Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 493674 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #100 on: April 27, 2017, 12:29:51 AM »


One of the great tragedies of the gramophone is that Walter Legge never had the foresight to record Macbeth with Callas and Gobbi in the lead roles. If De Sabata could not have been lured into the studio, then Karajan might well have been the man for the job, and with Di Stefano as MacDuff and Zaccaria as Banquo, EMI would no doubt have ended up with a winner.

As it is, all Callas got to record of the role is Lady Macbeth's three great solos, setting the standard for all Lady Macbeths who followed.

At least we have the live version from La Scala, recorded in 1952 when Callas was at her vocal peak. The sound is not great, apt to crumble in places, but for such a performance its worth persevering.

First off we have De Sabata's symphonic approach to the score. What a shame some of the Act I finale was lost in transmission, for De Sabata's pacing is spot on and absolutely thrilling. Aside from Callas, the cast is a fine one. Some have found Mascherini's Macbeth a relatively weak presence next to his wife, but that is surely the point. Macbeth is a weak character. It is Lady Macbeth who drives the drama, both in Shakespeare, but even more so in Verdi. Italo Tajo and Gino Penno are excellent as Banquo and MacDuff, but it is Callas who dominates the performance and the opera. No other Lady Macbeth has so acutely observed  Verdi's meticulous markings, no other Lady Macbeth has sung with such power and force, and yet with such a range of colour and expression, no other Lady Macbeth has executed the fiendishly difficult fioriture with such uncanny accuracy. This is the stuff of genius, no doubt about it, and anyone who has ever doubted Callas's pre-eminence in the field should listen to it, preferably with score in hand.

Were it not for the sound, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be a top recommendation for the opera. It should be noted however that this Myto transfer is a great deal clearer than the murky EMI version.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 12:37:59 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #101 on: April 27, 2017, 12:39:28 AM »
MacNeil is not a favorite, but he's pretty good here, I agree. Amazing to think he had Asthma until his early 20s...

Not a favourite of mine either, but very good as Miller. I didn't know about the asthma.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 03:26:53 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #102 on: April 27, 2017, 12:50:03 AM »
Going to see this next month and I've never heard the whole thing before so I may as well listen to it. It's stunning!


Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #103 on: April 27, 2017, 01:01:59 AM »
Going to see this next month and I've never heard the whole thing before so I may as well listen to it. It's stunning!



It's a fairly recent acquisition of mine. Gorgeous score.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #104 on: April 27, 2017, 06:09:39 PM »
It's a fairly recent acquisition of mine. Gorgeous score.
Couldn't agree more!

TD


kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #105 on: April 27, 2017, 06:18:54 PM »
Couldn't agree more!

TD



Thanks to PBS, many moons ago, that was the first Britten opera I saw: they showed the Glyndebourne production


I snagged the DVD, and found it matched my memory.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #106 on: April 27, 2017, 06:25:00 PM »
Thanks to PBS, many moons ago, that was the first Britten opera I saw: they showed the Glyndebourne production


I snagged the DVD, and found it matched my memory.
Oh it really is wonderful isn't it! It's the only Britten opera I've seen live, and I watched that production afterwards. It's very funny. ;D

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #107 on: April 27, 2017, 10:39:53 PM »
Oh it really is wonderful isn't it! It's the only Britten opera I've seen live, and I watched that production afterwards. It's very funny. ;D

Oddly enough, it's one Britten opera I've never really taken to, though I agree this Glyndebourne production is very good.

I have recordings of Billy Budd, Peter Grimes, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Gloriana and The Rape of Lucretia, and enjoy them all very much, but have never felt tempted to add Albert Herring. Owen Wingrave is a bit of a blind spot too.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #108 on: April 27, 2017, 11:25:35 PM »
Oddly enough, it's one Britten opera I've never really taken to, though I agree this Glyndebourne production is very good.

I have recordings of Billy Budd, Peter Grimes, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Gloriana and The Rape of Lucretia, and enjoy them all very much, but have never felt tempted to add Albert Herring. Owen Wingrave is a bit of a blind spot too.

Hmmm, well Albert Herring certainly seems brighter than many of his others and perhaps just a little bit closer to reality somehow. I think Turn of the Screw, Peter Grimes, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rape of Lucretia and others to be fantastic but somewhat more removed from a happy kind of 'reality' (opera is probably one of the least naturalistic forms of theatre, so any attempts to represent 'reality' in a realistic way would be futile) that you get with Albert Herring, if that makes sense....

Actually you know what, I think it just has some kind of charm throughout it that makes it stand out as unique in his output. And I like that, just as I like his other operas for different reasons.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #109 on: April 28, 2017, 12:35:45 AM »
Hmmm, well Albert Herring certainly seems brighter than many of his others and perhaps just a little bit closer to reality somehow. I think Turn of the Screw, Peter Grimes, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Rape of Lucretia and others to be fantastic but somewhat more removed from a happy kind of 'reality' (opera is probably one of the least naturalistic forms of theatre, so any attempts to represent 'reality' in a realistic way would be futile) that you get with Albert Herring, if that makes sense....

