Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 336089 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2360 on: February 15, 2021, 01:03:29 PM »
I agree that "received pronunciation" has rather had its day, though we still sometimes say it of voices with no discernible regional accent. What we are in danger of losing now is intelligibility. I have absolutely no problem with regional accents in theatre or on stage as long as I can understand what the person is saying. Apparently when the acclaimed TV series The Wire was aired over here, many people found the only way of understanding what was going on was to watch with hard of hearing subtitles turned on. In an effort to make things sound authentic we sometimes forget that it is also important that we are understood.

A lot of the difficulty with The Wire was the argot being used in many scenes. I was happy to have the subtitles on. About the best TV I have ever seen.

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

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2361 on: February 16, 2021, 05:04:10 PM »
Hindemith The Long Christmas Dinner (Janowski et. al.)



An interesting article written by Leon Botstein:

Every American high school student must confront the work of Thornton Wilder; in a way his incredible success, especially with the iconic Our Town, has led us to take him a bit for granted. Thornton Wilder was a prolific author of plays and novels. He is one of those writers who is continually the subject of such comments as “I didn’t know that was by Thornton Wilder!” when one learns, for instance, that Hello, Dolly! is based on a Wilder play. Wilder was the recipient of multiple Pulitzers and a force to be reckoned with in American literature. There is more to him than we have come to assume.

Paul Hindemith, however, has as his Pulitzer equivalent the honor of being called a “degenerate” and “atonal noisemaker” by Josef Goebbels. Although Hindemith was considered a great composer during his lifetime, his career suffered great peaks and slides, especially in the 1930s, after the opera Mathis der Maler. Owing to his emigrations between Europe and the U.S., and the scandalous reception of some of his early works, he was forced to reinvent himself. His reputation posthumously has declined somewhat, though one can hear his influence on American music in the work of his students at Yale, notably Easley Blackwood and Lukas Foss. Hindemith’s work during the last fifteen years of his life, the period into which The Long Christmas Dinner falls, have been quite neglected.

One aspect that Thornton Wilder and Paul Hindemith both shared was their mastery of the short form in their respective fields: the single-act work. Nowhere is Wilder’s skill in this dramatic form so ambitiously and thrillingly demonstrated than in The Long Christmas Dinner, which transforms the concept of duration by compressing 90 years into under an hour, and thereby exposes fundamental issues of life and its rebirths. Hindemith, too, loved the form, and used it to invoke sudden spikes of emotion, whether it be horror, laughter, or astonishment: that is the progression of emotions in his triptych of one-acts, Murder, Hope of Women; The Nusch-Nuschi; and Sancta Susanna (all performed in an evening by the ASO in 2004). That these two great artists collaborated on a form that they both dominated and reinvigorated is a rare and happy historical convergence.

It is therefore with the greatest pleasure and profound gratitude that I have the opportunity to perform this rare work, to help make a case for the late, neglected work of a great composer, and for one of the lesser-known masterpieces of a premier voice of American literature.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 05:10:16 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2362 on: February 16, 2021, 05:42:47 PM »

Cross-posted from the WAYL2 thread:



A very successful opera, even without the visuals (the very detailed booklet and libretto describes all the moves, costume and scenic changes). The story intertwines The Trial’s storyline with short ‘counter-scenes’ (Ruder’s own term) lifted from Kafka’s bio, real-life incidents that actually triggered the idea for the book. The pace is taut and the whole 2 hour thing goes by very quickly. A kind of dissonant prosody is liberally used in the Trial scenes, which as a consequence sound very ‘modern’, while freely tonal episodes are used in the counter-scenes (from Kafka’s life events). These in turn are are almost melodic, as if experienced in a dream. Powerful on many levels. I was reminded at times of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. Recommended to the modern-minded.

Offline T. D.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2363 on: February 19, 2021, 05:41:28 PM »

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2364 on: February 27, 2021, 07:22:07 AM »


Still my favourite Trovatore and one that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. The cast is an excellent one, if not the best ever assembled for the opera, but they all acquit themselves superbly. The recording was made in 1956, around nine months after Callas's final stage performances in the role in 1955 and, though there is now some shrillness on high, it represents her final thoughts on the role. The voice has a dark plangency which is absolutely right for the role and she fills the role's filigree with a significance no other singer quite matches. Di Stefano's voice was really too light for Manrico, but he almost convinces us he isn't, Barbieri is a splendid Azucena, one of the best on disc, Panerai a superb Di Luna, his high baritone absolutely right for the role and Zaccaria gets the whole thing off to a rousing start with his sonerous basso cantante.

However, what sets the seal on the performance is Karajan's wonderful realisation of the score, which seems to me absolutel right from first note to last, expansive when necessary, rhythms superbly sprung in the more energetic numbers. Furthermore he brings out little details in the orchestration, highlighting some of the countermelodies in the orchestra that we don't always hear.

A classic. https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/91l6fuq3isl-_sl1500_.jpg?w=1011[/img]

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2365 on: February 27, 2021, 02:18:42 PM »


A Salzburg Festival production from 2005. There are three important roles and they are very well cast: Robert Brubaker as Alviano, Anne Schwanewilms as Carlotta and Michael Volle as Count Tamare. The scenery is rather static (a single set throughout) as is the action. It’s a philosophical tale, quite in the same vein as Schreker’s Der ferne Klang.

Interestingly, Die Gezeichneten (1911-1915) was started at the instigation of Schreker’s good friend Zemlinsky, who needed a libretto for an opera on an ugly man spurned by an extremely beautiful woman. Of course that was his own life story, based on Alma Mahler’s crushing rejection of him. Schreker was so taken by the project that he kept the libretto for himself and ended up composing the whole opera. Zemlinsky would eventually compose Der Zwerg in 1919, his own take on the subject of rejection, this time based on Oscar Wilde’s novel The Birthday of the Infanta, from which Schreker had already composed a ballet 10 years earlier. It’s a small world...

Despite the static action and some ugly shots of Michael Volle sweating profusely, it’s an excellent production. Anne Schwanewilms sings enchantingly (it’s a treacherous part). Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Oper Berlin are excellent. That’s one opera where the audio component (meaning: a cd set) will be just as fine as the full monty.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2366 on: February 28, 2021, 05:38:59 PM »
Cross-posted

Quote


This will be listened to on more than one session. At 4 hours, this is as long - if not longer -  as Walküre or Siegfried. Compared to the other French language version available (Pappano’s) I prefer both singers and orchestra, though it’s sometimes a close call. Where the EMI performance scores is in the production’s casting of major voices right down to the secondary roles. EMI has gone all out and here and this is unquestionably one of the best cast ever assembled for a large opera.

The producers must also be commended for their handling of the difficult language issue. Rossini’s vocal lines are meant to be sung ‘on the words’, meaning that every word is exposed and must be properly articulated. The two first and one important secondary roles are sung by non francophones, but Gedda (Arnold) and Gwynne Howell (Mechtal) have superb french diction. Caballé’s French has a subtly exotic flavour to it but since Mathilde is from Austria, not Switzerland, it can be justified. And after all, she is one of the great prima donnas so, pourquoi pas:D. The only problem I have is the recording of the chorus. They are recorded close to the microphones and the ear grows tired after a while. Other than that the sound is extremely fine, with the many spatial effects finely judged.