Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 493269 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3140 on: July 03, 2022, 03:04:15 PM »


The opera as a whole is very fine, in the smaller-scale, punchier, not weighed down style of Karajan or Krauss.  It does not equal those two - my two faves - and both Siegfried and Brunhilde have been notably bested on record, yielding a third act that is not all it could be, but this is none too shabby.  Had I paid to see the performances, I would not have been disappointed.
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Online Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3141 on: July 05, 2022, 05:13:04 AM »
Rossini - Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Galliera / Callas / Gobbi / Alva
Olivier

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3142 on: July 05, 2022, 05:53:20 AM »
(I think "une Voce Poco fa" is going quite some way to show me the benefits of having some Callas in my life  0:) )
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Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3143 on: July 05, 2022, 05:58:40 AM »
(I think "une Voce Poco fa" is going quite some way to show me the benefits of having some Callas in my life  0:) )
Then listen to her in “Care compagne…Come per me sereno” from La Sonnambula, the mad scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor and I Puritani, and in all of Norma, and you’ll be bowled over…. :)
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Online Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3144 on: July 05, 2022, 06:14:28 AM »
Then listen to her in “Care compagne…Come per me sereno” from La Sonnambula, the mad scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor and I Puritani, and in all of Norma, and you’ll be bowled over…. :)

Steady on Rafael  :-[ Please remind me of those when I get to those operas  ;) I am only starting the shoot-outs on my pre-selections done last week, while on the sun lounger in Ibiza, as one should  :laugh:

Now, my other contender in the Barber, Gui / De Los angeles
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3145 on: July 05, 2022, 07:06:15 AM »
Steady on Rafael  :-[ Please remind me of those when I get to those operas  ;) I am only starting the shoot-outs on my pre-selections done last week, while on the sun lounger in Ibiza, as one should  :laugh:

Now, my other contender in the Barber, Gui / De Los angeles

Another excellent contender. Oddly enough, both were recorded in the 1950s.

When it comes to Norma, there really is only Callas and it usually boils down to which of her two studio recordings to go for, though the best all round performance is live, from La Scala in 1955. Caballé was also an excellent Norma, but her studio recording is not that satisfactory and she is best heard (and seen) on the video of a famous performance from Orange.

The Bartoli set should be avoided at all costs.  >:D

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

Online Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3146 on: July 06, 2022, 07:09:50 AM »
On the Barbiere, I can't find anything to separate the Gui and the Galliera. The both draw me in and mesmerise me completely. I'll buy both.

The Abbado/Domingo/Battle has not made that cut.
Olivier

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3147 on: July 07, 2022, 09:25:39 AM »
Listened to this Traviata in full today, simply a thing of beauty. Another one in the basket  8)



Opera, like JSB, is nothing to be afraid of after all, is it... :laugh:
Olivier

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3148 on: July 08, 2022, 01:20:51 AM »

I have just started on a concentrated spell of Verdi listening, and intend to listen to all the Verdi opera recordings in my collection. I started with the Requiem, of which I have three recordings (Giulini on EMI, Muti's first studio recording and a live 1981 Muti recording, which was given its first official release last year).
.
I've now moved on to the operas and first it's the turn of Aida.



This is the earliest of my six recordings of the opera and, in all but matters of sound, I have a feeling none of the others will match it for thrills. I can ony imagine what it must have been like to be in the theatre on that night in 1951. Where would you find a cast like this today? Well, you wouldn't, would you?

It's famous for Callas's stupendous high Eb in the Triumphal Scene, but it's a good deal more than just that. Oralia Domnguez, who made far too few commercial recordings, was making her local debut in the role and is one of the best Amerises you will ever hear. Del Monaco is better at playing the hero than the lover, and he does rather bawl his farewell to life, but there is the at least the compensation of a voice in full bloom. Taddei is a superb Amonasro and the Nile scene is one of the most thrilling you wil ever hear. In fact the whole cast, orchestra, chorus and conductor are on fire.

Admittedly, this isn't the most subtle performance you will ever hear, but the singing is just spine tingling. As for the sound, it's a lot better on this issue than on some of the others that were around for years, though obviously lo-fi and hardly up to the standard of mono studio recordings of the time.
 
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3149 on: July 08, 2022, 03:09:34 AM »
I have just started on a concentrated spell of Verdi listening, and intend to listen to all the Verdi opera recordings in my collection.

I'm puzzled. Is this not what you usually do most the time?  :D
"I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think." - Kenny Rogers

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3150 on: July 08, 2022, 06:03:37 AM »
I'm puzzled. Is this not what you usually do most the time?  :D

Haha. Not that often actually, and it must be at least a year since I've done a concentrated spell of Verdi listening. I've been working through  my collection for a while now, taking one composer at a time, so Verdi's been quite a long time coming. With the amount of Verdi CDs I have, he'll probably keep me going till Christmas!  ;D
« Last Edit: July 08, 2022, 09:09:27 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3151 on: July 08, 2022, 12:51:37 PM »
Revisiting (after decades) Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix:



I’ve always had a certain “antipathy” towards Donizetti (despite some magnificent moments in some of his works), as I find his art much cruder than that of Rossini and Bellini, and see him as a trailblazer of the more vulgar aspects that permeate much of Verdi’s output.

