Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 428236 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2740 on: October 09, 2021, 01:18:10 AM »


It is a great pity that the sound on this recording is so appalling, because Callas proves to be a superb Gluck singer and she is in terrific voice here. This is just post weight loss, but she shows precious little evidence of any vocal decline. None of the other singers is in her class, but it is good to have Giulini in the pit.

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

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2741 on: October 10, 2021, 02:40:46 AM »


Callas's second Gluck opera was Iphigénie en Tauride which, like Alceste is sung in Italian. She is in superb voice and yet again proves herself to be a superb Gluck soprano. Unfortunately she more or less has to go it alone in this recording. The sound is quite a bit better than the Alceste but none of the other singers is in her class and Sanzogno is no Giulini in the pit.

Still Callas is magnificent and it is good to have these two examples of her singing Gluck. Lionel Dunlop, writing in Opera magazine at the time of the production, talks of her ability to "invest with so many overtones of meaning a singe exclamation, as, for example, in Ifigenia's recognition of Oreste, where joy at reunion, sad regret for past separation, horror at his impending sacrifice, and an overwejlming love were all intermingled in the single word fratello." It is for such moments that Callas remains unique.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2742 on: October 10, 2021, 11:30:23 PM »


Finishing up my mini Gluckathon with his most regularly performed opera, Orfeo ed Euridice. So which edition of the score is this? Well, it appears to be a hybrid, Leppard stating in the booklet that "Broadly I chose whatever option was better."

This was Janet Baker's last ever operatic role and this recording was made around the time she was doing her final performances at Glyndebourne with exactly the same cast of singers. There is a video of one of the performances too, though this was recorded in Brent Town Hall. Elizabeth Gale is a sprightly Amore, but Eilsabeth Speiser fails to make much of an impression as Eurydice. The Glyndebourne Chorus is, as always, superb, but the main reason to hear this set is for the brilliant performance of the title role by Dame Janet. Technically it holds no terrors for her (she dispatches the treachorus Addio, o miei sospiri with consummate ease), but it is the intensity of her singing and the emotional commitment that impress most. A great performane.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2743 on: October 11, 2021, 01:51:08 AM »


A complete contrast to the Gluck I was listening to earlier.

Golijov's music is not easy to categorise, but his opera Ainadamar is hugely enjoyabe. The booklet states that he would actively seek out classical performers "who are willing to roughen up their conservatory-trained techniques". Dawn Upshaw has always seemed to me to be one of the few classical singers who can adapt her technique to more popular fare and she is as superb here as she is in, say, Handel's Theodora.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes exploriing off the beaten track.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2744 on: October 13, 2021, 01:27:16 AM »


Of post-war performances, this is one of the most French. Admittedly Gedda and De Los Angeles are not but both are particularly suited to French opera and sing French very well. Christoff is another matter and whether you can put up with his execrable French for the sake of his magnificent voice and demonic characterisation is another matter. It does spoil it a bit for me but the rest is so good. I'll put up with it.



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

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2745 on: October 13, 2021, 07:06:24 AM »
Once again, Carl Orff's Der Mond, but this time in its first commercial recording* (which was the one I got to know the work with in my teens), conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.



Apart from the sentimental value the piece and this particular version can have for me, it must be said that the presence of no less than Hans Hotter as St. Peter makes this rather valuable. No that his part (or the music of this opera in general) is so difficult or rich, but Hotter imbues his lines with a Lieder singers sensibility to the text that is quite an achievement (and this comes from someone, like me, who is by no means a die-hard fan of this singer). OTOH, one can detect the faintest foreign accent in the otherwise splendid chorus. Yet, this is a great performance of this simple but delightful fairy tale opera.

* there's an earlier (1949) broadcast from the Bavarian radio conducted by Rudolf Alberth, who later would appear --and record-- with Pierre Boulez's Domaine Musical orchestra (it was he who conducted the world premiere of Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques in 1956).

« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 08:34:06 AM by ritter »
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2746 on: October 13, 2021, 10:44:52 AM »
Good day to you, Rafael !

I found a used copy on Amazon. In the cart it goes  ;)

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2747 on: October 13, 2021, 11:32:05 AM »
Good day to you, Rafael !

I found a used copy on Amazon. In the cart it goes  ;)
Good evening, André:)

I hope you enjoy it (but am confident you will  ;)). I still have to listen to Orff’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (which arrived in record time from Disco100 in Barcelona — less than 24 hours after I ordered it).

Cheers,
« Last Edit: October 13, 2021, 01:10:53 PM by ritter »
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« Je me suis rarement perdu de vue ; je me suis détesté, je me suis adoré ; puis, nous avons vieilli ensemble. »

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2748 on: October 14, 2021, 08:20:51 AM »
Once again, Carl Orff's Der Mond, but this time in its first commercial recording* (which was the one I got to know the work with in my teens), conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.




Moved on today to Die Kluge from this set. This opera, composed in 1941-42 (some 5 years after Der Mond), is a rather different affair from its predecessor. The orchestration is much heavier, there's longer stretches of spoken text, and the story does not have the simple charm of Der Mond. The recording, from 1956, is OK, but once again the presence of the acclaimed Elisabeth Schwarzkopf borders, for me at least, on torture --even in this brief rôle! I dislike her tone, I dislike her way with the words (Orff's folksy --and, let's face it, rather poor-- libretto isn't Beim Schlafengehen, for crying out loud!). This "clever woman" is simply antipática and obnoxious...  >:D. But it's not only the lead singer, the opera itself is much less inspired than Der Mond. Yes, there's a nice little interlude near the end, but e.g. the opening 5 minute aria in which the clever woman's father (Gottlob Frick in this recording) repeats what seems like a hundred times "Oh, if I had only believed my daughter!" is unbearable. A boring and crude work, that I find completely devoid of any charm (as opposed to Der Mond).  ::)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2021, 08:33:07 AM by ritter »
ritter
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« Je me suis rarement perdu de vue ; je me suis détesté, je me suis adoré ; puis, nous avons vieilli ensemble. »

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2749 on: October 14, 2021, 12:33:12 PM »
I have often experienced this dichotomy with Orff. Some extraordinarily enticing works vs some that are repulsive… :(

Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2750 on: October 14, 2021, 12:57:09 PM »
On the bright side, Wikipedia says Die Kluge is 90 minutes long. This recording is just under 75 minutes long. So Sawallisch's cuts saved you 15 minutes.

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2751 on: October 15, 2021, 02:48:02 AM »


This recording certainly makes the best case for Gounod's opera. Indeed, whilst listening to this performance, I began to wonder if Roméo et Juliette might be Gounod's greatest opera rather than Faust which I listened to a couple of days ago.

I saw Alagna in his debut in this role at Covent Garden the year before this recording was made and he was quite superb. On that occasion his Juliette was the girlish Leontina Vaduva, but by the time of the recording (made in 1995, but not released until 1998) he and Gheorghiu had become an item and an obvious pairing. Alagna was always at his best when singing in his native tongue and his Roméo is impetuous, ardent and, most important of all, poetic, the quiet close to Act II being particularly magical. Gheorghiu is delightfully girlish in the opening scene, but has all the requisite power for her big Act IV aria, which often used to be cut. A superb supporting cast too, Simon Keenyside as Mercutio and José Van Dam as Frère Laurent being particularly noteworthy.

Plasson improves here on his earlier recording, which had the stylish, but perceptibly aging Alfredo Kraus as Roméo. Malfitano is very good as Juliette, but she doesn't have Gheorghiu's beauty of tone.

A really superb recording.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2752 on: October 15, 2021, 07:00:15 AM »
I should explore that one. A poetic Roméo is just what I look for in that role. I have the bovine Raoul Jobin and the neurotic bull-in-the-china-shop Corelli… ::)

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2753 on: October 15, 2021, 02:47:25 PM »
I should explore that one. A poetic Roméo is just what I look for in that role. I have the bovine Raoul Jobin and the neurotic bull-in-the-china-shop Corelli… ::)

I used to have the earlier Plasson on LP and it is very good also, but I think this one supersedes it. Plasson has a much better grip on the score this time round too.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2754 on: October 17, 2021, 07:47:24 AM »


This recording certainly makes the best case for Gounod's opera. Indeed, whilst listening to this performance, I began to wonder if Roméo et Juliette might be Gounod's greatest opera rather than Faust which I listened to a couple of days ago.

I saw Alagna in his debut in this role at Covent Garden the year before this recording was made and he was quite superb. On that occasion his Juliette was the girlish Leontina Vaduva, but by the time of the recording (made in 1995, but not released until 1998) he and Gheorghiu had become an item and an obvious pairing. Alagna was always at his best when singing in his native tongue and his Roméo is impetuous, ardent and, most important of all, poetic, the quiet close to Act II being particularly magical. Gheorghiu is delightfully girlish in the opening scene, but has all the requisite power for her big Act IV aria, which often used to be cut. A superb supporting cast too, Simon Keenyside as Mercutio and José Van Dam as Frère Laurent being particularly noteworthy.

Plasson improves here on his earlier recording, which had the stylish, but perceptibly aging Alfredo Kraus as Roméo. Malfitano is very good as Juliette, but she doesn't have Gheorghiu's beauty of tone.

A really superb recording.

Thankyou for a needed-nudge to prompt me to listen to this recording again.  Can't imagine when I last listened to it but MUCH too long ago!

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2755 on: October 18, 2021, 01:19:52 AM »


Not actually an opera but it has been staged and with great success. I remember a thrilling Luc Bondy production, which travelled to London's Barbican from Aix-en-Provence, bringing with it the superb Dejanira of Joyce DiDonato.

Though called Hercules, the orotorio is really a study of irrational jealousy, as depicted in the character of Hercules's wife Dejanira and it is Dejanira who dominates the action. Anne Sofie von Otter is splendid in that role, but there isn't really a weak link in Minkowski's cast, who are all superb. One might question the use of countertenor David Daniels in the conralto role of Lichas, but he sings so well, criticism is disarmed. Superb playing by Les Musiciens du Louvre, with the chorus magnificent in the all important choruses.

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

Offline Maestro267

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2756 on: October 18, 2021, 07:10:40 AM »
Finally gotten round to hearing Tristan und Isolde in full. Bohm recording

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2757 on: October 20, 2021, 05:44:40 AM »
Finally gotten round to hearing Tristan und Isolde in full. Bohm recording
What did you think of it Maestro?  I have that classic recording myself; believe that it's the only one that I have of it too.

PD

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2758 on: October 21, 2021, 03:18:46 AM »


These CDs are taken from a highly successful series of performances at Glyndebourne (one of which was captured for DVD). There is quite a bit of stage and audience noise, but for such a performance it is absolutely worth it. Chorus and orchestra under William Christie are absolutely superb and the cast could hardly be bettered with great contributions from Richard Croft and Frode Olsen. David Daniels's countertenor was at its absolute peak in 1996, rich and mellow, with wonderfully fleet and accurate coloratura, and Dawn Upshaw is a radiantly affecting Theodora. However what sets the seal on the whole performance is the deeply emotional singing of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson as Irene, so naturally and expressive and yet so rapt and intense at the same time. As With Rosy Steps The Morn is one of the most searingly beautiful pieces of Handel singing I have ever heard. What a superb artist she was.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 12:50:34 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline The new erato

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2759 on: October 21, 2021, 06:16:33 AM »
I have the Glyndebourne DVD. Very strong performance of a superb work.