GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: marvinbrown on April 20, 2007, 11:50:59 AM

Title: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 20, 2007, 11:50:59 AM
  Yes there is Mozart and of course Rossini and Donezzeti but when I need to listen to a Great Italian Opera I always turn to Verdi. No collection is complete without Guisseppe Verdi.  I was surprised to see that no one in this forum had created a post about this great man so I decided that I would do it. 
 
  (http://ring.mithec.com/BOOKS/verdiportrait.gif)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

  Edited by Knight to remove the title hyphen; it prevented the 'search' finding the thread using the term 'Verdi'.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on April 20, 2007, 12:40:35 PM
I like all of Verdi's operas.  Two from his early period that I enjoy are Ernani and Attila.  The Met version of Ernani has Pavarotti (on DVD).  The female lead is also good but I can't recall her name right now.  Another DVD of that opera that I like has Domingo and Mirella Freni.

The second opera, again from the early period, is Attila.  My absolute favorite DVD is from La Scala with Muti conducting.  Sam Ramey is Attila and is his singing (bass) great!  Many people have recommended this performance.  The other singers are Cheryl Studer and Giorgio Zancanero.  Zancanero and Ramey sing a wonderful duet that, for me at least, makes chills and thrills run down my spine.  Another place in that opera occurs when the "pope" appears on stage and the chorus is singing and Cheryl Studer's voice floats high above all the others.  That send chills also.  If you decide to get this DVD, I'd love to hear your opinion.  (Negative is also ok.  I'll make it.  LOL!)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 20, 2007, 01:57:19 PM
Who wants a thread about Verdi when we already have 2 about Moniuszko! ;D ;)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 20, 2007, 02:19:26 PM
I like all of Verdi's operas.  Two from his early period that I enjoy are Ernani and Atilla.  The Met version of Ernani has Pavarotti (on DVD).  The female lead is also good but I can't recall her name right now.  Another DVD of that opera that I like has Domingo and Mirella Freni.

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

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

   marvin 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 20, 2007, 02:25:42 PM
Who wants a thread about Verdi when we already have 2 about Moniuszko! ;D ;)

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


   marvin

           







Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 20, 2007, 02:29:41 PM
I'm sure you understand I love Verdi. In fact, I was watching a Verdi opera DVD (Traviata with Gheorghiu, under Solti) only two days ago. And I'll be watching another one (Traviata with Netrebko, under Rizzi) in another couple of days.

But of course, let us not forget $:) that Moniuszko is the best opera composer that ever lived. ;) 0:)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: uffeviking on April 20, 2007, 05:18:50 PM

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

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

We did have a Verdi thread on the previous incarnation of GMG, and what a hot topic it was too! Instead of wasting time searching for the old one, I am very happy to see a new one. Whenever I want to watch a genuine Italian opera I go to Il Trovatore, preferably an older recording where the tenor is coerced by the audience into a repeat of his high C. I have the CD with Giuseppe Sinopoli conducting and Dennis O'Neill doing the singing. Yes, O'Neill, not an Italian!  ::)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Josquin des Prez on April 20, 2007, 07:11:43 PM
I only listened to Giovanna D'Arco and i really couldn't get into it. I hope it's not representative of his entire output.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 20, 2007, 10:04:26 PM
I only listened to Giovanna D'Arco and i really couldn't get into it. I hope it's not representative of his entire output.

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

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

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

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

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

As to a request for recommendations for a DVD of Aida, I would avoid many of the high profile singer sets, watching Pavarotti and Chiara is like looking at two over stuffed armchairs who holler across 40 feet of space as a suggestion that they have a relationship with one another. Try this one...
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EWN5DG89L._SS500_.jpg)

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

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

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: uffeviking on April 21, 2007, 12:26:43 AM
Absolutely, this is the one and only Aida I watch. The enthusiasm of the young singers, all of them from the title role to the last member of the chorus impress me with their talented acting and singing. When Scott Piper, Radames, accepts his well-earned enthusiastic applause, he is so overwhelmed by the audience's appreciation, he is biting his lower lip to control his emotion, verging on tears. You'll never see Pavarotti so intensely involved!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 21, 2007, 01:43:15 AM
Thrilled to read the totally non-opinionated, unbiased and non-partisan view on Verdi!  ::)

Thank you, Lis. I knew everyone agreed with me that Moniuszko was the greatest composer ever but I felt that sometimes even the obvious has to be clearly stated, for educational purposes if for none other. 0:)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: val on April 21, 2007, 03:15:44 AM
Good to remind this giant. Verdi is an extraordinary composer, to me the greatest opera composer after Mozart and Wagner.

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

But even in other operas there are always remarkable things:

The soprano aria of the first act and the "Miserere" from Il Trovatore, the duo Violeta/Germont in the 2nd act, and all the 3rd act of Traviata, and so many other pages even in Macbeth, Nabucco or Atila.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2007, 06:08:39 AM
I do like Traviata, but I find the plot a difficult one to swallow. It must have been that to be believeable Dumas and Verdi were living in quite different mores. What father would NOW claim his daughter's marriage prospects were ruined because her brother took up with a loose woman...indeed how many brothers these days would give a damn?

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

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on April 21, 2007, 08:33:30 AM
My favorite performance of La Traviata is a Franco Zeffirelli film with Placido Domingo, Theresa Stratas, and Cornell MacNeil.

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

Although I have seen several other performances of Carmen, none has ever compared to this one.  Be sure to get the DVD and not the VHS tape as the tape is not well made.  Video is not sharp and clear.  Hope no one minds a plug for Carmen.  It is such a good opera for new listeners and more experienced ones also.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on April 21, 2007, 08:46:00 AM
Good to remind this giant. Verdi is an extraordinary composer, to me the greatest opera composer after Mozart and Wagner.





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

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

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

Verdi is such a great master, and my admiration for him is profound.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: uffeviking on April 21, 2007, 08:52:04 AM
Has anybody been here when this subject made it's debut on the old GMG? Then you are probably waiting, as I am, to hear the howitzers go off, together with fireworks, started by our Puccini adherents!

Don't be shy, we Verdi lovers can take it - and defend ourselves!  ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on April 21, 2007, 08:54:24 AM
Has anybody been here when this subject made it's debut on the old GMG? Then you are probably waiting, as I am, to hear the howitzers go off, together with fireworks, started by our Puccini adherents!

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




I love Puccini! :)


But, Verdi is Verdi! Bravississima!!!!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 21, 2007, 09:11:24 AM
It is not typical in that there is little there that catches the memory. His mature works are packed full of melody and dramatic effect.

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

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

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

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

As to a request for recommendations for a DVD of Aida, I would avoid many of the high profile singer sets, watching Pavarotti and Chiara is like looking at two over stuffed armchairs who holler across 40 feet of space as a suggestion that they have a relationship with one another. Try this one...
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EWN5DG89L._SS500_.jpg)

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

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

Mike

  Thanks for the Aida dvd recommendation Mike, I was able to find this recording today at the record shops.   I definitely do NOT want to see Pavarotti as Radames, on a CD recording OK, but the singer should fit the part of the character (Radames should be valiant, muscular, lean a true war hero...Pavarotti hardly fits this bill)   
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on April 21, 2007, 09:12:53 AM
I loved Placido and company in the Levine dvd, maybe I'm the only one?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 21, 2007, 09:14:18 AM
I only listened to Giovanna D'Arco and i really couldn't get into it. I hope it's not representative of his entire output.
 

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

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 21, 2007, 09:18:24 AM
Has anybody been here when this subject made it's debut on the old GMG? Then you are probably waiting, as I am, to hear the howitzers go off, together with fireworks, started by our Puccini adherents!

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

  As a side note, Puccini idolized Verdi.  I read somewhere that Puccini traveled 30km by foot to see one of Verdi's operas (guess which one......AIDA of course)  many regard Puccini as the heir to Verdi throne though I think those shoes proved too big for him to fill completely.  I love Puccini by the way but Verdi remains the master.


   marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on April 21, 2007, 09:21:10 AM



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

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

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

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

   Haffner Mozart's operas have gained their rightful place in the opera repertoire.  However you have to bear in mind that Mozart's operas belong to the Classical era whereas Verdi is ROMANTIC.......no collection in complete without the operas of these two fine composers.

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on April 21, 2007, 09:33:50 AM
I love Verdi, and coincidentally at the moment, am listening to Ramón Vargas singing Verdi arias -- quite a selection!  The second track, from I due Foscari (which I don't know at all) is spectacular, "Qui Ti Rimani Alquanto/Dal Piu Remoto Esiglio/Odio Solo" and there are selections from Alzira, Attila, Ernani, Macbeth, I masnadieri, Jerusalem, Luisa Miller, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Les vêpres siciliennes and Falstaff -- all done beautifully with the Eduardo Müller and the Munich Radio Orchestra.

I have heard Vargas in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin several times in the last few weeks, and can't get enough of his voice.  :D  He was splendid in that opera, but now I'm totally hooked on this Verdi CD.

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2007, 09:52:31 AM
Marvin, Let me know how you get on with the Aida DVD, I am keen to know your reactions. I also like Puccini, but there is somehow something too calculating and manipulative about both some of his plots and music. But I don't generally get into the who's best arguments.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 21, 2007, 10:13:39 AM
That Puccini was really great! Second perhaps only to Moniuszko... 0:)

Thanks for all the recs, everyone. My Verdi collection has some major holes (not a single Aida, if you can believe it >:D), and these recs will be very helpful. (My Puccini collection has holes too but of a smaller caliber... 0:)).
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 21, 2007, 10:28:49 AM
That Puccini was really great! Second perhaps only to Moniuszko... 0:)

Thanks for all the recs, everyone. My Verdi collection has some major holes (not a single Aida, if you can believe it >:D), and these recs will be very helpful. (My Puccini collection has holes too but of a smaller caliber... 0:)).

I don't have Ernani, Lombardi, Steffelio, and Attila...But I don't think those are big holes.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 21, 2007, 10:47:42 AM
To me those don't look like holes - more like rational omissions... ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2007, 11:04:23 AM
Yes, not every chipping from the master's bench is worth picking up.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 21, 2007, 12:15:21 PM
That's a lovely phrase, Mike! I think I might add it to my signature...

BTW, I was wondering if Ernani isn't the one thing on that list that might be worth getting after all? Any opinions? (I'm sure they'd all be great fun to hear - almost as much as Moniuszko's operas  ;) - but right now I'm talking "essential Verdi")
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2007, 12:22:29 PM
Ernani has good music in it, but rather like Luisa Miller, can anyone whistle any of it? EDIT: [I have just recalled that there is in fact one very famous soprano aria that thrives detached from the opera Ernani]. They are both good possibly second rate operas, not top drawer Verdi, but both are worth a spin.
A good version of Ernani here....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Ernani-Giuseppe/dp/B000026MP2/ref=pd_bowtega_1/026-2800580-8030813?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177190407&sr=1-1

RCA Leontine Price, Domingo....they do it for all it is worh under the helm of Thomas Shippers. Available from Germany at almost nothing.

Oddly enough an excellent version of Luisa Miller is also conducted by Schippers, has Domingo and this time Caballe, again available for a pittance.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Luisa-Miller-Caballe/dp/B0000630AZ/ref=sr_1_1/026-2800580-8030813?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177190605&sr=1-1

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on April 21, 2007, 12:22:40 PM
I don't have Ernani, Lombardi, Steffelio, and Attila...But I don't think those are big holes.

There is a recording of I Lombardi with Pavarotti but I don't recall liking it very much.

Both the Met (Domingo and Sharon Sweet) and Covent Garden (Domingo? and Catherine Malfitano) have DVD's of Stiffelio.  I prefer the Covent Garden one.  Malfitano is a good actress and the drama is better in the CG one.  There is a beautiful solo in the overture in the Covent Garden performance that is lost in the Met version.  Just my opinion.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on April 21, 2007, 02:06:53 PM

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Ernani-Giuseppe/dp/B000026MP2/ref=pd_bowtega_1/026-2800580-8030813?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177190407&sr=1-1

Mike,

Thanks for this recommendation.  The picture looked so familiar.  Sure enough!  It was in my collection.  I'm listening to it now.  This is surely one of Verdi's oom-pa-pa operas as far as the orchestra goes.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on April 21, 2007, 02:39:53 PM
And thanks for the Ernani rec from me too. :D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on April 23, 2007, 05:28:28 AM
Stiffelio is about to be revived by Covent Garden.

Subjected to the usual abuse by the censors(the story of Verdi's life) he was forced to invent his own religion which he did quite successfully.

Don't tell some of our American friends...they'll want to join.

It ends in a blaze of glory as all is redeemed and forgiven.

Verdi took most of the music and fashioned something completely different in Aroldo.

I had both on LP at one time but Stiffelio is the work of genius for all the excellence of Aroldo!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on April 23, 2007, 05:33:59 AM
(the story of Verdi's life) he was forced to invent his own religion which he did quite successfully.

Don't tell some of our American friends...they'll want to join.





 :) ;)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: from the new world on April 23, 2007, 12:45:07 PM
Last weekend I got a score of Aida and followed through a Solti performance. It really is a brilliant work, and I was quite amazed at some of the wonderful parts, notably the second scene of Act 1. Only Verdi and Wagner (so far) seem to have produced many great operas that I liked, and I think it is a testament to their genius that I can enjoy their music so much, even though I cannot understand a word that is being said. It surprises me just how well the music portrays the action that I later read is meant to have occurred.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 24, 2007, 06:49:33 AM
Earlier in the thread I mentioned that there was one well known aria from Ernani, here it is with Leontine Price. Even earlyish Verdi had real gold in it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vll2ChIXPW8

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 26, 2007, 08:14:11 AM
I do like Traviata, but I find the plot a difficult one to swallow. It must have been that to be believeable Dumas and Verdi were living in quite different mores. What father would NOW claim his daughter's marriage prospects were ruined because her brother took up with a loose woman...indeed how many brothers these days would give a damn?

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

Mike

Mike,

If we are to criticise the plots of certain works of art because their moral stance does not apply today, then we would have to discount a large proportion of the works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy and many other great writers. It is the emotions they provoke which are universal. Incidentally La Traviata, based on Alexandre Dumas,fils's novel and play La Dame aux Camelias is actually based on a true story and Violetta on the real life courtesan Marie Duplessis, who died of tubeculosis at the age of 23. Even today, I wouldn't find it hard to believe that the family of an aristocrat might try to end a son's liason with a prostitute, because of it bringing shame on the family. And if that prostitute were HIV positive, well think of the repercusions then. We haven't moved that far socially since Verdi's time. I actually find the plot of La Traviata far more believable and realistic than many of Verdi's other operas, not that that prevents my enjoyment of them. The plot of Il Trovatore , for instance, is pretty ridiculous, but it matters not one jot, when character and emotion are portrayed so wonderfully. And of course, let us not forget that La Traviata failed at its first performance because the events represented were too modern, and audiences would not accept characters in modern dress. I have actually always found it the most moving of all Verdi's operas, though Otello runs it pretty close, though many of the events in that opera are pretty hard to take. However we accept them with a willing suspension of disbelief because of the beauty of the poetry in the play and the music in the opera and the truth of the emotions they provoke.

Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: JoshLilly on April 26, 2007, 08:51:02 AM
I wish I could learn more about Oberto. I've seen more than one Verdi fan say it's the only of his operas they don't care much for. In my case, it's the only one I do like. I got a cheap recording of it, and it's very passable as far as I'm concerned, but it has no libretto or background information. I have found the entire libretto on the Internet, but only in Italian (I can't read or speak Italian). I've found a few minor tidbits about it, such as that it was his first finished opera and that it got him a contract from La Scala, and I saw a 2-sentence summary of the plot once. I can enjoy the music without ever knowing more, but I am curious about it.

I sure do enjoy its overture!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 26, 2007, 10:22:55 AM
Translondon, You make perfect sense. Perhaps I just feel more manipulated than I want to be, it reminds me of Butterfly in the way it so blatently sets out to use your emotions. I know a lot of opera is designed to do that, I can't really explain it, but though I have several versions, I never listen all the way through.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 26, 2007, 11:12:52 AM
Translondon, You make perfect sense. Perhaps I just feel more manipulated than I want to be, it reminds me of Butterfly in the way it so blatently sets out to use your emotions. I know a lot of opera is designed to do that, I can't really explain it, but though I have several versions, I never listen all the way through.

Mike

We all have our blind spots I suppose. I would suggest that you listen to one of the Callas recordings, but the studio one isn't that good and the live ones have pretty poor sound quality. If the Royal Opera House were to issue on their own label the performance she did there in 1958, that would definitely be the one to go for. The cast (Cesare Valetti as Alfredo, Mario Zanasi as Germont, Marie Collier, no less, as Flora) is uniformly excellent and I believe it to represent the very best of all Callas's Violettas. The sound is what you would expect of a BBC radio broadcast of the day - not bad at all.
Otherwise, have you tried Kleiber's recording with Cotrubas a very affecting Violetta?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on April 26, 2007, 12:14:52 PM
I am being difficult today. I have had the Kleiber, but I cannot get along with Cotrubas. I got rid of everything I had with her in it. I cannot relate to the voice. I have the Studer/Pavarotti set, de los Angeles and the Mehta one with Cura. But as I say, I tend to be a bit allergic to it.

The very first Callas LP I ever owned had Traviata and Isolde tracks. Her Verdi was remarkable and she made the florid writing make sense.

I have no doubt that if the Covent Garden set surfaced, I would buy it.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 08:17:53 AM
Quote from: The Elgar Nut
Verdi oversimplifies the music for the listener. Every time I hear Verdi I feel my intelligence is insulted.

To be fair, though, it is a most spotty intelligence.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 08:19:13 AM
I am being difficult today. I have had the Kleiber

So now you must be inoculated, Mike.

(Just too tempting, sorry.)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 09:02:50 AM
Yes lets. I happen to have a very interesting Chandos box full with overtures, balletmusic, and such like goodies.
A very good orchestrator, have actually a few scores somewhere which are interesting to peruse, and if I find them I post them, sure thing.
The music is highly entertaining, infact I jump up and down on my seat, when brilliance passes by.
So for me Verdi is awesome, and inspiring.

Go, Harry, go!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 09:19:12 AM
Verdi was a music drama genius without parallel. His musical language is totally to the point. Spot on. No unnecessary pomp and circumstances. Colorful, but not overloaded. Stylish and always in good taste. Lyrical but not sentimental. Dramatic but not hysteric. The quintessential best of Italian music all in one package.

All these great Verdi posts, squandered on the Altar of Elgar . . . .
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 17, 2007, 09:35:05 AM
Verdi was one those incredible maestros whose development never stopped. Some artists, composers, writers and the like reached a certain level and that was it, even repeating themselves. Beethoven in his third period went into the outer reaches. Verdi also had a late period in which he was outdoing himself.  Simon Boccanegra, the revised Don Carlo, Othello and Falstaff are all from 1881 to 1894, the latter staged when he was 80! But his middle period had one hit after another, Rigoletto, Trovatore and Traviata from 1851-1853. He must have felt like Richard Rodgers did a century later in his popular successes.

It would be hard to imagine any of his arias being recycled in any other but the opera they were written for. The more one goes into his scores, the more of a unity of construction is apparent and sophisitcation of harmony. Traviata's overture has the motives used later on, but is so beautiful that one gets caught up in listening rather than analyzing. There is plenty of food for the latter, though Verdi's compositions are not usually chosen as examples to pick apart formally or harmonically.
Their unobtrusiveness makes him even greater.

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 09:39:38 AM
At the risk of a mere "Yeah, me, too" post . . . La traviata is marvelous.  And thanks to Larry, I've finally made the acquaintance of Falstaff, which it is high time I revisited . . . .
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 17, 2007, 09:40:47 AM
All these great Verdi posts, squandered on the Altar of Elgar . . . .

How did Elgar get into this?!?!?

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 09:43:49 AM
How did Elgar get into this?!?!?

On the contrary, the question is how these posts on Verdi got caught up over there
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 17, 2007, 09:45:45 AM
On the contrary, the question is how these posts on Verdi got caught up over there

Hi Karl,
Nice to see you on "Opera and Vocal". Just one question: OVER WHERE?????

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 17, 2007, 09:46:39 AM
Hi Karl,
Nice to see you on "Opera and Vocal". Just one question: OVER WHERE?????

71 dB's Elgar Adulation thread, ZB.

But don't go there!  Talk up Verdi here!  ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 17, 2007, 09:50:50 AM
71 dB's Elgar Adulation thread, ZB.

But don't go there!  Talk up Verdi here!  ;D

I won't. But I just came back from the "Beethoven Opera" poll... ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 17, 2007, 11:14:35 AM
Mozart is great for comedy, and Verdi is great for tragedy. I actually didn't like Othello much, but Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Il Trovatore are amazing.

The scene where Violetta dies is soo dramatic and sad... :'(
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on July 17, 2007, 11:35:24 AM
Mozart is great for comedy, and Verdi is great for tragedy. I actually didn't like Othello much, but Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Il Trovatore are amazing.

The scene where Violetta dies is soo dramatic and sad... :'(
 

  Mozart..Otello has fabulous music.  It is a dark opera yes but the music speaks for itself.  Some of my favorite moments are:
 
  1) Desdemona's song and prayer in Act 4
  2) Otello's anguish in Act 3 as he suspects Desdemona's infidelity "Dio! mi potevi scagliar tutti i mali"
  3) Iago's evil Credo "Credo in un Dio crudel" in Act 2
  4) The whole exchange between Iago and Otello in Act 2 as Iago tries to arouse suspicion of Desdemona's infidelity
 
  and so many more....

 marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 18, 2007, 08:50:15 AM
Quote from: Scriptavolant
You know, it is called popular melodramma. It leans on the tradition of Italian Opera back to Monteverdi. It makes use of a lot of operatic conventions among which you can count a major emphasis on the Word with respect to the Orchestra (opposite of Wagner) and a great deal of emotional contents. If you're looking for complexity and intellectual riddles don't knock at Verdi's door.

"Complexity" is something of an issue, especially when speaking to 71 dB;  but perhaps it is better to speak of subtlety, in Verdi's work.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 18, 2007, 08:53:32 AM
Well said, but I think one also has to say that for the exact same reasons you gave, Verdi's operas are actually very complex, but not in an "obvious" way, rather in the way they draw on these deep traditions and concentrate many elements into a to the point, essential musical language.

So, no superficial complexity, but enormous density and through that, also depth. Both depth of content and emotion and depth of style.

But obviously, in order to appreciate that, one has to be able to "see" and understand it. To the uninformed and unreceptive simpleton, that music must indeed appear simple. But it isn't. Not at all.

I am pretty sure I myself only "get" the upper layers of his works most of the time. There are many elements which I can see are there, but I don't quite understand them yet because I lack the cultural references. But I can see they are there. Therefore I don't feel the need to belittle what I don't understand. On the contrary, I am fascinated by that and look forward to exploring them further.

Music is a journey with many fascinating turns of the road. I pity people who can not or do not want to take that journey because they are happy to stay put where they are and dismiss everything that lies beyond their small horizon.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: BachQ on July 18, 2007, 08:54:44 AM
"Complexity" is something of an issue, especially when speaking to 71 dB;  but perhaps it is better to speak of subtlety, in Verdi's work.

Yes, as M points out, you can have subtle, layered complexities with Verdi ...........
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 18, 2007, 09:07:51 AM
Just think, at 19 he was rejected by the Milan Conservatory.

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: yashin on July 20, 2007, 12:30:22 AM
Knight-i am not suprised that you have become allergic to La Traviata after listening to the Cura/Mehta televised non-sense.  It was truly awful :-[

I happen to love the works of Verdi also.  Here are my favourite recordings for what its worth.

La Traviata - Watch the DVD from Aix en Provence with Mirelle Delunsche - first read the booklet about the staging.  Excellent.  What a performance.  Not note perfect, but such singing, passion and pathos.  Shames that tacky staging with Netrebko and Villazon where she looks healthier at the end than when she started!! I can tell you that if you watch the Delunsche DVD you will once again fall under its charm.  I have seen several of the other DVDs of this opera.  I quite like the Gruberova/Shicoff DVD and the Alagna/Fabriziani DVD.  Other more recent ones i would leave-the silly Ciofi/Sacca version is dreadful as is the Beczela/Mei DVD.

On CD i favour the Chandos English version with Valarie Masterson-it is truly excellent.  I also have a huge soft-spot for the De los Angeles version.  Again, it is beautiful.  The tenor-carlo del monte is very fine as Alfredo.

Il Trovatore - The first time i saw this was the Plowright/Bonisolli DVD from Verona.  It is pretty good and i like Bonisolli-at his best in this meaty role.  Carp all you like about his histrionics but we would give a lot to have someone like him today. Unfortunately there has been little improvement in the DVD Trovatore market.  There was one a year or so ago with Dvorsky as the Troubador, and one coming out soon with Carl Tanner.  Forget the Pavarotti version from the Met.

On CD i favour the rarer recording of Dario Volonte with Cedolins as leonora and Serville as De Luna.  Recorded live i think in South America.  Is a cracking version.  Cedolins sings like a Godess.  I also enjoy the Bjorling/Milanov and the Di Stafano/Callas versions.  The live recording with Price and Corelli is great too.

Nabucco  - I enjoy the DVDs from Vienna with Guleghina and Nucci-is terrific. The production, the singing is very good even if there are some boo's at the end -for Guleghina i think. The slightly older DVD from Verona with Dimitrova and Bruson is well worth seeking out.  I can hardly think of it being better-except with a similar cast at La Scala.  More recently came a DVD with Maestri and Andrea Gruber.  A good production in places but a bit odd. Gruber is a real acquired taste-i dislike her tone.

Otello.  I haven't seen all the DVDs on offer.  I did not take to the Atlantov/Te Kanawa version from Verona.  Nor did i like the earlier Domingo efforts.  I would like to see his later La Scala and Met versions.
I do have the more recent Cura DVD.  I like the production especially the first act.  There seems to be a claustaphobia with you can almost feel-Willy Decker does the production.  However, Cura seems to become more 'self-aware' as he goes on and all that wooping and scooping of notes gets worse and becomes a little distracting.  I still haven't made it all the way through without switching off!

On CD my favoured Otello is easy-Giacomini is the one for me.  Dark toned, brooding and at his vocal heights. Tremendous sound he makes.  Domingo sometimes sounds too schooled, too ordinary in comparison.

Aida - on DVD no contest so far -Martinucci and Chaira. What a sound he produced in Celesta Aida.  He is a fine stentorian looking actor too.  Chaira hits all the note and acts well.  On the old Met DVD i enjoyed Aprile Millo, but Domingo sound like he is having an Asthma attack!!!  It was not a good time for him.
I bought the more recent DVD many of you have mentioned with Scott Piper as Radames. I don't like it.  I don't like the production or the singing.  It just doesn't feel right for me.
Another recent one with Dessi and Armiliato i have not seen but i see some good reviews.  I did however see the NEW DVD with Nina Stemme and Licitra- its just come out-i saw it on TV and i did not enjoy the setting nor the singing.  Licitra looks like Pinkerton dressed in a modern uniform and the updating just did not seem to work.

Anyway, was nice thinking about these again and the Genius of Verdi
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on July 20, 2007, 08:27:16 AM
I am a massive admirer of Wagner, Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini...but even I haven't heard an opera to top La Traviata.

It can be catchy, dramatic, contrapuntally complex, funny, sexy...all completely memorable as well.

But that's just my opinion.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 20, 2007, 09:23:17 AM
No, no, Andy -- the catchiness, drama, contrapuntal complexity, humor, glamor and complete memorability of La traviata is never a matter of mere opinion!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 20, 2007, 10:06:13 AM
I am a massive admirer of Wagner, Handel, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini...but even I haven't heard an opera to top La Traviata.

It can be catchy, dramatic, contrapuntally complex, funny, sexy...all completely memorable as well.


Funny? Where?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 20, 2007, 10:38:24 AM
Oh, there are touches of wit in all the Piave libretti:

Quote
Violetta: La vita è nel tripudio. (Life is full of pleasure.)
Alfredo:(to Violetta) Quando non s'ami ancora. (Until one discovers love.)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on July 20, 2007, 11:46:07 AM
People here definitely will not be crazy about this next, but I see Verdi as the best opera composer in any language. And yes, I'm quite aware of and including Giulio Cesare, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflote, Fidelio, Elektra, Shostakovich's excellent Lady MacBeth, Madame Butterfly....all of them and all the other composers
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 20, 2007, 01:22:42 PM
People here definitely will not be crazy about this next, but I see Verdi as the best opera composer in any language.

Not sure I agree (though there certainly are days that I do agree) . . . the case can be made, and I don't find it crazy in the least.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on July 20, 2007, 01:28:29 PM
Not sure I agree (though there certainly are days that I do agree) . . . the case can be made, and I don't find it crazy in the least.



Welllll....I noticed that I recently cut off Levine's Aida in order to slap the Bohm Elektra on again...
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on July 20, 2007, 01:28:47 PM
Not sure I agree (though there certainly are days that I do agree) . . . the case can be made, and I don't find it crazy in the least.

Same here.  I don't think I'd agree (but I might) and the case could certainly be made.  Certainly his melding of music, characters and drama, in his best operas, is at the very top.

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Scriptavolant on July 20, 2007, 02:38:58 PM
The only Opera I was able to appreciate from the beginning to the end was Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.
Another one I frequently listen to is Purcell's "Didone ed Enea".
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2007, 08:09:00 AM
The only Opera I was able to appreciate from the beginning to the end was Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore.
Another one I frequently listen to is Purcell's "Didone ed Enea".

  You should try Verdi's Une Ballo in Maschera and Otello.....never a dull moment!!!!


  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 22, 2007, 07:27:29 PM
Rigoletto!

I find Verdi hard to listen to at first but as I get to know the music it becomes exponentially rewarding. I started listening to Rigoletto a long time and bit by bit it caught on and now I love it :) Specially the duet with his daughter in act 1. I have lots of trouble with the language though, its soo weird sometimes.


Quote
.never a dull moment!!!!

Every opera has dull moments, except Le Nozze di Figaro
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: bricon on July 22, 2007, 07:55:58 PM
Rigoletto!

 I have lots of trouble with the language [in Rigoletto] though, its soo weird sometimes.


Every opera has dull moments, except Le Nozze di Figaro

Why is the language "weird" in Rigoletto but not (apparently) in Le nozze di Figaro?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 22, 2007, 08:57:10 PM
Why is the language "weird" in Rigoletto but not (apparently) in Le nozze di Figaro?

I guess its just how its written Figaro its alot simpler and more like conversation.

Quote
Ah, più di Ceprano importuno non v'è...
La cara sua sposa è un angiol per me!
Quote
Ah sì, a turbare, ah sì, a turbare sarò vostr'orgie...
verrò a gridare fino a che vegga restarsi inulto
di mia famiglia l'atroce insulto;
e se al carnefice pur mi darete.
spettro terribile mi rivedrete,
portante in mano il teschio mio,
vendetta a chiedere,
vendetta a chiedere al mondo, al mondo, a Dio.

Quote
Voi che sapete
che cosa è amor,
donne, vedete
s'io l'ho nel cor.
Quello ch'io provo
vi ridirò,
è per me nuovo,
capir nol so.
Sento un affetto
pien di desir,
ch'ora è diletto,
ch'ora è martir.
Gelo e poi sento
l'alma avvampar,
e in un momento
torno a gelar.
Ricerco un bene
fuori di me,
non so chi'l tiene,
non so cos'è.
Sospiro e gemo
senza voler,
palpito e tremo
senza saper.
Non trovo pace
notte né dì,
ma pur mi piace
languir così.
 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 22, 2007, 10:13:27 PM
Joan Dornemann in a vocal masterclass gave an interesting slant to the famous aria of Cherbino by way of hints, rolling her eyes to the ceiling and innuendos:
"You who know love, ladies, look to see if I have it in my ____"
Voi che sapete che cosa è amor, donne, vedete s'io l'ho nel cor.

I have a feeling full of desire, sometimes pleasurable sometimes killing.
I freeze up and then burn and then turn to ice
Sento un affetto pien di desir, ch'ora è diletto, ch'ora è martir.
Gelo e poi sento l'alma avvampar, e in un momento torno a gelar.


But actually the alleged double entendres were even more intriguing in the "Ogni donna mi fa palpitar" where if he can't speak to the fountains and winds, well just speaks to himself,
parlo d'amor con me at the end of the aria.

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 22, 2007, 10:28:22 PM
Come on, double entendres? Da Ponte isn't Shakespeare you know. If there are double entendres I certainly don't see them.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on July 23, 2007, 12:04:14 AM
Rigoletto!

Every opera has dull moments, except Le Nozze di Figaro


   I am not sure I agree with you that Otello has dull moments and Le Nozze di Figaro does not.  Every once in a while my patience runs out with Mozart's operas and I find myself having to "fast forward" through the recitivos to get to the arias and ensembles- this hardly ever happens with the operas of Verdi.

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 25, 2007, 04:58:35 AM
Ohh I never skip the recitatives in Figaro! The reason you rarely do it with Verdi is he doesn't give you the chance. Just try clapping after an aria in Idomeneo.


Which green opera should I listen to next? I have Aida, Nabucco, or Il Trovatore.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on July 25, 2007, 06:47:58 AM
Ohh I never skip the recitatives in Figaro! The reason you rarely do it with Verdi is he doesn't give you the chance. Just try clapping after an aria in Idomeneo.


Which green opera should I listen to next? I have Aida, Nabucco, or Il Trovatore.

  AIDA of course, without question.  This is Romantic Italian opera on a "GRAND" scale...lots of choruses, beautiful music and a heartaching plot- I recommend you see this live or on DVD.  Il Trovatore comes next in line, lots of memorable music here, but the plot is a bit convoluted.  I generally do not like Nabucco nor Macbeth for that matter, granted you have the famous Hebrew Chorus in Nabucco but this is an opera from Verdi's earlier years (the first commercial success from what I understand) but (in my opinion) Verdi has come a very long way from Nabucco to Aida!!

  marvin

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on July 25, 2007, 11:49:00 AM
Marvin, I agree that against his most mature works Nabucco seems simplistic. However there are great things there. The characterisation of both Nabucco and Abigallie has depth and variety. A deal of the music seems stock with waltzes backing what the soloists are doing. But then there are some great arias and ensembles. The Soprano gets some of the most fearsomely demanding music possible to sing and it is absolutely in character. I suspect it is not often performed because that part is such a killer.

I just got hold of a disc of excerpts with Anita Cerqetti singing Abigallie. It is a live recording and the stress of the part is all too evident, even for someone with the voice and technique of Cerqetti.

It is well worth investigation and I suggest the Gardelli set on Decca with Gobbi and the astonishing Suilotis, she burned out quickly and her committed singing here tells you exactly why.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: karlhenning on July 25, 2007, 11:51:30 AM
Saw Nabucco in Ulm.  I liked it, thought it made for fine theatre.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 25, 2007, 02:57:40 PM
Marvin, I agree that against his most mature works Nabucco seems simplistic. However there are great things there. The characterisation of both Nabucco and Abigallie has depth and variety. A deal of the music seems stock with waltzes backing what the soloists are doing. But then there are some great arias and ensembles. The Soprano gets some of the most fearsomely demanding music possible to sing and it is absolutely in character. I suspect it is not often performed because that part is such a killer.

I just got hold of a disc of excerpts with Anita Cerqetti singing Abigallie. It is a live recording and the stress of the part is all too evident, even for someone with the voice and technique of Cerqetti.

It is well worth investigation and I suggest the Gardelli set on Decca with Gobbi and the astonishing Suilotis, she burned out quickly and her committed singing here tells you exactly why.

Mike


There is a live performance of Nabucco in existence with Callas singing the role of Abigaille back in 1949 (at the age of 26). The sound is appalling, but, listening through it, she is even more thrilling than Souliotis, and even compounds the roles difficulties by adding an Eb in alt at the end of the big duet with Nabucco. However she never sang the role again, calling it a voice wrecker, whereas it became something of a calling card for Souliotis. In fact, when Caballe told Callas she was thinking of doing it , Callas advised her not to touch it. According to Caballe, Callas told her it would be like putting a precious Baccarat glass in a box and shaking it. It would shatter. Caballe heeded the advice and never sang the role on stage.

It's a shame the sound is so bad on this live recording. It is conducted by Vittorio Gui, no less, and has a very impressive Gino Bechi in the title role.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on July 26, 2007, 01:04:05 AM
Marvin, I agree that against his most mature works Nabucco seems simplistic. However there are great things there.

Mike


  Agreed Mike.  Just to clarify my position further and hoping that Mozart did not misunderstand me: Nabucco should be seen.  But since Mozart is unfamiliar with these 3 operas (Aida, Il Trovatore and Nabucco)  and looking for guidance I would propose the following listening sequence: Aida then Il Trovatore then Nabucco.  My only fear was that Mozart might not like Nabucco and would stop there-  it is difficult not to like Aida (of dear there I go again putting my foot in my mouth  :-X)- anyway I would hope that Aida would encourage the listener to explore Verdi's other works, earlier works.

  marvin 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 26, 2007, 01:47:21 AM
Okay, Im going with Aida. I have the dvd with Pavarotti and the Solti recording. This was going to be my 2nd Verdi opera but Rigoletto got in the way. I'll let you know in a few months how I like it  :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on July 26, 2007, 01:53:59 AM
Quote
I recommend you see this live or on DVD.

What a coincidence! I was just checking the san diego opera schedule and its playing in April. What are the chances?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: grandma on July 26, 2007, 07:10:37 AM
Another good opera is Atilla from Verdi's early years.  The DVD from La Scala with Sam Ramey has been praised again and again on several opera BB's.  It's one of my favorites.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on August 13, 2007, 08:50:17 PM
Well, I have been slowly making progress on Aida, I can now listen for about 15 mins before I get bored, right after the Guerra Guerra Guerra! Is there any parts way farther along that I would particularly like? My progression of liking a Verdi opera has started the same, I like the beggining, but then get bored. And then I jump to act 2 and find something cool and that usually drives me to listen to the whole opera. So what does Aida have in act 2?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on August 14, 2007, 03:37:07 AM
Well, I have been slowly making progress on Aida, I can now listen for about 15 mins before I get bored, right after the Guerra Guerra Guerra! Is there any parts way farther along that I would particularly like? My progression of liking a Verdi opera has started the same, I like the beggining, but then get bored. And then I jump to act 2 and find something cool and that usually drives me to listen to the whole opera. So what does Aida have in act 2?

Nothing that could possibly detain you further.

Give it up, file it away and go back to it when you are older.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 14, 2007, 06:00:19 AM

Give it up, file it away and go back to it when you are older.

You took the words out of my mouth. That said, I already loved Verdi, by the time I was 16.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on August 14, 2007, 01:32:59 PM
Nothing that could possibly detain you further.

Give it up, file it away and go back to it when you are older.

How much older?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on August 15, 2007, 04:46:13 AM
How much older?

Grief, that's a question and a half!

I hated Verdi at 15 but aimed to have all his operas on disc before I was 40 (I did not succeed, by the way).

They said 'Alzira' was rubbish. It's not but, after the overture, 'La Battaglia di Legnano' does nothing for me.

'Don Carlo' or 'Don Carlos'? Sod it, both!

When somebody states that Verdi tries to outdo Meyerbeer then that is the opera to listen to because, as sure as eggs are eggs, he does!

Have you heard 'La Forza del Destino'? Tunes just tumble forth from this opera. It is phenomenal!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on August 15, 2007, 11:37:23 AM
Quote
Have you heard 'La Forza del Destino'? Tunes just tumble forth from this opera. It is phenomenal

That was one of the first operas I ever heard, but the story wasn't exciting enough to me if I remember. It was right after the marriage of figaro.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: yashin on August 16, 2007, 03:45:52 AM
I just managed to get the Luisa Miller DVD from the Met broadcast with Scotto and Domingo.  Its the only recording of this opera that i own.  Despite being from 1979 broadcast i quite enjoyed the opera.  Its not amongst my favourite Verdi-that would be La Traviata  and Il Trovatore.  Certainly worth watching.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on August 16, 2007, 05:44:05 AM
I just managed to get the Luisa Miller DVD from the Met broadcast with Scotto and Domingo.  Its the only recording of this opera that i own.  Despite being from 1979 broadcast i quite enjoyed the opera.  Its not amongst my favourite Verdi-that would be La Traviata  and Il Trovatore.  Certainly worth watching.

What?! Unique in that it contains Verdi's only genuinely virtuous character in Miller.

Try the Pavorotti recording. His voice is absolutely right for the great tenor arias.

Has one of Verdi's greatest overtures and opera is not opera unless the stage is littered with bodies at the end.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 16, 2007, 09:19:18 AM
What?! Unique in that it contains Verdi's only genuinely virtuous character in Miller.


I'd say Violetta was genuinely virtuous, and blow 19th century morals. I'm sure Verdi thought so too, in the same way as Thomas hardy was making a point, when he subtitled Tess of the d'Urbevilles, A Pure Woman. And how about Desdemona? Is she not virtuous?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on August 17, 2007, 04:51:02 AM
Aida isn't my favorite Verdi. But the second half is incredible, particuarly the part where Aida and her father go toe to toe. The ending is quite beautiful as well.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on October 30, 2007, 12:56:39 PM
Tomorrow night (Halloween!) I'm seeing Verdi's Macbeth at the Met.  The reviews were excellent, so I'm very much looking forward to it.  I've only heard the score once, in Philadelphia about five years ago, but I recall liking it very much.

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on November 01, 2007, 06:33:30 AM
Wow, Macbeth was a ton of fun, mostly for the electricity generated by James Levine and the orchestra, and the terrific chorus, noticeably improved under the new chorus master, Donald Palumbo.  I'm liking the score more and more, and Levine brought out many small details--i.e., often inner lines in the orchestration--that might go unnoticed in other hands. 

The singing was mostly good, rather than great, and I'd never heard anyone in the cast live, except for John Relyea as Banquo, who was quite good.  Željko Lučić as Macbeth did a beautiful job, with a powerful, yet warm voice coupled with a keen feel for the tragedy of it all.  As Lady Macbeth, Maria Guleghina was piercing--if not always the most accurate--but she has some kind of stage presence that makes you want to watch her, even when she's flying off key or sounding strained.  The best of the night was Dmitri Pittas as Macduff, whose handful of arias pretty much stopped the show. 

The production, by Adrian Noble, is darkly beautiful, with tall thick columns that rearrange themselves in formations around the stage, and groves of leafless trees in the background.  In Act III, when Macbeth drinks the witches' potion and sees visions, there are some very cool special effects, such as shiny ring-shaped ornaments that slowly descend through a green cloud of laser light in the ceiling, and a huge sphere that comes up from the floor, with faces projected inside, sort of like the crystal ball used by the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

But the choral and orchestral contributions were the most memorable and powerful.  I am amazed that James Levine can conduct Babbitt and Carter on Sunday, and Verdi on Wednesday.  Expertise in widely varying repertoire is to me, one of the hallmarks of a great conductor.

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on November 01, 2007, 01:02:10 PM
Wow, Macbeth was a ton of fun, mostly for the electricity generated by James Levine and the orchestra, and the terrific chorus, noticeably improved under the new chorus master, Donald Palumbo.  I'm liking the score more and more, and Levine brought out many small details--i.e., often inner lines in the orchestration--that might go unnoticed in other hands. 

The singing was mostly good, rather than great, and I'd never heard anyone in the cast live, except for John Relyea as Banquo, who was quite good.  Željko Lučić as Macbeth did a beautiful job, with a powerful, yet warm voice coupled with a keen feel for the tragedy of it all.  As Lady Macbeth, Maria Guleghina was piercing--if not always the most accurate--but she has some kind of stage presence that makes you want to watch her, even when she's flying off key or sounding strained.  The best of the night was Dmitri Pittas as Macduff, whose handful of arias pretty much stopped the show. 

The production, by Adrian Noble, is darkly beautiful, with tall thick columns that rearrange themselves in formations around the stage, and groves of leafless trees in the background.  In Act III, when Macbeth drinks the witches' potion and sees visions, there are some very cool special effects, such as shiny ring-shaped ornaments that slowly descend through a green cloud of laser light in the ceiling, and a huge sphere that comes up from the floor, with faces projected inside, sort of like the crystal ball used by the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

But the choral and orchestral contributions were the most memorable and powerful.  I am amazed that James Levine can conduct Babbitt and Carter on Sunday, and Verdi on Wednesday.  Expertise in widely varying repertoire is to me, one of the hallmarks of a great conductor.

--Bruce


    Hi Bruce, I am glad to hear that you have enjoyed Macbeth and I am pleased to hear that Levine is STILL conducting at the MET.  I have so many Verdi  DVD operas conducted by Levine from the MET and most of them are superb, La Forza del Destino, Don Carlo and Otello come to mind. What frequently draws me to the MET productions as you so eloquently described with this Macbeth production (Macbeth seeing visions, special effects et al.) is how lavish and impressive the sets, stage designs and special effects are.  Even in those cases where the singing is not excellent the stage designs are more often than not quite impressive and enough to sustain the viewer's interest in the opera.    Levine proved to be very versatile during his tenure at the MET. He has conducted so many fine productions of Wagner's operas, Verdi and countless others. 


  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on November 01, 2007, 01:11:21 PM

    Hi Bruce, I am glad to hear that you have enjoyed Macbeth and I am pleased to hear that Levine is STILL conducting at the MET.  I have so many Verdi  DVD operas conducted by Levine from the MET and most of them are superb, La Forza del Destino, Don Carlo and Otello come to mind. What frequently draws me to the MET productions as you so eloquently described with this Macbeth production (Macbeth seeing visions, special effects et al.) is how lavish and impressive the sets, stage designs and special effects are.  Even in those cases where the singing is not excellent the stage designs are more often than not quite impressive and enough to sustain the viewer's interest in the opera.    Levine proved to be very versatile during his tenure at the MET. He has conducted so many fine productions of Wagner's operas, Verdi and countless others. 


  marvin

Marvin, I suspect this production will be around for awhile; initial reports are very positive.  And good news, if you didn't see it already: it's on the live broadcasts schedule for January 12!  :D  The cast is slightly different but the principals are intact, and Levine is conducting.  I will definitely be seeing it again.  I don't know the opera that well (yet) but it's hard to imagine someone handling the score with more power and finesse combined.  When the orchestra and chorus were at full blast, I felt like wind was rushing past my ears. 

This production seems like it may have "staying power," whereas if you read any of the reports of the new Lucia di Lammermoor, it sounds less satisfying.  (I didn't see it, so can't comment.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on November 01, 2007, 05:54:10 PM
Marv,

I just wanted to tell you I replied to your Falstaff post that you wrote yesterday.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on November 02, 2007, 02:17:37 AM
Marv,

I just wanted to tell you I replied to your Falstaff post that you wrote yesterday.



