Author Topic: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #  (Read 689 times)

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Offline Leo K.

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# Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« on: June 29, 2011, 02:59:50 PM »
I have been immersed in 18th Century Opera the last few weeks. There is SO much unknown 18th century opera to explore...and I'm in heaven!

Here are some recordings that are amazing:








(this one was recorded from a radio broadcast, and WOW, what a work!)


kishnevi

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 05:10:30 PM »
Domenico Cimarosa: I Tre Amanti 
Intermezzo in musica in due parti

first presented Teatro Valle, Rome, Carnival 1777

Violante, a young lady: Basia Retchitzka, soprano
Don Arsenio Scarnicchia, a young man, son of a banker in Palermo, in love with Violante; Carlo Gaifa, tenor
Don Riccardo, a military officer courting Violante: Rodolfo Malacarne, tenor
Il Barone della Nebbia, a nobleman courting Violante: Laerte Malaguti, baritone
Brunetta,  Violante's maid and confidante: Grazia Ferracini, soprano

Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera Italiana
Edwin Loehrer, conductor

Recorded in Lugano, Switzerland March-April 1968
CD 1 (Part I) 51:26   CD (Part 2) 37:00
issued by Nouva Era Internazionale (Order No. 23288)


This is a relatively short comic opera, but short and with the barest of plots, it deserves the term intermezzo and not opera buffa. It would probably work very well as a student production. The music is suitably light, but much of it would not be out of place in, say, Cosi fan tutte, and it is all recognizably of its era.  The overture is in several section, rather like the sinfonias which Vivaldi used for his opera introductions.  The plot, such as it is, is simple:  Young lady staying at an inn in Livorno has three suitors, and not really ready to marry.   Her maid is somewhat in love with one of them, Don Riccardo.  The three suitors court her and bicker with each other; she is most attracted to the youngest one, Don Arsenio.  The three men serenade her maid, believing they are serenading Violante, who in the end has the inn's servants chase them away.  That's Part I.  In Part II,  Don Riccardo and the Baron conspire to have Don Arsenio arrested on the charge that he is really a pirate, Captain Bombardo, then offer to have him released if he promises to leave Violante alone.  He has a scena in which he decided he would rather die than give her up.  Violante, disguised,  has the soldiers release him.  Don Riccardo and the Baron, not recognizing her in the disguise, court her, to her disgust.  Don Arsenio, also not recognizing her, does not court her and shows himself faithful.  She admits to herself that she is love with Don Arsenio, and publicly chooses him over Don Riccardo and the Baron.  Don Riccardo accepts Brunetta as his wife (I think), and the Baron is consoled with the idea that he is destined to marry a noblewoman, and the opera therefore ends with everyone happy.  While the liner notes are in English, Italian and German, the libretto in this issue is only in Italian, and therefore I may be wrong about Don Riccardo actually marrying Brunetta, since my Italian is rather weak.

The arias are distributed rather evenly:  Violante and Don Arsenio both have two arias in Part I and one aria in Part II (his aria in Part II is officially labelled "Scena"); the Baron has two arias, one in each Part;  Don Riccardo has one aria in Part I, and Brunetta has one aria in Part II.   Both parts begin with a quartet;  Violante and Don Arsenio have a duet near the end of Part II;  there is a relatively long (fifteen minutes) finale to Part I, which includes the serenades; and a short finale to Part II,  long enough to establish who is and who is not marrying whom and send everyone off satisfied.   The aria are all relatively short;  the two longest are both assigned to Don Arsenio,  being both a little over four minutes long.  Most of them have recognizable sections;  some of them even have full pauses in the middle, suggesting a strophic structure. 

This recording was done in connection with a series of radio broadcasts.   I caught nothing to fault in the orchestra during my initial listen.  The male singers were excellent;  Gaifa's voice is rather similar to that of Juan Diego Flores;  Malacarne is a much lighter tenor, but the role is not particularly difficult and the timbre easily distinguishes him from Gaifa in the ensemble scenes.  The role of the Baron also has no huge hurdles, and Malaguti is pleasant to listen to.   It's the ladies with whom the problems lie in this recording:  both sopranos are rather shrill in the upper register and even sound a little shallow breathed;  Retchitzka in particular suffers from too much vibrato, although this problem lessens after her first aria.  Possibly she needed to warm up before hitting her stride.  Since both she and Ferracini suffer from the shrillness, it is possible that this was a fault of the engineering and not the singers.   I've never heard any of these singers before, so I have no way of knowing.  Other than that, the engineering was well done, with the voices placed at just the right distance and with just enough roominess in the studio to suggest an actual theater--although of course there was no attempt to suggest movement among the characters or any other sort of staging.

Overall, this was a pleasant experience, although the price might be a little high considering the total time is 87:26.  This may be the only recording of this work, so I would recommend it, but suggest you look for a good bargain if you do purchase it. (The Amazon price seems realistic compared to the official retail.)  There is an earlier issue of the same recording that seems to be available only through resellers or as an MP3 download from Amazon.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 05:16:23 PM by Jeffrey Smith »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 05:16:32 PM »
Thanks, Jeffrey. I like Cimarosa's instrumental music, it is quite galant and very entertaining for all that. Of course, like most Italians of his time, opera was his specialty, and he was extremely popular (believe he was employed by Catherine the Great for a few years). This might be a good place to pitch in on him for a lightweight opera-goer like myself. :)

8)

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kishnevi

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 05:32:19 PM »
Thanks, Jeffrey. I like Cimarosa's instrumental music, it is quite galant and very entertaining for all that. Of course, like most Italians of his time, opera was his specialty, and he was extremely popular (believe he was employed by Catherine the Great for a few years). This might be a good place to pitch in on him for a lightweight opera-goer like myself. :)

Apparently this conductor specialized in Italian music from 1600 to 1800, both with RSI and with an organization called Lugano Chamber Society.  Amazon lists a few of them as being available on CD.  Of course, I have no idea how good these others might be, but it might be worth exploring. 

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 11:35:12 AM »
Thanks Jeffery for your overview of that opera by Cimarosa. I have four of his operas in my collection and only know one of them so far.

I am listening to a lot of out-of-the-way 18th Century opera lately, and my latest aquisition is quite ravishing! The melodies are subtle but beautiful, with thoughtful orchestration including windwood writing that takes the breath away.




This opera is very much influenced by Mozart's late operas, not surprising considering that composer Johann Rudolph Zumsteeg championed Mozart's operas in Stuggart, according to the wiki:

Quote


Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg (born in Sachsenflur, Lauda-Königshofen 10 January 1760 – died in Stuttgart 27 January 1802) was a German composer and conductor.

Zumsteeg championed the operas of Mozart in Stuttgart, staging the first performances there of Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, and Cosi fan tutte. He also was a prolific composer of lieder and ballads. His ballads had a great influence on the young Franz Schubert, who imitated a number of Zumsteeg's as studies (some even in exactly the same keys) while he was a teenager.

Zumsteeg's received his early education at the Carlschule in Stuttgart. There Zumsteeg became intimate friends with Friedrich Schiller. A setting for Schiller's drama, Die Räuber, 1782, is an example of the type of close collaboration that Zumsteeg undertook with prominent poets.

Perhaps the most well-known of Zumsteeg's compositions are the seven volumes of Kleine Lieder und Balladen published by Breitkopf & Härtel between 1800 and 1805. These were highly popular in Germany, remaining well-known until the 1830s.

In 1783, Zumsteeg married Luise Andreae with whom he had seven children. During most of his career, Zumsteeg was closely connected to the Swabian court, and in 1791 he was appointed court director of music to fill the vacancy left by C. F. D. Schubart's death. In this capacity, Zumsteeg championed the works of German composers, countering the dominant Italian influence at the court. The last important post he held before his death in 1802 was that of court Konzertmeister.



« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 11:36:57 AM by Leo K »

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011, 09:53:22 AM »
A charming opera buffa from Baldassare Galuppi. I love the orchestration, and this live recording is well recorded with pleasant singers. 18th century greatness all around!  :D



Quote
"The World of the Moon" is a playful drama in three acts written by Carlo Goldoni to be set to music by Baldassare Galuppi , whom he represented for the first time on 29 January 1750 at the Teatro San Moise in Venice. Later the book was taken up by other composers, including Giovanni Paisiello , and Franz Joseph Haydn.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011, 09:58:52 AM by Leo K »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011, 10:05:41 AM »
A charming opera buffa from Baldassare Galuppi. I love the orchestration, and this live recording is well recorded with pleasant singers. 18th century greatness all around!  :D



Yes, that is a quite amusing opera, Goldoni justly earned his laurels as the premier librettist in the second half of the 18th century. I don't have Galuppi's version, but I do have Haydn's (1777-78). Also one of his better efforts. :)

8)


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Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 10:51:18 AM »
Yes, that is a quite amusing opera, Goldoni justly earned his laurels as the premier librettist in the second half of the 18th century. I don't have Galuppi's version, but I do have Haydn's (1777-78). Also one of his better efforts. :)

8)


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I'll have to track down Haydn's version for sure!

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2011, 10:56:33 AM »
I've got a few Haydn operas on LP that I'm gearing to listen to soon.  ;) I've also picked up some of Salieri's operas. I'm not sure why I waited so long to listen to Salieri, but a recent encounter with his piano concerti was a beautiful listen. Salieri surprises me a lot, his ideas are melodic and bold.
 
8)

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 11:14:01 AM »
I've got a few Haydn operas on LP that I'm gearing to listen to soon.  ;) I've also picked up some of Salieri's operas. I'm not sure why I waited so long to listen to Salieri, but a recent encounter with his piano concerti was a beautiful listen. Salieri surprises me a lot, his ideas are melodic and bold.
 
8)

Oh, and I meant to say that I have some Galuppi instrumental music and find it quite enjoyable too. He wrote over 100 keyboard sonatas, BTW. And that was just a sideline. :)

As for Salieri, I have a moderate amount of his instrumental music, including the piano concertos and quite a few overtures. I would like to get at least one of his operas, preferably one with a libretto by da Ponte, just for comparison's sake. :)

8)


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Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2011, 12:18:07 PM »
I've listened to two of Salieri's operas so far, and have found them to be truly beautiful and dramatic. I love them! AND these works transport us to the 1770s-1790s and thereabouts, my favorite period of study.

La Grotta di Trofonio


Axur


 8)

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2011, 10:12:34 AM »
Another evocative opera, from Antonio Sacchini (14 June 1730 – 6 October 1786). Very Beautiful opera Buffa. The ensembles are particularly chock full of melodies and evocative ochestration. I love the arias as well, and I am easily transported to 1765!



Quote
La Contadina in Corte is an opera buffa in two acts by Antonio Sacchini, first performed at the Teatro Valle in Rome during the Carnival in 1765. The libretto was by Niccolò Tassi. It was a popular opera at the time of its first performance: by the 1780s it had been staged over 20 times in such diverse cities as Rome and Warsaw. Sacchini's original setting is an intermezzo with 4 roles.

There was a revival at the Teatro Verdi in Sassari in Sardinia in 1991, conducted by Gabriele Catalucci and directed by Gianni Marras.

8)



« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 10:15:11 AM by Leo K »

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2011, 08:31:34 AM »


Another discovery for my personal listening is the music of Pasquale Anfossi (5 April 1727 – February 1797), in particular, his opera La Finta Giardiniera from 1774, if I remember correctly. A friend of mine has a recorded broadcast of this opera that is simply stunning (it's a shame this hasn't been officially released). It will be interesting to compare Anfossi's La Finta with Mozart's account of the same libretto, as I understand Mozart studied Anfossi's score and appears to mirror it to some extent.

The great soprano Catarina Cavalieri had her debut in Anfossi's La Finta Giardiniera, in 1775, in the role of Sandrina.


 8)

Offline Florestan

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2011, 03:00:56 AM »
Leo, you should also try Anfossi's La Maga Circe, you'll love it.

“Especially as far as I am concerned, romanticism is not the bloodless intellectual commitment to a program, but the expression of my most profound mind and soul.” --- Sergei Bortkiewicz (1877-1952)

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2011, 12:41:03 PM »
Leo, you should also try Anfossi's La Maga Circe, you'll love it.



Thanks for the heads up Florestan! I shall seek this 8)

Offline Leo K.

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2011, 06:24:11 AM »
My 18th century opera marathon continues with Haydn  8)



Wunderbar! Bravo!

My first venture into the mature operas of Haydn, and I'm overjoyed over this opera. The adventurous variety in the music is charming, the orchestration carefully colored in Haydn's subtle style. The ensemble's are fun and at turns very moving. All in all, this work is chock full of melody with a consistant dramatic mood throughout.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2011, 08:14:22 AM »
My 18th century opera marathon continues with Haydn  8)



Wunderbar! Bravo!

My first venture into the mature operas of Haydn, and I'm overjoyed over this opera. The adventurous variety in the music is charming, the orchestration carefully colored in Haydn's subtle style. The ensemble's are fun and at turns very moving. All in all, this work is chock full of melody with a consistent dramatic mood throughout.

Ah, Leo, at last you move into an opera that I know. Well, I have heard it 3 or 4 times which isn't quite the same, however.... :)  That opera is indeed from his maturity. 1779 was around the peak of the Esterhazy opera craze. Do you know that Anfossi has set this opera only 2 years before and it was very popular back then? Haydn liked it so much that he incorporated one of Anfossi's scenes directly. I think he really gave some nice arias to Rosina, they are among my favorites of his operatic works. As it happens, I have the same version you do, although not in that very cool opening scene box, but in the orange box of 10 disks. Very nice work there. :)

8)


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Offline Que

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2011, 09:31:08 PM »
Behold, here is the new thread on opera from the Classical period. 8)

May it prosper! :)

Q
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 09:33:31 PM by ~ Que ~ »

Offline knight66

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2011, 10:25:14 PM »
I've listened to two of Salieri's operas so far, and have found them to be truly beautiful and dramatic. I love them! AND these works transport us to the 1770s-1790s and thereabouts, my favorite period of study.

La Grotta di Trofonio


Axur


 8)

I thought that I would look out for Axur; I think that anyone considering the set needs to read the Amazon reviews; each of which describe apalling sound quality.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Salieri-Martin-Rayam-Mei-Clemencic/dp/B000JCE9I8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1312874266&sr=1-1

The other one recommended costs £30 on Amazon; I will see if I can find it at a more reasonable price. I have some arias by Salieri on a disc by Kozena and enjoy them.

Mike

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Offline The new erato

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Re: # Opera from the Galant & Classical Era #
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2011, 11:00:45 PM »
No luck for Gluck?

The one opera composer (besides Mozart) from the period I'm reasonably familiar with. The Minkowski series on Archiv is splendid; and there's a new recording out that should be plenty interesting:

« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 11:14:12 PM by The new erato »