watch the Marthaler-staged one (Cambreling, Teatro Real de Madrid, 2015) tonight.

Something entirely else: why does the recent Leontyne Price box on Sony credit Erich Leindsdorf (instead of Thomas Schippers) for the 1964 RCA "La forza del destino"?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on August 06, 2017, 08:40:02 AM
Regarding I Capuleti e i Montecchi, I've been listetning this afternoon to this recording, which you can also consider, Spineur:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Kwp85JBRL._SX355_.jpg)
Although Katia Ricciarelli is captured late in her career, and there is some hardness to her high notes, she is a most affecting Giulietta, and Diana Monague is quite wonderful as Romeo.

It can be had for very little money at amazon.co.uk

N.B.: As I've written on this forum, I am very partial towards Ricciarelli.  ;)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 06, 2017, 08:47:51 AM
Thank you Rafael !  I probably have spent too much time looking for the right version for me of this opera.  I should take the easy route and take what is available - and this one is.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on August 06, 2017, 08:57:36 AM
Thank you Rafael !  I probably have spent too much time looking for the right version for me of this opera.  I should take the easy route and take what is available - and this one is.
You're welcome! I've just noticed that he picture I posted is of a highlights disc. The whole thing is this one:


This is a reissue (and might not include the libretto  ::) ). The original release can be found on amazon.de.

Regards,
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 07, 2017, 03:45:48 AM
Watched this one yesterday evening:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/512MnKTn%2ByL.jpg)

Could have been freakin' fantastic, and actually it *almost* is ... the Olympia act is outstanding, but then somehow tension dropped a bit. Having an opera staged in the typical Marthaler setting is great, and how he treats the piece as a kind of open-form work, the work-in-progress it ended up being in reality - that's quite fascinating indeed.

It's still a very good production I think, fine singing by all, including the chorus, and musically very good, too - some slight synchronisation problems in some of the large mass scenes aren't a deal-breaker for sure.

Anyways, have just ordered the EMI (audio) production, too, which was I think the first "modern" one (i.e. no longer using the old, heavily cut and amended edition). Will continue my exploration (also have two more video versions not yet watched).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on August 07, 2017, 06:05:23 AM
just to be sure, the EMI you're talking about is this one?



To be frank, it's not one of my favorite operas, other than the bravura soprano arias and the Bacarolle.  I've only got two recordings: the Clutens and the Bonynge.  I've seen it once on TV.  I think it was this production, but with different singers

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 07, 2017, 06:16:02 AM
just to be sure, the EMI you're talking about is this one?
...

To be frank, it's not one of my favorite operas, other than the bravura soprano arias and the Bacarolle.  I've only got two recordings: the Clutens and the Bonynge.  I've seen it once on TV.  I think it was this production, but with different singers

No, that's the Erato (or: was), but I guess it's one of the best around.

This is the EMI (real EMI) I've ordered:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51EDZSFTQvL._SL1500_.jpg)

That DVD is on my pile, and this is no. 3:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71yC3715ewL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on August 07, 2017, 06:24:15 AM
Come to think of it, I may have the EMI you ordered. I'll have to look.  But the first review on AmazonUS for that recording is rather scathing about the edition the used.

Quote
The statement on the back of the CD box reads "in the Critical Edition by Fritz Oeser, with additional material from the Choudens Edition," though exactly what comes from the Choudens is nowhere explained. Oeser's work on Hoffmann from the start came under stong critical attack. He cut material of Offenbach's from Act One to balance it with Act Five. Throughout most of the work he retained the spurious recitatives by Guiraud. He re-orchestrated material as he saw fit. He utilized a song for Nicklausse in the Olympia act that Offenbach never orchestrated (Oeser did that himself) and discarded the famous song that Offenbach replaced it with and did orchestrate. He used the piano score for a discarded Nicklausse number in the Olympia act, wrote lyrics and orchestrated it, and placed it in the the final act for the Muse. His version of the Giulietta act heavily incorporates music from Der Rheinnixen; I've no idea where the lyrics come from. This is clearly a spurious text.

The Nagano and the DVD I posted use the Kaye edition, which seems to be the most recent.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 07, 2017, 08:04:58 AM
Come to think of it, I may have the EMI you ordered. I'll have to look.  But the first review on AmazonUS for that recording is rather scathing about the edition the used.

The Nagano and the DVD I posted use the Kaye edition, which seems to be the most recent.

Yes Kaye (and I think independently Keck) is (are) the third and most recent edition(s) - it's a mess really, and I think as recently as one or two years an autograph of a large part (acts 1 and 2 I seem to dimly remember) was found ... new stuff has come up after Oeser and after Kaye.

The DVD I just watched from Liceu seems to mostly use the Oeser edition and points out in a short note in the booklet that this is the edition that has Nicklaussee/The Muse play a more important part that the other editions - which is cool if you Anne Sofie von Otter singing (and acting! impressive!) that part. But I guess most productions will nowadays use their own mix of bits from this and that edition (while using one edition as starting point).

The Munich production from 2011 that I just saw (it was brought back for two evenings during the Opernfestpiele) used Kaye/Keck (so maybe it's not Kaye but Kaye/Keck, but I've seen both names separately ... would have to read it all up again, I'm sure there's an exhaustive wiki entry somewhere). But again, some autographs (not just that big one I mention above) and other things have been found in the meantime, so it's indeed a huge work in progress with Schnitter Tod [aka the grim reaper] playing one of the minor roles (can't quite blame Offenbach - I nearly wrote Hoffmann, ha! - for that ...)

--

PS: and actually, this here's my fourth video version - Nagano (Kaye) again:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/518GRPW4EFL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on August 07, 2017, 12:31:31 PM
Yes Kaye (and I think independently Keck) is (are) the third and most recent edition(s) - it's a mess really, and I think as recently as one or two years an autograph of a large part (acts 1 and 2 I seem to dimly remember) was found ... new stuff has come up after Oeser and after Kaye.

The DVD I just watched from Liceu seems to mostly use the Oeser edition and points out in a short note in the booklet that this is the edition that has Nicklaussee/The Muse play a more important part that the other editions - which is cool if you Anne Sofie von Otter singing (and acting! impressive!) that part. But I guess most productions will nowadays use their own mix of bits from this and that edition (while using one edition as starting point).

The Munich production from 2011 that I just saw (it was brought back for two evenings during the Opernfestpiele) used Kaye/Keck (so maybe it's not Kaye but Kaye/Keck, but I've seen both names separately ... would have to read it all up again, I'm sure there's an exhaustive wiki entry somewhere). But again, some autographs (not just that big one I mention above) and other things have been found in the meantime, so it's indeed a huge work in progress with Schnitter Tod [aka the grim reaper] playing one of the minor roles (can't quite blame Offenbach - I nearly wrote Hoffmann, ha! - for that ...)

--

PS: and actually, this here's my fourth video version - Nagano (Kaye) again:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/518GRPW4EFL.jpg)

That DVD must have come from the same production as the CD I posted, so you are covered on that end. But even the DVD used the phrase "adaption based on..."
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 07, 2017, 12:46:41 PM
That DVD must have come from the same production as the CD I posted, so you are covered on that end. But even the DVD used the phrase "adaption based on..."

Yep, I think so too, but haven't watched it yet ... but as I said, I think it's one of the standard performances.

Depending on what you look for though, the early French production by Cluytens has enormous charm (the late forties one reissued by Naxos, that is, not the EMI one, which is also plenty good though). Again: work in progress - you can't have the original French charm, the spoken voices and all, plus good sound plus "correct" edition ...  there's really no correct here, I think, as it all belongs to the history of this opera - it's more like different chapters of interpretation and history of reception etc.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/7147pXK0QcL._SL1200_.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 07, 2017, 09:59:22 PM
Yep, I think so too, but haven't watched it yet ... but as I said, I think it's one of the standard performances.

Depending on what you look for though, the early French production by Cluytens has enormous charm (the late forties one reissued by Naxos, that is, not the EMI one, which is also plenty good though). Again: work in progress - you can't have the original French charm, the spoken voices and all, plus good sound plus "correct" edition ...  there's really no correct here, I think, as it all belongs to the history of this opera - it's more like different chapters of interpretation and history of reception etc.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/7147pXK0QcL._SL1200_.jpg)

This is a recording I want to hear. I heard snippets on BBC Radio 3's Building a Library programme. The reviewer liked it very much, and, I seem to remember, made it his historical choice. I really liked what I heard of it.

On CD I still maintain an affection for Bonynge, though there are huge question marks over the edition he used.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51oy%2BPJEQrL.jpg)

Sutherland is fabulous as Olympia, not quite so convincing as Giulietta and Antonia (her mushy diction drives me potty as usual) and Domingo excellent as Hoffmann.

I also like  the DVD from the spectacular Covent Garden production, also with Domingo, and a terrific trio of ladies in Luciana Serra, Ileana Cotrubas and Agnes Baltsa.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5128qnOREkL.jpg)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 09, 2017, 09:56:50 AM
Verdi, Aida; live broadcast from the chorégie d'Orange.  You can watch it on culturebox.fr

https://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/amp/opera-classique/opera/choregies-d-orange/aida-de-verdi-aux-choregies-d-orange-2017-259813 (https://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/amp/opera-classique/opera/choregies-d-orange/aida-de-verdi-aux-choregies-d-orange-2017-259813)

Note added: The staging wasnt to my taste, but vocally it was quite fine with Anita Rachvelishvili as Amneris, Marcelo Alvarez as Radames, and Elena O'Connor as Aida.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 09, 2017, 09:33:44 PM
Watched the Salzburg La Clemenza di Tito (Currentzis/Sellars) last night ... great stuff, all things considered! Some amazing singing and acting, and I enjoyed the add-ons (parts of the great mass, and as a closer the Maurerische Trauermusik) ... it all made sense musically, and it worked quite well altogether. However, no matter how good the production, the singing (what a fine chorus!) and playing, no matter how the piece was changed and in many respects improved (by the various additions and interpretative twists) as far as theatrical aspects go, it's still an opera seria and not very lively thing ... but yeah, I liked it a lot, and I guess better than I liked it in my limited exposure so far (I think I've only heard the Colin Davis recording with a fine cast of somewhat too similar sounding singers).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 11, 2017, 03:23:19 AM
And back with Hoffmann we are:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WK%2BHGu5VL.jpg)

Another old/botched version in so-so sound, but very lively indeed! And even though the sound is not exactly great, you can hear the voices - and what voices! Sándor Kónya as Hoffmann, Gabriel Bacquier as the evil dudes (Lindorf, Coppélius, Dapertutto, Miracle), Mady Mesplé comme Olympia, Heather Harper and Radmila Bakocevic as Antonio and Giulietta, respectively ... Peter Maag is at the head of the orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Colón, and he's doing a heckuva job, methinks!

Here's a review: http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=389184
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 11, 2017, 10:25:50 AM
On CD I still maintain an affection for Bonynge, though there are huge question marks over the edition he used.

Maybe, but the same question marks loom over any edition, since Offenbach died before the premiere. If you compare all the editions on disc and DVD, they will all be different. And it is hard to hold the older versions to a standard that didn't exist back then (or had not advanced to where it is today), assuming one feels that the changes are improvements at all.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 11, 2017, 11:27:57 AM
Continuing my listening of the Voix/recital box.  This time I turned to some of the male singers
Richard Tucker, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, George London.  Still have to listen to John Vickers.



George London disk is marvelous.  I found the young Placido Domingo from this recital excellent, and certainly better than some of his live performances I attended.  Milnes recital has apparently never been released before on CD, a marvelous testimony.

 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 12, 2017, 01:16:56 AM
Donizetti, La Favorita
Richard Bonygne,  Fiorenza Cossotto, Gabriel Bacquier, Luciano Pavarotti, Nicolai Ghiaurov



This is my first listen of this opera, and I am under the charm.  All singers are quite good.  In the middle of the second act there is a 20 minutes ballet: its orchestral score in very lively and entertaining.  I will return to this 3CD set.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 12, 2017, 11:21:47 AM
Another live broadcast of Aida but this time from Salzburg festival.  More money has been comitted to the staging but it is pretty ridiculous with chorus wearing Christian.orthodox outfits and others bull skulls.  Overall everything looks and sound stiff.  I doubt I will last to the end.  At least I didnt pay 300€ or more for a seat.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 13, 2017, 09:20:34 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/158/MI0001158677.jpg)

Since it's only a bit over a week that I'll catch Monteverdi's L'Orfeo live (Gardiner at Lucerne Festival), I felt like revisiting one of the recordings around ... this one's wonderfully played and sung, and somehow very tight and compact, but I guess Anthony Rolfe Johnson will be my favourite Orfeo on record. Have yet to play the Jacobs, Garrido and Haïm recordings though, the third one next to Gardiner and the above on I have already played is the Venexiana/Cavina one.

Anyway, after that I also watched Verdi's Aida from Salzburg ... I'd say it's quite nice, all in all, and wonderfully played and most of the time sung (Semenchuk will never be my favourite, I'm afraid (saw her sing Eboli at La Scala earlier this year and had an even stronger reaction that now on TV ... gotta revisit the Harteros/Kaufmann "Aida" to check her out as Amneris again). Stage and costumes looked gorgeous, but that's not quite enough of course - some acting would have been very welcome, even more so watching on TV where you get all the close-ups (and often miss what little "action" there was - this singer walking five meters to the left, that singer waving with arms, five minutes later another singer walking seven meters to the front right ... you get the idea).

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/295/MI0003295553.jpg)

Still not quite enough opera for the day, it seems, so this new arrival is in the player for the first time now, Verdi again with La Traviata, as conducted by maestro Krips.

Not familiar with Cotrubas all that much yet ... and frankly in Kleiber's take on "La Traviata" I consider her one of the weaker spots - let's see how she acquits herself in a live setting. (Note to self: play that Pritchard recording of "L'elisir d'amore" soon to check out her Adina ... and the Giulini "Rigoletto" for her Gilda - somehow I feel her voice could be just right there).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 13, 2017, 12:21:50 PM
Not familiar with Cotrubas all that much yet ... and frankly in Kleiber's take on "La Traviata" I consider her one of the weaker spots - let's see how she acquits herself in a live setting. (Note to self: play that Pritchard recording of "L'elisir d'amore" soon to check out her Adina ... and the Giulini "Rigoletto" for her Gilda - somehow I feel her voice could be just right there).
She's wonderful alongside von stade in Hansel and Gretel (interestingly, also with Pritchard). It's an excellent set.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 13, 2017, 11:57:51 PM
She's wonderful alongside von stade in Hansel and Gretel (interestingly, also with Pritchard). It's an excellent set.

Now there's an opera I don't know at all so far.

But I'm just figuring out what day might work out to see the new "Le grand macabre" production in Lucerne in September or October!

And I'm planning to catch the new Sciarrino opera in Milano in November (ciao Giocar!)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 14, 2017, 01:36:24 PM
Still have to listen to John Vickers.




The Vickers disc is superb.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 14, 2017, 01:42:22 PM

Not familiar with Cotrubas all that much yet ... and frankly in Kleiber's take on "La Traviata" I consider her one of the weaker spots - let's see how she acquits herself in a live setting. (Note to self: play that Pritchard recording of "L'elisir d'amore" soon to check out her Adina ... and the Giulini "Rigoletto" for her Gilda - somehow I feel her voice could be just right there).

Though no one is quite in the Callas class in the role of Violetta, I rather like Cotrubas in it, and like her in the Kleiber recording, which is, in any case, my favourite studio set of the opera. I saw Cotrubas in the role at Covent Garden, and she was incredibly affecting.

I also like her in the Pritchard L'Elisir d'Amore.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 15, 2017, 12:04:30 AM
Though no one is quite in the Callas class in the role of Violetta, I rather like Cotrubas in it, and like her in the Kleiber recording, which is, in any case, my favourite studio set of the opera. I saw Cotrubas in the role at Covent Garden, and she was incredibly affecting.

I also like her in the Pritchard L'Elisir d'Amore.

Somehow, for myself, I have come to the sad conclusion that the perfect recording of La Traviata doesn't really exist. But I'll have to revisit the Kleiber. Enjoyed Cotrubas and the entire Krips recording quite some.

That Pritchard set of L'elisir d'amore was your recommendation a few months back, when I mentioned listening to the Bonynge and attending a live performance under the baton of Nello Santi, right? I bought it back then but it hasn't yet made it into the player.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 15, 2017, 04:37:20 AM
Somehow, for myself, I have come to the sad conclusion that the perfect recording of La Traviata doesn't really exist. But I'll have to revisit the Kleiber. Enjoyed Cotrubas and the entire Krips recording quite some.

I'd agree the perfect recording probably doesn't exist, but performance? I honestly don't think you could better the live Callas 1958 Covent Garden performance, better in fact than the one from Lisbon in the forthcoming Warner Liver Remastered box. Its emotional impact is so shattering that I can't listen to it too often.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 15, 2017, 05:11:53 AM
I'd agree the perfect recording probably doesn't exist, but performance? I honestly don't think you could better the live Callas 1958 Covent Garden performance, better in fact than the one from Lisbon in the forthcoming Warner Liver Remastered box. Its emotional impact is so shattering that I can't listen to it too often.
What about Theresa Stratas in Zeffirelli movie ?  I remember seing quite a few people in the movie theater crying at the end.  I have not bought the DVD since, so I never had a second critical viewing, but the first one really touched me.

I have also the Cotrubas recording, which is a fine one, although I almost never reach for a listening.  The problem with Traviata is over-exposure.  I have seen just too many performances.  The last one was no later than last fall at the Paris Opera with a staging of Benoit Jacquot (film director).  Besides the staging, I cant remember a thing.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on August 15, 2017, 05:42:26 AM
Haydn's Lo speziale. I think this is the first opera from Haydn that I've heard.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 15, 2017, 06:05:07 AM
What about Theresa Stratas in Zeffirelli movie ?  I remember seing quite a few people in the movie theater crying at the end.  I have not bought the DVD since, so I never had a second critical viewing, but the first one really touched me.

I have also the Cotrubas recording, which is a fine one, although I almost never reach for a listening.  The problem with Traviata is over-exposure.  I have seen just too many performances.  The last one was no later than last fall at the Paris Opera with a staging of Benoit Jacquot (film director).  Besides the staging, I cant remember a thing.

I love the Zeffirelli movie and Stratas is indeed very moving, but her actual singing of the role is not quite in the Callas class, and the coloratura of the first act, which didn't suit her particularly well even in the live recording I have of her doing it with Wunderlich in 1965, is even less cleanly articulated by the time of the movie.

I've seen and heard many performances of the opera too, but Callas slays me every time, particularly, as I said, in the 1958 Covent Garden performance.

I review it on my blog here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/)



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 17, 2017, 09:08:35 AM
Thanks for your comments Tsaras.  I need to fast on Traviata for a year or two.  I will appreciate it all the more when I return to it after a long time.

I am finishing the Diapason great recital box with yet another fantastic disk: Inge Borkh in an all Strauss CD with scenes from Salome and Elektra

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61gPpfAJbvL.jpg)

For some reason I love Strauss, while I should have all the reasons not to.  Most of his composition have little structure and appear as a succession of musical scenes.  In term of illustrating the story contained in a libretto, it should have all the reason to fail.  And yet, I am so drawn into his music that it actually works.  Amazing !!

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 19, 2017, 01:56:44 AM

For some reason I love Strauss, while I should have all the reasons not to.  Most of his composition have little structure and appear as a succession of musical scenes.  In term of illustrating the story contained in a libretto, it should have all the reason to fail.  And yet, I am so drawn into his music that it actually works.  Amazing !!

I have equivocal feelings about Strauss. I liked his music a lot more when I was younger, but these days I find much of it a tad overblown.

There are exceptions, of course. I love the Vier letzte Lieder and most of his other songs, both with and without orchestra. Among the operas Der Rosenkavalier remains one of my favourite operas, I still enjoy Ariadne auf Naxos, Capriccio and Salome (though not the Nilsson/Solti recording), but can't abide Elektra, which for much of the time just sounds to me like a load of women screaming at each other.

The orchestral works I have to be in the right mood for too. My favourites are Tod und Verklärung and Metamorphosen, but I can enjoy the others from time to time.

But not a composer I turn to that often.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 19, 2017, 02:04:07 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51sZSLVlCbL.jpg)

Lord knows why this issue has a photo of Callas as Amina in La Sonnambula on the cover, but no matter, I quite like this performance, whilst acknowledging that it's not quite in the class of the 1955 Berlin Karajan performance.

Molinari-Pradelli provides sympathetic support (without Karajan's insights) and I rather like Gianni Raimondi's Edgardo.

Unfortunately the recording seems to have been made from somewhere in the orchestra pit, and the timpani section often drown out the singers.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 19, 2017, 02:26:45 AM
... Strauss ... can't abide Elektra, which for much of the time just sounds to me like a load of women screaming at each other.

Have you seen the Chéreau production of "Elektra" with Evelyn Herlitzius in the title role? To me one of the most intense opera experiences ever - consider that I'm still pretty young (still this side of the big four for another short while) and have ignored opera for most of the past 20 years, that only changed around 4-5 years ago, a couple of years after I started listening to classical. Anyway, I found both the production and the music/singing/acting outstanding!

And apologies for not following up on your question re: Callas' London Violetta. I have bought that recording only fairly recently upon your recommendation and the enjoyed it a lot during it's only spin so far. I guess we can easily agree on Callas being the most outstanding and probably perfect Violetta, but that does not necessarily make it a perfect recording/production all in all - and that's what my comment was aiming at, not at the role of Violetta or at Callas.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 19, 2017, 02:57:50 AM
Have you seen the Chéreau production of "Elektra" with Evelyn Herlitzius in the title role? To me one of the most intense opera experiences ever - consider that I'm still pretty young (still this side of the big four for another short while) and have ignored opera for most of the past 20 years, that only changed around 4-5 years ago, a couple of years after I started listening to classical. Anyway, I found both the production and the music/singing/acting outstanding!

And apologies for not following up on your question re: Callas' London Violetta. I have bought that recording only fairly recently upon your recommendation and the enjoyed it a lot during it's only spin so far. I guess we can easily agree on Callas being the most outstanding and probably perfect Violetta, but that does not necessarily make it a perfect recording/production all in all - and that's what my comment was aiming at, not at the role of Violetta or at Callas.

I suppose I should seek out your recommendation, but the opera just doesn't appeal to me anymore - neither the treatment of the subject matter or the music. I quite liked it when I was younger, but now I just can't stand all that high voltage screaming. I sometimes think Strauss himself might have had second thoughts, because he seems to have changed direction after composing it (Der Rosenkavalier followed by Ariadne, followed by Die Frau ohne Schatten).

