Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 200616 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1760 on: October 16, 2019, 08:22:30 PM »
Let us know how it compares with other renditions. You make me want to go and revisit the castle....!   >:D

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Offline Todd

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1761 on: October 27, 2019, 01:42:14 PM »



I bought Furtwangler's Ring quite a while ago, and only now, after at least a two month gap since Die Walküre, am I getting to Siegfried.  I must admit, this Ring has not at all lived up to expectations.  If I go for a 50s era recording, both Krauss and Keilberth are much more to my liking.
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Offline Maestro267

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1762 on: October 29, 2019, 06:31:40 AM »
Wagner: Parsifal (Act 1)
Bayreuth 1962/Knappertsbusch

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1763 on: November 07, 2019, 01:36:49 PM »

From WAYLT thread:

Quote


Is there a limit to Britten’s ingeniosity? For Screw he devised a perfectly symmetrical structure. It starts with a piano-accompanied Prologue. There follows an orchestral theme that precedes a short operatic scene. Then we have an orchestral interlude which is a variation of the theme, then the second scene, then variation no 2, scene 3, and so on until the end. Theme and 15 orchestral variations interspersing 16 scenes, divided in two acts of equal length. To make matters even more intricate Britten turns the screw on the music too, with tonality ascent (A, B, C, D etc, in the first act) followed by descent (G, F, E flat, C etc in the second act). That mathematical, cartesian structure gives a rigorous frame to a ghost story where reality, dream (nightmare) and madness freely intertwine.

Given the way the music is composed, every link in this perfect musical chain must be of equal quality. Any little fault would stand out and make the whole limp. No such worries need be entertained, though. Everything in this performance falls neatly in place musically and dramatically. As always with Britten, though, I get the impression that the most meaningful music takes place in the orchestra. When voices are heard they give dramatic meaning to the text but never introduce anything original musically - other than taking over or varying orchestral material. But that’s Britten’s way, his response to Debussy and Berg.



Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1764 on: November 08, 2019, 03:14:16 AM »
I've loved The Turn of the Screw ever since I first saw it when I was a student in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was a wonderfully atmospheric production by Anthony Besch, with the lovely Catherine Wilson as the Governess.

I've seen it several times snce too and it never fails to work its magic. I'm not sure I totally agree with you about the voices never introducing anything new musically. I'm thinking of the Quint's eerie melismas, which are first heard in the voice, the Malo theme sung by Miles and the gorgeous tune of the final duet between the Governess and Miles (So, my dear, we are alone), though it is echoed in the orchestra, I grant you.

My go to recording is still the composer's own with the original cast, despite it being in mono. It is a welcome reminder that it is possible to sing English and be perfectly understood. You don't really need to follow with a libretto, the singers' diction is so good. I used to have the Davis recording too, with Helen Donath, Heather Harper and Robert Tear but even they don't articulate the text as clearly.



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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1765 on: November 08, 2019, 06:08:44 AM »
The Quint theme is first heard in Act I, scene 3, on the celesta. This instrument characterizes Quint throughout the opera. Celesta = Quint. Miss Jessel’s instrument is the gong. Gong = Jessel. Britten himself said « the orchestra is the story ». The fascinating musical commentary in the Collins booklet is worth reading for the light it sheds on Britten’s method.

Offline Cato

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1766 on: November 08, 2019, 09:27:59 AM »
Revisiting the great performance from just a few years ago:

The Oresteia by Sergei Taneyev, Leon Botstein conducting the American Symphony Orchestra.

Available as an Amazon download only (incomprehensible as to why there is still no CD package):


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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1767 on: November 10, 2019, 04:13:40 AM »
The Quint theme is first heard in Act I, scene 3, on the celesta. This instrument characterizes Quint throughout the opera. Celesta = Quint. Miss Jessel’s instrument is the gong. Gong = Jessel. Britten himself said « the orchestra is the story ». The fascinating musical commentary in the Collins booklet is worth reading for the light it sheds on Britten’s method.

You're right of course. I'd momentarily forgotten about that, but the theme itself seems so vocally conceived, so tailored to Pears's voice that I wonder which came first.

I've seen various productions over the years. Some make the ghosts a very real presence, where others make them exist only in the Governess's imagination. I believe Britten preferred the former interpretation, but it can take both approaches.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1768 on: November 10, 2019, 07:05:23 AM »
You're right of course. I'd momentarily forgotten about that, but the theme itself seems so vocally conceived, so tailored to Pears's voice that I wonder which came first.

I've seen various productions over the years. Some make the ghosts a very real presence, where others make them exist only in the Governess's imagination. I believe Britten preferred the former interpretation, but it can take both approaches.
I love both approaches (I think it's almost a must to see both at least once). There are also some interesting video versions. I can't remember which one it is, but the video where the governess's dress changes color as the drama moves along was an interesting concept. I love how directors and singers have enough latitude to visually represent her mental condition as the opera moves along (in different ways).

It's still one of my favorite operas.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1769 on: November 10, 2019, 08:02:29 AM »
I’d like to get around to revisiting Sibelius’ Maiden in the Tower. If I remember correctly, it was quite good. Normally one doesn’t think of Sibelius as an opera composer, but imagine if he had turned his attention again to the medium in his mature years?
“Music is, for me, like a beautiful mosaic which God has put together. He takes all the pieces in his hand, throws them into the world, and we have to recreate the picture from the pieces.” - Jean Sibelius

Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1770 on: November 10, 2019, 09:16:54 AM »
You're right of course. I'd momentarily forgotten about that, but the theme itself seems so vocally conceived, so tailored to Pears's voice that I wonder which came first.

