What Opera Are You Listening to Now?

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

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ritter

#3860
Quote from: ritter on March 09, 2024, 12:27:24 PM...



Act II today...

This is turning out to be a superb recording of Parsifal. What Philippe Jordan does with the orchestra is admirable, with excellent detail of the miraculous scoring of the work, very effective control of dynamics, and shaping the dramatic ebb and flow expertly. Really first-rate!

And the singing is invariably strong. Act II is the "Kundry act", and Elīna Garanča is quite wonderful. It's nice to someone from a more bel canto background in this rôle, and this mezzo's versatility is astonishing (Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, zarzuela...).

Wolfgang Koch has a long and distinguished career behind him, but was never the subtlest of singers. As Klingsor, though, this relative lack of refinement is a plus, actually. A powerful portrayal.

Many reviews I've read point out that Jonas Kaufmann in the title rôle is the weakest link in the cast (even if nobody goes as far as to say that he's actually bad). I think this is a matter of taste, and much to do Kaufmann's "bartonal" tenor voice. I like it (as I do the portrayal of his illustrious predecessor Ramón Vinay, who sang Parsifal and Tristan very successfully, but would also sing baritone roles). Yes, Kaufmann sounds like a "mature" pure fool, but this works for this role. Perhaps not as distinctive as other performances in this set, but still quite good (and some really fine moments in the long Act II narrative).

Let's see how Act III turns out, but on the basis of what I've listened to so far, this is one of the greatest Parsifal recordings I know (and I know many  ;)  ).

EDIT:

Act III does not let down by any means. Ludovic Tézier's is a beautifully sung (he is one of the leading Verdi baritones of the present day), tormented Amfortas. Zeppenfeld confirms his mastery of the role of Gurnemanz in his long monologues in this final act (and I for one like this type of younger sounding voices for the role). Kaufmann somewhat gains in brilliance, and is more convincing than in the previous ones.

The choruses are excellent (as good as those from Bayreuth).

But this is Philippe Jordan's show, and all credit to him for a great achievement!

The shimmering finale, "Höchsten Heiles Wunder", is achingly beautiful ...

Que

#3861


The Fairy Queen is these days retropectively labelled as a "semi-opera", but was in actual fact a piece of music theatre that combined play, dance and opera and lasted approximately four hours. The musical parts fit on two discs, but in this condensed version the three different story lines become a bit much. Musically, this is masterful and well performed under William Christie.

Lisztianwagner

On youtube, first listen to:

Richard Strauss
Intermezzo

Wolfgang Sawallisch & Sinfonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks


"You cannot expect the Form before the Idea, for they will come into being together." - Arnold Schönberg

Iota

Quote from: ritter on March 10, 2024, 01:59:19 AMAct II today...

This is turning out to be a superb recording of Parsifal. What Philippe Jordan does with the orchestra is admirable, with excellent detail of the miraculous scoring of the work, very effective control of dynamics, and shaping the dramatic ebb and flow expertly. Really first-rate!

And the singing is invariably strong. Act II is the "Kundry act", and Elīna Garanča is quite wonderful. It's nice to someone from a more bel canto background in this rôle, and this mezzo's versatility is astonishing (Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, zarzuela...).

Wolfgang Koch has a long and distinguished career behind him, but was never the subtlest of singers. As Klingsor, though, this relative lack of refinement is a plus, actually. A powerful portrayal.

Many reviews I've read point out that Jonas Kaufmann in the title rôle is the weakest link in the cast (even if nobody goes as far as to say that he's actually bad). I think this is a matter of taste, and much to do Kaufmann's "bartonal" tenor voice. I like it (as I do the portrayal of his illustrious predecessor Ramón Vinay, who sang Parsifal and Tristan very successfully, but would also sing baritone roles). Yes, Kaufmann sounds like a "mature" pure fool, but this works for this role. Perhaps not as distinctive as other performances in this set, but still quite good (and some really fine moments in the long Act II narrative).

Let's see how Act III turns out, but on the basis of what I've listened to so far, this is one of the greatest Parsifal recordings I know (and I know many  ;)  ).

EDIT:

Act III does not let down by any means. Ludovic Tézier's is a beautifully sung (he is one of the leading Verdi baritones of the present day), tormented Amfortas. Zeppenfeld confirms his mastery of the role of Gurnemanz in his long monologues in this final act (and I for one like this type of younger sounding voices for the role). Kaufmann somewhat gains in brilliance, and is more convincing than in the previous ones.

The choruses are excellent (as good as those from Bayreuth).

But this is Philippe Jordan's show, and all credit to him for a great achievement!

The shimmering finale, "Höchsten Heiles Wunder", is achingly beautiful ...


I started listening to this too a week or so ago, and like you I've found Philippe Jordan's conducting to be superb. The Prelude to Act I is brilliant and the ensuing accompaniment rich in gorgeous detail with a lovely natural momentum. Unlike you, I'll pick my way through it slowly according to time available/mood, but am looking forward to Acts II & III even more having read your review.  :)

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: ritter on March 10, 2024, 01:59:19 AMAct II today...

This is turning out to be a superb recording of Parsifal. What Philippe Jordan does with the orchestra is admirable, with excellent detail of the miraculous scoring of the work, very effective control of dynamics, and shaping the dramatic ebb and flow expertly. Really first-rate!

And the singing is invariably strong. Act II is the "Kundry act", and Elīna Garanča is quite wonderful. It's nice to someone from a more bel canto background in this rôle, and this mezzo's versatility is astonishing (Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, zarzuela...).

Wolfgang Koch has a long and distinguished career behind him, but was never the subtlest of singers. As Klingsor, though, this relative lack of refinement is a plus, actually. A powerful portrayal.

Many reviews I've read point out that Jonas Kaufmann in the title rôle is the weakest link in the cast (even if nobody goes as far as to say that he's actually bad). I think this is a matter of taste, and much to do Kaufmann's "bartonal" tenor voice. I like it (as I do the portrayal of his illustrious predecessor Ramón Vinay, who sang Parsifal and Tristan very successfully, but would also sing baritone roles). Yes, Kaufmann sounds like a "mature" pure fool, but this works for this role. Perhaps not as distinctive as other performances in this set, but still quite good (and some really fine moments in the long Act II narrative).

Let's see how Act III turns out, but on the basis of what I've listened to so far, this is one of the greatest Parsifal recordings I know (and I know many  ;)  ).

EDIT:

Act III does not let down by any means. Ludovic Tézier's is a beautifully sung (he is one of the leading Verdi baritones of the present day), tormented Amfortas. Zeppenfeld confirms his mastery of the role of Gurnemanz in his long monologues in this final act (and I for one like this type of younger sounding voices for the role). Kaufmann somewhat gains in brilliance, and is more convincing than in the previous ones.

The choruses are excellent (as good as those from Bayreuth).

But this is Philippe Jordan's show, and all credit to him for a great achievement!

The shimmering finale, "Höchsten Heiles Wunder", is achingly beautiful ...

Thanks for your review of it.  I've liked what I've heard from Jonas Kaufmann over the years.

Was there a DVD made of this (thinking about the image on the cover)?  Is it a live recording or studio?

PD
Pohjolas Daughter

JBS

Arkivmusic has it on sale this weekend for $29.99 so I just ordered it.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

ritter

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on March 10, 2024, 02:03:12 PMThanks for your review of it.  I've liked what I've heard from Jonas Kaufmann over the years.

Was there a DVD made of this (thinking about the image on the cover)?  Is it a live recording or studio?

PD
Hi PD.

This is a live (kinda) recording, a composite of several performances. "Kinda" because it was made in 2021, and audiences were not allowed into theatres yet at the time. So live, but with no audience... The sound is very good and detailed.

It's an audio only recording. A video if the production was, AFAIK, aired on the Arte channel, but has not been released on DVD or BD.

Quote from: JBS on March 10, 2024, 05:06:28 PMArkivmusic has it on sale this weekend for $29.99 so I just ordered it.
Great price! Hope you enjoy it, Jeffrey:)

nico1616



This Haydn opera lacks dramatic tension, but this is compensated by great music. Dorati has assembled a dream cast, the best the 70s had to offer.
The first half of life is spent in longing for the second, the second half in regretting the first.

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: nico1616 on March 12, 2024, 06:25:19 AM

This Haydn opera lacks dramatic tension, but this is compensated by great music. Dorati has assembled a dream cast, the best the 70s had to offer.

Haydn is a weird gap in my collection. Aside from the Nelson Mass and Die Schöpfung, the only other Haydn recordings I have were bought for the couplings. I used to have on LP the Jochum box set of the London Symphonies, which was given to me by someone, but I never replaced it when I made the transition to CD. Am I a terrible philistine? And should I be investigating further? Are the operas worth hearing? I toss this out in general for anyone to comment on. I'm guessing the answers are going to be, yes, yes and yes.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Florestan

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on March 12, 2024, 09:06:31 AMHaydn is a weird gap in my collection. Aside from the Nelson Mass and Die Schöpfung, the only other Haydn recordings I have were bought for the couplings. I used to have on LP the Jochum box set of the London Symphonies, which was given to me by someone, but I never replaced it when I made the transition to CD. Am I a terrible philistine? And should I be investigating further? Are the operas worth hearing? I toss this out in general for anyone to comment on. I'm guessing the answers are going to be, yes, yes and yes.

Well, yes, yes and yes.  ;D

Seriously now:

For non-vocal music the symphonies, string quartets, piano trios and piano sonatas are unmissable (at the very least the Sturm-und-Drang, Paris and London symphonies and the string quartets from Op. 20 onward). There are also concertos for various instruments (the best known are No. 4 and No. 11 for piano, No. 1 and No. 2 for cello and the one for trumpet) and divertimenti for various ensembles of strings and/or winds. Their quality varies from good to excellent.

For vocal music, some later Masses, The Creation and The Seasons are unimpeachable masterpieces.

The same cannot be said of his operas but, while they never attain Mozartian levels, are very enjoyable nevertheless and you should give them a try. La fedelta premiata is even a sort of Bel Canto avant la lettre.

His songs (original and arrangements of Welsh and Scottish tunes) are also worth hearing.

In my book Haydn is the most companionable of the great composers, offering high quality music delivered in witty, amiable and often humorous garbs.
There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. — Claude Debussy

Pohjolas Daughter

I don't believe that I have any of his operas myself!  :-[  Will have to do some more digging.

Did a quick search on youtube and I ran across this (unknown to me singer, aria, opera), but did quite enjoy it.  I should do some more digging.  :)


PD
Pohjolas Daughter

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: Florestan on March 12, 2024, 09:45:12 AMWell, yes, yes and yes.  ;D

Seriously now:

For non-vocal music the symphonies, string quartets, piano trios and piano sonatas are unmissable (at the very least the Sturm-und-Drang, Paris and London symphonies and the string quartets from Op. 20 onward). There are also concertos for various instruments (the best known are No. 4 and No. 11 for piano, No. 1 and No. 2 for cello and the one for trumpet) and divertimenti for various ensembles of strings and/or winds. Their quality varies from good to excellent.

For vocal music, some later Masses, The Creation and The Seasons are unimpeachable masterpieces.

The same cannot be said of his operas but, while they never attain Mozartian levels, are very enjoyable nevertheless and you should give them a try. La fedelta premiata is even a sort of Bel Canto avant la lettre.

His songs (original and arrangements of Welsh and Scottish tunes) are also worth hearing.

In my book Haydn is the most companionable of the great composers, offering high quality music delivered in witty, amiable and often humorous garbs.

Thank you. Looks like I have some catching up to do.

I tend to prefer original instruments for Baroque music, but with Mozart I have mostly modern instruments in my collection. Should I go for the same with Haydn. I seem to remember Dorati's Haydn recordings being well received.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Florestan

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on March 12, 2024, 11:26:43 AMThank you. Looks like I have some catching up to do.

I tend to prefer original instruments for Baroque music, but with Mozart I have mostly modern instruments in my collection. Should I go for the same with Haydn. I seem to remember Dorati's Haydn recordings being well received.

Whatever rocks your boat. Try both MI and PI, HIP and non-HIP and decide for yourself which approach suits you best.  :D
There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. — Claude Debussy

JBS

Quote from: Florestan on March 12, 2024, 09:45:12 AMWell, yes, yes and yes.  ;D

Seriously now:

For non-vocal music the symphonies, string quartets, piano trios and piano sonatas are unmissable (at the very least the Sturm-und-Drang, Paris and London symphonies and the string quartets from Op. 20 onward). There are also concertos for various instruments (the best known are No. 4 and No. 11 for piano, No. 1 and No. 2 for cello and the one for trumpet) and divertimenti for various ensembles of strings and/or winds. Their quality varies from good to excellent.

For vocal music, some later Masses, The Creation and The Seasons are unimpeachable masterpieces.

The same cannot be said of his operas but, while they never attain Mozartian levels, are very enjoyable nevertheless and you should give them a try. La fedelta premiata is even a sort of Bel Canto avant la lettre.

His songs (original and arrangements of Welsh and Scottish tunes) are also worth hearing.

In my book Haydn is the most companionable of the great composers, offering high quality music delivered in witty, amiable and often humorous garbs.

I prefer PI, and for much of his music there are enough good options that I wouldn't want to suggest one over the others.

As for the operas--they are more comparable to Gluck than Mozart, but good music making, and the composer was often also the impresario for their initial stagings at the Esterhazys, so very much written with the stage in mind.

For some of them Dorati is the only option, but there's one he didn't do. You might get it first as a trial (but I seem to remember you're not keen on Bartoli?)

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Wanderer

Tonight at the Greek National Opera:

Richard Wagner: Die Walküre

Siegmund: Stefan Vinke
Hunding: Petros Magoulas
Wotan: Tommi Hakala
Sieglinde: Allison Oakes
Brünnhilde: Catherine Foster
Fricka: Marina Prudenskaya
Helmwige: Katherina Sandmeier
Gerhilde: Violetta Lousta
Ortlinde: Taxiarchoula Kanati
Waltraute: Nefeli Kotseli
Siegrune: Dimitra Kalaitzi-Tilikidou
Roßweiße: Fotini Athanassaki
Grimgerde: Anna Tselika
Schwertleite: Chrysanthi Spitadi
 
With the Orchestra of the Greek National Opera
Conductor: Roland Kluttig
 Director: John Fulljames
 Associate director: Johanne Holten
 Sets, costumes: Tom Scutt
 Associate set designer: David Allen
 Lighting: D. M. Wood

Co-production with the Royal Danish Opera

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: JBS on March 12, 2024, 05:14:50 PMI prefer PI, and for much of his music there are enough good options that I wouldn't want to suggest one over the others.

As for the operas--they are more comparable to Gluck than Mozart, but good music making, and the composer was often also the impresario for their initial stagings at the Esterhazys, so very much written with the stage in mind.

For some of them Dorati is the only option, but there's one he didn't do. You might get it first as a trial (but I seem to remember you're not keen on Bartoli?)


Not usually, no, though I'm curious about this opera, mostly because Callas sang the role of Euridice at its first ever staged performance, in Florence in 1951. It was written for London, but never actually performed.

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

JBS

Last CD of the Janet Baker set, which is bookended by the 1961 and 1977 recordings of Dido and Aeneas



I prefer (mildly) this recording.  Baker's performance of "When I am Laid in Earth" is one of the best I've heard.

From

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Tsaraslondon



The sound of Callas's second studio Lucia, recorded at Kingsway Hall rather than at La Scala, has always been one of her best sounding recordings, so I doubted that it could be improved upon. All I can say that is that I find Pristine's transfer better than either EMI or Warner, much warmer and much closer to the German EMI Electrola LPs I used to own.

Interestingly it's now been reviewed by three different people on Musicweb International, and we all think it the better of her two studio Lucias. It's certainly a lot more refined and though notes in the stratosphere don't always fall easily on the ear, the filigree of the role is beautifully executed.

Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (Pristine Audio) - MusicWeb International
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: JBS on March 14, 2024, 03:59:26 PMLast CD of the Janet Baker set, which is bookended by the 1961 and 1977 recordings of Dido and Aeneas



I prefer (mildly) this recording.  Baker's performance of "When I am Laid in Earth" is one of the best I've heard.

From


Gosh, I haven't heard this set in ages. I used to own in on cassette. I remember thinking Dame Janet was still marvellous in it, but, like most people, I favoured the earlier one. The main problem for me is the aging Pears, who doesn't really conjure up an image of the dashing hero. I'd be interested to hear it again, but I'm guessing it's only available as part of this big box, most of which I have already.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

nico1616

Quote from: JBS on March 12, 2024, 05:14:50 PMAs for the operas--they are more comparable to Gluck than Mozart, but good music making, and the composer was often also the impresario for their initial stagings at the Esterhazys, so very much written with the stage in mind.



That is weird, for me the Haydn operas do not resemble Gluck. I hear a lot of Mozart in them, the Mozart of Clemenza di Tito, supplemented with some humor (of which there is none in Gluck). What Haydn lacks is a Da Ponte who could have provided him with a good libretto. I don't think Haydn operas would work in the opera house nowadays, the stories are just too weak. But the music is sublime. That is why the Dorati cycle is so good, you have the best singers with a top orchestra who bring out all the qualities.
The first half of life is spent in longing for the second, the second half in regretting the first.