  Yes Anne thank you I received it and read it, I did not want to hijack that thread and turn it into a Bernstein Falstaff  thread.  But I am so glad you mentioned it so I am going to respond here because after all this is a Verdi thread .  First of all I am very impressed with your knowledge of Flastaff.  You were discusing the Bernstein recording and how you studied it in depth.  You refer to the fact that on the Bernstein recording you can hear Fenton's voice distinctly as the men and women choruses sing to each other. I replayed the Abbado recording of Falstaff last night, skipping to get to all the parts that included Fenton and choruses, I was able to locate two such parts, the first being at the end of the opera.  I can not claim to be able to hear his voice distinctly.  The second part I could find where Fenton is involved with a group of men and women singing to each other is Act 2, Part 2 (A room in Ford's house) where Falstaff has been hidden in a laundry basket and Ford with a group of men are frantically searching for him suspecting him to be with Ford's wife, Alice,  behind the screen only to discover Fenton with Nannetta. A commotion erupts and Fenton's voice is not very distinct there either.  From what you are telling me Fenton's voice and role seemed to have some significance to Bernstein that other conductors chose not to highlight.

  Anne if I have misunderstood which scenes you were referring to in your post please correct me accordingly- a masterpiece like Falstaff deserves repeated listenings  :).


  PS: Mark has locked that Berstein thread where you and I started discussing Bernstein's Falstaff, lets carry on the discussion here  :).

  marvin     
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on November 02, 2007, 02:44:22 AM
I am simply amazed how people can like opera so much.
Where ever I dip into the subject matter, it gives me the creeps.
That is not a normal reaction, but maybe I have some forgotten trauma, who knows?
Still I admire the tenacity in which people immerse themselves into the tribulations of such composers.
Carry on Marvin, I love reading your contributions, especially the ones about Wagner.
Are you aware of the fact that Siegfried Wagner also wrote a lot of operas?
I have all his orchestral music, but I will not approach his operas, maybe you will, and tell me...all about it?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on November 02, 2007, 03:56:04 AM
I am simply amazed how people can like opera so much.
Where ever I dip into the subject matter, it gives me the creeps.
That is not a normal reaction, but maybe I have some forgotten trauma, who knows?
Still I admire the tenacity it which people emerge themselves into the tribulations of such composers.
Carry on Marvin, I love reading your contributions, especially the ones about Wagner.
Are you aware of the fact that Siegfried Wagner also wrote a lot of operas?
I have all his orchestral music, but I will not approach his operas, maybe you will, and tell me...all about it?


  Hello Harry, your post got me thinking: Which Verdi opera would I recommend to someone who is struggling with this genre of music.  La Traviata came to mind first, but then I remembered that the soprano voice is an issue with you.  This got me thinking: why do Harry and others struggle to get into opera.  One possible explanation has to do with the type of music that you find appealing.  From what I can tell from your posts, as far as vocal work is concerned, you tend to prefer vocal works from the pre-classical period and a powerful soprano voice is an issue with you.  Verdi and Wagner are ROMANTIC opera composers, they put very heavy demands on the voices of their singers which inevitably will lead to a high pitched powerful soprano voice in their music.  I was going to recommend that you start with the operas of Mozart (operas from the Classical era) and work your way through to Verdi's operas, but, you already tried Mozart's operas and your response was not positive.  So where do we go from here..........

  I think the best thing to do right now is to pick a romantic opera (not necessarily VERDI and I seriously think you should avoid Wagner for now) that has beautiful melodies, catchy tunes (something that you can hum after you are done listening to it).  Of Verdi Rigoletto comes to mind  I am more than certain that you have heard the very popular tune of "La Donne E Mobile".  But there is a better candidate out there and that is BIZET's CARMEN. Harry,  have you heard Carmen?  I am recommending this opera to you because it is one of the very few operas that my father, who doesn't really like opera, enjoys.  I think this is worth a try Harry, the music is very accessible and memorable.  If you respond well to Carmen, you can try Verdi's Rigoletto next. If somebody else in this forum has a better candidate (Verdi or otherwise) to recommend to Harry please come forward-  lets see if we all can help Harry make some progress in the opera field.

  PS: I am not familar with any of Siegfried Wagner's music, I will have to look into this.

  marvin   
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Expresso on November 02, 2007, 05:58:27 AM

Ι had a problem with operas when i started listening to classical music. I can't say there's a standard way for someone to start liking opera. It depends on what the listener wants to hear from the music he's subjected to.

The first opera i ever liked was Strauss's Salome, not something that i could recommend to opera beginners though ;). I also liked Stravinsky's Oidepus Rex, Beethoven's Fidelio, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Handel's operas and some from Vivaldi.
Maybe some of those baroque operas would be a good start for someone.

I still don't like some of Mozart's operas, even if i can see what makes them so special and important. Also operas like Carmen sound a bit light to me.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on November 02, 2007, 07:02:08 AM
One of the ways to get into opera is to find a singer you like and then pick operas where that singer is singing.

I loved Pavarotti's voice and acquired any opera he sang.  That method really worked for me.

If Harry has a female voice he likes, he could get operas she sings.

Marv, I am going out of town today and have preparations to make.  I will reply to the Falstaff on Monday or Tuesday.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on November 02, 2007, 08:08:09 AM
  Hello Harry, your post got me thinking: Which Verdi opera would I recommend to someone who is struggling with this genre of music.  La Traviata came to mind first, but then I remembered that the soprano voice is an issue with you.  This got me thinking: why do Harry and others struggle to get into opera.  One possible explanation has to do with the type of music that you find appealing.  From what I can tell from your posts, as far as vocal work is concerned, you tend to prefer vocal works from the pre-classical period and a powerful soprano voice is an issue with you.  Verdi and Wagner are ROMANTIC opera composers, they put very heavy demands on the voices of their singers which inevitably will lead to a high pitched powerful soprano voice in their music.  I was going to recommend that you start with the operas of Mozart (operas from the Classical era) and work your way through to Verdi's operas, but, you already tried Mozart's operas and your response was not positive.  So where do we go from here..........

  I think the best thing to do right now is to pick a romantic opera (not necessarily VERDI and I seriously think you should avoid Wagner for now) that has beautiful melodies, catchy tunes (something that you can hum after you are done listening to it).  Of Verdi Rigoletto comes to mind  I am more than certain that you have heard the very popular tune of "La Donne E Mobile".  But there is a better candidate out there and that is BIZET's CARMEN. Harry,  have you heard Carmen?  I am recommending this opera to you because it is one of the very few operas that my father, who doesn't really like opera, enjoys.  I think this is worth a try Harry, the music is very accessible and memorable.  If you respond well to Carmen, you can try Verdi's Rigoletto next. If somebody else in this forum has a better candidate (Verdi or otherwise) to recommend to Harry please come forward-  lets see if we all can help Harry make some progress in the opera field.

  PS: I am not familar with any of Siegfried Wagner's music, I will have to look into this.

  marvin   

I will try to find a Carmen, with a voice that I like, and see what comes of it.
Thank you Marvin for your concern.... :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on November 02, 2007, 08:15:55 AM
I will try to find a Carmen, with a voice that I like, and see what comes of it.
Thank you Marvin for your concern.... :)

Harry, you might try to see this DVD from Glyndebourne, with Haitink and the LPO, starring Maria Ewing.  I can't tell whether or not you'll go for her voice--personally, I like her acting better than her singing--but the production, by Peter Hall, is sensational.  And further, Carmen is not one of my favorites, but I thoroughly enjoyed this production. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on November 02, 2007, 08:21:29 AM
Yes interesting Bruce, I was just searching on the net, and singled this one out as a possible...... ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on November 02, 2007, 08:26:00 AM
Yes interesting Bruce, I was just searching on the net, and singled this one out as a possible...... ;D

It's fantastic.  The only question mark is Maria Ewing.  I totally recognize that voices are a very personal thing, so I have no idea whether you'd like her or not.  But even if she's not ideal, I think you'd go for the production, as well as Haitink's great work with the London Philharmonic. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on November 21, 2007, 06:50:51 AM


  I figured its about time I bumped this thread!  While organizing my Verdi collection yesterday I noticed that I only had 10 Verdi operas in my collection  :o.  I thought there would be a lot more but there they were:

  1) Aida
  2) Otello
  3) Rigoletto
  4) La Traviata
  5) Il Trovatore
  6) Une Ballo in Maschera
  7) Simon Boccanegra
  8 ) Flastaff
  9) Don Carlo
 10) La Forza del Destino
 
  I have heard Macbeth and Nabucco but I did not like them as much as those 10 listed above. What about Luisa Miller? I Lombardi? Ernani? which of these 3 operas are the most lyrical or in the league of say Rigoletto?

  marvin   
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on November 21, 2007, 07:50:35 AM

  I have heard Macbeth and Nabucco but I did not like them as much as those 10 listed above. What about Luisa Miller? I Lombardi? Ernani? which of these 3 operas are the most lyrical or in the league of say Rigoletto?
 

I'd say Luisa Miller.  I like the Decca recording with Pavarotti, Caballé, and Milnes, Maag conducting and the Met DVD with Scotto, Domingo, Milnes, Levine conducting.  I've also heard good things about the RCA recording with Moffo, but I only heard it in a copy I checked out of the library back in the '70s, before I'd "seen the light" on Verdi.

I've got all 28 Verdi operas on CD, plus the original versions of Macbeth and Simon Boccanegra (I need to get the original Forza).  I just rented Vienna State Opera production of  the original Don Carlos from Netflix.  Odd production (Posa's Pizza has really fast delivery  ;D), but I'll probably end up buying it.  It sticks to the Urtext (the opera as it went into rehearsals, before they started making cuts for time), unlike the Pappano version, which "mixes and matches" from various versions.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on November 21, 2007, 07:54:16 AM
Luisa Miller.

The others, fine as they are, are a bit rumpty-tum!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on November 21, 2007, 08:19:55 AM
I really like Ernani with Domingo and Mirella Freni.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 21, 2007, 09:04:43 AM
I really like Ernani with Domingo and Mirella Freni.

And there is also the excellent RCA version, conducted by Schippers, with Leontyne Price and Carlo Bergonzi.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on November 21, 2007, 12:37:23 PM


  Its settled then...Luisa Miller it shall be for now.  Found the MET Levine DVD recording on amazon.co.uk and ordered it.  I think I'll go for Ernani next.

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on November 21, 2007, 12:42:17 PM
Luisa Miller.

The others, fine as they are, are a bit rumpty-tum!

  Hector when you say the others are a bit "rumpty-tum" you mean lack of melodic lyrical music?  Or do you mean that the music doesn't flow as well as it does in say La Forza or Rigoletto?

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on November 22, 2007, 05:24:33 AM
  Hector when you say the others are a bit "rumpty-tum" you mean lack of melodic lyrical music?  Or do you mean that the music doesn't flow as well as it does in say La Forza or Rigoletto?

  marvin

Not lacking in melody but very often four square or 3 in 4 rhythmically and quite crudely orchestrated, at times. Many an orchestral tutti underlines the vocal line or makes a dramatic point.

Personally, I find Verdi's early operas exciting but a bit samey, although short and they do rattle-along apace. Rarely a dull moment. Try the old Caballe/Levine/EMI recording of Giovanna d'Arco or Attila on Philips for prime examples of what I mean by rumpty-tum!
Title: Verdi Opera Num 5
Post by: Mozart on December 05, 2007, 09:32:57 PM
I think I will be done with Aida and Il Trovatore this week and I am ready for my next Verdi opera. Which should I go for? The only one I have a dvd for is Don Carlo, I tried to watch it once and got pretty bored. So the options are:

Don Carlo (x2)
Luisa Miller
Nabucco
Un Ballo in Maschera (x2)
Falstaff (x2)
Simon Boccanegra
Macbeth

Either that or reccomend me another to get. The other 2 I have loved are La Traviata and Rigoletto.
Title: Re: Verdi Opera Num 5
Post by: Brian on December 05, 2007, 10:06:35 PM
Un Ballo in Maschera (x2)
Falstaff (x2)
Saw Un Ballo en Maschera a few months ago. Impressive, though I didn't really think it was particularly memorable music, but I only heard it once. Creepy love scene in the shadow of a guillotine. Terrific final ball, King Riccardo takes forever to die. Ewa Podles was in it, though, so great performance.

I heard the first 15 minutes of the Naxos Falstaff, and was frankly enthralled. Really amazing dramatic stuff, terrific "hook" into an opera - and the performance was huge, too.

(http://www.naxosdirect.com/templates/shared/images/titles/largest/730099605021.jpg)

(Will Humburg is a terrific conductor)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on December 05, 2007, 11:53:15 PM
I really could never see an opera live to which I didn't already know the music, unless maybe it was baroque. It's why I stuck with Aida, the san diego opera is playing it this year and I will be 2000 miles away :)

Falstaff is a comedy right? It must be strange to hear a Green comedy.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on December 06, 2007, 05:39:12 AM
I would suggest either Macbeth or Un Ballo.

The latter has a very light and tuneful air about it because of the nature of Riccardo and some memorable tunes, a great love scene beneath the gallows where the lovers meet in secret, but can be very dark. The great baritone aria, 'Eri tu', is reminiscent of Florestan's great aria in Fidelio.

The censors forced Verdi to set the opera in New England and the villains ended up with quite silly and unvillainous names. Sometimes productions return the opera to the Sweden of King Gustav.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brian on December 06, 2007, 08:13:24 PM
Falstaff is a comedy right? It must be strange to hear a Green comedy.
Heh, I don't know how it ends either in Verdi or Shakespeare, but I know the opening was intense as all he...ck.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on December 06, 2007, 09:05:18 PM
Un Ballo seems the most entertaining story out of the ones I mentioned so maybe I'll go with this one. I have 2 recordings, the one with Solti and the one with Pavarotti.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on December 07, 2007, 12:30:57 PM
Un Ballo seems the most entertaining story out of the ones I mentioned so maybe I'll go with this one. I have 2 recordings, the one with Solti and the one with Pavarotti.

  You chose well with Un Ballo E..L..I..A..S Un Ballo is a real gem and hails from a later period in Verdi's life than Macbeth. I don't really care for Verdi's earlier operas of which Macbeth and Nabucco are a part. Un Ballo has some wonderful lyrical melodies- and a finale worth remembering.  I have the following DVD recording which I adore- its with Solti and Domingo you might want to check it out as well:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51E4Y37ZMEL._SS500_.jpg)

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on December 30, 2007, 11:14:48 PM
I haven't been able to start Un Ballo...I really don't have the motivation for it now, but maybe with the new year I can discover a new Verdi opera.

I went back to listening to Rigoletto, and I have to say out of the 4 Verdi operas I know (trovatore, aida, traviata) that Rigoletto is the best and my favorite. The music is wonderful, and there are so many memorable songs. But the ending for me is a little shaky. The part where Gilda is dying in Rig's arms...its just not sad enough. After 2 and a half hours of joy, I am always disappointed at the end. I wish Verdi choose sadder music for V'ho Ingannato.

I think the duke is Pavarotti's best role (from the ones I've heard). Does anyone here have this one? How is it? I have seen some scenes on youtube and it looks interesting.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513I612oB0L._SS500_.jpg)


I have the one with Alvarez, and sometimes his voice sounds sqeeuky to me, I dunno. It's also to distracting to have to look at naked women and listen to music at the same time...
(http://img.nextag.com/image/OPUS-Rigoletto/1/000/000/771/971/77197143.jpg)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 02, 2008, 10:27:35 PM
I haven't been able to start Un Ballo...I really don't have the motivation for it now, but maybe with the new year I can discover a new Verdi opera.

I went back to listening to Rigoletto, and I have to say out of the 4 Verdi operas I know (trovatore, aida, traviata) that Rigoletto is the best and my favorite.


  E..L..I..A..S  have you not heard Verdi's Otello  :o ??  If not, forget about all the other operas in the operatic repertoire and rush immediately to your nearest record store and get yourself a copy of that opera.  As far as I am concerned Verdi's Otello is as GREAT as Mozart's Don Giovanni and I am not exaggerating here.  It is a superb masterpiece and will blow you away!!

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on January 02, 2008, 11:10:55 PM
  E..L..I..A..S  have you not heard Verdi's Otello  :o ??  If not, forget about all the other operas in the operatic repertoire and rush immediately to your nearest record store and get yourself a copy of that opera.  As far as I am concerned Verdi's Otello is as GREAT as Mozart's Don Giovanni and I am not exaggerating here.  It is a superb masterpiece and will blow you away!!

  marvin
I've watched the dvd with Placido and Dame Kiri, and it didn't really stand out to me. I even think it was you who told me to watch it Marvin :) I was young then, so maybe I'll give it another shot. I have no idea where the dvd is anymore though :( Hopefully I can find it.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 03, 2008, 07:11:16 AM
I've watched the dvd with Placido and Dame Kiri, and it didn't really stand out to me. I even think it was you who told me to watch it Marvin :) I was young then, so maybe I'll give it another shot. I have no idea where the dvd is anymore though :( Hopefully I can find it.

  Oh I'm sorry then, I hope someday you'll change your mind about that opera.  Incidentally the DVD recording of Otello I have is with Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming at the MET with Levine conducting.  I am not familiar with the one with Dame Kiri. But now that you mentioned it I am intrigued!!

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 03, 2008, 08:44:09 AM
  Oh I'm sorry then, I hope someday you'll change your mind about that opera.  Incidentally the DVD recording of Otello I have is with Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming at the MET with Levine conducting.  I am not familiar with the one with Dame Kiri. But now that you mentioned it I am intrigued!!

  marvin

It is an excellent version, and also stars Sergei Leiferkus as a very interesting Iago. It is from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1992 and the stage production was (I think) by Elijah Moshinsky. Well worth seeking out.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on January 17, 2008, 08:07:25 PM
Well, I was unable to find Othello, but I'm sure its somewhere. But I did find Don Carlo (i think in italian) and need an opinion. Should I try it? It seems to long and complex for me to understand it atm.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brian on January 17, 2008, 09:27:56 PM
Well, imagine my surprise when I sat down at lunch today in my dorm's cafeteria and the lunch table was all talking about ... Verdi's Otello! They had never seen any opera before, but evidently the teacher of their class (Great Literature in Music) had assigned them to watch a DVD of Otello, and they just could not get over how intense an experience it was. It really blew them away, and they kept talking about how much they felt "sucked in" by all the action and characters! So naturally I invited them to come with me to the opera in the future ... and made a mental note to listen to Otello sometime!  :D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 18, 2008, 02:22:19 AM
Well, I was unable to find Othello, but I'm sure its somewhere. But I did find Don Carlo (i think in italian) and need an opinion. Should I try it? It seems to long and complex for me to understand it atm.

  E..L..I..A..S  Don Carlo is a very long opera (Verdi was accused of becoming quite like Wagner in that regard) and musically a very dark one as well.  It also has a very bizarre ending. 

  I have the following opera DVD which I can adequately recommend:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513H8AVX46L._SS500_.jpg)

  Best of luck,
  marvin
  PS: Other opera fans, of course are more than free to disagree with me  ;).
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 18, 2008, 03:25:14 AM
  E..L..I..A..S  Don Carlo is a very long opera (Verdi was accused of becoming quite like Wagner in that regard) and musically a very dark one as well.  It also has a very bizarre ending. 

  I have the following opera DVD which I can adequately recommend:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513H8AVX46L._SS500_.jpg)

  Best of luck,
  marvin
  PS: Other opera fans, of course are more than free to disagree with me  ;).

Marvin,

Admittedly Don Carlo, or, more properly Carlos, is a long opera, and has its faults, most of which derive from Verdi having to write to the French Grand Opera model of Meyerbeer and the like, but it also contains some of his greatest music, and, in Act 4, Scene 1, one of the greatest scenes in all opera. From the mournful introduction, through Philip's great aria and the scene for the two basses (Philip and the Grand Inquisitor), the magnificent quartet for Elisabeth, Eboli, Posa and Philip to Eboli's thrilling O don fatale, this is Verdi at his very best.

The problem is editions. Verdi orginally wrote a 5 Act opera for Paris, and then reduced it to 4 Acts when it was translated into Italian for its Italian premiere, transposing Carlo's Act 1 aria (Io la vidi) to the first Tomb Scene, which became the new Act 1. When Visconti directed the opera at Covent Garden, in a now legendary production with Vickers, Gobbi and Christoff, Giulini conducting (and now available on Royal Opera House records), he restored the Fontainebleau 1st Act, which up til then had usually been omitted. However, he still did not restore all the music that Verdi cut for its first Italian performance, and I doubt you will find two versions of the opera which use exactly the same edition. The only one I know that, I think, includes every bit of music Verdi wrote for the opera, some as an appendix, is the Abbado version in French on DG. Unfortunately it is not the best version of the opera on CD. For that, you would have to go to one of the versions in Italian, probably Giulini on EMI, or maybe that live ROH one. The Karajan on EMI is also very fine, but omits the Fontainebleau Act. Karajan is also available, with substantially the same cast, on DVD. I don't know the DVD version you refer to, so don't know which edition of the score it uses.

Setting aside the question of editions, Verdi was not writing in ideal circumstances. He was certainly rather impatient of the demands of the Paris Opera, but there is no doubt he was thoroughly involved with his theme. He also provides us with some of his greatest, and most complex characters, particularly as regards Carlos himself and Philip. It is a very dark opera, but, then, so are Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino, from roughly the same period. I agree that the end is something of a let down, and I know of no performance that has thoroughly solved its problems. On the other hand, the last act starts magnificently with one of Verdi's greatest arias Tu che le vanita (try and listen to the Callas version on her Verdi arias recital), which is followed by a superb duet for Carlos and Elisabeth. The opera does not reveal its secrets easily, but it is worth persevering. I think you will find that most Verdi lovers would place it very near the top of a list of favourite Verdi operas
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 18, 2008, 04:09:54 AM
I went back to listening to Rigoletto, and I have to say out of the 4 Verdi operas I know (trovatore, aida, traviata) that Rigoletto is the best and my favorite. The music is wonderful, and there are so many memorable songs. But the ending for me is a little shaky. The part where Gilda is dying in Rig's arms...its just not sad enough.

It's not intended to be. It's intended to be a vision where the dying Gilda envisions meeting her mother in heaven.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 18, 2008, 08:00:34 AM
Marvin,

Admittedly Don Carlo, or, more properly Carlos, is a long opera, and has its faults, most of which derive from Verdi having to write to the French Grand Opera model of Meyerbeer and the like, but it also contains some of his greatest music, and, in Act 4, Scene 1, one of the greatest scenes in all opera. From the mournful introduction, through Philip's great aria and the scene for the two basses (Philip and the Grand Inquisitor), the magnificent quartet for Elisabeth, Eboli, Posa and Philip to Eboli's thrilling O don fatale, this is Verdi at his very best.

The problem is editions. Verdi orginally wrote a 5 Act opera for Paris, and then reduced it to 4 Acts when it was translated into Italian for its Italian premiere, transposing Carlo's Act 1 aria (Io la vidi) to the first Tomb Scene, which became the new Act 1. When Visconti directed the opera at Covent Garden, in a now legendary production with Vickers, Gobbi and Christoff, Giulini conducting (and now available on Royal Opera House records), he restored the Fontainebleau 1st Act, which up til then had usually been omitted. However, he still did not restore all the music that Verdi cut for its first Italian performance, and I doubt you will find two versions of the opera which use exactly the same edition. The only one I know that, I think, includes every bit of music Verdi wrote for the opera, some as an appendix, is the Abbado version in French on DG. Unfortunately it is not the best version of the opera on CD. For that, you would have to go to one of the versions in Italian, probably Giulini on EMI, or maybe that live ROH one. The Karajan on EMI is also very fine, but omits the Fontainebleau Act. Karajan is also available, with substantially the same cast, on DVD. I don't know the DVD version you refer to, so don't know which edition of the score it uses.

Setting aside the question of editions, Verdi was not writing in ideal circumstances. He was certainly rather impatient of the demands of the Paris Opera, but there is no doubt he was thoroughly involved with his theme. He also provides us with some of his greatest, and most complex characters, particularly as regards Carlos himself and Philip. It is a very dark opera, but, then, so are Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino, from roughly the same period. I agree that the end is something of a let down, and I know of no performance that has thoroughly solved its problems. On the other hand, the last act starts magnificently with one of Verdi's greatest arias Tu che le vanita (try and listen to the Callas version on her Verdi arias recital), which is followed by a superb duet for Carlos and Elisabeth. The opera does not reveal its secrets easily, but it is worth persevering. I think you will find that most Verdi lovers would place it very near the top of a list of favourite Verdi operas

  Well said Tsaraslondon and Act 4 does have some wonderfull moments indeed. The above DVD I posted has the Fontaineblue scene and Nicolai Ghiaurov shines in the role of Filippo II King of Spain.  I should also note that it is in Italian and not French as well. 
 

  A side note:
  Who knows maybe E..L..I..A..S would respond to it far better than he did to Otello. But to me, and I am being a bit evil here, Otello rules the Romantic opera world...I could listen to Otello forwards, backwards and sideways and it still sounds GREAT! I find Otello a GREATER opera than Don Carlo, I am just curious but would you agree with me on this Tsaraslondon?     

  marvin 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 18, 2008, 09:36:18 AM

  I find Otello a GREATER opera than Don Carlo, I am just curious but would you agree with me on this Tsaraslondon?     

  marvin 

Marvin,

There is no doubt that Otello is the greater opera. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's one of the most perfect operas ever written. This would probably sound like sacrilege to some, but I actually prefer it to the play. Same with Falstaff, which even Shakespeareans would agree, is a greater opera than The Merry Wives of Windsor is a play. Like Mozart, with The Marriage of Figaro, Verdi transcends his source material to come up with something much more multi faceted, which tells us far more about the human condition. For the reasons stated in my previous post, I could not place Don Carlo on the same level as these two pinnacles of Verdi's greatness. It is, none the less, one of my favourite Verdi operas, and I would still place it very high in the canon of his works.

Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on January 18, 2008, 12:15:49 PM
Marvin,

There is no doubt that Otello is the greater opera. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's one of the most perfect operas ever written. This would probably sound like sacrilege to some, but I actually prefer it to the play. Same with Falstaff, which even Shakespeareans would agree, is a greater opera than The Merry Wives of Windsor is a play. Like Mozart, with The Marriage of Figaro, Verdi transcends his source material to come up with something much more multi faceted, which tells us far more about the human condition. For the reasons stated in my previous post, I could not place Don Carlo on the same level as these two pinnacles of Verdi's greatness. It is, none the less, one of my favourite Verdi operas, and I would still place it very high in the canon of his works.

I'd agree that Otello and Falstaff are almost his "twin peaks," more than Don Carlo (although I've only seen the latter once).  But I must say, after seeing Don Carlo at the Met a few years ago (with Richard Margison and Sondra Radvanovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi), I was quite moved, and wasn't expecting to be!

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 18, 2008, 02:20:25 PM
I'd agree that Otello and Falstaff are almost his "twin peaks," more than Don Carlo (although I've only seen the latter once).  But I must say, after seeing Don Carlo at the Met a few years ago (with Richard Margison and Sondra Radvanovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi), I was quite moved, and wasn't expecting to be!

--Bruce

  Gentlemen (Tsaraslondon and Bruce) its settled then: I believe between all our posts we have demonstrated to E..L..I..A..S that Don Carlo, Otello and Falstaff must all be seen and heard!  I have once read that when it comes to Verdi every opera he wrote is a "class act". I think in a sense it is really difficult to go wrong with Verdi, especially if you pick operas from his "middle" years onwards.  How's that sweeping statement for my 900th post??

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 18, 2008, 02:28:53 PM
Marvin,

There is no doubt that Otello is the greater opera. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's one of the most perfect operas ever written. This would probably sound like sacrilege to some, but I actually prefer it to the play. Same with Falstaff, which even Shakespeareans would agree, is a greater opera than The Merry Wives of Windsor is a play.



  No sacrilege I agree wholeheartedly with your argument  :).  The music of Otello is so focused, it flows remarkably well from scene to scene, there is hardly a dull moment.  But more importantly and as you say, Verdi was able to "musically" translate the dramatic elements of Shakepeare's play flawlessly.  I especially love that duet between Otello and Iago as Iago tries to maliciously warn Otello of the dangers of jealousy- I keep playing that scene over and over again!

  marvin

 

Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on January 18, 2008, 02:47:04 PM
  No sacrilege I agree wholeheartedly with your argument  :).  The music of Otello is so focused, it flows remarkably well from scene to scene, there is hardly a dull moment.  But more importantly and as you say, Verdi was able to "musically" translate the dramatic elements of Shakepeare's play flawlessly.  I especially love that duet between Otello and Iago as Iago tries to maliciously warn Otello of the dangers of jealousy- I keep playing that scene over and over again!

  marvin

 





Amazing scene. It's really amazing that Wagner himself didn't comment much upon this particualr opera of Verdi's, as it often matches some of Wagner's, in my humble opinion.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: bricon on January 18, 2008, 05:00:36 PM
It's really amazing that Wagner himself didn't comment much upon this particualr opera of Verdi's, as it often matches some of Wagner's, in my humble opinion.

It would have been really amazing if Wagner had commented on Otello at all!!!

Wagner had died before Verdi began composing that opera.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Sarastro on January 18, 2008, 08:20:09 PM
Quote
Otello and Falstaff are almost his "twin peaks"

Talking about peaks, I would contradict this, as Verdi's "peaky-peaky" peak is Aida, as musically and dramatically done.

Though my beloved is Nabucco. 8) Especially with brilliant Ghena Dimitrova.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 19, 2008, 02:29:35 AM
Talking about peaks, I would contradict this, as Verdi's "peaky-peaky" peak is Aida, as musically and dramatically done.

Though my beloved is Nabucco. 8) Especially with brilliant Ghena Dimitrova.

Many Verdi scholars would disagree though, as would I. Aida is probably the culmination of his middle period, but it is surely in Otello that Verdi reaches his purest genius. For me, it feels like the work that he has been working towards all his life. As I said, it's as near perfect as any opera can be.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Sarastro on January 19, 2008, 03:35:14 PM
Aida is probably the culmination of his middle period.

Exactly, it is, but I'd still apply it to be a peak, as it was a real great achievement, and Otello with Falstaff are standing behind that piece, they are in the new, declamation epoch, they are aside. Who knows what Verdi would have created if he would have lived for 20-30 years more, probably a new peak, from a new style. Aida is what Verdi arrived to, having all the achievements of Italian school collected, it is a peak, and it declares a new step in opera development, after that peak a new era comes. That's why I consider it to be a peak. Or maybe better to say "critical point". ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on January 19, 2008, 05:09:14 PM
It would have been really amazing if Wagner had commented on Otello at all!!!

Wagner had died before Verdi began composing that opera.



(laughing) eeeeeEEEEWWWPPPPS!
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: longears on January 19, 2008, 05:27:10 PM
Last night on the way home from dinner out, the car radio was playing Otello.  When we arrived home, my wife rushed in and switched on the tuner.  She hadn't cared that much for La Traviata or Aida, but now she's a Verdi fan.  Karajan/WP, Tebaldi and Mario del Monaco.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 20, 2008, 03:50:29 AM
Exactly, it is, but I'd still apply it to be a peak, as it was a real great achievement, and Otello with Falstaff are standing behind that piece, they are in the new, declamation epoch, they are aside. Who knows what Verdi would have created if he would have lived for 20-30 years more, probably a new peak, from a new style. Aida is what Verdi arrived to, having all the achievements of Italian school collected, it is a peak, and it declares a new step in opera development, after that peak a new era comes. That's why I consider it to be a peak. Or maybe better to say "critical point". ;D

  Another 20 0r 30 years  :o! This would have made Verdi well over  100 years old.  Remember this guy lived longer than any other composer I know (I think he died at age 88!)  That said we as opera fans are lucky that he lived that long and produced masterpeices (amongst them Otello and Falstaff) when he was in his 70s and 80s.  Verdi is like fine French wine- he just gets better with age!

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on January 21, 2008, 07:36:12 AM
Many Verdi scholars would disagree though, as would I. Aida is probably the culmination of his middle period, but it is surely in Otello that Verdi reaches his purest genius. For me, it feels like the work that he has been working towards all his life. As I said, it's as near perfect as any opera can be.

Likewise. 'Aida' is the culmination of the 'middle-period.' I have always found this opera somewhat colder than the others. It was a 'piece d'occasion' and a brilliant one but, really, doncha just want to pass over 'Gloria in Egitto' (used as the Egyptian National Anthem at one time - 'nuff said) although this section  contains Verdi's best march and ballet music?

Also, I think, the most striking music is given to Amneris!

Many Verdi scholars would cite 'Otello' as Verdi's greatest opera and I would not want to argue but I notice that some, these days, put forward a case for 'Don Carlo(s).'

 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 21, 2008, 07:54:55 AM
Likewise. 'Aida' is the culmination of the 'middle-period.' I have always found this opera somewhat colder than the others. It was a 'piece d'occasion' and a brilliant one but, really, doncha just want to pass over 'Gloria in Egitto' (used as the Egyptian National Anthem at one time - 'nuff said) although this section  contains Verdi's best march and ballet music?

Also, I think, the most striking music is given to Amneris!

Many Verdi scholars would cite 'Otello' as Verdi's greatest opera and I would not want to argue but I notice that some, these days, put forward a case for 'Don Carlo(s).'

 

I tend to agree with you. I admire Aida, but I don't love it the way I do La Traviata, Rigoletto and even Il Trovatore. I've never been quite able to put my finger on why, but it might have something to do with the fact that the characters, with the possible exception of Amneris, are all stock operatic figures, whereas those in Rigoletto and La Traviata, for instance, are real flesh and blood people. Of course, one could argue that the characters of Il Trovatore are also stock operatic figures, but somehow, for me, they come more readily to life than those in Aida.

As for Don Carlo(s), I feel it has too many problems to be called his greatest opera. I do, however, believe it contains some of his greatest music - virtually the whole of Act 4 Scene 1, Elisabeth's great Act 5 aria, Posa's death, his duet with Filippo - I could go on.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on January 21, 2008, 03:37:29 PM
I tend to agree with you. I admire Aida, but I don't love it the way I do La Traviata, Rigoletto and even Il Trovatore. I've never been quite able to put my finger on why, but it might have something to do with the fact that the characters, with the possible exception of Amneris, are all stock operatic figures, whereas those in Rigoletto and La Traviata, for instance, are real flesh and blood people. Of course, one could argue that the characters of Il Trovatore are also stock operatic figures, but somehow, for me, they come more readily to life than those in Aida.





I completely agree, and well put! But Otello I fell is definitely "up there" with the classic Triple shot listed above.

My favorite will probably always be La Traviata. I can't get enough of Verdi's use of counterpoint in that opera; it comes at the least expected times and enters with breathtakingly brilliant effect. just my opinion.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 06:25:29 AM
Likewise. 'Aida' is the culmination of the 'middle-period.' I have always found this opera somewhat colder than the others. It was a 'piece d'occasion' and a brilliant one but, really, doncha just want to pass over 'Gloria in Egitto' (used as the Egyptian National Anthem at one time - 'nuff said) although this section  contains Verdi's best march and ballet music?

Also, I think, the most striking music is given to Amneris!

Many Verdi scholars would cite 'Otello' as Verdi's greatest opera and I would not want to argue but I notice that some, these days, put forward a case for 'Don Carlo(s).'

 

  Hector, it is funny how Verdi's large operatic output draws different reactions from it most ardent fans. I have always had a soft spot for AIDA and I would never dream of passing over the "Gloria in Egitto".  I find that in AIDA there is a certain magical quality that is not found in Verdi's other operas. Specifically, I am refering to the way that Verdi's music transports me into that mythical world of Ancient Egypt- and that scene in the desert where AIDA is trying to convince Radames to escape with her and leave Egypt is to die for.  This is one of the very few operas (Otello included) that I can listen to and appreciate without refering to a libretto.  I would like to say that I much prefer AIDA to DON CARLO.   


  marvin

   
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 22, 2008, 01:11:26 PM
  Hector, it is funny how Verdi's large operatic output draws different reactions from it most ardent fans. I have always had a soft spot for AIDA and I would never dream of passing over the "Gloria in Egitto".  I find that in AIDA there is a certain magical quality that is not found in Verdi's other operas. Specifically, I am refering to the way that Verdi's music transports me into that mythical world of Ancient Egypt- and that scene in the desert where AIDA is trying to convince Radames to escape with her and leave Egypt is to die for.  This is one of the very few operas (Otello included) that I can listen to and appreciate without refering to a libretto.  I would like to say that I much prefer AIDA to DON CARLO.   


  marvin

   

Well I wouldn't like anyone to get the impression that I don't like Aida. Of course I do. And I also think it shows that Verdi, by this time, has complete mastery of his idiom. I just don't get as involved in it, and the characters it portrays, as much as I do some of his other operas. The Nile scene is the only time I really become involved, and then only in the performance with Callas and Gobbi, though Aida was never an ideal role for Callas, even back in her heyday, when she could hurl out a massive top Eb at the end of the Triumphal Scene. However, Callas and Gobbi really bring out the drama of this father/daughter confrontation, and, for once, one truly believes they are father and daughter.

I'd still call Otello, Verdi's greatest opera, with Falstaff (as well nigh perfect a work as was ever written) coming in a close second, if only because I place tragedy higher than comedy in the grand scheme of things. That said, I do tend to find my favourite Verdi opera tends to be whichever one I am listening to (or watching) at the time.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Lethevich on January 22, 2008, 01:18:26 PM
...if only because I place tragedy higher than comedy in the grand scheme of things.

Your dinner parties must be fun... ;)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 02:39:48 PM

 That said, I do tend to find my favourite Verdi opera tends to be whichever one I am listening to (or watching) at the time.

  I like how you think!

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on January 23, 2008, 05:58:47 AM
  Hector, it is funny how Verdi's large operatic output draws different reactions from it most ardent fans. I have always had a soft spot for AIDA and I would never dream of passing over the "Gloria in Egitto".  I find that in AIDA there is a certain magical quality that is not found in Verdi's other operas. Specifically, I am refering to the way that Verdi's music transports me into that mythical world of Ancient Egypt- and that scene in the desert where AIDA is trying to convince Radames to escape with her and leave Egypt is to die for.  This is one of the very few operas (Otello included) that I can listen to and appreciate without refering to a libretto.  I would like to say that I much prefer AIDA to DON CARLO.   


  marvin

   

I think that I can listen to all my favourite Verdi operas without a libretto, in fact, sing-a-long a Verdi which can be disconcerting for others in my household who are puzzled by my musical taste and wonder what I'm up to when I sing "M'ami, m'ami..." from 'Un Ballo,' for example (I'm no Domingo!).
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Rod Corkin on January 25, 2008, 06:35:24 AM
Handel is the King of Italian opera!  8)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 25, 2008, 06:47:01 AM
Handel is the King of Italian opera!  8)

 ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 25, 2008, 07:02:04 AM
Handel is the King of Italian opera!  8)

  Rod, my dear fellow, now you have invaded my territory   $:) $:)!! Remember I started this thread!!

  There are many royal figures in Italian Opera, but there is only one KING that RULES them all and that is VERDI!!

  By the way when it comes to Italian opera, Handel is a featherweight next to VERDI!!


  marvin 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on January 25, 2008, 07:07:31 AM
I would agree with that Marvin, if we would be talking about his excellent Orchestral music, but I take issue with "one King Rules".
Now, now, is that not a bit over the top. what you'd say? :)
But Handel isn't neither a king, but for me far preferable over Verdi, but that you allready surmised right?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on January 25, 2008, 07:16:32 AM
I would agree with that Marvin, if we would be talking about his excellent Orchestral music, but I take issue with "one King Rules".
Now, now, is that not a bit over the top. what you'd say? :)
But Handel isn't neither a king, but for me far preferable over Verdi, but that you allready surmised right?

   Harry, Rod please....we are 8 pages into this thread,  it has been established long ago that Verdi is King of Italian Opera!!  Your objections have been heard, noted and OVER RULED  ;D!


  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on January 25, 2008, 07:18:29 AM
   Harry, Rod please....we are 8 pages into this thread,  it has been established long ago that Verdi is King of Italian Opera!!  Your objections have been heard, noted and OVER RULED  ;D!


  marvin

O, dear, no place for dissenters. You leave me no option. Monteverdi is the king op Italian opera. :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Benny on January 25, 2008, 08:04:19 AM
Based on recorded performances, Verdi's greatest hits:
1. Otello
2. La Traviata
3. Aida
4. Rigoletto
5. Il Trovatore

Verdi's greater hits:
6. Messa da Requiem
7. Don Carlo
8. Un ballo in maschera
9. La Forza del destino
10. Macbeth

Other Verdi hits:
11. Simon Boccanegra
12. Falstaff
13. Nabucco
14. Ernani
15. Attila

No so frequently performed and recorded works:
16. Luisa Miller
17. I Vespri siciliani
18. I Lombardi alla prima crociata
19. Giovanni d'Arco
20. I Due Foscari

Flops: Stiffelio, I Masnadieri, Un Giorno di regno, Jerusalem, Il Corsaro, La battaglia di Legnano, Aroldo, Alzira.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on January 25, 2008, 09:05:48 AM
Based on recorded performances, Verdi's greatest hits:
1. Otello
2. La Traviata
3. Aida
4. Rigoletto
5. Il Trovatore

Verdi's greater hits:
6. Messa da Requiem
7. Don Carlo
8. Un ballo in maschera
9. La Forza del destino
10. Macbeth

Other Verdi hits:
11. Simon Boccanegra
12. Falstaff
13. Nabucco
14. Ernani
15. Attila

No so frequently performed and recorded works:
16. Luisa Miller
17. I Vespri siciliani
18. I Lombardi alla prima crociata
19. Giovanni d'Arco
20. I Due Foscari

Flops: Stiffelio, I Masnadieri, Un Giorno di regno, Jerusalem, Il Corsaro, La battaglia di Legnano, Aroldo, Alzira.

Hmmm.  That's 28 works, counting the requiem.  You left one out.  His first opera, Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio

"Flops" or not (and I certainly wouldn't count them among Verdi's greatest), I'm rather fond of Stiffelio, I Masnadieri, Jérusalem, and La battaglia di Legnano, and would rate them higher than Giovanni d'Arco.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Morigan on January 25, 2008, 09:19:40 AM
Giovanni? Come on, this is about Joan of Arc!  ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 25, 2008, 09:36:27 AM
Based on recorded performances, Verdi's greatest hits:
1. Otello
2. La Traviata
3. Aida
4. Rigoletto
5. IL Trovatore

Verdi's greater hits:
6. Messa da Requiem
7. Don Carlo
8. UN ballo in maschera
9. La Forza del destino
10. Macbeth

Other Verdi hits:
11. Simon Conakry
12. Falstaff
13. Nabucco
14. Erna
15. Attila

No so frequently performed and recorded works:
16. Luisa Miller
17. I Vespri siciliani
18. I Lombardi alla prima crociata
19. Giovanni D'Arcy
20. I Due Foscari

Flops: Stiffly, I Casandra, UN Gino DI region, Jerusalem, IL Corsair, La Battle DI Legman, Araldo, Almira.

ALL Verdi operas have something of interest in them, so I doubt I'd call any of them flops. Incidentally it's Giovanna D'Arco, Aroldo is a reworking of the really rather excellent, and now quite often performed, Stiffelio, and Jerusalem was a reworking, for the Paris Opera, of I Lombardi.

As for Rod, he is best ignored. He waits for a thread to grow in length and then tries to hijack it with his Handel rantings. Handel was indeed a great opera composer, but he was not Italian. Monteverdi was also a great composer, and very important as far as development of the genre goes, but I would still rank Verdi higher, his operatic output being far larger than Monteverdi's. He is to Italian opera what Wagner was to German opera.

Looking again at your rankings, Benny, they really are rather strange. Macbeth greater than Falstaff, undoubtedly one of the greatest comic operas ever written? Greater than Simon Boccanegra, which, IMO, is at least as great as Don Carlo(s)? Attila and Ernani ranked higher than Luisa Miller? It seems a rather arbitrary list, to say the least.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on January 25, 2008, 09:52:20 AM
Based on recorded performances, Verdi's greatest hits:
1. Otello
2. La Traviata
3. Aida
4. Rigoletto
5. Il Trovatore

Verdi's greater hits:
6. Messa da Requiem
7. Don Carlo
8. Un ballo in maschera
9. La Forza del destino
10. Macbeth

Other Verdi hits:
11. Simon Boccanegra
12. Falstaff
13. Nabucco
14. Ernani
15. Attila

No so frequently performed and recorded works:
16. Luisa Miller
17. I Vespri siciliani
18. I Lombardi alla prima crociata
19. Giovanni d'Arco
20. I Due Foscari

Flops: Stiffelio, I Masnadieri, Un Giorno di regno, Jerusalem, Il Corsaro, La battaglia di Legnano, Aroldo, Alzira.

I'd put the Requiem and Falstaff in the top 5 and replace Louisa Miller with Stiffelio.

Welcome to the forum, Benny.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Benny on January 25, 2008, 11:02:40 AM
Code: [Select]
Looking again at your rankings, Benny, they really are rather strange. Macbeth greater than Falstaff, undoubtedly one of the greatest comic operas ever written? Greater than Simon Boccanegra, which, IMO, is at least as great as Don Carlo(s)? Attila and Ernani ranked higher than Luisa Miller? It seems a rather arbitrary list, to say the least.
You have overlooked the first sentence. This is not my ranking, it's the record industry's varying attention to Verdi's works. Otello, for example, was recorded 238 times (as of 2005), which recording initiatives have yielded a far greater number of different LPs, CDs, DVDs. By contrast, Luisa Miller was recorded 33 times throughout the history of the recording industry (Attila, 39; Ernani, 49; Falstaff, 63; Simon Boccanegra, 69; Macbeth, 76). Other than the unfortunate lapse of judgment in writing "flops," the ranking, "based on recorded performances," is factual rather than judgmental.
Thank you for your welcome Anne.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 25, 2008, 11:35:53 AM
Code: [Select]
Looking again at your rankings, Benny, they really are rather strange. Macbeth greater than Falstaff, undoubtedly one of the greatest comic operas ever written? Greater than Simon Boccanegra, which, IMO, is at least as great as Don Carlo(s)? Attila and Ernani ranked higher than Luisa Miller? It seems a rather arbitrary list, to say the least.
You have overlooked the first sentence. This is not my ranking, it's the record industry's varying attention to Verdi's works. Otello, for example, was recorded 238 times (as of 2005), which recording initiatives have yielded a far greater number of different LPs, CDs, DVDs. By contrast, Luisa Miller was recorded 33 times throughout the history of the recording industry (Attila, 39; Ernani, 49; Falstaff, 63; Simon Boccanegra, 69; Macbeth, 76). Other than the unfortunate lapse of judgment in writing "flops," the ranking, "based on recorded performances," is factual rather than judgmental.
Thank you for your welcome Anne.


Sorry, Benny, you're right I didn't read that first sentence. I suppose the possible reason for Falstaff being so far down the rankings is that it had two first class recordings (Toscanini and Karajan) quite early in its recorded history. I've often wondered why Luisa Miller has been recorded so rarely, but maybe that comes down to the same thing - both the Cleva with Moffo and the Maag with Caballe are excellent. On the other hand, Macbeth didn't receive a satisfactory recording until Abbado and Muti recorded it (both at roughly the same time) in the 1970s.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brewski on January 25, 2008, 11:45:45 AM
On the other hand, Macbeth didn't receive a satisfactory recording until Abbado and Muti recorded it (both at roughly the same time) in the 1970s.

