Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 227390 times)

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Offline KevinP

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1780 on: November 19, 2019, 10:49:42 PM »
While waiting for this to arrive:


I'm streaming this:


A new-to-me opera that I'm enjoying immensely.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1781 on: December 10, 2019, 01:28:47 PM »
Puccini’s La Bohème.

Puccini's most popular opera is an adaptation of Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème (1852). Set in mid 19th century Paris it is filmed here by French television in black and white on indoor sets in 1960. I remember seeing a televised performance from the Met with an overweight Pavarotti. The garret was as big as an airplane hangar. So much for dramatic verisimilitude  ::).

 This production is sung in French, which in this particular context is very appropriate. The cast has few world-renowned names but is uniformly excellent. The star of the show is of course the nonpareil Alain Vanzo. Xavier Depraz, a name familiar from dozens of opera sets of the time is an excellent Colline. I had never heard of the two sopranos or the baritone (Marcello). I found the acting very decent. I thoroughly enjoyed this performance.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu7NAx9Hhvg

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1782 on: December 10, 2019, 01:47:10 PM »
I’ve been listening to Britten’s operas, albeit slowly, but I’ve listened to The Rape of Lucretia and Billy Budd so far. Tonight, I’m planning on listening to The Turn of the Screw next, which I understand is one of his finest --- I recall having a lukewarm response to it the first-time I heard it, but that’s been years ago and I’ve got much more listening experience under my belt since that time.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1783 on: December 10, 2019, 03:00:28 PM »
I’ve been listening to Britten’s operas, albeit slowly, but I’ve listened to The Rape of Lucretia and Billy Budd so far. Tonight, I’m planning on listening to The Turn of the Screw next, which I understand is one of his finest --- I recall having a lukewarm response to it the first-time I heard it, but that’s been years ago and I’ve got much more listening experience under my belt since that time.

The Turn of the Screw was the first Britten opera I ever saw, and I've loved it ever since. I've seen quite a few different productions and it never fails to make an impression in the theatre. There are also quite a few different recordings now, but I think the first, albeit in mono, is still the best of the lot.

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1784 on: December 10, 2019, 04:40:18 PM »
The Turn of the Screw was the first Britten opera I ever saw, and I've loved it ever since. I've seen quite a few different productions and it never fails to make an impression in the theatre. There are also quite a few different recordings now, but I think the first, albeit in mono, is still the best of the lot.

Yeah, I’ve read so many great things about this opera. Good to know you’ve really enjoyed it.
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1785 on: December 12, 2019, 07:12:40 PM »


Les Contes d’Hoffmann...à la française. This 1948 version of the opera (in excellent mono sound) is the only one to boast an entirely francophone cast. That is not to be belittled, as Hoffmann boasts a very large cast of characters and this production assigned a different singer to each and every one. No triple bill for the hero’s love interests or the three villains (I don’t object to that casting trick, as all three ‘visions’ are actually avatars of Hoffmann’s amorous imagination). Clearly the producers wanted this to be a prestige offering from the Opéra-Comique.

Apart from the extravagant casting (not a single weak link vocally or dramatically, including the important choral parts) the main ingredient of this version’s success is the conducting of André Cluytens: smart, vivacious, precise and elegant. The orchestra sports some very fruity horn solos, which may take some getting used to. My favourite singers here are the belgian Vina Bovy, a sultry, vocally alluring courtesan and Géori Boué as Antonia - dramatically touching and vocally enchanting. I’ve never been a fan of canadian tenor Raoul Jobin, who rarely sings below a healthy f, but he is in his element here as the impetuous poet. All the smaller roles are very well taken, especially the excellent Louis Musy as Lindorf and Roger Bourdin (husband of Géori Boué) as Dr. Miracle.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1786 on: December 15, 2019, 07:07:24 PM »
NP:




Listening to this recording for the first time on Spotify - Enjoying the performance so far. The SQ is quite acceptable for an old release. :)

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1787 on: December 22, 2019, 12:48:28 AM »
NP:



Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer, WWV 63


Wolfgang Sawallisch leads this version of the work from the pictured Box-Set.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1788 on: December 22, 2019, 12:59:04 PM »

Cross-posted from the WAYL2 thread:



Act I. Goodall’s Ring has a cult following in certain circles but is viewed with much suspicion in others. Being sung in English is its salient feature. It is also live, which some dislike. As for purely musical matters, it boasts superb voices, often much superior to most of the competition. Known for his very slow tempi, it should be stressed that Goodall’s grasp of the wagnerian flow is unerring, the rythms are firm and the orchestral playing alert and pointed. Slow does not mean inert. In the right hands it’s the opposite: Goodall makes music and words register with force and clarity, while insisting for to legato playing and singing. Fast tempi may translate into excitement but the result may sound hectic or choppy. The 1975 sound is outstanding: big, wide-ranging and vibrant, with voices and orchestra in perfect balance.

A word on the translation: the work of Andrew Porter, it is very natural and conversational. No stuffy ‘thee, thy, thou’ nor encumbered by victorian era epithets, it flows off the singers’ tongues beautifully. I recently listened to a French language La Bohème and it was so perfectly done, so natural sounding that I found myself paying more attention to the music than usual. Such is the case here with this Walkyrie. Not for all occasions or all people then, but very special if met on its own terms.

Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1789 on: December 22, 2019, 05:52:18 PM »



[Cross-posted in WAYLTN]

Well, um, wow.  When the Goodall Ring was reissued by Chandos, I read some hoopla, but the timings were absurdly long, and, worse yet, the operas were sung in English.  Wagner in English.  What's the point?  (I mean, really, imagine Peter Grimes sung in German.)  Hard pass.

I saw the ClassicsToday review of Goodall's Tristan and my curiosity was piqued.  Yes, the slow tempi remain, but it's sung in German, as it should be.  The glowing review and perfectly reasonable price prompted me to buy, and boy, am I glad I did.  My last new Tristan was Fluffy's studio effort, which is quite good, but this is rather better.  To be sure, the singers and orchestra and recorded sound have all been bettered in other recordings, though not all at once, but the thing here is the conducting, the big picture. 

Act I is not revelatory, but it's something.  The entire opera is very long, coming in at 4'20", but it never feels slow.  Goodall's dramatic command ranks with the greats, and his presentation is at times relaxed and it flows perfectly at all times.  He never leads anything too slowly, never overemphasizes anything, never unduly underscores anything, all while leveraging early digital Decca sound to reveal pretty much every detail.  Are harps that distinct in person?  Nope.  Do violins get that type aural focus, as in the passages leading up to the reappearance of the Prelude?  Nuh uh.  So what?  Goodall also uses his slow overall tempo to perfection as he ratchets up intensity in the coda.  And if his singers don't set standards, they work very well, and when the soon to be lovers call each other's names, it's most affecting.  And that's just Act I.

In Act II, the exchange between Brangäne and Isolde is tense, and then the second scene starts off at a gallop, and only intensifies as the lovers meet, with Goodall showing he knows when to whip the band into a frenzy.  Nice.  The entire scene maintains a sense of tension belying any reputation for excess slowness, and it most certainly never sounds sluggish, though it does assume a more languid, sensual sound.  Perhaps one could object to the spotlighting and the almost syrupy string playing, but in this scene that can't really be considered a problem.  As a bonus, one gets a preview of the Liebestod, and Gwynne Howell sings King Mark's most effectively, paired with weighty and perfectly flowing accompaniment. 

Act III starts with a slow, weighty, grim and at times funereal Prelude, and John Mitchinson sings well.  Indeed, his singing may just sound too beautiful at times.  I will confess that here the intensity of Jon Vickers works exceedingly well, and when one matches the singing style with the acting (and, alas, dreadful visuals) as in Orange '73, one hears and sees what else can be done with the role and Act.  But here is where comparisons display limitations, because Vickers' approach, good as it is, isn't really suited to Goodall's conception whereas Mitchinson's blends in just fine.  One does feel the impact of the slow overall tempo of the Act at times, but somehow it actually enhances enjoyment, and again, when full force tuttis appear, the contrast and dramatic impact are enhanced, as in the build up to Isolde's arrival.  The opera moves forward from that moment on with an at times almost breathless intensity, aided by the careful pacing.  Linda Esther Gray delivers a fine Liebestod, with Goodall delivering on the promise shown in the prior act.  Sure, Catarina Ligendza still owns this little chunk of Wagner as far as I'm concerned, but within Goodall's conception, everything comes off just dandy.

After the positive review in CT, I expected good things, but this entirely crushed expectations.  I almost wanted to listen again immediately, and will again relatively soon - and soon for a Wagner opera - and I'd like to do A/Bs, but that's rather difficult to do.  Based on impact, this rates up there with Karl Böhm at Bayreuth in '66 and Carlos Kleiber at La Scala in '78.  In other words, this is top shelf stuff.

I have noticed that there's a German language Parsifal led by Goodall out there.  Might be worth hearing.  I'm kind of questioning the hard pass thing, too.
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1790 on: December 22, 2019, 06:01:48 PM »
Cross-posted from the WAYL2 thread:



Act I. Goodall’s Ring has a cult following in certain circles but is viewed with much suspicion in others. Being sung in English is its salient feature. It is also live, which some dislike. As for purely musical matters, it boasts superb voices, often much superior to most of the competition. Known for his very slow tempi, it should be stressed that Goodall’s grasp of the wagnerian flow is unerring, the rythms are firm and the orchestral playing alert and pointed. Slow does not mean inert. In the right hands it’s the opposite: Goodall makes music and words register with force and clarity, while insisting for to legato playing and singing. Fast tempi may translate into excitement but the result may sound hectic or choppy. The 1975 sound is outstanding: big, wide-ranging and vibrant, with voices and orchestra in perfect balance.

A word on the translation: the work of Andrew Porter, it is very natural and conversational. No stuffy ‘thee, thy, thou’ nor encumbered by victorian era epithets, it flows off the singers’ tongues beautifully. I recently listened to a French language La Bohème and it was so perfectly done, so natural sounding that I found myself paying more attention to the music than usual. Such is the case here with this Walkyrie. Not for all occasions or all people then, but very special if met on its own terms.
I found myself nodding with pretty much everything you wrote. Glad you are enjoying it...
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Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1791 on: December 23, 2019, 12:55:55 AM »



[Cross-posted in WAYLTN]

Well, um, wow.  When the Goodall Ring was reissued by Chandos, I read some hoopla, but the timings were absurdly long, and, worse yet, the operas were sung in English.  Wagner in English.  What's the point?  (I mean, really, imagine Peter Grimes sung in German.)  Hard pass.

I saw the ClassicsToday review of Goodall's Tristan and my curiosity was piqued.  Yes, the slow tempi remain, but it's sung in German, as it should be.  The glowing review and perfectly reasonable price prompted me to buy, and boy, am I glad I did.  My last new Tristan was Fluffy's studio effort, which is quite good, but this is rather better.  To be sure, the singers and orchestra and recorded sound have all been bettered in other recordings, though not all at once, but the thing here is the conducting, the big picture. 

Act I is not revelatory, but it's something.  The entire opera is very long, coming in at 4'20", but it never feels slow.  Goodall's dramatic command ranks with the greats, and his presentation is at times relaxed and it flows perfectly at all times.  He never leads anything too slowly, never overemphasizes anything, never unduly underscores anything, all while leveraging early digital Decca sound to reveal pretty much every detail.  Are harps that distinct in person?  Nope.  Do violins get that type aural focus, as in the passages leading up to the reappearance of the Prelude?  Nuh uh.  So what?  Goodall also uses his slow overall tempo to perfection as he ratchets up intensity in the coda.  And if his singers don't set standards, they work very well, and when the soon to be lovers call each other's names, it's most affecting.  And that's just Act I.

In Act II, the exchange between Brangäne and Isolde is tense, and then the second scene starts off at a gallop, and only intensifies as the lovers meet, with Goodall showing he knows when to whip the band into a frenzy.  Nice.  The entire scene maintains a sense of tension belying any reputation for excess slowness, and it most certainly never sounds sluggish, though it does assume a more languid, sensual sound.  Perhaps one could object to the spotlighting and the almost syrupy string playing, but in this scene that can't really be considered a problem.  As a bonus, one gets a preview of the Liebestod, and Gwynne Howell sings King Mark's most effectively, paired with weighty and perfectly flowing accompaniment. 

Act III starts with a slow, weighty, grim and at times funereal Prelude, and John Mitchinson sings well.  Indeed, his singing may just sound too beautiful at times.  I will confess that here the intensity of Jon Vickers works exceedingly well, and when one matches the singing style with the acting (and, alas, dreadful visuals) as in Orange '73, one hears and sees what else can be done with the role and Act.  But here is where comparisons display limitations, because Vickers' approach, good as it is, isn't really suited to Goodall's conception whereas Mitchinson's blends in just fine.  One does feel the impact of the slow overall tempo of the Act at times, but somehow it actually enhances enjoyment, and again, when full force tuttis appear, the contrast and dramatic impact are enhanced, as in the build up to Isolde's arrival.  The opera moves forward from that moment on with an at times almost breathless intensity, aided by the careful pacing.  Linda Esther Gray delivers a fine Liebestod, with Goodall delivering on the promise shown in the prior act.  Sure, Catarina Ligendza still owns this little chunk of Wagner as far as I'm concerned, but within Goodall's conception, everything comes off just dandy.

After the positive review in CT, I expected good things, but this entirely crushed expectations.  I almost wanted to listen again immediately, and will again relatively soon - and soon for a Wagner opera - and I'd like to do A/Bs, but that's rather difficult to do.  Based on impact, this rates up there with Karl Böhm at Bayreuth in '66 and Carlos Kleiber at La Scala in '78.  In other words, this is top shelf stuff.

