Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 345506 times)

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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2400 on: March 08, 2021, 06:07:47 AM »
Yes, most libretti are silly anyway so why even bother?  :D

Precisely. I never care about the words.

BTW hope you and your wife are still doing well.
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Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2401 on: March 08, 2021, 06:22:36 AM »


Fair enough but I was talking specifically about listening operas on CD. Watching them live or on DVD is a different matter altogether and in these cases there are subtitles.

I think, even listening to them at home on CD, the musci loses something of its power if the words are ignored. That's the case for me anyway. There was a time when I would always listen along with the libretto. I don't always do that nowadays, but I do like to at least have an idea about what is going on and will refer to the synopsis if I don't know the opera. Opera is music drama, however much the music comes first. I can't imagine getting as much out of La Traviata, for instance , if I had no idea of what was happening dramatically.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2402 on: March 08, 2021, 07:47:11 AM »
Precisely. I never care about the words.

BTW hope you and your wife are still doing well.

Last day of quarantine today. We are fine, thanks for asking; fortunately we had only mild symptoms which have all but disappeared.
What is Music? How do you define it? Music is a calm moonlit night, the rustle of leaves in Summer. Music is the far off peal of bells at dusk! Music comes straight from the heart and talks only to the heart: it is Love! --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2403 on: March 08, 2021, 07:54:57 AM »
I think, even listening to them at home on CD, the musci loses something of its power if the words are ignored. That's the case for me anyway. There was a time when I would always listen along with the libretto. I don't always do that nowadays, but I do like to at least have an idea about what is going on and will refer to the synopsis if I don't know the opera. Opera is music drama, however much the music comes first. I can't imagine getting as much out of La Traviata, for instance , if I had no idea of what was happening dramatically.

Oh, I don't ignore the plot completely. Before listening to an opera for the first time I always read the synopsis. I have never listened along with the libretto, though. I speak French fluently and I can understand a fair amount of Italian and this is just enough for me. In the case of German operas / Lieder (my German is severely limited) I truly just let myself be carried away auf Flügeln des Gesanges.
What is Music? How do you define it? Music is a calm moonlit night, the rustle of leaves in Summer. Music is the far off peal of bells at dusk! Music comes straight from the heart and talks only to the heart: it is Love! --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Brewski

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2404 on: March 08, 2021, 08:08:44 AM »
Coincidentally, over the weekend I watched Káťa Kabanová by Janáček (from 2017, Vienna State Opera), and for most of it had the subtitles turned off. (They were taking up valuable screen acreage, anyway.) Granted, I've seen the opera a few times, and know the general plot. But the score is definitely gorgeous enough to hear on its own.

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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2405 on: March 08, 2021, 02:23:52 PM »


Needless to say with such a cast the singing is both accomplished and characterful. The orchestra is lively and well-balanced. My only complaint would be a slightly thick continuo in the recitatives.

There are 9 characters interacting with each other (A loves B who loves C, but C is promised to D, who pines for B, etc). The complex plot is probably easier to follow with visuals. In the absence of a video, only the music remains and it is exquisite.

Offline ultralinear

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2406 on: March 08, 2021, 02:32:54 PM »
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Metzmacher / Vienna State Opera) :



I like this a lot more than I was expecting, after reading some lukewarm reviews that criticised weak singing, but I really don't hear that - Denoke in particular is outstanding as Katerina - and the orchestral playing is gorgeous, if occasionally a little distant (it's a live recording, after all.)


Offline Brewski

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2407 on: March 08, 2021, 03:49:33 PM »
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Metzmacher / Vienna State Opera) :



I like this a lot more than I was expecting, after reading some lukewarm reviews that criticised weak singing, but I really don't hear that - Denoke in particular is outstanding as Katerina - and the orchestral playing is gorgeous, if occasionally a little distant (it's a live recording, after all.)

Thanks! This opera is regularly on my ten favorites list. I've seen the Met's great production, and the equally great Holland Festival outing with Eva-Maria Westbroek, but delighted to know of this new one. (Just saw Denoke over the weekend in Janacek, from 2017, so am primed to hear her in something else.)

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

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Offline Florestan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2408 on: March 09, 2021, 01:33:39 AM »


Com'e gentil di quarantena uscir
E azzuro il ciel
Il sol'e senza vel!


 :D 8)
What is Music? How do you define it? Music is a calm moonlit night, the rustle of leaves in Summer. Music is the far off peal of bells at dusk! Music comes straight from the heart and talks only to the heart: it is Love! --- Rachmaninoff

Offline ultralinear

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2409 on: March 09, 2021, 02:48:49 AM »
Thanks! This opera is regularly on my ten favorites list. I've seen the Met's great production, and the equally great Holland Festival outing with Eva-Maria Westbroek, but delighted to know of this new one. (Just saw Denoke over the weekend in Janacek, from 2017, so am primed to hear her in something else.)

--Bruce

Until I read this I had completely forgotten that somewhere I have an off-air recording of a BBC relay of that Met production on a couple of Minidiscs, which I have never listened to.:o :-[  So thank you for the reminder! :)  (Now all I have to do is find them. ::))  I also must find time to give another play to that Jansons/Concertgebouw production, which as you say is really great. 8)

Offline Brewski

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2410 on: March 09, 2021, 05:52:21 AM »
Until I read this I had completely forgotten that somewhere I have an off-air recording of a BBC relay of that Met production on a couple of Minidiscs, which I have never listened to.:o :-[  So thank you for the reminder! :)  (Now all I have to do is find them. ::))  I also must find time to give another play to that Jansons/Concertgebouw production, which as you say is really great. 8)

Looking at the Met's archives (a wonderful resource) helped me recall exactly when they staged it. (And I went at least once or twice every time.) The first one was in 1994, with Maria Ewing. Then they brought it back in 2000 with Catherine Malfitano -- loved her, especially her acting. And then it returned in 2014, with Westbroek.

The Graham Vick production is so cool. I can't believe they never filmed it for their HD series. I have the Jansons/Concertgebouw on DVD, and that production is excellent, too, in a completely different way -- very minimal -- while the Met's uses some heavy machinery, a crane and a bulldozer, IIRC. I remember Sergei standing in the kitchen, in the light from an open refrigerator door. Quite imaginative. And the score is just savage. I like The Nose, too (and the Met's production of THAT was a riot), but not as much as this piece.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline T. D.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2411 on: March 09, 2021, 02:58:50 PM »
Looking at the Met's archives (a wonderful resource) helped me recall exactly when they staged it [Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk]. (And I went at least once or twice every time.) The first one was in 1994, with Maria Ewing. Then they brought it back in 2000 with Catherine Malfitano -- loved her, especially her acting. And then it returned in 2014, with Westbroek.

The Graham Vick production is so cool. I can't believe they never filmed it for their HD series. I have the Jansons/Concertgebouw on DVD, and that production is excellent, too, in a completely different way -- very minimal -- while the Met's uses some heavy machinery, a crane and a bulldozer, IIRC. I remember Sergei standing in the kitchen, in the light from an open refrigerator door. Quite imaginative. And the score is just savage. I like The Nose, too (and the Met's production of THAT was a riot), but not as much as this piece.

--Bruce

I went to the 1994 with Ewing.

Listening:

Purchased because of $2.98 price, it's not bad but OTOH didn't leave a big impression.

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2412 on: March 19, 2021, 02:32:16 AM »


One of the things that characterises this famous performance is the swift conducting of Panizza. It does impart a hectic urgency to the opera, but at times I miss a little lyrical expansiveness. He is much faster than either Giulini for Callas at La Scala or Kleiber on his famous studio recording, neither of whom would be considered slouches, and at times it tempts Ponselle to go over the top. The gambling scene is a case in point, where she interrupts Alfredo's denunciation with gasps, sobs and screams. To be honest, it's just a bit hammy, rather like the aural equivalent of a silent movie actor.