I still find this amazing, since (as a newcomer to this particular opera) I have found Macbeth immensely enjoyable.  I first heard it in Philadelphia in 2003 in an excellent production from the Finnish National Opera, and then saw the Met's new production last fall, and liked it enough to consider returning later this spring for a second hearing.

And this reminds me that I probably need to look for one of those recordings.

--Bruce
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Rod Corkin on January 26, 2008, 03:38:53 AM

As for Rod, he is best ignored. He waits for a thread to grow in length and then tries to hijack it with his Handel rantings. Handel was indeed a great opera composer, but he was not Italian. Monteverdi was also a great composer, and very important as far as development of the genre goes, but I would still rank Verdi higher, his operatic output being far larger than Monteverdi's. He is to Italian opera what Wagner was to German opera.

One brief sentence can hardly be construed as a 'rant'! The topic title is misleading I think, if it is meant to concern Italian nationals only. Bear in mind Handel composed a lot of vocal music, operas included, in Italy!! All things considered I thought my comment was on topic. If a German produced the best Italian operas what does that say about the Italian composers!? (no need to answer, if you expect me to read it at least).
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on January 26, 2008, 04:15:43 AM

Monteverdi was also a great composer, and very important as far as development of the genre goes, but I would still rank Verdi higher, his operatic output being far larger than Monteverdi's.

So because Verdi's output is larger, means automatically that he is greater then Monteverdi?
The ranking thing is absurd.
Monteverdi makes more than up in quality compared to Verdi, I am sure.... :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 26, 2008, 04:34:34 AM
So because Verdi's output is larger, means automatically that he is greater then Monteverdi?
The ranking thing is absurd.
Monteverdi makes more than up in quality compared to Verdi, I am sure.... :)

In your (humble?) opinion. The quality of Monetverdi's operas is not in dispute. However, Monteverdi composed a great deal of music that was not opera, opera being then in its infancy. Verdi, on the other hand, composed almost exclusively for the stage. It's actually pretty ridiculous to compare them anyway. They were writing at different times for different audiences. There is no doubt however, that Verdi's importance in the development of the genre was at least as great as Monteverdi's.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Harry on January 26, 2008, 04:39:47 AM
In your (humble?) opinion. The quality of Monteverdi's operas is not in dispute. However, Monteverdi composed a great deal of music that was not opera, opera being then in its infancy. Verdi, on the other hand, composed almost exclusively for the stage. It's actually pretty ridiculous to compare them anyway. They were writing at different times for different audiences. There is no doubt however, that Verdi's importance in the development of the genre was at least as great as Monteverdi's.


I did not compare both composers, and will not, but will agree upon the last sentence you wrote. That is a fine compromise.... :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 26, 2008, 12:21:37 PM
One brief sentence can hardly be construed as a 'rant'! The topic title is misleading I think, if it is meant to concern Italian nationals only. Bear in mind Handel composed a lot of vocal music, operas included, in Italy!! All things considered I thought my comment was on topic. If a German produced the best Italian operas what does that say about the Italian composers!? (no need to answer, if you expect me to read it at least).

Handel's operas were all written in the Italian style, whether they were produced in London or Timbuktu. The best of them are among the best of Italian opera produced in the late Baroque period, just as Verdi's were the best from the Romantic era and Monteverdi's the best from the early Baroque. As Tsaraslondon rightly insists, "it's actually pretty ridiculous to compare them anyway."
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Rod Corkin on February 03, 2008, 01:53:28 PM
Handel's operas were all written in the Italian style, whether they were produced in London or Timbuktu. The best of them are among the best of Italian opera produced in the late Baroque period, just as Verdi's were the best from the Romantic era and Monteverdi's the best from the early Baroque. As Tsaraslondon rightly insists, "it's actually pretty ridiculous to compare them anyway."

Well the title of this topic implies there is a King, and you can't have two Kings in the Kingdom of Opera. To suggest otherwise, whether rightly or wrongly, would not be in the spirit of the topic. N'est-ce pas?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: wagnernn on February 04, 2008, 02:45:52 AM
Verdi didn't focus his music to alto, did he?(
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 04:44:51 AM
Well the title of this topic implies there is a King, and you can't have two Kings in the Kingdom of Opera. To suggest otherwise, whether rightly or wrongly, would not be in the spirit of the topic. N'est-ce pas?

 ::)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: MDL on February 04, 2008, 05:46:05 AM
Sorry, but I just can't resist; wasn't it Pierre Boulez who dismissed all of Verdi's work as being nothing but rum-ti-tum?  ;D

(runs for cover)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on February 04, 2008, 06:42:39 AM
Sorry, but I just can't resist; wasn't it Pierre Boulez who dismissed all of Verdi's work as being nothing but rum-ti-tum?  ;D

(runs for cover)

Well, he did say Verdi was "stupid, stupid, stupid".  On the other hand, he also said all opera houses should be burned down.

He does seem to have gotten wiser as he gotten older, and doesn't make such pronouncents as frequently as he used to.  And of course, he's worked in a few opera houses without any mysterious fires occuring in them.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 07:38:32 AM
Well, he did say Verdi was "stupid, stupid, stupid".  On the other hand, he also said all opera houses should be burned down.

He does seem to have gotten wiser as he gotten older, and doesn't make such pronouncents as frequently as he used to.  And of course, he's worked in a few opera houses without any mysterious fires occuring in them.

He also said Messiaen produced "brothel music," so his pronouncements are not always off base.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 04, 2008, 08:56:36 AM
Sorry, but I just can't resist; wasn't it Pierre Boulez who dismissed all of Verdi's work as being nothing but rum-ti-tum?  ;D

(runs for cover)

Pierre Boulez made many pronouncements in his youth, of which he is probably a little ashamed now. I'm sure someone told me recently that he was even reconsidering the music of Tchaikovsky! Anyway, just because he is Pierre Boulez doesn't make him right. I know I'd far rather listen to Verdi's complete oeuvre non stop than just a few bars of Pli selon pli, or anything else by him for that matter.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on February 05, 2008, 05:45:03 AM
Well, he did say Verdi was "stupid, stupid, stupid".  On the other hand, he also said all opera houses should be burned down.

He does seem to have gotten wiser as he gotten older, and doesn't make such pronouncents as frequently as he used to.  And of course, he's worked in a few opera houses without any mysterious fires occuring in them.



I wonder if we should lump Boulez's comments with Glenn Gould's hilarious denunciation of Mozart as catering to the "Any Publicity Is Good Publicity" realm.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on February 05, 2008, 07:51:29 AM
How about this Boulez quote? "The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music. It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal."

It rather tries to speak for all musicians, many of whom would not agree. But of course it is an arguable point of view for his own music. He said some very odd things, contradicted by his subsequent behaviour. I do like this one though.

"Revolutions are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous" This probably also holds good for musical revolutions.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Haffner on February 05, 2008, 08:58:03 AM
How about this Boulez quote? "The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music. It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal."

It rather tries to speak for all musicians, many of whom would not agree. But of course it is an arguable point of view for his own music. He said some very odd things, contradicted by his subsequent behaviour. I do like this one though.

"Revolutions are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous" This probably also holds good for musical revolutions.

Mike



Very cool.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on February 06, 2008, 05:07:24 AM
How about this Boulez quote? "The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music. It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal."

It rather tries to speak for all musicians, many of whom would not agree. But of course it is an arguable point of view for his own music. He said some very odd things, contradicted by his subsequent behaviour. I do like this one though.

"Revolutions are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous" This probably also holds good for musical revolutions.

Mike


Which probably explains why his Mahler is so devoid of emotion but beautifully played and very detailed and musical. But Mahler is nothing without the emotion and Boulez also lacks soul.

Was the revolutionary Boulez ever dangerous? He seems to be "celebrated" now.

I bet he voted for Sarkozy to continue 'Le Revolution.' :-\
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 06, 2008, 09:50:43 AM
Which probably explains why his Mahler is so devoid of emotion but beautifully played and very detailed and musical. But Mahler is nothing without the emotion and Boulez also lacks soul.


I always felt similarly about Sinopoli's Verdi. I remember once hearing him conduct the Requiem, in a very interesting performance. It was quite beautifully played, and I heard things in the score that I had never heard before, but the whole performance left me completely unmoved - something that had never before happened to me at a performance of this work.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 07, 2008, 04:45:42 AM
Pierre Boulez made many pronouncements in his youth, of which he is probably a little ashamed now. I'm sure someone told me recently that he was even reconsidering the music of Tchaikovsky! Anyway, just because he is Pierre Boulez doesn't make him right. I know I'd far rather listen to Verdi's complete oeuvre non stop than just a few bars of Pli selon pli, or anything else by him for that matter.

Then you'd be missing some very beautiful music. A love for Verdi need not preclude a liking for Boulez or vice versa. Both Poulenc and Virgil Thomson, whose compositional idioms were greatly different from that of Boulez, admired his music greatly. As for the complaints about Boulez's conducting of Mahler, I would say his recent DG recordings are a bit bloodless, but in live performance he still can be thrilling, and there are recent airchecks of 2 and 3 to show it.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 07, 2008, 06:16:13 AM
Then you'd be missing some very beautiful music. A love for Verdi need not preclude a liking for Boulez or vice versa. Both Poulenc and Virgil Thomson, whose compositional idioms were greatly different from that of Boulez, admired his music greatly. As for the complaints about Boulez's conducting of Mahler, I would say his recent DG recordings are a bit bloodless, but in live performance he still can be thrilling, and there are recent airchecks of 2 and 3 to show it.

I don't have total antipathy for Boulez as a conductor. I have heard some wonderful performances of Debussy and Ravel down the years, though, even here, I occasionally feel that the music and the score can be held out for admiring display, sometimes at the expense of atmosphere. The results are frequently beautiful, but a little cold; not that that, in itself, negates his approach. There are others who will warm to it more than I do.

Much the same could be said about his own music. I have tried listeining to some of his works, (Pli sleon pli, 2nd Piano Sonata, le marteau sans maitre), but, I'm afraid that I find them unpenetrable. I feel much the same about a great deal of the New Viennese School. That is no doubt my loss, but with a finite amount of time alotted to oneself in this time, I choose to spend it listening to composers whose music I respond to more readily.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on February 07, 2008, 06:30:34 AM
Then you'd be missing some very beautiful music. A love for Verdi need not preclude a liking for Boulez or vice versa. Both Poulenc and Virgil Thomson, whose compositional idioms were greatly different from that of Boulez, admired his music greatly. As for the complaints about Boulez's conducting of Mahler, I would say his recent DG recordings are a bit bloodless, but in live performance he still can be thrilling, and there are recent airchecks of 2 and 3 to show it.

Indeed, as one present at a Boulez performance at the Beeb's Maida Vale Studios I can attest to that.

A very strange experience, by the way. Everybody was quite casual and the mandolinist, once he had done his bit, Hugo D'Alton I think, gave the conductor a nod, which was reciprocated, and walked off.

I never did here the broadcast. The Beeb must have it on tape.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Hector on February 07, 2008, 06:43:09 AM
I don't have total antipathy for Boulez as a conductor. I have heard some wonderful performances of Debussy and Ravel down the years, though, even here, I occasionally feel that the music and the score can be held out for admiring display, sometimes at the expense of atmosphere. The results are frequently beautiful, but a little cold; not that that, in itself, negates his approach. There are others who will warm to it more than I do.

Much the same could be said about his own music. I have tried listeining to some of his works, (Pli sleon pli, 2nd Piano Sonata, le marteau sans maitre), but, I'm afraid that I find them unpenetrable. I feel much the same about a great deal of the New Viennese School. That is no doubt my loss, but with a finite amount of time alotted to oneself in this time, I choose to spend it listening to composers whose music I respond to more readily.


I think Boulez is the greatest living Ravel conductor.

He was once asked why his music had no tunes. He said that it had and went on to show where. Yeah, right, Pierre, nice try!








Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 07, 2008, 07:28:07 AM
I think Boulez is the greatest living Ravel conductor.


I'm glad you said "living".
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on February 08, 2008, 12:31:43 PM
I sang in Mahler under both Sinopoli and Boulez. I did not enjoy either experience. However; I came across CDs of the Boulez and was amazed at the plasticity, the ebb and flow, the tension and the grandeur. It was a really passionate performance. That was about 30 years ago, when he was supposedly at his most hieratic. On the night it had felt as though he was merely keeping time and not communicating with us, but in reality, he produced a very dynamic performance.

Sinopoli produced a cold Mahler 2. Interesting, but not stirring. But in  other music I enjoyed him a great deal.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on April 11, 2008, 03:25:48 PM
After months of searching, I found my Otello dvd! I watched the first hr today and loved it. I can't get the drinking chorus out of my head. Very funny because I ordered from Netflix Otello conducted by Karajan and its coming tomorrow, while I found my missing one today. Anyone know if this is a good performance?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51746K2XGDL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Anne on April 11, 2008, 03:37:57 PM
After months of searching, I found my Otello dvd! I watched the first hr today and loved it. I can't get the drinking chorus out of my head. Very funny because I ordered from Netflix Otello conducted by Karajan and its coming tomorrow, while I found my missing one today. Anyone know if this is a good performance?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51746K2XGDL._SS500_.jpg)


I saw that DVD and thought it was very good.  It was nice to see an Otello that was not Domingo for a change.  Vickers was very good.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Mozart on April 13, 2008, 12:38:31 PM
I had no idea it was an opera flick. Seems to me that making the tempo of otello slow enough for an opera film would make the music boring. I'll try to watch it tomorrow.
Title: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 13, 2008, 08:20:25 PM
You mean there is no separate thread purely for the review of certain Verdi operas? I didn't find any, so I start this one!

As a long-standing Richard Wagner follower, I listened to, watched, and attended Verdi operas as an antidote, fully accept another Wagner disciple's classification of Verdi's as 'Organ Grinder Music'. I have lived in Italy long enough to know this to be the most commonly heard melodies. Nothing wrong with it. It's Italian!!

Over the years of collecting I have been searching for THE most acceptable Rigoletto. Found some good ones, rejected some rather bad ones, but I am almost afraid to say it: I might have found the acceptable outstanding one! When I saw the advertisement of a new ArtHaus Music DVD from a 2006 performance at the Zürich Opera House I didn't jump for joy because only the name Nello Santi meant something to me, probably the best Verdian conductor alive. And there is Leo Nucci in the title role.

As the opera progressed in my music room, gnawing back in my mind was the fear I found another organ grinder candidate. Don't get me wrong, all the singers are very good Verdian interpreters, good looking tenor, not too hefty around the waist, soprano young but trying her very best, mind-bogling elaborate customs, and the usual standing and delivering - except in the third act the Duke, delivering his hit of the century, perched on a Washington State Park picnic table. But that was already after I had slid forward in my chair in the second act, mouth agape, fighting to regain my breath, when Leo Nucci delivered his plea to the courtiers to let him see his daughter.

It was heartrending, it was indescribably moving and beautiful more than six minutes of despair, sorrow - and best acting-singing I remember in a Verdi opera. Nucci finished on his knees at the edge of the stage, the house came down with thundering applause and bravos, and the camera swung to Nello Santi standing on the podium applauding and applauding. Finally Nucci raised his head, looked at Santi and the two applauded each other, with Nucci gesturing to the musicians in the pit. I was too involved to even check how long the ovation lasted, but believe, it was one of the longest ever.

Leo Nucci has sung Rigoletto over 400 times, the booklet says, he is now in his early sixties, Nello Santi owns Rigoletto beyond a doubt. I also read that Santi is a trained tenor and used to sing from the podium rescuing tenors in trouble!

I think this one finally is my keeper! See if I am wrong!  ;)
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on December 13, 2008, 10:58:14 PM
As a long-standing Richard Wagner follower, I listened to, watched, and attended Verdi operas as an antidote, fully accept another Wagner disciple's classification of Verdi's as 'Organ Grinder Music'.

‘Another Wagner disciple’ – ACD, I presume?

He definitely has a very deep percipience and knowledge of Verdi’s music, especially the last masterpieces like Don Carlos, Othello or Falstaff calling them 'Organ Grinder Music'. But never mind, Verdi is in much better situation than every other Italian opera composer I know. ACD refers to them collectively as ‘crap’…

I have nothing in common with this arrogant and rude man primarily because of the way he treats others in various forums who don’t share his opinions. Even with regard to his saint Wagner I have quite a few disagreements…

Now returning to the topic, unfortunately Rigoletto is not blessed with many good DVD versions. For my taste too, this Zurich production is currently one of the best there is.


Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on December 13, 2008, 11:44:55 PM
I have often had problems on CD with Nucci, finding his tone dry and grey. I wonder whether his acting provides a visual addition that distracts from the vocalisation; or whether he can actually pull out great singing on occasion? I have heard him in Traviata, boring, he was in the Decca Pavarotti Otello, underpowered, Abbado's Aida....uninteresting.

I have been surprised that he clearly gets masses of good engagements and indeed has appeared in some high profile recordings. I think we are unlikely to ever see a recital disc, if we do, it will be remaindered.

But then, I have not seen the performance you describe Lis and he clearly makes an impression in it.

It would be good to get this thread going beyond this discussion on Rigoletto, or at least its performers. I don't have a DVD of the opera, several CD and LP versions have passed through my hands and I have seen it live several times.

It is a very economical opera, tight in its structure and as with a lot of Verdi, it contrasts private and large public scenes. It was one of the first operas that captured me, mainly for Caro Nome then the whole final scene from the quartet to the end. The actual end seems brutally short, Rigoletto discoveres his daughter in a sack, she expires, he exclaims, curtain down.

My first set was by Molinari-Pradelli with Renato Capecci? I cannot track it down now. I loved that set and not any since has pleased as much. I last heard it over 30 years ago, so I have little doubt that my memories are heavily rose tinted.

This is middle period Verdi, as with Un Ballo Verdi had lots of problems with censorship. The Hugo play on which Rigoletto is based was set in France depicting corruption in the court of Francis I. The play was banned in France for about 50 years and Verdi only got the piece onto the stage by moving the story to a non-historic Italian setting. It is interesting that Verdi did keep pushing at what was then controversial subjects. Now we would not bat an eyelid at it, but the politics of the time, around 1850, were still preoccupied in France with the fact of a rather uncomfortable restoration of their monarchy, so any discussion of the institution had to take account of the sensitivities of the time. Quite why Verdi sitting in Italy and ruled from Austria was to be affected by the vagaries of the French royal family I am not too clear. But I guess, discussion of any royal setup is a delicate matter where there are other royals in the vicinity.

We don't tend much to see Verdi the political animal, but in fact he was quite involved in Italian politics and his opinions certainly fed into his work. He was more than a writer of entertainments. He was writing about the human condition.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 14, 2008, 07:42:06 AM
Interesting response, thank you, Luv, but remember I am watching operas, whether on DVD or in person, for the experience of seeing a total performance, being carried into another world by the work of a composer and then materialised by the best efforts of performers, singers, musicians and stage hands.

If Leo Nucci's voice is dry, is nothing I concentrate on. I can hear a clunker by a tenor, hear if the soprano is looking for her note at her kneecap, or if the baritone is two beats behind the conductor. But I am a member of the audience, not a voice coach; the technicalities of a voice will - I hope! - never intrude into my enjoyment and involvement into the performance.  ;D
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 28, 2008, 06:04:15 AM
I've only once seen Nucci live, in La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, when Angel Gheorghiu was making her debut as Violetta. It might be argued that Germont was a bit of a dry old stick, but I found his acting wooden in the extreme, and his singing not much better. Mind you Solti's four square conducting couldn't have helped, though it hindered Gheorghiu less. Hers was, and still is by all accounts, an appreciable Violetta. I have not seen the Nucci Rigoletto on DVD, so cannot comment on it, but I have heard him on quite a few CDs and have to say it is not a voice I enjoy.

However this topic is called Verdi's Veranda, and it saddens me to see that it has attracted so few postings, as opposed to the pages of Wagner's Valhalla. Are there so few Verdi fans on this board? For me, Verdi is one of the greatest of all composers, on a par with Shakespeare in the breadth of his understanding of humanity and the human condition.

I have recently been acquiring the early operas, most of which were recorded by Philips, in the 1970s, featuring such eminent singers as Montserrat Caballe, Jessye Norman, Katia Ricciarelli, Placido Domingo, Carlo Bergonzi, Jose Carreras, Piero Cappuccilli and Ruggero Raimondi, excellenct conducted by Lamberto Gardelli. The biggest surprise of all was Verdi's early comedy Un Giorno di Regno, which, though suffering from a rather confused libretto, is an absolute delight, and at least the equal of many a Donizetti comic opera of the time. It would be perfect for Glyndebourne. But all these early operas have something to commend them, though admittedly none of them is quite on a level with Rigoletto, with which Verdi reached his full potential.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 28, 2008, 08:32:53 PM

However this topic is called Verdi's Veranda, and it saddens me to see that it has attracted so few postings, as opposed to the pages of Wagner's Valhalla. Are there so few Verdi fans on this board?


I am sure there are lots of Verdi fans at GMG, what is lacking are good NEW recordings of his operas, as compared to the many of Wagner on the market, especially the DVDs. I am still waiting for a truly great Il Trovatore! The latest 'new' one was the video of a performance at Lake Constance, and that was at least three years ago. - I think I reviewed it here. - It was unique, the setting, not the performance!

Sorry, T.C., Bieito productions are not on my list!  >:D
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on December 29, 2008, 12:08:11 AM
Surely we can discuss Verdi other than in terms of new recordings. For instance, old favourites, themes within Verdi, such as father/children relationships. Perhaps political issues both in his work and his life will give us some interest. His turbulent private life, his clear agenda of dividing church and state. The texts he used and why he was attracted to them may give us a few posts.

So, rather than me at once dive in: has anyone any thoughts on any of the above that we can follow through?

Mike

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 29, 2008, 12:23:52 AM
Of course lots of thoughts on the topics you mentioned, Mike, but in my above post I was trying to reply to the mentioned disparity between discussions of very few Verdi operas here at GMG compared to the multitude of Wagner works.  :)
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on December 29, 2008, 02:59:08 AM
Yeah, Verdi's early operas are great as well. Though listening to them, I sometimes can sense that Verdi's talent was somewhat restricted in those old forms (recitavio - aria - cabaletta). For instance, Macbeth (an opera I got acquainted very recently. Will as well try to re-read the play, this time - in English) which he would edit seventeen years later to make it more realistic...it resembles me Nabucco. Anyway, I love them both.

As for Nucci, I just watched (yesterday) a DVD of his Rigoletto with Luciana Serra and Alfredo Kraus from Parma, 1986. I agree, Nucci's voice sounds somewhat crude, but is strong and quite impressive in that role, with striking "Si, vendetta". He just outburst in a powerful and vengeful fit of rage. I would even say, his Rigoletto has a strong personality and constitution (compared to, say, Gobbi in that black-and-white film where he looked quite miserable. The film itself is the best video vesrion, I think, - different era, different style, aesthetics, but nonetheless very impressive) as well and is more like Scarpia. The entire cast is pretty old - Kraus is sixty there - yet I enjoyed singing immensely and a bit of acting.
I also watched Nucci in Tosca with Guleghina and Licitra - all of them were boring, and it is, o God, Puccini! So I'm outta here. ;D
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on December 29, 2008, 03:22:14 AM
However this topic is called Verdi's Veranda, and it saddens me to see that it has attracted so few postings, as opposed to the pages of Wagner's Valhalla.

It doesn’t sadden me, because it was always the case with GMG: Wagner is the prominent composer in the opera forum. It is related to the musical preferences of those who contribute here. It is totally OK with me, because people are writing about the music they love. It is quite different in other opera forums I know, like Opera-L, which is the greatest operatic forum on the net. Wagner has his rightful place as a major opera composer, but he is definitely not alone. But I admit that I don’t feel at ease when great composers are trashed in order to glorify another.

I am a big admirer of Wagner’s music myself, but I don’t accept the equation Opera = Wagner or Opera = German opera. It is true that German opera is quite different from Italian or French opera, but in my opinion every genre has its merits and weaknesses.

Wagner’s music impresses me first and foremost because of its intellectual and spiritual qualities. But scarcely it moves me in a way that a Verdi, Puccini or Janacek opera can. And Wagner’s music has its weaknesses too: mainly overlong stretches of text and music that not always have in my opinion a dramatic need or justification. After all, in addition to his great genius Wagner was kind of a megalomaniac… He could have taken a lesson or two from Janacek in the matter of conciseness…

It is true that Puccini, that was a great Wagner admirer himself, said about Wagner that ‘in comparison with him, we are all mandolin players…’. But although I am a great admirer of Puccini’s music, I am quite sure that Puccini was wrong in the evaluation of his music or others (in any case, I love mandolins. One of my favorite Vivaldi concertos among the 100 or more that I know is a mandolin concerto…  :)).

I agree with Lis, that unfortunately, there is less worth Verdi opera productions on DVD in relation to successful Wagner opera production. It doesn’t mean that Verdi is not performed enough. On the contrary: It is for quite a long time that Verdi is in the second place in the number of opera productions all over the world. Mozart is in the first place. Wagner is in the fourth place right after Puccini… (But according to OPERA NEWS magazine, Puccini is the most performed opera composer in the US. An American idol…  8))

In my opinion, what it does mean is that it is harder to find great Verdi singers. And singers that specialize in Belcanto roles are even scarcer, because they need a unique and outstanding technique that is quite hard to find. I can think of a number of singers these days that can sing a decent Isolde, but almost none can sing an acceptable Norma. It is hard to find a good Tristan, but even harder, an exceptional Otello...


Sorry, T.C., Bieito productions are not on my list!  >:D

You have my support in this matter. Bieito productions are not on my list either…

But the lack of good relatively new Verdi productions on DVD is not complete. While Il Trovatore doesn’t have many good DVD versions, other Verdi opera has. For example, La Traviata had lately quite a few worthwhile renditions on DVD like the one with Netrebko (Salzburg 2005), Fleming (Los Angeles 2006) or the last one – Gheorghiu (La Scala 2007).
   
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on December 29, 2008, 04:10:39 AM
Opera-L, which is the greatest operatic forum on the net.

I would say, the greatest operatic forum on the English-speaking net and which revolves mostly about the MET and American Opera. Have you ever heard anything about Italian OperaClick - Quotidiano di Informazione Operistica? A great source of opera news and a forum a hundred times bigger than Opera-L (and with threads of hundred pages). Or an immense classical music Russian forumklassika and two purely operatic forums as well? Or the Österreichischen Forum?


Fleming (Los Angeles 2006)

The production itself is very good, but the singing leaves much to be desired. To say the least, seventy-year-old Renato Bruson in the role of Girgio Germont was the best thing there.
For Netrebko - no comments. Haven't seen this notorious production and don't even want to - I heard its audio and it sucked. Absolutely void of any musical meaning, and again, the best thing was Germont, Thomas Hampson, who at least tried to sing. I give him credit for having such a grey timbre but being very musical and quite expressive in his interpretations.


PS: Though lately opera has become more visual in a sense of issuing all those mechanically corrected DVD's (for instance, Netrebko's Romeo and Juliet from the MET: on the live translation I heard several times false notes and disagreement with the orchestra and a broken note - none was in DVD!!! amazing work of sound engineers! as well as I heard her live - many technical problems, but on DVD's everything sounds decent), the quality of singing has become less florid. Why do I hear great interpretations in old audios and a miserable resemblance of vocalizing in modern cutesy-wrapped videos? Why are such mediocrities as Netrebko allowed onstage?  >:(
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on December 29, 2008, 04:57:10 AM
Dear Sarastro, thanks for your correction:

Opera-L, which is the greatest operatic forum on the net in the English language.

Unfortunately, I am not as knowledgeable as you are…  :(

But for my defense I will say that I visit quite regularly sites like MusicWeb, OperaToday, The Opera Critic, MusicCriticism or Musical Pointers and a few operatic blogs (like the one of our old dear friend Nigel  :'(). Yes, I heard about the Italian OperaClick, I even have it on my ‘favorites’ list, and I visit there from time to time, but I admit that for me reading in Italian is not as fluent as I wish it would…

And I am quite familiar with the French ForumOpera, ResMusica and ConcertoNet !!

Unfortunately, I do not visit the Russian forumklassika primarily because I cannot read Russian. Nor do I know the Österreichischen Forum – I understand quite a lot German, but not enough to read fluently. But never mind, the Gramophone magazine, which I have been a subscriber for years, has a nice English forum too. The problem is that there is not too much traffic...  :(

As for the three Traviata DVDs that I mentioned: You didn’t like the singing? I am truly sorry. I did.

Yes, Renato Bruson is seventy years old, but for my taste he still gives a lesson how this role should be performed, and his noticeable wobble in the high register detracts only mildly from my enjoyment of his performance.

Nor do I find Anna Netrebko a ‘mediocrity’. I think she is an excellent singer in the proper roles.
Probably the problem is within my ears…
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on December 29, 2008, 05:23:03 AM
Nor do I find Anna Netrebko a ‘mediocrity’.

Maybe you get distracted from music by her looks? I am jealous. The Italians (and on the OperaClick as well, you can read it) do not consider her an opera singer at all; I personally just can't stand horrible and meaningless singing.

However, it is good that you like her. Somebody has to. Different people like different things - some like even Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera - and we are all entitled to our personal opinions. :)
Have you heard the mediocrity Netrebko live?
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on December 29, 2008, 05:41:39 AM
Maybe you get distracted from music by her looks? I am jealous. The Italians (and on the OperaClick as well, you can read it) do not consider her an opera singer at all;

I don’t get distracted from the music by Netrebko’s looks.
I will rephrase it this way: I enjoy her performance both visually and vocally…  0:)

The Italians do not consider her as an opera singer?
I really don’t care. After all, I am not Italian…


However, it is good that you like her. Somebody has to.

I am quite sure that I am not the only one who enjoys her singing.
I am not a Netrebko fan, but I do enjoy her singing in some of the roles she sings.


Have you heard the mediocrity Netrebko live?

I haven’t heard her live, but I have quite a few recordings of her, most of them are of live performances.
Does she sound to you ‘mediocre’ when she sings in Russian too?
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on December 29, 2008, 06:27:05 AM
When she sings in Russian, I can barely understand the words and do not recognize the music at all. Sometimes I can't even understand entire phrases...very poor diction. I would even say, there is absence of diction.

She screams in the upper register; in fact, the top register of hers is strained and dull. The singing is mannered, dumb, and meaningless - that implies there are no nuances, no change of musical frames, feelings, or thoughts. It sounds very mechanical. Wording does not concur with musical intonation, and the intonation itself is occasionally false. Plus complete misunderstanding of bel canto and other styles. Her coloraturas are crude and inconsistent; the voice is artificially deepened and squeezed. She sounded well only in the beginning of her career, say, Ruslan and Lyudmila from the Kirov Opera, 1995. The tone was pure, the voice - ringing. Just curious, but there is nothing more to it as well. She had a potential, but she fooled away with it.

As my friend says, we all listen to opera for different purposes: some like nice pictures in motion, some enjoy the glamour of modern divas, some just need some noise doodling around, some want to hear music, some want to hear drama, some - both, etc. And that's good - we all are different and have our peculiar approaches to it. I just expressed my point of view on Anna Netrebko.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on December 30, 2008, 01:36:50 AM
The idea of a comic Verdi opera sounds strange. I don't know these early works. I have been aware of them and know that Gardelli was highly praised for them. He died quite young I think, a pity he did not get much opportunity to record some of the mature works. I think he did lay down a Macbeth with Suliotis when her voice was in meltdown.

Anyway, TS, if I was to start with the best of the early works: which one do you suggest? I know Verdi referred to his galley years. I assume he felt like he was having to produce work mechanically, as against late in life when he only wrote when the inspiration hit him. We are fortunate he did not do a Rossini on us and go silent while still young.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 30, 2008, 02:32:33 AM


Anyway, TS, if I was to start with the best of the early works: which one do you suggest? I know Verdi referred to his galley years. I assume he felt like he was having to produce work mechanically, as against late in life when he only wrote when the inspiration hit him. We are fortunate he did not do a Rossini on us and go silent while still young.

Mike

I assume you know Nabucco and Luisa Miller already, Mike. I am still getting to know the other early operas I have purchased, but Stiffelio would probably head the list, though, as it predates Rigoletto by only a year or so, Verdi is already into his stride. The theme was not one that contemporary Italian audiences could easily understand: a priest with a wife, a husband who thinks it Christian to forgive marital infidelity. But the subject and characters obviously engaged Verdi's sympathies and Stiffelio emerges one of his most complex characters to date. When the opera ran into trouble with the censors, Verdi returned to it, now setting the opera (Aroldo), at Piave's suggestion, in the time of the Crusades, and altering some of the music. It is also one of the operas (the other being la Battaglia de Legnano) that Verdi said he would not like to be forgotten. This latter opera, a short, terse work, though not on the same level of psychological complexity, is also well worth hearing for the sweep of its melodies and the orchestral tone- colouring.

As I already mentioned, Un Giorno di Regno, though it hardly sounds like the Verdi we know, is a charming work and easily as enjoyable as Don Pasquale, for instance. Of the others, though they can be patchy, all of them yield magic from time to time, and all are interesting in charting Verdi's journey towards the later masterpieces, culminating in those twin peaks of the genre, Otello and Falstaff.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on December 30, 2008, 02:59:25 AM
I will add to Tsaraslondon list of pre-Rigoletto Verdi operas a few more: Ernani, Il Corsaro, I Lombardi and I due Foscari. For the last three there is an excellent Phillips recording that is conducted by Gardelli. For Ernani I recommend the RCA recording with Carlo Bergonzi and Leontyne Price that is conducted by Thomas Schippers   

Un Giorno di Regno is charming, and is the only comic opera before Falstaff, although for my taste it is not in the same level as Donozetti's best comedies like L’elixir d’amore or Don Pasquale.
       
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on December 30, 2008, 09:37:02 AM
TL and TC, thanks both. I have some of those mentioned, Lusia Miller, I really need to get to grips with it. The couple of listens I have given it so far, I made little of it, nonsense on my part. I need to concentrate properly. Ernani, the very recording I have and enjoy. It sounded to me as though all involved manage the best possible case for it.

You are right, Nabucco I know well, it is a remarkable blend of the conventional and some really inspired music. Likewise with Macbeth, the witches music is simply not on a level with a great deal of the rest. I have heard the earlier unrevised version, most of the best bones are there, but as often with Verdi, revision involved tightening the structure and to its benefit.

However, where you have jolted me is to tell me that Stiffelio dates from only a year before Rigoletto. I must have a look at it.

As an aside, does anyone else find La Forza to be a dogs breakfast of a piece? I dislike it as an entire work to the extent that I only listen to excerpts.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on December 30, 2008, 09:55:11 AM
I have ordered the Stiffelio: here is the Amazon review, I assume the writer is NOT our Dr Karl!

"  4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
 An opera that should be much better known beautifully performed, 8 May 2007
By  Dr Karl - See all my reviews

This is the opera that Verdi wrote immediately before his career exploded with the composition in a couple of years of Rigoletto, La Traviata and Trovatore. It is a truly remarkable one in more respects than one. The main event of the story, the adulterous affair of Stiffelio's wife, has already taken place before the curtain rises. The overture has a totally haunting tune for trumpet that sets up the tone for what emerges as real psychodrama. Stiffelio, a charismatic pastor, returns from his travels to discover that his wife has been unfaithful. She is torn by remorse. Her father, a retired soldier and a great Stiffelio fan takes justice into his own hands, killing lover. Stiffelio offers his wife a divorce (something that did not play well with audiences at the time of its premiere). The opera's conclusion is very powerful as forgiveness is contrasted to revenge.

This performance offers a chance to hear Carreras at his absolute prime; he was at his best in lyrical Verdi parts (such as those in Due Foscari and Simon Boccanegra) and here he sings like a god. Sylvia Sass in the role of his wife sings with tremendous character - she was a very gifted soprano, whose gift did not last long but here she reaches Callas-like levels of nuance and expressiveness. The excellent baritone, who was not very popular with record companies which preferred several of his less gifted rivals, shows us what he can do. This thrilling performance is beautifully conducted. Strongly recommended."

Mike 
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: springrite on December 30, 2008, 09:56:50 AM
I have that Stiffelio and it IS top notch. It has always been one of Verdi's most underrated works.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 30, 2008, 10:05:18 AM

As an aside, does anyone else find La Forza to be a dogs breakfast of a piece? I dislike it as an entire work to the extent that I only listen to excerpts.

Mike

I know what you mean about Forza, but I usually try to listen to the whole work. The Preziosilla stuff can drive me potty, but those military camp scenes do serve their purpose in complementing, and in a way making their own implicit comment on the drama of the Calatrava family. And of course the opera as a whole does contain some great music. Virtually all the music for the central characters (Leonora, Don Alvaro, Di Vargas and the Padre Guardiano) achieves greatness and shows Verdi continuing his move from strict aria form towards a greater fluidity. It is certainly an opera I wouldn't want to be without.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on December 30, 2008, 10:08:09 AM
I have ordered the Stiffelio: here is the Amazon review, I assume the writer is NOT our Dr Karl!

 :D
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Anne on December 30, 2008, 09:01:48 PM
I loved La Forza from the very first time I heard it even though it was sung by Sharon Sweet.  There are so many beautiful melodies in it!
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on December 31, 2008, 08:22:03 PM
I've only once seen Nucci live, in La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, when Angel Gheorghiu was making her debut as Violetta. It might be argued that Germont was a bit of a dry old stick, but I found his acting wooden in the extreme, and his singing not much better. Mind you Solti's four square conducting couldn't have helped, though it hindered Gheorghiu less. Hers was, and still is by all accounts, an appreciable Violetta.

Thank you for reminding me that I have this performance in my LVD collection and I watched it this afternoon. After the heart rending Nucci performance in Rigoletto I too was a bit disappointed about his Germont sr. But as you pointed out, Solti's conducting didn't do a thing for the opera. The young and beautiful Gheorghiu simply ignored him and gave me shivers. Yes, too bad, she lost some of it since this 1994 performance.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on January 02, 2009, 04:37:09 AM
I will add to Tsaraslondon list of pre-Rigoletto Verdi operas a few more: Ernani, Il Corsaro, I Lombardi and I due Foscari. For the last three there is an excellent Phillips recording that is conducted by Gardelli. For Ernani I recommend the RCA recording with Carlo Bergonzi and Leontyne Price that is conducted by Thomas Schippers   

For once I agree with you. We should be grateful to Philips and Gardelli for this series of young Verdi operas with superb casts.
As for Ernani, that is a complete (no cuts! I mean) recording of the opera with distinguished singing. Bergonzi is one of my favorite singers with impeccable taste. I also recommend his 3 CD's recital - Verdi Arias, issued again by Philips. Price with her huge and creamy voice is a perfect Elvira, especially in Ernani, Ernani, involami. Sereni is a great singer as well, though, I think, somewhat underestimated.

Imho, Ernani's quite lucky with its discography, and the music is delightful - the essence of the young Verdi. My two personal favorites are:
Gino Penno, Caterina Mancini, Giuseppe Taddei, Giacomo Vaghi - Fernando Previtali, 1950 and
Mario Del Monaco, Margherita Roberti, Ettore Bastianini, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni - Fernando Previtali, 1960,
though they cannot boast completeness as the one with Bergonzi and Price...
All those audio recordings are true masterpieces of vocal artistry!


I haven’t heard her live

I have: in Manon. And simply cannot recall any emotions. Verdi's operas require great vocal and artistic mastership, which she simply does not have. Verdi's music itself is very real and full of compassion; heroes in his operas are never superficial or dull. Netrebko exploits the same image everywhere. I think operetta would be better for her - she has a pretty mediocre operetta voice, as well as very mediocre vocal technique - what becomes very audible in years. I give her credit for being charming onstage, but that is just the effect of instantaneous presence which disappears as soon as you leave the theatre. Sorry for yapping about Netrebko again, but I can't treat opera just as an entertainment which gives no thoughts at all.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on January 02, 2009, 11:12:57 PM
For once I agree with you.

There is nothing wrong with disagreements. Otherwise this forum will be quite dull.
I am glad that you agree with me about something, but here unfortunately our agreement ends…  ;)



I have: in Manon. And simply cannot recall any emotions.

I didn’t see Netrebko live in Manon, but I have her Berlin performance of Manon in the recently released DG DVD. I am not saying that she is the best Manon there is, she is definitely not (On DVD I prefer both Dessay and Fleming). I agree that her diction and coloratura are not perfect. But for me it is not all black and white. I really enjoyed her singing, and it is combined with a strong stage charisma - she is an excellent actress.

She is returning now to the stage after a half-year pause to sing Lucia. It seems that Peter Gelb is the most amateurish General Manager of the Met ever, employing such a ‘mediocre’ singer for a leading role at a major house like the Met, and I will not comment in this aspect about the people who run the ROH, the Vienna State Opera the Berlin Opera etc. ...  ::)

In another thread you wrote, “I wouldn't compare anyone to Callas”. I definitely will. She was a great singer, but I don’t like her voice very much, especially in the later recordings, when her voice became shrill and unpleasant for my ears. And while I like her in several recordings like the famous 1953 Tosca, Gioconda, Lucia etc, I don’t particularly care for several other roles of her, like Gilda, Butterfly or Turandot, especially Gilda, where she sounds to me ‘Callas’ and not the innocent young girl she is portraying. For my taste, the best Butterflys are Scotto and Freni; the best Turandot is Dimitrova although the best recording of Turandot is the Mehta with Sutherland and Pavarotti.

And by the way, I really like Renee Fleming. But it wouldn’t be a shock for you. After all, it is expected from someone with an extremely bad taste, isn’t it?  ;)


Netrebko as Manon in Berlin.

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UL15Q13W3SQ/SG6E5HKYwgI/AAAAAAAABiI/B5mbJ2XSBOY/s1600/ec_25083_dcf94bb20ee1fe8c8035d3061b681820.jpg)   

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on January 03, 2009, 12:22:28 AM
The same production was in LA - it has traveled around the world several times.


the best Turandot is Dimitrova although the best recording of Turandot is the Mehta with Sutherland and Pavarotti.

I personally love both the recording with Sutherland and Pavarotti and Dimitrova as a singer, but I wouldn't ever place them as the best Turandot recording and, correspondingly, the best Turandot ever. Dimitrova has a huge voice and at the same time difficulties in the top register - she screams. Maybe it is due to her nature - borderline between a mezzo and a soprano; therefore she was quite good as Amneris and Eboli, but somehow the tessitura of Turandot is a bit too high for her. I say she is the best Abigaille. :P


In another thread you wrote, “I wouldn't compare anyone to Callas”. I definitely will. She was a great singer, but I don’t like her voice very much, especially in the later recordings, when her voice became shrill and unpleasant for my ears. And while I like her in several recordings like the famous 1953 Tosca, Gioconda, Lucia etc, I don’t particularly care for several other roles of her, like Gilda, Butterfly or Turandot, especially Gilda, where she sounds to me ‘Callas’ and not the innocent young girl she is portraying.

I don't claim Callas was the best in every role she portrayed, but certainly I don't hear "shrill and unpleasant voice" in her recordings - rather I hear music.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on January 03, 2009, 12:59:20 AM
I know that this topic is headed 'Verdi'; but it is nice to see traffic on the vocal board. I see Sarastro has started us a new topic on today's singers and I will have a listen to the links he has provided.

In reply to the above, Nilsson supplies most of what I look for in Turandot; I can't get along with Dimitrova's voice. I do find this division between us interesting, where there are different opinions on the same voices. Sutherland I like rather than really go for. It was a stunning voice, but I did not feel she was doing interesting things musically, the word use we have already discussed. But others get all they ever want from her. Oddly Turandot is one exception, where she did use the words and the drama was more intense because of it, plus, her voice surprisingly really suits the part.

See you on the other thread; meanwhile, do let us have some Verdi posts. I have the Abbado Macbeth, I got rid of the Muti as it just seemed to me that Abbado was a little better in each respect. I have the live Callas version from EMI. Are there any other versions in good sound that I really ought to investigate. I am happy to look for a DVD.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on January 03, 2009, 01:57:05 AM
Mike,

I have both the Abbado and Muti Macbeth. From the musical point of view, for my taste they are both excellent, while the EMI London recording is technically better and analytical in relation to the DG La Scala recording.

I also like the Sinopoli Philips recording. Renato Bruson is an outstanding Macbeth but I know that there are people who are allergic to Mara Zampieri’s voice… the sound is excellent.

As for DVDs, there is an Arthaus DVD with almost the same cast as the Philips recording (Sinopoli). The old Glyndebourne production (Arthaus) with Kostas Paskalis and Josephine Barstow is very good but a bit old, so technically it is a bit dated. None of the other DVDs I know for this opera is really outstanding, bus some are quite good, like the Zurich Welser-Most performance with Thomas Hampson. He is not especially connected with Verdi’s music, but he is very good here, although the modern approach of the director, David Pountney, will not be to every ones taste. The Gran Teatre del Liceu production (Opus Arte) with Carlos Alvarez and Maria Guleghina is Ok. The TDK DVD of the Teatro Regio di Palma with Leo Nucci and Sylvie Valayre is less successful. The latest addition – the Met 2008 production (EMI) with Zeljko Lucic and Guleghina was for me a disappointment, therefore I will not recommend it.


Sarastro,

Dimitrova’s Abigaille. I think we should arrange a press conference: another agreement!  :)

It is quite common that different people hear different things in the same performance, because different people are searching for different qualities. But I read a lot about what people think of music. It is quite typical of Callas admirers that they can for example, easily criticize severely other singers because of a “vibrato”. But with Callas they are very forgiving – the very wide vibrato I hear in some of her recordings is ‘an intrinsic part of the interpretation’…
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on January 03, 2009, 02:20:19 AM
I also like the Sinopoli Philips recording. Renato Bruson is an outstanding Macbeth but I know that there are people who are allergic to Mara Zampieri’s voice… the sound is excellent.

I am not allergic to Zampieri's voice, but Sinopli's conducting disappointed me for the first time. I haven't heard any other versions except the Abbado one, the Callas one, and Fischer-Dieskau with Suoliotis, therefore won't suggest anything. Though I heard that Taddei-Gencer recording is outstanding.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on January 03, 2009, 03:11:15 AM
Thanks both, I used to have the Sinopoli recording, I liked Zampieri, but I found the conducting had too many gear changes, it was not organic.

I saw the Glyndebourne production many years ago on TV. I can't help thinking that Barstow needed to be seen in the flesh. I sang in chorus with her and she was magnetic, I thought she was marvelous, but on disc I find too many flaws and the actual voice does not record well. Paskilas I thought to be an under rated singer. I saw him as Iago to Vickers Otello and it was quite a duo.