I've seen various productions over the years. Some make the ghosts a very real presence, where others make them exist only in the Governess's imagination. I believe Britten preferred the former interpretation, but it can take both approaches.

That merely reflects the ambiguity present in the original story:  James wrote it in a way that would support either view. 
Britten being able to convey that same ambiguity can be seen as a mark of his excellence (and that of his librettist, Mrs. Piper, of whom I know nothing beyond what the Wikipedia article says).

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1771 on: November 10, 2019, 09:53:04 AM »

This is how I see the presence of Quint and Miss Jessel in the opra:



Like in a house of mirrors, where reality exists somewhere, somehow. Or maybe not.

Offline KevinP

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1772 on: November 10, 2019, 09:25:40 PM »


Just finished my first listen.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1773 on: November 11, 2019, 06:06:33 AM »


Just finished my first listen.

And?

I haven’t listened to it in years, practically forgot what it sounds like  :-X

Offline KevinP

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1774 on: November 11, 2019, 03:11:46 PM »
I just ordered it from Amazon and so will take two weeks to get here. What I listened to was Amazon's autorip feature, which is to say I do not have the libretto (assuming it comes with the CD in the first place which is likely).

The dominating adjective is 'brutal' which is exactly what it should be. The male voices have surprisingly less stage time then I'd expected. The juxtaposing of Amazing Grace is very effective.

Will give it a second listen today or tomorrow.

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1775 on: November 11, 2019, 04:31:10 PM »
A 266 page libretto is included.  Unless yours is a newer incarnation, expect a 4cm thick box  :).

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1776 on: November 13, 2019, 03:16:39 AM »




A much better and more interesting disc than the tacky presentation would suggest. From the cover you might assume it was one of those ubiquitous collections of Tchaikovsky pops, whereas what we have here is a selection of excerpts from mostly some of Tchaikovsky's more rarely performed operas, at least here in the West. The two sopranos, Inessa Galante and Marina Shaguch are both excellent, though it would have been nice to know who was singing what, as is the baritone, Sergei Leiferkus. If the tenor, Alexander Fedin, isn't quite in their class, the orchestral contribution from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden under Neeme Järvi is splendid.

The only really familiar item here is Tayana's Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, and of course many will know the two arias from Queen of Spades (Hermann's Act I arioso and Yeletsky's Act II aria), but the rest of the excerpts are not at all well known. Aside from Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades, I only have a recording of Mazeppa, but this disc certainly makes me want to explore more of Tchaikovsky's operas.

I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind such shoddy presentation, which meant the disc soon found its way to the remainder bin and never got the attention it deserved. The booklet gives a little background to each piece and helpfully tells you you can get texts and translations by writing to BMG, UK, though given the album was issued in 1997, I doubt that's still the case. I would have liked to know which soprano sings which piece too. A shame that such artistic excellence should be let down so badly by the presentation.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 03:19:45 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1777 on: November 13, 2019, 07:17:28 AM »
This Amazon review identifies the singers, though it gives no indication of where he got the information
Quote
   Julian Grant
5.0 out of 5 starsUnexpected pleasures
January 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
You might, coming across a CD entitled 'The Tchaikovsky Experience', expect yet another compilation of over-familiar favourites - not so here. While Tchaikovsky's ballets and symphonies are in danger of over-exposure, his ten operas are, with two exceptions, unfamiliar.
This beautifully planned recital provides extracts from every one of them - even an abandoned one (Undine). Four singers: two sopranos, tenor and baritone perform a selection of arias and duets. Inessa Galante delivers an engrossing and very emotional performance of the most familiar item here, the Letter Scene from 'Eugene Onegin', she enters fully into Tatyana's world. She is just as good in an extended duet from Tchaikovsky's last opera 'Iolanta', partnered ably by tenor Alexander Fedin - and she darkens her voice convincingly for a plangent account of Joan of Arc's aria from 'The Maid of Orleans' - traditionally mezzo territory. Marina Shaguch (familiar from many recent Kirov Opera recordings)has a brighter timbre, which suits Undine's delectable song, and possibly the most ravishing aria on the disc, that from 'Vakula the Smith', a rustic comic opera that cries out for a modern recording - it is almost totally unknown and contains some of Tchaikovsky's most delicious music. She is less involving in the final scene and deranged lullaby from 'Mazeppa', which doesn't pack the necessary punch here, though it is beautifully sung. Alexander Fedin is less consistent, best in the familiar excerpts from 'The Queen of Spades'. Sergei Leiferkus has the least to do, but does it well, though his account of Yeletsky's aria from 'The Queen of Spades' does not bear comparison with Pavel Lisitsian's classic account. But it is the wealth of unfamiliar music here that counts, and with sparkling support from the Royal Opera House orchestra and Neemi Jarvi, this disc is a winner, and should be essential listening for every Tchaikovsky lover.
Don't be put off by the most awful jacket design - a green tinged Sloane-y young gel(presumably Tatiana)who looks as if she's strayed in from a photoshoot for 'Brides' magazine. Ridiculous,inappropriate and unimaginative, but we all know better than to judge a CD by its cover, don't we?

You're not the only one to dislike the cover, obviously.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #1778 on: November 13, 2019, 12:55:10 PM »
This Amazon review identifies the singers, though it gives no indication of where he got the information
You're not the only one to dislike the cover, obviously.

I've scoured the CD insert again and still can't find any reference to which woman sings what. Maybe I missed it, but if the information is there, it's not easy to find, that's for sure.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas