Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 427198 times)

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kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #80 on: April 20, 2017, 04:08:57 AM »


Verdi's seventh opera is patchily distinguished and no doubt holds a peripheral hold on the repertoire, because of his sympathetic treatment of the heroine, a character more well drawn than any of his previous leading ladies. Like all his early operas, it is brim full of wonderful tunes, and well worth hearing in a good performance such as this.

Caballe makes a superb Giovanna, singing with purity, beauty and, when required, strength, brilliantly supported by Domingo and Milnes, the star trio of the day. Levine's conducting tends to the loud and barnstorming, and consequently we lose some of the lyricism in Verdi's score. I prefer Gardelli's approach to early Verdi, EMI recorded the set before Philips had got round to recording it for their early Verdi project, meaning that it is missing from the series. Nonetheless, like the Orfeo recordings of Oberto and Alzira (both conducted by Gardelli) it makes a worthy adjunct to the Philips series.

It's an opera in which you can compare Domingo tenor vs Domingo baritone, but only at the cost of having to listen in Netrebko in the title role....

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #81 on: April 20, 2017, 04:11:28 AM »
It's an opera in which you can compare Domingo tenor vs Domingo baritone, but only at the cost of having to listen in Netrebko in the title role....

I happy enough with Domingo as tenor, so I'll probably stick with this one.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

kishnevi

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #82 on: April 20, 2017, 04:18:39 AM »
I happy enough with Domingo as tenor, so I'll probably stick with this one.

Wise decision :P

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #83 on: April 20, 2017, 05:22:18 AM »
Listening to the less well known Victor Hugo opera, Ernani, by Verdi.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #84 on: April 20, 2017, 06:03:37 AM »
Sorry, I'm busy working on Inland Empire..... :laugh:

Nice!  8)  Just watched that film again last month, crazy good!

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #85 on: April 20, 2017, 06:40:12 AM »
Revisiting Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten:


As a teenager, I was obsessed for a while with this opera, which I got to know throgh Böhm's studio recording on Decca (more or less simultaneous with this live performance, and with a similar cast). Nowadays, I see this work as embodying some of the very best traits of Strauss's art (a superb orchestration, a real talent for theatrical effect, and some of the most effective and touching writing for the soprano voice ever penned by a composer), but also--at moments--some of the worst (some empty-sounding bombast). But overall, this is a very enjoyable work and perfomance. Much of the music harks back to the "expressionistic" Strauss of Elektra, but with some really lovely lyrical moments present as well. I'd say Die Frau ohne Schatten, and not Der Rosenkavalier, is the real turning point in the composer's career; the cool public recpetion of this ambitious work in 1919 may have been the ultimate cause for Strauss abandoning any further experiments in "modernism", and retreating into the more apprachable and ultimately "autumnal" style of the last 30 years of his long life.

The sound is decent for a 1955 broadcast, albeit slightly congested at moments. The 29 year old Leonie Rysanek is simply superb as the Empress, beautifully fresh but vulnerable at the same time, and with her full soprano soaring over the orchestra. No wonder she virtually owned the rôle for over two decades. Hans Hopf's tenor (never the most beautiful of voices, but quite a robust one) is stretched to the limit in his fiendish rôle (something I do not recall from the studio version), Elisabeth Höngen is suitably nasty-sounding as the nurse, and Barak and his wife are very well portayed by Ludwig Weber and Christel Goltz (the major difference in casting with the studio effort is Paul Schöffler instead of Weber as the dyer).

Karl Böhm, the score's greatest champion after WW2, is also excellent here, and get's a wonderful response from his Viennese orchestra. The perfomance stems from the legendary season in which the rebuilt Vienna State Opera was reopened in 1955, and the festive feeling surrounding the whole affair can almost be sensed. The (at the time) standard cuts in the score do not really detract from the enjoyment.

Highly recommended!  :)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 08:59:04 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 ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #86 on: April 22, 2017, 04:08:19 AM »
Prompted by André's recent purchase, revisiting Catel's Sémiramis:


This is a curious piece. The blurb on the back of the hardcover book (I have the original "deluxe" edition, which was available at ca. 5€ some time ago on jpc) mentions that this very late tragédie lyrique incorporates the heritage of Gluck, but I do not really hear much connection with that German reformer of opera. Rather, I find this piece to be very interesting--and innovative--on the orchestral side (a great overture, and some very effective interludes and marches in the acts), but the vocal lines seem to hark back to a much earlier French style, one in which dramatic situations are treated with poised emotional detachment (pushing it to the extreme, in much 18th century French opera, if yo do not pay attention to the words, you would not be able to know whether a character is singing about a placid pique-nique on a sunny day in the country, or about the bloody slaughter of widows and orphans after a year-long siege of a city  :D ). When I realize that this Sémiramis was premièred five years after Cherubini's Medée), I can only think that Catel was essentially a conservative and really disregarded the Gluckian reforms (except, as mentioned before, in the imaginative use of the orchestra). But very pleasant and worthwhile, in any case.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 12:50:38 PM 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. »

Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #87 on: April 22, 2017, 04:30:13 AM »
I actually read mixt reviews on this Catel opera.  Some people didnt like the declamatory style and the lack of arias.  The press was on the other hand glowing.  You sound positive.  I guess I will wait and see what André says.

Spineur

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #88 on: April 22, 2017, 05:01:57 AM »
There is no french music between Rameau and Berlioz, so said a famous critic.  There is in fact a lot, but it stuck to a more classical form while the romantic stampete left them in musical oblivion.  This lovely recital takes arias from, Salieri Danaides, Rodolphe Kreuter Ipsiboé, Christoph Gluck, Alceste, Iphigénie en Tauride, Orphée et Euridice, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Phèdre, Etienne Méhul, Valentine de Milan, Johann Christian Bach Amadis de Gaule, Louis Ferdinand Hérold, Lastenie, Symphonie no 2 , Gaspare Spontini, Olympie

Besides the repertoire, I got this CD also for Jennifer Borghi, an Italo-American mezzo with killer eyes, which is starting to make a name for herself.




« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 05:03:31 AM by Spineur »

Offline ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #89 on: April 22, 2017, 11:49:07 AM »
Went slumming to the farther reaches of the operatic repertoire this afternoon:


Franco Leoni's L'Oracolo is so bad, it's good  ;D. All the clichés of verismo opera are there: a sordid story of lust, greed and murder among the "common folk" in a an exotic setting (San Francisco's Chinatown, which justifies the chinoiserie of the score--and sounds quite faux to me), lot's of effective choruses, a colourful orchestration and many bustling street scenes, alternating with sentimental outbursts (often underscored by a violin solo, of course  ;)), etc. When you've think you've heard it all, then the children's chorus enters (literally singing "la, la, la-la" at one point  ::) ). It all reminds me of some Puccini and, particularly, of Umberto Giordano. Compared to this opera, Cavalleria Rusticana appears as refined as Webern's Das Augenlicht0:)

But...it's all great fun. Its 60+ minutes made my drive to a sports center in the outskirts of Madrid and back go in a flash. It must be a riot to see L'Oracolo fully staged. :D

The live performance from Frankfurt a. M. is perfectly serviceable, despite the slight germanic accent of the chorus and the fact that tenor Carlo Ventre must have not been having a good day (sounding slightly hoarse at moments).
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 12:52:48 PM 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 Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #90 on: April 23, 2017, 02:16:04 AM »
I can't even think about the word "oracolo" without instantly being reminded of that wonderful ensemble Ogni cura si doni al diletto, from Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. I have listened so much to that incredible opera that almost all uses of "oracolo" make me think of that particular oracle, Ulrica.

"Dunque, signori, aspettovi
Signori, aspettovi, aspettovi,
Incognito, incognito, alle tre
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Della gran maga al piè,
Della gran maga al piè."

Maybe I should listen to it right now!
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #91 on: April 23, 2017, 02:24:31 AM »
I can't even think about the word "oracolo" without instantly being reminded of that wonderful ensemble Ogni cura si doni al diletto, from Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. I have listened so much to that incredible opera that almost all uses of "oracolo" make me think of that particular oracle, Ulrica.

"Dunque, signori, aspettovi
Signori, aspettovi, aspettovi,
Incognito, incognito, alle tre
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Nell'antro dell'oracolo,
Della gran maga al piè,
Della gran maga al piè."

Maybe I should listen to it right now!

Go for it.

Either of the Callas sets would be my choice.





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

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #92 on: April 24, 2017, 12:56:24 AM »


Another one of Verdi's early "galley" operas, which experienced something of a rebirth in the 1970s. Alternatively inventive, inspired and conventional, it is certainly worthwhile reviving.

