Author Topic: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte  (Read 7035 times)

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uffeviking

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Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« on: July 02, 2007, 05:07:55 PM »
Vivaldi wrote over twenty operas, not many became big hits and few are considered worthwhile by record companies to issue as a DVD. We can count on Dynamic to bring us the rare ones now and then.

The URL gives a detailed review of the workings of Vivaldi, leaving it to me to tell about the performance.

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_group=2&album_id=170296

The director John Pasco explains the opera in a short interview in the beginning which I appreciate because my knowledge of Greek mythology is not perfect; now I know what's it all about. This performance at the Spoleto Festival 2006 features the very talented Complesso Barocco, who make me like the sound of those HIP instruments, for a change. This Vivaldi opera could not be successful with modern instruments, supporting a very good cast. No top ranking singers - Thank you Goddess Diana, I shudder at the thought of Ben Heppner performing through three-fourth of the opera in almost total nudity! - but Zachary Stains as Ercole with the figure of a body builder, has no problem because he also sings very well. His voice has been described as 'nasal' when he sang Tiridate in Handel's Radamisto; no sign of this in the Spoleto performance.

Pasco has used the small stage of Spoleto very successfully, placing Diana's head prominently in the center, with a few ruin fragments strewn about. The rocks were needed of course, to show off Stain's muscles performing the Herculean task of lifting and tossing one of them about! Everyone of the female singers have pleasant voices; I am not familiar with any of them. But I shall keep my ear open for Randall Scotting, Teseo, an outstanding young counter tenor, with none of the faults I have heard lately from David Daniels and Scholl. More praise I have to give to the director for encouraging expressive acting of the silent partner during the many duets and arias. No stand and deliver!

Because videos of any Vivaldi opera are so rare, I think you should add this one to your collection!  :)

uffeviking

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2007, 05:10:59 PM »
Zachary Stains as Ercole wearing the skin of the lion he had just slain:


Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2007, 05:17:24 PM »
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Uffe. My current familiarity with Vivaldi's opera/oratorio works is limited to Bazajet and Juditha Triumphans, both of which I found very enjoyable listening. But I really need to be able to watch opera in order to get a grip on it, and this sounds like a nice place to start!

BTW - Vivaldi wrote well over 50 operas (not all are still extant), this is the 22nd of his known ones. Fairly prolific, between concertos.  :D

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2007, 05:18:28 PM »
Zachary Stains as Ercole wearing the skin of the lion he had just slain:



Pavarotti could have done that... ;D

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uffeviking

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2007, 05:22:58 PM »

BTW - Vivaldi wrote well over 50 operas (not all are still extant), this is the 22nd of his known ones. Fairly prolific, between concertos.  :D

8)

My 'Bible' by Jerzy Chwialkowski The Da Capo Catalog of Classical Music Compostions lists 24 operas!  :P

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2007, 05:26:50 PM »
My 'Bible' by Jerzy Chwialkowski The Da Capo Catalog of Classical Music Compostions lists 24 operas!  :P

My "Vivaldi: Red Priest of Venice" by HR Robbins-Landon says "over 50".  :P

(Some are disputed though... ) 

I can't do any research here, so you have me at a disadvantage. I'll be home by the weekend though... :-\

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2007, 05:33:56 PM »
From the liner notes of "Griselda"...


If you thought composing somewhere around 500 concertos was an achievement, remember that Antonio Vivaldi also composed 49 operas. Indeed, Vivaldi probably thought of himself primarily as an opera composer -- with 67 productions in a career of 28 years, he may not have had a chance to think of himself as anything else. Yet, while Vivaldi is well known as a composer of concertos, he is hardly known as a composer of operas. In the Naïve Vivaldi Edition -- a comprehensive survey on 100 discs of the 450 works in Vivaldi's library at the time of his death -- all 49 operas will appear; this recording of his "Griselda" is the sixth to be released.
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uffeviking

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2007, 05:51:43 PM »
You wanna fight? Of course Vivaldi wrote more than the number I listed, but I counted the known and performed ones, and the ones in existence! Lots of what he wrote got lost.

You are on vacation, why don't you go out and find yourselve an alligator's skin and entertain your wife!  >:D


Heather Harrison

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2007, 02:00:18 PM »
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.  I love Vivaldi's operas, and have some on CD, but DVD offerings of his operas have been conspicuous by their general absence.  I'll probably get this soon.  Hopefully more will appear in the future.

Heather

Offline Anne

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2007, 06:07:46 PM »
There is a Vivaldi opera, Orlando Furioso, that is supposed to be one of his major ones.  Marilyn Horne has the leading role.  This is what the back cover of the video tape says,

"San Francisco Opera:
an opera in three acts,
sung in Italian with English subtitles.
Music by Antonio Vivaldi
Libretto by Grazio Braccioli

Sit back and enjoy this lavish Baroque extravaganza!

Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso is one of his major works for the operatic stage.  Ariosto's tale of frustrated passion and supernatural doings provides the basis for "an astonishing proportion of sheer melodic inspiration!"  (The Times)

This elegant and witty staging captures the fantistic quality of the Baroque style.  Pier Luigi Pizzi has used lavish costumes and monumental stage effects to create a sumptuous production.

An exceptionally fine cast gives this performance a glittering edge.  Marilyn Horne, singing the title role, is dazzling.

On Marilyn Horne: "Rarely does one encounter so deep and rich contralto combined with the flexibility of the coloratura soprano."  (The Times)

Pier Luigi Pizzi's production of Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso has brought us an operatic experience of major importance."  (The Times)

This is a Home Vision video tape.  It also says "For a catalogue of Home Vision programs, ask your local book, record, video, or other fine retailer or call toll free (800)262-8600.  From Canada, call (508) 263-8200

I bought this tape about 10 years ago and it might be out of print.  I bought it because Marilyn Horne sang it.  If she had sung the telephone book, I'd have bought that too.   ;D 

It says copyright 1990 RM Arts San Francisco Opera Association.   
ISBN 0-7800-0052-8
Licensed worldwide by Reiner Moritz Associates Ltd.

Conductor: Randall Behr
Orchestra and Chorus of the San Francisco Opera
(Chorus Director: Ian Robertson)

I tried to include anything in this post that might help someone try to find this performance.  Maybe borrow from a library?

Heather Harrison

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2007, 06:54:31 PM »
It's still in print and is now available on DVD.  It is the only other Vivaldi opera that I know of on DVD.

Heather

Offline Anne

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2007, 05:14:56 AM »
It's still in print and is now available on DVD.  It is the only other Vivaldi opera that I know of on DVD.

Heather

Thanks, Heather.  I'm glad its still available.

Joan

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2007, 05:12:29 PM »
A number of Vivaldi's operas were pasticcio works, so there could be some debate about how the exact number of entirely original operas composed by him. There's an interesting article from a couple of years ago about the resurgence of interest in his operatic output:

http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=26028

 excerpt: "Nearly all operas in the period of 1730–50 were to some degree — even if only to a slight degree — 'pasticcios,' operas with earlier music by the same composer or by one or more different composers," says Talbot. "Exactly the same thing happens in many modern musicals and pantomimes, by the way."

Still, Vivaldi's sampling violates the deeply held Mozart/Wagner ideal: that an opera is so organically conceived that its components are anything but interchangeable. Hearing a Vivaldi opera, one can say, "I didn't know he could write music like that" — and the truth may be that he didn't.




uffeviking

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Re: Vivaldi's Ercole Su'l Termodonte
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2007, 05:51:28 AM »
A number of Vivaldi's operas were pasticcio works, so there could be some debate about how the exact number of entirely original operas composed by him.

And there will be some debate, I am almost certain, as soon as our Gurn returns from his vacation!  ;D

Interesting contribution, thank you, Joan! :)