I also find Hampson a disengaged singer somehow. I caught part of a Macbeth with him in it, I enjoyed it, but I was in a hotel, had to go out, so did not know which production etc. Is this one that seems to use a large box within the stage? If so, I think I may go for it; as I enjoyed the concepts and especially thought the chorus of murderers worked better than I have seen it before, they dressed one up on stage from what I recall.

Fischer Dieskau was a great singer, but I never felt he was idiomatic in Italian opera.

Mike

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on January 03, 2009, 08:09:19 PM
The latest addition – the Met 2008 production (EMI) with Zeljko Lucic and Guleghina...

...is entirely available on youtube. :o Here is the first chunk - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO0end4-P5k - the rest is there as well.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 31, 2009, 05:07:42 AM
I am at present in the middle of a concentrated Verdi listening session, and have started listening to all my Verdi opera recordings in reverse chronological order. In other words, I started with Falstaff and am working backwards until I come to Un Giorno Di Regno, the earliest opera I have in my collection. This is an exercise that will take some time, as I have at present 32 complete sets, including 2 of Otello, 4 of Aida, 2 of Don Carlo, 2 of Un Ballo in Maschera, 3 of La Traviata, 2 of Macbeth and (surprisingly) 2 of Un Giorno di Regno.

First for consideration, then, is Falstaff. I own the first Karajan recording, with Gobbi, Schwarzkopf, Panerai, Barbieri, Moffo and Alva and have never felt the need for another. This is a masterly performance of an endlessly fascinating masterpiece. In fact, every time I see or hear this opera, I am newly amazed at its melodic fecundity, its gay and merry wit, the perfection of the ensembles and the sparkling brilliance of the orchestration. Just as Mozart did with Beumarchais’ Les Noces de Figaro, and with the help of Boito’s masterly distillation of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Verdi transcends his source, giving us a Falstaff closer in character to the fat knight of Henry IV and V. The score abounds with so many felicitous touches that it is impossible to enumerate them all in a short appreciation such as this, but I would point, in particular, to the lovers’ lyrical phrases, “sprinkled like sugar on a tart” (Boito’s words), throughout the score, the magical fairy music in the last Act, wonderfully pre-echoed in Alice’s sepulchral tale of the previous scene, and the marvellous, soaringly lyrical phrase with which Alice mocks one of Falstaff’s silly phrases in the letter he sends to her and Meg. With Ford’s jealousy monologue, we are almost back in the world of Otello, reminding us how closely linked comedy and tragedy are. Then, of course, there is the music for Falstaff himself, a superb characterisation, summed up in his two great monologues, first the famous solo on the subject of honour, and then the one of at the beginning of Act III, where Falstaff, in bitter and pessimistic mood, rails against all those who contributed to his ducking in the Thames, until the mulled wine revives him and, with a massive trill in the orchestra, he declaims, “E il trillo invade il mondo”. That a man in his 80s could come up with such a delightfully fast paced piece is a miracle indeed.

Otello was next on my journey. Two recordings here: Domingo’s first with Scotto and Milnes, conducted by Levine, and Vickers’s first, with Rysanek and Gobbi and conducted by Serafin. Neither performance is perfect in all respects, and both catch the Otellos early in their respective attempts to conquer this greatest of all Verdi tenor roles. However, Vickers’s later CD recording, with Freni and Glossop, is put completely out of court by Karajan’s heinous cut in the Act III ensemble. I would also not want to be without Serafin’s masterly traversal of the score and Gobbi’s superbly insinuating Iago. Rysanek is on an altogether lower level of achievement, which is one of the reasons I plumped for the earliest of Domingo’s Otellos, housing, as it does, one of the most affecting Dedemonas on disc, Renata Scotto. Her voice might not be a natural for the role (Tebaldi would be the yardstick here), but she makes more of it dramatically than any other soprano I know. Turning back to the opera itself, both recordings made me wonder afresh at the fantastic colours Verdi conjures from the orchestra; the storm sequence at the beginning must be the most brilliant in all opera. As in Falstaff, the beauties of this score are too numerous to mention in such a short space of time, but I would direct listeners to the beauty of the love duet in Act I, with its magically ethereal ending, Iago’s terrifying Credo, as chilling a depiction of outright evil as one is ever to encounter in opera, and the compassion with which Verdi traces Otello’s gradual disintegration, particularly in the duet in which Otello unjustly accuses his wife of adultery, and in which he achieves the almost impossible task of making us feel more sympathy for him even than her. This leads to Otello’s great soliloquy "Dio, mi potevi scagliar", begun first in a stifled near- monotone, before broadening into the painfully eloquent melody of "Ma, o pianto, o duol". The last act, opening with Desdemona’s wonderful Willow Song and Ave Maria is a miracle of succinctness and  surely only the hardest heart could remain unmoved by Otello’s final farewell to life as the orchestra overwhelmingly repeats that beautiful phrase from the Act I love duet. Either on disc or in the theatre, the work invariably leaves me absolutely drained.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on January 31, 2009, 06:03:42 AM
As I write I am listening to the Karajan Trovatore with Callas and Di Stefano from the big EMI box set. I have never been able to connect with this tenor. However, the set has theatre coursing through its veins. I also was listening to the first two acts of the later Karajan set with Leontine Price; which I think is better than the reviews indicate. Price was not as pristine as for the earlier Mehta recording and does not do much with the words; but the overall cast is strong, though the dramatic pulse is loose in comparison to the Callas set.

Mind you, it can succeed without the outright blood and guts approach. Giulini produced a performance that made me hear a lot in the opera I had not been aware of. There the pace is somewhat stately, but the drama does accumulate and the piece feels more significant. The set contains one of Plowright's very best performances. She plays with the sinuous melodies as though inventing them.

Falstaff is such a blast. Energy and sly humour coursing through it and such beautiful love music for the young couple. As a teenager, I found it difficult to appreciate the piece initially; as it was not what I was used to with Verdi. Sunny is an epithet I rarely put to his music. Although I enjoy the EMI Karajan, especially his pacing of the quicksilver ensembles; I have a lot of affection for the Solti set with Geraint Evans, who I think has a more suitably 'fat' voice for the part than Gobbi. Solti does not drive the piece, another underrated set perhaps.

Of the Otellos...I have the Serafin, but find the Desdemona a bit of a pill with curdled tone. But it has Vickers who is my favourite exponent of the part and partnered by the best Iago, Gobbi more in his normal territory. The later Karajan set has very strange sound perspectives as well as that mysterious cut. Incidentally, the big EMI box lists this set with Domingo singing Otello, a silly misprint.

I still go back to Toscanini for this piece to get the drama, there also I am not fond of the Desdemona. Another older set that provides a real theatrical experience is Panizza with Martinelli, Rethberg and Tibbett. It is live from the Met 1938, now available on Naxos in good sound for its age, less strident than that on the Toscanini. I got rid of the Pavarotti version; he did not fit my bill at all. I see I have on my shelf, the Solti with Cossutta, Bacquier and Margaret Price. I recall so little about this set, I will have to give it a spin. Oddly though perhaps appropriately, Price is named first on the box! Cossutta's voice appeals, but he seems not to have been given many opportunities by the record companies. I will see how his Moor stands up and falls down.

I have wondered whether the Chung set is any good with Domingo.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 31, 2009, 06:25:04 AM
Well, as you know, Mike, I'm allergic to Solti in Verdi, so don't own any of his Verdi recordings, not even the Aida, which has one of the best casts ever assembled for a recording of the piece.

As for Falstaff, others have criticised Gobbi's voice for not having the "fat" sound one would really want to hear, but I can't say it bothers me unduly, and, like his Iago, his characterisation is a miracle of detail. I also love the rest of the cast, finding Schwarzkopf's high spirits absolutely delectable. That hers is not an Italianate sounding voice bothers me not one whit in this piece; and I also love the lovers of Moffo and Alva.

I haven't heard the Chung version of Otello, but it has received a good press. I don't respond well to Studer though, and this has been another reason for me choosing the earliest of Domingo's assumptions. I agree with you about Rysanek in the Serafin though.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on January 31, 2009, 06:29:06 AM
Ah, yes, that Aida from Solti is a favourite of mine. I forgot to mention that in Falstaff I also have the Toscanini, and the Abbado with Terfel. That is a superb modern version, no weak links. One day you might give it a try.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 31, 2009, 07:03:25 AM
Incidentally, Mike, I have always loved that Karajan/Callas Il Trovatore. Karajan seems to find exactly the right balance between Verdian slancio and lyrical elegance. Di Stefano is over parted to be sure, though he sings a lovely Ah, si ben mio, but the rest of the cast is pretty good, and, as is often the case, much better than the sum of its parts. Callas, though captured a little late for comfort, makes more of Leonora's music than any other soprano I know; and I include Price and Plowright. But to hear what she could achieve in this opera, you really have to hear one of the earlier live broadcasts. I managed to download one from La Scala in 1953, in which her singing is literally breathtaking, even under the rather prosaic baton of Antonino Votto. It was at this performance that Visconti found himself sharing a box with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. He had arrived late and didn't recognise his companion at first, but after Callas had finished singing her Act IV aria, she turned to him, with tears streaming down her face, and said, "that woman is a miracle".

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on January 31, 2009, 07:10:15 AM
The Trovatore has burned itself out. The final half hour really accumulates drama like a rushing train. Karajan manages a propultion that nevertheless never feels like it will spin out of control. I preferred Stefano later in the opera. Callas as always makes you believe what she is singing. I was following the libretto and in the first two acts from the later Karajan version with Price, I could hardly make out any of her words, even following the libretto.

I remember an old version on LP: Schippers, Tucker, Elias. I don't recall who the Leonora was, but I enjoyed that set in my teens. I have never seen it on CD.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 31, 2009, 07:16:59 AM

I remember an old version on LP: Schippers, Tucker, Elias. I don't recall who the Leonora was, but I enjoyed that set in my teens. I have never seen it on CD.

Mike

Are you perhaps mixing up two different recordings? According to my copy of The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera, Tucker and Elias sing on a RCA set conducted by Arturo Basile, and featuring Price's first Leonora. Schippers conducted one with Tucci, Simionato, Corelli and Merrill for EMI.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on January 31, 2009, 07:23:23 AM
I had a google and saw that the Tucker Elias one was with Basile. No doubt I am wrong. Now which one did I have!

Lost in the mists of time.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on January 31, 2009, 11:11:35 PM
I own the first Karajan recording, with Gobbi, Schwarzkopf, Panerai, Barbieri, Moffo and Alva and have never felt the need for another.

And I, on the other hand, will never have enough Falstaff recordings, because with a great masterpiece like this, you will always get new and different insights from different recordings.

The Karajan mono recording with Gobbi is excellent, but I second Mike with his recommendation for Solti’s first recording, which is outstanding in every aspect, and his Fenton and Nanneta – the young Alfredo Kraus and Mirella Freni are my favorites in these roles.

For modern sets, I support again Mike with his recommendation for Abbado recording, but for my taste, even better and cheaper, is Colin Davis second recording on the LSOLive label. This is my favorite among modern sets.

You have mentioned the Chung Otello recording. This is an excellent recording with spectacular sound quality, although not everyone will like the odd Italian pronunciation of the Iago - Sergei Leiferkus – even though he sings very well.

As for Aida recordings – The Solti with Price and Vickers is a must-have for all Price admirers. I have few recordings for this opera (Callas, Tebaldi, Price, Price, Caballe, Freni, Millo) and for my taste no one equals Price in the Solti recording with the beauty of the singing especially in the third act duet ‘La tra foreste vergini’, not even Price herself, in her later recording with Leinsdorf…
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 01, 2009, 06:31:32 AM


The Karajan mono recording with Gobbi is excellent, but I second Mike with his recommendation for Solti’s first recording, which is outstanding in every aspect, and his Fenton and Nanneta – the young Alfredo Kraus and Mirella Freni are my favorites in these roles.
But the first Karajan is actually in pretty good stereo.


As for Aida recordings – The Solti with Price and Vickers is a must-have for all Price admirers. I have few recordings for this opera (Callas, Tebaldi, Price, Price, Caballe, Freni, Millo) and for my taste no one equals Price in the Solti recording with the beauty of the singing especially in the third act duet ‘La tra foreste vergini’, not even Price herself, in her later recording with Leinsdorf…


I agree. Price is superb, though Callas still makes much more of the Nile scene, but I just can't take Solti in Verdi. For me, he never finds that lyric sweep, essential in Verdi, and there in the conducting of Abbado. Muti, Serafin, Giulini and Karajan. I heard him conduct La Traviata at Covent Garden, on the occasion of Angela Gheorghiu's debut in the role, and, if anything, the conducting in this middle period opera was even more unsatisfactory.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on February 01, 2009, 08:08:09 AM
But the first Karajan is actually in pretty good stereo.

Thanks for the correction. I have this recording on vinyl records and haven’t heard it for years. I just remembered it was recorded around the year 1955, but one should not rely solely on his deteriorating memory…  :'(

Anyway, it is a good opportunity to buy it again on CDs, especially when it is so cheap now (MDT price is £5.53…).
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 01, 2009, 01:47:08 PM
Yes, the Colin Davis LSO version of Falstaff is indeed excellent. Recorded live, it has that immediacy and fizz that is difficult to replicate in the studio. However, I find the Falstaff does not imprint himself on me; so I am not quite as fond of it as I otherwise would be.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on February 01, 2009, 01:58:14 PM
Callas still makes much more of the Nile scene

Where? There are at least 4 Aida's with Callas. I heard the Serafin version with Tucker and Barbieri, which was fine, but not particularly gripping. I was said that the live performance from Mexico with del Monaco, Taddei and Dominguez was the landmark. This landmark is available on Amazon.

As for Price, I do not contest her sublime rendition of Aida, but am just curious if her being black played any role at all.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 01, 2009, 02:15:34 PM
Do you mean because she was black we might think she is more suitable to the part of an Ethiopian? Not exactly relevent to me when I am listening to CDs.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on February 01, 2009, 02:45:35 PM
Well, some people do believe that the Ethiopians are black. It's funny, but many people do like a good image, or just cute aura around it. I heard a story about a Callas fan, who died, and the person who took care of his collection found many recordings, sometimes doubled and tripled, i.e. same recordings recurred two or three times. There were recitals...literally, everything that was issued with Callas. But none of the boxes were unpacked. 8) 8) 8) A nice illustration to the person who loves just the image, not the singing. Pretty much the same trend is about Netrebko's fans...but anyway, it is off topic. So yeah, I was just curious if there were people who might think Price is more suitable to the part because she was black.

Not to be off topic, I suggest to discuss Caballe's Aida, 1974. I do not always like Caballe, but her rendition is so tender and deep in this recording. I wonder if she was particularly inspired in 1974 - all her recordings from that time are simply fantastic: Norma from the Orange festival, I Masnadieri, Il Corsaro (1975), I vespri siciliani. Back to Aida, their pianos in final duet with Domingo simply dissolve in the air when you listen to them.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on February 01, 2009, 03:43:06 PM
but her rendition is so tender and deep in this recording.

As opposed to Nilsson, whose Aida is heroic and strong-willed. Nilsson sounds even dangerous in a way, she pierces Radames' heart with her voice. 0:) I think other good Aida's are Milanov and Tebaldi; Freni, Ricciarelli, Gallardo-Domâs (just a recent discovery), even Caniglia on my taste are not as good. As for Amneris, my personal favorite is Simionato, and for Radames - Bergonzi, though many people like to accuse him of being not passionate enough for the role.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 02, 2009, 06:12:49 AM
Where? There are at least 4 Aida's with Callas. I heard the Serafin version with Tucker and Barbieri, which was fine, but not particularly gripping. I was said that the live performance from Mexico with del Monaco, Taddei and Dominguez was the landmark. This landmark is available on Amazon.



I have three of them. From Mexico with Del Monaco, Taddei and Dominquez. I'd hardly call this a landmark performance. It is undeniably exciting (and it does have that incredible Eb at the end of the Triumphal Scene http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=PsHNcK27X4Q (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=PsHNcK27X4Q)), but too much of the singing is competitive in the extreme, as if they were all trying to outdo each other. Indeed Del Monaco hurls out his farewell to the earth with such vehemence, that Callas has no option other than to follow suit and do the same.
I also have the Covent Garden performance, conducted by Barbirolli, with Simionato, Baum and Jess Walters. This is much better, and much subtler, though, even here, Callas never convinces me that Aida was the right role for her.
By 1955, when she came to record it for EMI, it was no longer in her repertoire, and she is in much more precarious voice, but I have never heard the Nile Scene, particularly the duet with Gobbi, sound so searingly dramatic. Callas's singing of Oh patria, patria quanto mi costi is agonisingly moving, and she is superbly aided here by Serafin's conducting, as he builds those sobbing violin phrases to the climax.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on February 02, 2009, 09:38:28 AM
I should re-listen to this recording again. Yet, I'd like to hear (if any) opinions on Caballe. In the opera Radames calls Aida "dolce, celeste", and I think Caballe's singing in this particular recording has the most of the two.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 02, 2009, 10:32:45 AM
I should re-listen to this recording again. Yet, I'd like to hear (if any) opinions on Caballe. In the opera Radames calls Aida "dolce, celeste", and I think Caballe's singing in this particular recording has the most of the two.

Caballe is indeed all that you say, and for many this Muti recording would be a first choice for Aida. In fact, this is the recording I would always recommend as the safest bet, when I worked in a record shop. I'm not sure that she is the all round Aida though. There are times, as there often are with Caballe, where I feel she lays out the voice for admiring display, making sure we hear plenty of those fabulous pianissimi, even when they are not called for in the score. But dolce and celeste definitely.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Sarastro on February 02, 2009, 06:47:07 PM
There are times, as there often are with Caballe, where I feel she lays out the voice for admiring display, making sure we hear plenty of those fabulous pianissimi, even when they are not called for in the score.

This is very true. I can't disagree here, although I honestly miss this habit of some singers of the past to "lay out the voice for admiring display". I know that is very controversial, but I think that when they enjoy their singing, we will enjoy it as well.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: T-C on February 03, 2009, 02:25:39 AM
Although as I have written before, I have a special affection for L. Price rendition of the title role in the Solti recording, my first recommendation for an Aida recording is the Muti with Caballe. This was one of the first opera recordings I bought, so maybe there is some nostalgia in this choice. I think it is a wonderful recording from every point of view, musical and technical.

If I am not wrong, Domingo recorded Radames in studio four times (Leinsdorf, Muti, Abbado and Levine), but I think that his performance with Muti is the best of the four, although, for my taste, his best Celeste Aida is included in his wonderful opera arias CD that he recorded in the beginning of the eighties with the L.A. Philharmonic and Carlo Maria Guilini. 
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 03, 2009, 08:58:28 AM
As we seem to be discussing Aida at the moment, let me then go on to a short appraisal of the opera itself, as I did with Falstaff and Otello. I have four recordings in my collection (Freni/Carreras/Baltsa/Cappuccilli/Karajan; Callas/Tucker/Barbieri/Gobbi/Serafin; Callas/Baum/Simionato/Walters/Barbirolli; and Callas/Del Monaco/Dominguez/Taddei/De Fabritiis), though I have heard many more, and seen it in the theatre quite a few times.
Let me say straight away that of all Verdi’s masterpieces, I find Aida the least moving and involving; it is an opera I have come to admire, rather than to love, and I can never quite put my finger on the reason. Though it has come to be regarded as the quintessential grand opera, this has more to do with one scene (the epic Triumphal Scene), than the rest of the opera, which is often on quite an intimate scale, with many moments of repose, exquisitely scored. Part of its miracle is that Verdi has created his own Egyptian sound world, without once using anything specifically Egyptian. Can anyone imagine anything more evocative of a hot, shimmering moonlit night than the prelude to Act III? This is one of a thousand felicitous touches, in a score that teams with arrestingly original touches.
But, however well sung, I often find the characters somewhat two dimensional, and this could be the reason I respond less to this opera than to many of Verdi’s others. Callas is, as usual, an exception to this rule, but the role confounds even her dramatic gifts, and at no time in her career did she sound as comfortable in it as she did in, say, that of Violetta or even Gilda. That said, the Nile Scene, once past a somewhat bumpy O patria mia, bristles with drama, especially in the studio recording, where she is immeasurably helped by Gobbi’s Amonasro and Serafin’s masterful conducting. I have never heard those sobbing violin phrases at the end of their duet sound as eloquently moving as they do here. Karajan, too, has a marvellous feel for the score, and is more outwardly dramatic here than he was in his earlier recording with Tebaldi. The voices might be thought to be a little lightweight for their task, but, for my part, I tend to prefer this to the barnstorming approach we often get. Indeed Baltsa makes more of Amneris than most mezzos. For once she sounds like a young Princess, a believable rival to Aida, spoiled and used to getting her own way, and genuinely repentant by the end. Radames was of course too heavy a role for Carreras, as Aida was for Freni, but both sing intelligently, and the lyricism of much of their singing is very welcome.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on February 03, 2009, 01:23:56 PM
Nice to have access to the old forum, her is my post from 2006 on Aida. I still go along with my initial thoughts. I cannot really agree that the piece is insufficiently moving; I think it is extremely successful in its blend of public and private events, the core of the private being The Nile Scene. TL, we were discussing it betwen us even then!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This piece acts as a hinge between the revised Don Carlos and the final written-through scores of Otello and Falstaff. Long past the galley years, Verdi was by this time picking and choosing carefully. A commission to write an opera for the opening of the Suez Canal was not an everyday kind of request. Being premiered in the Cairo Opera house, well…what sort of plot would it be other than an evocation of ancient Egypt?

Someone recently posted an item here suggesting that apart from Wagner, all other opera is not greatly damaged by being accompanied by the piano. Well, here the brass plays a vital role in setting up the hieratic scenes which interweave with the intimate scenes. This turning from public spectacle to private interaction is such a strength of Verdi’s. He was careful to ensure the characters do not get swamped by the spectacle. Verdi also evokes the hot desert nights wonderfully and the ballet music is exotic with use of flutes.

It is the grandest of grand operas: difficult to bring off due to the sheer expense of mounting it. I read recently about a production where the triumph scene was reduced to back projection of troops marching about. When it gets to this kind of paucity you might as well just do it as a concert. The last time I saw it, a travelling East European company had cardboard sets that not merely wobbled, but in the final tomb scene, fell on the tenor who had to spend the final 10 minutes holding a piece of scenery upright. I assume this kind of first aid was in his contract.

There is also the famous Video production with Pavarotti and Chiara standing 30 feet apart on a vast stage looking like two immobile stuffed armchairs.  Even their size they were overwhelmed by the scale of the sets. I can recommend this DVD, it has believable looking lovers in good sets in a small theatre.
 http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B00005QJGB.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg
No famous singers, but for once Zefferelli takes an absolutely appropriate approach.

Although I have seen it live several times, never with singers who were up to it. For many years I have been wedded to my Solti recording with Leontine Price and Jon Vickers. I have Mehta, but it is the singing of Nilsson and Corelli that keep me with it, Mehta’s approach is pedestrian.

I have just got hold of the Chandos version in English. What prompted me was the memory of the crit that suggested that this recording should be renamed ‘Amneris’.

It all works very well, I will get to Amneris, but to me what I most enjoyed was the sheer spectacular sound, the pacing of the opera by David Perry and the dramatic thrust so well supported by the Philharmonia. But…in English? It is a very singable translation and not for a moment does it reduce Verdi to an echo of Gilbert and Sullivan; as did the Un Ballo translation.

But we are still nowhere without the singers. The Aida is Jane Eglen, she sounds wonderful, a big voice, but not a vulnerable approach, passionate yes, but she sounds unlikely to be in fear from any Amneris. So, to my reason for buying the set, Rosalind Plowright in her second career. She is terrific, the voice is a bit unwieldy occasionally, but although less lovely and individual than when she was a soprano, it is potent and she sings off the words, more than an implacably jealous woman, it is a very rounded character and she equals Rita Gorr in her cursing of the Priests, (a little habit Verdi wrote into scores at every opportunity.)

The tenor is Dennis O’Neill, it is an honourable attempt, it works within its own terms, but let’s not kid ourselves, he is not a Bjoerling or Corelli. The voice still rings out well at the top, but below that he sounds a bit dry. The Ramfis is first rate, what a beautiful and powerful voice Alastair Miles has. Amonastro is sung by Gregory Yurisch, he sounds like a native English speaker, he sings dramatically, but the top of the range is a little strained.

One litmus paper test for any performance is the Nile Scene, Aida alone, then confronted by her father, persuaded by her lover and then…the betrayal. It sweeps along well without quite the energy Solti encourages. In it Eaglan sounds passionate, but not in real fear as does Callas, Caballe or Price. Yurisch does better than Robert Merrill in the drama, but Merrill had the superior voice.

So, greater than the sum of its parts, but not a first recommendation. I enjoyed it a lot and will enjoy it again; soon.

I am not about to try to change anyone's mind. I have never heard the Muti, but I have Caballe singing the main arias on a recital and I should think she was made for the part. I used to own the EMI Karajan with Freni, I could not stand the sound picture which submerges the singers as though they were merely other competing instruments.
I have exerpts from Perlea on RCA with Bjoerling who is terrific and Zilanov who does not sound like any kind of Aida to me, even though she gets round all the notes. Barbieri is idiomatic, but not melting in the way Baltsa is.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 03, 2009, 04:25:15 PM
Mike, thanks for that. I do love the music in Aida, and can't quite explain why I never find Aida's plight as moving as Otello's or Violetta's, Simon Boccanegra's or Don Carlo's. I suppose we all have our blind spots. I know you have one with La Traviata, which I find possibly the most moving of all Verdi's operas. However, I wouldn't want anyone to think I don't enjoy Aida immensely. I do. Except perhaps at the recent revival of the Zandra Rhodes designed ENO production, which was an absolute disgrace and boring in the extreme. Up until then, I wouldn't have believed it possible to make Aida boring. My 19 year old niece wanted to give opera a try, and chose to go to this, so I went with her. Unfortunately I think it put her off opera for good. The fault certainly doesn't lie with Verdi.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Anne on February 03, 2009, 11:47:34 PM
The tomb scene in Aida is memorable for me.  Pavarotti introduced me to opera and I was firmly convinced that he was THE tenor par excellence; no Domingos need apply.  That tomb scene grabbed and as usual when I find some music that is gorgeous, I can play it again and again and not get tired of it.  Such was the case with the tomb scene where that music just makes me weak in the knees. 

As it happened I had recordings of both Pavarotti and Domingo for this.  After repeated listenings I had to admit that Domingo was better in this scene than Pavarotti.  This was an absolute first for me.  I couldn't deny it - my hero came in second.  They can trash him to the second coming and I will still champion him.  I think you could call me a fan for the first time in my life.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 15, 2009, 12:01:15 PM
Haven't had time to contribute much more on my recent Verdi listening marathon - too busy listening to the music, but wanted to say that I finally got a recording of Alzira (Cotrubas/Araiza/Bruson/Gardelli) and found it far from the dud that it is often thought to be. Sure, it strictly follows the conventional forms of the day, and for that reason alone, probably betrays the speed with which the opera was written, but it does contain some terrific music, and Verdi writes most sympathetically for his heroine Alzira. No masterpiece certainly, but not to be written off as easily as it often is.

I also listened to La Battaglia di Legnano again today (Ricciarelli/Carreras/Manuguerra/Ghiuselev/Gardelli) and this really does have some splendid music in it. The orchestral writing is particularly felicitous, and there is no mistaking Verdi's voice here (it immediately preceded Luisa Miller, after all). Ricciarelli sings wonderfully well on this recording. I hardly recognised her. Carreras, too, is splendid, as he was on so many of these early Verdi operas. It is interesting to note how much of Verdi's mature voice can be heard in these early "galley" operas. The great man himself apparently ranked this particular work quite highly amongst the operas that preceded Rigoletto. Highly recommended.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: jlaurson on June 10, 2009, 01:15:06 AM
Premiere of new Aida, Munich, June 8th

Quote
Why did the cheap seats boo Daniele Gatti? Surely his contribution could not to be blamed for the tame failure that was the new production of Aida at the Munich opera. Was he—for the first time conducting at the Bavarian State Opera—to fault for singers who refused to go along clearly indicated tempo changes? Or maybe for not playing the Triumphal March up to brass-blaring expectations? Actually, it was astonishing how much music Gatti got out of the score which, save for a handful absolutely delightful pieces, is a harsh throwback to the trivialities of Nabucco.



Nor were the singers too blame for a grim night at the opera. Sure, Salvatore Licitra (Radamès) can’t act his way out of a bag and looks and moves more like the Michelin Man than a warrior-hero, but his voice has gained a little more heft and his power, even if ever pushed with operatic gusto, nearly cach­­es the lack of ease and precision in the high notes. Kristin Lewis (Aida), who jumped in after Barbara Frittoli didn’t feel like performing the role after all, was visibly and audibly nervous on the big stage. That meant steadiness was lacking, but the ordinary beauty of her amber-hued voice came through and one wanted to like her. And, alone among the cast, at least she tried to act. Christian Van Horn’s King was unmusical in his haphazard approximation of low notes, but like Ekaterina Gubanova’s initially gray mezzo, he improved with time. Ramphis was sung well and routinely by the occasionally booming Giacomo Prestia; Marco Vratogna’s Amonasro was gruff but bearable. Angela Brower, substituting on short notice in the small role of the Priestess, stood out of the lot for her unmannered beauty. (Along with North Carolinian Kenneth Roberson's Messenger, Arizona State educated Brower was the fourth American in this production. Kristin Lewis was born in Little Rock, Van Horn on Long Island.)



If that wasn’t too exciting, Christof Nel managed to undermine what was left with a direction and staging that was mostly insipid for most of the time. Singers walked across Jens Kilian’s almost-minimal set (Bauhaus meets diving platform) in Ilse Welter-Fuchs’ bland-as-linen costumes (gold plateau shoes for the ‘Walk-Like-an-Egyptian’-Disco-Party-King). Monochromism played a dirty trick on the flags of war which were swung with fervor… but white. (That would have been funnier had the story taken place in France.) For three acts, the only really moving element was the continuously operating revolving stage. The ballets were an old fashioned embarrassment, the symbolic displays of violence heavy handed, and the evoked cult of death and human sacrifice culturally off by 8000 miles and 4000 years. The work of “Conceptual consultant” Martina Jochem? The final scene, at least, was touching in principle: Aida opens her veins as she goes into the netherworld with (an apparently absentminded) Radamès; leaving only her blood stains on the bare, finally still-standing, stage. Far too little, far too late for a production so nugatory, it didn’t even deserve the massive booing that ensued.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_fvqDJniJWuw/Si5gMHiGEaI/AAAAAAAAAzk/VXgKrHJfY0k/s400/Aida_Lewis_Act3.JPG)    (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_fvqDJniJWuw/Si5gL46-IJI/AAAAAAAAAzU/vDp6brwsSTo/s400/Aida_Licitra_Lewis.JPG)

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_fvqDJniJWuw/Si5gLrgqx9I/AAAAAAAAAzE/Rq0pouuUKIY/s400/Aida_SecondActFinale.JPG)
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Dana on June 15, 2009, 07:56:24 PM
I've been perusing Harold C. Schonberg's excellent book The Lives of the Great Composers, and ran across this excerpt from a letter Verdi wrote to the director of the premiere of Macbeth -

"I know you are rehearsing Macbeth, and since it is an opera that interests me more than all the others, you will permit me to say a few words about it. They gave the role of Lady Macbeth to [Eugenia] Tadolini, and I am very surprised that she consented to do the part. You know how much I admire Tadolini, and she knows it herself; but in our common interest we should stop and consider. Tadolini has too great qualities for this role. Perhaps you think that is a contradition! Tadolini has a marvellous, brilliant, clear, powerful voice, and for Lady Macbeth I should like a raw, choked, hollow voice. Tadolini's voice has something angelic. Lady Macbeth's voice should have something devilish..."

Is it only me, or does that sound like it's leaning towards expressionism 70 years early?
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on June 16, 2009, 10:31:49 AM
The final line of that passage is well known. It is interesting that he wants to put expression before pure singing. I don't off-hand know of any other 19th cent insistence on an ugly sound in preference to a schooled voice. The part has subsequently been sung by all sorts, Suliotis to Caballe, Zampieri to Callas, Verrett to Bumbry. There are a range of approaches there. Suliotis was recorded when her voice was less than healthy, but the intensions are interesting and I think the critics were too harsh on her, the vocalisation is often ugly, but compelling. Caballe's recording of the main arias is very effective, despite the beauty of her voice. Callas gets all possible shades of expression into it.

It is a very demanding role, I think these days, we take anyone who can get round the notes. Youtube has quite a selection of singers in the part, some near disastrous, gusty and off-pitch, but presumably engaged for the weight of the voice in a role that really needs a combination of agility and a touch of the laser beam.

Mike

 
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 22, 2009, 10:13:16 PM
In a recent thread in the Wagner topic, someone (from the Met I think) has been quoted as saying there are only 11 tenors in the world today who can sing Tristan. Mike said he found it hard to think of 11 post war tenors who had done justice to the role of Otello. Rather than hijack the Wagner topic (Oh how it pains me that Wagner has had 922 posts, and Verdi a mere 61. Even Handel gets 397.), I thought I would discuss here the scarcity of great (or even adequate Otellos). From the last century, the names that readily come to mind are Martinelli, Vinay, Del Monaco, Vickers, Domingo, McCracken, Charles Craig, Cossutta. That is a mere 8. I do not include Pavarotti, as he never sang the role complete and in a staged performance, nor is his recording of the work really satisfactory. And this century? Of the present crop of star tenors, is there one who could do justice to the role? Ben Heppner perhaps.
Will we therefore find performances of Verdi's greatest opera becoming few and far between? Will it become as much a rarity on stage as Bellini's Norma, though, it has to be noted, that these days the latter is played more often than it once was, with any amount of unsuitable sopranos in the leading role. I have mentioned this before, but we seem to be living in something of a golden age for Handel and early music singers, but voices are getting smaller, and there seem to be fewer and fewer singers around who can truly do justice to the works of Verdi.


Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Anne on June 23, 2009, 12:25:12 PM
Guess we could say that Dolora Zajick has job security.    :D   I remember your same remark being made about 10 years ago.  It's too bad.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on June 23, 2009, 12:37:07 PM
It is true, although we may be accused of living in the past, there do not seem to be the kind of solid voices with a good Verdian technique, always excepting the lower male voices. The mezzos are less juicy and reluctant to deploy the chest voice, so we get Azucena-light performances. There are only a very few tenors who cope with the larger roles. The sopranos are often good, but rarely great.

How is Trovatore to be cast? As to Otello, Cura is a controversial exponent, Domingo will not be singing it any more. Looking through the recordings available, many of them live....almost all the modern live versions contain Domingo!

There will always be somebody who will take it on, but there is a real dearth of these voices. I wonder what the future will bring us?

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Drasko on June 24, 2009, 03:25:05 AM
Will we therefore find performances of Verdi's greatest opera becoming few and far between? Will it become as much a rarity on stage as Bellini's Norma, though, it has to be noted, that these days the latter is played more often than it once was, with any amount of unsuitable sopranos in the leading role.

There will always be somebody who will take it on

I think we'll get stuck with those 11 Tristans singing it, how will that sound stylistically I'd rather not think.
But I guess that would still be better than none.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on June 24, 2009, 05:03:45 AM
I think we'll get stuck with those 11 Tristans singing it, how will that sound stylistically I'd rather not think.
But I guess that would still be better than none.

Tristan on Verdi's Veranda? No objections from me because I can't believe that Ian Storey has not been mentioned. His performance in the Barenboim/Chéreau Tristan und Isolde is awesame, both singing and acting. Yes, it was in 2007, he is still very much alive!

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Drasko on June 26, 2009, 05:51:43 AM
Could anyone tell me anything about this disc:

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Operas-Otello-Opera-Guild/dp/B000OGSMAA

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31ZwBURBCRL._SL500_AA200_.jpg)

I presume it's a collection of arias or excerpts from Otello by different singers who at one time or another sung in it at the Met, starting with Francesco Tamagno himself (didn't know he made any recordings). But can't find actual tracklisting anywhere, and what is the quality of transfers?
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 26, 2009, 12:51:15 PM


I presume it's a collection of arias or excerpts from Otello by different singers who at one time or another sung in it at the Met, starting with Francesco Tamagno himself (didn't know he made any recordings). But can't find actual tracklisting anywhere, and what is the quality of transfers?

Can't help you I'm afraid. The only recording I know of Tamagno is a brief excerpt, with piano, of him singing the Esulatate, and I'm assuming it is that which is on the disc. He was already quite old when he recorded it, but there is no denying the power of his voice.

Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Drasko on June 27, 2009, 02:37:49 AM
Can't help you I'm afraid. The only recording I know of Tamagno is a brief excerpt, with piano, of him singing the Esulatate, and I'm assuming it is that which is on the disc. He was already quite old when he recorded it, but there is no denying the power of his voice.

Some googling and youtubing show that Tamagno actually recorded about 15-20 arias in 1903-04, and you're right, he was retired by then and died next year.
There are few of those on youtube, here's Esultate:
http://www.youtube.com/v/mTWPnsOe_B8
Seem to recall reading somewhere that Verdi was actually worried would Tamagno be able to pull off the softer parts of the role. Undeniably powerful voice, but I also really like the way he phrases it with those rolling Rs in Dopo l'armi.
Del Monaco does the same thing in one of live recordings (but strangely not always). Here does:[mp3=200,20,0,left]http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/7/24/2018019/Monaco_Esultate_54.mp3 [/mp3]
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: DarkAngel on June 28, 2009, 10:26:52 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Fk-SrLuEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NG1A5A3RL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Anyone compared the new Gheorghiu "traviata" DVD to her famous older Solti version?
 I have the older one and really like it, seems the main upgrade for new version is having Ramon Vargas play her lover Alfredo (old version had Frank Lopardo)

Overall comparing vocal and visual elements how does it stack up?


BTW my current favorite DVD version is Stratas:
(Also enjoy the Netrebko modern EuroTrash version)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FBLYCRm9L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)



Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: jlaurson on July 06, 2009, 08:43:12 AM


BTW my current favorite DVD version is Stratas.

(Also enjoy the Netrebko modern EuroTrash version)


Incidentally, the latter is my favorite version (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/08/style-instead-of-glamour-in-willy.html). By some measure.
I take it you are using the [hoary and tiresome] epithet "Eurotrash" tongue-in-cheek...

Quote
Style Instead of Glamour in Willy Decker's La Traviata (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/08/style-instead-of-glamour-in-willy.html)

(http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4844/292/1600/Decker_traviata_DVD.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000F39MAQ/goodmusicguide-20)
Few opera recordings – CD or DVD – have
been more looked forward to (or more heavily
promoted) than the famed 2003 Traviata from
Salzburg with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón.
The marketing was carefully devised: first the complete
opera, then the arias and highlights with a preview of
the DVD, and finally, a few months ago, the DVD itself.
The recording was fine but not quite as special as the
event must have been for those who saw it live. DVD
is the second best thing and manages sufficiently to
 convey that sense of occasion... etc.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: DarkAngel on July 06, 2009, 09:41:54 AM
Incidentally, the latter is my favorite version (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/08/style-instead-of-glamour-in-willy.html). By some measure.
I take it you are using the [hoary and tiresome] epithet "Eurotrash" tongue-in-cheek...

Yes just using the opera slang term eurotrash generically to describe modern slick stripped down remake of classic opera.......

The stuffed shirts of the opera world often hate these slick modern versions, but in this case Netrebko and company are magnificent!
Very bold and imaginative stage design that flows wonderfully with the storyline, visually striking and Netrebko is wonderfully animated, bold and sexy, an esential La Traviata DVD

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/214XtwOFxOL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 09:51:25 AM
Very bold and imaginative stage design that flows wonderfully with the storyline, visually striking and Netrebko is wonderfully animated, bold and sexy, an esential La Traviata DVD

She's not the title character, then?  So few consumptives have the energy to be bold & sexy.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: DarkAngel on July 06, 2009, 10:34:27 AM
She's not the title character, then?  So few consumptives have the energy to be bold & sexy.

Well by final act she is on death bed.......but early in opera it is party time 24/7
Sexy, oh yes

Notice how Netrebko plays a modern aggressive women who pushes her man around and takes what she wants, a bolder more powerful Violetta.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWz7Gbalk98 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWz7Gbalk98)
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: jlaurson on July 06, 2009, 10:37:44 AM
Yes just using the opera slang term eurotrash generically to describe modern slick stripped down remake of classic opera.......

The stuffed shirts of the opera world often hate these slick modern versions...

Tell me about it. Among a certain North American opera crowd it seems terribly en vogue (for the last 30 years, at that) to cry "Eurotrash" every time they are confronted with their own ignorance and intellectual laziness. It's either Zeffirelli-style or it's Eurotrash. How dare acting go beyond arm extensions and eye-brow raising. Arggh... gets me every time. Not that there aren't failed and even trashy productions among the plethora of new productions that come out all over Europe (as opposed to the US, where rarely a creative spark in the opera world is ever lit first; they simply recycle 30-year old European ideas). But the indiscriminate and ignorant use of that phrase (seemingly always with some self-satisfied glee of stubborn-roundabout-superiority) when it least applies is what maddens me so. At the very least the phrase should be reserved for unintelligent or completely incomprehensible productions. Not for anything that's "not as I'm used to from public television MET broadcasts 40 years ago".


(Note that I'm not flailing this at you... you just untapped a general rant-genie's bottle.)
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: knight66 on July 06, 2009, 12:30:27 PM
We had some acolyte of AC/DC who was constantly throwing the term around. He would apply it to any Wagner production that was not completely literal. The term seemed to catch on a bit on the site.

No doubt the newish Copenhagen Ring would be well beyond the pale; despite it providing more insights than any remotely traditional effort that I have seen.

Mike
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: jlaurson on July 06, 2009, 01:04:56 PM
We had some acolyte of AC/DC who was constantly throwing the term around. He would apply it to any Wagner production that was not completely literal. The term seemed to catch on a bit on the site.

No doubt the newish Copenhagen Ring would be well beyond the pale; despite it providing more insights than any remotely traditional effort that I have seen.

Mike

...and yet all one would have to do is read Jorge Luis Borges' "Pierre Menard Author of the Quixote (http://www.coldbacon.com/writing/borges-quixote.html)" to understand that the idea of being "true to the composer" is not only incredulously silly, but in fact an insidious lie. Admittedly, Borges doesn't write about opera, but in essence the inability to not interpret. I'm working on editing an interview with the artistic director of the Munich State Opera, in which all these points come up, of course...

Here's a short quote that distills the essence of the argument:

Quote
It is a revelation to compare Menard’s Don Quixote with Cervantes’. The latter, for example, wrote (part one, chapter nine):

. . . truth, whose mother is history, rival of time, depository of deeds, witness of the past, exemplar and adviser to the present, and the future’s counselor. Written in the seventeenth century, written by the “lay genius” Cervantes, this enumeration is a mere rhetorical praise of history. Menard, on the other hand, writes:

. . . truth, whose mother is history, rival of time, depository of deeds, witness of the past, exemplar and adviser to the present, and the future’s counselor.

 

History, the mother of truth: the idea is astounding. Menard, a contemporary of William James, does not define history as an inquiry into reality but as its origin. Historical truth, for him, is not what has happened; it is what we judge to have happened. The final phrases—exemplar and adviser to the present, and the future’s counselor —are brazenly pragmatic.

The contrast in style is also vivid. The archaic style of Menard—quite foreign, after all—suffers from a certain affectation. Not so that of his forerunner, who handles with ease the current Spanish of his time.
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Superhorn on July 15, 2009, 10:46:36 AM
 A lot to chew on here! I don't know where to begin. I love Verdi, but I also love Wagner. I don't think his operas are too long winded at all.
 Yes, it takes patience to appreciate them, but I can't imagine them being any shorter, and to fault them for their length is rather like criticizing great long novels such as War and Peace or Moby Dick for not being short stories.
  Verdi's operas are wonderful, but Wagner's have a certain profundity and emotional power that the Italian's operas, for all their great qualities, just don't have, with the possible exception of Otello.
  I also love the operas of Puccini, Richard Strauss and Janacek, as well as many other operas by many composers. But when I listen to the Ring, I feel transported to another world that Verdi just never reaches. Or Tristan,Meistersinger and Parsifal.
  And cutting Wagner is a bad idea, although I suppose it's sometimes unavoidable given the sheer strain on the singers. It has the ironic effect of actually making them seem longer ,as Arnold Schoenberg pointed out.
  Verdi's early operas can be rather crude and formulaic at times, but they certainly have  their admirable qualities. For me,Macbeth is the most original and interesting of them. But Don Carlo, Otello ,Falstaff and Aida are absolute masterpieces. Wagner's early operas,such as the Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser and Lohengrin,may not be as great as his mature works, but they are in no way formulaic or crude, and they are still great operas,anyway. Rienzi ,which I know from recordings,is immature and influenced by Meyerbeer, but not nearly as bad as many have claimed. It's definitely worth hearing, and certainly not boring.
  But you don't have to love Wagner and sneer at Verdi, or vice-versa.
  The two composers are in no way mutually exclusive.
 
 
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 16, 2009, 08:06:55 AM
In all this talk of modern versus traditional productions, I think we are sometimes losing site of the music. I have no objection to modern productions if they don't go against the music. I haven't seen the Netrebko La Traviata talked about on here, but an aggressive, assertive Violetta would seem to me to be the opposite of the character as portrayed in Verdi's music, and for that reason, I would aver that Stratas, a wonderful actress/singer, hardly given to "arm extension and eyebrow raising", in Zeffirelli's traditional film version, is much closer to what we have in the music. I often feel that many modern producers haven't a musical bone in their bodies, whether they are producing a version which is updated or set in the time the action was originally placed.

An example of an updated production, which worked perfectly, was Jonathan Miller's New York gangster version of Rigoletto. It worked because Miller is a man who understands and loves music. Quite often I have watched productions, where I get the impression that the producer actually hates opera, and I find myself wondering why they ever bothered to produce it in the first place. Graham Vick is someone else who has produced some fine, fresh performances of work, which illuminate, rather than detract from, the music.

I remember reading somewhere what Visconti said about the production of Anna Bolena he did for Callas at La Scala. He said that people thought it was extremely authentic and true to Tudor England, when in fact it was anything but. What he actually produced was a misty Tudor England, seen through the eyes of the Romantics. In other words he never lost sight of the fact that it was a Romantic opera. It also reminds me of what Callas said about performing the same opera. She said that when she knew she was going to be playing the part of Anne Boleyn, she read all sorts of history books about her and researched paintings of the queen, but quickly set them aside, as they had nothing to do with the character of Anna as portrayed by Donizetti. That is what is meant by being true to the composer.




Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Franco on July 16, 2009, 08:18:09 AM
I just borrowed form the library two in the Lamberto Gardelli series of early Verdi operas on Phllips:

I Lombardi (http://amzn.com/B00000410G) and I Masnadieri (http://amzn.com/B00000E3VT)

Most were recorded in the 70s and feature many singers just entering their vocal prime.

These are wonderrful! And I plan on finding as many as I can. 
Title: Re: Verdi Veranda
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 16, 2009, 08:52:58 AM
I just borrowed form the library two in the Lamberto Gardelli series of early Verdi operas on Phllips:

I Lombardi (http://amzn.com/B00000410G) and I Masnadieri (http://amzn.com/B00000E3VT)

Most were recorded in the 70s and feature many singers just entering their vocal prime.

These are wonderrful! And I plan on finding as many as I can. 

I have quite a few of these Philips sets. Ah, what a golden age that was! Can anyone imagine any company embarking on such a series nowadays? Just as well those were better times for the recording industry. Apart from the ones you mention, I also have Un Giorno di regno, Attila, Il Corsaro, La Battagila di Legnano, and Stiffelio, all worth acquiring. I have the Orfeo version of Alzira, again conducted by Gardelli, which is, on balance, the best version of that much maligned, and, it appears to me, underrated opera.

Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on September 27, 2009, 10:30:21 AM
Here is a singer who brings all that is needed to this part. Recently we have had to be grateful for singers either a size too small for the piece, or singers whose tone spreads uncomfortably. Here is someone I have never heard of before, it is excellent singing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riKGpYitPbA&feature=related

Virginia Zeani: a voice of the right size, beautifully produces, dramatic singing with great enunciation.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on September 28, 2009, 02:32:19 AM
Here is someone I have never heard of before, it is excellent singing.


Virginia Zeani: a voice of the right size, beautifully produces, dramatic singing with great enunciation.

Mike

I've heard of her a lot more than I've heard her.  She made few commercial recordings, none of complete operas, AFAIK.  Charlie Handelman's a big fan, and often includes her in his podcasts:  http://handelmania.libsyn.com/?search_string=zeani&search=1 (http://handelmania.libsyn.com/?search_string=zeani&search=1)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Sarastro on September 28, 2009, 07:23:05 AM
none of complete operas, AFAIK

Apparently, you don't know as far. ;D A simple search shows the following:

Virginia Zeani (Singer)     

1950 - 1959:
1954 - Ivan Susanin (Glinka) - Alfredo Simonetto: Virginia Zeani (Antonida)
1956 - La traviata (Verdi) - Angelo Questa: Virginia Zeani (Violetta Valery)
1957 - I Puritani (Bellini) - Francesco Molinari-Pradelli: Virginia Zeani (Elvira)
1957 - Demon (Rubinstein) - Maurizio Arena: Virginia Zeani (Tamara)
1958 - Assassinio nella Cattedrale (Pizzetti) - Ildebrando Pizzetti: Virginia Zeani (Prima Corifea)

1960 - 1969:
1960 - Otello (Rossini) - Fernando Previtali: Virginia Zeani (Desdemona)
1961 - Il piccolo Marat (Mascagni) - Oliviero de Fabritiis: Virginia Zeani (Mariella)
1962 - Maria di Rohan (Donizetti) - Fernando Previtali: Virginia Zeani (Maria)
1962 - Il piccolo Marat (Mascagni) - Ottavio Ziino: Virginia Zeani (Mariella)
1965 - Zelmira (Rossini) - Carlo Franci: Virginia Zeani (Zelmira)
1967 - Alzira (Verdi) - Franco Capuana: Virginia Zeani (Alzira)
1968 - La traviata (Verdi) - Jean Bobescu: Virginia Zeani (Violetta Valery)

1970 - 1979:
1971 - Elisa e Claudio (Mercadante) - Ugo Rapalo: Virginia Zeani (Elisa)
1971 - Werther (Massenet) - Antonino Votto: Virginia Zeani (Charlotte)
1972 - The Consul (Menotti) - Thomas Schippers: Virginia Zeani (Magda Sorel)
1975 - Tosca (Puccini) - Giuseppe Morelli: Virginia Zeani (Floria Tosca)
1977 - Tosca (Puccini) - Cornel Trailescu: Virginia Zeani (Floria Tosca)


Quite a few of those recordings are sold on Amazon.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 28, 2009, 07:38:43 AM
Apparently, you don't know as far. ;D A simple search shows the following:

Virginia Zeani (Singer)     

1950 - 1959:
1954 - Ivan Susanin (Glinka) - Alfredo Simonetto: Virginia Zeani (Antonida)
1956 - La traviata (Verdi) - Angelo Questa: Virginia Zeani (Violetta Valery)
1957 - I Puritani (Bellini) - Francesco Molinari-Pradelli: Virginia Zeani (Elvira)
1957 - Demon (Rubinstein) - Maurizio Arena: Virginia Zeani (Tamara)
1958 - Assassinio nella Cattedrale (Pizzetti) - Ildebrando Pizzetti: Virginia Zeani (Prima Corifea)

1960 - 1969:
1960 - Otello (Rossini) - Fernando Previtali: Virginia Zeani (Desdemona)
1961 - Il piccolo Marat (Mascagni) - Oliviero de Fabritiis: Virginia Zeani (Mariella)
1962 - Maria di Rohan (Donizetti) - Fernando Previtali: Virginia Zeani (Maria)
1962 - Il piccolo Marat (Mascagni) - Ottavio Ziino: Virginia Zeani (Mariella)
1965 - Zelmira (Rossini) - Carlo Franci: Virginia Zeani (Zelmira)
1967 - Alzira (Verdi) - Franco Capuana: Virginia Zeani (Alzira)
1968 - La traviata (Verdi) - Jean Bobescu: Virginia Zeani (Violetta Valery)

1970 - 1979:
1971 - Elisa e Claudio (Mercadante) - Ugo Rapalo: Virginia Zeani (Elisa)
1971 - Werther (Massenet) - Antonino Votto: Virginia Zeani (Charlotte)
1972 - The Consul (Menotti) - Thomas Schippers: Virginia Zeani (Magda Sorel)
1975 - Tosca (Puccini) - Giuseppe Morelli: Virginia Zeani (Floria Tosca)
1977 - Tosca (Puccini) - Cornel Trailescu: Virginia Zeani (Floria Tosca)


Quite a few of those recordings are sold on Amazon.

When Wendell said "commercial", I took it to mean studio recordings. How many of the above were recorded in the studio? Not many, I wager. The only 2 recordings to make it into The Metroplitan Guide to Recorded Opera are a 1959 La Serva Padrona  and the 1977 Tosca, which suggests that the others were not, and are not, as freely available as those of some of her contemporaries. Leyla Gencer is another important singer who made few "commercial" recordings.





Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on September 28, 2009, 07:57:04 AM
When Wendell said "commercial", I took it to mean studio recordings.

Exactly.  And thanks.  I'd even include live recordings, provided the artists know they're being recorded for release and get paid by the record company.

Sarastro missed at least one non-commercial recording that I know of (without even having to search for  :P):  The La Scala world premiere of Dialogues of the Carmelites (in Italian).  Zeani created the role of Blanche.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on September 28, 2009, 09:20:43 AM
Yeah, yeah, yeah......but did anyone like what they heard?

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Maciek on September 28, 2009, 12:18:45 PM
I thought she was fantastic.




(I know next to nothing about Verdi sopranos, though. I'll see where the "related videos" lead to, to make this a more educational experience.)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 28, 2009, 03:19:19 PM
From what I can gather Zeani was a strong verdian (I listened only to what's out there on youtube), but not an illuminating one. Mind you, being labeled a 'strong verdian' is already a passport to a very select company. To push the envelope a bit I listened to her Depuis le jour (Charpentier's Louise), probably one of the toughest assignments for a lirico or lirico spinto. She makes a good show of it - including goodish French pronunciation - but the amorous ecstasy is generalized. It's like her Louise has been married to Julien for 5 years rather than waking up from a night of sexual bliss. Vocally she doesn't exhibit the utmost control this part demands.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on September 28, 2009, 10:17:14 PM
Not an illuminating singer! Could be, I will have to listen to more on Youtube when I get a chance. I was surprised to hear such a great voice and possibly did not look for the detail.

I find Leontine Price can be like that. I love her singing, but then when I compare some of her work, it can seem undercharacterised. A couple of instances, The famous aria from Ernani, that aria basically splits in half with very different emotions being evoked in each. You cannot tell that from Price, though the vocalisation is terrific. As usual, going back to Callas and the journey through the aria becomes very clear. Sutherland also is lacking in detail in the aria.

Again in Verdi, there is the Solti recording with Price and in her duetting with Janet Baker, you hear how much more meaning Baker gets into the words. Sutherland, with Solti in the later Decca has some real expressive moments, but again, the inward detail is not noticeable.

So, Zeani may be a bit generalised, I will listen again, but then, so were some singers we do regard as great.

Mike

Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Sarastro on September 29, 2009, 05:22:35 PM
I'd even include live recordings, provided the artists know they're being recorded for release and get paid by the record company.

Sorry, I took it as commercial for distribution.

What I read about the singers in those times is that many studio performances were recorded the following way: singers sang a performance, then were seated in a bus, driven to a studio and there they sang the entire performance over (oh, maybe that's why some of those performances are so fresh spectacular!). Definitely they did not have a drink and whatever they wanted, as opposed to some Katherine Jenkins who probably spends some time just chilling and "preparing" to record. And I bet some singers would record for free just to become very well-known. Different times...
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 30, 2009, 03:40:20 AM
Not an illuminating singer! Could be, I will have to listen to more on Youtube when I get a chance. I was surprised to hear such a great voice and possibly did not look for the detail.

So, Zeani may be a bit generalised, I will listen again, but then, so were some singers we do regard as great.

Mike


Mike, go for her E strano...Sempre libera (on Youtube). It's really all about the voice, with very little in terms of the ability to convey emotions. The first part of the aria is very slow, very evenly paced, with the voice incredibly full and rich. technically she reminds me a bit of some MPO Celibidache performances. Soon you realise she deliberately chooses means over end. Any expression there is is of the standard kind. In that regard she's no Scotto, let alone Callas. In that very important sense, she does not illuminate the part. Depuis le jour is another instance and, in that particular case, the murderous demands of the aria dominate the performance.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on October 06, 2009, 02:30:44 AM
Here is a singer who brings all that is needed to this part. Recently we have had to be grateful for singers either a size too small for the piece, or singers whose tone spreads uncomfortably. Here is someone I have never heard of before, it is excellent singing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riKGpYitPbA&feature=related

Virginia Zeani: a voice of the right size, beautifully produces, dramatic singing with great enunciation.

Mike

Her wide vibrato, not always on pitch, is really a distraction for me. It sounds more like a challenge to the Divinities du Styx rather than a deeply hurt but resigned young woman.
I guess I'm spoiled by Callas' rendition of this aria.
ZB
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on October 08, 2009, 11:41:28 PM
Yes, though Callas was known to display vibrato in spades on the higher notes.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 23, 2010, 04:45:12 AM
I have just spent the morning listening to Verdi's Stiffelio. What a great opera this is. It immediately pre-dates Rigoletto, so we should maybe not be surprised that it is sucj a masterly work. There are conventional passages, to be sure, but much that is magnificent. I was newly impressed by the finale to Act 1, and from there I was totally enthralled by both the work and the performance (Gardelli's Philips recording). Act 2 opens with a subtly and evocatively scored piece of scene setting, leading into Lina's magnificent aria Ah dagli scanni eterei. Her cabaletta is conventional and four square to be sure, and the short duet with Raffaele that follows is not much better, but with the entrance of Stankar and Stiffelio, we are on to firmer ground, and from here to the end of the act, Verdi is inspired.  And in Act 3 he hardly puts a foot wrong. The scene in which Lina makes her confession to her husband/priest confessor is particularly moving, as too is the short final scene in which Stiffelio publicly forgives his wife for adultery.

The opera's neglect is, I suppose, not that difficult to explain. Nineteenth century Italians no doubt found it hard to understand a piece about a priest who was married, and subsequently forgave his wife for adultery. Verdi reworked the opera, not altogether successfully, into Aroldo, though it achieved no more success in that form. Fortunately the original Stiffelio was rediscovered in the latter part of the last century, when Carreras sang it at Covent Garden in Elijah Moshinsky's wonderful production (once available on video), and the role was subsequently taken up by Domingo.

It is at least as interesting as the earlier Nabucco, Macbeth and Luisa Miller, and a good deal better than Ernani and Attila, which gained popularity much sooner. I recommend it to all lovers of Verdi wholeheartdely.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on January 23, 2010, 08:47:31 AM
I have just spent the morning listening to Verdi's Stiffelio. What a great opera this is.... I recommend it to all lovers of Verdi wholeheartdely.

Strongly seconded.  The Met's revived the opera this season, and it'll be broadcast on their regular Saturday matinee series on January 30th:

Conductor: Plácido Domingo
Lina: Sondra Radvanovsky
Stiffelio: José Cura
Stankar: Andrzej Dobber
Jorg: Phillip Ens
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Guido on February 28, 2010, 06:17:14 PM
I've never heard anything by Verdi other than the Requiem - what is the list of essential operas? The ones that get talked about most as far as I can gather are Falstaff, Othello, Aida, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Don Carlos, Il Trovatore, Nabucco.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on February 28, 2010, 06:30:08 PM
I've never heard anything by Verdi other than the Requiem - what is the list of essential operas? The ones that get talked about most as far as I can gather are Falstaff, Othello, Aida, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Don Carlos, Il Trovatore, Nabucco.

Those are pretty much the essential ones, I suppose.  You might add Macbeth, Simon Boccanegra, Un Ballo in Maschera, and La Forza del Destino.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Drasko on May 10, 2010, 11:20:36 PM
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/38/2/8/066.jpg)

74 CDs plus 863 page book with complete libretti (translations?). Out in June, price around €280 (as listed for pre-orded in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3828066)).

Full Contents (http://www.universalmusic.it/classica/album/?ida=613389&PHPSESSID=5b94fed67707f999c33ff6447c600d53)


Though the price is only €150 here: http://www.discolandmail.com/catalogo-109194.htm
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on May 11, 2010, 02:23:10 AM
Only just found this thread & it's great to meet fellow obsessives!  I don't have all his work yet but want to eventually. Just come back from a week in Barcelona. Found this shop in Carrer dels Tallers.

(http://img543.imageshack.us/img543/5323/img1007x.th.jpg) (http://img543.imageshack.us/i/img1007x.jpg/)

Big mistake.  :D

Not seen so many Verdi CDs in one place before & swear I started hyper-ventilating. Buying from Amazon just isn't the same. Filled in some gaps in my collection & bought editions which I didn't know I wanted until I saw them. I counted 14 different Rigolettos. It was a good thing I had to come home - on my third visit the staff addressed me by name.

Listened to Caballé/Norman/Carreras 'Il corsaro' on the flight home. "Seid" the baritone part is just fabulous Cento leggiadre vergini... is wonderful.




(If anyone knows of a similar shop in UK, please don't tell me about it, my credit card won't stand it!!)


Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: DarkAngel on May 11, 2010, 03:16:42 AM
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/38/2/8/066.jpg)

74 CDs plus 863 page book with complete libretti (translations?). Out in June, price around €280 (as listed for pre-orded in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3828066)).

Full Contents (http://www.universalmusic.it/classica/album/?ida=613389&PHPSESSID=5b94fed67707f999c33ff6447c600d53)


Though the price is only €150 here: http://www.discolandmail.com/catalogo-109194.htm (http://www.discolandmail.com/catalogo-109194.htm)

Looks like a good way to pick up good performances of the early lesser known operas which are not in great supply currently and nowhere near as cheap.......will wait for this to make its appearance at Amazon USA sellers in the future
 
863 page book........that has to be the biggest book ever included in a CD set!  :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Sarastro on May 11, 2010, 09:35:41 PM
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/38/2/8/066.jpg)

74 CDs plus 863 page book with complete libretti (translations?). Out in June, price around €280 (as listed for pre-orded in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3828066)).

Full Contents (http://www.universalmusic.it/classica/album/?ida=613389&PHPSESSID=5b94fed67707f999c33ff6447c600d53)


Though the price is only €150 here: http://www.discolandmail.com/catalogo-109194.htm

How interesting -- this set clearly favors Nucci and Pavarotti! :D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on May 12, 2010, 02:14:41 AM
How interesting -- this set clearly favors Nucci and Pavarotti! :D

Nucci maybe,  Pavarotti gets five (I counted the Requiem, but not the Inno delle Nazione), but Domingo and Bergonzi are right behind him with four apiece.  If they really favored Pavarotti, they could have easily added six to his total with recordings from the Decca catalogue.  Carreras gets the most operas (7), mostly those rarities he recorded with Gardelli.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Franco on May 12, 2010, 04:50:50 AM
(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/38/2/8/066.jpg)

74 CDs plus 863 page book with complete libretti (translations?). Out in June, price around €280 (as listed for pre-orded in Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3828066)).

Full Contents (http://www.universalmusic.it/classica/album/?ida=613389&PHPSESSID=5b94fed67707f999c33ff6447c600d53)


Though the price is only €150 here: http://www.discolandmail.com/catalogo-109194.htm

This will definitely be something I keep my eye on for availablity in the US - I have always wanted to get all the Verdi operas but have bogged down with the early ones that are hard to find, plus to have all the libretti in one book would be a nice addition.

I did not realize that the Phillips, Gardelli operas were part of the Decca catalog, that is another plus, IMO.  I have two or three of those and consider them a good value.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 13, 2010, 12:46:37 AM
This will definitely be something I keep my eye on for availablity in the US - I have always wanted to get all the Verdi operas but have bogged down with the early ones that are hard to find, plus to have all the libretti in one book would be a nice addition.

I did not realize that the Phillips, Gardelli operas were part of the Decca catalog, that is another plus, IMO.  I have two or three of those and consider them a good value.

I've just checked the full contents, and there are unfortunately a few bummers. Take note that Philips never recorded Giovanna d'Arco, so we get a live recording from 1951, with all the problems that usually means (though it does have Tebaldi as Giovanna). There are certainly better recordings around of many of the operas, many of them in Universal's own catalogue, and some of the choices do seem a bit bizarre. I could have made up a much better set than this from Universal's back catalogue. On the other hand, it is very cheap, and might make a good start, but, personally, I'd be inclined to buy one at a time, arguably a better way of getting to know the operas anyway.

Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Franco on May 13, 2010, 02:58:13 AM
I've just checked the full contents, and there are unfortunately a few bummers. Take note that Philips never recorded Giovanna d'Arco, so we get a live recording from 1951, with all the problems that usually means (though it does have Tebaldi as Giovanna). There are certainly better recordings around of many of the operas, many of them in Universal's own catalogue, and some of the choices do seem a bit bizarre. I could have made up a much better set than this from Universal's back catalogue. On the other hand, it is very cheap, and might make a good start, but, personally, I'd be inclined to buy one at a time, arguably a better way of getting to know the operas anyway.

I agree with you, and have already have all of the major works, most with alternate casts, and even some of the early operas, but do not have many of the lesser known works except for a couple of the Phillips/Gardelli recordings.  Before I would buy it I would of course check the contents more thoroughly - still, it is a rather inexpensive way to have all the operas in one handy source.  I've got all the piano-vocal scores and would love to go through them chronologically.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: jlaurson on May 13, 2010, 04:24:05 AM
  I've got all the piano-vocal scores...

you are a sick puppy.  ;D
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Franco on May 13, 2010, 05:00:18 AM
you are a sick puppy.  ;D

LOL - well, they are on CD-ROM.  I also have all the Mozart and Puccini operas.  These CD-ROMs are very reasonably priced at $29.00 I think - and suit my purpose, although not as preferably as a print copy.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: DarkAngel on May 16, 2010, 03:49:55 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OcA9FIy3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
 
Bargain alert!
Don't need another La Traviata but Amazon sellers USA has new Blu Ray for $7.........the full opera!
I placed my order and I already have the older 1994 DVD Gheorghiu performance with Solti, a very good version so I will give her another shot
 
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NG1A5A3RL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: DarkAngel on May 21, 2010, 02:34:29 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OcA9FIy3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
 
Bargain alert!
Don't need another La Traviata but Amazon sellers USA has new Blu Ray for $7.........the full opera!
I placed my order and I already have the older 1994 DVD Gheorghiu performance with Solti, a very good version so I will give her another shot
 
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NG1A5A3RL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

The deal is real.......brand new full length La Traviata Blu Ray for only $7, beautiful picture quality especially the gypsy fortune tellers party scences......but
 
The 1994 DVD with Solti is better, 16 year younger Gheorghiu is in fresher voice, don't really like Ramon Vargas as Voiletta's lover so another reason to go with older DVD
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 09:28:58 AM
I want to get Un ball in maschera box set CD with a full libretto and I can't find one. I've tried contacting sellers on Amazon Marketplace & haven't had any luck.

Does anyone know of a box set which has the little book included?

Thanks
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on August 21, 2010, 10:04:41 AM
I think that this set is likely to have the libretto. I have the original issue, it has it. Although this is a reissue the cost makes it look like there should be a libretto. It is a great performance. Perhaps one of those who reviewed it on Amazon can be contacted via the site and answer your question.

The Amazon Marketplace people have the set at a much more reasonable price.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Un-Ballo-Maschera-Giuseppe/dp/B0000041P1/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282417123&sr=1-6

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 21, 2010, 10:18:26 AM
I want to get Un ball in maschera box set CD with a full libretto and I can't find one. I've tried contacting sellers on Amazon Marketplace & haven't had any luck.

Does anyone know of a box set which has the little book included?

Thanks

Surely most full price issues come with a booklet. I know the Callas Edition sets do, both the studio version at full price (though you can usually pick it up quite cheaply somewhere) and the live La Scala version  of 1957 (generally more lively than its studio counterpart due to the presence of Gianandrea Gavazzeni as conductor). I'm sure these aren't the only sets to include libretti though.

Just checked the Amazon website, and I'm amazed at how few sets seem to be still readily available. Ebay looks like a better bet to me. Both Callas sets are excellent, by the way, but a good stereo alternative would be the Muti with Arroyo, Domingo and Cappucicilli.

Mike is also probably right about the Solti/Pavarotti set having a libretto. Unfortunately, (one of the few areas Mike and I disagree) I can't bear Solti in Verdi. I even prefer the somewhat routine conducting of Votto on the Callas studio set. At least he doesn't impede the natural flow of the music.


Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: DarkAngel on August 21, 2010, 10:25:22 AM
Surely most full price issues come with a booklet. I know the Callas Edition sets do, both the studio version at full price (though you can usually pick it up quite cheaply somewhere) and the live La Scala version  of 1957 (generally more lively than its studio counterpart due to the presence of Gianandrea Gavazzeni as conductor). I'm sure these aren't the only sets to include libretti though.

When buying used opera CD sets from large vendors not specializing in classical.......beware
 
I can't tell you how common it is to buy used opera CD set at Amazon listed as like new or very good and get shipped a set with no slip cover or booklet......many large sellers do not realize that those items are missing and you have the hassle of trying to return for a refund of your purchase.
 
I look for adds that specifically mention that booklet & slipcover are included before buying.......
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on August 21, 2010, 10:31:52 AM
I bought the opera 'King Roger' and it arrived with no libretto. I wrote to the vendor; he had no idea what a libretto was and once I explained it, he still had no idea. But that was the exception.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 21, 2010, 10:44:48 AM
I've never had Mike's unfortunate experience, but I usually do ask first if it has a libretto. On ebay, people who know about these things will usually state whether a set comes with or without booklet.

Another good place for specialist second hand classical  CDs is http://www.classicalcdexchange.co.uk/  (http://www.classicalcdexchange.co.uk/) This is a British site, and I don't know if they post overseas. Not particularly cheap though.



Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 10:49:49 AM
I think that this set is likely to have the libretto. I have the original issue, it has it. Although this is a reissue the cost makes it look like there should be a libretto. It is a great performance. Perhaps one of those who reviewed it on Amazon can be contacted via the site and answer your question.

The Amazon Marketplace people have the set at a much more reasonable price.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Un-Ballo-Maschera-Giuseppe/dp/B0000041P1/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282417123&sr=1-6

Mike

Thanks for your help Mike.

I would have liked that one but the Marketplace seller I contacted said it doesn't come with libretto.



Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on August 21, 2010, 10:49:56 AM
The Callas set is terrific. As well as the Solti, I like this set, but no libretto. So perhaps it would be utterly ruled out, which would be a shame as the music making is so good.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5183E9ZhuRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 21, 2010, 10:55:58 AM
The Callas set is terrific.

And I note the Callas studio set still seems to be readily available. It comes with full notes and libretto.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 10:59:28 AM
I'm very grateful for everyone's help & suggestions.

I do like my Carreras/Caballé/Wixell version & am only really looking for a libretto so don't mind which version as long as it isn't too expensive.


Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 11:01:50 AM
I've never had Mike's unfortunate experience, but I usually do ask first if it has a libretto. On ebay, people who know about these things will usually state whether a set comes with or without booklet.

Another good place for specialist second hand classical  CDs is http://www.classicalcdexchange.co.uk/  (http://www.classicalcdexchange.co.uk/) This is a British site, and I don't know if they post overseas. Not particularly cheap though.

Thanks Tsaraslondon. Not seen this site before.  :)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 21, 2010, 11:04:37 AM
The Callas set is terrific. As well as the Solti, I like this set, but no libretto. So perhaps it would be utterly ruled out, which would be a shame as the music making is so good.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5183E9ZhuRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Mike
The Solti set did used to sell with a libretto, but I don't know whether they have changed that (i have it, so I am sure that when I bought it 15-20 or so years ago it did). It's not a set I've ever loved myself (though one could do worse).

That said, here is a link to the Italian libretto: http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/Ball0.html (http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/Ball0.html). If you are looking for an English translation, I suppose you could use google translator. If this is good enough, you could just focus on getting the best version you want.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 11:05:01 AM
And I note the Callas studio set still seems to be readily available. It comes with full notes and libretto.

Please could you post a link?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 11:10:53 AM
The Solti set did used to sell with a libretto, but I don't know whether they have changed that (i have it, so I am sure that when I bought it 15-20 or so years ago it did). It's not a set I've ever loved myself (though one could do worse).

That said, here is a link to the Italian libretto: http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/Ball0.html (http://opera.stanford.edu/iu/libretti/Ball0.html). If you are looking for an English translation, I suppose you could use google translator. If this is good enough, you could just focus on getting the best version you want.

Thanks Mike. I really want the little book though. I'm flying to Italy soon & listening to an opera & reading the libretto makes the waiting around bearable, not to mention deterring people who want to tell you their life story.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on August 21, 2010, 11:11:02 AM
Thanks for your help Mike.

I would have liked that one but the Marketplace seller I contacted said it doesn't come with libretto.

Sorry then.....I think the best course may be to try E bay as TL suggests. There is the DG Karajan one that is being sold for about £10 on the Marketplace. Again, perhaps that has a libretto. I like Barstow, but not in Verdi. This was Karajan's last recording I think. However, if it has a libretto, you could get the Leinsdorf as well and have a great performance, an OK one and a libretto for about £20. But then, Callas may be the answer.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 21, 2010, 11:16:50 AM
Thanks Mike. I really want the little book though. I'm flying to Italy soon & listening to an opera & reading the libretto makes the waiting around bearable, not to mention deterring people who want to tell you their life story.

It's Neal (not Mike), but not why I am back! :)

I realized there are multiple Solti versions, so just wanted to be clear I was referring to this one:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61O5SAdz3OL._AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 11:24:44 AM
It's Neal (not Mike), but not why I am back! :)

 :-[ I'm so sorry. I do know what your name is but I was looking at your quote of knight's post & wasn't concentrating.

I realized there are multiple Solti versions, so just wanted to be clear I was referring to this one:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61O5SAdz3OL._AA300_.jpg)

Thanks.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: abidoful on August 21, 2010, 12:08:28 PM
I have never heard a Verdi opera. Opera is for me mainly Mozart--Bellini--Wagner--Tsaikovski---Debussy---Madetoja---Szymanowski--Berg. I guess i could try Verdi also?
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on August 21, 2010, 12:28:18 PM
Do, you may like it. If you do, it means MONEY while you get more and more of it!

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 21, 2010, 12:37:39 PM
I have never heard a Verdi opera. Opera is for me mainly Mozart--Bellini--Wagner--Tchaikovsky---Debussy---Madetoja---Szymanowski--Berg.

I do like some of these composers & I am trying to listen to different operas but Verdi keeps elbowing them to one side.

I guess i could try Verdi also?

His music touches me deeply. Perhaps you could start by watching some YouTube or borrowing from the library.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on August 21, 2010, 09:05:23 PM
His music touches me deeply. Perhaps you could start by watching some YouTube or borrowing from the library.

Good idea!

Verdi can really be approached from different directions. He is completely his own man and took the influences around him and made them his own.

So if you like Wagner, Otello is a wonderful opera that shows some of Wagner's influence (but you never think for a second that this is Wagner). The story is great too, with some beautiful duets and arias (and chorus too). This is probably the Verdi opera I come back to most often.

For an earlier period, closer to Bellini (but already beyond that), I would try Rigoletto or Il Travatore. Both have wonderful tunes and arias.

Alternatively, there are some good compilations out there of choruses, arias, and/or duets. These would give a good cross-section. I hope you give him a try and enjoy his work.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on August 22, 2010, 02:29:12 AM
I ... am only really looking for a libretto so don't mind which version as long as it isn't too expensive.

Callas:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Un-ballo-maschera-Giuseppe/dp/B000002RY4/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282475890&sr=1-10

Solti's earlier recording, with Bergonzi and Nilsson: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Ballo-Maschera-Birgit-Nilsson/dp/B000N4SJHY/ref=sr_1_48?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282476136&sr=1-48

This Teldec recording surely has a libretto, but I've heard it's really bad:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Un-ballo-maschera-Giuseppe/dp/B000000SQY/ref=sr_1_49?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282476201&sr=1-49

Or just get a libretto without a recording, as in this book:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Verdi-Librettos-Giuseppe/dp/0393008525/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282476619&sr=1-1#noop
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 22, 2010, 02:48:05 AM
Callas:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Un-ballo-maschera-Giuseppe/dp/B000002RY4/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282475890&sr=1-10
I think I'll get this one at some stage.

Solti's earlier recording, with Bergonzi and Nilsson: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Ballo-Maschera-Birgit-Nilsson/dp/B000N4SJHY/ref=sr_1_48?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282476136&sr=1-48
Eventually found this & ordered from Marketplace. The words "Libretto Enclosed" on the box in the picture was a clue ...  ::)

This Teldec recording surely has a libretto, but I've heard it's really bad:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Un-ballo-maschera-Giuseppe/dp/B000000SQY/ref=sr_1_49?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1282476201&sr=1-49
Thanks for the tip.

Or just get a libretto without a recording, as in this book:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Verdi-Librettos-Giuseppe/dp/0393008525/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282476619&sr=1-1#noop
Not seen that before! Already put an order in.  Thank you!  :-*
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: abidoful on August 22, 2010, 08:17:23 AM
Good idea!

Verdi can really be approached from different directions. He is completely his own man and took the influences around him and made them his own.

So if you like Wagner, Otello is a wonderful opera that shows some of Wagner's influence (but you never think for a second that this is Wagner). The story is great too, with some beautiful duets and arias (and chorus too). This is probably the Verdi opera I come back to most often.

For an earlier period, closer to Bellini (but already beyond that), I would try Rigoletto or Il Travatore. Both have wonderful tunes and arias.

Alternatively, there are some good compilations out there of choruses, arias, and/or duets. These would give a good cross-section. I hope you give him a try and enjoy his work.
Sospro & Urkneal, thank you guys--- Verdi has been some kind of a blindspot to me. But Nessun Dorma (?) just always gives me shivers, is it Verdi? ::)
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on August 22, 2010, 08:30:27 AM
Sospro & Urkneal, thank you guys--- Verdi has been some kind of a blindspot to me. But Nessun Dorma (?) just always gives me shivers, is it Verdi? ::)

No it's from Turandot by Giacomo Puccini but it's still one of the most amazing pieces of music that's ever been written.  :)

As well as trying some Verdi you could try some Puccini - Tosca, La bohème, Madama Butterfly.
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on September 03, 2010, 11:25:53 PM


   To all Verdi fans:

  First of all thank you so much for keeping this thread alive after all these years and it pleases me to hear that there are newcomers to Verdi (Welcome abidoful  8)!!)

  I just wanted to give you guys a heads up on the following recording of Verdi's Macbeth which "knocked my socks off" last night!!!

 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MSGC6PY7L._SS400_.jpg)

  A very solid performance of what is often considered Verdi's first masterpiece, this one's a keeper! (Well I suppose I do have to return it at some stage  :-[)!

  marvin
 
 
Title: Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on September 04, 2010, 02:20:09 AM

   To all Verdi fans:

  First of all thank you so much for keeping this thread alive after all these years and it pleases me to hear that there are newcomers to Verdi (Welcome abidoful  8)!!)

  I just wanted to give you guys a heads up on the following recording of Verdi's Macbeth which "knocked my socks off" last night!!!

 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MSGC6PY7L._SS400_.jpg)

  A very solid performance of what is often considered Verdi's first masterpiece, this one's a keeper! (Well I suppose I do have to return it at some stage  :-[)!

  marvin
 
 

 :D

I agree with everything you say, I love it.

(mine looks like this but it must be the same recording)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41g-HhA5ngL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

The duet "Due vaticini compiuti or sono" gives me the shivers & I love the way Cossotto (after reading the letter) launches into "Ambizioso spirito tu sei Macbetto", no hesitation at all. And again in "Vieni! t'affretta! accendere"

The whole thing is brilliant & can't find any weak links in it.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on November 20, 2010, 05:26:18 AM
I thought I would provide some comments on the new Colin Davis version of Otello, it is on the live LSO label. I recall reading a few years ago that a similar concert performance was being recorded with Jose Curia. I heard a live relay and Cura, though a controversial vocalist, he came across with plenty of character and feeling.

That 'recording' never surfaced. Instead we have another tenor, himself a substitute given a couple of days notice. He is Simon O'Neill. He sings in Wagner in amongst other places The Met. He has the heft, but I detect little character in either the vocalisation or in the basic voice itself. No doubt the audience was grateful for his appearance and it is normal to make allowances under such circumstances; but for a recording?

He is certainly not bad, but he completely lacks any Italianate quality, there is no savoring of the words. In my library he comes up against strong competition, Vickers principally. But I had much the same complaint on the otherwise outstanding Muti DVD Otello. Why do these trained singers seem so relatively clueless over what to do with the words? Why are we being confronted with such relatively anonymity. It is as though anyone with a high beefy voice is shoved into the part.

Well, that out of the way, everything else seems exceptionally fine and dramatic. The sound picture, the splendid choral contributions, wonderful brass. All the other singers sound inside their parts and sing well, though the Desdemona does provide a couple of obvious wrong notes, one glaring in her Act 3 solo. But it is a warm and sympathetic voice.

But; the real reason to get hold of this is the superb Iago of Gerald Finley. He has not really quite the heft of the standard Verdi baritone. But what an artist. His singing is utterly beautiful, but full of character. The legato is a wonder. He stands in the opposite corner from Tito Gobi who snarls marvelously and is a touchstone Iago in the Serafin version; but it is an equally valid reading of the part and not remotely bland.

I have enjoyed the sheer dramatic sweep and the forward sound. Really, everything is terrific if you can acccept at the centre of the opera the vacuum of an anonymous Otello.

Perhaps sometimes we ought to be able to rename it 'Iago', as Verdi was so tempted to.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Drasko on November 20, 2010, 02:50:04 PM
Thank you for the review, Mike. I was considering that but I think I'll pass. Don't think I could work around a non-entity Otello. Dearth continues.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on November 20, 2010, 03:17:20 PM
Attila is one of Verdi's formulaic, flag waving, patriotic operas that even some of his staunchest fans aren't keen on but I can't help loving it & especially all that masculinity.
This CD has often warmed me up on winter mornings.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HvMhk3W3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


But this came today

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BshLb8kLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Attila: Samuel Ramey
Ezio: Giorgio Zancarnaro
Odabella: Cheryl Studer
Foresto: Kaludi Kaludov
Uldino: Ernesto Gavazzi
Leone: Mario Luperi
Conductor: Riccardo Muti


& have just sat & watched it & can't decide if I need a cold shower or a lie down in a darkened room. There's masculine, there's virile & then there's Samuel Ramey stripped to his navel and singing like a God. You can actually watch his amazing breath control & I've been sitting mesmerised by Ramey's diaphragm. (http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/2250/biggrin2.gif)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snOJHvMy1EI (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snOJHvMy1EI)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feeR6M-hDJY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feeR6M-hDJY)

From the glowering Muti to the wonderful towering set including huge dead horses with legs in the air, giant headless statues, giant sails I've loved every moment. In my opinion, not a weak link anywhere, even the real horses behaved themselves.

I hate curtain calls betwen acts or anything which interrupts the fantasy but at the end of Act1 the audience goes bonkers & for once I didn't mind Ramey & co take a brief bow.


Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on November 20, 2010, 08:56:30 PM
Attila is one of Verdi's formulaic, flag waving, patriotic operas that even some of his staunchest fans aren't keen on but I can't help loving it & especially all that masculinity.
This CD has often warmed me up on winter mornings.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HvMhk3W3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


But this came today

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BshLb8kLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Attila: Samuel Ramey
Ezio: Giorgio Zancarnaro
Odabella: Cheryl Studer
Foresto: Kaludi Kaludov
Uldino: Ernesto Gavazzi
Leone: Mario Luperi
Conductor: Riccardo Muti


& have just sat & watched it & can't decide if I need a cold shower or a lie down in a darkened room. There's masculine, there's virile & then there's Samuel Ramey stripped to his navel and singing like a God. You can actually watch his amazing breath control & I've been sitting mesmerised by Ramey's diaphragm. (http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/2250/biggrin2.gif)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snOJHvMy1EI (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snOJHvMy1EI)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feeR6M-hDJY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feeR6M-hDJY)

From the glowering Muti to the wonderful towering set including huge dead horses with legs in the air, giant headless statues, giant sails I've loved every moment. In my opinion, not a weak link anywhere, even the real horses behaved themselves.

I hate curtain calls betwen acts or anything which interrupts the fantasy but at the end of Act1 the audience goes bonkers & for once I didn't mind Ramey & co take a brief bow.

I have this recording
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514bspiTFmL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
which has not quite the same cast as the DVD (Neil Shicoff is Foresto and Leone is sung by Giorgio Surian, of whom I've never otherwise heard; everyone else is the same).

Quite satisfies my taste for blood and thunder Verdi.

As for Simon O'Neill--this is his Wagner recital
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xsIc1WYpL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) 
which I put in my "nothing to get excited about" category.   Given your description of his Otello, I'll be skipping this:  Iago may be important, but there is a reason Verdi kept the title as  Otello.  My one and only recording is this one, albeit with a different cover:
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512gVSc46JL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I almost saw Vickers perform this role with the Met on tour in Atlanta.  He canceled on the plea of sickness--one of those times when the substitution was announced from the stage at the start of the evening.   As I understood, this was not entirely unexpected: he seems to have had a reputation for avoiding performances.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on November 21, 2010, 12:04:40 AM
I have this recording
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514bspiTFmL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
which has not quite the same cast as the DVD (Neil Shicoff is Foresto and Leone is sung by Giorgio Surian, of whom I've never otherwise heard; everyone else is the same).

Quite satisfies my taste for blood and thunder Verdi.

I'm trying to rein in my spending but I'm tempted.   ::)

Is it live or a studio recording?
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on November 21, 2010, 12:59:03 AM
kishnevi, I also have that Otello. I just cannot get along with Rysanik's gusty voice and slightly parched tone. Also the orchestra is variable, with some poor exposed lower string playing; try the dark linking passage towards the end of track 12 disc 2. Despite those issues, it remains my favourite version. Vickers/Gobbi is hard to beat.

I saw Vickers in the part in London around 1970 and he was marvelous. I had a ticket much later to see him in Peter Grimes, but he cried off that one.

Toscanini comes next, though now the sound is very primitive and he drives even the tender passages. I had the Pavarotti, but he was not temperamentally right for the part. Unfortunately I have a deaf spot for most of Domingo's work, (I do like his Sigmund), so that ruled out a fair few versions. I tried a couple.

Karajan with Vickers has a very odd sound picture and he butchers the ensemble after the ambassador arrives, can't imagine why, it nevertheless gets an occasional whirl, as Vickers is even more intense. I have the other Solti, but chiefly to listen to Margaret Price, who is as good as it gets in that part.

A golden oldie, on Naxos, live from the Met: Martinelli, Rethberg & Tibbet conducted by Panizza in 1938. A wonderful performance in very restricted sound. I got rid of Barbirolli because I can't take the tone McCracken produces, though he knew what to do with the part. I have never heard the Karajan Del Monaco version, but that tenor had a tendency to shout a lot, so his healthy voice became a weapon that he deployed against the other cast members.

What I want is a modern recording with a superb cast and conductor. So, I tried the Davis and will keep it, but the quest goes on. Perhaps I am too picky.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on November 21, 2010, 12:33:34 PM
kishnevi, I also have that Otello. I just cannot get along with Rysanik's gusty voice and slightly parched tone. Also the orchestra is variable, with some poor exposed lower string playing; try the dark linking passage towards the end of track 12 disc 2. Despite those issues, it remains my favourite version. Vickers/Gobbi is hard to beat.

I saw Vickers in the part in London around 1970 and he was marvelous. I had a ticket much later to see him in Peter Grimes, but he cried off that one.

Toscanini comes next, though now the sound is very primitive and he drives even the tender passages. I had the Pavarotti, but he was not temperamentally right for the part. Unfortunately I have a deaf spot for most of Domingo's work, (I do like his Sigmund), so that ruled out a fair few versions. I tried a couple.

Karajan with Vickers has a very odd sound picture and he butchers the ensemble after the ambassador arrives, can't imagine why, it nevertheless gets an occasional whirl, as Vickers is even more intense. I have the other Solti, but chiefly to listen to Margaret Price, who is as good as it gets in that part.

A golden oldie, on Naxos, live from the Met: Martinelli, Rethberg & Tibbet conducted by Panizza in 1938. A wonderful performance in very restricted sound. I got rid of Barbirolli because I can't take the tone McCracken produces, though he knew what to do with the part. I have never heard the Karajan Del Monaco version, but that tenor had a tendency to shout a lot, so his healthy voice became a weapon that he deployed against the other cast members.

What I want is a modern recording with a superb cast and conductor. So, I tried the Davis and will keep it, but the quest goes on. Perhaps I am too picky.

Mike

I'm not a Karajan fan, so I don't buy his recordings, ceteris paribus.   At the very least, it helps keep CD purchases within budget. lets me overspend on other CDs.

I found the performance I saw through the Met database. 
The cast listing was:
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


I remember Milnes's performance, although no one else's, which probably gives you a good idea of how he was in comparison to the rest of the cast, at least as far as acting went.
ETA: Come to think of it,  Cruz-Romo's final scene stands out in my memory as well as Milnes' performance.

And these two perfomances from near that time are available for streaming:

Metropolitan Opera House
September 25, 1978 Broadcast / Telecast


OTELLO {229}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Jon Vickers
Desdemona...............Renata Scotto
Iago....................Cornell MacNeil
Emilia..................Jean Kraft
Cassio..................Raymond Gibbs
Lodovico................James Morris
Montàno.................Robert Goodloe
Roderigo................Andrea Velis
Herald..................Arthur Thompson

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

Metropolitan Opera House
September 24, 1979 Broadcast / Telecast
Opening Night {95}

Anthony A. Bliss, General Director


OTELLO {240}
Giuseppe Verdi--Arrigo Boito

Otello..................Plácido Domingo
Desdemona...............Gilda Cruz-Romo
Iago....................Sherrill Milnes
Emilia..................Shirley Love
Cassio..................Giuliano Ciannella [Debut]
Lodovico................Kurt Moll
Montàno.................John Darrenkamp [Debut]
Roderigo................Charles Anthony
Herald..................Gene Boucher

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


You can access them through the performance entries of the database at the Met's website (search for Otello with an appropriate date range).

I have to confess that in general I like Domingo--I have his Tristan, Parsifal, Don Carlo, Pagliacci and Cavelleria Rusticana, and the new Leoncavallo (I Medici) and have no real complaint with any of them.  So I suspect at some point I will get his Otello.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on November 21, 2010, 02:22:16 PM
Thanks, I will have a look at the streaming, though I really want CDs that I can put onto my iPod.

I only know about half the singers mentioned; not that that suggests any lack of quality in the others.

Today as I have been loading the iPod, one piece I listened through to is Falstaff, the live LSO Davis version. In that I knew only three of the names, but what a superb cast. The word miracle so often comes up in writings about this opera; I can understand the praise heaped onto it. It has been lucky on disc, but nowhere luckier than in this spry, warm and beautifully recorded performance. Such life distilled on papaer and animated by Davis and his terrific team.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on November 21, 2010, 03:01:17 PM
Thanks, I will have a look at the streaming, though I really want CDs that I can put onto my iPod.

I only know about half the singers mentioned; not that that suggests any lack of quality in the others.

Today as I have been loading the iPod, one piece I listened through to is Falstaff, the live LSO Davis version. In that I knew only three of the names, but what a superb cast. The word miracle so often comes up in writings about this opera; I can understand the praise heaped onto it. It has been lucky on disc, but nowhere luckier than in this spry, warm and beautifully recorded performance. Such life distilled on papaer and animated by Davis and his terrific team.

Mike

I don't have the Falstaff, but I have the recordings he made for LSO Live of Fidelio and Benvenuto Cellini.  I like the Berlioz, although I don't have anything to compare it to; the Fidelio is much better than the only other one I have, a golden oldie which includes Jan Peerce among the cast.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on November 21, 2010, 03:16:09 PM
I don't know how I missed out on that Fidelio. I read through all the reviews of it today that are on the LSO site. As a result of all the praise heaped onto it, I have put it into my wish list on Amazon. I have indulded too much this month!

As to the Berlioz, I have his Phillips set. It is an opera that I have never been able to crack. Almost all other Berlioz I really do enjoy, but that one I perhaps need to see to 'get it'. But those opportunities are rare.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on December 31, 2010, 11:18:56 PM
Anyone see Shirley Verrett as Lady Macbeth? These two clips are from the 75/76 season at La Scala? The visuals are a bit unclear but her voice rings out from the full high notes to a very well calibrated chest voice. Abbado's accompaniment is also very fine.

"Nel di della vittoria" (The spoken part is not said by her, unlike Callas.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6wpV4_g84M&feature=related
Sleepwalking Scene
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK0fBaH_gfE&feature=related
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: laredo on January 16, 2011, 11:05:54 AM
Verdi is one of the great ones in Opera repertoire. The best thing he composed was Rigoletto, in particular the magic "Bella Figlia dell'amore", that is  the vocal quartet of the third act.
Anyway Wagner is on another planet.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 29, 2011, 04:42:12 AM
I am somewhat surprised that Simon Boccanegra is skipped so often. I know, libretto may not be the most original and maybe somewhat complicated (though not compared to Il trovatore) but I think that Verdi's magnificent music makes this easily one of the best italian operas of all time. And I have to confess: this, along with Un ballo in maschera, is the only Verdi opera that captured my attention immediately from the very first bar. That string melody in the opening scene is just so divine!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on January 29, 2011, 06:14:16 AM
It is a great opera, but I have always felt the ending is a bit lame. I don't see it as being on the same level as most of the rest of the piece. I go as far as suggesting that it is a problem ending. I suspect that may have hampered its popularity.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on January 29, 2011, 07:57:38 AM
I am somewhat surprised that Simon Boccanegra is skipped so often. I know, libretto may not be the most original and maybe somewhat complicated (though not compared to Il trovatore) but I think that Verdi's magnificent music makes this easily one of the best italian operas of all time. And I have to confess: this, along with Un ballo in maschera, is the only Verdi opera that captured my attention immediately from the very first bar. That string melody in the opening scene is just so divine!

Boccanegra is my favourite opera and I only have to hear the first few notes & I get emotional. (http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/4788/rolleyes1.gif)

On the latest DVD - with Domingo in the role - Antonio Pappano describes the music as sublime, and I agree.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 29, 2011, 11:51:43 AM
Boccanegra is my favourite opera and I only have to hear the first few notes & I get emotional. (http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/4788/rolleyes1.gif)

On the latest DVD - with Domingo in the role - Antonio Pappano describes the music as sublime, and I agree.

I wouldn't say it was his best, but it does contain some of his greatest music. Mike is right about the end being a little lame, but I don't find it half so problematic as the end of Don Carlos, another opera brimming with great music. Indeed I believe the first scene of Act IV to be one of the greatest scenes in all opera. From Philip's magnificent soliloquy Ella giammai m'amo to Eboli's O don fatale, Verdi doesn't put a foot wrong. Both operas were important milestones of the route to Otello, and, for all their imperfections, I find them both a more moving experience than Aida.




Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on January 29, 2011, 01:22:25 PM
I agree there and although Don Carlos is my favourite Versi opera, it has an end that seems to be a truncated anti-climax.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on January 29, 2011, 11:50:57 PM
I wouldn't say it was his best, but it does contain some of his greatest music. Mike is right about the end being a little lame, but I don't find it half so problematic as the end of Don Carlos, another opera brimming with great music. Indeed I believe the first scene of Act IV to be one of the greatest scenes in all opera. From Philip's magnificent soliloquy Ella giammai m'amo to Eboli's O don fatale, Verdi doesn't put a foot wrong. Both operas were important milestones of the route to Otello, and, for all their imperfections, I find them both a more moving experience than Aida.

Therein lies the puzzle. I agree Boccanegra isn't Verdi's best but somehow it's still my favourite.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on January 30, 2011, 12:02:45 AM
I don't see anything wrong with that. Don Carlos is my favourite, but Otello and Falstaff are acknowledged as being his very best works. It revolves around what we individually connect to and that can change over time.

But I love all of them and have multiple versions of them all. Inexhaustable pleasure from any of them. We are very lucky to live at a time when all this can be a credit card and a click away.

Mike

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: sospiro on January 30, 2011, 12:57:34 AM
But I love all of them and have multiple versions of them all. Inexhaustible pleasure from any of them.

and me

We are very lucky to live at a time when all this can be a credit card and a click away.
Mike

Lucky and nearly bankrupt  :D
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Brian on August 11, 2011, 02:05:40 AM
Naxos has recorded a 2CD set of all the ballet music Verdi wrote for his operas. Conductor Jose Serebrier, who apparently had to do some serious digging to find a few of the scores, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Two video clips from the recording sessions at this link (http://www.naxos.com/news/default.asp?op=922&displayMenu=Naxos_News&type=2) - including an excerpt from Verdi's "The Four Seasons"!

It is, of course, lovely music. No surprise there.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 08, 2012, 01:34:12 PM
Every year, I acquire 1-2 Verdi recordings. Last year I got Jerusalem and La Battaglia di Legnano. This year, I was thinking of getting something more from the core that I do not have. But as is often the case, a few operas have harder decisions than others. Any thoughts on sets?

Aida -
Price/Vickers/Solti - Re-issued again quite cheaply. Do I finally take the plunge - cheap enough (Still have the LPs somewhere, so quite familiar with this one)
What else?

Nabucco -
Gobbi/Souliotis/Gardelli
Cappuccilli/Domingo/Nesterenko/Sinopoli

La Forza del Destino (here's a tough one on disc, all with flaws, but I narrowed it down to two)
Price/Domingo/Levine
Tebaldi/del Monaco/Molinari-Pradelli

I have a number of his operas already (Traviata, Travatore, Rigoletto, Otello, etc.). I would also consider replacing my Ballo (Pavarotti/Price/Solti), as I am not thrilled with it, but would lean towards something I don't have first.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on February 08, 2012, 02:01:21 PM
That Nabucco is the very best recording available. Sulotis was young and at her searing best in attacking the fearsome music she is given. Gobbi is terrific in projecting the disintegration of the king. It is terrifically well conducted. What an interesting piece it is. Verdi tapped into an earlier tradition in the ensembles which at some points sound like Opera Seria. But he injects great drama into them. The sound of the recording is very clear and forward.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 08, 2012, 03:28:50 PM
Every year, I acquire 1-2 Verdi recordings. Last year I got Jerusalem and La Battaglia di Legnano. This year, I was thinking of getting something more from the core that I do not have. But as is often the case, a few operas have harder decisions than others. Any thoughts on sets?

Aida -
Price/Vickers/Solti - Re-issued again quite cheaply. Do I finally take the plunge - cheap enough (Still have the LPs somewhere, so quite familiar with this one)
What else?

Nabucco -
Gobbi/Souliotis/Gardelli
Cappuccilli/Domingo/Nesterenko/Sinopoli

La Forza del Destino (here's a tough one on disc, all with flaws, but I narrowed it down to two)
Price/Domingo/Levine
Tebaldi/del Monaco/Molinari-Pradelli

I have a number of his operas already (Traviata, Travatore, Rigoletto, Otello, etc.). I would also consider replacing my Ballo (Pavarotti/Price/Solti), as I am not thrilled with it, but would lean towards something I don't have first.

As Mike has already pointed out, the Gobbi/Souliotis Nabucco is the one to have. Definitely the best thing Souliotis ever did for the gramophone.

I have an antipathy to Solti in Verdi, and much as I love his cast (Price and Vickers in particular). I can't take his bombastic approach to the score. Muti is a safe bet  (Caballe, Domingo, Cossotto, Milnes), but Karajan II is interesting too. His use of more lyrical singers (Freni, Carreras, Muti, Cappuccilli) reminds us that much of the opera is of domestic scenes behind closed doors. If you can take mono sound Callas and Gobbi have never been bettered in the Nile scene and I like Serafin's lyrical yet dramatic conducting in the central Italian tradition (how he makes the violins weep in the section where Aida gives in to her father).

For Forza, I again go to Callas, who makes more of Leonora than any other singer, but of the two you mention, Price and Domingo with Levine would be my choice. That Tebaldi could be a great Leonora is demonstrated by some of the live recordings she appears on, but this one with Moilinari-Pradelli is a bit earthbound.

 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on February 08, 2012, 11:04:51 PM
Verdi tapped into an earlier tradition in the ensembles which at some points sound like Opera Seria. But he injects great drama into them. Mike

Can you explain what you meant by Opera Seria, as opposed to what Verdi in general was composing?
Thanks.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 08, 2012, 11:14:27 PM
Thanks guys. Callas is out for me as I don't like her voice. Forza will stay a conundrum for now I guess. But the Nabucco would nicely fill a hole, so I will keep a look out for a nice price on that set.

The best singing I've ever heard on Aida is actually an old set - Milanov/Bjoerling/Perlea (was on RCA). Perhaps the best singing I have ever heard on any opera. Unfortunately, the orchestra sounds like it is playing in the bathtub, so this cannot be a recommended version from me (unless you already have one in better sound).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on February 09, 2012, 01:57:10 AM
As Mike has already pointed out, the Gobbi/Souliotis Nabucco is the one to have. Definitely the best thing Souliotis ever did for the gramophone.

I have an antipathy to Solti in Verdi, and much as I love his cast (Price and Vickers in particular). I can't take his bombastic approach to the score. Muti is a safe bet  (Caballe, Domingo, Cossotto, Milnes), but Karajan II is interesting too. His use of more lyrical singers (Freni, Carreras, Muti, Cappuccilli) reminds us that much of the opera is of domestic scenes behind closed doors. If you can take mono sound Callas and Gobbi have never been bettered in the Nile scene and I like Serafin's lyrical yet dramatic conducting in the central Italian tradition (how he makes the violins weep in the section where Aida gives in to her father).

For Forza, I again go to Callas, who makes more of Leonora than any other singer, but of the two you mention, Price and Domingo with Levine would be my choice. That Tebaldi could be a great Leonora is demonstrated by some of the live recordings she appears on, but this one with Moilinari-Pradelli is a bit earthbound.

  I agree with Tsaraslondon on the Gobbi/Suliotis Nabucco recording (Vienna Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Gardelli- conductor).  It is a thrilling performance!  I was never a big fan of Verdi's Nabucco, or early Verdi for that matter but this is truly a must have:

 




  Edit: For Aida I have the Karajan (Tebaldi/Bergonzi) recording with the VPO:
 


 They say Tebaldi has the "voice of an angel" so I had to find out for myself- she does! That said, it is taken for granted that Leontyne Price "owned" the role of Aida!

  marvin

 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on February 09, 2012, 04:11:56 AM
Every year, I acquire 1-2 Verdi recordings. Last year I got Jerusalem and La Battaglia di Legnano. This year, I was thinking of getting something more from the core that I do not have. But as is often the case, a few operas have harder decisions than others. Any thoughts on sets?

Aida -
Price/Vickers/Solti - Re-issued again quite cheaply. Do I finally take the plunge - cheap enough (Still have the LPs somewhere, so quite familiar with this one)
What else?

Nabucco -
Gobbi/Souliotis/Gardelli
Cappuccilli/Domingo/Nesterenko/Sinopoli

La Forza del Destino (here's a tough one on disc, all with flaws, but I narrowed it down to two)
Price/Domingo/Levine
Tebaldi/del Monaco/Molinari-Pradelli


For Aida, I like the Muti Tsaraslondon mentions, or Price's second recording, with Domingo, Bumbry, and Milnes, Leinsdorf conducting, on RCA.

For Forza, the Levine, or Gardelli's EMI recording, with Arroyo, Bergonzi, Cappuccilli, and Raimondi.

I'd also be interested in an explanation of that opera seria comment.  Sounds more like grand opera to me.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on February 09, 2012, 11:29:49 AM
Perhaps I will trip myself up on the opera Seria comment. Especially that extraordinary ensemble in the final act where the graven image bites the dust, it seems to me to have shades of Idomeneo or Gluck. The lines pass between a small number of soloists in a hieratic sounding figuration, then it is passed to the chorus. The music swells and there is a climax. The composition is in blocks and formal, but the effect is striking and dramatic.

The Solti Aida is one of the few instances where Tsaras and I always part company; I would never be without it. I don't like the sound mix of Karajan II. He submerges the singers and I think they sound like they are making a bit of an effort to be heard. Baltsa is excellent, I am less taken by the other singers.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 23, 2012, 10:49:44 AM
Can anyone shed any light on this performance?  The only other excerpt I can find on youtube features Agnes Baltas and Norman in the Agnus Dei. I have no idea who the other soloists were, nor the conductor or venue.

Not normally being a fan of Jessye Norman, particularly when she is singing in the soprano register, I must say I found this very impressive indeed. No, nore than impressive, absolutely thrilling. Not only is her singing admirably secure, but response to the text and the dramatic situation is wonderfully vivid and immediate. Fantastic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdG_lTz7zCY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdG_lTz7zCY)





Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Drasko on March 23, 2012, 11:03:01 AM
This is the only mention of Baltsa, Norman and Verdi's Requiem I could find

http://www.jcarreras.de/requiem_r.htm

Norman, Baltsa, Nesterenko & Carreras
Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Munich-- October 9, 1981
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 23, 2012, 11:14:19 AM
This is the only mention of Baltsa, Norman and Verdi's Requiem I could find

http://www.jcarreras.de/requiem_r.htm

Norman, Baltsa, Nesterenko & Carreras
Verdi: Messa da Requiem, Munich-- October 9, 1981

Thanks. Would love to get hold of a recording. I wonder who the conductor was
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Drasko on March 23, 2012, 11:31:23 AM
It seems Muti was the conductor with Bavarian Radio Orchestra/Chorus.

I don't speak German but this site seems to be offering bootlegs of some sort (scroll to the bottom)

http://www.euro-opera.de/Baltsa.html#ANCHOR_v

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 23, 2012, 11:32:21 AM
It seems Muti was the conductor with Bavarian Radio Orchestra/Chorus.

I don't speak German but this site seems to be offering bootlegs of some sort (scroll to the bottom)

http://www.euro-opera.de/Baltsa.html#ANCHOR_v

You are resourecful, Drasko. Thank you
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Drasko on March 23, 2012, 11:37:20 AM
To be clear, I know absolutely nothing about that site, just googled it right now.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on March 24, 2012, 08:48:35 AM
There is an Abbado Verdi Requiem DVD with Margaret Price and Norman is the alto in it and very fine.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on March 24, 2012, 10:50:52 AM
Every year, I acquire 1-2 Verdi recordings. Last year I got Jerusalem and La Battaglia di Legnano. This year, I was thinking of getting something more from the core that I do not have. But as is often the case, a few operas have harder decisions than others. Any thoughts on sets?

Aida -
Price/Vickers/Solti - Re-issued again quite cheaply. Do I finally take the plunge - cheap enough (Still have the LPs somewhere, so quite familiar with this one)
What else?

If I would choose one Verdi recording from my collection, I would pick this Aida. Solti may be a little bombastic, but what passion!
Leontyne Price owns the title role. She is a vocal actress that has no equal here, and I can easily relate to Aida's suffering when she sings. When Tebaldi or Caballé sings, I hear a golden voice, but no Etheopian slave.

However, in the last act, Price is almost overshadowed by Rita Gorr. Every other Amneris I have heard, is a deception after hearing Gorr. This is her role of a lifetime, from her cunning entry to the moment when she sings 'Anatema su voi', at that moment the sky just collapses. The first scene of act 4 is as good as it gets in opera.

Jon Vickers has not recorded that many roles, but he is all the famous for them. His Tristan and Peter Grimes are among the greatest, and his Radamès is as good. I love Domingo's voice, but again, Vickers has all the traits of the Egyptian warrior.

Thanks to Solti and his cast, I am completely gripped by what would be a simple story in other hands.
A treasure!

Nico
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on March 24, 2012, 11:06:36 AM
The Solti is my favourite recording. I keep going back to it. There are some here who find Solti rather toxic. I agree re Vickers; though I think that almost all of his most famous roles have surfaced now. Some live recordings have supplemented the short change he received in the recording studios. I would not go quite all the way with you re Price, though I enjoy her a great deal. I do know just what you mean about Gorr. She does rather pull the temple down in that last act scene.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on March 24, 2012, 11:26:57 AM
I do know just what you mean about Gorr. She does rather pull the temple down in that last act scene.

Mike

It was meant as a figure of speech  :) The way she sings it is so overwhelming, it is as if the sky falls down on my head. To me, it is one of the greatest of all climaxes in opera.

Nico
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on March 24, 2012, 10:36:28 PM
Yea, I am agreeing with you.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 25, 2012, 03:05:39 AM
I guess I need to re-assess the Solti recording. As Mike well knows, though I enjoy the performances of Price and Vickers, I abhor Solti's over loud, emphatic and vulgar conducting of the score. I much prefer the lyricism of a Muti, or Serafin's central conducting on the Callas version, which always seems so unobtrusively right. I listen in vain on other recordings for the way Serafin makes the violins weep in the Nile Scene when Aida finally gives in to her father.

As for Amneris, I remember Gorr as being thrilling and barnstorming, but a little matronly. It is all too easy to forget that Amneris is a young, spoiled princess, driven wild with jealousy. Baltsa gets it just right on the second Karajan recording. Unfortunately the balance in this recording is so wrong. Quiet passages played so quietly that you can hardly hear them and loud sections so loud you can't hear the singers. The orcehstral playing is undeniably beautiful, but I do wish it wasn't brought so insistently into the foreground.


Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 25, 2012, 09:47:13 AM

Not normally being a fan of Jessye Norman, particularly when she is singing in the soprano register, I must say I found this very impressive indeed. No, nore than impressive, absolutely thrilling. Not only is her singing admirably secure, but response to the text and the dramatic situation is wonderfully vivid and immediate. Fantastic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdG_lTz7zCY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdG_lTz7zCY)

Jessye becomes the ancient seer, the Sibyl of the text, as in the frescoes of Michelangelo prophesying the turmoil of the endtime.  I'll dispense with the superlatives and copy part of the Requiem instead:

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.


Day of wrath, that day
Will dissolve the earth in ashes
As testified by David and the Sibyl.


I want to get the recording, seems to be conducted by Abbado, 1982, with the London Symphony.

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on March 25, 2012, 10:26:51 AM
Here is more from that recording: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsEJOPjUYHs

The sound on the transfer onto Youtube is very poor, I suggest it is taken from a VHS live recording of the broadcast. It is fine on the DVD

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EDVJHHVGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

This is a TV recording. I was in the choir for the concert, at the Edinburgh Festival. We performed it twice. In rehearsal Carerras complained that a couple of bum notes were down to orchestral players dropping pencils. Abbado then had to put up with the pitter pat of dropped pencils whenever the tenor looked like he might open his mouth.

Margaret Price is especially good. I think it is a very fine performance, but then I am biased.

So, instead of me burbling on: here is a possibly unbiased review from Amazon:

The live recording when this was broadcast from the Usher Hall at the Edinburgh Festival in 1982 was marred by terrible sound problems. I'm glad to be able to hear it without those glitches. This DVD has good sound for the 1980s. It is preferable to have the sound linked through to a decent hi-fi and speakers for a fuller appreciation. OK it may not match the sound recording qualities of modern performances but I'd rather see an exceptional concert like this one with decent sound than a run of the mill perormance in high quality sound.

The 4 soloists are excellent, the LSO under Abbado were a magnificent orchestra for live performances - their frequent live broadcasts on radio 3 were a highlight of my classical music listening in the 80s. The choral work is intense and raised the hairs on the back of my neck on several occasions.

I believe that "less is more" in all forms of music. I feel privileged to have heard music conducted by Claudio Abbado. He is one of classical musics best ever conductors for letting the music speak for itself and it certainly does that on this performance. If you prefer the conductors signature stamped all over the work and to see the unrestrained ego that some conductors have colouring the composers work you'll maybe be less impressed. But for me, the whole performance is electrifying.

Cannot recommend this enough. Five stars is not enough.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 25, 2012, 01:10:30 PM
But this is not the performance I highlighted and to which ZB was responding. In the one I posted, Jessye Norman is the soprano soloist and Baltsa the mezzo. It appears to have been in Munich in 1981, with Muti conducting. Norman is magnificent in the Libera Me, and I would dearly love to hear the rest of this performance.

The 1982 Edinburgh performance with Abbado conducting has Norman as the mezzo soloist.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on March 25, 2012, 01:48:37 PM
There are two recordings being confused. The latest one that ZB mentioned was 1982 Abbado....so I have highlighted it.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 25, 2012, 01:53:20 PM
There are two recordings being confused. The latest one that ZB mentioned was 1982 Abbado....so I have highlighted it.

Mike

But she was refering to Norman's singing of the Libera me and was mistakenly attributing it to the 1982 Abbado performance, where Norman is the mezzo. Just to be clear, in the 1982 Abbado, Norman takes the mezzo role, and Margaret Price the soprano. The excerpt I highlighted is from a different performance, apparently from 1981 and conducted by Muti, and she is singing the soprano role Baltsa is the mezzo here.



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 26, 2012, 05:26:41 AM
Thanks for clearing up that the Libera Me sung by Jessye Norman was from 1981. I couldn't find it anywhere yesterday but when searching up on Amazon, Norman and Price were both listed as sopranos on the 1982 recording. So I thought, did they give her the last part? But that didn't seem to be logical either.
It must have been such a thrill to sing in the chorus in such a work with great singers and conductor, Mike.

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on March 26, 2012, 08:15:32 AM
Yes, it was and always was great to work for Abbado.. In the 82 Edinburgh performance, Norman sang the Mezzo part throughout.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on October 21, 2012, 09:02:22 AM
I heard Don Carlos for the first time two days ago and I love it! This is the first opera that I watched before first listening the recording, cause it feels like watching film based on a book before reading the book itself. Well, it still didn't bother me much, because orchestra, singers, costumes and set were all superb. I especially grew to love character of Rodrigo, and now I constantly have Carlos's and Rodrigo's beautiful friendship theme playing in my head. When it came for the last time in woodwinds, quietly during his death I was on the verge of bursting to tears. This opera is very underrated and it moved me much more than, say, la Traviata.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on October 21, 2012, 03:20:46 PM
I heard Don Carlos for the first time two days ago and I love it! This is the first opera that I watched before first listening the recording, cause it feels like watching film based on a book before reading the book itself. Well, it still didn't bother me much, because orchestra, singers, costumes and set were all superb. I especially grew to love character of Rodrigo, and now I constantly have Carlos's and Rodrigo's beautiful friendship theme playing in my head. When it came for the last time in woodwinds, quietly during his death I was on the verge of bursting to tears. This opera is very underrated and it moved me much more than, say, la Traviata.

Don Carlo is one of Verdi's very best, although the ending is always somewhat disappointing.
The Rodrigo role seems to be the most difficult to cast on CD: Fischer-Dieskau (Solti Decca)has no Verdi style at all, Milnes (Giulini Emi) is just acceptable, Nucci (Abbado DG) has never had a pleasant voice. Gobbi (Santini EMI) still rules. The opera is so ambitious that no recording can do justice to all aspects of this giant work. The wealth of the music and the quantity of superb pieces make it Verdi's most impressive achievement!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kaergaard on October 21, 2012, 04:17:02 PM
Arthaus Musik published the 1965 performance of Don Carlos with Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The stars making it a classic are James King, Josef Greindl and Martti Tavela The only flaw is Fischer-Dieskau, who really is no Verdian neither singer nor actor, so we put up with his straying from his oeuvre of Liedersinger to the operatic.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 28, 2012, 02:24:39 AM
I am coming to the end of a concentrated spell of Verdi listening, which I started a month or so ago. I have listened to almost all of his operas up until Aida, with only Otello and Falstaff to go, operas I know quite well.

I find it hard to understand those that say they love Verdi but can't abide his early operas, those of his "galley years", as he himself called them. Listening to them chronologically has been an edifying experience, in which one can trace Verdi working towards his first acknowledged masterpiece, Rigoletto. His path and gait may be faltering at times (though often, when he falters, it can be attributed to the circumstances of an opera's composition), but there is a definite sense of the man's development. The seeds of Otello are as surely sown in Oberto as those of Falstaff are evident in Un Giorno di Regno. One thing that shines through for me is the man's humanity, his compassion, his understanding of the human condition. His characters are not gods and heroes, they are real people, who suffer as we do. Even when he writes about kings, they are presented as real people, their frailties exposed (think of King Philip). In this way, Verdi, like Shakespeare, appeals to the universal spirit. It is no surprise to find that his final two operas are both adaptations of Shakespeare's works; two contrasting sides of Shakespeare's personality,as they are of Verdi's.

Most of Verdi's early operas were recorded in the 70s by Philips, with gaps being filled by Orfeo (Oberto and Alzira) and EMI (Giovanna d'Arco). Mostly conducted by the excellent Lamberto Gardelli, whom I once heard conduct a superb Requiem at the RFH, deputising for an ailing Giulini, they featured starry casts, Caballe, Ricciarelli, Domingo, Bergonzi, Carreras, Milnes and Raimondi amongst the singers. Can anyone imagine such a project being taken on today? How lucky we are to have them, for what riches they reveal.



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 30, 2012, 12:40:02 AM
I am coming to the end of a concentrated spell of Verdi listening, which I started a month or so ago. I have listened to almost all of his operas up until Aida, with only Otello and Falstaff to go, operas I know quite well.

I find it hard to understand those that say they love Verdi but can't abide his early operas, those of his "galley years", as he himself called them. Listening to them chronologically has been an edifying experience, in which one can trace Verdi working towards his first acknowledged masterpiece, Rigoletto. His path and gait may be faltering at times (though often, when he falters, it can be attributed to the circumstances of an opera's composition), but there is a definite sense of the man's development. The seeds of Otello are as surely sown in Oberto as those of Falstaff are evident in Un Giorno di Regno. One thing that shines through for me is the man's humanity, his compassion, his understanding of the human condition. His characters are not gods and heroes, they are real people, who suffer as we do. Even when he writes about kings, they are presented as real people, their frailties exposed (think of King Philip). In this way, Verdi, like Shakespeare, appeals to the universal spirit. It is no surprise to find that his final two operas are both adaptations of Shakespeare's works; two contrasting sides of Shakespeare's personality,as they are of Verdi's.

Most of Verdi's early operas were recorded in the 70s by Philips, with gaps being filled by Orfeo (Oberto and Alzira) and EMI (Giovanna d'Arco). Mostly conducted by the excellent Lamberto Gardelli, whom I once heard conduct a superb Requiem at the RFH, deputising for an ailing Giulini, they featured starry casts, Caballe, Ricciarelli, Domingo, Bergonzi, Carreras, Milnes and Raimondi amongst the singers. Can anyone imagine such a project being taken on today? How lucky we are to have them, for what riches they reveal.





  What a wonderful listening project.  I have been known to listen to 2 Verdi operas back-to-back which is a very exhilarating experience. I must confess though that I usually start from the middle period operas (Rigoletto, La Traviata, Il Trovatore). From that period onwards I do have a few of the lesser known oparas (Luisa Miller, I Vespri Siciliani, Simon Boccanegra). I am guilty of ignoring Verdi's earlier operas- I do have Ernani though. Here is my collection:

  Aida
  Don Carlo
  Ernani
  Falstaff
  I Vespri Siciliani
  Il Trovatore
  La Forza del Destino
  La Traviata
  Luisa Miller
  Macbeth
  Nabucco
  Otello
  Rigoletto
  Simon Boccanegra
  Un Ballo in Maschera

  I also have the requiem and the 4 sacred pieces (quattro mezzi sacri)

  Seeing as how you have heard Verdi's entire output, woul you be kind enough to tell me what golden nuggets am I missing?

  Thank you

  marvin
 

 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 30, 2012, 01:35:10 AM
 
  Seeing as how you have heard Verdi's entire output, woul you be kind enough to tell me what golden nuggets am I missing?

  Thank you

  marvin
 

 


Stiffelio, written just before Rigoletto is an absolute must. The Philips recording with Carreras and Sass is excellent, and there are also two DVDs (Carreras at Covent Garden and Domingo at the Met).

I would then take a look at La Battagila di Legno, I Masadieri and I due Foscari, but really all of the others have their moments. Even the much maligned Alzira has moments of great originality, though it is probably one of the weakest. Verdi's second opera Un Giorno di Regno is a delight, heavily influenced by Donizetti of course, but still worth a listen. The old Cetra recording with Bruscantini and Pagliughi is more characterful than the Philips, with its starry line up of Carreras, Cossotto and Norman.

The first volume of Julian Budden's The Operas of Verdi documents all the operas from Oberto to Rigoletto and is an invaluable guide.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: The new erato on October 30, 2012, 02:25:33 AM
I have one Verdi release; this:

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 30, 2012, 05:32:25 AM

Stiffelio, written just before Rigoletto is an absolute must. The Philips recording with Carreras and Sass is excellent, and there are also two DVDs (Carreras at Covent Garden and Domingo at the Met).

I would then take a look at La Battagila di Legno, I Masadieri and I due Foscari, but really all of the others have their moments. Even the much maligned Alzira has moments of great originality, though it is probably one of the weakest. Verdi's second opera Un Giorno di Regno is a delight, heavily influenced by Donizetti of course, but still worth a listen. The old Cetra recording with Bruscantini and Pagliughi is more characterful than the Philips, with its starry line up of Carreras, Cossotto and Norman.

The first volume of Julian Budden's The Operas of Verdi documents all the operas from Oberto to Rigoletto and is an invaluable guide.

  Thank you so much. On your advice I just bought this:

 



 I will venture into the others as per your advice after I have finished listening to Stiffelio.

  marvin

 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 30, 2012, 06:03:41 AM
  Thank you so much. On your advice I just bought this:

 



 I will venture into the others as per your advice after I have finished listening to Stiffelio.

  marvin
That whole series from Philips (early Verdi) is consistently excellent. One more from that series is Il Corsaro (not mentioned earlier by Tsaraslondon). There is also Attila (re-released on EMI with Ramey/Studer).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: The new erato on October 30, 2012, 06:35:58 AM
That whole series from Philips (early Verdi) is consistently excellent. One more from that series is Il Corsaro (not mentioned earlier by Tsaraslondon). There is also Attila (re-released on EMI with Ramey/Studer).
And they are in the box I referred to, which cost me all of 80 Euro's once upon a time on amazon.it.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 30, 2012, 06:45:30 AM
And they are in the box I referred to, which cost me all of 80 Euro's once upon a time on amazon.it.
At 1499.99 on Amazon US, maybe you want to give someone a 'great deal'?!? Say, $999.99? :) You got a great deal, that is for sure! You also got some fantastic performances.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 30, 2012, 02:14:53 PM
I have one Verdi release; this:



  That's quite a release  :)!

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 31, 2012, 01:53:44 AM
  That's quite a release  :)!

  marvin

It's undoubtedly a bargain, but I often wonder about the wisdom of buying all the music of a composer in one go over getting to know it bit by bit. I even preferred to buy The Ring one opera at a time, getting to know each opera in turn; more expensive in the long run, no doubt, but it had the advantage of me being able to spread the cost. The other problem with sets such as these, is that there will always be a few duds and that is certainly the case here. Of the early operas, the Sutherland Ernani is not exactly great, and the Giovanna d'Arco is an old live recording in very poor sound. The Macbeth would be quite a long way down most people's lists, after Abbado, Muti and Sinopoli; the Gardelli I Masnadieri is far superior to the Bonynge included here. And when it comes to the later operas, there is not a single one I would prefer to others in the catalogue. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: The new erato on October 31, 2012, 02:36:15 AM
It's undoubtedly a bargain, but I often wonder about the wisdom of buying all the music of a composer in one go over getting to know it bit by bit.
So do I. But it's actually a question of getting some of it - ever - or not at all. If one's into Verdi (and I'm not a great fan of romantic opera in general) one certainlys need to supplement the major works (and I have a couple of individual sets of Othello and Ballo) - but the great value of sets like these is that they contain some works that one actually never otherwise would own, and even if this part is only around 20% of the set, and you'll like to own them, it all boils to great value (if you manage to snap it up while it's cheap).

But this is the collector in me speaking; more than the music lover/listener. The lover/listener would probably never own the majority of works in the set, my main interests lies elsewhere (even if I certainly recognizes the greatness of Verdi, it's just that there is so little time and one cannot give everything the highest priority....).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 31, 2012, 08:02:35 AM

But this is the collector in me speaking; more than the music lover/listener. The lover/listener would probably never own the majority of works in the set, my main interests lies elsewhere (even if I certainly recognizes the greatness of Verdi, it's just that there is so little time and one cannot give everything the highest priority....).

Ain't that the truth. I know I will get to the end of my life not having heard something great somewhere that someone once recommended to me, but, as you say, there are only so many hours in the end; and if I were to spend all my time listening to music that was new to me, I'd be missing out on re-hearing all those works I've come to know and love.

I guess I'm more of a music lover than a collector, at least these days. Verdi is one of my favourite composers, so it is no surprise that I have almost every one of his operas on CD, and have at least heard the ones I don't have. Berlioz is another of my favourites, though I am by no means a completist. I do however have most of the major works. I love Mahler but I don't have all the symphonies (still no recordings of 3 and 8), and I am still missing a couple of key Beethoven works. That said, I already have over 2000 CDs and a limited amount of room, and spoitify gives me access to a huge library of music without ever having to purchase another CD.



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on October 31, 2012, 02:41:01 PM
That whole series from Philips (early Verdi) is consistently excellent. One more from that series is Il Corsaro (not mentioned earlier by Tsaraslondon). There is also Attila (re-released on EMI with Ramey/Studer).

I have a weak spot for I Due Foscari, on Philips with Cappuccilli, Carreras, Ricciarelli and Ramey.
All Verdi operas have great music, although the early ones can be dramatically weak (certainly Il Corsaro).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 31, 2012, 07:13:39 PM
I have a weak spot for I Due Foscari, on Philips with Cappuccilli, Carreras, Ricciarelli and Ramey.
All Verdi operas have great music, although the early ones can be dramatically weak (certainly Il Corsaro).
Well, he had a lot of trouble finding good librettists. It wasn't until Boito (later in his career) that he really found someone outstanding and with whom he seeemed to work well.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on October 31, 2012, 11:28:17 PM
All Verdi operas have great music, although the early ones can be dramatically weak (certainly Il Corsaro).

Is this the reason that Rigoletto (1851) is supposed to be the landmark for his most developed period? Or the fact that the most popular operas occur after that date? Before Rigoletto there were Nabucco (1842), Ernani (1844) and Macbeth (1847), not anything to sneeze at either, dramatically.  He would have been nearly 30 when working on Nabucco, so he was certainly a mature composer by then.  I understood that Othello (1887) and Falstaff (1893) were as in the case of late Beethoven, encursions into entirely new terrority.

ZB
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on November 01, 2012, 06:10:18 AM
Is this the reason that Rigoletto (1851) is supposed to be the landmark for his most developed period? Or the fact that the most popular operas occur after that date? Before Rigoletto there were Nabucco (1842), Ernani (1844) and Macbeth (1847), not anything to sneeze at either, dramatically.

ZB

In my opinion, from Rigoletto on, all the Verdi operas are absolute masterpieces. I Vespri Siciliani is the only exception.
Of course there are some great works before, Macbeth and Luisa Miller to name two. But even those have some flaws: Macbeth has a weak 3rd act and Luisa's first half is not that superb.
My personal favorites are Aida, Don Carlo, Otello and Rigoletto. But I could never be without Ballo, Forza or even Trovatore with its ridiculous plotline :)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: springrite on November 01, 2012, 06:39:59 AM
Thanks to Tim of GMG I picked up a few more Verdi operas while I was in the US and am starting to listen to them. I have heard most if not all Verdi operas, but about half of them only once and half-heartedly. Now I am giving them the attention they deserve. Maybe being a father now draws me more towards Verdi with all the father-daughter storylines.

Today I listened to Simon Bocanegra attentively. What a magnificent opera, even minus celebrated arias. Maybe I love it because of the lack of those trademark arias. It is more total drama as it should be. A celebrated aria would be more of a distraction in a way.

Last week it was Louisa Miller. Next up: Nabucco.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on November 01, 2012, 08:17:34 AM
And let's not forget, both Wagner and Verdi (or Wagner-Verdi) lovers, that next year is gonna be their 200th anniversary. But I'm sure no-one needs a reminder  ;)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 02, 2012, 02:39:32 AM
Is this the reason that Rigoletto (1851) is supposed to be the landmark for his most developed period? Or the fact that the most popular operas occur after that date? Before Rigoletto there were Nabucco (1842), Ernani (1844) and Macbeth (1847), not anything to sneeze at either, dramatically.  He would have been nearly 30 when working on Nabucco, so he was certainly a mature composer by then.  I understood that Othello (1887) and Falstaff (1893) were as in the case of late Beethoven, encursions into entirely new terrority.

ZB

Surely the days of thinking Verdi's last two operas were a complete change of direction are well over, as are those of thinking Verdi wrote nothing of consequence before Rigoletto. If, as I stated in one of my posts above, one listens to all the operas he wrote in chronological order, one can trace his development from the sub Donizetti style of Oberto and Un Giorno di Regno to the mature genius of Otello and Falstaff. Those steps were faltering, and on occasions he stumbled, but there is a always a sense of him striving towards greater dramatic veracity.

If, in the operas post Rigoletto, his path and gait became ever surer, that is, in part, due to the circumstances of their composition. By the time he wrote Rigoletto he was a man of property and had amassed a considerable fortune. He could, like Rossini, have retired early and never written another note. Fortunately for us he continued to write, but now less and less at the mercy of powerful opera impresarios and star singers, and more able to compose how he wanted, though his power struggles with the censor and also with commissions for the Paris Opera are well documented. By the time he came to write Otello he was one of the most revered men in Italy and was free to compose in the more through composed style he had been striving towards for years. That said, though it is certainly more elastic than it once was, the form of the opera often pays tribute to earlier forms. Otello and Iago's Si pel ciel is surely none other than a clinching cabaletta, a device he used all through his composing career.

I would never for one moment suggest that those early works, the operas of his galley years, are all undiscovered masterpieces. I would, though, argue that they contain the seeds of his genius, and, if one loves Verdi as I do, then how is it possible to ignore them?

"Starting with a technique cruder and more primitive than that of any young composer of comparative stature the provincial from Busseto achieved a refinement of musical craftsmanship and thought that has never been surpassed and rearely equalled. The upward path can be traced in detail from opera to opera, but no amount of foresight could have deduced the end from the beginning. Looking back from the vantage point of 1893 we can discern the seeds of Falstaff even in the most unpromising moments of, say, Il Corsaro. That the mechanical commonplaces of 1848 should have been fanned into such magnificent life forty-five years later is a miracle of regeneration difficult to parallel in the history of music."
Julian Budden, writing in The Operas of Verdi, vol 3



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 06, 2012, 10:18:18 AM
This is a list of my recommendations for all the Verdi operas. Those who know me, know that Callas is always likely to be my first choice in the operas she recorded, but I am aware there are those who have a total antipathy to her voice, so have also listed alternatives. When it comes to the role of Violetta, I don't think any soprano has come anywhere near her achievement, which is why I list no less than three live versions, all of which have their merits. Callas's only studio recording, though it has marginally better sound, is not really in the same class, and the other singers and conducting in all three live versions are much better.

I have stuck with audio only, as I still tend to listen to music more than watch DVDs. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I can let my imagination fill in the stage picture, unfettered by the quirks of some stage director and less distracted by the physical appearance of the singers in question. All the recordings on the list are, or have been at one time, commercially available, so I only list live recordings that have been issued officially (the Callas Covent Garden la Traviata now available on ICA Classics).

•   Oberto – Guleghina, Urmana, Neill, Ramey; Marriner
•   Un Giorno di Regno – Pagliughi, Cozzi, Oncina, Bruscantini, Capecchi; Simonetto
•   Nabucco – Suliotis, Carrall, Prevedi, Gobbi, Cava; Gardelli
•   I Lombardi – Deutekom, Domingo, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Ernani – Price, Bergonzi , Sereni, Flagello; Schippers
•   I Due Foscari – Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey; Gardelli
•   Giovanna d’Arco – Caballe, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
•   Alzira – Cotrubas, Araiza, Bruson; Gardelli
•   Attila – Deutekom, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Macbeth – Verrett, Domingo, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Abbado, but also Callas, Penno, Mascherini, Tajo; De Sabata
•   I Masnadieri – Caballe, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Jersualem –Mescheriakova, Giordani, Scandiuzzi; Luisi
•   Il Corsaro – Caballe, Norman, Carreras, Mastromei; Gardelli
•   La Battagalia di Legnano – Ricciarelli, Carreras, Manugerra, Ghiuselev; Gardelli
•   Luisa Miller – Moffo, Verrett, Bergonzi, MacNeil, Tozzi; Cleva or Caballe, Reynolds, Pavarotti, Milnes, Giaotti; Maag
•   Stiffelio – Sass, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
•   Rigoletto – Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Serafin or Cotrubas, Domingo, Cappuccilli; Giulini
•   Il Trovatore – Callas, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan or Price, Cossotto, Domingo, Milnes; Mehta or Plowright, Fassbaender, Domingo, Zancanaro; Giulini
•   La Traviata – Callas, Valetti, Zanasi; Rescigno or Callas, Kraus, Sereni; Ghione or Callas, Di Stefano, Bastianini, Giulini or Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes; Kleiber
•   Les Vepres Siciliennes – Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Levine
•   Simon Boccanegra – Freni, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Abbado
•   Aroldo – Caballe, Cecchele, Pons, Lebherz; Queler
•   Un Ballo in Maschera – Callas, Ratti, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Votto or Callas, Ratti, Simionato, Bastianini; Gavazzeni or Arroyo, Grist, Cossoto, Domingo, Cappuccilli; Muti
•   La Forza Del Destino – Callas, Nicolai, Tucker, Tagliabue, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin or Price, Cossotto, Domingo, Milnes, Giaotti; Levine
•   Don Carlos – Caballe, Verrett, Domingo, Milnes, Raimiondi; Giulini or (in French) Ricciarelli, Valentini-Terrani, Domingo, Nucci, Raimondi; Abbado
•   Aida – Caballe, Cossotto, Domingo, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Muti or Callas, Barbieri, Tucker, Gobbi, Modesti; Serafin
•   Otello – Rysanek, Vickers, Gobbi; Serafin and Scotto, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
•   Falstaff – Schwarzkopf, Moffo, Merriman, Barbieri, Alva, Gobbi, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan

The most glaring omission for some will no doubt be the Solti Aida with Price, Vickers and Gorr, all superb, but I'm afraid I can't bear Solti in Verdi, so didn't include it. Those that don't mind his vulgar, less than lyrical, barnstorming approach will no doubt prefer it to the two I listed, and with such superb singing, I can hardly blame them.



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 06, 2012, 10:27:36 AM
This is a list of my recommendations for all the Verdi operas. Those who know me, know that Callas is always likely to be my first choice in the operas she recorded, but I am aware there are those who have a total antipathy to her voice, so have also listed alternatives. When it comes to the role of Violetta, I don't think any soprano has come anywhere near her achievement, which is why I list no less than three live versions, all of which have their merits. Callas's only studio recording, though it has marginally better sound, is not really in the same class, and the other singers and conducting in all three live versions are much better.

I have stuck with audio only, as I still tend to listen to music more than watch DVDs. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I can let my imagination fill in the stage picture, unfettered by the quirks of some stage director and less distracted by the physical appearance of the singers in question. All the recordings on the list are, or have been at one time, commercially available, so I only list live recordings that have been issued officially (the Callas Covent Garden la Traviata now available on ICA Classics).

•   Oberto – Guleghina, Urmana, Neill, Ramey; Marriner
•   Un Giorno di Regno – Pagliughi, Cozzi, Oncina, Bruscantini, Capecchi; Simonetto
•   Nabucco – Suliotis, Carrall, Prevedi, Gobbi, Cava; Gardelli
•   I Lombardi – Deutekom, Domingo, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Ernani – Price, Bergonzi , Sereni, Flagello; Schippers
•   I Due Foscari – Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey; Gardelli
•   Giovanna d’Arco – Caballe, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
•   Alzira – Cotrubas, Araiza, Bruson; Gardelli
•   Attila – Deutekom, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Macbeth – Verrett, Domingo, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Abbado, but also Callas, Penno, Mascherini, Tajo; De Sabata
•   I Masnadieri – Caballe, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Jersualem –Mescheriakova, Giordani, Scandiuzzi; Luisi
•   Il Corsaro – Caballe, Norman, Carreras, Mastromei; Gardelli
•   La Battagalia di Legnano – Ricciarelli, Carreras, Manugerra, Ghiuselev; Gardelli
•   Luisa Miller – Moffo, Verrett, Bergonzi, MacNeil, Tozzi; Cleva or Caballe, Reynolds, Pavarotti, Milnes, Giaotti; Maag
•   Stiffelio – Sass, Carreras, Manuguerra, Ganzarolli; Gardelli
•   Rigoletto – Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Serafin or Cotrubas, Domingo, Cappuccilli; Giulini
•   Il Trovatore – Callas, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan or Price, Cossotto, Domingo, Milnes; Mehta or Plowright, Fassbaender, Domingo, Zancanaro; Giulini
•   La Traviata – Callas, Valetti, Zanasi; Rescigno or Callas, Kraus, Sereni; Ghione or Callas, Di Stefano, Bastianini, Giulini or Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes; Kleiber
•   Les Vepres Siciliennes – Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes, Raimondi; Levine
•   Simon Boccanegra – Freni, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Abbado
•   Aroldo – Caballe, Cecchele, Pons, Lebherz; Queler
•   Un Ballo in Maschera – Callas, Ratti, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Votto or Callas, Ratti, Simionato, Bastianini; Gavazzeni or Arroyo, Grist, Cossoto, Domingo, Cappuccilli; Muti
•   La Forza Del Destino – Callas, Nicolai, Tucker, Tagliabue, Rossi-Lemeni; Serafin or Price, Cossotto, Domingo, Milnes, Giaotti; Levine
•   Don Carlos – Caballe, Verrett, Domingo, Milnes, Raimiondi; Giulini or (in French) Ricciarelli, Valentini-Terrani, Domingo, Nucci, Raimondi; Giulini
•   Aida – Caballe, Cossotto, Domingo, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Muti or Callas, Barbieri, Tucker, Gobbi, Modesti; Serafin
•   Otello – Rysanek, Vickers, Gobbi; Serafin and Scotto, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
•   Falstaff – Schwarzkopf, Moffo, Merriman, Barbieri, Alva, Gobbi, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan

The most glaring omission for some will no doubt be the Solti Aida with Price, Vickers and Gorr, all superb, but I'm afraid I can't bear Solti in Verdi, so didn't include it. Those that don't mind his vulgar, less than lyrical, barnstorming approach will no doubt prefer it to the two I listed, and with such superb singing, I can hardly blame them.
What a great list, especially for someone just starting out and not sure where to begin. I won't travel the road to Callas and Solti Aida - we've been over there more than once. But I did think you might have picked the RCA Aida with Milanov, Bjorling etc. I suppose the sound is still poor, but the singing is pretty special. Aroldo is one I keep hoping they will re-issue - the only one I haven't ever heard I think.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 06, 2012, 10:42:58 AM
But I did think you might have picked the RCA Aida with Milanov, Bjorling etc.

Love Bjoerling, but somewhat allergic to Milanov I'm afraid - a bit of a blind spot for me  :(
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on November 06, 2012, 10:43:46 AM
•   Macbeth – Verrett, Pavarotti, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Abbado,


Agreed, wonderful list.  I own and love almost all those recordings.  One small correction.  Unless there's another recording I don't know about, the tenor on that Macbeth is Domingo.  Pavarotti is the Macduff on Gardelli's Decca recording, with Souliotis and Fischer-Dieskau.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 06, 2012, 10:46:23 AM
  One small correction.  Unless there's another recording I don't know about, the tenor on that Macbeth is Domingo.  Pavarotti is the Macduff on Gardelli's Decca recording, with Souliotis and Fischer-Dieskau.

