Author Topic: American Opera? (and English opera too!)  (Read 16911 times)

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Offline Guido

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Re: American Opera? (and English opera too!)
« Reply #60 on: July 09, 2010, 12:44:00 PM »
However, poor ol' Barber is staged so very rarely that I don't think his operas have really been "given the bird" by theatre audiences!  :(  I've never seen VANESSA live (I wonder if anyone here has?).  ANTHONY & CLEOPATRA suffered from an (allegedly) poorly-conceived production at its premiere based around a number of technical effects which successively failed each night, bringing a torrent of abuse down upon the show.  Barber was later persuaded to revise the piece (Menotti talked him into doing so, making some judicious cuts and revisions), and the Revised Version ought to work well on stage...   I only know it from playing-over the Vocal Score, though.   It's something of a tragedy that in his Centenary Year this year,  VANESSA isn't getting even a concert performance anywhere I'm aware of :(

I quite agree about Barber's operas - I really wish at least Vanessa would get done more... I really do love it despite its flaws. Somehow on record it seems to add up to less than the sum of its parts, but I cant figure out why - it should be Great - so many fantastic moments throughout the score, great singing parts, good characters, great arias... but as I say somehow there seems to be something not quite right. Really you have to judge these things on the stage though. I only like parts of Antony and Cleopatra and I think the revised version is miles better than the original - essentially he cut out around an ours worth of politics and expanded the lovers scenes a bit (including adding a gorgeous duet which could ironically only be described as Putinian!). Barber really couldn't write in a bombastic mode and Zeferelli kept asking for more and more fanfares and the like. I think most people are agreed that it was Zeferelli's fault that it failed so spectacularly, but of all Shakespeare's plays, surely Antony and Cleopatra was not the most obvious one to choose for an adaptation! Shakespeare is already a risky prospect when left in the original for opera... It was Barber's favourite of the plays though possibly for sentimental reasons in that his sister had been Cleopatra in a production in their youth. The third act is the best act and remains unchanged between the versions - Cleopatra's music is superb and is surely worth a revival of the operas alone. I know you don't like her, but I cannot imagine a more ideal Vanessa than Renée Fleming, but apparently she says she's not in love with the piece, or at least she wasn't 13 years ago when she was asked. She recorded Vanessa's aria though and it's absolutely ravishing.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 12:45:31 PM by Guido »

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Offline listener

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Re: American Opera? (and English opera too!)
« Reply #61 on: July 09, 2010, 10:23:49 PM »
I've never seen VANESSA live (I wonder if anyone here has?)

by Samuel Barber

April 28, May 3, 5, and 7, 2011, at 8 pm   Matinée April 30 at 3 pm
In English with English surtitles

Directed by Glynis Leyshon. Designed by Pam Johnson

With Wendy Nielsen as Vanessa, Stephanie Marshall as Erika, and Adam Luther as Anatol.

The other operas in their season are Rossini's La Cenerentola,  Handel's Rodelinda, and Puccini's La Bohème
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 10:27:15 PM by listener »
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Offline False_Dmitry

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Re: American Opera? (and English opera too!)
« Reply #62 on: July 10, 2010, 12:27:44 AM »
Thanks for the heads-up about the VANESSA production at Pacific Opera, Listener :)  I'm glad to see the piece is getting an airing, and I wish them well with it.  Sadly it's a bit too far for me to get there :(

"Of all the NOISES known to Man, OPERA is the most expensive" - Moliere