Actually you know what, I think it just has some kind of charm throughout it that makes it stand out as unique in his output. And I like that, just as I like his other operas for different reasons.

I can't argue with any of that, but for some reason I never find it as funny as I'm supposed to. A personal blind spot no doubt.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #110 on: April 28, 2017, 03:07:46 AM »
This is like a blast of fresh air wow I love this


kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #111 on: April 28, 2017, 04:43:39 AM »
I can't argue with any of that, but for some reason I never find it as funny as I'm supposed to. A personal blind spot no doubt.

I don't think Albert Herring is funny, per se.  I don't think you suffer from a blind spot there. (And not all "comic" operas have laugh out loud moments.  Think of Elisir d'Amore, Meistersinger, Falstaff, and how limited their use of farce actually is.  Nozze di Figaro is replete with laugh-out-loud moments and comic dialogues, but it's the emotional moments like the Countess's aria which usually stand out.) AH is light toned, sarcastic, small scaled: a sharp look at British country town society (for all that the original source was Maupassant) that induces smiles and an occasional chuckle but no hilarity.  It's the same sort of background that we see in Peter Grimes, but here with no tragedy or emotional angst.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 04:45:21 AM by Jeffrey Smith »

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #112 on: April 28, 2017, 04:45:27 AM »
I must revisit Die Meistersinger relatively often, as this marvelous opera helps me reconcile with the world  ;) :


This is a wonderful performance, with Kubelik getting the most out of his Bavarian orchestra (even if the tempi appear rather relaxed at times). The individual lines in the orchestra (so important in this "apotheosis of counterpoint") are perfectly drawn, and one gets to appreciate all the details of this miraculous score. The cast includes many long-time favourites of mine: Thomas Stewart as a very human and well-rounded Sachs (neither too much the philosopher, nor too much the cobbler), Gundula Janowitz a crystalline Evchen, Sandor Kónya a sweet-toned Walter (one of the few on record to manage his lines in the quintet to fit in nicely with the other singers), Fassbaender excellent as Magadelena, and Gerhard Unger a David that almost steals the show whenever he's onstage. And every single word is understood!

The sound is very good for its vintage (1967), but I do believe the technicians at the Bavarian Radio might have over-engineered this, in an apparent effort to reproduce some sort of stage action. Thus, in the opening chorale of Act 1, the chorus sounds rather far away (at the back of the church?), while the violin solo is right in your face. Also, after the quintet, Sachs suddenly seems to have moved away several feet when he sings "Jetzt all' am Fleck! Den Vater grüss!..." All very interesting, but perhaps not that "natural".

In any case, this is one of the great Meistersinger on record (of those I know, which are quite a few). Still, I have a special fondness for one version that has never really been that admired by critics, Silvio Varviso's live recording from Bayreuth in 1974. I cannot think of any other recording that so vividly captures the town of Nuremberg as one more character in the opera, and it has a wonderful folksy feeling to it. 

This clip is not from either the Kubelik or the Varviso, but in that succession of musical marvels which unfolds from the quintet to the end of Act III, this bit always brings a smile to my face:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/yQOJoU4gq4g" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/yQOJoU4gq4g</a>
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 05:07:09 AM by ritter »
ritter
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kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #113 on: April 28, 2017, 04:56:17 AM »
David is actually my favorite character in Meistersinger.  So I am glad he steals the show!

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #114 on: April 28, 2017, 05:25:00 AM »


A fuller review of the Callas/De Sabata Macbeth I've been listening to.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/


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

kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #115 on: April 28, 2017, 06:33:50 AM »


A fuller review of the Callas/De Sabata Macbeth I've been listening to.

https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/callass-lady-macbeth/

Great review. But.. that typo! And of all the places to have it, it had to be the URL!

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #116 on: April 28, 2017, 07:29:44 AM »
Great review. But.. that typo! And of all the places to have it, it had to be the URL!

As far as I know I can't change the URL, which simply uses my title, but eliminates the apostrophe.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #117 on: April 29, 2017, 01:28:47 AM »
Just watched the first act of this delightful production



Wagner always manages to be far speedier than I expect in his storytelling. This is captivating through and through. :)

Finally got a chance to watch Act 2 haha. I might listen to some more Wagner tonight as well..........probably Boulez's Ring


And so I have chosen this

« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 01:44:30 AM by jessop »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #118 on: April 29, 2017, 05:02:21 AM »
Going to see this next month and I've never heard the whole thing before so I may as well listen to it. It's stunning!



Indeed it is, but do check out the Kaspszyk performance as, for me, it’s much more emotionally satisfying than Rattle’s.

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My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #119 on: April 29, 2017, 03:55:37 PM »
I will check that out once I am done with Boulez Ring :)