I agree that the live Callas Covent Garden is by no means perfect, but, in all but matters of recording quality, it comes as close as you can get. Had it been recorded in studio conditions in modern sound, I doubt you'd get much better.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on August 20, 2017, 06:58:30 AM
In spite of Callas efforts to revive an interest in Gaspare Spontini operas, it has not really caught on.  La Vestale gets some rare performances once in a while.  His other operas Fernand Cortez and Olympie fate has been even worse.
Last year Le Cercle de l'Harmonie directed by Jérémy Rohrer revived Olympie at the Théatre des Champs Elysées and his production was subsequently performed in several European cities.

I was always curious about this opera created in 1819, as it is the last tragédie lyrique composed.  Spontini inspiration has always been Gluck and the italian bel canto, two traditions which seems hard to marry together.  In spite of a certain anachronism, his operas did meet some success (La Vestale and Fernand Cortez were performed more than 200 times).  On of his strongest admirer was Hector Berlioz, and after listening to Olympie, I can say that the second act did clearly inspired Berlioz writing in Les Troyens.

There is a podcast of Jéremy Rohrer production from the Concertgebow, which I listen today with Karina Gauvin

(https://operatraveller.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/atma_karinagauvin-291_dxo-419x630julien-faugc3a8re.jpg)

in the title role and Juliette Mars in the role of Statira the mother of Olympie who also happens to the the daughter of Alexander the great.  Much of the libretto is highly improbable even though it was inspired by a play of Voltaire.

The first act, follows a slightly romantic path of the tragédie Lyrique, but there is little action, as the identities of the main characters isnt known to any of the protagonists.

Their identities is finally revealed in the second act, which I found to be quite beautiful, in paticular the begining where Statira (mother of Olympie and the most interesting character) sings the beautiful aria "Oh déplorable mère" and is followed by several duos.

The final act is also pretty lively.  The opera has several possible endings.  The 1819 version chosen by Jérémy Rohrer has a happy ending where Olympie maries her lover.  In the 1926 version she throws herself in the fire.

If you are curious, the aria "Oh déplorable mère" has been recorded by Jennifer Borghi and can be listened to on soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/outhere-music/spontini-olympie-o-deplorable-mere-jennifer-borghi-les-agremens-guy-van-waas (https://soundcloud.com/outhere-music/spontini-olympie-o-deplorable-mere-jennifer-borghi-les-agremens-guy-van-waas)

It lasts some 9 minutes and is really quite nice.

   
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 20, 2017, 10:00:22 AM
In spite of Callas efforts to revive an interest in Gaspare Spontini operas, it has not really caught on.  [

Not quite correct. Callas appeared in one production of La Vestale, which opened the 1954 La Scala season. It was the first production she did with Visconti, and unveiled the new ultra-slim Callas. The production was stunningly beautiful, but the opera didn't take fire the way Cherubini's Medea had, and consequently it was never revived.

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/VC0AAOSw1LRZutWR/s-l1600.jpg)

The same fate befell Visconti's equally stunning production of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride, also with Callas.

(http://www.ansa.it/webimages/foto_large/2013/11/30/0615a4f64479a1028d27aa850c7d7142.jpg)



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 21, 2017, 03:51:28 AM
Will hear Gardiner conduct "L'Orfeo" tomorrow and am most excited about this!

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/019/MI0001019807.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

To warm up, I played the Garrido recording for the very first time - it's excellent.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on August 22, 2017, 12:35:23 AM
Anyway, I was deeply impressed by the great acoustic in Munich. I had asked Jens for pointers - thank you kindly! - and sat front row, almost centre, in the gallery, at the very top that is, with perfect view and indeed glorious acoustic - I never heard an opera sounding so good!

Ah, this is gratifying to hear! Very glad you enjoyed it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 22, 2017, 02:58:36 AM
Ah, this is gratifying to hear! Very glad you enjoyed it.

 :)

Actually after the concert at KKL in Lucerne on Sunday, in wonder how Gardiner's semi-staged performance of "L'Orfeo" is going to sound in there, tonight! I'll be sitting on the second balcony on the side (for the concert on Sunday, only first balcony was open, I sat there, too, and sound was indeed perfect, to my own disbelief) - when I heard him do the Matthäuspassion in there, I had expensive seats somewhere in the middle downstairs ... and the band and choir just didn't really fill that huge hall with their period instruments and it took me all of the first act to sort of adjust for our LOUD everyday noisescape to find into the music. Hope it will be better (and/or hope sitting right next to the stage this time will help to have a better sonic experience)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Mahlerian on August 22, 2017, 07:04:04 AM
Will hear Gardiner conduct "L'Orfeo" tomorrow and am most excited about this!

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/019/MI0001019807.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

To warm up, I played the Garrido recording for the very first time - it's excellent.

Sounds amazing.  Be sure to give a full report!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on August 22, 2017, 01:26:59 PM
Sounds amazing.  Be sure to give a full report!

It was an epiphany, actually! Outstanding. Gotta catch some sleep now, will leave for a (jazz festival) early tomorrow and then catch some more (no opera) of Lucerne Festival on Sunday. Sent a few lines to a friend on train way back home, will try and rework that into a short report, but probably only next week, when I'm back to normal  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 28, 2017, 01:11:07 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81k1HMNemIL._SX355_.jpg)

Having recently been reminded of Josephine Barstow, a singer I saw quite a few times over the years in London, I thought I'd seek out this recording of Un Ballo in Maschera, which I hadn't heard since it was released back in 1989, when Barstow was already 49.

Generally quite a pleasant surprise. This was Karajan's last ever opera recording, I believe, and it's good to know that he went out on a high. His speeds tend to be on the slow side, but this never means a loss of momentum. The main problem for me was the slightly boomy recording, which loses focus in the climaxes. Domingo (his third outing in the role of Riccardo; the first for Muti, the second for Abbado) is superb, his singing as ever wonderfully musical, and he is totally inside the role, his singing of the final scene incredibly moving. Barstow, a late discovery for Karajan, is probably a bit past her prime, but comes close to Callas in detail and expression. She doesn't have Callas's thrilling individuality, but she is totally inside the role and her Amelia is certainly worth hearing. Nucci, whom I usually find a bit of a dry old stick, is more involved than usual, but no match for Gobbi on the Callas recording. Florence Quivar's Ulrica is somewhat dull, certainly not in the class of Simionato, Barbieri or Cossotto, but Sumi Jo is a delightful Oscar.

All in all, though, an enjoyable set.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on August 28, 2017, 09:22:26 PM

Having recently been reminded of Josephine Barstow, a singer I saw quite a few times over the years in London, I thought I'd seek out this recording of Un Ballo in Maschera, which I hadn't heard since it was released back in 1989, when Barstow was already 49... Barstow, a late discovery for Karajan, is probably a bit past her prime, but comes close to Callas in detail and expression. She doesn't have Callas's thrilling individuality, but she is totally inside the role and her Amelia is certainly worth hearing.


I'd be interested to know when Josephine Barstow was in her prime. Anything I heard of her was from shrill to unbearable to listen to.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 28, 2017, 11:42:27 PM
I'd be interested to know when Josephine Barstow was in her prime. Anything I heard of her was from shrill to unbearable to listen to.

I don't think she sound in the least shrill on this Ballo, nor on Mackerras's recording of Gloriana.

My recollections of her are probably also coloured by the fact that I saw her on stage quite a few times, and she was never less than riveting. Her Violetta is still probably the most moving I have ever seen live (and I've seen Cotrubas and Gheorghiu), her Salome was thrilling (and looked good when stripped down to just a few bits of glitter at the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils), and her Katarina Ismailova in David Pountney's superb production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk pure theatrical electricity.

It was never the most beautiful voice in the world, I grant you, but I wouldn't class it as either shrill or unbearable to listen to. Rather like Teresa Stratas, she was (still is - she's playing Heidi in the Royal National Theatre's new production of Follies at the moment) a stage animal, and recordings don't do her justice.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on August 28, 2017, 11:56:54 PM
I don't think she sound in the least shrill on this Ballo, nor on Mackerras's recording of Gloriana.
My recollections of her are probably also coloured by the fact that I saw her on stage quite a few times, and she was never less than riveting. Her Violetta is still probably the most moving I have ever seen live (and I've seen Cotrubas and Gheorghiu), her Salome was thrilling (and looked good when stripped down to just a few bits of glitter at the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils), and her Katarina Ismailova in David Pountney's superb production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk pure theatrical electricity.
It was never the most beautiful voice in the world, I grant you, but I wouldn't class it as either shrill or unbearable to listen to. Rather like Teresa Stratas, she was (still is - she's playing Heidi in the Royal National Theatre's new production of Follies at the moment) a stage animal, and recordings don't do her justice.

I suppose I should listen to a few more samples, but I found her pushing the breath unbearable as Lady Macbeth in Verdi's opera. The acting is good but heck, Callas combined characterization with musicality. If Stratas can still sing, it is a proof she did know how to use her voice well.  Stratas' voice always seemed to float on the air, the way it should be.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 29, 2017, 12:31:18 AM
I suppose I should listen to a few more samples, but I found her pushing the breath unbearable as Lady Macbeth in Verdi's opera. The acting is good but heck, Callas combined characterization with musicality. If Stratas can still sing, it is a proof she did know how to use her voice well.  Stratas' voice always seemed to float on the air, the way it should be.

I confess I don't know her Lady Macbeth, so I can't comment on that. But, as you point out, she has had a long career, so she must have been doing something right. Her Amelia compares to Callas in her dramatic conception of the role, but she lacks Callas's superb legato line; nor is she able to execute the (mostly ignored) grace notes, trills and rapid scale figures which pepper the score with anything like Callas's accuracy. Callas's voice is intrinsically more beautiful too, despite what many aver. In both the studio recording of Ballo, and the live La Scala performance from the following year, she sings with breathtaking sweep, the voice darkly plangent.

If you're at all interested, I did a comparison of the two Callas recordings on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/callass-two-recordings-of-un-ballo-in-maschera/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/callass-two-recordings-of-un-ballo-in-maschera/)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on August 29, 2017, 01:19:53 AM
If Stratas can still sing, it is a proof she did know how to use her voice well.  Stratas' voice always seemed to float on the air, the way it should be.

It confused me a bit at first, but it's actually Barstow, not Stratas, who's singing in that production of Follies.  Stratas quit in 1995 after botched sinus surgery affected her breathing. She sued two doctors, and the hospital.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 29, 2017, 01:58:07 AM
It confused me a bit at first, but it's actually Barstow, not Stratas, who's singing in that production of Follies.  Stratas quit in 1995 after botched sinus surgery affected her breathing. She sued two doctors, and the hospital.

I didn't even notice that. I just assumed ZB was talking about Barstow. My brain must have made the necessary adjustment.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on August 29, 2017, 04:31:59 AM
Forgot to report it here so I inform that I recently listened to Saint-Saëns's opera Le timbre d'argent and liked it a lot. Have you guys listened to any of Saint-Saëns's operas?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 29, 2017, 04:37:08 AM
At long last:  Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 29, 2017, 08:20:36 AM
Forgot to report it here so I inform that I recently listened to Saint-Saëns's opera Le timbre d'argent and liked it a lot. Have you guys listened to any of Saint-Saëns's operas?

The only one I know, and the one that is still in the active repertoire is Samson et Dalila. There are quite a few notable recordings, though I don't think there are any clear winners.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 29, 2017, 03:56:08 PM
The only one I know, and the one that is still in the active repertoire is Samson et Dalila. There are quite a few notable recordings, though I don't think there are any clear winners.
I'd opt for Domingo/Maier/Chung myself. Beautifully done on the whole. There have been some recent releases on ediciones singulars that are worth hearing, but are not at the same level as Samson.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 29, 2017, 10:29:28 PM
I'd opt for Domingo/Maier/Chung myself. Beautifully done on the whole. There have been some recent releases on ediciones singulars that are worth hearing, but are not at the same level as Samson.

To my shame, I don't really know it, but I know it's generally had a very good press.

Over the years I've owned variously King/Ludwig/Patane, Vickers/Gorr/Pretre, Cura/Borodina/Davis and Carreras/Baltsa/Davis. Of these I like the Carreras/Baltsa best, but I should really  try the Chung recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 30, 2017, 09:07:22 AM
To my shame, I don't really know it, but I know it's generally had a very good press.

Over the years I've owned variously King/Ludwig/Patane, Vickers/Gorr/Pretre, Cura/Borodina/Davis and Carreras/Baltsa/Davis. Of these I like the Carreras/Baltsa best, but I should really  try the Chung recording.
I like Baltsa, generally, a lot, but I think the Chung is overall better sung and with a generally good atmosphere and energy to it. of course, tastes may vary, but I really enjoy Maier and Domingo. it's not quite the Domingo of youth, but it's still wonderfully thoughtful (as usual). But even better, on video, is the performance with Domingo and Verrett. Verrett is another I find underrated at times, and she shines here. And so does Domingo. And so do the rest frankly. Verrett is definitely a better fit for the role than Maier, though I still enjoy the Maier. When Verrett is on form, she has a certain silkiness to her voice that I just cannot resist (and she has it here). I also liked the Vickers/Verrett performance on video, but haven't seen that in quite some time.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 30, 2017, 11:21:37 AM
I like Baltsa, generally, a lot, but I think the Chung is overall better sung and with a generally good atmosphere and energy to it. of course, tastes may vary, but I really enjoy Maier and Domingo. it's not quite the Domingo of youth, but it's still wonderfully thoughtful (as usual). But even better, on video, is the performance with Domingo and Verrett. Verrett is another I find underrated at times, and she shines here. And so does Domingo. And so do the rest frankly. Verrett is definitely a better fit for the role than Maier, though I still enjoy the Maier. When Verrett is on form, she has a certain silkiness to her voice that I just cannot resist (and she has it here). I also liked the Vickers/Verrett performance on video, but haven't seen that in quite some time.

I loved that Vickers/Verrett video. Verrett is quite a favourite of mine too; love her Eboli on the Giulini recording, and I have a live recording of Maria Stuarda, with Caballe as Maria, in which Verrett's Elisabetta all but steals the show.

I like Baltsa a lot too, and saw her quite a dew times live; Adalgisa, Dorabella, Carmen, Eboli, Isabella, and the Verdi Requiem. She was terrific every time.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 30, 2017, 03:02:29 PM
I loved that Vickers/Verrett video. Verrett is quite a favourite of mine too; love her Eboli on the Giulini recording, and I have a live recording of Maria Stuarda, with Caballe as Maria, in which Verrett's Elisabetta all but steals the show.

I like Baltsa a lot too, and saw her quite a dew times live; Adalgisa, Dorabella, Carmen, Eboli, Isabella, and the Verdi Requiem. She was terrific every time.


Ah, I wish I had seen her. I never seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Lucky you!!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 31, 2017, 01:37:19 AM
I'd opt for Domingo/Maier/Chung myself. Beautifully done on the whole. There have been some recent releases on ediciones singulars that are worth hearing, but are not at the same level as Samson.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51z%2BjOR0auL.jpg)

Thought it was high time I listened to this recording, so am listening now (via Spotify).

Domingo is, as you say, superb, and certainly less strained by the demands of the role than Carreras. Chung has a fine grasp of the score too and it's wonderfully well played, though Davis too understands the score well, having conducted it many times at Covent Garden.

Not quite sure why I'm less taken with Meier. She does all the right things, but some of her effects feel applied rather than felt from within. Especially in the duet after Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix she can sound more like a Kundry or an Ortrud than a Dalila. Baltsa, whose tone by the time she recorded it could be a little grating, also sounds more sensuous to me, and is more inside the role.

Mind you, nobody, save perhaps Verrett, quite matches Callas's mixture of allure and danger in her recording of the three big set pieces, "like an elegant young tigress stretching her limbs in the spring sunshine" according to Ronald Crichton in an issue of Covent Garden's About the House, and hors councours according to Alan Blyth in Opera on Record II.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 02, 2017, 03:35:47 AM
(http://www.clicmusique.com/covers/large/0723724521223.jpg)

Chiefly interesting for the contributions of Horne, Verrett and Gedda, this is a live recording, seemingly from a radio broadcast of a concert performance.

The score is heavily cut, and Prêtre whizzes through it with unseemly haste with no sense whatsoever of the piece's structure. I just felt that he lacked any real understanding of the Berlioz idiom, of his originality and individuality, which is a pity because he has some excellent principals, though the supporting roles are less well filled. Veriano Luchetti appears as a rather too muscular Iopas.

Horne has no problems with the difficult tessitura of Cassandre's role, her voice shining out in the high passages but with plenty of power in the lower regions. However she doesn't quite put over Cassandre's crazed zeal, though Prêtre's fast tempos hardly help. Robert Massard is a fine Chorèbe.

Gedda, a lyric tenor, is surprisingly successful as Enée, a role usually sung by more heroic voices like Vickers and Heppner. His French is, as you might expect, excellent, and he never forces the voice, nor does he have any trouble with the top C in his big aria Inutiles regrets. He doesn't quite erase memories of Vickers, but his French is much more natural, and this might actually be more like the voice Berlioz would have had in mind. A great performance.

As Didon, Verrett is in splendid voice, perhaps one of the most richly endowed singers to have sung the role on disc, and she is, as always, dramatically involved, but she does tend to attack the music as if it were Verdi or Donizetti. I'm delighted to have heard her in the role, but I find I actually prefer Veasey on Davis's first recording, who, in turn, cedes place to Janet Baker, who unfortunately only recorded the final scenes under Sir Alexander Gibson in 1969, shortly after singing the role for Scottish Opera. There exists a complete recording of a performance from Covent Garden at which Baker deputised for an ailing Veasey. Despite the fact that she is singing in English, whilst the rest of the cast sing in French (Scottish Opera were performing the opera in English, and Baker didn't have time to learn the French text), she makes a profound impression. It is a great pity she wasn't engaged for the studio recording.

I enjoyed hearing this for the singing of the principals, but Prêtre all but ruins it for me, and Davis, in either of his two recordings, still remains supreme.

Thank heaven for Spotify. This is selling for £103 on Amazon!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on September 02, 2017, 06:41:47 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51F82GS1%2B3L._SX355_.jpg)

One of my favorite Tchaikovsky operas! Next summer I'm probably going to Savonlinna to watch this, along with Gounod's Faust. Never seen either one before live.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 02, 2017, 06:51:10 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51F82GS1%2B3L._SX355_.jpg)

One of my favorite Tchaikovsky operas! Next summer I'm probably going to Savonlinna to watch this, along with Gounod's Faust. Never seen either one before live.

I love this opera, though I'd probably go with this recording.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VIl1XdaxL._SX355_.jpg)

I also like this Glyndebourne video a lot too.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51L2APa7EGL._SY445_.jpg)

Marusin's voice is no doubt an acquired taste, but dramatically he's superb. It's a fantastic production too.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on September 02, 2017, 11:28:52 AM
On now



Recorded in 1994, so the leads are listed as Lorraine Hunt, soprano and Mark Padmore counter-tenor
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 03, 2017, 02:14:30 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61T%2BUEs01pL.jpg)

I only previously knew this opera from the live Callas recording, which, even in its Divina incarnation, is in pretty dire sound. That said, Callas was at her vocal peak, tossing off intricate coloratura with spectacular ease, her voice huge and freewheeling. She had a spectacular success in the role, and, you can hear why even through the dim sound.

Gasdia may be no Callas, but she nonetheless acquits herself really well, and of course this set is in much better sound. I don't know if Scimone makes cuts, but it's safe to assume his edition is more scholarly than that used by Serafin, whose cuts were no doubt to some extent necessitated by the mediocrity of his tenors, none of whom were particularly adept at florid music. Chris Merritt, Bruce Ford and William Mateuzzi are in a completely different class.

Very enjoyable, if not quite as thrilling as the Callas, for all the vagaries of the sound.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 03, 2017, 05:40:43 AM
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DIq0eBZW4AEnD9B.jpg)
#morninglistening to #Bernstein on @capricciorec w/@dsoberlon

http://a-fwd.to/8X57HlR

#LeonardBernstein’s best … http://ift.tt/2eMsMSS
(http://a-fwd.to/8X57HlR)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on September 04, 2017, 08:08:27 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81wDPDY7T6L._SX355_.jpg)

Just listened to this recording of I lombardi, rather a new Verdi opera to me. I enjoyed it a lot, far more actually than I enjoyed Nabucco.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 04, 2017, 09:21:11 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81wDPDY7T6L._SX355_.jpg)

Just listened to this recording of I lombardi, rather a new Verdi opera to me. I enjoyed it a lot, far more actually than I enjoyed Nabucco.

I like it quite a bit too, though there are other early Verdi operas I prefer. I just wish that they had cast another soprano. Deutekom is a bit shallow and colourless. This was, I think, the first in Philips early Verdi series. Deutekom sang in one other opera (Attila), but none of the others. Later we got Caballé, Norman, Cossotto, Ricciarelli and Sass.

There is a live recording from Covent Garden, also under Gardelli, with Carreras and Sylvia Sass, who is much to be preferred in the role of Griselda.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41J1AKZab9L._SX355_.jpg)

It was these Covent Garden performances that made Sass into a star, though her success was somewhat short lived, and she never quite lived up to the potential she showed here.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ghost Sonata on September 07, 2017, 09:00:32 AM
Les urnes ne sont plus taciturnes :  "On December 24, 1907, 48 gramophone records of the greatest singers of the day were buried in the basement of the Paris Opéra, with instructions to leave them there for 100 years. In 2007, the records were unearthed and restored with painstaking care with the help of EMI Classics technicians. Now the contents of the so-called "Urnes de l'Opéra" are being released by EMI Classics in partnership with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Opéra National de Paris, and the Association pour le Rayonnement de l'Opéra de Paris.  These recordings feature performances of mythic proportions, including Enrico Caruso in Bohème, Rigoletto, and Lucia; Nellie Melba singing Mozart's Figaro; Reynaldo Hahn singing his own composition and another by Chabrier; Pol Plançon as Méphistophélès; Adelina Patti in Don Giovanni; and more! The set also includes legendary instrumental soloists such as Fritz Kreisler, Raoul Pugno, Jan Kubelik, and Ignacy Paderewski."



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 07, 2017, 09:05:36 AM
Looks quite enticing.  Some opera time capsule..  How can one miss this.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Ghost Sonata on September 07, 2017, 09:29:13 AM
Looks quite enticing.  Some opera time capsule..  How can one miss this.

