Author Topic: Mozart operas  (Read 92130 times)

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Offline The new erato

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2007, 10:53:32 AM »
Moreover, his Don Giovanni will be very soon released.

I listened to this last week.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2007, 10:56:17 AM »

As to the Kuijken recordings, what can go wrong for 8 euro's the set?

You might not like it, and then you will have wasted 8 Euro. A performance you don't like, doesn't become a good buy simply by being cheap.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2007, 12:48:13 PM »
You might not like it, and then you will have wasted 8 Euro. A performance you don't like, doesn't become a good buy simply by being cheap.

It gets even better! Two years ago, I bought a big box with 80% of the works from Mozart, opera's included. This box is lying dormant in my office, and I saw it some hours ago, the operas by Mozart are included, performed by Kuijken, so I will try them, but will fill in with other recordings. Rene Jacobs will be included.
Of course what is cheap and not good, is to expensive, whatever the price.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2007, 12:49:25 PM »
I have the Östman Zauberflöte and on the whole like it very much, although some numbers like "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja" are done ridicilously fast. But if you like it "small scale, bubbly, spicy", Östman certainly should be explored! Like you, I have a strong dislike for excessive vibrato in sopranos, and while this performance is not free from it, it is less objectionable than many others I tried.
Many also like Östman's Don Giovanni, but I cannot comment as I don't own it.

I will certainly look into Ostman, so thank you for this input. :)

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2007, 12:50:48 PM »
Harry, Jacobs's Mozart is splendid, I also have Kuijken's Cosi and it's very good, and also Östman's Zauberflöte and Le Nozze.

Jacob's, Ostman, and Kuijken, will work with that, thank you!

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2007, 02:35:07 PM »
I also have Östman's Mozart opera recordings, and while his Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni are splendid, I remember that I was less impressed with his Figaro. His Così fan tutte, on the other hand, is quite eccentric and should be enjoyed after having heard some other good recordings.

Offline JoshLilly

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2007, 04:08:08 PM »
The Così fan tutte performed by La Petite Bande is excellent, now my favourite performance. I have more recordings of this than any other complete opera, and this one is #1 for me. The price is also exceptional.  Even if it's not your preferred performance, if you don't have a period recording this one definitely won't break the bank. I also recommend the sometimes maligned Roger Norrington edition of Don Giovanni. I think everything is absolutely perfect. Okay, one of the major criticisms is of the Donna Anna, Amanda Halgrimson, and I can't strongly argue with this; she's passable, but not great. Everything else is awesome. And Nancy Argenta as Zerlina, anything with Nancy Argenta is the best!  ;D  She's also Despina in the La Petite Bande Così fan tutte... not that that's the only reason it's my favourite recording!
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 04:10:10 PM by JoshLilly »

uffeviking

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2007, 06:50:08 PM »
And it will be the same with the Mozart operas.

Sir, was it very painful for you to have stepped inside the domain of Opera Lovers? See, we are all very civilised and friendly and I, for one, welcome you with a friendly hug and a hearty Hojotoho! - Ooops, sorry, I went to fast there, you have not set foot inside Walhalla yet. It'll come too!  :D

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2007, 09:04:59 PM »
The Così fan tutte performed by La Petite Bande is excellent, now my favourite performance. I have more recordings of this than any other complete opera, and this one is #1 for me. The price is also exceptional.  Even if it's not your preferred performance, if you don't have a period recording this one definitely won't break the bank. I also recommend the sometimes maligned Roger Norrington edition of Don Giovanni. I think everything is absolutely perfect. Okay, one of the major criticisms is of the Donna Anna, Amanda Halgrimson, and I can't strongly argue with this; she's passable, but not great. Everything else is awesome. And Nancy Argenta as Zerlina, anything with Nancy Argenta is the best!  ;D  She's also Despina in the La Petite Bande Così fan tutte... not that that's the only reason it's my favourite recording!

I am glad about your positive reaction about La Petite Bande, and I look forward to Cosi fan Tutte. As to the other ones I still invited opinions.
Roger Norrington, is also on my list, and will try to find some samples of it.
Thank you.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2007, 09:07:06 PM »
I also have Östman's Mozart opera recordings, and while his Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni are splendid, I remember that I was less impressed with his Figaro. His Così fan tutte, on the other hand, is quite eccentric and should be enjoyed after having heard some other good recordings.

Well when reading through some reviews, Ostman is at one side received with enthusiasm, and on the other with extreme scepticism, so definitively worth trying.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2007, 09:14:40 PM »
Sir, was it very painful for you to have stepped inside the domain of Opera Lovers? See, we are all very civilised and friendly and I, for one, welcome you with a friendly hug and a hearty Hojotoho! - Ooops, sorry, I went to fast there, you have not set foot inside Walhalla yet. It'll come too!  :D

I feel already very comfy Lis. And I am definitively interested in more hugs! ;D And no it was not painful. I worked the last couple of weeks through a pile of operas ranging from Vivaldi through Handel, ending with Mozart. You see I bought the complete opera section from Brilliant series just to check out what I liked and what not. I totally forgot that Kuijken was part of that series, half of it in my office, the part I forgot, and the other half at home.
Must say, rather liked the Vivaldi operas, Handel I have to listen more often, and hear better performances as the ones on Brilliant.
Many of them were so bad I threw them in the bin, and that was before I knew people on the board were interested in my refuse bin, so from now on I send my bin products all over the world, and make people happy.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2007, 01:19:21 AM »
Reviewed: Gramophone 8/1999, Alan Blyth 
 I can do no better than quote Stravinsky’s rhetorical question (made, in his case, on hearing a new piece of music): ‘Do we need it?’ With the catalogue already brimming over with recommendable versions of Mozart’s masterpiece, an addition to the ranks must have something special to justify its issue.

Ach, what a pleasure to read someone else who feels as I do! Luciano Berio allegedly had a poster in his house (or apartment) that various people reported on which read "Down with Opera", most probably inspired by the perceived need to repeat historical operatic works ad infinitum and ad nauseam. Inertia is one of those reasons but also serving up to the public expensive cultural fixes. It IS a problem when most of the major (and even minor) musical works of the past couple centuries have been recorded many times over. (So go buy a good DVD.) The "reason to exist" (or to happen) should be more than picking out of a catalogue what operas to do this year, but showing something new and exciting. The situation is even worse when spending public money. Who needs it? The poor people?

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2007, 02:22:50 AM »
Ach, what a pleasure to read someone else who feels as I do! Luciano Berio allegedly had a poster in his house (or apartment) that various people reported on which read "Down with Opera", most probably inspired by the perceived need to repeat historical operatic works ad infinitum and ad nauseam. Inertia is one of those reasons but also serving up to the public expensive cultural fixes. It IS a problem when most of the major (and even minor) musical works of the past couple centuries have been recorded many times over. (So go buy a good DVD.) The "reason to exist" (or to happen) should be more than picking out of a catalogue what operas to do this year, but showing something new and exciting. The situation is even worse when spending public money. Who needs it? The poor people?

ZB

Hmmm, yes, well, can't say that I did get what you wanted to say, but that can be my poor knowledge of English, huh?
More to the point ZB, any recommendations? :)

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2007, 07:57:31 AM »
First of all, Harry, I like your pictures.
My writing can be eliptical, depending on what time of day it is.

In the past live performers were needed to go from city to city to popularize the works of composers, like what Clara Schumann did for her husband's works. In the age of recording (starting from more than 100 years ago) the role of the performer has been redefined. It is not enough to go and do "Trittico" or the 7th Symphony of Beethoven below a normal, more or less established standard. There should be SOMETHING special and insightful, not just boring repeats.

With regard to the latter, a few years ago I found it really annoying to listen to a Japanese conductor just go through the motions of that symphony, as though the public needs to be informed of the notes. This is essentially 19th century practice when almost any performance could be accepted as it was educational at the same time, presenting works that people could not hear on the radio or phonograph at home.

He conducted with no musical insight, didn't add anything to the interpretation of the piece, so why "do we need it?" as asked by Stravinsky is relevant here, to my mind.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2007, 08:43:48 AM »
First of all, Harry, I like your pictures.
My writing can be eliptical, depending on what time of day it is.

In the past live performers were needed to go from city to city to popularize the works of composers, like what Clara Schumann did for her husband's works. In the age of recording (starting from more than 100 years ago) the role of the performer has been redefined. It is not enough to go and do "Trittico" or the 7th Symphony of Beethoven below a normal, more or less established standard. There should be SOMETHING special and insightful, not just boring repeats.

With regard to the latter, a few years ago I found it really annoying to listen to a Japanese conductor just go through the motions of that symphony, as though the public needs to be informed of the notes. This is essentially 19th century practice when almost any performance could be accepted as it was educational at the same time, presenting works that people could not hear on the radio or phonograph at home.

He conducted with no musical insight, didn't add anything to the interpretation of the piece, so why "do we need it?" as asked by Stravinsky is relevant here, to my mind.

ZB

Thank you for liking my pictures, that means a lot to me.
And yes, now I understand your story.
Thank you for being so patient.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2007, 01:14:10 AM »
Mozart.

