Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 507952 times)

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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3220 on: August 11, 2022, 06:21:19 AM »
Hi Rafael, Hi Tsara,

I had a read back earlier on an old thread (GMG members' essential lists, to check on operas) and saw Solti's Wagner popping up as often as Karajan's Ring. Which would be the Wagner opera where Solti is considered as strong/top notch? Thank you. (disclaimer: I haven't dared diving into the Wagner thread yet, I am reading more about and finding my feet in the Callas one of late..)


I'm not much of a Solti fan and the only opera recording I have conducted by him is Tannhäuser, which is also generally the top recommendation for that opera, as far as I'm aware. His Ring, the first studio recording of the cycle is generally considered a top recommendation, but, personally, I prefer Karajan, though I know mine is a minority view.


Very much in agreement with this. I too am not a great admirer of Solti’s style (described by a friend of mine like “an orgasm in every measure”   ;D ), but his Tannhäuser is a great recording, offering the revised Paris version. For a hybrid Dresden / Paris, I very much like the Sawallisch from Bayreuth (originally on Philips).

P.S.: Olivier, do give the Boulez Parsifal another chance. A superb achievement, where the score is treated like an extraordinary piece of music theatre, rather than as some sort of oratorio. The swift tempos used by Boulez provide a great dramatic thrust, but at the same time the intricacies of the miraculous scoring shine through. A landmark in the work’s interpretative history.
ritter
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3221 on: August 11, 2022, 06:34:37 AM »
I too am not a great admirer of Solti’s style (described by a friend of mine like “an orgasm in every measure”   ;D ),

I've come across that description before, but couldn't remember where I'd first read it. A little investigation turned up this quote in Schwarzkopf's Walter Legge memoir, On and off the record. Apparently it was Wieland Wagner, who once said to Legge, “Walter, if you don’t soon find me a good Tannhäuser conductor, I shall be reduced to Solti and his orgasms in every second bar.”

It's no doubt been quoted (and misquoted) many time since.
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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3222 on: August 11, 2022, 08:47:38 AM »
I've come across that description before, but couldn't remember where I'd first read it. A little investigation turned up this quote in Schwarzkopf's Walter Legge memoir, On and off the record. Apparently it was Wieland Wagner, who once said to Legge, “Walter, if you don’t soon find me a good Tannhäuser conductor, I shall be reduced to Solti and his orgasms in every second bar.”

It's no doubt been quoted (and misquoted) many time since.
Good to know the origin of the quote. Thanks!
ritter
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Offline KevinP

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3223 on: August 11, 2022, 01:27:36 PM »
Now you're ahead of me! I'm not sure I've ever heard Pergolesi's most famous opera.   :-[

Me neither, so I checked it out on YouTube. Good fun!

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3224 on: August 11, 2022, 11:08:50 PM »


Verdi's fourth opera was the first in Gardelli's series of early Verdis for Philips. It has a lot going for it, but, as far as I'm concerned, it has one serious blot in the shape of Deutekom's Griselda, whose voice is just too shallow and pallid and who indulges in some weird yodelling effects in the coloratura sections. Admittedly she is dramatially involved, but she simply doesn't have enough voice for the role.

This is a shame because Domngo and Raimondi are both excellent. However I started streaming Gardelli's later recording for Hungaraton yesterday and, though so far I've listened ony to part of Act I, I think I might end up preferring it. Sass, who had a huge success in the role under Gardelli at Covent Garden four years after this Philips recording was made, is a massive improvement on Deutekom and Kolas Kovats strikes me as being rather good.

Despite Deutekom's inadequate Griselda, I really enjoyed the opera this time round and am looking forward to hearing the rest of the Hungaraton recording.
 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2022, 11:27:35 PM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3225 on: August 11, 2022, 11:25:10 PM »
I'm not much of a Solti fan and the only opera recording I have conducted by him is Tannhäuser, which is also generally the top recommendation for that opera, as far as I'm aware. His Ring, the first studio recording of the cycle is generally considered a top recommendation, but, personally, I prefer Karajan, though I know mine is a minority view.