They're fun and interesting in and of themselves but I esp. enjoy the way they seem to tweak their noses at death, which I suppose all recordings do.  Reynaldo Hahn has a lovely baritone and seems as if born on the piano bench.   
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 09, 2017, 04:49:46 AM
I will be attending a performance of Pelleas in 3 weeks time at Paris opera so it time to revisit the work.  I am listening this afternoon to Abbado's version with Le Roux, Maria Ewing, Van Dam and Christa Ludwig.  Slight reservation about Christa Ludwig who was 62 at the time of the recording.

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516qKNs7ZBL._SS500.jpg)

I also have the historical 1962 recording directed by Engelbrecht, but I havent listened to it in a very.long time.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on September 09, 2017, 02:28:09 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61bw5RkbiGL._SS425.jpg)



I decided to finally try La fanciulla del West.  The plot is beyond standard opera silly, and some of the libretto is cringey (Whiskey per tutti!), but the music is magnificent.  Beautiful, lush, refined, it might just be Puccini's most attractive score.  The end of Act I is mesmerizing, and pretty much all of Act II is sublime.  Typically, when I first listen to a new opera, I read the synopsis and libretto before listening, and follow along with the libretto again while listening.  I skipped this last step so I could focus on the music and singing.  The principals all do superb work.  Maazel's set is in the queue. 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on September 09, 2017, 04:04:52 PM
Silly and cringey, but it's got one of the most dramatic poker games ever devised for stage or screen.
I do tend to cringe at all the stereotypical characters that get trotted out in Act I.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Mirror Image on September 09, 2017, 06:32:27 PM
I will be attending a performance of Pelleas in 3 weeks time at Paris opera so it time to revisit the work.  I am listening this afternoon to Abbado's version with Le Roux, Maria Ewing, Van Dam and Christa Ludwig.  Slight reservation about Christa Ludwig who was 62 at the time of the recording.

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516qKNs7ZBL._SS500.jpg)

I also have the historical 1962 recording directed by Engelbrecht, but I havent listened to it in a very.long time.

Abbado’s is fair, but do checkout Boulez’s earlier account on Columbia. Also, Boulez has a great staged performance on DVD that’s worth looking into.

Some links:





Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 10, 2017, 12:36:21 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61bw5RkbiGL._SS425.jpg)



I decided to finally try La fanciulla del West.  The plot is beyond standard opera silly, and some of the libretto is cringey (Whiskey per tutti!), but the music is magnificent.  Beautiful, lush, refined, it might just be Puccini's most attractive score.  The end of Act I is mesmerizing, and pretty much all of Act II is sublime.  Typically, when I first listen to a new opera, I read the synopsis and libretto before listening, and follow along with the libretto again while listening.  I skipped this last step so I could focus on the music and singing.  The principals all do superb work.  Maazel's set is in the queue.

This is the set to have. Neblett may not be as big a name as Nilsson or Tebaldi (she burned herself out quite quickly) but she has exactly the right voice for the role, less steely than Nilsson, more secure on high than Tebaldi. What's more, she was totally believable in the theatre too. Domingo is superb as Rance, and Milnes (who didn't sing Rance at Covent Garden) much more than the villain Rance is often portrayed. The recording was made at around the same time Neblett and Domingo were singing the roles at Covent Garden, and many of the male roles are taken by those who had been singing them on stage. From that point of view, it feels like a performance, not just a cast cobbled together for a recording.

It deservedly won a Gramophone Award and remains one of the best Puccini sets in the catalogue.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 10, 2017, 12:47:49 AM
Abbado’s is fair, but do checkout Boulez’s earlier account on Columbia. Also, Boulez has a great staged performance on DVD that’s worth looking into.

Some links:





I have the earlier Boulez account. He does bring out details in the orchestration that you might not have heard before, but, for me, it has always lacked atmosphere. The dry, analytical recording doesn't help either.

I'm not sure I have a favourite. Ingelbrecht is rightly revered, but the opera really cries out for modern recording. I don't know the Abbado, but it has had a good press.

Karajan is controversial. People tend to love or hate it. I rather like it, to be honest. The singing is generally excellent, and the orchestra play superbly.

A friend of mine, who had a lifelong passion for the opera, swore by Ansermet, who recorded it twice. The earlier mono version is more cohesive, but the later one enjoys wonderfully atmospheric Decca stereo sound.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on September 10, 2017, 01:38:20 AM
That Fanciulla recording is magnificent, for sure. As for Pelléas, I have special fondness for the Karajan recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 10, 2017, 07:19:01 AM
At 18:30 (in 15 min) a documentary on the 1964 performance at Coven Garden of Callas in Tosca will be broadcasted on Arte TV.  Probably available on their web site later
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 10, 2017, 10:09:34 AM
At 18:30 (in 15 min) a documentary on the 1964 performance at Coven Garden of Callas in Tosca will be broadcasted on Arte TV.  Probably available on their web site later
Only the act II has been filmed with Tito Gobbi as a saddistic Scarpia and  Callas as a fierce but wounded woman.  It will be broadcasted without the talking again at midnight.  The video quality is unfortunatelry poor.  This is part of the live warner box.  The Coven Garden live CD has the complete opera.

I would like to see a modern top quality recording of this opera.  I have a Caballé/Pavarotti recording, and even though I like it I always thought it was possible to do a bit better.  This Gobbi/Callas confrontation gives a possible path to follow. 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 10, 2017, 10:26:20 AM
I have the earlier Boulez account. He does bring out details in the orchestration that you might not have heard before, but, for me, it has always lacked atmosphere. The dry, analytical recording doesn't help either.

I'm not sure I have a favourite. Ingelbrecht is rightly revered, but the opera really cries out for modern recording. I don't know the Abbado, but it has had a good press.

Karajan is controversial...
Boulez wagnerize Debussy.  He justify his approach by the influence Wagner had on Debussy, which is not untrue.  Yet, Debussy is also the heir of an entrenched french tradition which he also considered as his.  Boulez was very interested in Wagner at the time as he was immersing himself in the ring for his Bayreuth project.  This is also a possible source of his choices.

The problem with Karajan, of the same nature, is compounded by an imperfect diction of some of the singers.

There is an even older quality version of Pelleas (sung by Camille Maurane as in the Inghelbrecht version) is Camille Desormiere who revived this opera after WWII.

I agree with most of you: a new high quality version of this opera would be most welcome, and I am really looking forward the live performance at the end of the month.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on September 10, 2017, 10:48:26 AM
Interesting thoughts, Spineur. But one could argue that Boulez  "debussyized" Wagner, rather than "wagnerizing"  Debussy.  I'd say Boulez's association with (and admiration for) Debussy's music far predated his involvment with Wagner and Bayreuth, and his lightening of textures in Wagner  (cliché as this may sound) actually comes  from a particularly debussyite (or Gallic if you will) perspective.  This, of course, is all a gross generalization on my part.

The Desormière will always hold a special place in this opera's discography, and rightly so IMHO.

Perhaps the upcoming Rattle release, with Gerhaher and Kožena, is the modern recording we're awaiting.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 10, 2017, 06:54:22 PM
I agree with most of you: a new high quality version of this opera would be most welcome, and I am really looking forward the live performance at the end of the month.

Out of the limelight there is a high quality "modern" (1978) version which puts all the pieces of the Pelléas puzzle together like no other recording I've heard (I've owned five): Baudo and the orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon.

It's general neglect is most likely due to the fact it originated on Eurodisc, which was never part of a major worldwide distribution web to begin with. Not helping things is Eurodisc's current absorption into Sony, which has much more of a vested interest in all things Boulez (including his Pelléas). So the likelihood of Baudo's recording ever seeing the light of day again is slim at best.

Anyone who knows Martinon's EMI Debussy recordings will find a kindred spirit in Baudo. The two conductors' conceptions spring from the same root, at least as far as the orchestra is concerned.

The singing is wonderfully sympathetic, and the overall sound is warm, rich, and wide-ranging. It has earned its way to the top of the heap in my household, ousting Karajan, Abbado, Haitink, Dutoit, and even Cluytens. 

Don't give up on the "modern" version before trying out Baudo (athough, sadly, it's long OOP).



(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51dvpxfZiML.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 11, 2017, 01:59:20 AM
Out of the limelight there is a high quality "modern" (1978) version which puts all the pieces of the Pelléas puzzle together like no other recording I've heard (I've owned five): Baudo and the orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon.

It's general neglect is most likely due to the fact it originated on Eurodisc, which was never part of a major worldwide distribution web to begin with. Not helping things is Eurodisc's current absorption into Sony, which has much more of a vested interest in all things Boulez (including his Pelléas). So the likelihood of Baudo's recording ever seeing the light of day again is slim at best.

Anyone who knows Martinon's EMI Debussy recordings will find a kindred spirit in Baudo. The two conductors' conceptions spring from the same root, at least as far as the orchestra is concerned.

The singing is wonderfully sympathetic, and the overall sound is warm, rich, and wide-ranging. It has earned its way to the top of the heap in my household, ousting Karajan, Abbado, Haitink, Dutoit, and even Cluytens. 

Don't give up on the "modern" version before trying out Baudo (athough, sadly, it's long OOP).



(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51dvpxfZiML.jpg)

The Baudo has had at least one reissue on RCA. It can be had quite cheaply second hand on Amazon UK.

Kenneth Furie, writing in the Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera likes Baudo's conducting, but is less admiring of his soloists. His top choices are Ingelbrecht and Ansermet II, with Boulez, Baudo and Desormière coming in as additional recommendations. Mind you, he is very down on Karajan, which I enjoy, and I find I quite often disagree with him on other operas, Così fan Tutte, for instance.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 11, 2017, 03:50:57 AM
The Baudo has had at least one reissue on RCA. It can be had quite cheaply second hand on Amazon UK.

Kenneth Furie, writing in the Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera likes Baudo's conducting, but is less admiring of his soloists. His top choices are Ingelbrecht and Ansermet II, with Boulez, Baudo and Desormière coming in as additional recommendations. Mind you, he is very down on Karajan, which I enjoy, and I find I quite often disagree with him on other operas, Così fan Tutte, for instance.

I've read critiques of recordings of Pelleas in which the order of preference is completely opposite Furie's. So I'm not sure what end Furie's opinion serves in the overall picture. He's just one of many critics with an opinion.

All I know is, from my perspective, Baudo's recording is worth seeking out.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on September 11, 2017, 04:04:50 AM
So much talk of Pelléas, that I decided to revisit this set (Act 3 only):


This is a powerful performance of Debussy's wonderful opera. First of all, the singers give very careful attention to the text, even the non-native French speaking Pelléas of Hans Wilbrink (who commits only minor mistakes, e.g. "ta petite menne sur ses lèvres" instead of "petite main". Still, he is a youthful and very engaging lead.

Denise Duval is a bit too mature for her rôle, and is a bit unsteady at moments (as is the case in her a capella scene at the beginning of the act). I know it's a preconception, but I cannot avoid picturing her Mélisande dressed in Chanel from head to toe.  ;) . Michel Roux is an excellent Golaud, but I'm afraid Rosine Brédy is insufferable as Yniold (trying to convey a childish, white voice, and ending up speaking instead of singing in the process).

Vittorio Gui (who I've read somewhere was actually praised by Debussy himself when the Italian conductor was a very young man) leads an expertly constructed performance, with real dramatic thrust which, nevertheless, is never ponderous or "flashy". I get the feeling he went for some roughness in some of the string and brass passages, which actually makes the score even more effective (but this might also be a result of the so-so sound quality). Also, he manages to separate the different sound planes (all those solo woodwind lines supported by the orchestra) very clearly.

I've read critiques of recordings of Pelleas in which the order of preference is completely opposite Furie's. So I'm not sure what end Furie's opinion serves in the overall picture. He's just one of many critics with an opinion.

All I know is, from my perspective, Baudo's recording is worth seeking out.
I'll certainly try to do so, even if I must confess that Jean Martinon's recordings of Debussy's orchestral music--that you found more or less akin to Baudo's handling of the opera--really did nothing for me, despite my high expectations and general admiration for that conductor   :( .

Thanks for the tip, DD.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 11, 2017, 05:18:36 AM
Just ordered the Baudo reissue on the RCA label, as it only cost 5-6 euros on the secondary market.  I am actually quite fond of Lyon orchestra.  Gabriel Bacquier as Golaud also drew my interest.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 11, 2017, 02:27:17 PM
Just ordered the Baudo reissue on the RCA label, as it only cost 5-6 euros on the secondary market.  I am actually quite fond of Lyon orchestra.  Gabriel Bacquier as Golaud also drew my interest.

Nice! Regarding Bacquier, Gramophone has this to say about his Golaud: "Bacquier is superb, capturing every nuance from tenderness to abrupt anger...or agonizing frustration".

And about Command's Melisande: "[she]...makes a shy, fey, Melisande, who remains an enigmatic figure" (important here).

And about Dormoy's Pelleas: "The big surprise of this set is the Pelleas, a sensitive singer...".

In fact, Gramophone goes on to give high praise overall to the cast: "[Baudo]...is fortunate to have a cast without a single weak member".

So perhaps our good Mr. Furie needs to give this version a re-hear!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 11, 2017, 02:31:37 PM
I'll certainly try to do so, even if I must confess that Jean Martinon's recordings of Debussy's orchestral music--that you found more or less akin to Baudo's handling of the opera--really did nothing for me, despite my high expectations and general admiration for that conductor   :( .

Thanks for the tip, DD.

Hmm...that's unfortunate. Well, if the day comes you need a new Pelleas at least you know this one exists! :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 12, 2017, 11:32:37 AM
Anna Bolena, Gaetano Donizetti



CD 1 for tonight.  Callas has always a great legato, even in complicated Bel Canto.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 12, 2017, 03:20:52 PM
Anna Bolena, Gaetano Donizetti



CD 1 for tonight.  Callas has always a great legato, even in complicated Bel Canto.

One of Callas's' greatest nights. I review the performance on my blog, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/)

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 13, 2017, 11:59:05 AM
One of Callas's' greatest nights. I review the performance on my blog, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/)
Just finished CD2.  For once I will join your praises for this recording.  Not only Callas is perfect but so is the orchestra and chorus.  I dont think I heard Giuletta Simionato nor Gianni Raimondi & Nicola Rossi-Lemeni before but I found them quite good in their respective role.  As you say in your excellent review, the main melodic line is outlined perfectly with Callas legato.  I dont always agree with the choices she makes in her role characterization, but here she is clearly very close to Donizetti portray of Anna Bolena as a victim.  A very nice recording to have.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 13, 2017, 12:58:51 PM
  I dont always agree with the choices she makes in her role characterization, but here she is clearly very close to Donizetti portray of Anna Bolena as a victim.  A very nice recording to have.

I'd aver that all Callas's characterisation choices always came directly from the music. She was such a musical singer and such a superb musician, that she always closely adhered to what the composer actually wrote. Indeed Grace Bumbry once said that if you wrote down what you heard Callas sing, you would reproduce exactly the composer's markings. We are talking here not just of the notes, but the expression marks in the score. Whatever her choices, they were always backed up by what was in the score.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: millionrainbows on September 14, 2017, 11:43:01 AM
Maria Callas, Carmen, 1964 stereo, EMI. Sounds good, real good. Great melodies and themes throughout. I'm new to opera, and this is my way in, obviously. Would I like anything else?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 15, 2017, 12:05:14 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/510TX0K8EWL.jpg)

Janet Baker has always been my yardstick for the role of Dido. Her superb recording with Anthony Lewis, though performed with modern instruments, could be seen as being part of the dawn of the HIP movement. That said, I've always thought I should have an alternative on original instruments, but resisted because none of the Didos I heard quite did it for me.

This one seemed to have slipped by me. Had I known the wonderful, late lamented Lorraine Hunt Lieberson had recorded the role, I'd have bought it years ago.

Not sure about the witches (but then I'm not sure about them on the Baker recording either), but the rest is superb, and Hunt Lieberson is as movingly communicative as ever.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 15, 2017, 01:03:20 AM
Maria Callas, Carmen, 1964 stereo, EMI. Sounds good, real good. Great melodies and themes throughout. I'm new to opera, and this is my way in, obviously. Would I like anything else?

I've been thinking about this a lot, and actually I'm not sure where one would go after Carmen. It's something of a one off. Nothing else really like it in Bizet's oeuvre, nor by any other composer.

For "great melodies and themes" try Rigoletto maybe. If you like Callas, there's a superb recording featuring her and Gobbi. This was the first of Verdi's triumvirate of middle period masterpieces. The others are Il Trovatore and La Traviata. All of the operas he wrote after that show Verdi's increasing dramatic skill, until his final two masterpieces, the tragic Otello and the comic Falstaff.



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Florestan on September 15, 2017, 01:12:20 AM
Maria Callas, Carmen, 1964 stereo, EMI. Sounds good, real good.

I'm quite surprised, honestly. I should have thought that any music dating from 1875 is too old and too simple for your taste.



(sorry, couldn't resist!  ;D  :P   )
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 15, 2017, 01:16:45 AM
I'm quite surprised, honestly. I should have thought that any music dating from 1875 is too old and too simple for your taste.



(sorry, couldn't resist!  ;D  :P   )

Surprised me too, but didn't even Boulez eventually come round to some of the music he despised in his youth?

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 16, 2017, 10:18:35 AM
Tonight: Inghelbrecht 1962 version of Pélleas et Melissande:
 100% french cast: Jacques Jansen, Micheline Grancher, Michel Roux, André Vessières

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/A12J55-64%2BL._SX450_.jpg)

Fantastic diction.  French in opera is a discourse, and when the articulation is perfect so is the melody.  Hearing this, one realizes how unforgiving the language is compared to italian or even german.  Inghelbrecht orchestra is also very good. This is a place where Abbado version holds its ground very well: the Wiener Philarmoniker sound is marvelous and the rendering on disk is significantly better due to the progresses in sound engineering.

I'll add the overall impressions when I am done through the 3 CDs.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Florestan on September 16, 2017, 11:14:29 AM
Surprised me too, but didn't even Boulez eventually come round to some of the music he despised in his youth?

Well, let's keep things in proportion, please!...  ;D  >:D  :P
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on September 16, 2017, 12:30:34 PM
Tonight: Inghelbrecht 1962 version of Pélleas et Melissande:
 100% french cast: Jacques Jansen, Micheline Grancher, Michel Roux, André Vessières

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/A12J55-64%2BL._SX450_.jpg)

Fantastic diction.  French in opera is a discourse, and when the articulation is perfect so is the melody.  Hearing this, one realizes how unforgiving the language is compared to italian or even german.  Inghelbrecht orchestra is also very good. This is a place where Abbado version holds its ground very well: the Wiener Philarmoniker sound is marvelous and the rendering on disk is significantly better due to the progresses in sound engineering.

I'll add the overall impressions when I am done through the 3 CDs.

That one needs reissue!

I'd love to be able to live through the wonderful live experience at Zurich opera again, btw. Not an all-french cast, but a near perfect night for sure, with the orchestra and the singers finding together and with that magic of sung dialogue indeed happening for the entire lenght. Alain Altinoglu conducted and it got very clear that he knew how to handle it. One of the greatest nights at the opera ever, as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on September 17, 2017, 10:46:04 AM
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Maazel's La fanciulla del West.  Generally well performed (who knew Domingo could sing?), in good sound for a live recording, with only occasional interruptions from the audience, like pesky post-aria applause, this is a fine recording.  I prefer Mehta's set, which is better in every way.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 18, 2017, 05:34:09 AM
Part of the special Maria Callas program on France Musique.

- Sansom and Dalila and Carmen, George Prêtre directing Paris Opera orchestra

The role of Dalila suits her like a glove, on the other hand I am not convinced by her Carmen.

Among the other pieces played an Oberon (Carl Maria von Weber) from a 1964 performance Salle Wagram (Paris).  I thought it was quite good.
Some wonderful excerpts of Ambroise Thomas Hamlet with all the lightness this repertoire demands (a studio recording I dont know)
From a 1957 concert in Athens, a Liebestod from Tristan&Isold.  Not your typical Liebestod, but nevertheless interesting.

Some stuff from La Gioconda, which I did not care for all that much.




Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 18, 2017, 10:03:06 AM
Part of the special Maria Callas program on France Musique.

- Sansom and Dalila and Carmen, George Prêtre directing Paris Opera orchestra

The role of Dalila suits her like a glove, on the other hand I am not convinced by her Carmen.

Among the other pieces played an Oberon (Carl Maria von Weber) from a 1964 performance Salle Wagram (Paris).  I thought it was quite good.
Some wonderful excerpts of Ambroise Thomas Hamlet with all the lightness this repertoire demands (a studio recording I dont know)
From a 1957 concert in Athens, a Liebestod from Tristan&Isold.  Not your typical Liebestod, but nevertheless interesting.

Some stuff from La Gioconda, which I did not care for all that much.

Oddly enough, I find her Carmen one of her most exacting and intelligent creations. But then, with Callas isolated arias will never satisfy on their own. You have to listen to her take on the whole role. She is certainly not the conventional hip-swinging vamp we often get. but definitely dangereuse, as she is described in the libretto.

I review the compete set here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-callas-carmen/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-callas-carmen/).

Her Gioconda is also a justly renowned characterisation; and she recorded it twice.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 18, 2017, 10:45:34 AM
An old recording, but one of the very best Carmen

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41FTJyHeizL._SX425_.jpg)

Costs 2.94$ on A.com for a double CD.  Another cover with the same material
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on September 18, 2017, 10:30:10 PM
After having seen it live at the Teatro Real here in Madrid earlier this year, revisiting Alberto Ginastera's Bomarzo:

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zuVyUB6kV6o/UWYkVeFGQmI/AAAAAAAACLA/co9N50RHMRU/s1600/capa.jpg)
This is an earlier, semi-private release (courtesy of the Argentine consulate in Miami) of the 1967 Washington Opera recording recently reissued by Sony.

It is a wonderful opera, very well constructed as far as the libretto is concerned, and with an " accessible" avant-garde idiom which nowadays can sound slightly dated at some points, but is nevertheless very effective. Great stuff.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 18, 2017, 10:38:17 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/812zcJOjNhL._SL1500_.jpg)

My new Callas Live Remastered box set arrived yesterday, and I am now listening to the first of the operas in the set, Nabucco from 1949.

The big question is going to be about the sound. I wasn't expecting miracles, especially with this opera, which has always sounded pretty bad.

All I can say is that, so far (I've listened to the overture and opening chorus, superbly paced by Gui by the way), it is at least listenable, which was not quite true of my previous version.

Others tell me that Ars Vocalis' new version is even better, but my ears aren't that great and I wonder if it will be so much better that I need to acquire it too.

Looking forward to Callas's entrance. Her Abigaille is sans pareil, though she never sang the role again. She thought the role a voice wrecker, and even counselled Caballe against singing it ("It would be like putting a precious Baccarat glass in a box and shaking it around. It would shatter.") Caballe heeded the advice and never sang the role.

One should note that this Live box is a far better reflection of Callas's career than her studio output, which includes a lot of Puccini, a composer she mostly ignored when her career was at its zenith. Even Tosca was a relative rarity for her after she made the 1953 recording. Apart from her two seasons at the Met, she ignored it until it became the vehicle for her come back at Covent Garden in Zeffirelli's 1964 production.

Her Abigaille causes regret that, apart from Lady Macbeth, she didn't sing any more of Verdi's early soprano roles.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 22, 2017, 12:38:14 AM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/518jdZqyzoL._SS500.jpg)

Next up in the Callas box, is this concert performance of Parsifal, with Callas as Kundry, a role that she had sung the previous year in Rome under Serafin.

Wagnerians will no doubt balk at the opera being performed in Italian, but that was the way in Italy back then. All Wagner operas were performed in Italian.

The opera is quite heavily cut (something of a relief in the case of Africo Baldelli's Parsifal), but the presence of Callas and Christoff, not to mention Vittorio Gui in the pit, make the recording more than just a curiosity.

Callas is a wonderfully sensuous and dramatically alive Kundry, and it is good to have this one example of Callas in a complete Wagner role (she also sang Isolde and the Walküre Brünnhilde in her early career).

The recording favours the voices, which are clear and true, but the orchestra is rather murky.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: betterthanfine on September 22, 2017, 02:49:35 PM
One of Callas's' greatest nights. I review the performance on my blog, if you're interested.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/anna-bolena-la-scala-milan-april-14-1957/)

Tsaras, what do you think of Gencer's performance of the role?

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on September 22, 2017, 08:54:07 PM

... that was the way in Italy back then. All Wagner operas were performed in Italian.


I still remember my grandmother singing

Da voi lontan, in sconosciuta terra
Havvi un castel, che ha nome Monsalvato:
Là un sacro tempio una foresta serra,
Di gemme senza pari e d'oro ornato.


which in my child mind resounded much more than

In fernem Land, unnahbar euren Schritten,
liegt eine Burg, die Montsalvat genannt;
ein lichter Tempel stehet dort inmitten,
so kostbar, als auf Erden nichts bekannt.




Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 22, 2017, 11:57:47 PM
Tsaras, what do you think of Gencer's performance of the role?



Gencer, probably because she didn't have a recording career, is a rather underrated singer, and she shared some of Callas's dramatic gifts. What she lacks though is Callas's innate musicality, a way of moulding the musical phrase that makes it absolutely, inevitably right. Gencer's dramatic effects can sometimes be just a little too veristic, applied onto the music, rather than coming from within it, nor was her coloratura technique quite as sound as Callas's. 

That said, she was a considerable Anna, and was one of the singers who carried forward the work of the bel canto revival, that started with Callas. I rate her quite highly, if not quite on Callas's lofty level.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on September 23, 2017, 09:10:11 AM
Revisiting al old favourite of mine, Emmanuel Chabrier's Le Roi malgré lui:



That this wonderful work is not better known and does not enjoy wider circulaton remains for me one of the great operatic mysteries of all time. It is so full of esprit and bon goût, has a fun (if convoluted--even by operatic standrads) plot and is brimming with great melodies. But not only that, Chabrier's mastery is present at every measure of the score, with the subtle introduction of unexpected modulations and daring harmonic twists. And the orchestration is simply superb.

In Act I, there are two jewels in quick succession; Minka's romance "Hélas! À l'esclavage..." (with the soprano being accompanied wonderfully by an oboe), and King Henri's entrance, with the nostalgic and plangent "Beau pays, pays du beau soleil" in which he regrets his far away France. Both numbers are breathtaking.

The perfomance (the only commercial recording of the work ever made AFAIK) is excellent (even if sans dialogues and appraently cut), with a very involved and homogeous cast, persuasively led by Charles Dutoit. Still, Barbara Hendrick's (at her considerable best as Minka) stands out. What a beautiful voice this lady has, and how effectively she uses it! Really touching...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: betterthanfine on September 23, 2017, 03:38:59 PM
Gencer, probably because she didn't have a recording career, is a rather underrated singer, and she shared some of Callas's dramatic gifts. What she lacks though is Callas's innate musicality, a way of moulding the musical phrase that makes it absolutely, inevitably right. Gencer's dramatic effects can sometimes be just a little too veristic, applied onto the music, rather than coming from within it, nor was her coloratura technique quite as sound as Callas's. 

That said, she was a considerable Anna, and was one of the singers who carried forward the work of the bel canto revival, that started with Callas. I rate her quite highly, if not quite on Callas's lofty level.

Thanks! I agree, from what I've heard from her she's very underrated, and definitely underrecorded. Hence my interest in this performance, which actually sounds quite good for a live recording from the era, as far as I can tell from sampling it on Spotify.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on September 24, 2017, 07:22:09 AM
I have a particular fondness for Vincenzo Bellini operas.  I am slowly filling some of the missing works in my collection.  After I Capuletti e i Montecchi, it was time to look into I Pirata, his third completed opera.  I did hesitate between Callas historical 1959 recording and some of the more recent takes, i.e. Montserrat Caballé & Ruggiero Raimondi or the most recent Opera Rara release.  Here I chose Callas take, even though the sound quality of the orchestra leaves much to be desired.  I find her vocal portrait of Imogene quite good.  As mentioned in the Callas thread, there is a short take in the Callas rareties album recorded in 1961 which has much better sound.  The release of this take was actually approved by Callas, which meant it was pretty good in her eyes.
As far as the opera itself, I find the last act to be as good as some the more prestigious Bellini operas.

(http://www.divinarecords.com/dvn021/dvn021_l.jpg)

 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 30, 2017, 02:43:15 AM
I have a particular fondness for Vincenzo Bellini operas.  I am slowly filling some of the missing works in my collection.  After I Capuletti e i Montecchi, it was time to look into I Pirata, his third completed opera.  I did hesitate between Callas historical 1959 recording and some of the more recent takes, i.e. Montserrat Caballé & Ruggiero Raimondi or the most recent Opera Rara release.  Here I chose Callas take, even though the sound quality of the orchestra leaves much to be desired.  I find her vocal portrait of Imogene quite good.  As mentioned in the Callas thread, there is a short take in the Callas rareties album recorded in 1961 which has much better sound.  The release of this take was actually approved by Callas, which meant it was pretty good in her eyes.
As far as the opera itself, I find the last act to be as good as some the more prestigious Bellini operas.

(http://www.divinarecords.com/dvn021/dvn021_l.jpg)

Unfortunately there are quite a few cuts in the Callas performance, mostly to accommodate the inadequacies of her colleagues. I think the Caballé recording is complete. That said, I'm quite happy to forego some of the music to get Callas.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 30, 2017, 02:56:48 AM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51XvD9MCmcL._SS500.jpg)

I already had this set on Testament, and, truth to tell, my ears don't pick up much difference between that and this Warner one.

This recording documents an important moment in operatic history, for it was after this performance that Ghiringhelli, La Scala's Intendant, and a Tebaldi devotee, found he could ignore Callas no longer. He asked her to open La Scala's next season in the same opera, with substantially the same cast, though Victor De Sabata replaced Kleiber and Eugene Conley the somewhat inadequate Kokolios-Bardi.

Callas is electrifying as Elena, the voice at its early career best, the range from a  top E in the Siciliana to a low F# in Arrigo, ah parli a in core prodigious. Of the other soloists, only Christoff really approaches Callas's achievement, but Erich Kleiber has a firm grip on what can emerge as a sprawling score.

The sound, as in so many of these live performance, is not great, but worth persevering for the quality of the performance.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 04, 2017, 12:01:21 PM
Tonight Attila, an early Verdi

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TwohZFfeL._SY400_.jpg)

I also saw Pelleas et Melisande at Paris Opera last sunday, with Robert Wilson staging and the fantastic Elena Tsallagova as Melisande.  If there is some interest I will make a full recension.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 05, 2017, 07:25:04 PM
Cleopatra. Berlioz in fine form.



(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41BjtO3i9vL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: JCBuckley on October 06, 2017, 06:49:50 AM

I also saw Pelleas et Melisande at Paris Opera last sunday, with Robert Wilson staging and the fantastic Elena Tsallagova as Melisande.  If there is some interest I will make a full recension.

You lucky man. From the clips I've seen, it looked like an excellent production, and Tsallagova sounded superb.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 06, 2017, 11:47:38 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81U5cloByqL._SL1500_.jpg)

Though it still overloads quite a bit, the sounds on this Verona version is a good deal better than any I've heard before (though I haven't heard the Ars Vocalis version, which I'm told is even clearer). It's still not great, but is much more listenable, and the voices come through well.

As for the performance, I suppose you'd call it competitive rather than subtle; but it is thrilling, and it is famous for that barnstorming top Eb from Callas in the Triumphal Scene. The Mexicans go wild with excitement. How often can you say that in opera these days?

Callas is in fabulous voice, the top open and freewheeling. She still has trouble with the dolce top C in O patria mia (to be honest, the only singer who does actually manage to sing it sweetly is Caballe), but the aria itself is spun out to heavenly lengths. The local girl Oralia Dominguez, was singing her first Amneris and she is absolutely splendid; Del Monaco was never a subtle artist, but there is the clarion compensation of his voice, and Taddei is a terrific Amonasro, the Nile Duet with Callas being one of the highlights of the performance.

De Fabritiis conducts a performance in primary colours, to match its surroundings. I wouldn't necessarily always want to hear Aida like this, but, my word, what it must have been like to have been in the audience that night.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 07, 2017, 06:10:58 AM
A recent acquisition: Donizetti, L'assedio di Calais

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61JCJjvG1ML._SY400_.jpg)
It was composed right after Lucia di Lamermoor, which is a favorite opera of mine.  The libretto, written by Salvatore Cammarano is a loose adaptation of the surrender of Calais to the British after a long siege during the 100y war.  It makes ample use of choirs and ensemble singing from duets to the final nonet in the 3rd act.  After 17 performances at the 1836 creation it disappeared from the repertoire until this 1988 revival by Opera Rara.  Since then a DVD was also produced by the RAI.  Why such a well crafted opera has fallen in complete oblivion ?
Maybe because it has no tenor and the leading role (the mayor son) is held by a contralto (Della Jones in this production).  Compared to Lucia, it is also somewhat a throwback to the opera seria style, while the bel canto style was the fury at the time.  It is a very well crafted opera .  The designation of Calais burghers that were to be sacrificed to save the city (the mayor, the mayor son,...) is the highest and most dramatic point at the end of act 2.  There are 2 wonderful duet between the mayor son and his mother.
At the end Donizetti was asked to make a happy ending where queen Elisabeth arrives to save Calais burghers.  This spoils the storys drama some IMHO.  Anyway, I really enjoyed it and this opera rara production will come back to visit the CD player soon.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 07, 2017, 06:21:30 AM
A recent acquisition: Donizetti, L'assedio di Calais

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61JCJjvG1ML._SY400_.jpg)
It was composed right after Lucia di Lamermoor, which is a favorite opera of mine.  The libretto, written by Salvatore Cammarano is a loose adaptation of the surrender of Calais to the British after a long siege during the 100y war.  It makes ample use of choirs and ensemble singing from duets to the final nonet in the 3rd act.  After 17 performances at the 1836 creation it disappeared from the repertoire until this 1988 revival by Opera Rara.  Since then a DVD was also produced by the RAI.  Why such a well crafted opera has fallen in complete oblivion ?
Maybe because it has no tenor and the leading role (the mayor son) is held by a contralto (Della Jones in this production).  Compared to Lucia, it is also somewhat a throwback to the opera seria style, while the bel canto style was the fury at the time.  It is a very well crafted opera .  The designation of Calais burghers that were to be sacrificed to save the city (the mayor, the mayor son,...) is the highest and most dramatic point at the end of act 2.  There are 2 wonderful duet between the mayor son and his mother.
At the end Donizetti was asked to make a happy ending where queen Elisabeth arrives to save Calais burghers.  This spoils the storys drama some IMHO.  Anyway, I really enjoyed it and this opera rara production will come back to visit the CD player soon.
I agree - pretty wonderful. I love all the chorus and group singing. There are many other good Opera Rara productions of Donizetti too. I have been eying Les Martyrs...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 07, 2017, 06:35:00 AM
I have been eying Les Martyrs...
  I have it.  A very nice opera.  Michael Spyres is an excellent Polyeucte.  Joyce el Khoury is fine as Pauline.  Her recent disk Echo however is not good.  There is a big difference in talent between her and Spyres.  I bought his solo CD Espoir.  He is really made for the french repertoire.  His diction is quite good, in fact the best for an american tenor.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 07, 2017, 06:37:20 AM
  I have it.  A very nice opera.  Michael Spyres is an excellent Polyeucte.  Joyce el Khoury is fine as Pauline.  Her recent disk Echo however is not good.  There is a big difference in talent between her and Spyres.  I bought his solo CD Espoir.  He is really made for the french repertoire.  His diction is quite good, in fact the best for an american tenor.
Yes, I don't think we're likely to see a production as good as this for a while (if ever). When I get the set, it will be my first introduction to Spyres I think, unless I am forgetting him in something else.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: betterthanfine on October 07, 2017, 06:44:53 AM
My first time listening to this particular recording:



Cossotto is a fine Lady, but her high notes are little shrill and sometimes even slightly flat. I like her hushed and intimate reading of the letter. Milnes fares better as Macbeth, even if he's not particularly memorable. Carreras is in gorgeous youthful voice for Macduff's aria, and I very much enjoy Muti's conducting. The chorus sounds very good too. Overall, an enjoyable recording of one of my favourite Verdi operas!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on October 07, 2017, 09:58:11 AM
A recent acquisition: Donizetti, L'assedio di Calais

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61JCJjvG1ML._SY400_.jpg)
It was composed right after Lucia di Lamermoor, which is a favorite opera of mine.  The libretto, written by Salvatore Cammarano is a loose adaptation of the surrender of Calais to the British after a long siege during the 100y war.  It makes ample use of choirs and ensemble singing from duets to the final nonet in the 3rd act.  After 17 performances at the 1836 creation it disappeared from the repertoire until this 1988 revival by Opera Rara.  Since then a DVD was also produced by the RAI.  Why such a well crafted opera has fallen in complete oblivion ?
Maybe because it has no tenor and the leading role (the mayor son) is held by a contralto (Della Jones in this production).  Compared to Lucia, it is also somewhat a throwback to the opera seria style, while the bel canto style was the fury at the time.  It is a very well crafted opera .  The designation of Calais burghers that were to be sacrificed to save the city (the mayor, the mayor son,...) is the highest and most dramatic point at the end of act 2.  There are 2 wonderful duet between the mayor son and his mother.
At the end Donizetti was asked to make a happy ending where queen Elisabeth arrives to save Calais burghers.  This spoils the storys drama some IMHO.  Anyway, I really enjoyed it and this opera rara production will come back to visit the CD player soon.

The ending is actually true to history (although the queen's name was Phillippa, and produced one of Rodin's greatest works
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0f/Auguste_Rodin-Burghers_of_Calais_%28photo%29.jpg/300px-Auguste_Rodin-Burghers_of_Calais_%28photo%29.jpg)
Details about the statue and a summary of the history
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burghers_of_Calais
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 07, 2017, 11:12:49 AM
The ending is actually true to history (although the queen's name was Phillippa, and produced one of Rodin's greatest works
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0f/Auguste_Rodin-Burghers_of_Calais_%28photo%29.jpg/300px-Auguste_Rodin-Burghers_of_Calais_%28photo%29.jpg)
Details about the statue and a summary of the history
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burghers_of_Calais
And I believe it's the same subject that the now almost forgotten (but in his day relatively well-known) Rudolf Wagner-Régeny used in his Die Bürger von Calais (from the late 30s):


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 07, 2017, 02:57:01 PM
My first time listening to this particular recording:



Cossotto is a fine Lady, but her high notes are little shrill and sometimes even slightly flat. I like her hushed and intimate reading of the letter. Milnes fares better as Macbeth, even if he's not particularly memorable. Carreras is in gorgeous youthful voice for Macduff's aria, and I very much enjoy Muti's conducting. The chorus sounds very good too. Overall, an enjoyable recording of one of my favourite Verdi operas!

Personally I prefer the Abbado recording. Verrett is a superb Lady Macbeth, but even she has to cede to Callas live at La Scala in 1952. No Lady Macbeth comes within a mile of her achievement in the role, and De Sabata is a pretty great conductor too.

(http://i.imgur.com/IuVTSA1.jpg)

The sound isn't very good, but is reasonable enough in the new Warner transfer.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on October 08, 2017, 01:03:19 PM
Saw Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in Lucerne last night - what a blast!  ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on October 08, 2017, 05:41:56 PM
A purchase crossposted from the main Purchase thread

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/naxos/large/888837977920.jpg)

As a kid, I used to listen to a recording of Acts 1 and 2 of Traviata on a set of 78s that belonged to my mother.  It was a heavy bulky folder of disks, and the companion set for the remainder of the opera was nowhere to be found. That set was my introduction to opera. I think the recording in this set is the one I played so often.

The "others" referred to on the cover include a couple of overtures, the Te Deum, the Hymn of the Nations, and various highlights from Rigoletto and Luisa Miller.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on October 08, 2017, 08:18:03 PM
Saw Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in Lucerne last night - what a blast!  ;D

Lucky you! I would love to see that..........but it seems more likely I would have to travel to another country than wait for it to come down here in Australia.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on October 09, 2017, 02:54:05 AM
Lucky you! I would love to see that..........but it seems more likely I would have to travel to another country than wait for it to come down here in Australia.

Some info here (there are "DE" and "EN" buttons to switch from DEutsch to ENglish):
http://www.luzernertheater.ch/legrandmacabre

Don't know any of the involved ones, not sure if I saw play directed by Fritsch years ago ... but the musical director is the same that was part of the huge success they had last season with Nono's "Prometeo" (that was life-changing in a way that the Maccabee won't ever be, the piece isn't deep enough for that, I think - but a blast it was, hellyeah!) ... seems the new direction wants to start the season with a 20c opera now - would be cool if that became a tradition, I'd certainly make it a point to be there each year!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on October 09, 2017, 03:07:20 AM
Some info here (there are "DE" and "EN" buttons to switch from DEutsch to ENglish):
http://www.luzernertheater.ch/legrandmacabre

Don't know any of the involved ones, not sure if I saw play directed by Fritsch years ago ... but the musical director is the same that was part of the huge success they had last season with Nono's "Prometeo" (that was life-changing in a way that the Maccabee won't ever be, the piece isn't deep enough for that, I think - but a blast it was, hellyeah!) ... seems the new direction wants to start the season with a 20c opera now - would be cool if that became a tradition, I'd certainly make it a point to be there each year!

Traditions like that are always good fun, especially when they promote operas not commonly performed.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on October 09, 2017, 03:38:05 AM
Traditions like that are always good fun, especially when they promote operas not commonly performed.

Yes indeed!

There's also a new Holliger opera coming up at Zurich opera this season:
https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/lunea/season_11232/
Will definitely go and catch it!

Also planning to catch a new one by Sciarrino at La Scala in late November with GioCar  ;D
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 09, 2017, 12:49:32 PM
Discussion on the generazione dell'ottanta (started by Mirror Image in the polls thread) has prompted me to revisit Respighi's charmingly nostalgic comedy Belfagor:


I don't really care much for Respighi's orchestral music, which I find flashy and derivative; I was listening to some piece--can't remember which--recently on the radio, and kept sayng to myself "look, now it sounds like Richard Strauss, but wait, now it's Debussy, oh no, it's Rimsky" until I said "Basta!"  ;D .

But I've always had a soft spot for this little opera. Puccinian in some aspects, but with a very distinctive melancholy and nocturnal tinge to the comedy, and less melodic ease (compensated by very intelligible declamatory sung lines). The orchestration is very colourful, as could be expected.  Falstaff, and probably Gianni Schicchi as well, were most probably Respighi's direct models.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on October 10, 2017, 07:40:08 AM

Also planning to catch a new one by Sciarrino at La Scala in late November with GioCar  ;D

 8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 10, 2017, 11:21:40 AM
You lucky man. From the clips I've seen, it looked like an excellent production, and Tsallagova sounded superb.
Pélleas et Mélisande: recension of the live Paris Opera performance (Robert Wilson staging) and the new Simon Rattle LSO recording

(https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0624/6833/products/Cover_LSO0290_LSO0790_3000px_1024x1024.jpg)

Summary: if it had been possible to combine these two performances, we would have had the perfect Pelleas

Paris performance.  2 great singers/actors
1) Melisande was sung by Elena Tsallagova.  Phyically, as a young and frail woman, she is a perfect Melisande:
(https://res.cloudinary.com/opera-national-de-paris/image/upload/c_fit%2ch_1100%2cq_60%2cw_1100/f_auto/v1/user_photos/ci9kjnhmfjbqacngtyxu)
Her voice is quite pure, with little vibrato, exactly what you expect for Melisande.  Her diction was absoltely perfect.  She also fitted very much in Robert Wilson staging, which translates Maeternink symbolic poetry into symbolic gesture, mostly using arms and hands.
(https://res.cloudinary.com/opera-national-de-paris/image/upload/c_fit%2ch_1100%2cq_60%2cw_1100/f_auto/v1/user_photos/cdpqlfdt4de9gnmfhdsv)
Another great actor singer was Jodie Devos (a belgian soprano) as Yniold (Golaud's son)
(https://res.cloudinary.com/opera-national-de-paris/image/upload/c_fit%2ch_1100%2cq_60%2cw_1100/f_auto/v1/user_photos/omiq3lkxgevvgmcpnlxi)
She had a very strong presence and acted and sung her role beautifully.
Pelleas was sung by Etienne Dupuis who did not convince me completely.   He is a real big guy, not quite compatible with the image I have of Pelleas.
Golaud was sung Luca Pisaroni, an italian barytone.  I did not like the way he interpreted nor sung Golaud.  Always opting for the darkest option for the caracter, rough, and brutal. This may be appropriate for the fourth act but not for the two first acts, I would say.
Jordan and Paris orchestra were OK, but I expected more orchestral colors, at least from this talented french chef directing a french orchestra.  Also, he did not use the full dynamic of his orchestra, except in the pianissimo introduction and the fortissimo for the deadly kiss at the fourth act.
One word about Wilson staging.  It is quite appealing, with interesting ideas: Melisande makes exactly the same gesture as she drops her crown at the beginning of the opera and Golaud ring at act II.  At act 3, the ring projected on the blue background breaks in two.  Otherwise, the staging is cold, as the character always avoid physical contact even when the text say the opposite (Yniold, "votre barbe pique, petit père").  This contributes to add distances which I did not feel are in Maeternink texts.

