Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 336874 times)

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Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #560 on: August 29, 2020, 03:06:38 PM »
Two extraordinarily good recitals by two extraordinarily different tenors: Jon Vickers and Alain Vanzo.  :)

Last week I attended an exposition titled Paris au temps du postimpressionnisme : Signac et les Indépendants. I was struck at how strikingly characterful each painting was even while using variations of the same pointillist technique. Studying the paintings of Signac, Seurat, Luce and hearing Vickers and Vanzo, I found similar qualities of technical perfection, painstaking attention to detail and the overwhelming desire to give nothing but perfection to the listener. The basic vocal material is hugely different but the quality of the finished product is simply amazing.

Within their respective choice of repertoire each artist is unassailable. There was never any overlap between their roles. Possibly only Don José, which Vanzo first sang at 45 (1973). Vanzo’s forte was the french repertoire, his signature roles Faust, Roméo, Werther, des Grieux, Gérard, Nadir, Rossini’s Almaviva (in French). Vickers excelled in the italian repertoire (Verdi, verismo), a few carefully chosen roles such as Samson and Grimes and of course in Wagner, where he had practically no competition.

As different as could be, a reminder of how amazingly rich and diverse the operatic scene can be.



Same as this one (don’t buy the two, the contents are identical):



01 - Faust : Cavatine
02 - Mireille : Anges du paradis
03 - Roméo et Juliette : Cavatine
04 - Roméo et Juliette : Air du tombeau
05 - Richard Coeur de Lion : Si l’univers entier m’oublie
06 - Benvenuto Cellini : Sur les monts les plus sauvages
07 - Mignon : Adieu Mignon, courage
08 - Les Pêcheurs de perles : Romance de Nadir
09 - La Jolie Fille de Perth : Sérénade
10 - Le Roi d’Ys : Aubade
11 - Lakmé : Ah! viens dans la forêt profonde
12 - Manon : Le rêve de des Grieux
13 - Manon : Air de Saint Sulpice
14 - Le Rêve passe (Georges Krier)
Premier enregistrement d’Alain Vanzo 1954
15 - Interview : 1982 avec Jacques Bertrand
16 - Werther : Pourquoi me réveiller
17 - La Navarraise : O bien aimée
18 - Les Vêpres siciliennes : O jours de peine
19 - Don Carlos : Je l’ai perdue
20 - Elle était si jolie




Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #561 on: August 29, 2020, 11:37:55 PM »
Two extraordinarily good recitals by two extraordinarily different tenors: Jon Vickers and Alain Vanzo.  :)

Last week I attended an exposition titled Paris au temps du postimpressionnisme : Signac et les Indépendants. I was struck at how strikingly characterful each painting was even while using variations of the same pointillist technique. Studying the paintings of Signac, Seurat, Luce and hearing Vickers and Vanzo, I found similar qualities of technical perfection, painstaking attention to detail and the overwhelming desire to give nothing but perfection to the listener. The basic vocal material is hugely different but the quality of the finished product is simply amazing.

Within their respective choice of repertoire each artist is unassailable. There was never any overlap between their roles. Possibly only Don José, which Vanzo first sang at 45 (1973). Vanzo’s forte was the french repertoire, his signature roles Faust, Roméo, Werther, des Grieux, Gérard, Nadir, Rossini’s Almaviva (in French). Vickers excelled in the italian repertoire (Verdi, verismo), a few carefully chosen roles such as Samson and Grimes and of course in Wagner, where he had practically no competition.

As different as could be, a reminder of how amazingly rich and diverse the operatic scene can be.



Same as this one (don’t buy the two, the contents are identical):



01 - Faust : Cavatine
02 - Mireille : Anges du paradis
03 - Roméo et Juliette : Cavatine
04 - Roméo et Juliette : Air du tombeau
05 - Richard Coeur de Lion : Si l’univers entier m’oublie
06 - Benvenuto Cellini : Sur les monts les plus sauvages
07 - Mignon : Adieu Mignon, courage
08 - Les Pêcheurs de perles : Romance de Nadir
09 - La Jolie Fille de Perth : Sérénade
10 - Le Roi d’Ys : Aubade
11 - Lakmé : Ah! viens dans la forêt profonde
12 - Manon : Le rêve de des Grieux
13 - Manon : Air de Saint Sulpice
14 - Le Rêve passe (Georges Krier)
Premier enregistrement d’Alain Vanzo 1954
15 - Interview : 1982 avec Jacques Bertrand
16 - Werther : Pourquoi me réveiller
17 - La Navarraise : O bien aimée
18 - Les Vêpres siciliennes : O jours de peine
19 - Don Carlos : Je l’ai perdue
20 - Elle était si jolie




I don't know the Vanzo disc, but he is a singer who has impressed me greatly in the French repertoire. I should seek it out. The Vickers has long been one of my favourite ever tenor recital discs and it surprises me that it is so little known. Originally released by RCA, it had to wait for the independent label VAI to give it a CD release.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #562 on: August 30, 2020, 05:10:46 AM »
Indeed. One of Vickers’ most striking qualities is his ability to sing softly and yet produce a big - almost huge - sound. The need to rein in that vocal flood means that he is extremely attentive to verbal and dynamic nuances, lest he overwhelm the mikes (and the listener) with decibels. Less well-endowed tenors who must strain to achieve the requisite heft at ff dynamics, with Vickers it’s the other way around: he must marshal all his artistry to fine down the voice at p or pp levels.

I just noticed that both recitals have one item in common: Don Carlo’s Io l’ho perduta (Je l’ai perdue with Vanzo). I will listen to both back to back to compare   :).

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #563 on: August 30, 2020, 05:17:22 AM »
Hadn't heard of Alain Vanzo before now, but will look for him on YT (for the time being anyway).

PD

Offline KevinP

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #564 on: August 31, 2020, 11:27:11 PM »
Jessye Norman needs a nice, large box set, even if it's all previously released material. A lot of her titles are OOP and going for fairly hefty prices.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #565 on: September 01, 2020, 01:18:06 AM »


A few weeks ago I reviewed Renée Fleming's excellent disc of American opera arias and today I turn to Dawn Upshaw's disc, which takes its title, The World So Wide, from the first item in the recital, Laurie's Song from Aaron Copland's The Tender Land. It makes a lovely opener and Upshaw is perfectly cast as the young girl who yearns to escape and see the world.

At about 45 minutes, the disc is quite short measure, however,  and not everything is as good as the first track. The piece from Tanía León's Scourge of Hyacinths is tediously declamatory and afforded me the least enjoyment on the disc. I'd also suggest that Upshaw's is not the right voice for Barber's Cleopatra, a role that was written for the much more opulent voice of Leontyne Price. Upshaw's lighter, brighter sounds do not conjure up the woman of whom Enobarbus says,

Quote
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies, for vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.

I enjoyed the excerpt from John Adams Nixon in China rather more than the Gramophone reviewer, who fund it "tediously protracted", and I suppose you either like Adams's style or you don't. Whatever your feelings, Upshaw delivers Pat Nixon's This is prophetic brilliantly. She is also superb in the more Broadway influenced What a movie from Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, but I thought her singing of Lonely house (an aria sung by the male character of Sam Kaplan in Street Scene) just a little too overtly operatic. Teresa Stratas manages it better on her second disc of Weill songs and arias.

After the Copland and Benstein, the most successful item on the disc is Willow Song from Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe, which responds well to her charming, uncomplicated manner. So too, one would think, does the final item (and the only item she shares with Fleming on her disc), Ain't it a pretty night from Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, but here I have to admit I prefer the rather more sensuos tones of Fleming, who suggests a far more highly charged eroticism behind the apparent simplicity of the music.

A mixed bag, then, and not so successful as her disc of Broadway songs entitled I Wish It So, but worth a listen for the unusual repertoire and for some excellent performances.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #566 on: September 01, 2020, 04:05:48 AM »
Jessye Norman needs a nice, large box set, even if it's all previously released material. A lot of her titles are OOP and going for fairly hefty prices.
A great idea!

PD


Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #568 on: September 01, 2020, 05:15:45 AM »
I probably have most of what I want that will be in that box. What I do want is that whichever company recorded her singing the two main arias from Berlioz Damnation would issue them. For some reason they have never appeared.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline André

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #569 on: September 02, 2020, 10:02:17 AM »
Indeed. One of Vickers’ most striking qualities is his ability to sing softly and yet produce a big - almost huge - sound. The need to rein in that vocal flood means that he is extremely attentive to verbal and dynamic nuances, lest he overwhelm the mikes (and the listener) with decibels. Less well-endowed tenors who must strain to achieve the requisite heft at ff dynamics, with Vickers it’s the other way around: he must marshal all his artistry to fine down the voice at p or pp levels.

I just noticed that both recitals have one item in common: Don Carlo’s Io l’ho perduta (Je l’ai perdue with Vanzo). I will listen to both back to back to compare   :).

I may be prejudiced, but I think Vanzo is much superior to Vickers here. Don Carlo’s despair is felt in an interpretation of the utmost verbal and vocal refinement. Vanzo’s use of mixed voice at the second iteration of ‘Je l’ai perdue’ (‘Io l’ho perduta’ in Vickers’ italian version) is spectacularly beautiful. Vickers’ anguish is of a more generalized sort and he seems to express frustration rather than genuine despair. Vanzo is both aristocratic and profoundly human.

In ‘È la solita storia OTOH it’s exactly the reverse that happens. I listened to a late (1986) live performance by Vanzo, accompanied by a piano, and even making allowances for the passing of years, his is an uninteresting rendition of this beautiful aria.

Sometimes singer and music don’t match well. That’s the case with ‘M’appari from Martha by Vickers. His singing is studied, unflowing and too loud throughout. Give me Joseph Schmidt any time (in the original German).

When Vickers hits the right musical nerve though, nobody approaches him: Recondita armonia is sung as in a dream, the painter lost in intimate thoughts. Superb use of soft dynamics here, much better than the explosive attack of a Corelli or Del Monaco on the opening words. And his Otello is simply to die for (no pun intended). Role and singer have been matched in heaven by Verdi himself.