What Opera Are You Listening to Now?

Started by Tsaraslondon, April 10, 2017, 04:29:04 AM

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steve ridgway and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

ritter

#3780
Puccini in operetta mode...



This recording of La Rondine, under the late lamented Gianluigi Gelmetti, is very idiomatic and succesful. Hearing the 21 year old Cecilia Gasdia as Magda is pure delight. She might not have been the most individual of singers, but had a beautiful voice and great technique.

"Nella dolce carezza della danza
Chiudo gli occhi per sognar
Tutto è oramai lontano
Niente mi può turbar
E il passato sembrami dileguar
"

We can make many reproaches to Puccini, but he had a melodic gift and orchestration abilities that were quite extraordinary.

ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
"All culture corrupts, old boy, but French culture corrupts absolutely".

Wendell_E

In memory of Seiji Ozawa, his 1992 RCA recording of The Queen of Spades:

Tanglewood Festival Chorus & Boston Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Atlantov (Herman)
Mirella Freni (Liza)
Maureen Forrester (Countess)
Sergei Leiferkus (Count Tomsky)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Yeletsky)
Katherine Ciesinski (Polina)
"Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ― Mark Twain

VonStupp

Dmitri Shostakovich
Cheryomushki, op. 105
Pimlico Opera - Wasfi Kani

Per the WAYL2N Thread
VS

 
"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

ando


Verdi Aida (1970, RCA Red Seal)
Leontyne Price, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Grace Bumbry, Ruggero Raimondi, Hans Sotin, Erich Leinsdorf, London Symphony Orchestra, The John Alldis Choir
After looming on top of my stereo set for weeks I'm finally listening to the infamous recording this afternoon. Price, of course, is divine but I had not expected such thrilling singing from Domingo. Impressive sound all around.

Wendell_E

More Carl Nielsen yesterday (Sunday), a DVD of Maskerade, a 2006 Royal Danish Opera production.

Stephen Milling: Jeronimus
Susanne Resmark: Magdelone
Niels Jørgen Riis: Leander
Johan Reuter: Henrik
Mogens Gert Hansen: Arv
Poul Elming: Leonard
Gisela Stille: Leonora
Hanne Fischer: Pernille
Sten Byriel: A Night Watchman

Michael Schønwandt: Conductor

Director: Kasper Holten

I've had Ulf Scirmer's 1996 Decca CD set for a while, and like it well enough, but I might be more likely to pull out the DVD in the future. Seeing it does help, and I really liked Holten's production updated from 1723 to contemporary times. Unfortunately, the editor keeps switching to shots of the orchestra pit, sometimes the full orchestra, sometimes of conductor Schønwandt, and others of instrumental soloists. It happened so frequently, I started counting how many seconds the camera stayed on the stage action, before showing the orchestra. I think the highest I got to was 15 seconds, and sometimes it was only five. After I finished watching, I checked out the reviews on Amazon.com, and someone says there are 107 such cuts in the final, third act. I can easily believe it.


Also, the English subtitles are a translation intended to be sung, including mimicking the original's rhyme scheme. I found it irritating and wished they used the new translation made for the Decca set. It's highly unlikely, but if they re-issued a re-edit with new subtitles, I'd probably buy it.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ― Mark Twain

Roasted Swan

Quote from: VonStupp on February 10, 2024, 11:37:32 AMDmitri Shostakovich
Cheryomushki, op. 105
Pimlico Opera - Wasfi Kani

Per the WAYL2N Thread
VS

 

What did you think?!

Roasted Swan

Quote from: ando on February 11, 2024, 10:35:46 AM
Verdi Aida (1970, RCA Red Seal)
Leontyne Price, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Grace Bumbry, Ruggero Raimondi, Hans Sotin, Erich Leinsdorf, London Symphony Orchestra, The John Alldis Choir
After looming on top of my stereo set for weeks I'm finally listening to the infamous recording this afternoon. Price, of course, is divine but I had not expected such thrilling singing from Domingo. Impressive sound all around.

Why "infamous"??

ando

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 12, 2024, 09:05:54 AMWhy "infamous"??
It's the silly and seemingly never-ending argument over whether this or the 1962 Price recording is the best ever made of the opera - among Price fans, of course.  ;D


Tsaraslondon

Quote from: ando on February 12, 2024, 09:17:53 AMIt's the silly and seemingly never-ending argument over whether this or the 1962 Price recording is the best ever made of the opera - among Price fans, of course.  ;D



For me it's neither, but, hey, we can't all like the same ones.