Now Rattle take.  I think his orchestra is really beautiful, one of the best I have heard in this piece.  Beautiful colors, exactly the dynamical ranges I expected.  He tends to use some Malherian inflections at times, but these are passing allusions which I actually found interesting.
Magdalena Kozena (one of my favorite mezzo) isnt a very good Melisande.  Her french diction isnt very intelligible I found.  Also she sings Mélisande as the mature woman she is and not Mélisande a young girl.  This is bothersome in the first two act.  During the last act, where Mélisande is portrayed as living in a parallel world, Kozena is much better, in fact her singing becomes suddenly appropriate.
The other singer are Gerhaher as Pelleas.  He has never disappointed me and here again he is a very good Pelleas.  Nearly perfect french diction, exactly the intonations and the nuances I expected.  As Golaud, Gerald Finley is also convincing.  His diction is good, maybe nt as perfect as Gerhaher.  But he portraits Golaud as the multifaceted man that he is.  Arkel is sung by Franz‑Josef Selig as in the Paris live performance.  A deep and beautiful bass voice.  Excellent.  Yniold is sung by Elias Mädler.  Not as good as Jodie Devos, I thought
In spite of Kozena weaknesses during the first two acts, I would recommend this new recording.  The orchestra is great and Gerhaher and Finley are excellent in their role.   You can download it on the LSO live site for a modest price.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: betterthanfine on October 10, 2017, 02:13:42 PM
^Thanks for that review, Spineur. I've been curious about the new Rattle set, as it's a piece he's been performing for years, and I'm a huge Gerhaher fan. Kozena to me seemed the weakest link here, which you have just confirmed. Still, I think I might get it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on October 10, 2017, 05:17:54 PM
Probably some great performances.  But how is the audio?  All mono?

I am not sure, since it's in transit now. I assume some, if not all, is mono. Looking at the contents, I also expect some major cuts:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81DviZ%2B79UL.jpg)
How do you fit a trio, a chorus, and an entire act of Rigoletto onto the second CD of Traviata?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on October 11, 2017, 01:43:13 AM
Das Rheingold

(https://i.scdn.co/image/d3026c55bdb6e1818e77b08e97650dfb7843b65d)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 11, 2017, 04:17:52 AM
I don't think I've seen such an interesting, positive master class in some time. Really fascinating:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGCOxk6sGk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGCOxk6sGk)
I love how he spends more time on the basics of singing and breathing and key things rather than minor phrasing as some do. Hampson is very articulate and has a wonderful manner.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 13, 2017, 09:41:00 AM
I don't think I've seen such an interesting, positive master class in some time. Really fascinating:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGCOxk6sGk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suGCOxk6sGk)
Hampson is very articulate and has a wonderful manner.
I have always found Thomas Hampson interesting.  He sings the marquis de Posa in Don Carlos at Paris opera with Jonas Kaufmann and Sonia Yoncheva.  I did not succeed in getting ticket for this exceptional event.



TD another Opera Rara: Ambroise Thomas La cour de Célimène.  Typical Ambroise Thomas style, reminiscent of Mignon.  The libretto is so thin that it is transparent.  But the music is much better than I expected.  Some exquisite ensemble singing.  The orchestral prelude has 3 different themes one of which is treated as variation.  The Celimene aria at the begining of act to is often part of french cd recitals for sopranos.  4/5 for the music.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 13, 2017, 09:48:18 AM
I have always found Thomas Hampson interesting.  He sings the marquis de Posa in Don Carlos at Paris opera with Jonas Kaufmann and Sonia Yoncheva.  I did not suceed in getting ticket for this exceptional event.



TD another Opera Rara: Ambroise Thomas La cour de Célimène.  Typical Ambroise Thomas style, reminiscent of Mignon.  The libretto is so thin that it is transparent.  But the music is much better than I expected.  Some exquisite ensemble singing.  The orchestral prelude has 3 different themes one of which is treated as variation.  The Celimene aria at the begining of act to is often part of french cd recitals for sopranos.  4/5 for the music.
I love that one. it led me to Mignon and then to Hamlet. Speaking of Hampson, I have the Hamlet with him, Ramey and June Anderson. As you would expect, the singing was pretty awesome. But the orchestra play beautifully too, and I really enjoy the orchestration of Thomas.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: JCBuckley on October 16, 2017, 09:10:38 AM
Spineur - many thanks for the reviews. I'm kicking myself for not making the trip to Paris. From what I can can gather, the DVD of the Wilson production suffers from lousy sound quality. And it costs a silly amount of money in the UK.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 16, 2017, 09:21:21 AM
Spineur - many thanks for the reviews. I'm kicking myself for not making the trip to Paris. From what I can can gather, the DVD of the Wilson production suffers from lousy sound quality. And it costs a silly amount of money in the UK.
I have also heard that the sound quality of the DVD is very poor.  For Debussy that just kills it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 21, 2017, 03:28:53 AM
Revisiting al old favourite of mine, Emmanuel Chabrier's Le Roi malgré lui:



That this wonderful work is not better known and does not enjoy wider circulaton remains for me one of the great operatic mysteries of all time. It is so full of esprit and bon goût, has a fun (if convoluted--even by operatic standrads) plot and is brimming with great melodies. But not only that, Chabrier's mastery is present at every measure of the score, with the subtle introduction of unexpected modulations and daring harmonic twists. And the orchestration is simply superb.

In Act I, there are two jewels in quick succession; Minka's romance "Hélas! À l'esclavage..." (with the soprano being accompanied wonderfully by an oboe), and King Henri's entrance, with the nostalgic and plangent "Beau pays, pays du beau soleil" in which he regrets his far away France. Both numbers are breathtaking.

The perfomance (the only commercial recording of the work ever made AFAIK) is excellent (even if sans dialogues and appraently cut), with a very involved and homogeous cast, persuasively led by Charles Dutoit. Still, Barbara Hendrick's (at her considerable best as Minka) stands out. What a beautiful voice this lady has, and how effectively she uses it! Really touching...
I decided to check this opera which I confess I had never heard of.  Light and pleasant music very much in Chabrier style.  As you said, the King Henri aria Beau pays, pays du beau soleil in act I is wonderful so is Ah viens Minka fidèle in act II as well as the duo "O rêve eteint" at act III.  All the orchestral preludes are indeed wonderful.  A pretty cool work.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 21, 2017, 08:16:16 AM
I decided to check this opera which I confess I had never heard of.  Light and pleasant music very much in Chabrier style.  As you said, the King Henri aria Beau pays, pays du beau soleil in act I is wonderful so is Ah viens Minka fidèle in act II as well as the duo "O rêve eteint" at act III.  All the orchestral preludes are indeed wonderful.  A pretty cool work.
Glad you liked it, cher ami... :)

You do know L'Étoile, no? Another jewel...

"Aussitôt que l'aurore,
aux doigts gantés de rose,
éclaire à son lever
les magasins de nouveautés
où le bon goût repose,
à nos vitrines apparaissent les clients"


Priceless!  8)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 21, 2017, 11:54:46 AM
Some French Rossini tonight:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71EsZNedesL._SL500_SX355_.jpg)

I haven't listened to Maometto II for quite a while, and it's been even longer since I've approached its revision as Le Siège... This seems to be the only recording of the work that more or less presents what Rossini offered the Paris audience in 1826.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 21, 2017, 01:32:24 PM
There is also this Naxos CD.  I do not know either versions

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51lBB9rxRJL.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on October 21, 2017, 08:26:34 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/hfDaFLY.jpg?1)

little bit of digging gets  you the best one can get.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 22, 2017, 12:07:03 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81TyG6jtkaL._SL1500_.jpg)

The sound may not be great, the tenor roles may not be as well filled as they might be today, but, as a display of dramatic coloratura singing, Callas's Armida has to be heard to be believed. The power, the accuracy and the sheer insouciant ease with which she tackles the role's difficulties is unparalleled.

To my ears the Warner issue sounds duller than the Divina, though some may find it more comfortable to listen to. They also omit about 12 minutes of music (included in the Divina issue) that had voice interference on the tape.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 22, 2017, 12:10:14 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/hfDaFLY.jpg?1)

little bit of digging gets  you the best one can get.
Yes, two great female leads, of course (alhough I've never warmed to Mrs. Sills artistry, I must confess  :-[), but....in Italian translation, and in what I read is a spurious edition with interpolations from other Rossini works--including chunks of Le Siège's precursor Maometto II.

I must say, though, that in the French version I listened to, some of the singers might as well be singing in Italian, so poor is their pronunciation... ::)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 22, 2017, 12:35:04 AM
I've never warmed to Mrs. Sills artistry, I must confess  :-[),

I'd say I appreciate her artistry, but have never warmed to her actual voice, which had too little colour and was a couple of notches too small for many of the roles she sang.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 22, 2017, 12:43:37 AM
I'd say I appreciate her artistry, but have never warmed to her actual voice, which had too little colour and was a couple of notches too small for many of the roles she sang.
Yes, you've most eloquently epressed what I feel.... ;) It's the voice itself I don't find appealing.

Cheers,
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 22, 2017, 08:09:38 AM
Ritter and his Siège de Corinthe, inspired me in a coup de coeur purchase of another french opera by another italian composer

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516KZK8rpcL.jpg)

It is OOP so I had to resort to the audio file download from Opera-Rara web site.  Dom Sébastien is a very  very good opera.  The topic is relatively close to Meyerbeer L'Africaine/Vasco de Gama.  The music style is also quite close to Verdi Don Carlos.  So far I have listened only to the first CD.  I dare say, this is the best Opera-Rara I have listened so far.  Not so much the singers, but the opera.  Late Donizetti at his best.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 22, 2017, 10:44:32 AM
Ritter and his Siège de Corinthe, inspired me in a coup de coeur purchase of another french opera by another italian composer

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516KZK8rpcL.jpg)

It is OOP so I had to resort to the audio file download from Opera-Rara web site.  Dom Sébastien is a very  very good opera.  The topic is relatively close to Meyerbeer L'Africaine/Vasco de Gama.  The music style is also quite close to Verdi Don Carlos.  So far I have listened only to the first CD.  I dare say, this is the best Opera-Rara I have listened so far.  Not so much the singers, but the opera.  Late Donizetti at his best.
I'm not really that much into Donizetti, but this Dom Sébastien is a work I have always wished to explore, exactly for the reasons you mention, Spineur (it's closeness to Don Carlos and to the grand opéra genre in general). Pity physical copies are very difficult to locate at reasonable prices  >:( (I'm not a download guy  :-[).
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: JCBuckley on October 22, 2017, 10:51:24 AM
Revisiting this - a terrific performance with an amazing cast: Piau, Genaux, Basso, Stutzmann, Laurens. I'm assuming Naive's Vivaldi opera project is now dead in the water - but perhaps someone here knows more?

 

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on October 22, 2017, 11:28:55 AM
I'm assuming Naive's Vivaldi opera project is now dead in the water - but perhaps someone here knows more?
I have no fresh information on the Vivaldi project but these days Naive is releasing a lot of new CDs.  There was the late Beethoven SQ by the Mosaiques quartet which got discussed on GMG.  This Bach also got quite good reviews


So you should keep an eye on the new release column !
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on October 22, 2017, 12:08:58 PM
Revisiting this - a terrific performance with an amazing cast: Piau, Genaux, Basso, Stutzmann, Laurens. I'm assuming Naive's Vivaldi opera project is now dead in the water - but perhaps someone here knows more?

At the beginning Naive talked about a 100 CD series which would include 15 operas.  They actually released 15 operas, which means about 50 CDs worth of instrumental and sacred music remains unrecorded after deducting everything else that was issued, but no operas...and it's probably less of a financial and logistical challenge because of that. So perhaps someone will rise to the challenge.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: JCBuckley on October 22, 2017, 01:58:52 PM
At the beginning Naive talked about a 100 CD series which would include 15 operas.  They actually released 15 operas, which means about 50 CDs worth of instrumental and sacred music remains unrecorded after deducting everything else that was issued, but no operas...and it's probably less of a financial and logistical challenge because of that. So perhaps someone will rise to the challenge.

Thanks for this, Jeffrey. I clearly misunderstood - I was under the impression that the opera series was intended to be more extensive than that.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on October 22, 2017, 02:07:17 PM
Thanks for this, Jeffrey. I clearly misunderstood - I was under the impression that the opera series was intended to be more extensive than that.

There may have been plans for more: Naive expanded the scope of the series to include music not part of the Turin archive, so they may have meant to issue additional operas. But fifteen operas was the original number. It's the non-operatic music that suffered the most: less than half of the originally promised recordings were issued.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 23, 2017, 05:11:45 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/815GGJB5gYL._SL1500_.jpg)

Moving on through Warner's Callas Live box set.

I didn't really know this performance that well, having previously only listened to excerpts in pretty atrocious sound. The sound here is massively improved (though it can't blot out the contribution of the prompter), but I'm still not sure why Warner decided to include it in the Callas Live box, especially considering that the studio version of the opera is considered one of the classics of the gramophone. If including this, then why not the superb live Un Ballo in Maschera from La Scala in 1957, which is a far better performance and far better recorded?

The only other singer of note is Di Stefano, and, without the firm hand of Serafin at the helm, he tends to be careless of note values and rhythm. Campolonghi's Rigoletto makes hardly any impression at all. The conductor, Umberto Mugnai, makes even more cuts than those traditional at the time and stage and pit are often out of sync; nor does he have any real idea of shaping the music and his tempi are all over the place.

Callas is a miracle. She could almost be a different singer from the one we have heard so far in this set, her voice wondrously lightened to dispel any associations with Abigaille, Kundry, Elena, Aida and Armida, the roles we have heard thus far. I dislike, as did she in later years, the decision to end Caro nome on a high E (actually an Eb as she transposed the aria down) rather than the rapturous trill on the lower E that Verdi wrote. It obtrudes on the air of gentle reverie that she has created in the aria itself. Apparently Callas did it to appease the Mexican audience's love of high notes, but she massively regretted it later.

It is also remarkable that when stage and pit fall apart, it is usually Callas (who was so blind she couldn't see the conductor) who brings things back on track.

It's interesting to have this snapshot of Callas trying out a role she wouldn't sing again except in the studio, and it is a great shame that she didn't keep it in her repertoire. Had she done so, we might have re-thought the role of Gilda, much as we did that of Lucia. That said, it is still to the studio set that I will turn if I want to hear Callas's Gilda.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 28, 2017, 03:06:05 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81vXfqdoUFL._SX466_.jpg)

This live recording captures Callas's debut in front of one of her most loyal audiences. She appeared again at the house in 1953, 1957, 1958 (arguably her greatest performances of Violetta), 1959 and finally in 1964 and 1965 in the Zeffirelli Tosca, which was also her last ever appearance on stage.

Though this Norma would not be my first choice for the opera (that would be the live La Scala recording of 1955 with Simionato and Del Monaco), it is still a very good performance, with excellent contributions from Stignani, Picchi and Vaghi. Gui is also a welcome presence in the pit. Callas is in stupendous voice, but she is infinitely more subtle at La Scala in 1955. I also somewhat prefer Simionato to the rather mature voiced Stignani, who was twenty years Callas's senior. The voice is firm and seamless from top to bottom, but she sounds like the older woman, which skews the balance somewhat.

Worth hearing nevertheless.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on October 29, 2017, 11:06:50 AM
I've expressed my general lack of admiration for Gaetano Donizetti here on GMG before, but it is difficult (and useless) to resist the charms of his wonderful, rustic comédie larmoyante L'Elisir d'amore.

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzEzWDgxNA==/z/G5wAAOSwJQdW-qp0/$_35.JPG)

This 1952 recording is excellent, expertly conducted by that grand seigneur of Italian opera, Gianandrea Gavazzeni (who had Donzetti's music in his veins, so to speak, as both men were born in Bergamo). The cast is as idiomatic as you can get, with that marvellous tenore di grazia Cesare Valetti standing out as Nemorino.  Afro Poli as Belcore and, especially, Sesto Bruscantini as Dulcamara are also great, but I cannot warm to the soubrette-ish tone of Alda Noni (even if she manages her instrument most admirably, she sounds irredeemably old-fashioned).

The sound is rather congested (50's radio broadcast), but I've read it was greatly improved in later reissues of the recording.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on October 29, 2017, 08:31:38 PM
Recently watched this with my 10 year old sister who kept exclaiming 'put on the next one!!!!!!' after each act.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VOEN%2B%2BsvL._SX342_.jpg)

I think I will take her to see Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with me next year.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on October 29, 2017, 10:18:02 PM
Recently watched this with my 10 year old sister who kept exclaiming 'put on the next one!!!!!!' after each act.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VOEN%2B%2BsvL._SX342_.jpg)

I think I will take her to see Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with me next year.

Raising another musician in you family? Preparing for the MS duo? Very well done!  :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on October 30, 2017, 08:10:07 AM
Recently watched this with my 10 year old sister who kept exclaiming 'put on the next one!!!!!!' after each act.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VOEN%2B%2BsvL._SX342_.jpg)

I think I will take her to see Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with me next year.

For a moment, thanks to those sparks, I thought Siegfried was holding a chainsaw.

Thread Duty: Listening to Euryanthe, what a marvelous opera!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on October 31, 2017, 04:15:09 PM
For a moment, thanks to those sparks, I thought Siegfried was holding a chainsaw.

Thread Duty: Listening to Euryanthe, what a marvelous opera!

Nothung as a chainsaw sounds like a great idea really. I hope one day someone comes up with a lumberjack themed Siegfried. ;D
This production is quite sound but frustratingly traditional if one is already very familiar with these works.........................................
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on November 05, 2017, 01:59:00 PM
Giacchino Rossini Mose in Egitto, broadcasting from the Bregenz festival

(https://bregenzerfestspiele.com/sites/default/files/styles/header_small_2x/public/thumbnails/image/moses_in_aegypten_inhalt.jpg)

https://bregenzerfestspiele.com/en/programme/moses-egypt (https://bregenzerfestspiele.com/en/programme/moses-egypt)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: vandermolen on November 06, 2017, 03:58:03 AM
I enjoyed listening to Mussorgsky's 'Khovanshchina' on the radio over the weekend.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 06, 2017, 04:35:12 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81zAgNfEwLL._SL1500_.jpg)

Wretched sound (though somewhat  improved in this Warner transfer) but barnstorming performance.

Bernstein conducts a fiery account of the score, in line with his Beethoven recordings from the same period. Callas is in fabulous voice, though at times you might think this Medea overplays her hand. She is much more subtle in Dallas in 1958, which is my preferred recording of the opera.

One should also point out that, like all Callas recordings of the opera, this edition is something of a hybrid; a translation into Italian of a nineteenth century version with added recitatives by the German composer Franz Lachner. The original version in French, with spoken dialogue, has been recorded a couple of times, but Callas's Medea is hors concours, and one her greatest creations.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on November 06, 2017, 12:07:42 PM
Cherubini Medée and its italian adaptation is a top drawer opera.  Although it had been performed by Rosa Ponselle in the past, it is Callas that really revived this opera.  I am still waiting to see a high quality production of the initial french version.  I got this Simon Mayr Medea in Corinto which was performed 20 years after Cherubini opera

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61z9yn-OzwL._SY400_.jpg)

The opera only really starts in the middle of act II and has some nice scenes.  But it is much less interesting than Cherubini score & libretto.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 07, 2017, 12:56:29 AM
Cherubini Medée and its italian adaptation is a top drawer opera.  Although it had been performed by Rosa Ponselle in the past, it is Callas that really revived this opera.   

Actually Ponselle never sang Medea. When Callas sang it in Florence in 1953, I'm pretty sure it hadn't been performed since the La Scala premiere (also in Carlo Zanagarini's Italian translation of the Lachner version) in 1909.

Ponselle, however, was renowned for the role of Giulia in Spontini's  La Vestale, which Callas revived at La Scala (the first time she worked with Visconti) in 1954.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on November 07, 2017, 01:09:10 AM
Actually Ponselle never sang Medea. When Callas sang it in Florence in 1953, I'm pretty sure it hadn't been performed since the La Scala premiere (also in Carlo Zanagarini's Italian translation of the Lachner version) in 1909.

Ponselle, however, was renowned for the role of Giulia in Spontini's  La Vestale, which Callas revived at La Scala (the first time she worked with Visconti) in 1954.
Indeed..the first performance of Medea at La Scala was, as Tsaraslondon points out, in 1909, with Ester Mazzoleni. I believe the work was not performed there until the 1953 run with Callas and Bernstein (which followed the revival in Florence earlier that year, conducted by Vittorio Gui).

Talking about Gui and Ponselle, the latter sang La Vestale (in Florence once again) in the early 30s IIRC, and the audience was demanding a bis, which Gui would not allow. Someone then shouted "Please! She'll return to America and who knows when we'll hear her again!" and the bis as given.  :D

A much underrated opera, La Vestale, IMHO. And, yes, pity there is no decent recording of the original Médée in French. The live effort (from Martina Franca) with Iano Tamar on the Nuova Era label verges on the disastrous...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 07, 2017, 05:54:15 AM
And, yes, pity there is no decent recording of the original Médée in French. The live effort (from Martina Franca) with Iano Tamar on the Nuova Era label verges on the disastrous...

I too would love to hear it in the original French, with spoken dialogue. That said, I can't imagine anyone bringing the role and music to life in quite the way Callas does. Her performances, especially in Florence and Milan in 1953, and in Dallas 1958, bring the music alive in a way I've never heard from anyone else. As one critic quipped after the Florence performances, she sounds as if she were born singing it!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on November 07, 2017, 07:33:19 AM
Actually Ponselle never sang Medea. When Callas sang it in Florence in 1953, I'm pretty sure it hadn't been performed since the La Scala premiere (also in Carlo Zanagarini's Italian translation of the Lachner version) in 1909.

Ponselle, however, was renowned for the role of Giulia in Spontini's  La Vestale, which Callas revived at La Scala (the first time she worked with Visconti) in 1954.
Thanks for correcting me.  I mixed La Vestale and Medea, both revived by Callas
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 07, 2017, 12:26:23 PM
Thanks for correcting me.  I mixed La Vestale and Medea, both revived by Callas

Well they are both operas by Italian composers, contemporaries, who were working in France at the turn of the nineteenth century. Easy to mix them up, I suppose, though, if I'm honest, I can't really imagine Ponselle as Medea. I'm not sure that Rolls Royce of a voice would ever have had the vitriolic edge it needs.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on November 08, 2017, 12:49:12 PM
I found this OOP live recording of Meyerbeer, Robert le Diable

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/510%2BmI7uZdL._SY400_.jpg)
This is a 1985 production of Paris opera, with a casting de reve.  Alain Vanzo as Robert has a perfect french diction, Samuel Ramey as the father/mephistopheles is at the summit of his art and June Anderson and Michèle Lagrange as Robert sister and wife.  The orchestra directed by the late Thomas Fulton has a gorgeous sound.