This set, if I remember correctly, was the first in Philips early Verdi series, conducted by Gardelli. Domingo and Raimondi are both excellent, but Deutekom makes a pallid Giselda, lacking the range of colour and dramatic bite the role really requires. She was only to sing on one more of the series (Attila), so maybe the creative team also had their doubts.

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

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #93 on: April 25, 2017, 12:31:44 AM »


I'm putting my Verdi listening on hold for the moment to listen to something completely different; Delius's gorgeous, but rarely performed, opera A Village Romeo and Juliet.

Excellent performance of the work under Sir Charles Mackerras, though I hear the old Meredith Davies on EMI is also very good.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #94 on: April 25, 2017, 03:43:30 AM »
Just watched the first act of this delightful production



Wagner always manages to be far speedier than I expect in his storytelling. This is captivating through and through. :)

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #95 on: April 25, 2017, 04:13:58 AM »
Another very moving and evocative score from Sciarrino


Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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    probably something somebody somewhere is snickering at...wait, Schoenberg! Definitely Schoenberg! (And, let's see, does he have a disciple or two...)...
Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #96 on: April 25, 2017, 06:06:06 PM »
Hard to read, but it's Janacek's Katya Kabanova, Prague National Theatre, Krombholc. Wonderful singing throughout, including stellar contributions from the leads, Tikalova and Blachut. Great sound for 1959.




Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #97 on: April 26, 2017, 12:51:46 AM »


Continuing my Verdi marathon.

Luisa Miller has always been considered as one of the best of Verdi's early operas, and shows Verdi increasingly in command of his craft. It was followed by Stiffelio, which was only recently rediscovered, and the first great masterpiece of his middle period Rigoletto.

Of the three recordings I know quite well (Caballe and Pavarotti under Maag, Ricciarelli and Domingo under Maazel being the others) this, the earliest, is on balance my favourite, though they are all excellent in their own way.

Moffo makes a most affecting heroine, not quite as inside the role as Ricciarelli, but more reliable vocally, though she should probably cede points to Caballe, who, however, can sound a tad too regal. Hard to choose between the three tenors, as all of them are excellent in their own way, but it is always a pleasure to hear Bergonzi's stylish singing of Verdi.

Cornell MacNeil is an excellent Miller and Tozzi and Flagello well in the picture in the two bass roles. Verrett is possibly slight overkill in the role of Federica, but not so disastrous as Obrasztsova on the Maazel and better than the under-cast Reynolds on the Maag.

Cleva is reliable, rather than inspired, but his conducting is in the best Italian tradition.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #98 on: April 26, 2017, 01:49:54 AM »


Continuing my Verdi marathon.

Luisa Miller has always been considered as one of the best of Verdi's early operas, and shows Verdi increasingly in command of his craft. It was followed by Stiffelio, which was only recently rediscovered, and the first great masterpiece of his middle period Rigoletto.

Of the three recordings I know quite well (Caballe and Pavarotti under Maag, Ricciarelli and Domingo under Maazel being the others) this, the earliest, is on balance my favourite, though they are all excellent in their own way.

Moffo makes a most affecting heroine, not quite as inside the role as Ricciarelli, but more reliable vocally, though she should probably cede points to Caballe, who, however, can sound a tad too regal. Hard to choose between the three tenors, as all of them are excellent in their own way, but it is always a pleasure to hear Bergonzi's stylish singing of Verdi.

Cornell MacNeil is an excellent Miller and Tozzi and Flagello well in the picture in the two bass roles. Verrett is possibly slight overkill in the role of Federica, but not so disastrous as Obrasztsova on the Maazel and better than the under-cast Reynolds on the Maag.

Cleva is reliable, rather than inspired, but his conducting is in the best Italian tradition.
I was just thinking of this opera the other day when you posted your favorite Ballos. I was thinking of recommending one of the Bergonzi Ballos, which led me to thinking about what other Verdi operas I had with Bergonzi or that I had heard with him. And this Luisa Miller was one of those. And then I forgot I had meant to post some alternative recommendations! lol!  ???

MacNeil is not a favorite, but he's pretty good here, I agree. Amazing to think he had Asthma until his early 20s...
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #99 on: April 26, 2017, 03:52:51 AM »
Enjoying this a lot. Neuwirth is a fantastic composer.....



I really hope there's a full DVD recording of this one day.