Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 337745 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2360 on: February 15, 2021, 01:03:29 PM »
I agree that "received pronunciation" has rather had its day, though we still sometimes say it of voices with no discernible regional accent. What we are in danger of losing now is intelligibility. I have absolutely no problem with regional accents in theatre or on stage as long as I can understand what the person is saying. Apparently when the acclaimed TV series The Wire was aired over here, many people found the only way of understanding what was going on was to watch with hard of hearing subtitles turned on. In an effort to make things sound authentic we sometimes forget that it is also important that we are understood.

A lot of the difficulty with The Wire was the argot being used in many scenes. I was happy to have the subtitles on. About the best TV I have ever seen.

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2361 on: February 16, 2021, 05:04:10 PM »
Hindemith The Long Christmas Dinner (Janowski et. al.)



An interesting article written by Leon Botstein:

Every American high school student must confront the work of Thornton Wilder; in a way his incredible success, especially with the iconic Our Town, has led us to take him a bit for granted. Thornton Wilder was a prolific author of plays and novels. He is one of those writers who is continually the subject of such comments as “I didn’t know that was by Thornton Wilder!” when one learns, for instance, that Hello, Dolly! is based on a Wilder play. Wilder was the recipient of multiple Pulitzers and a force to be reckoned with in American literature. There is more to him than we have come to assume.

Paul Hindemith, however, has as his Pulitzer equivalent the honor of being called a “degenerate” and “atonal noisemaker” by Josef Goebbels. Although Hindemith was considered a great composer during his lifetime, his career suffered great peaks and slides, especially in the 1930s, after the opera Mathis der Maler. Owing to his emigrations between Europe and the U.S., and the scandalous reception of some of his early works, he was forced to reinvent himself. His reputation posthumously has declined somewhat, though one can hear his influence on American music in the work of his students at Yale, notably Easley Blackwood and Lukas Foss. Hindemith’s work during the last fifteen years of his life, the period into which The Long Christmas Dinner falls, have been quite neglected.

One aspect that Thornton Wilder and Paul Hindemith both shared was their mastery of the short form in their respective fields: the single-act work. Nowhere is Wilder’s skill in this dramatic form so ambitiously and thrillingly demonstrated than in The Long Christmas Dinner, which transforms the concept of duration by compressing 90 years into under an hour, and thereby exposes fundamental issues of life and its rebirths. Hindemith, too, loved the form, and used it to invoke sudden spikes of emotion, whether it be horror, laughter, or astonishment: that is the progression of emotions in his triptych of one-acts, Murder, Hope of Women; The Nusch-Nuschi; and Sancta Susanna (all performed in an evening by the ASO in 2004). That these two great artists collaborated on a form that they both dominated and reinvigorated is a rare and happy historical convergence.

It is therefore with the greatest pleasure and profound gratitude that I have the opportunity to perform this rare work, to help make a case for the late, neglected work of a great composer, and for one of the lesser-known masterpieces of a premier voice of American literature.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 05:10:16 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2362 on: February 16, 2021, 05:42:47 PM »

Cross-posted from the WAYL2 thread:



A very successful opera, even without the visuals (the very detailed booklet and libretto describes all the moves, costume and scenic changes). The story intertwines The Trial’s storyline with short ‘counter-scenes’ (Ruder’s own term) lifted from Kafka’s bio, real-life incidents that actually triggered the idea for the book. The pace is taut and the whole 2 hour thing goes by very quickly. A kind of dissonant prosody is liberally used in the Trial scenes, which as a consequence sound very ‘modern’, while freely tonal episodes are used in the counter-scenes (from Kafka’s life events). These in turn are are almost melodic, as if experienced in a dream. Powerful on many levels. I was reminded at times of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. Recommended to the modern-minded.

Offline T. D.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2363 on: February 19, 2021, 05:41:28 PM »

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2364 on: February 27, 2021, 07:22:07 AM »


Still my favourite Trovatore and one that adds up to more than the sum of its parts. The cast is an excellent one, if not the best ever assembled for the opera, but they all acquit themselves superbly. The recording was made in 1956, around nine months after Callas's final stage performances in the role in 1955 and, though there is now some shrillness on high, it represents her final thoughts on the role. The voice has a dark plangency which is absolutely right for the role and she fills the role's filigree with a significance no other singer quite matches. Di Stefano's voice was really too light for Manrico, but he almost convinces us he isn't, Barbieri is a splendid Azucena, one of the best on disc, Panerai a superb Di Luna, his high baritone absolutely right for the role and Zaccaria gets the whole thing off to a rousing start with his sonerous basso cantante.

However, what sets the seal on the performance is Karajan's wonderful realisation of the score, which seems to me absolutel right from first note to last, expansive when necessary, rhythms superbly sprung in the more energetic numbers. Furthermore he brings out little details in the orchestration, highlighting some of the countermelodies in the orchestra that we don't always hear.

A classic. https://tsaraslondon.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/91l6fuq3isl-_sl1500_.jpg?w=1011[/img]

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

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2365 on: February 27, 2021, 02:18:42 PM »


A Salzburg Festival production from 2005. There are three important roles and they are very well cast: Robert Brubaker as Alviano, Anne Schwanewilms as Carlotta and Michael Volle as Count Tamare. The scenery is rather static (a single set throughout) as is the action. It’s a philosophical tale, quite in the same vein as Schreker’s Der ferne Klang.

Interestingly, Die Gezeichneten (1911-1915) was started at the instigation of Schreker’s good friend Zemlinsky, who needed a libretto for an opera on an ugly man spurned by an extremely beautiful woman. Of course that was his own life story, based on Alma Mahler’s crushing rejection of him. Schreker was so taken by the project that he kept the libretto for himself and ended up composing the whole opera. Zemlinsky would eventually compose Der Zwerg in 1919, his own take on the subject of rejection, this time based on Oscar Wilde’s novel The Birthday of the Infanta, from which Schreker had already composed a ballet 10 years earlier. It’s a small world...

Despite the static action and some ugly shots of Michael Volle sweating profusely, it’s an excellent production. Anne Schwanewilms sings enchantingly (it’s a treacherous part). Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Oper Berlin are excellent. That’s one opera where the audio component (meaning: a cd set) will be just as fine as the full monty.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2366 on: February 28, 2021, 05:38:59 PM »
Cross-posted

Quote


This will be listened to on more than one session. At 4 hours, this is as long - if not longer -  as Walküre or Siegfried. Compared to the other French language version available (Pappano’s) I prefer both singers and orchestra, though it’s sometimes a close call. Where the EMI performance scores is in the production’s casting of major voices right down to the secondary roles. EMI has gone all out and here and this is unquestionably one of the best cast ever assembled for a large opera.

The producers must also be commended for their handling of the difficult language issue. Rossini’s vocal lines are meant to be sung ‘on the words’, meaning that every word is exposed and must be properly articulated. The two first and one important secondary roles are sung by non francophones, but Gedda (Arnold) and Gwynne Howell (Mechtal) have superb french diction. Caballé’s French has a subtly exotic flavour to it but since Mathilde is from Austria, not Switzerland, it can be justified. And after all, she is one of the great prima donnas so, pourquoi pas:D. The only problem I have is the recording of the chorus. They are recorded close to the microphones and the ear grows tired after a while. Other than that the sound is extremely fine, with the many spatial effects finely judged.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2367 on: March 01, 2021, 05:40:25 PM »
Cross-posted:



The French language original version of Don Carlo in its first ever complete recording.

There are big and small differences with the more familiar revision in Italian. The language is one, obviously and just as obvious is that Verdi’s writing for french voices is different from that we are used to from this composer. That is apparent in the roles of Carlos, Elisabeth, Posa and Eboli, which Verdi wrote for the lighter voices of the Paris Opera. Listening to the big duet between Carlos and Posa one readily hears how different it sounds - tender, elegant - compared to the usual bellowing familiar from can belto singers. The conducting is very good, lively and attentive. The whole troupe was coached by Jeffrey Tate and the tightness of ensemble is quite an asset. The orchestra brass is seriously out of tune in one place (the big rum-ti-tum Act III chorus) - unavoidable perhaps in a live performance. Classicstoday deems this performance indispensable and I concur: it is so different from the 4 act italian revision as to be a different work altogether.

Recorded in studio by the BBC in 1972 before a small invited audience, it is in very good sound and sung mostly excellently by Canadian and English singers from the Covent Garden roster. The release I have is from a different label but I decided against showing a picture of the cover as the singers’ names are printed in minuscule font and contain multiple spelling errors  ???.


Full cast listing:

Don Carlos, Infant d’Espagne: André Turp
Rodrigue, Marquis de Posa:Robert Savoie
Philippe II, roi d’Espagne: Joseph Rouleau
Elisabeth de Valois: Edith Tremblay
Comtesse Eboli: Michèle Vilma
Le Grand Inquisiteur: Richard van Allan
Un moine / Charles Quint: Robert Lloyd

Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2368 on: March 01, 2021, 08:57:58 PM »
Cross-posted:



The French language original version of Don Carlo in its first ever complete recording.

There are big and small differences with the more familiar revision in Italian. The language is one, obviously and just as obvious is that Verdi’s writing for french voices is different from that we are used to from this composer. That is apparent in the roles of Carlos, Elisabeth, Posa and Eboli, which Verdi wrote for the lighter voices of the Paris Opera. Listening to the big duet between Carlos and Posa one readily hears how different it sounds - tender, elegant - compared to the usual bellowing familiar from can belto singers. The conducting is very good, lively and attentive. The whole troupe was coached by Jeffrey Tate and the tightness of ensemble is quite an asset. The orchestra brass is seriously out of tune in one place (the big rum-ti-tum Act III chorus) - unavoidable perhaps in a live performance. Classicstoday deems this performance indispensable and I concur: it is so different from the 4 act italian revision as to be a different work altogether.

Recorded in studio by the BBC in 1972 before a small invited audience, it is in very good sound and sung mostly excellently by Canadian and English singers from the Covent Garden roster. The release I have is from a different label but I decided against showing a picture of the cover as the singers’ names are printed in minuscule font and contain multiple spelling errors  ???.


Full cast listing:

Don Carlos, Infant d’Espagne: André Turp
Rodrigue, Marquis de Posa:Robert Savoie
Philippe II, roi d’Espagne: Joseph Rouleau
Elisabeth de Valois: Edith Tremblay
Comtesse Eboli: Michèle Vilma
Le Grand Inquisiteur: Richard van Allan
Un moine / Charles Quint: Robert Lloyd

I found them on Amazon MP. One is listed for $903, making the other one a bargain at only $110....

This is listed as being the original French version. There's a DVD version as well. Have you ever heard it?


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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2369 on: March 02, 2021, 04:40:55 AM »
Cross-posted:



The French language original version of Don Carlo in its first ever complete recording.

There are big and small differences with the more familiar revision in Italian. The language is one, obviously and just as obvious is that Verdi’s writing for french voices is different from that we are used to from this composer. That is apparent in the roles of Carlos, Elisabeth, Posa and Eboli, which Verdi wrote for the lighter voices of the Paris Opera. Listening to the big duet between Carlos and Posa one readily hears how different it sounds - tender, elegant - compared to the usual bellowing familiar from can belto singers. The conducting is very good, lively and attentive. The whole troupe was coached by Jeffrey Tate and the tightness of ensemble is quite an asset. The orchestra brass is seriously out of tune in one place (the big rum-ti-tum Act III chorus) - unavoidable perhaps in a live performance. Classicstoday deems this performance indispensable and I concur: it is so different from the 4 act italian revision as to be a different work altogether.

Recorded in studio by the BBC in 1972 before a small invited audience, it is in very good sound and sung mostly excellently by Canadian and English singers from the Covent Garden roster. The release I have is from a different label but I decided against showing a picture of the cover as the singers’ names are printed in minuscule font and contain multiple spelling errors  ???.


Full cast listing:

Don Carlos, Infant d’Espagne: André Turp
Rodrigue, Marquis de Posa:Robert Savoie
Philippe II, roi d’Espagne: Joseph Rouleau
Elisabeth de Valois: Edith Tremblay
Comtesse Eboli: Michèle Vilma
Le Grand Inquisiteur: Richard van Allan
Un moine / Charles Quint: Robert Lloyd
Do you think that there is a lot of material here in the uncut version which is 1) essential to the opera's plot and 2) is worth spending the extra time listening to in terms of quality?  Reminds me:  I have about 5 complete recordings of (one of) the Italian versions, but none of the French one.  ???

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2370 on: March 02, 2021, 05:47:33 AM »
I found them on Amazon MP. One is listed for $903, making the other one a bargain at only $110....

This is listed as being the original French version. There's a DVD version as well. Have you ever heard it?


I haven’t seen/heard this production, presumably rather recent. Alagna would of course be a good fit for the title role and the other names certainly appeal, too. The extra material was uncovered as recently as 1970, which is why the 1972 BBC production made a splash at the time.

The Opera rara issue is very expensive but it contains a 300 page booklet with libretto, essay, etc. I haven’t seen it. The Ponto issue is the one I have:



It is much more affordable and presumably identical in terms of sound. Ponto manages to misspell 3 of the singers’ names on the front cover as well as giving a wrong date for the performance. There’s a short but interesting essay on the original version, plus full track listings. In addition, it gives an hour of excerpts from another performance of the French language version, with Alain Vanzo to fill the 4th cd. Excellent value for money, then.

Rare as this performance may seem, it has been extensively commented, with articles in Classicstoday, Musicweb as well as numerous in-depth recensions by Amazon reviewers (a rare thing). You can read them on this Amazon.fr web page: some are in French but are translatable on the Amazon page, others in English. It obviously provoked a lot of interest.


https://www.amazon.fr/Verdi-Don-Carlos-John-Matheson/dp/B00006CJPT/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_fr_FR=ÅMÅŽÕÑ&dchild=1&keywords=Don+carlos+ponto&qid=1614692087&s=music&sr=1-1


Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2371 on: March 02, 2021, 06:15:55 AM »
Do you think that there is a lot of material here in the uncut version which is 1) essential to the opera's plot and 2) is worth spending the extra time listening to in terms of quality?  Reminds me:  I have about 5 complete recordings of (one of) the Italian versions, but none of the French one.  ???

The extra material is worth hearing as it completes the story line, especially the first act. Without it, the action starts in media res, which hampers the appreciation of the whole structure IMO. Verdi took pains to produce a huge work faithful to Schiller’s play, only to see it cut, cut, cut as rehearsals, performances and other productions took place. The ending is substantially different, too. Here’s an interview with Jeffrey Tate, opera coach at Covent Garden at the time. Scroll down to find the bit about Don Carlos, next to the picture of the Opera Rara release: http://www.bruceduffie.com/tate.html

You mention the ‘extra time’ required to get acquainted with the additional material. It’s a good point. My opinion is that the structure becomes substantially different, a bit like the Guillaume Tell I listened to, with the same premise: hearing it as intended is a different experience. Both composers knew exactly how to compose for french voices of the time, which were lighter, brighter and verbally pointed. This can be heard and felt. French has more consonants than Italian, which is a vowel-based language. Also, French has tons of diphtongs which, to be properly pronounced require a very specific placement of the tongue and larynx. That in turns creates a rythmic pattern of enunciation that changes the flow of the conversation - sharper, more pointed. The end result is that the flow of the work seems tighter, faster.

Don Carlo (in Italian) has always seemed to me stodgy and bizarrely formal - sounds as thick as porridge. I have 5 versions of it, plus 2 of Don Carlos (in French). The other one is Abbado’s and none of the singers is comfortable with the language.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2372 on: March 02, 2021, 06:58:03 AM »
The extra material is worth hearing as it completes the story line, especially the first act. Without it, the action starts in media res, which hampers the appreciation of the whole structure IMO. Verdi took pains to produce a huge work faithful to Schiller’s play, only to see it cut, cut, cut as rehearsals, performances and other productions took place. The ending is substantially different, too. Here’s an interview with Jeffrey Tate, opera coach at Covent Garden at the time. Scroll down to find the bit about Don Carlos, next to the picture of the Opera Rara release: http://www.bruceduffie.com/tate.html

You mention the ‘extra time’ required to get acquainted with the additional material. It’s a good point. My opinion is that the structure becomes substantially different, a bit like the Guillaume Tell I listened to, with the same premise: hearing it as intended is a different experience. Both composers knew exactly how to compose for french voices of the time, which were lighter, brighter and verbally pointed. This can be heard and felt. French has more consonants than Italian, which is a vowel-based language. Also, French has tons of diphtongs which, to be properly pronounced require a very specific placement of the tongue and larynx. That in turns creates a rythmic pattern of enunciation that changes the flow of the conversation - sharper, more pointed. The end result is that the flow of the work seems tighter, faster.

Don Carlo (in Italian) has always seemed to me stodgy and bizarrely formal - sounds as thick as porridge. I have 5 versions of it, plus 2 of Don Carlos (in French). The other one is Abbado’s and none of the singers is comfortable with the language.
Thank you for your helpful comments André!  Interesting that you feel like the Italian version seems to be stodgy and formal.  I love it!  I remember being bowled over  when I heard Angela Gheorghiu singing Tu che le vanita on a recital CD that I had purchased of hers...and the duet between two friends with Bergonzi and Fischer-Dieskau...and the famous speech from King Phillip...and on and on....So many wonderful storylines and characters and the drama!  ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2373 on: March 02, 2021, 07:41:33 AM »
I had a surprising (for me) experience yesterday. I turned on BBC Radio 3 and there was a great piece of choral, vocal, orchestral music playing. I went on to the Radio 3 schedules online page, only to discover that it was the 'Te Deum' from Puccini's 'Tosca' - a piece that I imagined could have no interest for me! What have I been missing all these years? By an odd coincidence I received an email yesterday from a classical music loving former colleague/friend, who happened to mention that the formative moment in his youth was hearing 'Tosca', which gave him his initial enthusiasm for classical music. Anyway I ordered a second-hand CD of what I heard on the radio - Bryn Terfel 'Bad Boys' DGG CD, Swedish RSO. I'm now tempted to listen to the opera itself. What is a recommendable (cheap) recording? This is possibly my first posting in this thread:
 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2374 on: March 02, 2021, 08:32:04 AM »
I had a surprising (for me) experience yesterday. I turned on BBC Radio 3 and there was a great piece of choral, vocal, orchestral music playing. I went on to the Radio 3 schedules online page, only to discover that it was the 'Te Deum' from Puccini's 'Tosca' - a piece that I imagined could have no interest for me! What have I been missing all these years? By an odd coincidence I received an email yesterday from a classical music loving former colleague/friend, who happened to mention that the formative moment in his youth was hearing 'Tosca', which gave him his initial enthusiasm for classical music. Anyway I ordered a second-hand CD of what I heard on the radio - Bryn Terfel 'Bad Boys' DGG CD, Swedish RSO. I'm now tempted to listen to the opera itself. What is a recommendable (cheap) recording? This is possibly my first posting in this thread:
 :)
Oh, wow!  Great Jeffrey!

One of the first ones that I listened to (and still love):  Originally on EMI with Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano and Tito Gobbi and conducted by Victor de Sabata.   :)  From 1953, so be warned that the sound is rather dated. 

Offline Biffo

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2375 on: March 02, 2021, 09:06:57 AM »
I had a surprising (for me) experience yesterday. I turned on BBC Radio 3 and there was a great piece of choral, vocal, orchestral music playing. I went on to the Radio 3 schedules online page, only to discover that it was the 'Te Deum' from Puccini's 'Tosca' - a piece that I imagined could have no interest for me! What have I been missing all these years? By an odd coincidence I received an email yesterday from a classical music loving former colleague/friend, who happened to mention that the formative moment in his youth was hearing 'Tosca', which gave him his initial enthusiasm for classical music. Anyway I ordered a second-hand CD of what I heard on the radio - Bryn Terfel 'Bad Boys' DGG CD, Swedish RSO. I'm now tempted to listen to the opera itself. What is a recommendable (cheap) recording? This is possibly my first posting in this thread:
 :)

I will be interested what you think of the complete opera. I am sure mine is a minority opinion but I find it insufferably tedious. There are a few fine moments and the Te Deum scene is the best. I have seen it live a couple of times and heard a concert performance. I have various arias on recital discs which get an airing from time to time but I can't imagine ever enduring the whole thing. I am not much of a Puccini fan and La Boheme is the only one of his operas I can say I like.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2376 on: March 02, 2021, 09:34:56 AM »
I had a surprising (for me) experience yesterday. I turned on BBC Radio 3 and there was a great piece of choral, vocal, orchestral music playing. I went on to the Radio 3 schedules online page, only to discover that it was the 'Te Deum' from Puccini's 'Tosca' - a piece that I imagined could have no interest for me! What have I been missing all these years? By an odd coincidence I received an email yesterday from a classical music loving former colleague/friend, who happened to mention that the formative moment in his youth was hearing 'Tosca', which gave him his initial enthusiasm for classical music. Anyway I ordered a second-hand CD of what I heard on the radio - Bryn Terfel 'Bad Boys' DGG CD, Swedish RSO. I'm now tempted to listen to the opera itself. What is a recommendable (cheap) recording? This is possibly my first posting in this thread:
 :)

The De Sabata with Callas, Gobbi and Di Stefano is considered one of the greatest opera recordings of all time, not just one of the greatest Tosca recordings of all time, but it is mono albeit excellently balanced mono. You should be able to get it pretty cheaply. The recent Warner transfer is probably the best.

Failing that, then an excellent stereo alternative would be the first Karajan recording on Decca, with Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Taddei and Di Stefano again. I've reviewed the De Sabata twice on my blog.

http://tsaraslondon.com/2017/01/09/tosca-1953/ and http://tsaraslondon.com/2020/11/06/callass-1953-tosca-revisited/

and I also did a comparative review of a clutch of recordings available from Decca (including the Karajan) http://tsaraslondon.com/2020/12/08/a-clutch-of-decca-toscas/.

Maybe that will help.

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

Offline vandermolen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2377 on: March 02, 2021, 09:50:35 AM »
Oh, wow!  Great Jeffrey!

One of the first ones that I listened to (and still love):  Originally on EMI with Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano and Tito Gobbi and conducted by Victor de Sabata.   :)  From 1953, so be warned that the sound is rather dated.
Thanks PD - my friend recommended that recording as well. I don't think that I have any Maria Callas recordings in my collection!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2378 on: March 02, 2021, 09:53:31 AM »
I will be interested what you think of the complete opera. I am sure mine is a minority opinion but I find it insufferably tedious. There are a few fine moments and the Te Deum scene is the best. I have seen it live a couple of times and heard a concert performance. I have various arias on recital discs which get an airing from time to time but I can't imagine ever enduring the whole thing. I am not much of a Puccini fan and La Boheme is the only one of his operas I can say I like.
Thanks Biffo. Well, for now, I've just ordered a second-hand CD featuring that scene. I think that I might sample some more Tosca excerpts online before I take the plunge with the opera. I don't have any Puccini in my collection.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2379 on: March 02, 2021, 09:54:51 AM »
The De Sabata with Callas, Gobbi and Di Stefano is considered one of the greatest opera recordings of all time, not just one of the greatest Tosca recordings of all time, but it is mono albeit excellently balanced mono. You should be able to get it pretty cheaply. The recent Warner transfer is probably the best.

Failing that, then an excellent stereo alternative would be the first Karajan recording on Decca, with Leontyne Price, Giuseppe Taddei and Di Stefano again. I've reviewed the De Sabata twice on my blog.

http://tsaraslondon.com/2017/01/09/tosca-1953/ and http://tsaraslondon.com/2020/11/06/callass-1953-tosca-revisited/

and I also did a comparative review of a clutch of recordings available from Decca (including the Karajan) http://tsaraslondon.com/2020/12/08/a-clutch-of-decca-toscas/.

Maybe that will help.

Happy listening.
Thanks very much! Greatly appreciated  :)
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'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).