"Die Zauberflote".
Text Emanuel Schikaneder.

Pamina, Barbara Hendricks.
Tamino, Jerry Hadley.
Papageno, Thomas Allen.
Sarastro, Robert Lloyd.
Queen of the night, June Anderson.
Papagena Ulrike Steinsky.
Monostasos, Helmut Wildhaber.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra & Choir/Charles Mackerras.

To begin with, this recording made in 1991 by Jack Renner for Teldec in Edinburgh, is not good at all. The orchestra sounds fine enough, well placed in the venue, but the singers and choir at all, are far to much on the foreground, and that leads to saturation of the microphones, and as a result clogged up voice explosions. Really nasty that. Right in the beginning when the Three ladies come up, with the line "Stirb ungeheuer" I actually froze on the spot, because of the combined ugly sound. This tendency emerges throughout the recording from beginning to end. A shame really.
And it must be said not all singers were in good feathers on this ill conceived recording, Hendricks sounds oddly out of focus, and Hadley, allthough a fine singer, seems to be in two minds how to approach Tamino.
The light in all this is the fine contribution by Thomas Allen, that makes a fine Papageno, his voice is a constant joy. June Anderson surprised me by her sometimes brittle voice, but also the problems she had with her high notes, squeezed out at great pains.The three ladies are fine in speech, but bound together in duets, they pained my ears frequently, especially Gabriele Sima, and Julia Bernheimer, unhealthy vibrato, which tended to diminish to voice of the first lady, Petra Maria Schnitzer.
The tempi of the orchestra were fast, to fast at times as in the Overture.
As to the music, I think its just beautiful, and if I did not enjoy the singing, the music was a constant delight.
Therefore I would love to get some good recommendations concerning the Zauberflote, for I will have a good recording of it.
One final remark has to be addressed to the woefully inadequate libretti provided with this box. You better understand German, for a lot of the text is not what is sung. they left about 50 % of the material out.
A shame on the production team of Joan Records.
This one will go straight in the refuse bin.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2007, 02:34:14 AM »
Mozart.

La Finta Semplice.
Opera buffa in three acts.
Text by Carlo Goldoni, & Marco Coltellini.

Rosina, Helen Donath.
Don Cassandro, Robert Holl.
Don Philidoro, Anthony Rolfe-Johnson.
Giacinta, Teresa Berganza.
Ninetta, Jutta-Renate Ihloff.
Fracasso, Thomas Moser.
Simone, Robert Lloyd.

Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg/Leopold Hager.

Well to begin with, this Orfeo recording from 1983, is good, without being exemplary. The orchestra balance is very good, and the soloists are well placed. There is a fine bloom around the voices. It is very forcefully sung, with so much power of diction, that I had to turn the volume down. That done I started listening. The sinfonia with which the opera starts is ravishing, and well played. When I've got the text, it was only in Italian, and I understand it with difficulty, so still would have wanted some translation.
That said, the singing I found heavy, very difficult to grasp, with notable exceptions from Anthony Rolfe Johnson, and Jutta- Renate Ihloff. Robert Holl has a fine voice too, but for me to forceful on the ear.
Clearly Donath and Berganza are not my kind of singers, fine if the notes don't go to high, but if, Donath voice gets something unpleasant around those notes, as Berganza.
Again I am confronted with fine music, a good orchestra, but voices that are clearly not mine to like.
So I need some advice in this too. I saw a DVD from Ostman, but have no idea what to expect. 

This recording will go in the refusal bin.

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« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 03:01:38 AM by Harry »

Offline Anne

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2007, 05:23:46 AM »
This Magic Flute (Mozart: Die Zauberflote) film by Ingmar Bergman is famous and is mentioned almost any time a discussion of the Magic Flute occurs.


http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=104840

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2007, 05:36:23 AM »
This Magic Flute (Mozart: Die Zauberflote) film by Ingmar Bergman is famous and is mentioned almost any time a discussion of the Magic Flute occurs.


http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=104840

Thank you Anne, but as I see it, it is sung in Swedish with English subtitles.
I rather have it in German, if you don't mind. :)

Offline Anne

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2007, 06:21:49 AM »
Thank you Anne, but as I see it, it is sung in Swedish with English subtitles.
I rather have it in German, if you don't mind. :)


I wish you good luck but that's the best I can do.  The Magic Flute is not my favorite.  Since the Queen of the Night is such a difficult aria to sing, you might ask if there is a CD of various singers singing it.  If there is one, you could listen to a lot of sopranos in a cheap way as that is a difficult aria.