My favourites would be the Muti with Caballé, the second Karajan with Freni and Carreras and the Serafin with Callas and Gobbi.

But my favourite performance would be the 1951 live De Fabritiis recording from Mexico, with Callas, Dominguez, Del Monaco and Taddei. The sound is awful but it is thrilling!

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

Tsaraslondon



Has anyone else had a problem with the dynamic range on this recording? Listening on headphones I was constantly adjusting the volume. With the volume up high enough to hear the quieter passages, I was constantly having to turn the volume down for the louder passages (of which there are many) or risk being completely deafened. This seems to me to be quite as big a problem as it is on Karajan's EMI Don Carlos, though that was recorded in Berlin and this in London at Kingsway Hall.

Reactions to the performance will no doubt vary depending on one's reactions to Treigle's Mefistofele. Some find it brilliantly characterised whilst others find it wildly over the top. I tend towards the former, but can understand why some don't like it. No doubt on stage his vivid personality also made up for the slight roughness in his vocal delivery. Caballé is in beautiful voice and makes a touching Margherita and she and Domingo make something rather magical out of their duet Lontano, lontano. Domingo himself makes a fine Faust and personally I prefer him to both Del Monaco and Pavarotti. Helen, sung by Caballé on the Pavarotti recording, is here sung by Josella Ligi, who seems to have done little else on record. While not in the Caballé class, she does well enough.

According to the Gramophone critic, (un-credited on their website), comparing this performance to the Decca/De Fabritiis, "of the two conductors it's Rudel every time. Decca's Oliviero de Fabritiis approaches the Prologue-in-Heaven like a Victorian vicar opening his Paradise Lost. Rudel has a much more accurate appreciation of the scenario. At this moment in timelessness the Devil is about to fill the popular satire-slot in the Command Performance while the falangi celesti munch rum truffles and indulge themselves in succulent chromaticism." I used to have the De Fabritiis on LP and that description fits pretty well with my memory of it. In any case, Rudel does well enough and I'm happy enough with this performance.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Wendell_E

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on February 13, 2024, 01:50:27 AM

Has anyone else had a problem with the dynamic range on this recording? Listening on headphones I was constantly adjusting the volume. With the volume up high enough to hear the quieter passages, I was constantly having to turn the volume down for the louder passages (of which there are many) or risk being completely deafened. This seems to me to be quite as big a problem as it is on Karajan's EMI Don Carlos, though that was recorded in Berlin and this in London at Kingsway Hall.

I first got to know the opera through the original LP released, borrowed from the library. I don't recall any problems with the volume, but the CD release may be different. I do have that Don Carlos on CD, and the dynamic range problems make it practically unlistenable.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ― Mark Twain

Wendell_E

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, but I skipped the festivities in downtown Mobile and stayed home and celebrated with the Blu-Ray of Terry Gilliam's 2015 Dutch National Opera production of Benvenuto Cellini:

Mark Elder, conductor

John Osborn: Benvenuto Cellini
Mariangela Sicilia: Teresa
Laurent Naouri: Fieramosca
Maurizio Muraro: Giacomo Balducci
Michèle Losier: Ascanio [very convincing as a young man]
Orlin Anastassov: Le Pape Clément VII
Nicky Spence: Francesco
Scott Conner: Bernardino
André Morsch: Pompeo
Marcel Beekman: Le Cabaretier

Het Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest
Koor van De Nationale Opera
"Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ― Mark Twain

JBS

[Crosspost]

This set is bookended by two recordings of Dido and Aeneas. This one from 1962

Original LP issue

Current independent CD incarnation

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: JBS on February 14, 2024, 06:21:25 PM[Crosspost]

This set is bookended by two recordings of Dido and Aeneas. This one from 1962

Original LP issue

Current independent CD incarnation


The 1962 recording is a classic and has certainly stood the test of time. The later Bedford recording suffers from having the aging Pears as Aeneas. Baker is still marvellous, but she is in fresher voice in the earlier one. I seem to recollect that the recording had been planned with Britten conducting, but he was too ill and Bedford took over. You may recall that he also conducted the premiere of Britten's Death in Venice.

Incidentally, the above set looked tempting, but I already have most of the stuff that is on it.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ritter

Act IV of Le Nozze di Figaro, in Karl Böhm's first (1956) studio recording, originally on Philips.



This recording, although it boasts some very prestigious echt-Viennese names in its roster, has never been considered AFAIK among the top recommendations for this opera. Although the individual performances can range from the good to the excellent (e.g., the young Walter Berry's Figaro) , the ensemble does not seem to a coalesce, and the overall effect is a bit ponderous (leaden at some points, TBH). Karl Böhm (whose second recording on DG from Berlin in 1968 definitely is one if the great renditions of this work) here seem a bit uninspired. It's surprising that none of Philips' recordings of Mozart operas made for the 1956 jubilee (this Figaro, and Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte under Rudolf Moralt) were really successful, despite having some great casts.
ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
"All culture corrupts, old boy, but French culture corrupts absolutely".

ritter

#3795
Act I of Mascagni's Il piccolo Marat, in this 1962 recording from San Remo under Ottavio Ziino.



Why is it that operas set in the French Revolution are almost invariably of extreme vulgarity? Andrea Chênier, Respighi's posthumously premiered Marie Victoire (which I was unfortunate enough to see live in Berlin some years ago), and this schocker.

Il piccolo Marat, from 1921, is Mascagni's penultimate opera, and his last (relative) success. A very busy work, with a constant declamatory singing line (I suppose the marking p is almost completely absent from the score). The tenor lead is a killer rôle, and Giuseppe Gismondo acquits himself rather well (and much better than  Jesús Pinto in the 1989 recording on the Fonè label). Virginia Zeani as Mariella has little to do in this first act, but unfortunately her husband, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, does. He is, as usual, slightly out of tune and woolly sounding in the typical "evil bass" rôle of Orco. The orchestral contribution isn't very refined, either.

And yet, this might be a rather fun work to see on stage. Slumming to the fringes of the operatic repertoire has its allure..
ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
"All culture corrupts, old boy, but French culture corrupts absolutely".

Florestan

#3796
Quote from: ritter on February 16, 2024, 01:14:59 PMWhy is it that operas set in the French Revolution are almost invariably of extreme vulgarity?

Maybe because the revolution itself was an orgy of (sanguinary) vulgarity?  ;D
I love Italian opera – it's so reckless. Damn Wagner, and his bellowings at Fate and Death. Damn Debussy, and his averted face. I like the Italians who run all on impulse, and don't care about their immortal souls, and don't worry about the ultimate — D. H. Lawrence

Roasted Swan

#3797
One of my Chandos Winter Sale purchases was;



It sounds wonderful - really well played and recorded and a very strong cast all round.  Not completely sure I find Stuart Skelton the most magnetically compelling Grimes.  Sings intelligently, nice voice - but I'm not sure quite what drives his Grimes.  He's not the brutish outsider of a Vickers or a troubled dreamer like Pears.  Along the way I prefer Langridge, Rolfe-Johnson or Gillett.  A Peter Grimes without a Peter Grimes you can't take your eyes (or ears!) off can't really work can it?  But then this won several awards - so what do I know.....!!

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 17, 2024, 02:17:03 AMOne of my Chandos Winter Sale purchases was;



It sounds wonderful - really well played and recorded and a very strong cast all round.  Not completely sure I find Stuart Skelton the most magnetically compelling Grimes.  Sings intelligently, nice voice - but I'm not sure quite what drives his Grimes.  He's not the brutish outsider of a Vickers or a troubled dreamer like Pears.  Along the way I prefer Langridge, Rolfe-Johnson or Gillett.  A Peter Grimes without a Peter Grimes you can't take your eyes (or ears!) off can't really work can it?  But then this won several awards - so what do I know.....!!

Peter Grimes has been extraordinarily lucky on disc. I have both the Pears/Britten and Vickers/Davis recordings; both very different, but I wouldn't want to be without either. I saw Langridge in the role with ENO and he was absolutely fantastic in, I think, the best production I've ever seen on stage. I believe it's on DVD.
I also remember seeing a fine production at the Garden with Ben Heppner as Grimes and Janice Watson as Ellen.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

VonStupp

Quote from: Roasted Swan on February 12, 2024, 09:05:12 AMWhat did you think?!

It was a real treat! 

Now a week after listening, you can still hear the strains of the main Cheryomushki chorus hummed around the house and sung in the car. Maybe a little bawdy for family listening, but I am usually the only one focusing on the music.
VS
"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."