This dramma semiserio (or comédie larmoyante) was composed for Vienna, and earned its composer a great success, but is now almost forgotten. With a Savoyard and Parisian setting, the story is one of a girl deceived, who then goes mad, recovers, and in the end love triumphs. In other words, there’s no interest whatsoever to the plot. What we do have is a sort of “Italian Biedermeier”, which is a historical curiosity.

The recording (from Naples in 1956) boasts many starry names: the eternal also-ran —in a decade dominated by the Callas / Tebaldi “rivalry”— Antonietta Stella (whose coloratura is approximative, but has a sweet tone), Fedora Barbieri (more suited to e.g. Amneris than to the breeches rôle of Pierotto), the ever elegant Cesare Valletti,  and two notable baritones, Giuseppe Taddei and Renato Capecchi. All led with gusto by that doyen of the Italian opera pit in the post-WW2 years, Tullio Serafin.

A period piece (the work and the recording), but with a certain quaint charm.

And boy, the photographer who took Signora Stella’s picture for the cover deserves to be summarily shot!  The cover designer mustn’t have been the sharpest tool in the box either, and what he did is invert the picture of the original LP cover (which in itself was no masterpiece — see below), and for some unfathomable reason add two brushes and what looks like a torn carpet.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2022, 01:39:27 PM by ritter »
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3152 on: July 09, 2022, 01:40:51 AM »


After the success of her 1952 Normas, Callas returned to London in June 1953 to sing three operas, Norma again, Aida and Il Trovatore. Though her Norma again won great praise and her Leonora was applauded as revelatory, reviews for her Aida were more mixed. Interestingly, after further performances in Verona the following month, she never sang the role again, except for the studio recording in 1955. I doubt the weight loss had anything to do with her decision to drop it from her repertoire, for, to judge from photographs, she looked bigger in 1953 than she had been in Mexico in 1951.

There are no barnstorming top Ebs in this performance and in general it is more subtle than the Mexico performance, meaning we miss a lot of the thrills, and the temperature is quite a few degrees lower throughout. Barbirolli is less of an asset than you might expect. There is a lot more light and shade to be sure, but the performance is a bit short on excitement. Callas and Simionato are the best of the soloists. Baum, though not quite as bad as his reputation would suggest, nonetheless tends to sing forte throughout, though he tames it down a bit in the last aria, maybe at the behest of Barbirolli. Walters is no Taddei, and the Nile Scene lacks the tension and drama of Mexico. One point of interest is the presence of Joan Sutherland as the Priestess in Act I scene ii.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2022, 11:32:32 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3153 on: July 09, 2022, 01:56:54 AM »
A first listen to Mozart - Don Giovanni.

(Giulini, Wächter, Schwarzkopf)
Olivier

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3154 on: July 10, 2022, 01:20:56 AM »


This 1955 studio recording is rarely anyone's first choice for the opera, and I always forget just how good it is until I listen to it again.


True, by the time Callas came to record the role, her days as Aida were behind her and her voice has thinned out quite a bit since the thrilling 1951 Mexcio performance, but this is 1955, which was the year of some of her most spectacular successes, so, though she may not command the sweetness of tone some will think essential for an Aida, she is still in pretty good voice. Dramatically her Aida is a good deal more interesting than any other singer I've heard in the role, the very epitome of the slave princess torn between love and duty.


She also has a pretty good cast around her. Tucker may not be as elegant as some, and he does tend to aspirate and sob, but the voice itself is in splendid shape. Barbieri is a tremendous Amneris, at least as good as SImionato and Dominquez and Gobbi is superb as Amonasro, the quintessential warrior king, implacable and single-minded and yet able to inject a little affection into his duet with Aida, which bristles with electricity. Really Callas and Gobbi did much of their best work together. Someone should release a compilation of their duets.


The oft underrated Serafin is superb and, quite honestly, I think this is one of the best conducted sets to be heard. What a shame it wasn't in stereo.


A more detailed review on my blog ​https://tsaraslondon.com/2017/01/08/aida/​​​
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3155 on: July 10, 2022, 02:29:45 PM »


Wrapping up Zweden's Ring.  An excellent ending.  Some singers don't match <Insert Golden Age Wagnerian Here>, but for me only Eric Halfvarson's Hagen ends up disappointing in key moments, but those moments are fleeting.  Overall, an eminently enjoyable Ring Cycle.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

People would rather believe than know - E.O. Wilson

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3156 on: July 11, 2022, 12:20:36 AM »


Just arrived in the mail today, a Blue-ray of The Fiery Angel, recorded in March 2021 at the Theater and der Wien:
 
 
Markus Butter ... Mathias / Faust
Kristjan Johannsson ... Innkeeper / A Servant (as Kristján Jóhannsson)
Andrew Owens ... Jakob Glock / A Doctor
Natascha Petrinsky ... Hostess of the Inn / Abbess
Nikolai Schukoff ... Agrippa von Nettesheim / Mephistopheles
Bo Skovhus ... Ruprecht
Aušrinė Stundytė ... Renata
Alexey Tikhomirov ... Inquisitor
Elena Zaremba ... Fortune Teller
 
Constantin Trinks ... conductor
Andrea Breth ... stage director
 
Directed (for TV) Tiziano Mancini
 
Looking through the archives, I see this is the second Breth production that I've seen, the first being a Berlin Lulu that I referred to as "shit" back in 2015 (the production, the performance was very good). This is a lot better, though certainly not for purists. It takes place entirely in a psychiatric ward, most of the characters, including Renata and Ruprecht are patients, the Hostess of the Inn / Abbess and Agrippa von Nettesheim / Mephistopheles are medical staff, appearing throughout, not just when those characters are onstage. Even when they're the character, they're still in their medical garb. The Inquisitor is some sort of official in a suit, perhaps the head of the hospital. He ends the opera by putting a bullet in Renata's forehead. So what happens to the plot if the two leads are just delusional? And the "Innkeeper" gives Ruprect an injection early in the first scene, so perhaps the whole thing is just a drug-induced hallucination? Still, the execution is brilliant, and the performers, especially the two leads, really throw themselves into it. Stundytė was the Mother Jeanne in the recent Munich production of The Devils of Loudon.
 
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

Offline ultralinear

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3157 on: July 11, 2022, 02:09:00 AM »
That looks very interesting.  I think I might get that.  Thanks for posting. :)

Back in 2006 I saw the Bolshoi's more literal production in London, complete with ascension into heaven via an onstage elevator.  I recall thinking it fine though not raving about it.

You have also reminded me that somewhere I have a DVD of Gergiev conducting a similar production with the Kirov.  Must see if I can hunt that down.

The Theater an der Wien has a bit of a track record with opera re-interpretations.  I saw a Rake's Progress there set in the milieu of reality TV, with Tom Rakewell as a celebrity afflicted with extreme OCD, and Baba the Turk as a post-op transsexual.  Which might have been fine but for the decision to conduct the whole thing at half speed.  The 2 hours of  bright amusing entertainment which I'd promised my guests turned into a very long and wearying night, relieved only slightly by the full-frontal nudity throughout. ???

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3158 on: July 11, 2022, 03:43:01 AM »


The Muti recording of Aida has always been a good central recommendation for the opera, ever since it was first issued in 1974, an excellent performance, though not, in the final analysis, my favourite.

Principal amongst its virtues is Caballé's Aida, which is one of the best things she ever did for the gramophone. She is dramatically alive and compelling, especially in the Nile Scene, where her singing of O patria mia is exemplary, the final top C spun out on a pure thread of sound that no other Aida quite manages; truly the dolce ending Verdi asks for. Unfortunately Cappuccilli's Amonasro is a bit of a dull dog, and he is nowhere near as interesting as either Taddei or Gobbi.

Domingo is also something of an asset. I suppose his Radames is a little generic, but his musical manners are a great deal better than Del Monaco, Baum or Tucker and in general I prefer him. Cossotto is also excellent, but I don't prefer her to Dominguez, Simionato or Barbieri, all of whom I have enjoyed recently.

Muti is fine, but I prefer Serafin on the studio Callas performance. If only Serafin had better sound. Still, this set deserves its reputation and remains one of the best around.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3159 on: July 12, 2022, 06:56:31 AM »


When discussing the best recordings of Aida, people rarely mention this, the second of Karajan's two studio recordings, and I always forget just how good it is until I listen to it again.


Principal among its virtues is Karajan's spacious, but still vitally dramatic conducting, less inclined to be self-consciously beautiful as in the first, and the superb playing of the Vienna Philharmonic. The sound is really good too, wide ranging but warmly ambent.


So what of the singers? The best of them is I think Baltsa, who is a really interesting Amneris. For once, she sounds, as she should, like a young, haughty Princess and a valid rival for Aida. She sounds both sensual and absolutely thrilling in the more dramatic moments, especially in Act IV. Freni and Carrears are on the light side, it is true, but both are convincing in their respective roles. Freni's performance is on a smaller scale than either Caballé or Callas, no doubt, but I still enjoyed it and Carreras's voice was in prime condition when he made the recording. I actually preferred his performance here to Domingo on the Muti. Cappucilli is moer dramaticaly alive here than on Muti also, but he's still no match for Gobbi and Taddei. Raimondi and Van Dam are excellen in the bass roles and we even get the silken voiced Ricciarelli as the Priestess.


I think, all in all, I prefer this set to the Muti. I found it much more involving.

ttps://tsaraslondon.com/2019/06/14/karajans-second-recording-of-aida/
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas