Author Topic: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.  (Read 12297 times)

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Harry

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Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« on: June 13, 2007, 08:34:31 AM »
Well as promised in the opera thread my feeble attempt to write a impression from that fatal night, when I was abducted, first against my will, but after sitting through the first two acts, I volunteered to stay put, and they could remove the bindings.
Lucky for me and the others there was a good air-co in this modern build theater called Martini Plaza. It was not sold out, but full enough.
First of all all the dialogue was taken out, and few scenes were missing from the third act, total duration was 2 hours and 40 minutes, modern costumes from the Stalin time, suits and all that, peasants in modern rags, Boris most of the time clothed in his underwear only and his six pack clearly visable, and a carpet with figures of Christ and apostles on it, not very nice done. You understand the choreography was absolute terrible, with in the first act the singing of the monk, well done by the way, sat in a wheelchair carrying a TL light tube with him all the time, and blinding the people in the audience including me. The stage was too small, which had the choir walking the space of centimetres in a irritating way. The singing from the choir was ravishing at times, but also unpleasantly loud at places, too loud I thought. But the diction in Russian was good. Boris had a good voice, deep and dramatic, his son was a sort of falsetto, which gave me the creeps, most of the tenors were so, so, the Mezzo was terribly false and frequently out of sync.
The Choir of the Bojars was done extremely good, but the working out of gestures reminded me of the antics in Fiddler on the Roof.
The music was fantastic, really beautiful writing, the orchestra was second class, and had trouble coping with the demands of the composer, sounded strained at times. A few good effects, and that was it.
But I knew that under the cover of mediocrity there was such a great quality of composed material, that this will be the first opera DVD ever for me.
So please in all honesty advise please, because there are many versions around, and also a lot of cheap cd's.
If you think I need some of them, don't hesitated to advise.
Thanks for all your patience with me and my antics the last few days, but I survived the better for it.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 08:36:38 AM by Harry »

Offline knight66

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 08:41:25 AM »
This is testament to the power of opera. You seemed to experience a pretty poor production and mediocre performance, but you are hooked. I have no advice on Boris DVDs, I am sure someone else will oblige. If you have a look at YouTube you can see some great singers doing Boris in live performances.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 08:51:31 AM »
That's an outrage! The first time Harry goes to opera he encounters an Euro-trash! The promoters should be sued!  :)

Anyway, Harry, I subscribe to Mike's comment: if such a stupid and mediocre production hooked you, just imagine what effect would a top-tier one have had on you!

So, my friend, I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope this is not going to be your first and last Romantic opera experience.


"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Harry

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2007, 08:57:47 AM »
That's an outrage! The first time Harry goes to opera he encounters an Euro-trash! The promoters should be sued!  :)

Anyway, Harry, I subscribe to Mike's comment: if such a stupid and mediocre production hooked you, just imagine what effect would a top-tier one have had on you!

So, my friend, I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope this is not going to be your first and last Romantic opera experience.




Yes they should be sued

Thank you Andrei, any recommendation would be helpful. ;D

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2007, 09:06:33 AM »
this will be the first opera DVD ever for me.
So please in all honesty advise please, because there are many versions around, and also a lot of cheap cd's.

Boris Godunov has been on my wishlist for a decade! It's time to buy one performance on DVD. So, I need advice too.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Jazzz"

Offline stingo

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2007, 09:11:52 AM »
When I posted a general call for opera recordings on the old boards, the Boris Godunov recommendation was Gergiev on Philips... no idea if that's a CD or DVD though.

Harry

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2007, 09:17:39 AM »
When I posted a general call for opera recordings on the old boards, the Boris Godunov recommendation was Gergiev on Philips... no idea if that's a CD or DVD though.

Well that's easy to find out though!
Wiil visit JPC.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2007, 09:34:01 AM »
When I posted a general call for opera recordings on the old boards, the Boris Godunov recommendation was Gergiev on Philips... no idea if that's a CD or DVD though.

That's CD (both 1869 & 1972 versions). I try to get my opera on DVD and I prefer anamorfic 16:9 picture (new productions).
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Jazzz"

Offline stingo

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2007, 09:53:14 AM »
Here's the full list - many thanks to the original poster (as I don't remember who it was now). Again I don't know if these are CDs or DVDs.

Beethoven : Fidelio - Levine (DG)
Berlioz : Les Troyens: Gardiner (Opus Arte)
Berlioz : La damnation de Faust – Cambreling (Arthaus) not exactly an opera but...
Berg : Wozzeck – Cambreling (Kultur)
Berg : Lulu – Davis (Kultur)
Bizet : Carmen – Jordan (Opus Arte), Levine (DG), Mehta (Arthaus)
Boito : Mefistofele – Arena (Arthaus)
Britten : Peter Grimes – Atherton (Arthaus)
Britten : The Turn of the Screw – Hickox (Opus Arte)
Debussy : Pelleas et Melisande - Boulez (DG)
Dvorak : Rusalka – Conlon (TDK)
Gershwin : Porgy and Bess – Rattle (EMI)
Gluck : Orfeo ed Euridice – Gsrdiner (Arthaus)
Janacek : Jenufa – Davis (Arthaus)
Janacek : The Little Cunning Vixen – Mackerras (Arthaus)
Janacek : Vec Macropulos – Davis (Kultur)
Massenet : Manon – Lopez-Cobos (TDK)
Mozart : Le Nozze di Figaro: Gardiner (DG)
Mozart : Don Giovanni: Levine (DG), Muti (TDK), Harnoncourt (TDK).
Mozart : Cosi fan tutte: Gardiner (DG)
Mozart : Die Zauberflote: Levine (DG) or Davis (Opus Arte).
Mussorgsky : Boris Godunov: Gergiev (Philips)
Mussorgsky : Khovanschina: Abbado (Arthaus)
Offenbach : Les contes d’Hoffmann – Pretre (Kultur)
Offenbach : Orphee aux Enfers – Minkowski (TDK)
Offenbach : La Belle Helene – Minkowski (TDK)
Prokofiev : The Fiery Angel – Gergiev (Arthaus)
Prokofiev : War and Peace: Bertini (TDK)
Poulenc : Dialogues des Carmelites – Koenig (Arthaus)
Puccini : La Fanciulla del West – Slatkin (DG)
Puccini : Tosca – Muti (TDK)
Puccini : Gianni Schicchi - Jurowsky (Opus Arte)
Puccini : La Boheme - Bartoletti (TDK)
Puccini : Turandot  - Levine (DG)
Rimsky-Korsakov : Le coq d’Or – Nagano (TDK)
Rossini : La Cenerentola – Campanela (Decca)
Rossini : Le Comte Ory – Davis (Kultur)
Stravinsky : The Rake Progress (Arthaus)
Strauss J. : Die Fledermaus – Kleiber (DG), Jurowsky (Opus Arte)
R. Strauss : Ariadne auf Naxos: Levine (DG)
R. Strauss : Die Frau ohne Schatten: Solti (Decca)
R. Strauss : Der Rosenkavalier: Kleiber (DG)
R. Strauss : Elektra: Abbado (Arthaus)
R. Strauss : Salome: Dohnanyi (Decca)
R. Strauss : Arabella: Haitink (Kultur)
R. Strauss : Capriccio: Runnicles (Arthaus)
Tchaikovsky : Eugene Onegin : Ermler (TDK)
Tchaikovsky : Pique Dame – Gergiev (Philips)
Thomas : Hamlet – de Billy (EMI)
Verdi : Macbeth: Welser-Most (TDK)
Verdi : Rigoletto: Levine (DG)
Verdi : Il Trovatore: Karajan (TDK)
Verdi : La Traviata: Solti (Decca)
Verdi : Un Ballo in Maschera: Levine (DG)
Verdi : La Forza del Destino: Levine ( DG)
Verdi : Simon Boccanegra: Levine (DG)
Verdi : Don Carlos: Pappano (Kultur), Levine (DG)
Verdi : Aida: Levine (DG) or Stefanelli (TDK)
Verdi : Otello: Levine (DG), Solti (Kultur), Muti (TDK)
Verdi : Falstaff: Muti (TDK), Haitink (Opus Arte)
Wagner: Tannhauser: Levine (Pioneer)
Wagner: Lohengrin: Abbado (ArtHaus)
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde: Levine (DG).
Wagner: Die Meistersinger: Levine (DG).
Wagner: The Ring: Levine (DG).
Wagner: Parsifal: Levine (DG) or Nagano (Opus Arte).


Baroque Opera
Handel : Giulio Cesare – Hickox (Kultur), Serse - Rousset (TDK)
Lully : Persee – Niquet (Euroarts)
Monteverdi : Orfeo - Savall (Opus Arte)
Monteverdi : Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria – Christie (Virgin)
Rameau : Les Indes Galantes - Christie(Opus Arte)
Rameau : Platee – Minkowski (TDK)

Wendell_E

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2007, 10:22:11 AM »
Here's the full list - many thanks to the original poster (as I don't remember who it was now). Again I don't know if these are CDs or DVDs.

They're DVDs, though many of them are also available on CD, not always on the same lable or with exactly the same cast. 

I've seen and like many of the ones on that list, but I hate that production of Wozzeck.  I'd get the Abbado/Vienna State Opera one instead (Image).  And while I like that Hickox Giulio Cesare, I've gotta put in a word for Christie/Glyndebourne one on BBC/Opus Arte.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2007, 10:35:12 AM »
Anyway, Harry, I subscribe to Mike's comment: if such a stupid and mediocre production hooked you, just imagine what effect would a top-tier one have had on you!

Just echoing the others' comments, Harry, and another bit of encouragement  :D, hoping you see an opera in which all the elements come together.  It can be quite a magical experience.

And although I don't have a Boris recommendation, I would imagine that Gergiev's is top-notch, based on hearing and seeing many of his previous recordings of Russian operas. 

--Bruce
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Offline Bunny

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2007, 10:41:23 AM »
Try the René Jacobs production of Le Nozze di Figaro.  The cd set is perfection.  The dvd is also wonderful, but with a different cast.

I also recommend Jacobs' recording of Così fan tutti which is equally marvelous.

Harry

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2007, 10:45:49 AM »
Making a list of all recommendations, so keep them coming.
I am most grateful! :)

Harry

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2007, 10:52:20 AM »
Just echoing the others' comments, Harry, and another bit of encouragement :D, hoping you see an opera in which all the elements come together.  It can be quite a magical experience.

And although I don't have a Boris recommendation, I would imagine that Gergiev's is top-notch, based on hearing and seeing many of his previous recordings of Russian operas. 

--Bruce

Well I am on my way now, and will carefully try to find my way through all recommendations.
Therefore the dialogue between GMG ers is very important, for I know almost nothing about opera and singers.
A novice I am. I also realized that a DVD from Boris is priority one, for I want to see a production with excellent stage values, for the eye wants to see all the splendour.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 11:27:40 AM by Harry »

Offline Brewski

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2007, 10:57:14 AM »
I want to see a production with excellent stage values, for the eye wants to see all the splendour.

And indeed you should see all the splendour.  Yes, in opera the music is paramount, but the visual elements are not far behind.  If I want to go to a concert (i.e., without sets, costumes and the talent of a great director), I'll go to a concert!  But opera has to have more. 

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lukeottevanger

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2007, 10:59:33 AM »
Harry, you are going to get so many recommendations here, I just want to repeat the one I made on your 'opera without sopranos' thread - Janacek's From the House of the Dead. Partly because I think it is one of the very finest operas of all, partly because if you like Boris, and you like Janacek, you will certainly adore this opera. You've already had three other late Janacek opera DVDs recommended you; but this one absolutely has to be included too.

BTW, my recommendation of Erwartung on the other thread was a joke. I thought I'd better own up before you buy it and start hating me  ;D . It is by Schoenberg, a hyper-expressionist masterwork (sometimes known as a screech-fest) with only one vocal part, for soprano, natch.


Steve

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2007, 11:05:59 AM »
Might I interest you, Harry, in an excellent recording of Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles?


Offline stingo

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2007, 11:21:51 AM »
Try the René Jacobs production of Le Nozze di Figaro.  The cd set is perfection.  The dvd is also wonderful, but with a different cast.

I also recommend Jacobs' recording of Così fan tutti which is equally marvelous.

Although I fully realize this doesn't help Harry much, but I very much like the Marriage of Figaro in Chandos' Opera in English series.

Harry

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2007, 11:22:40 AM »
Harry, you are going to get so many recommendations here, I just want to repeat the one I made on your 'opera without sopranos' thread - Janacek's From the House of the Dead. Partly because I think it is one of the very finest operas of all, partly because if you like Boris, and you like Janacek, you will certainly adore this opera. You've already had three other late Janacek opera DVDs recommended you; but this one absolutely has to be included too.

BTW, my recommendation of Erwartung on the other thread was a joke. I thought I'd better own up before you buy it and start hating me  ;D . It is by Schoenberg, a hyper-expressionist masterwork (sometimes known as a screech-fest) with only one vocal part, for soprano, natch.



The Janacek is on my list Luke, thank you again for reminding me of it, but I wrote it down the minute you posted it.
After some research and a friendly PM, I became aware of the nature of Erwartung. ;D

Harry

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Re: Harry goes opera! Tsar Boris adventures.
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2007, 11:24:29 AM »
Might I interest you, Harry, in an excellent recording of Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles?



Of course I know about this wonderful music, but how high is the soprano level Steve?