I already had the Royal opera house recent blue ray



which isnt bad by any means but I did not care for the carton pate staging nor the strong accent of most of the cast.  Also for some reason the orchestra did not sound as big as on this CD.  Still the strong presence of John Reylea (father-mephistopheles) makes this blu ray worth while.  Too bad he steals the show from everybody else.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 10, 2017, 01:42:59 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91jV8YjuEnL._SL1500_.jpg)

Not a lot Warner can do with the sound for this recording, as the source material is so compromised.

The edition used wouldn't take much scrutiny today, but Giulini has a keen understanding of the music. The supporting cast is not great, but Callas is superb; "a Gluck soprano of the highest order" according to Max Loppert in Opera on Record 2, who "answers almost every demand the role has to make".

Worth hearing if you can put up with the sound, which distorts quite badly in the choruses.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 10, 2017, 03:03:48 AM
Prologue and act 1 with my youngest sister, who is enjoying it very much.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51H7sCMNL0L.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 10, 2017, 09:05:07 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71WCQ3ly9TL._SX355_.jpg)

Taking a break from the Callas box for a first time listen, via Spotify, to Chausson's Wagner inspired Le roi Arthus, and rather enjoying it.

The libretto deals with the Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere love triangle, with definite echoes of Tristan und Isolde. However, though the score is definitely influenced by the music of Wagner, it still sounds very French to me.

The performance is pretty good too, though I might have preferred a more girlish voice for Guinevere. Zylis-Gara's creamy tone sounds a little too sophisticated and soignee for the role. It doesn't seem to lie too high, and I can imagine it would have suited De Los Angeles well, or even Von Stade. The men are fine, particularly Quilico.


Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on November 10, 2017, 10:30:51 AM

Taking a break from the Callas box for a first time listen, via Spotify, to Chausson's Wagner inspired Le roi Arthus, and rather enjoying it.

The libretto deals with the Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere love triangle, with definite echoes of Tristan und Isolde. However, though the score is definitely influenced by the music of Wagner, it still sounds very French to me.

The performance is pretty good too, though I might have preferred a more girlish voice for Guinevere. Zylis-Gara's creamy tone sounds a little too sophisticated and soignee for the role. It doesn't seem to lie too high, and I can imagine it would have suited De Los Angeles well, or even Von Stade. The men are fine, particularly Quilico.
I saw this opera live last year directed by Philippe Jordan, Armin son.  Many people listen to this opera as a 19th century work, i.e. singers dueling together with an orchestra accompagment to enhance the effects and emotions.  However, for Chausson, the singers and their voices were just instruments of the orchestra, and one has to listen to this work as if the singers are actually embedded into the orchestra.  If one listens to this opera in this way it makes so much more sense and one enjoys this opera all the more.  This way of writing operatic music does bears some resemblence with Wagner, and this is probably what makes people think of Tristan&Isolde.  My only reservation with Le roi Arthus is the overall darkness of Chausson libretto.

In his most famous work, Le poeme de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19 Chausson treats the voice exactly in the same fashion, i.e. as an instrument of the orchestra.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 11, 2017, 03:44:50 AM
Prologue and act 1 with my youngest sister, who is enjoying it very much.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51H7sCMNL0L.jpg)

Finished watching this. Wonderful ending, made me cry.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 12, 2017, 03:25:39 AM
I saw this opera live last year directed by Philippe Jordan, Armin son.  Many people listen to this opera as a 19th century work, i.e. singers dueling together with an orchestra accompagment to enhance the effects and emotions.  However, for Chausson, the singers and their voices were just instruments of the orchestra, and one has to listen to this work as if the singers are actually embedded into the orchestra.  If one listens to this opera in this way it makes so much more sense and one enjoys this opera all the more.  This way of writing operatic music does bears some resemblence with Wagner, and this is probably what makes people think of Tristan&Isolde.  My only reservation with Le roi Arthus is the overall darkness of Chausson libretto.

In his most famous work, Le poeme de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19 Chausson treats the voice exactly in the same fashion, i.e. as an instrument of the orchestra.

When I mentioned Tristan und Isolde, I was thinking more of the libretto. Though the opera is called Le roi Arthus, the libretto concentrates on the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, though Guinevere is a very different character from Isolde. Like Tristan, Lancelot betrays Arthur by sleeping with Guinevere and they in turn are betrayed by Mordred, just as Melot betrays Tristan und Isolde to Mark.

Nor do I think the music sounds in the least like Wagner, though you can hear the Wagnerian influences. It is still very French, and Chausson has his own voice.

As for making the singing voice another instrument of the orchestra, I'm not sure what you are driving at. The voices are never submerged into the orchestral texture and usually carry the main arc of the melody as they do in most operas, and as the voice does in Poème de l'amour et de la mer, which can be seen in some ways as a concertante work with the voice as the soloist.

In Le roi Arthus, though it would be hard to isolate passages into arias and duets (just as it is in Wagner) there are still plenty of sections which closely resemble conventional recitative, necessary for carrying forward the story.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Wendell_E on November 12, 2017, 04:17:05 AM
I'm assuming Naive's Vivaldi opera project is now dead in the water - but perhaps someone here knows more?

Apparently not. I just saw this looking through the mdt.com pre-release chart this morning:

https://www.mdt.co.uk/vivaldi-dorilla-in-tempe-i-barocchisti-diego-fasolis-naive-2cds.html
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 14, 2017, 12:48:40 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81VLZXOIM5L._SL1500_.jpg)

Warner have done what they could with pretty intransigent sound, and it does sound better than I've heard it before, but it's still not good.

This was an important production in Callas's career, being the first time she worked with Visconti, who was lured into directing opera by the prospect of working with Callas. Sets and costumes were stunning and Callas enjoyed a great success, but it was more of a succès d'estime. La Vestale, though popular in its day, resists any attempts to bring it back into the regular repertoire, possibly because it is often unfairly compared with Bellini's Norma.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on November 14, 2017, 06:28:01 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61DRoPCcq%2BL.jpg)

A friend of mine gave me a private copy of this ultra OOP recording.  He told me there was also an american recording of it.
Anyway, this is an excellent opera at the level of Sansom and Dalila, and much much better than Saint Saens Proserpine recently recorded by the Palazzetto Bru-Zane foundation.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 14, 2017, 06:29:28 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61DRoPCcq%2BL.jpg)

A friend of mine gave me a private copy of this ultra OOP recording.  He told me there was also an american recording of it.
Anyway, this is an excellent opera at the level of Sansom and Dalila, and much much better than Saint Saens Proserpine recently recorded by the Palazzetto Bru-Zane foundation.


I've wanted that for a while now, but only obscene prices! One day...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 17, 2017, 01:08:31 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/819T39hQCjL._SL1500_.jpg)

An oddity in Callas's repertoire is explained by the fact that she was actually supposed to be singing one of her speciality roles, that of Leonora in Il Trovatore. In the event, and only days before the performances, Del Monaco declared himself indisposed, but well enough to sing Chenier rather than Manrico! Who can understand the vicissitudes of tenors? Maybe he just didn't want to sing with Callas and hoped she would pull out, as she didn't know the role of Maddalena. But Callas always loved a challenge and decided to learn the role.

The opera belongs firmly to the tenor (and Del Monaco had a fabulous success)but the soprano role is a somewhat muted presence. In addition a large part of the audience, who had hoped for a Tebaldi substitution, were against her from the outset, and one wonders why she bothered. She had scored a great success on the opening night in Spontini's La Vestale and would go on to sing in two more Visconti productions that season, both of which topped what they had achieved in the Spontini opera. Indeed the La Traviata they did together remains one of the most famous productions in operatic history.

In the event, she sings with all her customary musical intelligence and skill, but the role does not allow her to make anything like the effect she would have done as Leonora in Il Trovatore.

The sound of this La Scala broadcast has never been good, and Warner haven't been able to do much to rectify that, though it does sound rather better than the awful EMI one previously available.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: vandermolen on November 18, 2017, 07:49:24 AM
Heard this live in London yesterday - a great experience:

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on November 20, 2017, 09:30:09 AM
I am listening Verdi's Don Carlos and Britten's Peter Grimes.

Haven't listened much to Britten but Don Carlo/s is one of my favorite Verdi operas of all time. I enjoyed it immensely when I first heard it in Finnish National Opera few years ago. And to think that often enough when I see opera live before first listening to recording of one, the performance feels disappointing. With Don Carlos, however, it wasn't that way at all.

My only regret is that the version I saw live was the heavily cut four act-version. That Fontainebleau act is so amazing I wished I could have seen it live. On the whole, I think I enjoy this opera still more in italian than in original (in this case) French and thus it is great that there exists 5-act italian version.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on November 20, 2017, 02:34:05 PM
Revisiting the Callas Parsifal:



Despite my favourable disposition to Callas and conductor Vittorio Gui, and the fond,  nostalgic memories of having listened to excerpts of this in my teens, I must say that this performance--taken as a whole--verges on the disastrous  >:(. The orchestra is decidedly third-rate (particularly poor in the brass section  ::)), and it all sounds under-rehearsed and routine. It would appear as if Italian radio used the occasion to showcase (then) rising stars, but they could just as well have chosen any other work for this. Christoff displays his powerful instrument, but is as unnuanced a Gurnemanz as I have ever encountered. Panerai as Amfortas fares better: very lyrical, but it is an approach that suits the role I'MO. Africo Baldelli (who never made it to stardom, and vanished completely AFAIK) is very poor in the title role from any point of view. The flower maidens are a motley crew  (led by Lina Pagliughi, a singer I've never warmed to).

And then we come to Callas, the set's only redeeming virtue. Her particular tone, which I have always found "beautiful in its ugliness" suits the role of Kundry perfectly, as this is one of the most psychologically complex and tormented characters in operatic history. Her brief appearances as the "wild" Kundry of Act I or of the exchanges with Klingsor in the first scene of Act II, aren't really that remarkable  (even if her initial screams here are chilling, and rivalled only--of the recordings I know--by those of Gwyneth Jones in Bayreuth 20 years later). But then, the seductress later on in Act II is quite another thing. I have always thought that this is the one occasion where the mature Wagner really requires singing that should approach something close to bel canto (even writing an almost imperceptible trill at the beginning of "Ich sah das Kind" or, here "Ho visto Il figlio sul materno sen"  ;)). And Callas, of course, is sans pareil (here and elsewhere) in combining "canonical" singing with deep expression and emotion. What is also stunning is her singing line  (a miracle, I'd say, as the Italian translation of the sung text is rather clumsy, the syllables not fitting the notes properly in many instances).

Vittorio Gui does what he can with his orchestra, and Act I is quite unsuccessful and (to me, at least ) boring. In Act II, things pick up, with a stirring introduction, and some nice orchestral details and very eloquent phrasing. Act III will have to wait until tomorrow. Of course, we'll only have two words by Callas there  ("Dienen, dienen...", or will it be "Servire, servire ..".?  ;D ) , but perhaps Gui can do something interesting with the Good Friday music.

EDIT: Nothing really remarkable in Act III. Boris Christoff improves as Gurnemanz here, and the lead is not any better than before. Even in the Good Friday Spell some lines are cut. Gui treats this segment with much care and love, and does some nice things with his poor orchestra.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 21, 2017, 01:27:32 AM
Revisiting the Callas Parsifal:



Despite my favourable disposition to Callas and conductor Vittorio Gui, and the fond,  nostalgic memories of having listened to excerpts of this in my teens, I must say that this performance--taken as a whole-'verges on the disastrous  >:(. The orchestra is decidedly third-rate (particularly poor in the brass section  ::)), and it all sounds under-rehearsed and routine. It would appear as if Italian radio used the occasion to showcase (then) rising stars, but they could just as well have chosen any other work for this. Christoff displays his wonderful instrument, but is as unnuanced a Gurnemanz as I have ever encountered. Panerai as Amfortas fares better: very lyrical, but it is an approach that suits the role I'MO. Africo Baldelli (who never made it to stardom, and vanished completely AFAIK) is very poor in the title role from any point of view. The flower maidens are a motley crew  (led by Lina Pagliughi, a singer I've never warmed to).

And then we come to Callas, the set's only redeeming virtue. Her particular tone, which I have always found "beautiful in its ugliness" suits the role of Kundry perfectly, as this is one of the most psychologically complex and tormented characters in operatic history. Her brief appearances as the "wild" Kundry of Act I or of the exchanges with Klingsor in the first scene of Act II, aren:t really remarkable  (but her initial screams here are chilling, and rivalled only--of the recordings I know--by those of Gwyneth Jones in Bayreuth 20 years later). But then, the seductress later on in Act II is quite another thing. I have always thought that this is the one occasion where the mature Wagner really requires singing that should approach something close to bel canto (even writing an almost imperceptible trill at the beginning of "Ich sah das Kind" or, here "Ho visto Il figlio sul materno sen"  ;)). And Callas, of course, is sans pareil (here and elsewhere) in combining "canonical" singing with deep expression and emotion. What is also stunning is her singing line  (a miracle, I'd say, as the Italian translation of the sung text is rather clumsy, the syllables not fitting the notes properly in many instances).

Vittorio Gui does what he can with his orchestra, and Act I is quite unsuccessful and (to me, at least ) boring. In Act II, things pick up, with a stirring introduction, and some nice orchestral details and very eloquent phrasing. Act III will have to wait until tomorrow. Of course, we'll only have two words by Callas there  ("Dienen, dienen...", or will it be "Servire, servire ..".?  ;D ) , but perhaps Gui can do something interesting with the Good Friday music.

I'm not a big Wagnerian and I've always found Parsifal a hard nut to crack (parts of it I find sublime, but in others I find my mind wandering) but I tend to agree with you about this recording; and surely this, of all operas, demands at least modern stereo sound to do it full justice.

That said, Callas's Kundry is, as you say, much more than just a curiosity, and makes it doubly regretful that there are no recordings of her Isolde or Brunnhilde. Rumours persist that the Tristan und Isolde she did in Genoa, with Max Lorenz as Tristan, was broadcast, but nobody has yet come up with a recording. It was conducted by Serafin and also would have been sung in Italian, despite the presence of Lorenz in the cast.

After all opera in the vernacular is not that unusual. Why, even in the 1970s. Helga Dernesch, Austrian by birth, learned the role of the Marschallin in English for her role debut with Scottish Opera (with Dame Janet Baker as Octavian). When the production was revived the following year, Scottish Opera reverted to the original German.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ritter on November 21, 2017, 03:04:14 AM
...makes it doubly regretful that there are no recordings of her Isolde or Brunnhilde. Rumours persist that the Tristan und Isolde she did in Genoa, with Max Lorenz as Tristan, was broadcast, but nobody has yet come up with a recording. It was conducted by Serafin and also would have been sung in Italian, despite the presence of Lorenz in the cast.

After all opera in the vernacular is not that unusual. Why, even in the 1970s. Helga Dernesch, Austrian by birth, learned the role of the Marschallin in English for her role debut with Scottish Opera (with Dame Janet Baker as Octavian). When the production was revived the following year, Scottish Opera reverted to the original German.
Oh yes, rumours of that Tristan abound, but I've read somewhere that Max Lorenz's widow Lotte denied its existence.

It's probable that this Tristan was bilingual, i.e. Lorenz singing his part in German, and the rest of the cast singing in Italian. This was not unusual at the time. There's actually a Tannhäuser from Naples in 1950 under Karl Böhm (which I've never heard, to be honest) with Hans Beier singing the title role in the original German, and Renata Tebaldi as Elisabeth and the rest of the cast singing in translation.

There's also a 1936 Parsifal from the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires under Fritz Busch, in which AFAIK the soloists sing in German, and the chorus (!) in Italian . This performance (or, actually, a similar one held some years later in the same theatre under the same conductor) is used by Manuel Mujica Láinez in his novel El gran teatro (the action of which takes place entirely during the performance). It has not been translated into English I believe.

Of course, Mujica Láinez's relation to opera is much stronger, as he wrote the libretto (based on his novel) for Alberto Ginastera's superb Bomarzo , which we had the rare opportunity to see fully staged here in Madrid earlier this year.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: GioCar on November 22, 2017, 10:06:23 PM
Woke up early this morning as usual, I have some extra time :) before going to work, so, in preparation of my Sciarrino matinée of next Sunday at La Scala, I'm listening to:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Kkhyd0mlL.jpg)


Just finished Act 1, with that hauntingly beautiful scene between Macbeth and Lady M.
Now Act 2, with those quotations from Don Giovanni and Un ballo in maschera that always give me goosebumps.

Sciarrino surely is the most interesting (i'd say greatest ;)) living opera composer, imho.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on November 23, 2017, 07:59:41 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/xi062TEqy3M

The orchestra has a Toscanini-like intensity that must have been incredible to witness live.
Wunderlich is singing for his life, died a little more than a year later.
The sob in his throat sometimes obliterates the pitch but it carries a visceral punch.
Stratas is amazing as well.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on November 23, 2017, 08:26:28 AM
Somehow I feel not enough attention is given to opera conductors who can add that extra sparkle, motivating the singers to higher heights. Only Patane's last name was given in the roster for the above Traviata, not saying if it were Franco, the father or the son Giuseppe. As it turned out, thanks to a bit of Googling, it was the latter. It is not surprising he had mentoring by the best:

Patane, who was born in Naples, Italy, (1932) began playing piano at the age of 6. He made his debut at 19, conducting a Naples performance of Verdi's "La Traviata."

In the next 10 years, he was understudy to such renowned Italian conductors as Victor De Sabata, Antonio Guarnieri, Tullio Serafin and Gabriele Santini.

In 1961, Patane became the first Italian to conduct Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin" in Linz, Austria, and in 1962 he became conductor of the German Opera in Berlin.

In 1970, he was named best Italian conductor, and in the following years he was hailed in appearances in San Francisco, Chicago and at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.

He knew 1,500 musical scores from memory, including 250 separate operas, according to Bavarian Radio Orchestra spokesman Rainer Tief.


http://articles.latimes.com/1989-05-31/news/mn-913_1_vienna-national-opera-munich-city-opera-italian-conductor
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on November 23, 2017, 01:04:56 PM
Taking another stab at this
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-aT11s11L.jpg)
Maybe one day I will like it better: but it contains all the cold dissonant strain that makes me not particularly like Schonberg.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 23, 2017, 09:38:01 PM
Woke up early this morning as usual, I have some extra time :) before going to work, so, in preparation of my Sciarrino matinée of next Sunday at La Scala, I'm listening to:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Kkhyd0mlL.jpg)


Just finished Act 1, with that hauntingly beautiful scene between Macbeth and Lady M.
Now Act 2, with those quotations from Don Giovanni and Un ballo in maschera that always give me goosebumps.

Sciarrino surely is the most interesting (i'd say greatest ;)) living opera composer, imho.

Oh absolutely one of the greatest (of all time? Possibly.....) And the ACT 2 quotations are almost chilling I would say!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: You did it on November 23, 2017, 09:49:02 PM
Taking another stab at this
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-aT11s11L.jpg)
Maybe one day I will like it better: but it contains all the cold dissonant strain that makes me not particularly like Schonberg.

It's an incredible opera, I don't listen to it as often as him instrumental works though.


(but then, Schoenberg isn't half as commonly listened to by me, as latter/other dissonant 20th century composers)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: zamyrabyrd on November 24, 2017, 12:49:20 AM
Taking another stab at this
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-aT11s11L.jpg)
Maybe one day I will like it better: but it contains all the cold dissonant strain that makes me not particularly like Schonberg.

Funny that Boulez has top billing with the name of the opera about 1/4 of the largest font.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on November 24, 2017, 04:09:56 PM
Funny that Boulez has top billing with the name of the opera about 1/4 of the largest font.

Well, this is from a Boulez-based series of reissues so it isn't much of a surprise........ ::)

The first pressing looked like this:

(https://img.discogs.com/kZf2xMER8XcYdxkvSW60vSctP0s=/fit-in/600x595/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3143147-1448276514-9383.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on November 24, 2017, 06:38:16 PM
Well, this is from a Boulez-based series of reissues so it isn't much of a surprise........ ::)

The first pressing looked like this:

(https://img.discogs.com/kZf2xMER8XcYdxkvSW60vSctP0s=/fit-in/600x595/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3143147-1448276514-9383.jpeg.jpg)

Actually, it was two CDs from Sony's B. Conducts S. budget box. Like the individual re-issue it appends Chamber Symphony 2 after the second act.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 25, 2017, 04:58:37 AM
https://www.youtube.com/v/xi062TEqy3M

The orchestra has a Toscanini-like intensity that must have been incredible to witness live.
Wunderlich is singing for his life, died a little more than a year later.
The sob in his throat sometimes obliterates the pitch but it carries a visceral punch.
Stratas is amazing as well.

A favourite of mine, and so good to have Wunderlich singing Italian opera in Italian for once. My personal top 5 Traviatas would be.

1. Callas/Valletti/Zanasi; Rescigno (Live Covent Garden 1958)
2. Callas/Kraus/Sereni;Ghione (Live Lisbon 1958)
3. Callas/Di Stefano/Bastianini (Live La Scala 1955)
4. Stratas/Wunderlich/Prey; Patane (Live Munich 1965)
5. Cotrubas/Domingo/Milnes; Kleiber (Studio DG)

Callas was not well and fighting flu at the time of the Covent Garden performance, but, though in frailer voice than she was in 1955, for instance, you'd hardly know, and the performance has a dramatic truth that takes us well beyond the realms of the opera house. You forget that this is the rather artificial medium of opera, and believe absolutely that what is happening on stage is real. For me it is the summation of what opera strives so hard to be (but so rarely is).

I review it here https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/ (https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/callass-covent-garden-traviata/), though I should point out that it has now been issued in much improved sound on Ars Vocalis, if you can find a copy. Ars Vocalis have a shop on ebay and, if you contact them directly, they will normally do a CD-R version for you.




Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Todd on November 27, 2017, 11:27:01 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51xPBv%2BUDML.jpg)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 30, 2017, 12:27:39 AM
(https://www.europadisc.co.uk/images/products-190/1502883093_9029584465.jpg)

Bellini's pastoral opera is usually dismissed as being dramatically flaccid, but Callas and Bernstein make a far stronger case for it than usual, immeasurably helped by the stylish Valletti as Elvino.

Romani stated that Amina was a difficult role to play, and that the singer needed "a cry for joy and also a cry for joy, an accent for reproach and another for entreaty." No doubt Bellini and Romani would have found their ideal interpreter here.

The recording is better than some in the Warner box, but still overloads at climaxes. For such a thrilling performance, it's worth it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 15, 2017, 04:44:41 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81ABZEPHN2L._SL1500_.jpg)

This is one of the most famous of all live Callas performances, and also enjoys excellent sound, much improved in this new Warner transfer, quite eclipsing the old EMI, which also filtered out most of the applause. This is one of those cases where the side show is almost as important as the performance itself and the Berlin audience give it a rapturous reception, enforcing Karajan to encore the famous sextet. Apparently Callas was furious at having to do twice the work just before her mad scene, and snubbed him by turning her back on him during the mad scene. When she met him again years later, she said to him, "Well I knew you were a magician, but I now know you're a witch. How did you manage to stay with me so brilliantly when I wouldn't even look at you?" "Simple," he said, "I just watched your ribcage, so could see the precise moment you would breathe."

There is another story attached to this performance. Callas never listened to her live performances, but someone had sent her the discs of this Lucia,whilst she was rehearsing for her final concert tour with Robert Sutherland. Tensions were rising at rehearsal one day, and Sutherland suggested that they take a break and listen to the recording. Having listened to the whole opera through to the end of the Mad Scene, Callas turned to Sutherland, and said, "Well, what did you think?"
Rather embarrassed, especially when comparing it to her present vocal state, he responded that it was wonderful singing.
She snapped back, "Wonderful? It's bloody miraculous!" Then added quietly, "And to think that after that performance I went back to my hotel room and cried, because I didn't think I'd sung well enough."

Essential listening!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Que on December 17, 2017, 07:10:17 AM
Making the first dent in this mouth watering Baroque Opera set:


It has all the promises of a spectacular start..... :)

Q

PS https://www.amazon.it/Opera-Baroque-Various-Artists/dp/B00DHCJLWG/
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 17, 2017, 10:09:56 AM
#morninglistening to #Schreker’s #Irrelohe w/

Wiener @singverein + @viennasymphony on @sony_classical:

Amazon: http://a-fwd.to/1xOq35H

Schreker is my cup of tea:
No one wrote quite so ambiguously -
In elusive harmony.
And if you listen you’ll agree.
… http://ift.tt/2AWTRQu
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DRMkuFiX0AEgaRs.jpg) (http://a-fwd.to/1xOq35H)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Turner on December 17, 2017, 10:14:49 AM
Did a quick comparison of Mozart´s Idomeneo with Schmidt-Isserstedt (in the complete Brilliant Mozart box) and with Ivan Fischer (DR CD), thinking that maybe-maybe Fischer could be skipped, but it turned that that it was much preferable. 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 17, 2017, 10:21:52 AM

Yes, Fischer's Idomeneo (and in fact much of his Mozart from that period with the Danish band) is absolutely terrific. I prefer only Jacobs... and not by much. (Gardiner's still a classic, too, of course.)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on December 19, 2017, 01:36:02 PM
Will be starting my own private opera festival on Friday ... was lucky to score a ticket for one of the almost sold out shows of the new production of "Madama" which got excellent reviews - the programme is this:

La Fille du régiment
Opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
after a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and
Jean-François Alfred Bayard
Concertante performance

Marie Sabine Devieilhe
Tonio René Barbera
Sulpice Pietro Spagnoli
La Marquise de Berkenfield Liliana Nikiteanu
La Duchesse de Crakentorp Birgit Steinegger
Hortensius Henri Bernard
Ein Offizier / Ein Notar Huw Montague Rendall
Ein Bauer Utku Kuzuluk

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Musical director Speranza Scappucci
Choir director Janko Kastelic

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/la-fille-du-regiment/season_11232/

--

La fanciulla del West
Opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
Libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini
after David Belasco’s eponymous stage play

Minnie Catherine Naglestad
Dick Johnson Brandon Jovanovich
Jack Rance Scott Hendricks
Nick Jamez McCorkle
Ashby Pavel Daniluk
Sonora Cheyne Davidson
Trin Jonathan Abernethy
Sid Valeriy Murga
Bello Tomasz Kumiega
Harry Thobela Ntshanyana
Joe Bogusław Bidziński
Happy Dmytro Kalmuchyn
Larkens Cody Quattlebaum
Billy Jackrabbit Donald Thomson
Wowkle Karina Demurova
Jack Wallace Yuriy Tsiple
José Castro Alexander Kiechle
Un Postiglione Omer Kobiljak

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Choir director Ernst Raffelsberger
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich
Musical director Marco Armiliato

Producer Barrie Kosky
Stage design Rufus Didwiszus
Costumes Klaus Bruns
Lighting designer Franck Evin
Dramaturgy Claus Spahn

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/la-fanciulla-del-west/season_11232/

--

Le Comte Ory
Opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles-Gaspard Delestre-Poirson

La comtesse Adèle Cecilia Bartoli
Isolier Rebeca Olvera
Ragonde Liliana Nikiteanu
Alice, une paysanne Adriana Gonzalez
Le Comte Ory Lawrence Brownlee
Raimbaud Oliver Widmer
Le Gouverneur Nahuel Di Pierro
Coryphées Soyoung Lee
Karina Demurova
Dmytro Kalmuchyn
Donald Thomson
Thobela Ntshanyana
Gérard William Lombardi
Mainfroy Luca Martin
Un paysan Henri Bernard

Orchestra La Scintilla
Chorzuzüger
Zusatzchor der Oper Zürich
Choir director Janko Kastelic
Musical director Diego Fasolis

Producer Moshe Leiser/Patrice Caurier
Stage design Christian Fenouillat
Costumes Agostino Cavalca
Lighting designer Christophe Forey/Martin Gebhardt
Dramaturgy Michael Küster

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/le-comte-ory/season_11232/

--

Madama Butterfly
Tragedia giapponese in two acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
after Pierre Loti, John Luther Long and David Belasco

Cio-Cio-San Svetlana Aksenova
Suzuki Judith Schmid
Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton Saimir Pirgu
Sharpless Brian Mulligan
Goro Martin Zysset
Fürst Yamadori / Der Standesbeamte Huw Montague Rendall
Onkel Bonze Ildo Song
Der kaiserliche Kommissar Stanislav Vorobyov
Kate Pinkerton Natalia Tanasii

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Choir director Ernst Raffelsberger
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich
Musical director Daniele Rustioni

Producer Ted Huffman
Stage design Michael Levine
Costumes Annemarie Woods
Lighting designer Franck Evin
Assistant choreographer Sonoko Kamimura-Ostern
Dramaturgy Fabio Dietsche

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/madama-butterfly/season_11232/

--

furthermore, in March I'll see the new Heinz Holliger opera Lunea, plus - beginning of February - a lecture concert with Christian Gerhaher (who will sing the main part in "Lunea") in which he will talk about his work and also sing Schumann's Op. 90 (with Gerold Huber of course):
https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/lunea/season_11232/
https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/gespraechskonzert-christian-gerhaher/season_11232/

--

will probably try and squeeze in some Puccini during x-mas vacation, but my listening (and concert) schedule is pretty full :)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on December 20, 2017, 05:35:30 PM
Not listening yet, but
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71EeyXdFzyL.jpg)

Ordered Monday morning from Barnes and Noble, with delivery originally promised for Friday, but found it on my doorstep when I got home from work this evening.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 21, 2017, 12:30:50 AM
Not listening yet, but
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71EeyXdFzyL.jpg)
Ordered Monday morning from Barnes and Noble, with delivery originally promised for Friday, but found it on my doorstep when I got home from work this evening.

Many hours of thrilling singing ahead of you.

I'm still working my way through the set, and reviewing all the operas on my blog www.tsaraslondon.wordpress.com (http://www.tsaraslondon.wordpress.com). For the most part, the Warner transfers are pretty good, though there are better transfers of some of the operas out there on labels like Divina Records and Ars Vocalis. The Anna Bolena seems to me to be the one real dud, and I don't know why Warner didn't try to find a better source than the one they used, which sounds the same as the really rather awful EMI one. Divina is in a different class, though more expensive. Myto is much better too.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on December 21, 2017, 07:26:04 PM
Many hours of thrilling singing ahead of you.

I'm still working my way through the set, and reviewing all the operas on my blog www.tsaraslondon.wordpress.com (http://www.tsaraslondon.wordpress.com). For the most part, the Warner transfers are pretty good, though there are better transfers of some of the operas out there on labels like Divina Records and Ars Vocalis. The Anna Bolena seems to me to be the one real dud, and I don't know why Warner didn't try to find a better source than the one they used, which sounds the same as the really rather awful EMI one. Divina is in a different class, though more expensive. Myto is much better too.

Yes, I've been following your posts here. It was only a matter of time before I got it. I may never watch the Blu-rays, since I don't have a Blu-ray player.  But the rest will be properly appreciated in due course.

The one surprise was that they did not include the live recitals, in parallel to the studio recitals which were included in the studio Remastered set. But I have the most recent mastering of the live recitals...and frankly given the audio quality of some of them, it's just as well.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on December 22, 2017, 02:28:12 PM
Will be starting my own private opera festival on Friday ... was lucky to score a ticket for one of the almost sold out shows of the new production of "Madama" which got excellent reviews - the programme is this:

La Fille du régiment
Opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
after a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and
Jean-François Alfred Bayard
Concertante performance

Marie Sabine Devieilhe
Tonio René Barbera
Sulpice Pietro Spagnoli
La Marquise de Berkenfield Liliana Nikiteanu
La Duchesse de Crakentorp Birgit Steinegger
Hortensius Henri Bernard
Ein Offizier / Ein Notar Huw Montague Rendall
Ein Bauer Utku Kuzuluk

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Musical director Speranza Scappucci
Choir director Janko Kastelic

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/la-fille-du-regiment/season_11232/

Holy holy, that was amazing!  ;D

Ms Devieilhe was terrific, all the way through, while Barbera had some show-stopping moments (and the first "da capo" I ever witnessed in the opera - it was not a staged production so that was an easy thing to do). The orchestra was outstanding, Scappucci did an excellent job ... and the production was pretty nice indeed, with the singers using the stage in a very good way, and I guess enjoying themselves, too.

Now I need a recording that is NOT the Sutherland one, a lively in-the-flesh one like Devieilhe can pull it off, not a distinguished and refined one as Sutherland will surely do (while Pavarotti I'm sure is the perfect Tonio - actually the seamless flow of Barbera's had me think of Pavarotti several times) ... what could I look for? Or is it indeed the Bonynge/Sutherland/Pavarotti one that's already here that I should explore?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on December 22, 2017, 05:57:02 PM
Holy holy, that was amazing!  ;D

Ms Devieilhe was terrific, all the way through, while Barbera had some show-stopping moments (and the first "da capo" I ever witnessed in the opera - it was not a staged production so that was an easy thing to do). The orchestra was outstanding, Scappucci did an excellent job ... and the production was pretty nice indeed, with the singers using the stage in a very good way, and I guess enjoying themselves, too.

Now I need a recording that is NOT the Sutherland one, a lively in-the-flesh one like Devieilhe can pull it off, not a distinguished and refined one as Sutherland will surely do (while Pavarotti I'm sure is the perfect Tonio - actually the seamless flow of Barbera's had me think of Pavarotti several times) ... what could I look for? Or is it indeed the Bonynge/Sutherland/Pavarotti one that's already here that I should explore?

The Amazon listings suggest there are no recent CD versions, just historical or slightly dog-eared versions featuring Pons, Sills and Gruberova, and another with Alfredo Kraus.  There are some DVDs, the main choice being between Dessay and Ciofi: Florez is the tenor in both. 

Given the choices, you may as well start with Joan and Luciano.  It was recorded in their early days, when he was relatively svelte and trim. I don't remember her being excessively mannered, but it's been some time since I last listened to it.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 23, 2017, 03:07:06 AM
Holy holy, that was amazing!  ;D

Ms Devieilhe was terrific, all the way through, while Barbera had some show-stopping moments (and the first "da capo" I ever witnessed in the opera - it was not a staged production so that was an easy thing to do). The orchestra was outstanding, Scappucci did an excellent job ... and the production was pretty nice indeed, with the singers using the stage in a very good way, and I guess enjoying themselves, too.

Now I need a recording that is NOT the Sutherland one, a lively in-the-flesh one like Devieilhe can pull it off, not a distinguished and refined one as Sutherland will surely do (while Pavarotti I'm sure is the perfect Tonio - actually the seamless flow of Barbera's had me think of Pavarotti several times) ... what could I look for? Or is it indeed the Bonynge/Sutherland/Pavarotti one that's already here that I should explore?

You will just need to wait until Devieilhe has recorded it, I suppose. Speaking of her in that opera: I recently talked to her about the character that is, frankly, quite icky (a young girl that's the mascot of a military unit? I mean... please!) but she said that the production had found a way around it... Forgot how exactly, though...

(The interview here's in German and the bit about La fille isn't in it, anyway... http://www.crescendo.de/sabine-devieilhe-alles-nur-keine-diva-1000023969/ (http://www.crescendo.de/sabine-devieilhe-alles-nur-keine-diva-1000023969/), but I might publish an English version at some point.)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: anothername on December 23, 2017, 04:15:21 AM
Holy holy, that was amazing!  ;D

Ms Devieilhe was terrific, all the way through, while Barbera had some show-stopping moments (and the first "da capo" I ever witnessed in the opera - it was not a staged production so that was an easy thing to do). The orchestra was outstanding, Scappucci did an excellent job ... and the production was pretty nice indeed, with the singers using the stage in a very good way, and I guess enjoying themselves, too.

Now I need a recording that is NOT the Sutherland one, a lively in-the-flesh one like Devieilhe can pull it off, not a distinguished and refined one as Sutherland will surely do (while Pavarotti I'm sure is the perfect Tonio - actually the seamless flow of Barbera's had me think of Pavarotti several times) ... what could I look for? Or is it indeed the Bonynge/Sutherland/Pavarotti one that's already here that I should explore?

Of course you must, if not you have Sills/ Burrows  or the dull Cluytens one.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 23, 2017, 04:27:54 AM
Holy holy, that was amazing!  ;D

Ms Devieilhe was terrific, all the way through, while Barbera had some show-stopping moments (and the first "da capo" I ever witnessed in the opera - it was not a staged production so that was an easy thing to do). The orchestra was outstanding, Scappucci did an excellent job ... and the production was pretty nice indeed, with the singers using the stage in a very good way, and I guess enjoying themselves, too.

Now I need a recording that is NOT the Sutherland one, a lively in-the-flesh one like Devieilhe can pull it off, not a distinguished and refined one as Sutherland will surely do (while Pavarotti I'm sure is the perfect Tonio - actually the seamless flow of Barbera's had me think of Pavarotti several times) ... what could I look for? Or is it indeed the Bonynge/Sutherland/Pavarotti one that's already here that I should explore?
As mentioned, the choices on CD are limited. But you can find samples on Amazon and youtube to see what you think.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 23, 2017, 05:11:42 AM
Holy holy, that was amazing!  ;D

Ms Devieilhe was terrific, all the way through, while Barbera had some show-stopping moments (and the first "da capo" I ever witnessed in the opera - it was not a staged production so that was an easy thing to do). The orchestra was outstanding, Scappucci did an excellent job ... and the production was pretty nice indeed, with the singers using the stage in a very good way, and I guess enjoying themselves, too.

Now I need a recording that is NOT the Sutherland one, a lively in-the-flesh one like Devieilhe can pull it off, not a distinguished and refined one as Sutherland will surely do (while Pavarotti I'm sure is the perfect Tonio - actually the seamless flow of Barbera's had me think of Pavarotti several times) ... what could I look for? Or is it indeed the Bonynge/Sutherland/Pavarotti one that's already here that I should explore?

I'm no Sutherland fan, but the Sutherland/Pavarotti/Bonynge Fille du Regiment does fine for me. Her diction isn't quite as muddy as it was to become (though she's hardly a paragon) and she is in sparkling form, less apt to indulge in those swooning portamenti that later became a hallmark. I also think this one of Pavarotti's best recordings (though his diction is so good, you can hear how bad his French is).

The DVD with Dessay and Florez is also well worth investigating.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on December 23, 2017, 06:11:12 AM
I would also look into the June Anderson-Alfredo Kraus recording.  They both have reasonably good french diction.  I have Robert le Diable with June Anderson where she is superb.  I would think this repertoire fits Alfredo Kraus quite well.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on December 23, 2017, 08:12:55 AM
Dessay could possibly be an option for me, I like her alright.

But I will then check out the Sutherland/Pavarotti recording soon - thanks everyone!

As for Kraus, that's all from the 1980's, right? How old was he then? Does that really still work? Granted I'm not looking for a DVD, but still ...

And thanks Jens for the link - the current issue of Zurich opera's mag also has a write-up on her based on an interview, she seems to be very much down to earth. That thing about the odd character of "la fille" did of course not present much of a problem in the Zurich shows which weren't staged, but yeah, obviously it's all part of the game, the shady past of her when she's going to be married off by her aunt/mother and all that. The audience being "touched" and thus everybody willing to let Tonio marry her, as the synopses say - ha, that's just pathetic of course, but I guess we're in high-brow-stiff-upper-lip culture and still not supposed to talk about sex ... another funny thing yesterday: on the rangs, there were many people standing during the final applause (including yours truly), but downstairs were average age seemed to be around 105, everybody remained glued to their seats (which cost, I think, about triple the average age, so better make use of it as long as you're allowed ...)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on December 30, 2017, 12:15:56 PM
Now near the start of Act III


I've heard bit, bobs, and bleeding chunks over the years, but I am pretty sure this is the first time I am hearing this as a complete opera.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 30, 2017, 12:35:48 PM
Now near the start of Act III


I've heard bit, bobs, and bleeding chunks over the years, but I am pretty sure this is the first time I am hearing this as a complete opera.

I love this opera.

I've listened to this one complete on Spotify and still deciding whether or not to buy it. It's garnered some rapturous reviews, but my favourite remains the pioneering Davis recording on Philips with Veasey and Vickers, supplemented by Janet Baker in the final scenes on EMI. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is also a wonderful Didon, but I don't much like anything else I've heard from the live Levine recording she is on.

This new one is very fine from an orchestral point of view but the singers are all a little light of voice. I heard Michael Spyres singing Berlioz's Faust at the Proms this year, and I found him a wonderfully musical and intelligent singer. I wonder though whether he might be a bit light of voice for Aeneas. There were times at the Proms that I thought his lyrical voice a little too small even for Faust. Lemieux is also a light voiced Cassandre, though she's a great improvement on Lindholm, who is on the first Davis recording.

DiDonato is probably the most successful of the soloists. Some find her vibrato distracting, though it doesn't bother me unduly, and she is thoroughly inside the role. However she doesn't evince the sort of innigkeit you find in Baker and Hunt Lieberson. That said, I don't know of anyone else around today who could sing it better.

I need to listen to it again, but it gets a cautious thumbs up from me; certainly the best since Davis I and II, with my preference, marginally still being for Davis I.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 30, 2017, 12:59:57 PM
Speaking of Les Troyens, I recently started to listen to Davis' recording of it in Spotify and now I like it a lot more. Shows what a simple change of recording and a re-listening can do.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: kishnevi on December 30, 2017, 01:00:31 PM
I love this opera.

I've listened to this one complete on Spotify and still deciding whether or not to buy it. It's garnered some rapturous reviews, but favourite remains the pioneering Davis recording on Philips with Veasey and Vickers, supplemented by Janet Baker in the final scenes on EMI. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is also a wonderful Didon, but I don't much like anything else I've heard from the live Levine recording she is on.

This new one is very fine from an orchestral point of view but the singers are all a little light of voice. I heard Michael Spyres singing Berlioz's Faust at the Proms this year, and I found him a wonderfully musical and intelligent singer. I wonder though whether he might be a bit light of voice for Aeneas. There were times at the Proms that I thought his lyrical voice a little too small even for Faust. Lemieux is also a light voiced Cassandre, though she's a great improvement on Lindholm, who is on the first Davis recording.

DiDonato is probably the most successful of the soloists. Some find her vibrato distracting, though it doesn't bother me unduly, and she is thoroughly inside the role. However she doesn't evince the sort of innigkeit you find in Baker and Hunt Lieberson. That said, I don't know of anyone else around today who could sing it better.

I need to listen to it again, but it gets a cautious thumbs up from me; certainly the best since Davis I and II, with my preference, marginally still being for Davis I.

So far, at least (meaning now in the middle of Act IV), no one seems to be too light voiced for me.  But I think Davis gave it a Wagnerian cast to the opera--for tenor heroique or however you translate heldentenor into French.  Whereas this recording seems to see it as a link between Mayerbeer and Massenet, with lyric voices.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on December 30, 2017, 04:24:55 PM
La fanciulla del West
Opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
Libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini
after David Belasco’s eponymous stage play

Musical director Marco Armiliato
Producer Barrie Kosky
Stage design Rufus Didwiszus
Costumes Klaus Bruns
Lighting designer Franck Evin
Choir director Ernst Raffelsberger
Dramaturgy Claus Spahn

Minnie Catherine Naglestad
Dick Johnson Brandon Jovanovich
Jack Rance Scott Hendricks
Nick Jamez McCorkle
Ashby Pavel Daniluk
Sonora Cheyne Davidson
Trin Jonathan Abernethy
Sid Valeriy Murga
Bello Tomasz Kumiega
Harry Thobela Ntshanyana
Joe Bogusław Bidziński
Happy Dmytro Kalmuchyn
Larkens Cody Quattlebaum
Billy Jackrabbit Donald Thomson
Wowkle Karina Demurova
Jack Wallace Yuriy Tsiple
José Castro Alexander Kiechle
Un Postiglione Omer Kobiljak

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich

--

Terrific night at Zurich opera ... before they started it was announced that Naglestad was ill and taking antibiotics ... not that I would have noticed anything being wrong, might be that in better condition she would have started a bit stronger, but she was putting on an intense and most convincing performance as Minnie. Glad I had a chance to catch this opera on stage, seems it is still not performed all that often, possibly also because you don't just need three strong main characters but also a good ensemble for all the various smaller male parts, that still are important enough that the whole show may fail if they're not sung well enough. Not a big deal at Zurich opera it seems, I heard no failures at all, and the orchestra was great again, too - sometimes loud enough to bring the rather small house to its limits (had the same with Verdi's "Don Carlo" last season), but all in all it was excellent indeed, including the production and set design - all kept simple and in many ways brutal and blunt, which fits the music much better than any kind of cowboy costumes. Puccini though would have been unhappy I guess (no eight horses in the third act).

And looking at my list, I realize I've not listened to any recording - only saw another, much glossier and Hollywood-like production on TV a few years ago ... I have the Matacic w/Nilsson in the EMI set of Puccini's operas, the Tebaldi one (cond. Capuana) and the Maazel one with Mara Zamperi singing Minnie, a singer whose name I've not yet noticed anywhere (my fault for sure) ... but that one is in the large Sony set that initially I didn't even want to buy (it got real cheap at some point and I snatched it up, the only thing I looked at yet is the glorious booklet of old set production photos, the box in in LP format, to the photos are large ... lovely stuff). From the guts I'd go with the Tebaldi one for starters, but I guess there are other valuable recordings I'm missing?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 30, 2017, 04:51:02 PM
So far, at least (meaning now in the middle of Act IV), no one seems to be too light voiced for me.  But I think Davis gave it a Wagnerian cast to the opera--for tenor heroique or however you translate heldentenor into French.  Whereas this recording seems to see it as a link between Mayerbeer and Massenet, with lyric voices.

The role of Aeneas seems to me to suggest a more heroic voice, and I recall a wonderful recording of Inutiles regrets by Georges Thill, who had a number of Wagner roles in his repertoire. Spyres sounds OK on the recording, but I wonder how well he could be heard in the flesh. As I say, even his Faust, musically and elegantly though it was sung, was a bit underpowered in places.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on December 30, 2017, 04:53:57 PM
Also, finally, watched the Don Carlo that Paris opera staged to open its season ... found Kaufmann excellent again (as in the Salzburg/Milan Stein production that was also televised a few year ago), but Yoncheva is totally no match for Harteros as Elisabeth ... Garanca as Eboli I found great though.

So, my little Don Carlo fetish goes next round ... give me the actors guidance of Stein with the very, very dark light and costumes and stage design of the (acting wise extremely static - never give me Bechtolf if I can chose, also never, ever combine him with Eschenbach, it don't get any worse, Salzburg/Perreira!) Zurich version (they failed in that they used the 4-act version that makes no sense), give me not too many of those Eastern singers with bad Italian, but Garanca as Eboli is just fine, next to Kaufmann and Harteros.

Then, give me the force of the Zurich orchestra with the precision and quiet glow of the Scala and the wonderful french sound of the Paris horns (makes no sense, huh? can't have it all ... I guess I'll go with La Scala then, but in a smaller house, so it can have the forceful, almost angst-inducing intensity of the Zurich production).

Of course it needs to be a 5-act version, absolutely (that, Stein and his forces got right, but the costumes and light and all were just a bit too traditional for my liking), Italian or French are both very much okay, maybe do both at the same time and offer double tickets for two nights (oh, singers can't be the same? well, get good singers then, intelligent ones please, not just ones that can get the vowels and consonants into the right sequence ... Stoyanova/Semenchuk - the Scala ladies I saw on stage in the Stein production - just won't do, sorry).

Also: the Paris orchestra lacked precision I found ... or rather there seemed to be almost constant minor displacements between the (wonderfully sounding) orchestra and the singers on stage. None of that in Salzburg or Milan (the Stein production was given in Salzburg with Harteros and Kaufmann and then repeated in Milan with Stoyanova and Meli - the later, btw, really good).

So there ... one of my favourite operas, but not one that is easy to actually perform.

Question: did Kaufmann get over his "knödeln"? Somehow either I must have taken to his singing more than I did a few years ago, or that part of it really improved a lot. No idea what the term would be in English and I guess it's unfair to apply it to Kaufmann, it's more about voice colour, and that can change, so it may indeed have changed in a way that it bothers me less by now (he is getting grey, too ... aren't we all? better grey than bald, I guess ;D )
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: André on December 30, 2017, 05:19:03 PM
From the WAYLT thread:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81E0OfyK95L._SX522_.jpg)

Orfeo ed Euridice is Gluck’s most famous opera, but I think it is neither as strong or as imaginative as Iphigénie en Tauride. This 1952 recording, in ok sound is a bit dated in the orchestral department, with thickish textures here and there. In the dramatic scenes though, Giulini whips up the excitement to great effect.

Soloists are quite extraordinary, arguably the best quartet on disc - and Iphigénie is not exactly neglected, with a dozen versions on offer right now. Neway’s Iphigénie is sung in the grand manner, with a beautifully projected dramatic soprano voice and impeccable diction. Her Ô malheureuse Iphigénie rivals Callas’ harrowing portrayal of the distraught priestess. Simoneau as Pylade and Mollet as Oreste are luxury casting indeed. Great singing and formidable dramatic involvement combine to make their duets as riveting as any tenor/baritone duet by Verdi.

While I wouldn’t recommend it as one’s only version of the work, it is an indispensable complement.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 31, 2017, 01:31:40 AM
La fanciulla del West
Opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
Libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini
after David Belasco’s eponymous stage play

Musical director Marco Armiliato
Producer Barrie Kosky
Stage design Rufus Didwiszus
Costumes Klaus Bruns
Lighting designer Franck Evin
Choir director Ernst Raffelsberger
Dramaturgy Claus Spahn

Minnie Catherine Naglestad
Dick Johnson Brandon Jovanovich
Jack Rance Scott Hendricks
Nick Jamez McCorkle
Ashby Pavel Daniluk
Sonora Cheyne Davidson
Trin Jonathan Abernethy
Sid Valeriy Murga
Bello Tomasz Kumiega
Harry Thobela Ntshanyana
Joe Bogusław Bidziński
Happy Dmytro Kalmuchyn
Larkens Cody Quattlebaum
Billy Jackrabbit Donald Thomson
Wowkle Karina Demurova
Jack Wallace Yuriy Tsiple
José Castro Alexander Kiechle
Un Postiglione Omer Kobiljak

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich

--

Terrific night at Zurich opera ... before they started it was announced that Naglestad was ill and taking antibiotics ... not that I would have noticed anything being wrong, might be that in better condition she would have started a bit stronger, but she was putting on an intense and most convincing performance as Minnie. Glad I had a chance to catch this opera on stage, seems it is still not performed all that often, possibly also because you don't just need three strong main characters but also a good ensemble for all the various smaller male parts, that still are important enough that the whole show may fail if they're not sung well enough. Not a big deal at Zurich opera it seems, I heard no failures at all, and the orchestra was great again, too - sometimes loud enough to bring the rather small house to its limits (had the same with Verdi's "Don Carlo" last season), but all in all it was excellent indeed, including the production and set design - all kept simple and in many ways brutal and blunt, which fits the music much better than any kind of cowboy costumes. Puccini though would have been unhappy I guess (no eight horses in the third act).

And looking at my list, I realize I've not listened to any recording - only saw another, much glossier and Hollywood-like production on TV a few years ago ... I have the Matacic w/Nilsson in the EMI set of Puccini's operas, the Tebaldi one (cond. Capuana) and the Maazel one with Mara Zamperi singing Minnie, a singer whose name I've not yet noticed anywhere (my fault for sure) ... but that one is in the large Sony set that initially I didn't even want to buy (it got real cheap at some point and I snatched it up, the only thing I looked at yet is the glorious booklet of old set production photos, the box in in LP format, to the photos are large ... lovely stuff). From the guts I'd go with the Tebaldi one for starters, but I guess there are other valuable recordings I'm missing?

Definitely. I think the best audio recording of La Fanciulla del West is the Mehta, with Carol Neblett, Domingo and Milnes, which was based on a superb Covent Garden production of the opera.
There is also a DVD of the production with a slightly different cast (Silvano Carroli instead of Milnes) and it is also well worth seeking out.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on December 31, 2017, 07:01:30 AM
Definitely. I think the best audio recording of La Fanciulla del West is the Mehta, with Carol Neblett, Domingo and Milnes, which was based on a superb Covent Garden production of the opera.
There is also a DVD of the production with a slightly different cast (Silvano Carroli instead of Milnes) and it is also well worth seeking out.

Thanks, thought so ... not a natural MaMeMu fan here (where did they leave Mi and Mo?), but I read about the Mehta one being good in a Geman guide to opera recordings that I am perusing regularly, Löbl/Werba, "Hermen Handlexikon: Opern auf Schallplatten", it's from 1983 and was, alas never updated/expanded, but it covers, of course, most of the early recordings, all of the glorious fifties recordings, and then also all of the seventies ... I guess in many respects it almost completely covers the grand era of opera on records as such, and it does include some shady releases, too ... which is another part that could have been expanded bigtime in more recent times, of course.

Next up: Rossini's "Le Comte Ory" with Lawrence Brownlee in the title part, Cecilia Bartoli as Adèle, and Diego Fasolis conducting the HIP ensemble of Zurich opera ("La Scintilla") - shall be great, I hope!

Don't know that one yet, beyond "Il Barbiere", the petite messe, some arias and ouvertures, Rossini is pretty new to me anyway. But then I just watched the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées "Barbiere" with Jérémie Rhorer and his Le Cercle de l’Harmonie this morning, and enjoyed the sh*t out of it. What a lovely and convincing Rosina they were able to find (Catherine Trottmann). And the production was great too, I found (Laurent Pelly). Also much closer, smaller-scale stuff than the "Don Carlo" from Opéra de Paris, no coordination issues, no sound issues, very intimate music making and singing I found. Would buy this in a whim if alpha dips its feet into Italian opera (well, they do Mozart with Rhorer already, so ...)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on January 02, 2018, 11:23:01 AM
Donizetti: Pia de' Tolomei



Opera Rara had a 50% off around Thanksgiving, and I got this little known Donizetti opera along a few others.   This is one of the best little known Donizetti operas with an excellent libretto by  Salvatore Cammarano who also wrote Lucia di Lamermoor.  The plot inspired by a chapter of Dante Divina Comedia resembles Othello's with 3 male role, Nello della Pietra, Pia's husband, barytone whose role is the equivalent of Othello, Ghino, Nello' cousin (Iago) is a tenor, Rodrigo Pia's brother is a contralto.  The added value to the plot is the Gibelin/ Guelfe rivality.  The duo between Ghino and Pia in act 2 is breathtaking.  Truly magnificent music for this violent story of treason, exactly what is expected of an italian opera.

There is another live recording CD&DVD of this opera with Patricia Ciofi edited by Dynamics, which has also good press. 
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on January 03, 2018, 01:04:57 AM
Le Comte Ory
Opera in two acts by Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)
Libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles-Gaspard Delestre-Poirson

La comtesse Adèle - Cecilia Bartoli
Isolier - Rebeca Olvera
Ragonde Liliana Nikiteanu
Alice, une paysanne - Adriana Gonzalez
Le Comte Ory - Lawrence Brownlee
Raimbaud - Jean-Sébastien Bou
Le Gouverneur - Nahuel Di Pierro
Coryphées - Soyoung Lee, Karina Demurova, Dmytro Kalmuchyn, Donald Thomson, Thobela Ntshanyana, Gérard William Lombardi
Mainfroy - Luca Martin
Un paysan - Henri Bernard

Orchestra La Scintilla
Chorzuzüger & Zusatzchor der Oper Zürich
Choir director Janko Kastelic
Musical director Diego Fasolis

Producer Moshe Leiser/Patrice Caurier
Stage design Christian Fenouillat
Costumes Agostino Cavalca
Lighting designer Christophe Forey/Martin Gebhardt
Dramaturgy Michael Küster

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/le-comte-ory/season_11232/


Another great night at the opera yesterday. It is winter, after all, so Jean-Sébastien Bou was announced as a last minute sub (for an ill Oliver Widmer), and he put on a great show for sure (almost fell off a table in the second act ... he arrived in Zurich on Jan 1st and had to familiarize himself with the production within a day, but had just sung the part of Raimbaud in Paris, it seems) ... either way, Lawrence Brownlee, Ceciliar Bartoli, Rebeca Olvera, the fabulous music by Rossini - the first act is quite nice, the second is just wonderful - and the fine performance by the HIP ensemble under Fasolis ...

The orchestra, I felt, needed a while to warm up though, but after some 15 or 20 minutes, they were in fine fettle. Also it was a study in contrast from the Puccini a few days ago - this time around, they mostly played at very low volume, very intimate, never overbearing the singers. Brownlee was wonderful as Comte, and Bartoli was terrific as Adèle - most wonderful actually when singing piano and sustaining the voice beautifully ... and of course the coloraturas are still terrific, even though the voice may not be as full as it used to any more. Once again, as in "La fanciulla", I found the ensemble very good, no one sticking out as having a bad night or being unable to really cope with his or her part. The choir was also excellent - no idea why it only included two regular members of the Zurich opera choir, all the others were add-ons or members of the extended line-up or something ...

Now looking forward to one more Puccini on Sunday ... and I need to buy further tickets now, too  :)


--

Are there any recommended recordings of "Le Comte Ory"? Seems the Zurich production (from 2011 initially) was the first one to use a restored/complete edition of the score (there's a very long text by the guy who put together the new edition of the score in the programme book, also giving lots of background on the origins/influences etc.), so I guess they should actually release a recording ... did they?

>> okay, the Zurich production is available on DVD, hmm ... how about the Met one with Florez/Damrau/DiDonato? That one looks more attractive to me on paper ... but those are all DVDs, in the audio-only department, how about the Gardiner one?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 03, 2018, 08:04:51 AM
Are there any recommended recordings of "Le Comte Ory"? Seems the Zurich production (from 2011 initially) was the first one to use a restored/complete edition of the score (there's a very long text by the guy who put together the new edition of the score in the programme book, also giving lots of background on the origins/influences etc.), so I guess they should actually release a recording ... did they?

>> okay, the Zurich production is available on DVD, hmm ... how about the Met one with Florez/Damrau/DiDonato? That one looks more attractive to me on paper ... but those are all DVDs, in the audio-only department, how about the Gardiner one?

There is a concert performance available on CD with Florez

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716tSX8CkuL._SL1400_.jpg)

It has 5 stars on Amazon, but I'm afraid I've never heard it.

The Gardiner also had great reviews when it was released.

However, I've always loved the old Gui recording

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51G9UoWiCvL.jpg)

The text wouldn't bear scrutiny today, but it exudes a joy that I sometimes find lacking in more modern performances.



Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on January 03, 2018, 12:10:09 PM
The comte Ory has been staged by Denis Podalydes (actor, film director,..) at the opera comique this last december.  It was a huge success.  Here is a YT presentation video

https://www.youtube.com/v/gJA9SR3Ll34

There is a french blog "Opera critique", which discusses the comte Ory, if you are interested

http://operacritiques.free.fr/css/index.php?2017/12/31/2987-le-comte-ory-le-mystere-scribe-persiste (http://operacritiques.free.fr/css/index.php?2017/12/31/2987-le-comte-ory-le-mystere-scribe-persiste)
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on January 03, 2018, 12:38:46 PM
Thanks Tsaraslondon, will look what can be found (the Gardiner, alas, seems to be OOP, but the Gui may be of interest ... the one with Flórez is too early, too, to use the new edition, but I'll see what can be done - that one at least would be readily available. The Met one still looks very attractive to me, what with that line-up! Will have to look into it, check for reviews etc.

Thanks also, Spineur - that's the production they "borrowed" Bou from - and as I said, he was excellent! Seems the Zurich production is a huge success, too - but then Bartoli singing at Zurich opera seems to be almost guarantee for success.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on January 08, 2018, 12:40:05 AM
Madama Butterfly
Tragedia giapponese in two acts
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
after Pierre Loti, John Luther Long and David Belasco

Cio-Cio-San Svetlana Aksenova
Suzuki Judith Schmid
Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton Saimir Pirgu
Sharpless Brian Mulligan
Goro Martin Zysset
Fürst Yamadori / Der Standesbeamte Huw Montague Rendall
Onkel Bonze Ildo Song
Der kaiserliche Kommissar Stanislav Vorobyov
Kate Pinkerton Natalia Tanasii

Philharmonia Zürich
Chor der Oper Zürich
Choir director Ernst Raffelsberger
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich
Musical director Daniele Rustioni

Producer Ted Huffman
Stage design Michael Levine
Costumes Annemarie Woods
Lighting designer Franck Evin
Assistant choreographer Sonoko Kamimura-Ostern
Dramaturgy Fabio Dietsche

https://opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/madama-butterfly/season_11232/

Wow! That was one hell of an amazing night at the opera! This new production is all as great as the reviews said, and then some! Aksenova, so I read, is a seasoned Cio-Cio-San, and she really owns the part, while Schmid was a wonderful Suzuki ... and Pirgiu a terrific Pinkerton. However, in this production, Sharpless - again excellently sung by Mulligan - is taking a more central role than usual and the perspective is shifted a bit, too ... the production makes us see it all from the point of view of Butterfly, so the exotic is mostly just how it is, and the American (the empty white stage, in the style of Japanese rooms, though of course much larger) becomes the foreign and strange part - intruding symbolically by various pieces of furniture that gets placed - and remains estranged - in the empty room as the first act evolves. The entire production has been choreographed and stresses the formulist aspect of opera as an art form quite strongly. The choir in act one moves in a "Japanese" way, very disciplined, thus creating - and dissoluting - geometrical shapes on the empty white stage. Quite fascinating indeed.

The long interlude in the second act has been incorporated fully, and is played with open curtain, while Cio-Cio-San is seen waiting - the stage at that point quite empty again, it's three years later after all and the American invasion has left a long time ago. Butterfly though welcomes Sharpless by stressing her American-ness ... though the costumes and behaviour, the movements, the flowers beings spread (looking gorgeous of course, on the white stage - both the flowers and the Japanese-styled costumes of Cio-Cio-San) speak another language. The orchestra under Rustioni did a fantastic job, too - they're really perfect for Verdi, Puccini and the like!

Review in German:
http://www.peterhagmann.com/?p=1467
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on January 08, 2018, 05:05:27 AM
Definitely. I think the best audio recording of La Fanciulla del West is the Mehta, with Carol Neblett, Domingo and Milnes, which was based on a superb Covent Garden production of the opera.
There is also a DVD of the production with a slightly different cast (Silvano Carroli instead of Milnes) and it is also well worth seeking out.

Getting back to this ... there's a remaster (on SACD, but I don't have a player, it's hybrid though and the regular CD layer may benefit from the remaster, too, of course) out on Pentatone - anyone familiar with this series?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51a9rxF5tzL.jpg)

I guess there's no libretto and stuff, but all DG editions seem to be OOP anyway, so not much of a choice ...
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 14, 2018, 04:07:30 AM
(http://d5e1b1dkmmebd.cloudfront.net/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/c/d/cd_callas_live_anna_bolena.jpg)

One of Callas's greatest nights in the theatre. Unfortunately Warner have botched the transfer, merely copying EMI's inferior source. Much, much better on Divina Records, so go for that one.

Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: betterthanfine on January 14, 2018, 04:26:08 PM
Wow! That was one hell of an amazing night at the opera! This new production is all as great as the reviews said, and then some! Aksenova, so I read, is a seasoned Cio-Cio-San, and she really owns the part, while Schmid was a wonderful Suzuki ... and Pirgiu a terrific Pinkerton. However, in this production, Sharpless - again excellently sung by Mulligan - is taking a more central role than usual and the perspective is shifted a bit, too ... the production makes us see it all from the point of view of Butterfly, so the exotic is mostly just how it is, and the American (the empty white stage, in the style of Japanese rooms, though of course much larger) becomes the foreign and strange part - intruding symbolically by various pieces of furniture that gets placed - and remains estranged - in the empty room as the first act evolves. The entire production has been choreographed and stresses the formulist aspect of opera as an art form quite strongly. The choir in act one moves in a "Japanese" way, very disciplined, thus creating - and dissoluting - geometrical shapes on the empty white stage. Quite fascinating indeed.

The long interlude in the second act has been incorporated fully, and is played with open curtain, while Cio-Cio-San is seen waiting - the stage at that point quite empty again, it's three years later after all and the American invasion has left a long time ago. Butterfly though welcomes Sharpless by stressing her American-ness ... though the costumes and behaviour, the movements, the flowers beings spread (looking gorgeous of course, on the white stage - both the flowers and the Japanese-styled costumes of Cio-Cio-San) speak another language. The orchestra under Rustioni did a fantastic job, too - they're really perfect for Verdi, Puccini and the like!

Review in German:
http://www.peterhagmann.com/?p=1467
I'm surprised Aksenova made such a good Butterfly. I've heard her twice in Amsterdam (in Khovanshchina and Pique Dame) and found her voice too light for the roles she was singing. It sounded pushed and had a beat to it. Butterfly would probably be even heavier. But I'm happy to hear she was satisfying, and that the production was so good!
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: king ubu on January 15, 2018, 07:43:13 AM
I'm surprised Aksenova made such a good Butterfly. I've heard her twice in Amsterdam (in Khovanshchina and Pique Dame) and found her voice too light for the roles she was singing. It sounded pushed and had a beat to it. Butterfly would probably be even heavier. But I'm happy to hear she was satisfying, and that the production was so good!

Interesting ... I'm not deeply enough into singing yet to be able to judge who may make a fine Mimì and who'd be a great Gilda (okay, for some roles I may have an opinion by now, but mostly related to recordings and singers I know) .. but Aksenova was indeed great, she WAS Cio-Cio-San, I felt. That may help to cover up for some singing inadequacies in the end, but I really didn't hear any. Also she seems to be a specialist for that part by now - at least I read something like that in her profile or in some review?
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 18, 2018, 03:44:20 AM
(https://www.europadisc.co.uk/images/products-190/1502891846_9029584454.jpg)

Still working through the live Warner box, we come to the second of Callas's Gluck roles.

The sound is much better than on the Alceste, but, aside from Callas's superb Ifigenia, the performance has little else to commend it. Sanzogno conducts in soupy, glutinous style and the rest of the cast, save for the young Cossotto's Diana have little to commend them. Still worth hearing, though, for Callas's commanding, infinitely moving Ifigenia.

This was the last time Callas worked with Visconti, though they didn't know this at the time, and the production was spectacular with Callas extravagantly costumed in silk and pearls.
Title: Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
Post by: Spineur on January 21, 2018, 10:57:44 AM
I got this Zelmira of Gioacchino Rossini during the opera rara fall sale.  It is a public recording from Edinburg festival in 2003.  Only the audience applause can be heard - no other spurious noise.  The story of this opera reminds me of the return of Martin Guerre and is a great backdrop for an opera.  Rossini wrote here some really lovely music for the voice and the orchestra.  The image I had of Rossini as a composer has been rising steadily over the past few years.   The music is extremely well crafted.