You are absolutely right. I will amend immediately
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on November 06, 2012, 02:01:29 PM
This is a list of my recommendations for all the Verdi opera's

•   Nabucco – Suliotis, Carrall, Prevedi, Gobbi, Cava; Gardelli
•   Ernani – Price, Bergonzi , Sereni, Flagello; Schippers
•   I Due Foscari – Ricciarelli, Carreras, Cappuccilli, Ramey; Gardelli
•   Giovanna d’Arco – Caballe, Domingo, Milnes; Levine
•   Attila – Deutekom, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Macbeth – Verrett, Domingo, Cappuccilli, Ghiaurov; Abbado
•   I Masnadieri – Caballe, Bergonzi, Milnes, Raimondi; Gardelli
•   Il Corsaro – Caballe, Norman, Carreras, Mastromei; Gardelli
•   Luisa Miller – Moffo, Verrett, Bergonzi, MacNeil, Tozzi; Cleva
•   Rigoletto – Callas, Di Stefano, Gobbi; Serafin or Cotrubas, Domingo, Cappuccilli; Giulini
•   Il Trovatore – Callas, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Panerai, Zaccaria; Karajan or Plowright, Fassbaender, Domingo, Zancanaro; Giulini
•   Un Ballo in Maschera – Callas, Ratti, Barbieri, Di Stefano, Gobbi
•   La Forza Del Destino – Price, Cossotto, Domingo, Milnes, Giaotti; Levine
•   Don Carlos – Caballe, Verrett, Domingo, Milnes, Raimiondi; Giulini

The most glaring omission for some will no doubt be the Solti Aida with Price, Vickers and Gorr

I absolutely agree with all those copied above, we have a lot of shared favorites :)
I would add the Price/Vickers/Gorr/Solti Aida on Decca (surprise!), very dramatic - not vulgar - and a cast that can not be bettered. Muti sounds boring in comparison.
For Don Carlo also Solti on Decca with Tebaldi/Bergonzi/Bumbry/Ghiaurov (and let us just forget F-D)
The Otello I prefer is the Domingo/Studer/Chung on DG and for Traviata I go for Sutherland/Bergonzi/Pritchard on Decca.
Falstaff is also a Giulini opera for me: the Bruson/Ricciarelli on DG.
 
The rest of the operas are not so familiar to me.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 06, 2012, 02:34:55 PM
I absolutely agree with all those copied above, we have a lot of shared favorites :)
I would add the Price/Vickers/Gorr/Solti Aida on Decca (surprise!), very dramatic - not vulgar - and a cast that can not be bettered. Muti sounds boring in comparison.
For Don Carlo also Solti on Decca with Tebaldi/Bergonzi/Bumbry/Ghiaurov (and let us just forget F-D)
The Otello I prefer is the Domingo/Studer/Chung on DG and for Traviata I go for Sutherland/Bergonzi/Pritchard on Decca.
Falstaff is also a Giulini opera for me: the Bruson/Ricciarelli on DG.
 
The rest of the operas are not so familiar to me.

Well my antipathy for Solti puts his Don Carlo out of the running for me (and Tebaldi is just past her best). I don't like Studer much, which is the reason I plump for Domingo I, and I find Scotto a most affecting and involving Desdemona, despite the occasional hardness. I just can't respond to Sutherland as Violetta in either of her recordings, but she is not a singer who ever really speaks to me, despite the technique and the beauty of her voice. De Los Angeles is another of my favourites for this role. I like Gheorghiu too, but she has to contend with Solti's unlyrical conducting and Nucci's dry old stick of a Germont.
My feelings on Solti's Aida are well known. I find his conducting brash and overweening. I actually prefer Karajan's second on EMI, odd orchestral balances and all, but I don't find the Muti in the least bit dull (and Caballe takes some beating too).
As for Giulini's Falstaff, I find it a little unsmiling, whilst Karajan's brims with high spirits.

I do find it interesting, though, how different people respond to different recordings.




Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: wagnernn on November 06, 2012, 09:23:03 PM
The Rysanek-Vickers-Gobbi-Serafin is gorgeous, though Rysanek is miscast  Sometimes I enjoy the Scotto-Domingo-Milnes-Levine one, but frankly I cant stand Domingo. The best Otello ever, for me, is this one (DVD)
http://www.amazon.com/Verdi-Otello-Metropolitan-Jon-Vickers/dp/B00579EKXC

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


Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 07, 2012, 12:43:58 AM
The Rysanek-Vickers-Gobbi-Serafin is gorgeous, though Rysanek is miscast  Sometimes I enjoy the Scotto-Domingo-Milnes-Levine one, but frankly I cant stand Domingo. The best Otello ever, for me, is this one (DVD)
http://www.amazon.com/Verdi-Otello-Metropolitan-Jon-Vickers/dp/B00579EKXC

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

I have that DVD too, and it is indeed a wonderful performance. Would that Scotto were on the Vickers/Serafin recording (but it would have been a little early for her).

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: wagnernn on November 07, 2012, 05:31:24 AM
My problem with Rysanek is not that she doesnt sound enough Italian for me, but because she can't capture the character of Desdemona. The German Schwarzkopf executes it much better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5_RGv9KXEw&playnext=1&list=PLD35CC65FBFAB9AAB&feature=results_video
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 07, 2012, 07:54:29 AM
My problem with Rysanek is not that she doesnt sound enough Italian for me, but because she can't capture the character of Desdemona. The German Schwarzkopf executes it much better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5_RGv9KXEw&playnext=1&list=PLD35CC65FBFAB9AAB&feature=results_video

I've known this performance a very long time, and I think Schwarzkopf sings it superbly. I don't think she ever sang the role on stage, though I believe it would have suited her well.

One of the best Desdemonas I ever came across, was Victoria De Los Angeles, on a live recording from the Met, with Del Monaco. Maybe we should not be surprised, considering she is also an excellent Amelia on the Gobbi recording of Simon Boccanegra. The two roles make less demands on the voice than most of Verdi's  other lead soprano roles, excluding Alice in Falstaff.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on November 07, 2012, 04:07:46 PM
Well my antipathy for Solti puts his Don Carlo out of the running for me (and Tebaldi is just past her best). I don't like Studer much, which is the reason I plump for Domingo I, and I find Scotto a most affecting and involving Desdemona, despite the occasional hardness. I just can't respond to Sutherland as Violetta in either of her recordings, but she is not a singer who ever really speaks to me, despite the technique and the beauty of her voice. De Los Angeles is another of my favourites for this role. I like Gheorghiu too, but she has to contend with Solti's unlyrical conducting and Nucci's dry old stick of a Germont.
My feelings on Solti's Aida are well known. I find his conducting brash and overweening. I actually prefer Karajan's second on EMI, odd orchestral balances and all, but I don't find the Muti in the least bit dull (and Caballe takes some beating too).
As for Giulini's Falstaff, I find it a little unsmiling, whilst Karajan's brims with high spirits.

I do find it interesting, though, how different people respond to different recordings.

Interesting indeed.
In the Solti Don Carlo, Tebaldi still has her golden tone and Bergonzi is just the perfect Verdi tenor.
Another asset of this recording are the basses: Ghiaurov and Talvela, how can that ever be bettered?

Bergonzi is also the reason why I think so high of the Pritchard Traviata, and I always love Sutherland and find her complementary to the Callas interpretation. In the belcanto repertoire this is even more the case, I could never be without the Callas and the Sutherland Norma, Puritani, Lucia,... Even when they are so different.

As to Giulini, it is the sound of the orchestra that puts him on top of the list: neither his Rigoletto, Trovatore or Falstaff are the best sung, but he brings out so much beauty and detail of the score that you almost forget about the voices. He always surprises, after hearing so much Trovatores, this summer I finally discovered his and he made me hear something completely new!

Studer's voice is certainly an acquired taste, a beautiful tone but always problems with the pitch. Her Desdemona however is perfectly vulnerable to me, I even like it more than Tebaldi's and certainly more than Scotto's shrill voice.

This is of course all highly subjective and again, I find it amazing how much we like in common.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 08, 2012, 02:32:29 AM
Interesting indeed.
In the Solti Don Carlo, Tebaldi still has her golden tone and Bergonzi is just the perfect Verdi tenor.
Another asset of this recording are the basses: Ghiaurov and Talvela, how can that ever be bettered?

Bergonzi is also the reason why I think so high of the Pritchard Traviata, and I always love Sutherland and find her complementary to the Callas interpretation. In the belcanto repertoire this is even more the case, I could never be without the Callas and the Sutherland Norma, Puritani, Lucia,... Even when they are so different.

As to Giulini, it is the sound of the orchestra that puts him on top of the list: neither his Rigoletto, Trovatore or Falstaff are the best sung, but he brings out so much beauty and detail of the score that you almost forget about the voices. He always surprises, after hearing so much Trovatores, this summer I finally discovered his and he made me hear something completely new!

Studer's voice is certainly an acquired taste, a beautiful tone but always problems with the pitch. Her Desdemona however is perfectly vulnerable to me, I even like it more than Tebaldi's and certainly more than Scotto's shrill voice.

This is of course all highly subjective and again, I find it amazing how much we like in common.

Well I did say Tebaldi was just past her best. I agree with you re Bergonzi, but, as you yourself pointed out, Fischer-Dieskau is a problem. Milnes is preferable, and Gobbi probably best of all, though his recording is not otherwise particularly recommendable, except for Christoff. Fortunately they are both better represented in the live performance from Covent Garden with Brouwenstijn and Vickers, and conducted of course by Giulini. It's not perfect by any means, Barbieri ducks some of her high notes and is no match for either Verrertt or Bumbry, but it is a great reminder of a historical night that started the re-evaluation of this great Verdi opera.

I do love Giulini's conducting, and did recommend his Il Trovatore as an alternative to the Callas, which is also superbly conducted by Karajan, but, as I said, I find his Falstaff a little lacking in high spirits. The Philharmonia play spectacularly well for Karajan, and Karajan also has the stronger line up of soloists, so his remains my top recommendation.

We will have to agree to disagree about Sutherland. She is a singer I admire rather than love. I'm often knocked out by the vocalism, but that's about as far as it goes. Oddly enough I find her debut Lucia di Lammermoor, recorded live at Covent Garden under Callas's conductor Tullio Serafin, more convincing than either of her studio recordings, the voice much more forwardly produced and the diction, for once, crisp and clear. As an alternative to Callas, I am more likely to turn to Caballe (especially at Orange) as Norma and also as Elvira in I Puritani.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on November 08, 2012, 09:11:03 AM
Well I did say Tebaldi was just past her best. I agree with you re Bergonzi, but, as you yourself pointed out, Fischer-Dieskau is a problem. Milnes is preferable, and Gobbi probably best of all, though his recording is not otherwise particularly recommendable, except for Christoff. Fortunately they are both better represented in the live performance from Covent Garden with Brouwenstijn and Vickers, and conducted of course by Giulini. It's not perfect by any means, Barbieri ducks some of her high notes and is no match for either Verrertt or Bumbry, but it is a great reminder of a historical night that started the re-evaluation of this great Verdi opera.

I do love Giulini's conducting, and did recommend his Il Trovatore as an alternative to the Callas, which is also superbly conducted by Karajan, but, as I said, I find his Falstaff a little lacking in high spirits. The Philharmonia play spectacularly well for Karajan, and Karajan also has the stronger line up of soloists, so his remains my top recommendation.

We will have to agree to disagree about Sutherland. She is a singer I admire rather than love. I'm often knocked out by the vocalism, but that's about as far as it goes. Oddly enough I find her debut Lucia di Lammermoor, recorded live at Covent Garden under Callas's conductor Tullio Serafin, more convincing than either of her studio recordings, the voice much more forwardly produced and the diction, for once, crisp and clear. As an alternative to Callas, I am more likely to turn to Caballe (especially at Orange) as Norma and also as Elvira in I Puritani.

The Don Carlo on EMI with Christoff and Gobbi is also on my shelf, but I only listen to parts of it. The rest of the cast is not remarkable. I am very interested in the Giulini live you mention, is it in somewhat decent sound?
I have an other live recording with a great cast: Corelli, Janowitz, Verrett, Wächter, Ghiaurov and Talvela conducted by Horst Stein. It is a dreamcast but alas, the sound (on the label Opera d'oro) is just horrible. I find it almost unlistenable, which is often the case with live recordings. I can only stand a certain amount of audience coughs in one aria, however great the performance...

Von Karajan's Falstaff never gets under my skin, as for example his Trovatore with Callas does. It is also the opera, I would never place Falstaff in my top 10 of Verdi operas, I have problems holding my attention during the last act.

That leaves us with Sutherland, and I can agree with you on some point. She was probably at her best live. I have a live Maria Stuarda recording that makes her studio effort sound dull. However, for me, belcanto does not get any better than in the Sutherland/Pavarotti/Cappuccilli/Bonynge Puritani on Decca.
I have problems with Caballé, a very beautiful voice, but she shows it off too much and lacks vocal acting. I hardly find her ever believable in a role. I just hear a diva who is very pleased with herself.



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 08, 2012, 11:55:45 AM
The Don Carlo on EMI with Christoff and Gobbi is also on my shelf, but I only listen to parts of it. The rest of the cast is not remarkable. I am very interested in the Giulini live you mention, is it in somewhat decent sound?
I have an other live recording with a great cast: Corelli, Janowitz, Verrett, Wächter, Ghiaurov and Talvela conducted by Horst Stein. It is a dreamcast but alas, the sound (on the label Opera d'oro) is just horrible. I find it almost unlistenable, which is often the case with live recordings. I can only stand a certain amount of audience coughs in one aria, however great the performance...

Von Karajan's Falstaff never gets under my skin, as for example his Trovatore with Callas does. It is also the opera, I would never place Falstaff in my top 10 of Verdi operas, I have problems holding my attention during the last act.

That leaves us with Sutherland, and I can agree with you on some point. She was probably at her best live. I have a live Maria Stuarda recording that makes her studio effort sound dull. However, for me, belcanto does not get any better than in the Sutherland/Pavarotti/Cappuccilli/Bonynge Puritani on Decca.
I have problems with Caballé, a very beautiful voice, but she shows it off too much and lacks vocal acting. I hardly find her ever believable in a role. I just hear a diva who is very pleased with herself.

Like Sutherland's debut as Lucia, the live Giulini Don Carlo was issued on the Royal Opera House's own label. It is available from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Don-Carlo-Boris-Christoff/dp/B000CHYH3C/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1352403974&sr=1-3 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Don-Carlo-Boris-Christoff/dp/B000CHYH3C/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1352403974&sr=1-3)

I do know what you mean about Caballe. There are times when I too feel she just lays out the voice and her technique for admiration, but I find her a better vocal actor than Sutherland, though neither of them is great shakes in that department. Have you seen the Norma she did in Orange with Jon Vickers and Josephine Veasey? A bit stately to be sure, but the singing is spectacular.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: nico1616 on November 09, 2012, 04:42:36 PM
Like Sutherland's debut as Lucia, the live Giulini Don Carlo was issued on the Royal Opera House's own label. It is available from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Don-Carlo-Boris-Christoff/dp/B000CHYH3C/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1352403974&sr=1-3 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Verdi-Don-Carlo-Boris-Christoff/dp/B000CHYH3C/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1352403974&sr=1-3)

I do know what you mean about Caballe. There are times when I too feel she just lays out the voice and her technique for admiration, but I find her a better vocal actor than Sutherland, though neither of them is great shakes in that department. Have you seen the Norma she did in Orange with Jon Vickers and Josephine Veasey? A bit stately to be sure, but the singing is spectacular.

Thanks for the link!
I never saw that Norma dvd, but I see it is on youtube and I will check it out.
In general I almost never watch opera on dvd, I like my cds more...
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Octave on March 04, 2013, 08:07:05 PM
My thanks to participants of this thread for their discussion.  Recent lists and discussion of favorites by Tsaraslondon and others has also been very helpful.

I don't want to bumble into shillery, but on the whole, but how do the GMG Verdians rate the selections included in this COMPLETE WORKS megalith?  I'm going to do my Verdi homework, I promise; but I am curious how many of the recordings in this box might rate as credible, say, first-or-second-or-so choices, and conversely how many are not really very good at all, if any.  I know the man's work very little; the only operas I've spent some real time with are the half-dozen in that EMI Callas studio megabox (Santini, Serafin, Votto, Karajan) and also Karajan's AIDA, DON CARLO, FALSTAFF, OTELLO).  And Giulini's and Reiner's REQUIEM.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/810N5JLANaL._SL1500_.jpg)
Verdi: THE COMPLETE WORKS (Decca, 75cd, 2013)

I'm not sure how much it duplicates the European (?) edition published perhaps a couple years ago:



Presto's contents listing is probably the most legible; here's a link and I will reproduce the links and contents for the new edition.  I'm not editing the pasted contents here, so you might save your vision and visit the link, where everything is much easier to read.

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4784916 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4784916)
Quote
Oberto

recorded in 1996

Stuart Neill (Riccardo), Samuel Ramey (Oberto), Maria Guleghina (Leonora), Violeta Urmana (Cuniza), Sara Fulgoni (Imelda)

Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Neville Marriner

Un giorno di regno

recorded in 1973

Fiorenza Cossotto (Marquise del Poggio), Jessye Norman (Giulietta), José Carreras (Edoardo de Sanval), Ingvar Wixell (Chevalier Belfiore), Vincenzo Sardinero (Gasparo Antonio della Rocca), Wladimiro Ganzarolli (Baron de Kelbar), William Elvin (Delmonte), Ricardo Cassinelli (Comte Ivrea)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Ambrosian Singers, Lamberto Gardelli

Nabucco

recorded in 1965

Tito Gobbi (Nabucco), Bruno Prevedi (Ismaele), Carlo Cava (Zaccaria), Elena Souliotis (Abigaille), Dora Carral (Fenena), Anna D' Auria (Anna), Giovanni Foiani (Gran Sacerdote), Walter Kräutler (Abdallo)

Wiener Staatsopernorchester, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Lamberto Gardelli

I Lombardi alla prima crociata

recorded in 1996

June Anderson (Giselda), Luciano Pavarotti (Oronte), Samuel Ramey (Pagano), Richard Leech (Arvino), Patricia Racette (Viclinda), Ildebrando d' Arcangelo (Pirro), Yanni Yannissis (Acciano), Jane Shaulis (Sofia)

Orchestra & Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, James Levine

Ernani

recorded in 1987

Luciano Pavarotti (Ernani), Joan Sutherland (Elvira), Leo Nucci (Carlo), Paata Burchuladze (Silva), Richard Morton (Riccardo), Alastair Miles (Iago), Linda McLeod (Giovanna)

Orchestra & Chorus of Welsh National Opera, Richard Bonynge

I Due Foscari

recorded in 1977

Piero Cappuccilli (Francesco Foscari), José Carreras (Jacopo Foscari), Katia Ricciarelli (Lucrezia Contarini), Samuel Ramey (Jacopo Loredano), Vincenzo Bello (Barbarigo), Elizabeth Connell (Pisana), Mieczlaw Antoniak (Fante del Consiglio de' Dieci), Franz Handlos (Servo de Doge)

ORF-Symphonie-Orchester, Chor des Österreichischen Rundfunks, Lamberto Gardelli

Giovanna d'Arco

recorded in 1972

Montserrat Caballé (Giovanna), Plácido Domingo (Carlo VII), Sherrill Milnes (Giacono), Keith Erwen (Delil), Robert Lloyd (Talbot)

London Symphony Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, James Levine

Alzira

recorded in 1999

Marina Mescheriakova (Alzira), Ramón Vargas (Zamoro), Paolo Gavanelli (Gusmano), Iana Iliev (Zuma), Jovo Reljin (Ovando), Wolfgang Barta (Ataliba), Torsten Kerl (Otumbo), Slobodan Stankovic (Alvaro)

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Le Choeur du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Fabio Luisi

Attila

recorded in 1972

Ruggero Raimondi (Attila), Sherrill Milnes (Ezio), Cristina Deutekom (Odabella), Carlo Bergonzi (Foresto), Ricardo Cassinelli (Uldino), Jules Bastin (Leone)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers, Lamberto Gardelli

Macbeth

recorded in 1975

Piero Cappuccilli (Macbeth), Shirley Verrett (Lady Macbeth), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Banco), Franco Tagliavini (Macduff), Nicola Martinucci (Malcolm), Stefania Malagù (Dama), Carlo Zardo (Medico)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala, Claudio Abbado

I Masnadieri

recorded in 1982

Samuel Ramey (Massimiliano), Franco Bonisolli (Carlo), Matteo Manuguerra (Francesco), Joan Sutherland (Amalia), Arthur Davies (Armino), Simone Alaimo (Moser), John Harris (Rolla)

Orchestra & Chorus of Welsh National Opera, Richard Bonynge

Gerusalemme

recorded in 1998

Marcello Giordani (Gaston), Philippe Rouillon (Le comte de Toulouse), Roberto Scandiuzzi (Roger), Daniel Borowski (Ademar), Simon Edwards (Raymond), Marina Mescheriakova (Hélène), Hélène Le Corre (Isaure), Wolfgang Barta (Un soldat), Slobodan Stankovic (Un Héraut/L'Émir de Ramla), Jovo Reljin (Un officier de l'Émir)

Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Le Choeur du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Fabio Luisi

Il Corsaro

recorded in 1975

José Carreras (Corrado), Clifford Grant (Giovanni), Jessye Norman (Medora), Montserrat Caballé (Gulnara), Giampietro Mastromei (Seid), John Noble (Selimo), Alexander Oliver (Eunuco)

New Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers, Lamberto Gardelli

La Battaglia di Legnano

recorded in 1977

Katia Ricciarelli (Lida), José Carreras (Arrigo), Matteo Manuguerra (Rolando), Nicola Ghiuselev (Federico Barbarossa), Hannes Lichtenberger (Primo Console), Dimitri Kavrakos (Secondo Console), Jonathan Summers (Marcovaldo), Franz Handlos (Il Podesta di Como), Ann Murray (Imelda), Mieczlaw Antoniak (Un Araldo)

ORF-Symphonie-Orchester und -Chor Wien, Lamberto Gardelli

Luisa Miller

recorded in 1975

Montserrat Caballé (Luisa), Luciano Pavarotti (Rodolfo), Sherrill Milnes (Miller), Bonaldo Giaiotti (Walter), Richard Van Allan (Wurm), Anna Reynolds (Federica), Annette Céline (Laura), Fernando Pavarotti (Contadino)

London Opera Chorus & National Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Maag

Stiffelio

recorded in 1979

José Carreras (Stiffelio), Sylvia Sass (Lina), Matteo Manuguerra (Stankar), Wladimiro Ganzarolli (Jorg), Ezio Di Cesare (Raffaele), Maria Venuti (Dorotea), Thomas Moser (Federico)

ORF-Symphonie-Orchester Wien, Chor des Österreichischen Rundfunks, Lamberto Gardelli

Rigoletto

recorded in 1979

Piero Cappuccilli (Rigoletto), Ileana Cotrubas (Gilda), Plácido Domingo (Il Duca), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Sparafucile), Elena Obraztsova (Maddalena), Hanna Schwarz (Giovanna), Kurt Moll (Monterone), Luigi De Corato (Marullo), Walter Gullino (Borsa), Dirk Sagemuller (Conte di Ceprano), Olive Fredricks (Contessa di Ceprano), Audrey Michael (Un paggio)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopernchor, Carlo Maria Giulini

Il Trovatore

recorded in 1983

Plácido Domingo (Manrico), Rosalind Plowright (Leonora), Brigitte Fassbaender (Azucena), Giorgio Zancanaro (Luna), Evgeny Nesterenko (Ferrando)

Coro e Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Carlo Maria Giulini

I Vespri Siciliani

recorded in 1989

Cheryl Studer (Elena), Chris Merritt (Arrigo), Giorgio Zancanaro (Monforte), Ferruccio Furlanetto (Procida), Gloria Banditelli (Ninetta), Ernesto Gavazzi (Danieli), Enzo Capuano (Bethune), Francesco Musinu (Vaudemont), Paolo Barbacini (Tebaldo), Marco Chingari (Roberto) & Ferrero Poggi (Manfredo)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Riccardo Muti

Simon Boccanegra

recorded in 1977

Piero Cappuccilli (Boccanegra), Mirella Freni (Amelia/Maria), José van Dam (Paolo), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Jacopo Fiesco), José Carreras (Gabriele)

Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Claudio Abbado

Aroldo

recorded in 1997

Neil Shicoff (Aroldo), Roberto Scandiuzzi (Briano), Carol Vaness (Mina), Anthony Michaels-Moore (Egberto), Julian Gavin (Godvino), Sergio Spina (Enrico), Marina Comparato (Elena)

Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Fabio Luisi

Un ballo in maschera

recorded in 1982-3

Luciano Pavarotti (Riccardo), Renato Bruson (Renato), Margaret Price (Amelia), Christa Ludwig (Ulrica), Kathleen Battle (Oscar), Peter Weber (Silvano), Robert Lloyd (Samuele), Malcolm King (Tom), Alexander Oliver (Un Giudice)

National Philharmonic Orchestra, London Opera Chorus, Junior Chorus of the Royal College of Music, Sir Georg Solti

La Forza del Destino Preludio (St Petersburg version 1862)

recorded in 1998

Galina Gorchakova (Leonora), Nikolai Putilin (Don Carlo), Gegam Grigorian (Don Alvaro), Marianna Tarasova (Preziosilla), Grigory Karasev (Marchese di Calatrava), Sergei Alexashkin (Padre Guardiano), Lia Shevtzova (Curra), Nikolai Gassiev (Mastro Trabuco), Yuri Laptev (Un Chirurgo), Evgeny Nikitin (Un Alcalde)

Orchestra & Chorus of the Kirov Theatre, Valery Gergiev

La forza del destino

recorded in 1985

José Carreras (Don Alvaro), Rosalind Plowright (Leonora di Vargas), Renato Bruson (Don Carlo), Agnes Baltsa (Preziosilla), Jean Rigby (Curra), Paata Burchuladze (Padre Guardiano), John Tomlinson (Il Marchese di Calatrava), Richard Van Allan (Un Alcalde), Mark Curtis (Mastro Trabuco), Petteri Salomaa (Un Chirurgo)

Philharmonia Orchestra, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Giuseppe Sinopoli

Don Carlos (Five-act French version)

recorded in 1983-4

Katia Ricciarelli (Elisabeth), Lucia Valentini Terrani (Eboli), Plácido Domingo (Carlos), Leo Nucci (Rodrigue), Ruggero Raimondi (Philippe II), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Le Grand Inquisiteur), Nikita Storojew (Un Moine), Ann Murray (Thibault), Tibère Raffalli (Le Compte de Lerme), Antonio Savastano (Un Hérault Royal), Arleen Auger (Un Voix d'en haut)

Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Claudio Abbado

Don Carlo

recorded in 1965

Carlo Bergonzi (Don Carlo), Renata Tebaldi (Elisabetta), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Filippo II), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Rodrigo), Grace Bumbry (Eboli), Martti Talvela (Il Grande Inquisitore), Jeannette Sinclair (Tebaldo), Kenneth MacDonald (Il Conte di Lerma), John Wakefield (Un Araldo Reale), Joan Carlyle (Una voce dal cielo)

Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Sir Georg Solti

Aida

recorded in 1959

Renata Tebaldi (Aida), Giulietta Simionato (Amneris), Carlo Bergonzi (Radamès), Cornell MacNeil (Amonasro), Arnold van Mill (Ramfis), Fernando Corena (Il Re di Egitto), Piero de Palma (Un Messaggero), Eugenia Ratti (Una Sacerdotessa)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Singerverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien, Herbert von Karajan

Otello

recorded in 1993

Plácido Domingo (Otello), Cheryl Studer (Desdemona), Sergei Leiferkus (Iago), Ramón Vargas (Cassio), Michael Schade (Rodrigo), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Lodovico), Giacomo Prestia (Montano), Denyce Graves (Emilia), Philippe Duminy (Un Araldo)

Orchestra & Chorus of Bastille Opera, Myung-Whun Chung

Falstaff

recorded in 1982

Renato Bruson (Falstaff), Leo Nucci (Ford), Katia Ricciarelli (Alice Ford), Barbara Hendricks (Nannetta), Brenda Boozer (Meg Page), Lucia Valentini-Terrani (Mistress Quickly), Michael Sells (Dr. Cajus), Dalmacio González (Fenton), Francis Egerton (Bardolfo), William Wilderman (Pistola)

os Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Carlo Maria Giulini

Requiem

Joan Sutherland (soprano), Marilyn Horne (mezzo-soprano), Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) & Martti Talvela (bass)

Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopernchor, Sir Georg Solti

Quattro Pezzi Sacri

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Sir Georg Solti

Messa solenne

Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Qui tollis

Juan Diego Flórez (tenor), Raffaella Ciapponi (clarinet)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Laudate pueri

Juan Diego Flórez (tenor), Kenneth Tarver (tenor)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Tantum ergo in G major

Kenneth Tarver (tenor)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Pater noster

Coro Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Ave Maria in B minor

Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Tantum ergo in F major

Michele Pertusi (baritone)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Libera me, Domine from ‘Messa per Rossini’

Cristina Gallardo-Domâs (soprano)

Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Variazioni for piano and orchestra on the Romanza 'Caro Suono Lusinghiero

reconstructed Fortunato Ortombina; revised Riccardo Chailly

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

La Forza del Destino Preludio (St Petersburg version 1862)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Adagio for trumpet and orchestra

Gianluigi Petrarulo (trumpet)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Aida, Sinfonia 1872

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Canto di Virginia variations for oboe and orchestra

Alessandro Potenza (oboe)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Otello, Preludio

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Prelude to Act III from I Lombardi alla prima crociata

Luca Santaniello (violin)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Simon Boccanegra: Prelude (1st version, 1857)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Capriccio for bassoon and orchestra

Andrea Magnani (bassoon)

Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Riccardo Chailly

Il tramonto

La seduzione

Ad una stella

Lo spazzacamino

Perduta ho lo pace

Deh pietoso oh Addolorata

Chi i bei dì m'adduce ancora

La Zingara

L'esule

Non t'accostare all'urna

In solitaria stanza

Nell'orror di notte oscura

Il poveretto

Stornello

Ave Maria, for voice & strings or piano

Margaret Price (soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

La preghiera del poeta

Al tuo bambino

Renata Scotto, Vincenzo Scalera

Il brigidino

Paolo Washington, Vincenzo Scalera

E’ la vita un mar d’affanni

Pietà, Signor

Renata Scotto, Vincenzo Scalera

More, Elisa, lo stanco poeta

Paolo Washington, Vincenzo Scalera

L'Abandonee

Sgombra o gentil

Il mistero

Brindisi I

Renata Scotto, Vincenzo Scalera

Brindisi II (No. 6 from 6 Romanze, 1845)

Paolo Washington, Vincenzo Scalera

Romanza senza parole

Waltz in F Major

Roberto Galletto

Cupo è il sepolcro e mutolo

Bruce Ford, David Harper

Guarda che bianca luna (Notturno)

Jennifer Larmore, Bruce Ford, Alastair Miles, Jaime Martin, Antoine Palloc

A toi, que j'ai cherie (from Les vêpres siciliennes)

Oh, dolore (from Attila)

Si, lo sento, Iddio mi chiama (from I Due Foscari)

Plácido Domingo (tenor)

Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

O madra mia ... Come poteva un angelo (from I Lombardi)

Plácido Domingo (tenor), Marjorie Dix (mezzo)

Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Valery Gergiev

Io la vidi e a quell'aspetto (from I Lombardi)

Luciano Pavarotti (tenor)

Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Claudio Abbado

Inno delle nazioni

Luciano Pavarotti (tenor)

Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus, James Levine

String Quartet in E minor

Quartetto Italiano

Gerusalemme: Ballet Music

Orchestre National de l'Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Antonio de Almeida

Il Trovatore: Ballet Music, Act III

National Philharmonic Orchestra, Richard Bonynge

Otello: Ballet Music

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Riccardo Chailly

Ballo della Regina

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Riccardo Chailly

Grand March from Aida

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Riccardo Chailly

Macbeth: Ballet Music

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Riccardo Chailly

Le Quattro Stagioni (I vespri siciliani Act III)

Guido Toschi, Giovanni Tedeschi

Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologn, Riccardo Chailly

La Traviata

Ileana Cotrubas (Violetta), Plácido Domingo (Alfredo), Sherrill Milnes (Giorgio Germont), Stefania Malagù (Flora), Helena Jungwirth (Annina), Walter Gullino (Gastone), Giovanni Foiani (Dottore Grenvil), Bruno Grella (Barone Douphol), Alfredo Giacomotti (Marchese d'Obigny)

Bayerischer Staatsopernchor & Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Carlos Kleiber
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on March 06, 2013, 08:12:22 PM
My thanks to participants of this thread for their discussion.  Recent lists and discussion of favorites by Tsaraslondon and others has also been very helpful.

Hello, I don't want to bumble into shillery, but one the whole, but how do the GMG Verdians rate the selections included in this COMPLETE WORKS megalith?  I'm going to do my Verdi homework, I promise; but I am curious how many of the recordings in this box might rate as credible, say, first-or-second-or-so choices, and conversely how many are not really very good at all, if any.  I know the man's work very little; the only operas I've spent some real time with are the half-dozen in that EMI Callas studio megabox (Santini, Serafin, Votto, Karajan) and also Karajan's AIDA, DON CARLO, FALSTAFF, OTELLO).  And Giulini's and Reiner's REQUIEM.
I have not heard every one of them, but of what I have or have heard, I'd say the following are excellent:
-Un giorno di regno
-I Due Foscari
-Giovanna d'Arco
-Gerusalemme (Jerusalem)
-Il Corsaro
-La Battaglia di Legnano
-Stiffelio
-Simon Boccanegra
-Otello
-Requiem (Solti)
-La Traviata
-La Forza del Destino Gergiev (nice to have both versions)
-Don Carlo Solti
-Il Travatore
-Luisa Miller
-Macbeth

Versions I did not like:
-Un ballo in maschera (the only true dud in my opinion)
-La forza Sinopoli (not my favorite to be honest, but has its admirers, Carreras not on best form)

The rest are generally good or better (based on my having heard it (but some time ago) or on general reputation), assuming I didn't miss anything. Because it is difficult to find good recordings of the earlier operas, I consider those Gardelli recordings 'must-haves' for the most part (originally on Philips), and they alone make this box worthwhile. Add to that a number of other truly excellent performances (in mostly good to excellent sound) and I think you have a pretty good box set. Of course, if you tried to put together such a box yourself, you'd never spend so little. If the interest is there, I doubt there will be a better box.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Octave on March 07, 2013, 09:15:28 PM
Thanks for that input, MCU.  It's overkill, but I know just enough of the master's work to be interested, if in fact this or any other box is a deal.  Cheers!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 08, 2013, 01:44:43 AM
I have not heard every one of them, but of what I have or have heard, I'd say the following are excellent:
-Un giorno di regno
-I Due Foscari
-Giovanna d'Arco
-Gerusalemme (Jerusalem)
-Il Corsaro
-La Battaglia di Legnano
-Stiffelio
-Simon Boccanegra
-Otello
-Requiem (Solti)
-La Traviata
-La Forza del Destino Gergiev (nice to have both versions)
-Don Carlo Solti
-Il Travatore
-Luisa Miller
-Macbeth

Versions I did not like:
-Un ballo in maschera (the only true dud in my opinion)
-La forza Sinopoli (not my favorite to be honest, but has its admirers, Carreras not on best form)

The rest are generally good or better (based on my having heard it (but some time ago) or on general reputation), assuming I didn't miss anything. Because it is difficult to find good recordings of the earlier operas, I consider those Gardelli recordings 'must-haves' for the most part (originally on Philips), and they alone make this box worthwhile. Add to that a number of other truly excellent performances (in mostly good to excellent sound) and I think you have a pretty good box set. Of course, if you tried to put together such a box yourself, you'd never spend so little. If the interest is there, I doubt there will be a better box.

I too think most of the selections are good.

I question the inclusion of the Bonynge I Masnadieri over the Gardelli.

I don't like Solti's Ballo either. I seem to remember Sinopoli's Forza got a Gramophone award, but when the best singing on the set comes from the Preziosilla (Baltsa), it seems like a questionable award. There are much better versions out there.

I'm not a big fan of Solti's Requiem either (Sutherland sounds completely wrong to me), but, for the rest, though they wouldn't all be my top rated versions, I think they can be recommended confidently.




Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Octave on March 08, 2013, 09:30:23 PM
Thanks for that, Tsaraslondon, as well as for your list of preferred recordings on page 21.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on May 31, 2013, 05:09:37 AM
  VERDI FANS!!  How is everyone doing? I hope all of you are celebrating Verdi's 200th Anniversary this year- or at least giving this composer more attention than usual.  Personally I am deep into Verdi's operas!  A few months ago, in March I bought the COMPLETE WORKS of Verdi on the Decca label.  This MEGA BOXSET:

 



  and if I may be blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s)

  I started with Oberto and am working my way through the operas in chronological order of composition (Tsaraslondon   8) style).  I have now reached Luisa Miller.  I was unfamiliar with Verdi's early works and was skeptical at first.  But after listening to Jerusalem, La Battaglia de Legnano and Il Corsaro as well as Alzira and Giovanna D'arco I finally understand what I once read about Verdi..... "Every Verdi opera is a class act!" It is incredible how in every opera there is at least a few arias, a few ensembles and not mention choral lines that sent my heart pounding with delight!

  This is the BEST boxset I own!  With the sole exception of Ernani (a disappointingly strained performance by Dame Joan Sutherland) the performances are on the whole top notch! Thankfully I have a recording of  Schipper's Ernani with Price to supplement. Sound quality on this boxset is superb!

  I am especially excited about the French Version of Don Carlo which is unfamiliar to me (the boxset features both the Italian and French Versions) In addition there are 2 versions of La Forza the original (1862 St Petersburg Version) and the revised version 1869. There are also 8 CDs covering the Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Sacred Works, Songs , Arias and other Rarities, String Quartets and Ballet Music....OH MY!  The only issue is the lack of libretti but the 2 books included in this boxset include a synopsis of each opera on a track by track basis. My local library has some libretti as well, so I am managing quite well.

  For a total price of around £125 for 75 CDs and performances drawn from the EMI, DG and Decca catalogues I would encourage anyone interested in this boxset to snap it up. 

  Happy Listening!

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 31, 2013, 06:25:27 AM
  VERDI FANS!!  How is everyone doing? I hope all of you are celebrating Verdi's 200th Anniversary this year- or at least giving this composer more attention than usual.  Personally I am deep into Verdi's operas!  A few months ago, in March I bought the COMPLETE WORKS of Verdi on the Decca label.  This MEGA BOXSET:

 



  and if I may be blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s)

  I started with Oberto and am working my way through the operas in chronological order of composition (Tsaraslondon   8) style).  I have now reached Luisa Miller.  I was unfamiliar with Verdi's early works and was skeptical at first.  But after listening to Jerusalem, La Battaglia de Legnano and Il Corsaro as well as Alzira and Giovanna D'arco I finally understand what I once read about Verdi..... "Every Verdi opera is a class act!" It is incredible how in every opera there is at least a few arias, a few ensembles and not mention choral lines that sent my heart pounding with delight!

  This is the BEST boxset I own!  With the sole exception of Ernani (a disappointingly strained performance by Dame Joan Sutherland) the performances are on the whole top notch! Thankfully I have a recording of  Schipper's Ernani with Price to supplement. Sound quality on this boxset is superb!

  I am especially excited about the French Version of Don Carlo which is unfamiliar to me (the boxset features both the Italian and French Versions) In addition there are 2 versions of La Forza the original (1862 St Petersburg Version) and the revised version 1869. There are also 8 CDs covering the Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Sacred Works, Songs , Arias and other Rarities, String Quartets and Ballet Music....OH MY!  The only issue is the lack of libretti but the 2 books included in this boxset include a synopsis of each opera on a track by track basis. My local library has some libretti as well, so I am managing quite well.

  For a total price of around £125 for 75 CDs and performances drawn from the EMI, DG and Decca catalogues I would encourage anyone interested in this boxset to snap it up. 

  Happy Listening!

  marvin
Glad you are enjoying it! You have some wonderful performances still ahead!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: douglasofdorset on July 22, 2013, 03:36:51 AM
I have a confession to make.  For the last two or three years I have been searching for a live production of Verdi's little-known opera Jérusalem, which I consider a great stride forward from I Lombardi and a very good opera of its kind, and I thought that surely somewhere in Europe (I live in U.K.) would be performing this as part of marking the 200th anniversary.  But no, my Google search only reveals a performance by Sarasota Opera in March 2014.  Does anyone know anything about this company?  Would it be worth going all that way (and enduring immigration etc.) just to see this rarely-performed opera?

I have found clips on YouTube for a 1995 Vienna State Opera production which looks very good, but unfortunately I was not 'into it' then, having bought the Mescheriakova/Giordani/Scandiuzzi CDs cond. Fabio Luisi since then - I love it, though hearing Italians/Russians trying to pronounce French is often painful.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on July 22, 2013, 04:03:23 AM
I have a confession to make.  For the last two or three years I have been searching for a live production of Verdi's little-known opera Jérusalem, which I consider a great stride forward from I Lombardi and a very good opera of its kind, and I thought that surely somewhere in Europe (I live in U.K.) would be performing this as part of marking the 200th anniversary.  But no, my Google search only reveals a performance by Sarasota Opera in March 2014.  Does anyone know anything about this company?  Would it be worth going all that way (and enduring immigration etc.) just to see this rarely-performed opera?

I have found clips on YouTube for a 1995 Vienna State Opera production which looks very good, but unfortunately I was not 'into it' then, having bought the Mescheriakova/Giordani/Scandiuzzi CDs cond. Fabio Luisi since then - I love it, though hearing Italians/Russians trying to pronounce French is often painful.
I don't know anything about them, but whether it makes sense for you depends on you (desire, cost, etc.). Although it is not performed that often, it is periodically played somewhere, so it is possible there will be other performances in the next 3-5 years. There is a DVD of this work, which I mention if that would suffice (though reviews appear mixed - perhaps someone else here will have seen it).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: douglasofdorset on July 22, 2013, 05:05:06 AM
Thanks, mc ukrneal, for your reply.

I think I saw some review of the DVD - something about the chorus looking offstage the wrong way while awaiting the arrival of a procession I seem to remember! - so as you say reviews may have been mixed.  Thanks again.
Title: Happy 200th Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi
Post by: Brewski on October 09, 2013, 11:04:27 AM
I marked the occasion last Sunday, seeing a marvelous production of Nabucco by Opera Philadelphia: excellent singers, a superb (and large) chorus, and an interesting "show-within-a-show" concept by director Thaddeus Strassberger, who placed an audience of Austrian aristocrats in the hall's balconies. And in a nice touch, rather than repeating the "Va, pensiero" chorus immediately after it appears, Strassberger waited until the final curtain call: the entire cast - including the principals - reprised it a cappella, and beautifully, too.

Tonight, some of the following, including this Traviata that I haven't seen:

Verdi: Arias (Ramón Vargas, tenor)



Verdi: La Traviata



--Bruce
Title: Re: Happy 200th Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi
Post by: marvinbrown on October 10, 2013, 12:52:09 AM
I marked the occasion last Sunday, seeing a marvelous production of Nabucco by Opera Philadelphia: excellent singers, a superb (and large) chorus, and an interesting "show-within-a-show" concept by director Thaddeus Strassberger, who placed an audience of Austrian aristocrats in the hall's balconies. And in a nice touch, rather than repeating the "Va, pensiero" chorus immediately after it appears, Strassberger waited until the final curtain call: the entire cast - including the principals - reprised it a cappella, and beautifully, too.

Tonight, some of the following, including this Traviata that I haven't seen:

Verdi: Arias (Ramón Vargas, tenor)



Verdi: La Traviata



--Bruce

 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY VERDI

  Today, October 10 is Verdi's 200 year Anniversary and to celebrate this man's tremendous achievement in the world of opera I decided to play his (arguably) GREATEST masterpiece......OTELLO!  Currently spinning this sublime performance which is featured in the big Verdi boxset from Decca to which I also have the individual recording:

 



  Verdi fans please celebrate in kind as there is so much to be grateful for. Verdi lived well into his 80s and produced his greatest works when he was well into old age (even by today's definition of old age!) Whether its Otello, Falstaff, Aida, Don Carlo, Un Ballo there is an opera to suit all tastes.  So why not join me in this joyous occasion? What Verdi operas are you listening to today?

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 10, 2013, 01:03:19 AM
Verdi fans please celebrate in kind as there is so much to be grateful for. Verdi lived well into his 80s and produced his greatest works when he was well into old age (even by today's definition of old age!) Whether its Otello, Falstaff, Aida, Don Carlo, Un Ballo there is an opera to suit all tastes.  So why not join me in this joyous occasion? What Verdi operas are you listening to today?

marvin
There's a good idea. I'm with you!  I will listen to one of my newer acquisitions: La Forza del Destino with Tebaldi and del Monaco (not to mention Siepi, Simionato, etc.). :)

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: amw on October 10, 2013, 01:11:26 AM
I've glanced through my collection and realised that the only Verdi I have right now is the String Quartet in E minor.... and his birthday ends in 2 hours here as well :<

It's a nice string quartet though!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 10, 2013, 01:26:16 AM
There's a good idea. I'm with you!  I will listen to one of my newer acquisitions: La Forza del Destino with Tebaldi and del Monaco (not to mention Siepi, Simionato, etc.). :)



  An excellent choice!

 
I've glanced through my collection and realised that the only Verdi I have right now is the String Quartet in E minor.... and his birthday ends in 2 hours here as well :<

It's a nice string quartet though!

  Verdi was a composer of operas first and foremost.  May I recommend that you explore AIDA and OTELLO. No music collection should be without those 2 operas.....and then there is La Traviata, Il Trovatore, La Forza, Rigolleto, Don Carlo and Un Ballo we really are spoiled for choice here!  I once read a statement on Verdi that I believe to be true...."Every Verdi opera is a class act!"

  Please explore the operas.....there is so much to admire.

  marvin
Title: Re: Happy 200th Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 10, 2013, 01:33:15 AM
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY VERDI

What Verdi operas are you listening to today?

Too early in the day for opera  :D ;)  I'm starting with something easier on the ears, mind and soul: Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. This afternoon I'll listen to an opera.

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/sep2013/verdiquattroshaw.jpg)


Sarge
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: amw on October 10, 2013, 01:42:53 AM
  Verdi was a composer of operas first and foremost.  May I recommend that you explore AIDA and OTELLO. No music collection should be without those 2 operas.....and then there is La Traviata, Il Trovatore, La Forza, Rigolleto, Don Carlo and Un Ballo we really are spoiled for choice here!  I once read a statement on Verdi that I believe to be true...."Every Verdi opera is a class act!"

  Please explore the operas.....there is so much to admire.

  marvin

I'm aware it's the operas, rather than the few instrumental & choral works, that really put Verdi in the first rank of composers, but have to admit it's been a long time since I've seen one of them. I know I've seen Aida and La Traviata in concert, and Rigoletto in film, I think. There is a small number of opera singers I tolerate so if I spot one of them in Otello, which seems to be the one to have since I know I've never heard it (Falstaff is also supposed to be good) I'll pick it up—as far as the non-operatic works of opera composers go, this string quartet beats Wagner's Album-Sonate and any instrumental music I've heard by Rossini hands down, so I have high hopes.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 10, 2013, 07:05:04 AM
There's a good idea. I'm with you!  I will listen to one of my newer acquisitions: La Forza del Destino with Tebaldi and del Monaco (not to mention Siepi, Simionato, etc.). :)



A sprawling score, that contains some of Verdi's greatest music. I am not so thrilled by the scene painting in the crowd scenes and rat-a-plan stuff, whilst understanding their purpose in relieving the otherwise unremitting gloom of the rest of the score.

I am listening now to the second scene of Act II, one of the greatest in all Verdi, in the Callas recording, with Rossi-Lemeni a most sympathetic Padre Guardiano. Callas is superb in this scene. Though others may have sung the aria with fuller, more rounded tone, none have brought to it such intensity and meaning.

That said, I know you have an antipathy for Callas,so there is no point me recommending it to you.

However, the recording above is not really the best Forza out there, though there is a live Tebaldi one around somewhere, conducted by Mitropoulos, which shows what a great Leonora Tebaldi could be, and also a DVD of a performance from La Scala with Corelli, Bastianini and Christoff, on which the singing is spectacular. This studio one is a bit earthbound.

Price/Domingo/Levine is much more alive and probably the best all round set. Price doesn't have Callas's way with words, nor does she sing the music, particularly in the first act, with Callas's accuracy, but she is in all other aspects ideal, and that easily recognisable, smokey timbre of hers is ideal for the role.

Domingo is good here, but even better on the later Muti. Unfortunately Freni, thoughtful and musical singer though she is, sounds overparted as Leonora.

The Sinopoli won a Gramophone Award, but it hasn't stood the test of time. The best singing comes from Baltsa as Preziosilla, which is not really the reason one buys a recording of Forza.



Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on October 11, 2013, 03:57:17 AM
The Met's Sirius/XM station's devoting the week to Verdi (except for this week's three live broadcast's).  On the 9th, I listened to a 1977 Forza (Levine; Price, Domingo, MacNeil, Talvela, Elias, Capecchi), and on the 10th a 1966 Trovatore originally broadcast just a week after Price and Corelli's dual Met debuts (Cleva; Corelli, Price, Sereni, Dalis, Wilderman, and a 22-year old Teresa Stratas as Inez, just weeks before she got her big break as Liù).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on October 11, 2013, 04:06:43 AM
  VERDI FANS!!  How is everyone doing? I hope all of you are celebrating Verdi's 200th Anniversary this year- or at least giving this composer more attention than usual.  Personally I am deep into Verdi's operas!  A few months ago, in March I bought the COMPLETE WORKS of Verdi on the Decca label.  This MEGA BOXSET:

 



  and if I may be blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxDoldFID4s)

  I started with Oberto and am working my way through the operas in chronological order of composition (Tsaraslondon   8) style).  I have now reached Luisa Miller.  I was unfamiliar with Verdi's early works and was skeptical at first.  But after listening to Jerusalem, La Battaglia de Legnano and Il Corsaro as well as Alzira and Giovanna D'arco I finally understand what I once read about Verdi..... "Every Verdi opera is a class act!" It is incredible how in every opera there is at least a few arias, a few ensembles and not mention choral lines that sent my heart pounding with delight!

  This is the BEST boxset I own!  With the sole exception of Ernani (a disappointingly strained performance by Dame Joan Sutherland) the performances are on the whole top notch! Thankfully I have a recording of  Schipper's Ernani with Price to supplement. Sound quality on this boxset is superb!

  I am especially excited about the French Version of Don Carlo which is unfamiliar to me (the boxset features both the Italian and French Versions) In addition there are 2 versions of La Forza the original (1862 St Petersburg Version) and the revised version 1869. There are also 8 CDs covering the Requiem, Quattro Pezzi Sacri, Sacred Works, Songs , Arias and other Rarities, String Quartets and Ballet Music....OH MY!  The only issue is the lack of libretti but the 2 books included in this boxset include a synopsis of each opera on a track by track basis. My local library has some libretti as well, so I am managing quite well.

  For a total price of around £125 for 75 CDs and performances drawn from the EMI, DG and Decca catalogues I would encourage anyone interested in this boxset to snap it up. 

  Happy Listening!

  marvin


I eventually had to cancel my order from Vivace Classical (after waiting in vain for a few months) and I ordered it for a bit more at Amazon.es.  It arrived within days.  It is a great box promising many more hours of listening pleasure. Viva Verdi!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 11, 2013, 05:40:46 AM
A sprawling score, that contains some of Verdi's greatest music. I am not so thrilled by the scene painting in the crowd scenes and rat-a-plan stuff, whilst understanding their purpose in relieving the otherwise unremitting gloom of the rest of the score.

I am listening now to the second scene of Act II, one of the greatest in all Verdi, in the Callas recording, with Rossi-Lemeni a most sympathetic Padre Guardiano. Callas is superb in this scene. Though others may have sung the aria with fuller, more rounded tone, none have brought to it such intensity and meaning.

That said, I know you have an antipathy for Callas,so there is no point me recommending it to you.

However, the recording above is not really the best Forza out there, though there is a live Tebaldi one around somewhere, conducted by Mitropoulos, which shows what a great Leonora Tebaldi could be, and also a DVD of a performance from La Scala with Corelli, Bastianini and Christoff, on which the singing is spectacular. This studio one is a bit earthbound.

Price/Domingo/Levine is much more alive and probably the best all round set. Price doesn't have Callas's way with words, nor does she sing the music, particularly in the first act, with Callas's accuracy, but she is in all other aspects ideal, and that easily recognisable, smokey timbre of hers is ideal for the role.

Domingo is good here, but even better on the later Muti. Unfortunately Freni, thoughtful and musical singer though she is, sounds overparted as Leonora.

The Sinopoli won a Gramophone Award, but it hasn't stood the test of time. The best singing comes from Baltsa as Preziosilla, which is not really the reason one buys a recording of Forza.

Yeah, I will probably end up getting the Price recording eventually, although the Tebaldi/Del Monaco does have some wonderful moments.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on October 11, 2013, 09:38:06 AM
I did celebrate Verdi's birthday but for some reason I forgot to comment here yesterday. And that Myung Whun-Chung recording of Othello that marvinbrown mentioned, is my personal favorite. From all the Iagos I've hard, Sergei Leiferkus not only has the best voice but also perhaps the greatest villain laugh in the history of opera! Viva Verdi indeed!

La morte e il nulla...
e vecchia fole il ciel! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

...however, Simon Boccanegra still is probably my favorite Verdi opera.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 11, 2013, 10:11:49 AM

I eventually had to cancel my order from Vivace Classical (after waiting in vain for a few months) and I ordered it for a bit more at Amazon.es.  It arrived within days.  It is a great box promising many more hours of listening pleasure. Viva Verdi!

  Congratulations! I believe you will find it as I did quite stunning! The very high performance quality of the recordings in this box set sets it apart from any other COMPLETE works boxset I have come across.

  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on October 11, 2013, 06:22:28 PM
  Congratulations! I believe you will find it as I did quite stunning! The very high performance quality of the recordings in this box set sets it apart from any other COMPLETE works boxset I have come across.

  marvin

Incidentally, I had many of the Gardelli/Philips recordings on tape from when they were broadcast here on the radio in the 90's, so they were instantly familiar.  I would also prefer the Gardelli/Caballé recording of I Masnadieri over the Bonynge/Sutherland one.  Overall, I am not a big fan of Dame Joan. And it is great to have Kleiber's La Traviata included.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 12, 2013, 01:52:43 AM
Listening at present to Act II of Ballo in the live recording from La Scala with Callas, Di Stefano and Bastianini, and Gavazzeni a much more propulsive conductor than Votto on the studio set. All three principals are superb, Callas singing with absolute security above the stave on this occasion, and pouring out phrase after phrase of true spinto tone. If there is a more erotically charged love duet (one of the greatest in all Verdi) than this on record, then I have yet to hear it, both singers at their peak.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: jlaurson on October 12, 2013, 05:15:20 AM
New Contender:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00EASFRVU.01.L.jpg)
G. Verdi
Otello
R.Muti / CSO /
A.Antonenko, K.Stoyanov, C.Guelfi
CSO Resound SACD (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00EASFRVU/goodmusicguide-20)
German link (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00EASFRVU/goodmusicguide-21) - UK link (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00EASFRVU/goodmusicguideuk-21)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Drasko on October 13, 2013, 04:25:14 AM
Listening at present to Act II of Ballo in the live recording from La Scala with Callas, Di Stefano and Bastianini, and Gavazzeni a much more propulsive conductor than Votto on the studio set. All three principals are superb, Callas singing with absolute security above the stave on this occasion, and pouring out phrase after phrase of true spinto tone. If there is a more erotically charged love duet (one of the greatest in all Verdi) than this on record, then I have yet to hear it, both singers at their peak.

That is really superb performance all around. I usually stream it from Opera Today site, but don't have it on CD. Any idea what is these days considered to be the best transfer? EMI has had some copy/paste job done because some missing bits, Melodram is hard to find, Opera d'Oro is supposedly same as EMI, Myto which is easiest to find some consider best but others claim to be sharp throughout. All in all confusing. :-\ 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on October 13, 2013, 04:25:26 AM
(http://cdn-images.deezer.com/images/cover/8d768e0a03727965790e2d9b76b1956e/200x200-000000-80-0-0.jpg)

I like Anna (I liked her better before her maternal leave), but this is a wrong choice of repertoire for her. Especially Lady Macbeth is way too heavy for her voice.
I enjoyed her performance as Tatyana in last week's MET HD transmission of Eugene Onegin, but this disc truly showcases her faults: she articulates as if she had a potato in her mouth and there is a sign of the ugly wobble that troubled my beloved Scotto in her later years.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on October 13, 2013, 10:22:50 AM
That's interesting, as I thought the Macbeth and Don Carlo arias were the best pieces. Some of her singing is plain out sloppy; but overall the many reviewers I have read like the Macbeth and don't mention the doubtful areas of her singing. I never believed her in the lighter range of roles such as Guilda. i always thought her voice had a dark quality to it and her best recital was of Russian arias, which do tend to draw on a darker timbre.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on October 13, 2013, 11:26:32 AM
That's interesting, as I thought the Macbeth and Don Carlo arias were the best pieces. Some of her singing is plain out sloppy; but overall the many reviewers I have read like the Macbeth and don't mention the doubtful areas of her singing. I never believed her in the lighter range of roles such as Guilda. i always thought her voice had a dark quality to it and her best recital was of Russian arias, which do tend to draw on a darker timbre.


I don't know, I may grow to like it more over time. But the sloppiness and the wobble were too distracting for me on the first listen.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 29, 2013, 12:48:30 AM
That is really superb performance all around. I usually stream it from Opera Today site, but don't have it on CD. Any idea what is these days considered to be the best transfer? EMI has had some copy/paste job done because some missing bits, Melodram is hard to find, Opera d'Oro is supposedly same as EMI, Myto which is easiest to find some consider best but others claim to be sharp throughout. All in all confusing. :-\

Sorry for late response.

I wasn't aware that EMI had done any copy/paste job on this set, as they undoubtedly did with the Macbeth. In the Macbeth, a few bars of the ensemble which closes Act I were lost in transmission and the Hunt CD issue spliced in the missing music from a performance with Gencer (they mention this in the booklet). The EMI is exactly the same as the Hunt, though EMI make no mention of the fact in their booklet, presumably because they just copied the Hunt version without referencing it.

However there are no such problems with the Ballo, which is one of the best live Callas relays in terms of sound (and performance). If Divina records get  round to issuing it, then that would definitely be the one to go for. In the meantime, I would expect most of the others to be quite adequate.


Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: douglasofdorset on November 11, 2013, 06:41:04 AM
I celebrated Verdi's birthday (though well after the date) by going to a performance of 'Les Vêpres Siciliennes' at Covent Garden.  If anyone else saw it, I wonder what you made of it?  I thought Stefan Herheim's production, while striking, at times militated against the drama - for instance, by having the French soldiers (mostly) confined to theatre boxes and the Sicilian people to the stage there was not the physical confrontation there should have been in Act I.  And parts of Act II and Act V (in particular) veered close to farce - though perhaps Verdi's music invites it.  It certainly needs something visually entertaining to sustain interest in the fifth Act, which is, dramatically speaking, far too drawn out.

As regards 'La Forza del Destino' - which would be more appropriately called 'The Concatenation of Curious Coincidences' - I also have the Decca  'Ace of Diamonds' set, with Del Monaco, Tebaldi et al.  I have always thought the acoustic rather 'tinny', and orchestra and chorus get badly out of sync in the ensemble at the end of Act II Scene i.  (How much more dramatically satisfying it would have been to have had don Carlo appear at the end of Act I - following the servants with lighted candles - in time to witness the death of his father, and swear vengeance on Alvaro and his sister - at least we would then have a clue as to who 'the Student' is in the next scene.  And the extended ending of Act III, giving colour to the battlefield environment, which I believe was an addition by Verdi when he revised the score in 1869, interrupts the narrative flow of the drama to no purpose - apart from 'colour'.)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on December 17, 2013, 06:55:44 AM
Verdi - La traviata
Callas, Valetti, Zanasi
The Covent Garden, Orchestra, Nicola Rescigno



This is an amazing performance!  And Violetta's arioso in Act 2 ("Ammami Alfredo!") is simply tear-inducing. 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 18, 2013, 01:45:00 AM
Verdi - La traviata
Callas, Valetti, Zanasi
The Covent Garden, Orchestra, Nicola Rescigno



This is an amazing performance!  And Violetta's arioso in Act 2 ("Ammami Alfredo!") is simply tear-inducing.

This is my favourite of all Callas's recorded Violettas, which makes it, by default, my all time favourite La Traviata.

There is a curious anomaly regarding this transfer though. In all previous incarnations, the microphone picks up Callas quietly singing a couple of notes during the prelude. It's a charming moment, which most of us collectors listen out for. However those notes are entirely absent in this pressing, and I wonder a) how they were ommitted or b) whether some jiggery pokery has gone on and ICA have spliced in some bars from another performance. It's all very mysterious and ICA could shed no light on the matter when I wrote to them.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on December 18, 2013, 07:56:24 AM
This is my favourite of all Callas's recorded Violettas, which makes it, by default, my all time favourite La Traviata.

My all time favourite is Scotto with Raimondi and Bastianini. It was my first Traviata and I played it over and over ad nauseam when I was a teenager.

There is a curious anomaly regarding this transfer though. In all previous incarnations, the microphone picks up Callas quietly singing a couple of notes during the prelude. It's a charming moment, which most of us collectors listen out for. However those notes are entirely absent in this pressing, and I wonder a) how they were ommitted or b) whether some jiggery pokery has gone on and ICA have spliced in some bars from another performance. It's all very mysterious and ICA could shed no light on the matter when I wrote to them.

Yet they still mention the anomaly in the booklet, which made me wonder when I could not hear it.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 18, 2013, 08:23:56 AM
My all time favourite is Scotto with Raimondi and Bastianini. It was my first Traviata and I played it over and over ad nauseam when I was a teenager.

It's odd how the recordings we grew up on are the ones we cling to in later life. I grew up on the Karajan Otello, with Del Monaco and Tebaldi, and for years it was my favourite. However I now prefer both Vickers and Domingo in the role, and would prefer both Scotto and Freni to Tebaldi, who sings beaitifully, but a little anonymously.

For me Violetta was Callas's greatest role. greater even than her Norma. It was the role that she was continually refining, which is possibly why I find this Covent Garden performance (one of her very last Violettas) the best of them all.

Yet they still mention the anomaly in the booklet, which made me wonder when I could not hear it.


Do they? How weird. I have no idea why those notes should suddenly disappear. It reminds me of a scene at the beginning of Terence McNally's The Lisbon Traviata, written before the Lisbon performance had been released. Rumours of it having been recorded had been circulating for years and every Callas fan in the world was trying to get hold of it. The play opens with the lead character listening to the prelude to the opera. When I saw the play, I recognised the recording immediately as the Covent Garden performance because of Callas's singing during the prelude. The first lines in the play are, and I paraphrase,

"No. No. No! That's Covent Garden 1958. Not Lisbon!"

Those notes sung by Callas during the prelude are part of legend it would seem, and ought to be preserved.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on December 19, 2013, 02:35:52 AM
It's odd how the recordings we grew up on are the ones we cling to in later life. I grew up on the Karajan Otello, with Del Monaco and Tebaldi, and for years it was my favourite. However I now prefer both Vickers and Domingo in the role, and would prefer both Scotto and Freni to Tebaldi, who sings beaitifully, but a little anonymously.



  This is especially true for me as well.  I grew up with the Chung Otello and the Karajan Aida with Tebaldi. I have yet to find a recording that I prefer to those 2 respectively.  It's all about conditioning I guess. We are conditioned to like what we like. I feel the same about Giullini's Rigoletto.  That faint chorus after the opening prelude, which many listeners complain is too faint is what I love most.  It sets a mood that I am sensitive to, and then the opera takes off.  I am referring to this recording:

 



  marvin
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on December 19, 2013, 03:04:48 AM
 Yes, we all sometime have peculiar preferences. I particularly like the few lines of frenzied dialogue at the very end of La Traviata (“O cielo…Violetta…Oh Dio, soccorasi.. E spenta…Oh mio dolor”) that usually get cut. It somehow feels incomplete without it.  ;D
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 19, 2013, 10:19:37 AM
  This is especially true for me as well.  I grew up with the Chung Otello and the Karajan Aida with Tebaldi. I have yet to find a recording that I prefer to those 2 respectively. 


As I say, it was the Karajan Otello for me, though I seem to have weaned myself off it now. That said, it's left me without a favourite. I lean towards the Serafin because of Vickers and Gobbi, but don't much like Rysanek as Desdemona. I also like the earlier Domingo, and very much enjoy Scotto's Desdemona, while accepting Domingo doesn't quite get to the heart of the role as he was later to do. Vickers's second recording with Karajan (also his second) is out of the running for me because of the swingeing cut in the Act III ensemble; a shame because Freni and Glossop are very good, though I don't think any Iago really rivals Gobbi, even Leiferkus on the Chung, excellent though he is. Here my problem is Studer, who is a singer I never really enjoy.

I got to know most of my other Verdi operas through Callas, and hers are all still my favourite versions for the operas she recorded, despite the traditional cuts in the score. I sometimes turn to alternatives, but always find myself missing the peculiar colours and insights she would bring to her various roles.


 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on December 19, 2013, 02:52:27 PM
As per Otello, for me it is Domingo-Leiferkus-Vaness MET broadcast from the mid-nineties.  My first and only Otello for a very long time. Especially Leiferkus. He is THE Iago for me and I have trouble accepting any other voice in the role.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 19, 2013, 05:43:44 PM
I am happy with many Otellos, though I think Domingo is probably my favorite. He was certainly consistently good in the role that seemed to suit his voice well. I love the end of Act I when he sings with Scotto on the RCA version. Divine!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 20, 2013, 01:26:00 AM
I am happy with many Otellos, though I think Domingo is probably my favorite. He was certainly consistently good in the role that seemed to suit his voice well. I love the end of Act I when he sings with Scotto on the RCA version. Divine!

Post war, there was Mario Del Monaco (not especially subtle, but with the right voice for the role), Vickers and then Domingo. Who is today's great Otello?
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Fafner on December 20, 2013, 02:20:46 AM
I was really disappointed with Botha as Otello in the recent MET HD broadcast. He is probably the best Lohengrin today, but his Otello was really flat and lifeless.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on December 20, 2013, 01:10:17 PM
Post war, there was Mario Del Monaco (not especially subtle, but with the right voice for the role), Vickers and then Domingo. Who is today's great Otello?

I suspect the question may have to be held in abeyance until Kaufmann actually starts performing the role.

I was really disappointed with Botha as Otello in the recent MET HD broadcast. He is probably the best Lohengrin today, but his Otello was really flat and lifeless.


Botha (whom I don't think I've ever actually heard in recording or performance) seems to attract this sort of comment regularly--"he's good when he sings X, but when I heard him in Y he wasn't all that good).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Moonfish on May 29, 2014, 11:46:36 AM
Time for a Verdi session!

Any suggestions on other prime versions of Macbeth? I really enjoyed Warren's voice in this particular performance.

Verdi: Macbeth       Warren/Rysanek/Bergonzi/Hines/Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Leinsdorf   (1959)



from

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 29, 2014, 12:28:19 PM
Time for a Verdi session!

Any suggestions on other prime versions of Macbeth? I really enjoyed Warren's voice in this particular performance.

Verdi: Macbeth       Warren/Rysanek/Bergonzi/Hines/Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Leinsdorf   (1959)



from


Great cast there. The set in the big Verdi Decca box is very good too (Abbado).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on May 30, 2014, 12:50:34 PM
I have tried various versions, but Abbado is my favourite version, great singing and conducting. The sound is still fresh.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 02, 2014, 07:47:58 AM
I have tried various versions, but Abbado is my favourite version, great singing and conducting. The sound is still fresh.

Mike

I second Mike. The Abbado is my preferred version too.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on June 03, 2014, 05:47:20 PM
(Crossposted from the WAYLT thread)

This,  found in the used CD store.


A largely no name cast:  the only one I recognize is Sara Mignardo as Mrs. Quickly (Evans is not Geraint as Falstaff but Rebecca as Nanetta;  the title role is sung by Jean-Phillipe Lafont).   And, on top of a first rate Requiem,  this is turning out to be a first rate Falstaff, and Gardiner seems to be as excellent a Verdian as he is a Bachian.     Might seriously contend for the legendary status of "reference recording", and at least is firm evidence that Gardiner needs to record more Verdi (Otello especially).
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on June 07, 2014, 01:47:48 PM
Verdi: Macbeth in English on Chandos: Keenyside, Brindley Sherratt, Latonia Moore, Gwyn Hughes Jones. ENO Orchestra, Edward Gardner.

This is the 62nd and final opera-in-English that will be issued by Chandos in conjunction with the Peter Moores Foundation. It was founded 50 years ago to promote the arts, most commonly music. The charity is being wound up, though the family, whose generosity is enormous will continue to support the community in various ways. The foundation's sponsorship enabled the rescuing of the Goodall Ring Cycle and His Meistersingers, some early Joan Sutherland and late Janet Baker. Additionally they have worked their way through swathes of the repertoire and allowed a number of English speaking singers to provide some excellent recital discs including Diana Montague, John Tomlinson and Christine Brewer.

There are some superb offerings such as the Mackerras Magic Flute, Bluebeard's Castle and an exciting Aida. They have attracted excellent singers and conductors: though rarely the complete knock-out match of the very, very best singer to meaty role to the extent any recording has broken the barrier to become the preferred or equal choice with the very best in the work's native language. But there is a lot that gives a great deal of pleasure. I would have especially valued the excerpts of Rosenkavalier to have been from a complete recording and I have long hoped that they would rescue Berlioz Trojans in English with Janet Baker as both Cassandra and Dido.

So, what of this final offering of Macbeth?

As one of Verdi's earliest hits, despite the reworking, there remain elements here that look back to Rossini. I have always thought it a pity that Verdi wrote the witches and murders as chorus parts: the first, because three witches with Macbeth and Banquo would have made for a terrific intimate scene of drama instead of the rather public crowd rum-ti-tum stuff we get. As to the latter, well, it stretches it a bit that 25 stout murderers can't dispose of one man and a boy efficiently and it usually looks absurd on stage.

But the piece is nevertheless packed with marvellous music and the sleepwalking scene alone is worth the price of the ticket. Although based on Shakespeare the translation does not try to echo him significantly. The English is designed primarily for clear singing. In this the work of the chorus may as well be in Italian, but the soloists do well and especially with Keenlyside, it pays big dividends and he brings the character into life through uncertainty, confidence, brutality and disintegration. His voice has lost its sheen, but he still brings so much to us, a masterclass of a singing actor.

The Lady Macbeth of Latonia Moore is good. She has the weight of voice in the upper area of the role, though it is slightly lacking in laser beam penetration I like to hear in the part. She provides involvement and plenty of drama. She and Keenlyside really dig into each other in their scenes together.

Sherratt is in best voice of all, a pity there is not lots more of the part. The tenor aria for Macduff is workmanlike.

Possibly the main reason to buy the set is the thrusting, dramatic performance drawn out of the orchestra and singers by Edward Gardner. The piece sweeps along. It is a terrific concept of the work. As a bonus the final Macbeth aria, cut from the current standard text when Verdi revised the opera, is provided, I would have preferred it to be integrated.

I will listen again and again with pleasure. A fine end to a long journey.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: zamyrabyrd on June 13, 2014, 06:29:07 AM
Verdi: Macbeth in English on Chandos: Keenlyside, Brindley Sherratt, Latonia Moore, Gwyn Hughes Jones. ENO Orchestra, Edward Gardner.

...I have always thought it a pity that Verdi wrote the witches and murders as chorus parts: the first, because three witches with Macbeth and Banquo would have made for a terrific intimate scene of drama instead of the rather public crowd rum-ti-tum stuff we get... Although based on Shakespeare the translation does not try to echo him significantly. The English is designed primarily for clear singing. In this the work of the chorus may as well be in Italian, but the soloists do well...

Mike

That's the problem isn't it, with Shakespeare. English speakers would expect some of the original text in famous scenes instead of the translated back from Italian in order to accomodate its singing language.
I remember some of Maria Stuarda in English, although not Shakespeare, that to my ear, sounded strange.   ZB
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on June 15, 2014, 12:05:20 AM
I cannot remember which opera it was, it was Verdi, but listening in English bits sounded like Gilbert and Sullivan. It was not a happy connection. I thought the translation was fine, plain, but the l language was direct.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on June 15, 2014, 06:27:07 AM
I cannot remember which opera it was, it was Verdi, but listening in English bits sounded like Gilbert and Sullivan. It was not a happy connection. I thought the translation was fine, plain, but the l language was direct.

Mike
Sir Arthur would be pleased, since much of the music of the Savoy operas was inspired by Italian opera, and often meant to parody it.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Moonfish on October 23, 2014, 03:19:05 AM
Just listened to "Ernani" with Price/Bergonzi under Schippers.

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8Kkxu8wWogo/Ub-uYLheAqI/AAAAAAAAEH4/8fGN-kHgnj8/s1600/01.jpg)

I thought it was quite good (especially in terms of the singing - great voices). However, I found myself not immersed in the soundscape as I usually do in a Verdi opera. Any fans of 'Ernani' here at GMG?  I suspect that I should probably watch it on stage (at least via a dvd) and then return to the recordings. I am getting more fond of Bergonzi's voice every time I hear him in a recording.  :)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Moonfish on November 05, 2014, 02:34:41 PM
Decided to wake up the thread. Kind of sad that the Verdi thread only has 19 pages....    :'( :'(

Verdi: Otello         Vinay/Brouwenstijn/Kraus
Covent Garden Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Kubelik
(recorded live, Oct 19, 1955)


from



Exploring live opera recordings from Covent Garden. :)
I was pleased with the performance. The sound was quite good considering that it was a live recording. Do you usually prefer the studio versions. I still get the chills listening to the Callas Aida from Mexico City so I simply never can ignore any live version I come across. Who knows what is hidden within?
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on November 06, 2014, 04:08:16 AM
I have been tempted by the box, but I have a couple of the performances. I think the Don Carlo is the Vickers/Gobbi one and is pretty sensational. Alceste will be from the final run of opera performances given by Janet Baker. It is very enjoyable, but not for HIP die hards.

I will be interested in how you find the performances as you work through them and will have a look on Spotify to see if the box is there.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Moonfish on November 10, 2014, 08:09:57 AM
Verdi: Rigoletto       Moffo/Merrill/Kraus/Elias/Flagello/RCA Italiana Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Solti   

Excellent version of one of my favorite Verdi operas!  Somehow Rigoletto became more enjoyable after I took in a staged version on a dvd. It was fantastic. The imagery of the staging blended with the music so now any Rigoletto triggers the enjoyable experience. This Solti version was very good with wonderful singing from Moffo and Merrill. Solti's orchestra embraced the performance.  I am still looking for my #1, but this one and a version with Callas would qualify as my current contenders. 
Such a sad story!   :'( :'( :'( :'(

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GzmSNs58Ry4/Ub-uZCAZ9SI/AAAAAAAAEII/OCk1UHLtoCE/s1600/07.jpg)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 12, 2014, 03:51:00 PM
Verdi: Rigoletto       Moffo/Merrill/Kraus/Elias/Flagello/RCA Italiana Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Solti   

Excellent version of one of my favorite Verdi operas!  Somehow Rigoletto became more enjoyable after I took in a staged version on a dvd. It was fantastic. The imagery of the staging blended with the music so now any Rigoletto triggers the enjoyable experience. This Solti version was very good with wonderful singing from Moffo and Merrill. Solti's orchestra embraced the performance.  I am still looking for my #1, but this one and a version with Callas would qualify as my current contenders. 
Such a sad story!   :'( :'( :'( :'(

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GzmSNs58Ry4/Ub-uZCAZ9SI/AAAAAAAAEII/OCk1UHLtoCE/s1600/07.jpg)

I do like Kraus's stylish Duke on this recording, but can't stand Solti in Verdi, so the Callas/Gobbi recording with Serafin at the helm still wins for me.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Moonfish on November 12, 2014, 04:46:23 PM
I do like Kraus's stylish Duke on this recording, but can't stand Solti in Verdi, so the Callas/Gobbi recording with Serafin at the helm still wins for me.

Agreed!  :)     The Callas/Gobbi under Serafin version is fantastic!   
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: king ubu on November 30, 2014, 03:51:12 PM
Gave a first listen to this today (from the big new Tebaldi box):

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/061/MI0001061170.jpg)

Had previously listened to two Mitropoulos live versions (1953, also with Tebaldi, and 1960 with Stella) and watched it on TV as well (with Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Ludovic Tézier ... one Asher Fisch conducting the Bavarian State forces - very good I found ... had seen Harteros on telly in "Don Carlos" earlier and there, her voice seemed too hard, too edgy for the Italian, but in "La forza" she was amazing).

Anyway, I'm really starting to love this opera! I still feel like a beginner, the Verdi operas I'm somewhat familiar with so far are "La Traviata", "Rigoletto", "Aida" and "La forza". I've also listened to "Nabucco" and "Falstaff" a few times, "Il Trovatore" as well, but ... sometimes I really wish every day had two hundred hours so I could listen to more!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kaergaard on December 01, 2014, 08:18:45 PM
How about trying something different, like the Il Trovatore directed by Dmitri Tscherniakov, conducted by Marc Minkowski at La Monnaie in 2012, with Scott Hendricks as Count Luna. The Texan baritone is being praised as the current best singer/actor in the opera world. I agree, breath-taking is the word for his performance. Tscherniakov does not give us the usual 'park-and-bark' 'organ grinder' Verdi, but the most exciting, thought-demanding version of this old outlived war horse.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B73RNO0mL._AA160_.jpg
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 02, 2014, 01:55:11 AM
Tscherniakov does not give us the usual 'park-and-bark' 'organ grinder' Verdi, but the most exciting, thought-demanding version of this old outlived war horse.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B73RNO0mL._AA160_.jpg

I'd hardly call Karajan or Giulini "park and bark" "organ grinder" though. I listened only recently to Karajan I (in the recently issued Callas Re-mastered box) and was reminded yet again of his brilliance. Even in this mono recording he brings out details in the orchestration many pass over. His conducting is thrilling and one is constantly amazed at the many felicities he brings out in the orchestral colour, like the sighing two note violin phrases in Condotta ell’era in ceppi, or the beautifully elegant string tune that underscores Ferrando’s questioning of Azucena in Act III, cleverly noting its kinship with Condotta ell’era in ceppi. His pacing is brilliant, rhythms always alert and beautifully sprung, but suitably spacious and long-breathed in Leonora’s glorious arias. Nor does he shy away from the score’s occasional rude vigour. It is a considerable achievement.

I haven't heard the Minkowki yet, and you have ignited my curiosity, but let's not so easily dismiss the achievements of some of those no longer with us.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kaergaard on December 02, 2014, 09:02:12 AM
I do share your enthusiam and admiration for Herbert von Karajan, Juliani, et al; my remark of "park and bark" refers to singers! I don't think conductors, as a rule, sing. Maestro Rico Saccini has been known to take over a few bars for a singer who lost it all, words and melody, to bring the artist's  memory back to the performance.

From: " Made in Italy"Copyright © Rico Saccani:

"And then Houston

“Il Trovatore” is not a sing-long, but the few notes sung by conductor Rico Saccani last night were undoubtedly the first thing on the lips of the audience following Houston Grand Opera’s opening night. Those notes were a jolt. His voice came during the Act Three tenor aria ‘La pira’ covering both orchestra and singer. It was Saccani in stentorian tones correcting the tenor (Vyacheslov Polozov), who had gotten completely lost. A lot of people woke up from their dozing to attend to the podium.
-   The Houston Chronicle, January 25, 1992."
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 03, 2014, 01:53:14 AM
I do share your enthusiam and admiration for Herbert von Karajan, Juliani, et al; my remark of "park and bark" refers to singers! I don't think conductors, as a rule, sing. Maestro Rico Saccini has been known to take over a few bars for a singer who lost it all, words and melody, to bring the artist's  memory back to the performance.

From: " Made in Italy"Copyright © Rico Saccani:

"And then Houston

“Il Trovatore” is not a sing-long, but the few notes sung by conductor Rico Saccani last night were undoubtedly the first thing on the lips of the audience following Houston Grand Opera’s opening night. Those notes were a jolt. His voice came during the Act Three tenor aria ‘La pira’ covering both orchestra and singer. It was Saccani in stentorian tones correcting the tenor (Vyacheslov Polozov), who had gotten completely lost. A lot of people woke up from their dozing to attend to the podium.
-   The Houston Chronicle, January 25, 1992."

What exactly do you mean by "park and bark"? It suggests a singer who just stands and delivers the music loudly without expression, hardly the words one would use to describe Callas, one of the greatest Leonoras of all times.

When it comes to singers who can act and singers who can't, well it would seem there have been an assortment of both types almost since opera began.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 16, 2015, 07:23:38 AM

Dr.Cajus (entrando dalla porta a sinistra e gridando minaccioso)
          Falstaff!

Falstaff (senza abbadare alle vociferazioni del Dr.Cajus, chiama l'Oste che si avvicina).
          Olà!

Dr.Cajus (più forte di prima)
          Sir John Falstaff!!

Bardolfo (al Dr.Cajus)
          Oh! che vi piglia?

Dr.Cajus (sempre vociando e avvicinandosi a Falstaff, che non gli dà retta)
          Hai battuto i miei servi!...

 

 I'm currently listening to Falstaff from this very fine set. 

 


 


  Guilini conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Renato Bunson in the lead role.  Many have complained that this is a somber Falstaff, devoid of much needed humour and joviality, often accusing Guillini of treating Falstaff as a "tragic" character, that this approach falls short of the Karajan Falstaff, the "GOLD STANDARD" recording. On my end I can not tell one way or the other as I have not heard the Karajan recording.  Perhaps some of GMG's Verdi experts  can weigh in on the differences?

  I am also left to wonder if Falstaff really is an opera buffa in the traditional (i.e. Rossini, Mozart etc.) sense?

  marvinbrown
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 16, 2015, 09:10:51 AM
On my end I can not tell one way or the other as I have not heard the Karajan recording.  Perhaps some of GMG's Verdi experts  can weigh in on the differences?

  I am also left to wonder if Falstaff really is an opera buffa in the traditional (i.e. Rossini, Mozart etc.) sense?

  marvinbrown

I love the Karajan recording, though some have also opined that it too lacks humour. For my part, I think it fizzes and sparkles like vintage champagne, and the Philharmonia play brilliantly for Karajan. With a near ideal cast, it remains my first choice for the opera.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on October 16, 2015, 10:51:29 AM
I love the Karajan recording, though some have also opined that it too lacks humour. For my part, I think it fizzes and sparkles like vintage champagne, and the Philharmonia play brilliantly for Karajan. With a near ideal cast, it remains my first choice for the opera.

  Wonderful description with that champagne analogy  Tsaraslondon. 8) I wouldn't say the Guilini fizzles and sparkles in a lighthearted way but it is beautiful. Warner classics now has the Karajan Falstaff in its catalogue.  After your strong recommendation I am considering buying it.😀

 

 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: jlaurson on June 16, 2016, 12:24:40 AM

Latest on Forbes.com:
Classical CD Of The Week: Serenading The Green Eyed Monster (http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek016)

Riccardo Muti’s Otello, his first commercial audio recording of Verdi’s
far-and-away greatest opera, hasn’t got an all-star cast by name but
hand-picked singers instead, who contribute...

(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/06/Forbes_Classica-CD-of-the-Week_CSO-RESOUND_Verdi_Otello_Riccardo-Muti_Chicago-Symphony_Laurson_1200-1200x469.jpg)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/06/15/classical-cd-of-the-week-serenading-the-green-eyed-monster/#79d3b76e4895 (http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek016)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: knight66 on June 16, 2016, 12:40:13 PM
I was a bit tempted by that set when it was issued. It was recorded after the DVD performance in Vienna which I review here...



http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,116.msg445012/topicseen.html#msg445012


It has the same tenor who did not impress me favourably. That ruled it out for me, though reviews suggested he had made good progress on the part.

Mike
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Spineur on July 30, 2016, 05:13:52 AM
I attended a performance of Othello yesterday at the open air festival in Budapest on Magrit Szeget island.  The place is nice, the staging with rotating decor was classical but nicely done.  The orchestra gave a refined reading of the score.  The big disapointment  came from the use of amplified voice for the singers who overpowered the orchestra pretty much throughout.  The place wasnt that big (less than the corregie d'Orange.
So why do this when the singers had powerful enough voices ?
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 20, 2017, 02:47:57 PM
Curious to know what people love about Verdi's music, particularly the music. I love Verdi, particularly his middle and later operas where he was particularly innovative with form to complement the drama on stage and drive the story primarily. And his music is great, I do love it. Although I do feel that my favourite experiences of Verdi have been when I watch his operas rather than just listen, and this isn't the case with other composers where I love listening to the music on its own just as much as I love watching their operas.......I wonder if anyone else here feels similar about Verdi.....I also wonder what it is about Verdi as a composer of music that people enjoy.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: GioCar on May 21, 2017, 01:43:27 AM
Jessop, just the opposite for me... :D
Take the Otello for example.
I don't need to watch it to enjoy it, the drama is in the music, nowhere else, from the first blasting chord to the quiet, transfigured end. What does it make it so popular and much more loved than the Shakespeare's original? I think it's simply Verdi's music...
Verdi gave to Otello, Falstaff (!), Macbeth and all others (Rigoletto!! Hugo's original is almost forgotten...) a new greatness, a new immortality, thanks to his music and the drama which is deeply interwoven with it, not to the plot or the staging. Verdi made this alchemy and this is possibly why people enjoy his music so much.
Don't waste your time analyzing it too much.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on May 21, 2017, 02:43:14 AM
Jessop, just the opposite for me... :D
Take the Otello for example.
I don't need to watch it to enjoy it, the drama is in the music, nowhere else, from the first blasting chord to the quiet, transfigured end. What does it make it so popular and much more loved than the Shakespeare's original? I think it's simply Verdi's music...
Verdi gave to Otello, Falstaff (!), Macbeth and all others (Rigoletto!! Hugo's original is almost forgotten...) a new greatness, a new immortality, thanks to his music and the drama which is deeply interwoven with it, not to the plot or the staging. Verdi made this alchemy and this is possibly why people enjoy his music so much.
Don't waste your time analyzing it too much.


Oh I see!!! I think this makes a lot of sense, thank you. I hadn't exactly considered it before.....Otello is possibly my very favourite Verdi opera for the music's sake. Well it's the one I'd most likely listen to!
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: kishnevi on May 21, 2017, 08:11:38 AM
Jessop, just the opposite for me... :D
Take the Otello for example.
I don't need to watch it to enjoy it, the drama is in the music, nowhere else, from the first blasting chord to the quiet, transfigured end. What does it make it so popular and much more loved than the Shakespeare's original? I think it's simply Verdi's music...
Verdi gave to Otello, Falstaff (!), Macbeth and all others (Rigoletto!! Hugo's original is almost forgotten...) a new greatness, a new immortality, thanks to his music and the drama which is deeply interwoven with it, not to the plot or the staging. Verdi made this alchemy and this is possibly why people enjoy his music so much.
Don't waste your time analyzing it too much.

Part of that should be credited to Verdi's librettists, Boito chief among them.  The operatic versions are in general more focused and streamlined, and the characters have different depths and motives in some cases (sometimes improving on the original, sometimes not). Most famously, in Otello, the first act of Shakespeare's play is dropped completely out of the opera, while in Falstaff Boito borrowed some of the better passages in the Henry IV plays in order to fill out Merry Wives of Windsor.  Also in the case of Shakespeare, the English of c. 1600 can be a challenge: different but not different, and hearing it in a live performance means one doesn't have the chance to stop and consult the glossary when a now obsolete word shows up.

Quote
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
 Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
 The pangs of dispriz'd love, the law's delay,
 The insolence of office, and the spurns
 That patient merit of th'unworthy takes,
 When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
 To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
 But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
 And makes us rather bear those ills we have
 Than fly to others that we know not of?

But even after that,  we are left with the fact that Verdi was a master of matching the music to the action on stage, something in which only Mozart and perhaps Puccini are his peers.
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Moonfish on May 24, 2018, 09:09:20 PM
Verdi: Rigoletto       Moffo/Merrill/Kraus/Elias/Flagello/RCA Italiana Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Solti   

Excellent version of one of my favorite Verdi operas!  Somehow Rigoletto became more enjoyable after I took in a staged version on a dvd. It was fantastic. The imagery of the staging blended with the music so now any Rigoletto triggers the enjoyable experience. This Solti version was very good with wonderful singing from Moffo and Merrill. Solti's orchestra embraced the performance.  I am still looking for my #1, but this one and a version with Callas would qualify as my current contenders. 
Such a sad story!   :'( :'( :'( :'(

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GzmSNs58Ry4/Ub-uZCAZ9SI/AAAAAAAAEII/OCk1UHLtoCE/s1600/07.jpg)

Ha ha! I have returned to Solti's performance of Verdi's Rigoletto once again.  And, once again being reminded by Tsaraslondon that I should revisit the Serafin performance with Callas/Gobi!  :)

Hmm, not much activity in the Verdi thread since 2014.....  :'( :'( :'(

No love for Verdi?
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 26, 2018, 09:28:40 AM
Ha ha! I have returned to Solti's performance of Verdi's Rigoletto once again.  And, once again being reminded by Tsaraslondon that I should revisit the Serafin performance with Callas/Gobi!  :)

Hmm, not much activity in the Verdi thread since 2014.....  :'( :'( :'(

No love for Verdi?

Plenty of love for Verdi here, but not for Solti's Verdi  ;D

Nor have my feelings changed since 2014. It's Serafin with Callas and Gobbi all the way for me. Di Stefano might not be such a stylish Duke as Kraus, but, my word, you understand why Gilda falls so completely under his spell. He's a charmer and a cad, which is surely the point.

Verdi is never far from my CD player. Recent spins are the Levine I Vespri Siciliani and the outstanding Callas/Karajan Il Trovatore. Callas and Karajan's rare collaborations always reaped gold.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: marvinbrown on December 14, 2018, 07:56:29 AM

Verdi Fans......Ciao, come stai?


  Oh I am tempted.....anyone here familiar with this boxset? 

 



  I am tempted because it is all the operas,in Bluray (great picture and sound), the productions seem for the most part to be traditional with some elaborate staging (maybe not as elaborate as the MET or Covent Garden productions but from what I can tell it is not Regietheatre which I hate.  But how is the singing?, how is the action/acting overall?  Any advice? thoughts impression?


  marvin

 
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 12, 2019, 11:47:21 PM
Latest on ClassicsToday (InsiderContent):

A Lady Macbeth From Hell
by Jens F. Laurson
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DwvajGIX4AAWwHB.jpg)

The idea of Verdi’s Macbeth (in the original, dramatically taut 1847 version) performed by a period instrument ensemble is, generously viewed, intriguing–at least when Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi are involved, with all their creditable expertise in Italian music. Granted, Verdi is not Vivaldi and... Continue Reading (https://www.classicstoday.com/review/a-lady-macbeth-from-hell/)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: JBS on January 13, 2019, 05:36:40 PM
Latest on ClassicsToday (InsiderContent):

A Lady Macbeth From Hell
by Jens F. Laurson
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DwvajGIX4AAWwHB.jpg)

The idea of Verdi’s Macbeth (in the original, dramatically taut 1847 version) performed by a period instrument ensemble is, generously viewed, intriguing–at least when Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi are involved, with all their creditable expertise in Italian music. Granted, Verdi is not Vivaldi and... Continue Reading (https://www.classicstoday.com/review/a-lady-macbeth-from-hell/)

To me the only important flaw...unfortunately a very important flaw...was the Lady Macbeth.  But I have to wonder  if that may not stem from an intentional choice by Biondi, since the liner notes make a point of Verdi's statements that he wanted an ugly sounding singer for the role.

(Not being an Insider I have no idea of what you wrote beyond the lead...)
Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 14, 2019, 03:30:03 AM
To me the only important flaw...unfortunately a very important flaw...was the Lady Macbeth.  But I have to wonder  if that may not stem from an intentional choice by Biondi, since the liner notes make a point of Verdi's statements that he wanted an ugly sounding singer for the role.

(Not being an Insider I have no idea of what you wrote beyond the lead...)

Whatever Verdi's intentions and, as I've pointed out before, they should no doubt be taken with a pinch of salt, there is no excuse for bad singing. Not only does Michael have a vibrato you could drive the whole of Macbeth's army through, her singing of the notes Verdi wrote is approximate in the extreme. I used to think Souliotis's singing on the Gardelli set was pretty disastrous, but beside Michael she is a paragon. I can't imagine what possessed those involved to go ahead. A Macbeth with an inadequate Lady Macbeth is as disastrous for Verdi as it is for Shakespeare, and I have no idea what Biondi was thinking. Back in Legge and Culshaw's day she would have been dismissed before she even got into the recording studio.

Title: Re: VERDI King of Italian Opera
Post by: Wendell_E on January 15, 2019, 03:41:24 AM
Whatever Verdi's intentions and, as I've pointed out before, they should no doubt be taken with a pinch of salt, there is no excuse for bad singing. Not only does Michael have a vibrato you could drive the whole of Macbeth's army through, her singing of the notes Verdi wrote is approximate in the extreme. I used to think Souliotis's singing on the Gardelli set was pretty disastrous, but beside Michael she is a paragon. I can't imagine what possessed those involved to go ahead. A Macbeth with an inadequate Lady Macbeth is as disastrous for Verdi as it is for Shakespeare, and I have no idea what Biondi was thinking. Back in Legge and Culshaw's day she would have been dismissed before she even got into the recording studio.

Amen!