Vocally of course she has many fine moments and technically the role holds few perils for her. Sempre libera is taken at break-neck speed and Lord knows how she keeps up, but I'm afraid the jarring downward transposition does bother me quite a bit.
There are of course many wonderful moments such as her beautifully affecting Alfredo, Alfredo in that gambling scene. The duet with Germont is also very fine and leads up to a passionately intense Amami, Alfredo, but the portrayal is almost too vivid and lacks Callas's subtlety and inwardness. In any case, Callas is hors concours in this role and I'm not sure any soprano has quite matched her achievement. Even in 1958, when she was reportedly unwell and not in her best voice, she sings the most moving Violetta I have ever heard.

For the rest, Jagel is a bit stiff, but Tibbett is a most sympathetic partner in the big Violetta/Germont duet.
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Offline knight66

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2413 on: March 27, 2021, 09:59:35 AM »
Under encouragement from Twitter contacts I have listened to the Klemperer studio recording of Don Giovanni. At 40 years distance since last listening I was surprised. In my mind it was this massive, slow, humourless tramp through the piece. It is serious, but most of it does not feel slow at all. One of my favourite passages is the mask trio at the end of Act One. I like time to be suspended here, a stasis as the characters ponder. However Klemps robs it of those sought for qualities as he speeds through it. The women somehow do not hit the spot for me, Watson sounds anonymous, Ludwig sounds stretched as does Freni. The men do better.

It builds up well towards a very dramatic final scene. Worth hearing, at least once each 40 years.

Mike
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Offline MusicTurner

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2414 on: March 27, 2021, 11:04:19 AM »
Yesterday, Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice with Muti, not a piece I've dwelled much on, in spite of its fame. But I liked the non-HIP, Verdiesque Grand Approach in this recording, similar to that of his Vivaldi choral works recording, likewise on EMI.
 
I also have that opera on LP with Karl Richter/DG, but don't remember much about it.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 11:08:59 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2415 on: March 27, 2021, 12:53:12 PM »
Under encouragement from Twitter contacts I have listened to the Klemperer studio recording of Don Giovanni. At 40 years distance since last listening I was surprised. In my mind it was this massive, slow, humourless tramp through the piece. It is serious, but most of it does not feel slow at all. One of my favourite passages is the mask trio at the end of Act One. I like time to be suspended here, a stasis as the characters ponder. However Klemps robs it of those sought for qualities as he speeds through it. The women somehow do not hit the spot for me, Watson sounds anonymous, Ludwig sounds stretched as does Freni. The men do better.

It builds up well towards a very dramatic final scene.
Worth hearing, at least once each 40 years.

Mike

My recollection as well, probably 40 years later, too ! But since I don’t have it anymore, your testimony will stand as fact  :D.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2416 on: April 03, 2021, 07:13:11 AM »
Cross-posted from the WAYLTN thread:

I think I hadn’t revisited this since I bought it when it was released (in 2003 or so):


Jean CrasPolyphème certainly is pleasant to listen to, and has a captivating Greco-bucolic atmosphere (so in vogue in France in the early 20th century). But, one gets the feeling as if the composer was looking to expand the lever du jour from Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé into a full length opera, and TBH I’m not convinced there’s sustained interest in the whole piece.
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2417 on: April 03, 2021, 01:10:37 PM »
Cross-posted:

Quote


I don’t know this opera well, but this seems to be a very fine interpretation, in excellent sound. The plot and text are interesting, the characters well developed, their vocal assignments well characterized. The music is first-rate, mature Dvorak, dating from the composer’s last years -  composed after the 9th symphony, cello concerto and the late tone poems. Higly enjoyable.

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2418 on: April 04, 2021, 02:42:14 AM »
I used to have the Neumann Rusalka on LP and it is a very fine set. I think however that it has now been bettered by the Mackerras. I can't attest to the authenticity of Fleming's Czech, but I do think it's one of the finest things she's done for the gramophone.



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

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2419 on: April 04, 2021, 05:44:58 AM »
What I knew of Rusalka before listening to the Neumann set was from a Met broadcast with Fleming, conducted by Nézet-Séguin. No doubt Mackerras brings special insights into the work.