By the way, I actually did listen to that recording of La serva padrona today. I'm afraid it didn't make that much of an impression on me, though I can hear it's a sprightly performance with excellent contributions from Scotto and Bruscantini. At least I can say I've heard it now.  ;D

Very much in agreement with this. I too am not a great admirer of Solti’s style (described by a friend of mine like “an orgasm in every measure”   ;D ), but his Tannhäuser is a great recording, offering the revised Paris version. For a hybrid Dresden / Paris, I very much like the Sawallisch from Bayreuth (originally on Philips).

P.S.: Olivier, do give the Boulez Parsifal another chance. A superb achievement, where the score is treated like an extraordinary piece of music theatre, rather than as some sort of oratorio. The swift tempos used by Boulez provide a great dramatic thrust, but at the same time the intricacies of the miraculous scoring shine through. A landmark in the work’s interpretative history.

Thank you both, duly noted about Solti's Tannhäuser. In the listening pile it goes.

Not ruling out Boulez per se, Rafael. I've kept his saved in the favourites on Idagio with the others. I'll revisit it once I am more familiar with the work as a whole via Karajan and Barenboim first. Maybe by then, his approach will stand out more. 
Olivier

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3226 on: August 12, 2022, 02:46:20 AM »


So I ended up listening to the later Gardelli recording of this opera, and, by and large, I prefer it. Sass is not quite as fearless as she was when she recorded o madre dal cielo and its cabaletta for her debut Decca recital in 1977, and she can be a bit squally on top when singing forte, but in amost every other respect she is preferable to Deutekom. I don't prefer Lamberti to Domingo, but Oronte is not the most important character in the opera. Raimondi has the advantage of being Italian and his voice is no doubt more apt for the role of Pagano, but Kovats is very good nonetheless, and in Ezio di Cesare the secondary tenor role of Arvino, which is actually quite a big sing, is in better hands than the rather ineffectual Jerome Lo Monaco.

Gardelli, who conducted this opera quite a bit, including for Sass's debut at Covent Garden, if anything conducts an even tauter version of the score. I might have to scout around for secondhand copy of the CDs. This is now my first choice for the opera.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3227 on: August 12, 2022, 12:12:34 PM »
Todd’s recent purchase of this recording spurred me to revisit it (Act I tonight).



This is a superb performance, recorded live at the opening of the second post-WW2 Bayreuth Festival on July 23rd, 1952. Martha Mödl is probably my favourite Wagnerian soprano —and Isolde— of those (and the following) years, as she is IMHO less clarion-voiced than her quasi-contemporary Astrid Varnay or her successor Birgit Nilsson, but provides much more psychological depth to her portrayal, and pays great attention to the words. Ira Malaniuk is her usual elegant self, and Ramón Vinay baritonal tenor is a pleasure to hear. As years pass, my appreciation of Hans Hotter diminishes steadily (for instance, I find his Gurnemanz in the 1962 Knappertsbusch Parsifal very disappointing) , and it’s clear that Kurwenal is not the right role for him. Karajan conducts with attention to detail and real theatrical flair. Again, a superb performance!
« Last Edit: August 12, 2022, 01:03:59 PM by ritter »
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Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3228 on: August 13, 2022, 11:55:00 AM »
Verdi: Otello (Acts 1 & 2 EDIT: the whole thing).



I must admit I’m not a great fan of Verdi’s Otello. Of course it’s a major work, but I can’t really get myself to enjoy it. This may partly be due to the subject matter: Shakespeare or no Shakespeare (and Boito or no Boito), jealousy is a subject that interests me very little, and it doesn't "get to me" (actually, it mars my enjoyment of some segments of a literary work I rank very, very highly in my personal pantheon, Proust’s Recherche). Be that as it may, I find the musical setting by Verdi “episodic”, for lack of a better word. It is certainly much more refined that most of what came before it in Verdi’s output, but its attempts to move away from the set formulas (that in many cases degenerated into outright clichés) of the earlier operas seem half-hearted, and IMHO it’s only in that miracle thar is Falstaff that we get an undisputed  masterpiece from the Verdi / Boito tandem. But there are great passages in Otello, and the orchestral writing has some superb moments.

This 1954 recording sounds surprisingly well for its age, and is led with real theatrical panache by Franco Capuana (great conducting!). The curiosity is Argentinian tenor Carlos María Guichandut in the title rôle; he (just like Ramón Vinay whom I was listening last night as Tristan) is one of the few singers to have sung both Otello and Jago. His portrayal is solid and musical, but not particularly memorable. The same applies to Cesy Broggini’s Desdemona (a soprano about whom I know almost nothing, and whose voice appears a tad light to me for her role) (EDIT: in Act III, Broggini gains heft, and her portrayal is really expressive and very convincing. The “Willow Song” is wonderfully sung). Giuseppe Taddei steals the show as Jago, with his rich, sonorous and well projected baritone voice (despite the occasional vulgar lapses, not that uncommon with this otherwise  admirable singer).

So, I’m glad I’m revisiting this opera and this particular recording of it, but my overall appreciation of Otello isn’t increasing, I’m afraid.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2022, 01:00:29 PM by ritter »
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Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3229 on: August 14, 2022, 04:36:15 PM »



[Attached image is an illustration for Byron's original, showing what in Verdi's version is the middle scene of Act III, in which Gulnara finds Corrado in prison, and eventually helps him escape after killing Seid.]

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3230 on: August 15, 2022, 12:42:42 AM »



[Attached image is an illustration for Byron's original, showing what in Verdi's version is the middle scene of Act III, in which Gulnara finds Corrado in prison, and eventually helps him escape after killing Seid.]

How is this recording? I thought his Macbeth was awful, with quite one of the worst performances of a Verdi role I've ever heard (Nadja Michael as Lady Macbeth).
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3231 on: August 15, 2022, 12:44:40 AM »




Luisa Miller represents a turning point in Verdi's output, an opera which dispensed with grandiose gestures in favour of a style more suited to a tale of simple, ordirnary human beings.

It has done quite well on disc, though two recordings tend to emerge the favourites. These would be the Cleva with Moffo, as above, and the Maag with Caballé, Pavarotti and Milnes. However I don't have the Maag, which I agree is very fine, and indeed Maag is the most interesting conductor of the three. Maazel tends towards the vulgar with some nasty overemphases, whilst Cleva is at least unobtrusive. I'm not sure why I never acquired the Maazel, but I was brought up on Cleva and Moffo and used to have it on LP and it has a lot going for it. I've always thought Luisa was one of Moffo's best recorded Verdi roles and I still do. In general I prefer her to Caballé, who, though she sings beautifully, can sometimes sound a bit too grand. Bergonzi is likewise hard to beat. MacMeil is a fine Miller and we get a great double act from Tozzi and Flagello, who nevertheless sound as if they could have strayed in from any other Verdi opera. Verrett is, by a long way, the finest Federica on disc. It's a somewhat thankless role, which either doesn't make any impression at all, like Reynolds in the Maag recording, or sticks out like a sore thumb, like Obraztsova on the Maazel.

The 1979 Maazel is a much more recent acquisition for me. The recording is based on the revival of the massively successful 1978 production at Covent Garden. Ricciarelli repeated her Luisa, but Domingo replaced Pavarotti and Bruson replaced Nucci. On stage the roles of Federica amd Wurm were sung by Elizabeth Connell and Richard Van Allan, but for some reason these roles are taken by Elena Obraztsova and Wladimiro Ganzarolli on the recording. Obraztsova oversings and Ganazarolli makes a very unpleasant sound, though I suppose that's apt enough for the character.

The main reason for hearing this set, though, is for the Luisa of Ricciarelli and the Miller of Bruson. Ricciarelli is, I suppose, more vocally fallible than either Moffo or Caballé, but this was a very good role for her and she is at her best, throughly inside the role and therefore a most touching and affecting Luisa. All in all, I think she's my favourite. Bruson is likewise wonderfully sympathetic in the role of Miller and the duets between father and daughter become the highlights of the opera. All three tenors, Bergonzi, Domingo and Pavarotti, are excellent, but I think my favourite in this particular role would be Bergonzi on the Moffo recording.