I have noticed that there's a German language Parsifal led by Goodall out there.  Might be worth hearing.  I'm kind of questioning the hard pass thing, too.
Thanks for the interesting comments, Todd. I too was struck by ClasscsToday's positive review, particularly because the only recording by Goodall I know (his live 1970 IIRC Parsifal from Covent Garden pictured below) is possibly the worst recording pf that particular work I know. Parsifal is notorious for permitting very different approaches regarding tempi (one must only look at the statistics of performances in Bayreuth to realise that the opera can last one full hour more or less depending on the conductor). I am of the "swift Parsifal persuasion" (Boulez is my go-to recording), but find much to admire in slower, more ponderous approaches as well. But that, alas, is not the case with Goodall's live London account: there does not appear to be any coherence to the musical line,  the music grinds to a halt at moments, and I at least detect severe ensemble problems at many points. The singing ain't that gerat either (I must confess I've never been much of a fan of Jon Vickers, whom I saw live as Parsifal in Chicago towards the end of his distinguished career in the late 80s).  But in some quarters Goodall is highly esteemed, so perhaps that Tristan might be the recording that "redeems" him in my eyes. I'm tempted to explore it... :)

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Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1792 on: December 23, 2019, 07:22:24 AM »
Thanks for the interesting comments, Todd. I too was struck by ClasscsToday's positive review, particularly because the only recording by Goodall I know (his live 1970 IIRC Parsifal from Covent Garden pictured below) is possibly the worst recording pf that particular work I know. Parsifal is notorious for permitting very different approaches regarding tempi (one must only look at the statistics of performances in Bayreuth to realise that the opera can last one full hour more or less depending on the conductor). I am of the "swift Parsifal persuasion" (Boulez is my go-to recording), but find much to admire in slower, more ponderous approaches as well. But that, alas, is not the case with Goodall's live London account: there does not appear to be any coherence to the musical line,  the music grinds to a halt at moments, and I at least detect severe ensemble problems at many points. The singing ain't that gerat either (I must confess I've never been much of a fan of Jon Vickers, whom I saw live as Parsifal in Chicago towards the end of his distinguished career in the late 80s).  But in some quarters Goodall is highly esteemed, so perhaps that Tristan might be the recording that "redeems" him in my eyes. I'm tempted to explore it... :)



 :D

Since Boulez's recording is my candidate for worst recording of Parsifal, you just gave me a recommendation for  Goodall!
Though Amazon pricing being what it is, I am more likely to get his recording with the Welsh National Opera.

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Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1793 on: December 25, 2019, 06:36:25 AM »
Though Amazon pricing being what it is, I am more likely to get his recording with the Welsh National Opera.


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Offline KevinP

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1794 on: December 25, 2019, 03:05:22 PM »
R-K's Sadko. Currently Gergiev on Youtube.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1795 on: December 25, 2019, 05:17:31 PM »
Recent listening:




Been listening to Wagner's Ring Cycle on and off for the last few months.
I have spent most of my Christmas holiday's so far listening to this recording... :)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1796 on: December 25, 2019, 10:02:44 PM »
I’m definitely NOT listening to Wagner...

But I did finish Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and found it riveting. So riveting that I plan on revisiting it on my New Year’s break. Dare I say I liked it more than Peter Grimes. As it stands, it's definitely on par with Death in Venice (my favorite Britten opera). Looking forward to digging into Albert Herring, Billy Budd, and Gloriana in the upcoming weeks.

The performance of The Turn of the Screw I listened to:

« Last Edit: December 25, 2019, 10:04:22 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1797 on: December 26, 2019, 01:04:00 AM »
I’m definitely NOT listening to Wagner...

But I did finish Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and found it riveting. So riveting that I plan on revisiting it on my New Year’s break. Dare I say I liked it more than Peter Grimes. As it stands, it's definitely on par with Death in Venice (my favorite Britten opera). Looking forward to digging into Albert Herring, Billy Budd, and Gloriana in the upcoming weeks.

The performance of The Turn of the Screw I listened to:



The first Britten opera I ever saw and the one that got me hooked on Britten. It's a tremendous work and I've never seen a bad production of it.

Do try also the composer's own recording with the cast of the premiere. The sound isn't up to that on Bedford's recording of course, but the singers are superb,  and David Hemmings is quite the best Miles you will ever hear.
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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1798 on: December 26, 2019, 01:21:57 AM »
I’m definitely NOT listening to Wagner...


Do we share what we're not listening to on these threads now too? - Could make for some rather long posts... :)

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1799 on: December 26, 2019, 12:12:46 PM »

Darius Milhaud’s Christophe Colomb



Milhaud the polystylist is very much in charge here. The libretto is a kaleidoscope of tableaux mixing scenes from Colombus’ maritime adventures, his death, his critics’ diatribes, his justifications to the critics, his calling as an adventurer, etc - in no particular order chronologically, and with various musical styles to depict the proceedings. As is often the case in the RTF productions the musical quality is very high and conductor Manuel Rosenthal runs a tight ship. Very good sound for 1956.