The opera itself I like more every time I hear it. One of the best of Verdi's pre Rigoletto works.
 
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Offline pjme

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3232 on: August 15, 2022, 03:13:45 AM »
Last week, on the radio: exclusive avant-première Matthew Locke : Psyche.
Ensemble Correspondances  - Sébastien Daucé.
The Harmonia Mundi recording should be out by september 23rd
Entertaining and lovely.

https://www.harmoniamundi.com/main.swf#!/albums/2782

Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3233 on: August 15, 2022, 05:28:51 AM »
How is this recording? I thought his Macbeth was awful, with quite one of the worst performances of a Verdi role I've ever heard (Nadja Michael as Lady Macbeth).

It's Verdi at his oom-pah-pah-iest. The singing is fine, but this strikes me as an opera you need at most one recording of.  The sonics are fine (it's an unstaged concert performance), but I see no reason to get any other recording, and no compelling reason for you to add it to the recordings you already have.

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3234 on: August 15, 2022, 09:28:51 AM »
It's Verdi at his oom-pah-pah-iest. The singing is fine, but this strikes me as an opera you need at most one recording of.  The sonics are fine (it's an unstaged concert performance), but I see no reason to get any other recording, and no compelling reason for you to add it to the recordings you already have.

I have the Gardelli recording on Philips. It’s early Verdi, yes, and it’s an uneven score, but it has some great moments. Gardelli has a stellar cast (Caballe, Norman, Carreras) and it certainly helps. Nor does it sound so Oom-pah-pah under Gardelli.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2022, 12:40:48 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3235 on: August 15, 2022, 10:39:28 AM »
Now you're ahead of me! I'm not sure I've ever heard Pergolesi's most famous opera.   :-[

It's not an opera, it's an intermezzo. And it's famous for a reason.  ;)
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3236 on: August 15, 2022, 10:41:12 AM »
A first listen to Pergolesi - La Serva Padrona.



A fine recording, arguably the best.
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3237 on: August 16, 2022, 11:38:14 AM »
Earlier today, a first proper listen to Act I of Rigoletto with the Serafin/Callas/Gobbi/Di Stefano, following with the libretto.



As per, always drawn in by the singing of Gobbi.

Again, It takes a moment or two to settle with Callas' voice... and then it got to Father/Daughter duet...and then "Caro Nome".

If that's how it always goes with Callas, I don't mind being uncertain at the start. That was gorgeous.

Planning to do Act I again tomorrow with Giulini's then back to Serafin for II, etc.

 
Olivier

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3238 on: August 16, 2022, 11:58:12 PM »
Earlier today, a first proper listen to Act I of Rigoletto with the Serafin/Callas/Gobbi/Di Stefano, following with the libretto.



As per, always drawn in by the singing of Gobbi.

Again, It takes a moment or two to settle with Callas' voice... and then it got to Father/Daughter duet...and then "Caro Nome".

If that's how it always goes with Callas, I don't mind being uncertain at the start. That was gorgeous.

Planning to do Act I again tomorrow with Giulini's then back to Serafin for II, etc.

It might be that Callas adopts a different voice character for each role she sang. Although inimitably herself, she somehow manages to adapt the weight and colour of her voice to the character she is playing. Hence her Lady Macbeth and Gilda could amost be different singers. Maybe that's what you find unsettling.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2022, 12:08:08 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Papy Oli

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #3239 on: August 17, 2022, 03:34:24 AM »
It might be that Callas adopts a different voice character for each role she sang. Although inimitably herself, she somehow manages to adapt the weight and colour of her voice to the character she is playing. Hence her Lady Macbeth and Gilda could amost be different singers. Maybe that's what you find unsettling.

I wouldn't pick up on those subtleties yet, Tsara, I'll have a think when I get back to her recording.

TD: Rigoletto / Giulini Act I

Olivier