Author Topic: Mozart operas  (Read 92322 times)

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Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2007, 06:28:39 AM »
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.

Yes you are quite right, this aria is not easy to bring off, and it will be difficult to find a good soprano doing it.
Mozart must have had a devilish pleasure in the fact to write such a aria.
But I am astounded that you find the Magic Flute less of your favourites.
Apart from the silly libretti, the music is real Mozartian.

Offline Anne

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2007, 08:41:06 AM »
Yes you are quite right, this aria is not easy to bring off, and it will be difficult to find a good soprano doing it.
Mozart must have had a devilish pleasure in the fact to write such a aria.
But I am astounded that you find the Magic Flute less of your favourites.
Apart from the silly libretti, the music is real Mozartian.


You are right; it is Mozart and that says everything.  I just did not spend a lot of time on that opera, but was off exploring others as there are so many to learn.

Have you heard Kathleen Battle?  She has good voice and sings in the Met production of The Magic Flute.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_d/104-6944379-3143911?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Ddvd&field-keywords=Battle+Mozart

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2007, 08:48:56 AM »
You are right; it is Mozart and that says everything.  I just did not spend a lot of time on that opera, but was off exploring others as there are so many to learn.

Have you heard Kathleen Battle?  She has good voice and sings in the Met production of The Magic Flute.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_d/104-6944379-3143911?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Ddvd&field-keywords=Battle+Mozart

Kathleen Battle is a wonderful soprano, even have some things of her.
Will check this DVD out Anne thank you for the trouble you are taking to find me a nice Zauberflote.. :)

Offline Anne

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2007, 09:04:12 AM »
Kathleen Battle is a wonderful soprano, even have some things of her.
Will check this DVD out Anne thank you for the trouble you are taking to find me a nice Zauberflote.. :)

Kathleen Battle does not sing Queen of the Night.  I don't think I would recommend Serra for that role.  Maybe that's why the performance received 4 stars instead of 5.  The remainder of that performance is good.  Maybe someone else has a suggestion.

Full Cast List
 
Kathleen Battle as Pamina
Manfred Hemm as Papageno
Luciana Serra as The Queen of the Night
Andreas Schmidt as Sprecher
Bernard Fitch as Second Priest
Juliana Gondek as First Lady
Judith Christin as Third Lady
Benjamin Schott as Second Boy
Mark Baker as First armed man
Glenn Alpert as Slave
F. Murray Abraham as Host (only for TV)
 Francisco Araiza as Tamino
Kurt Moll as Sarastro
Barbara Kilduff as Papagena
James Courtney as First Priest
Heinz Zednik as Monostatos
Mimi Lerner as Second Lady
Ted Huffman as First Boy
Per-Christian Brevig as Third Boy
Michael Devlin as Second armed man
Robert Manno as Slave
 

Offline knight66

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2007, 11:33:38 AM »
My recommendation is Klemperer on EMI and perhaps in that one, though I warn there is NO dialogue at all, you will find the musical side wonderfully served with an excellent team of singers. What it misses in outright humour, it makes up in the way it invests the music with a mystical significance.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #45 on: September 26, 2007, 11:47:54 AM »
I am compiling a list, and this one will be on it.
Thanks.

Offline Brian

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #46 on: September 26, 2007, 03:54:42 PM »
Naxos have a terrific Zauberflote; I am more than happy with it. There is extended dialogue and, if I may point out one of the cast members in particular, Georg Tichy makes a hugely lovable Papageno. He seems to be constantly smiling as he sings.



I know it looks cheap, but it's very good ... not HIP or anything similar, though tempi are speedy and the orchestra is rather small.

"Naxos have done it again. Once more they effectively challenge the hegemony of more prestigious companies that sell their wares at full price. ... Halasz, one of Naxos's house conductors, is now a Kapellmeister at the Vienna State Opera and his reading, steeped in the tradition of that theatre, uses several singers working there at the moment. All have travelled the comparatively short journey down the Danube to take part in this recording in Budapest. Halasz follows the current fashion for swift tempos (though ''Ach, ich fuhl's'' is much slower than on the recent Oestman set, and possibly better for it) but allows time on the way to survey the instrumental countryside and enjoy its details; and his penchant for speed doesn't exclude seriousness, as in the Masonic mysteries of Osiris and the episode of the Armed Men, which are given their due weight.

There is no weakness in his large cast and several strengths, chief among them Tichy's endearing Papageno ... As Tamino, Lippert is an eager, winning Prince. ... I have no reservations at all about Hellen Kwon's Queen of Night. As accurate and fleet as the ubiquitous Sumi Jo (Solti and Oestman), she delivers her imprecations with much more positive bile, approaching the dramatic-coloratura ideal for this fiendish (in both senses) role. ... The recording is beautifully balanced and allows plenty of air around the voices and orchestra." - GRAMOPHONE (Alan Blyth)

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2007, 05:06:40 PM »
My recommendation is Klemperer on EMI and perhaps in that one, though I warn there is NO dialogue at all, you will find the musical side wonderfully served with an excellent team of singers. What it misses in outright humour, it makes up in the way it invests the music with a mystical significance.

Mike

I can easily live without the dialogue, but though I think the Klemperer one of the great recordings, it is a very special vision that emphasizes the grandeur of the work while totally missing the humor. Tempos are, if not necessarily slow, moderate and majestic. It's an ideal approach for episodes like the Two Armed Men, the Ordeals, the dialogue between Tamino and the Speaker, etc., not so good for Papageno's ditties. The cast is superb, with well-known singers even in the smaller parts.

I don't consider the libretto silly in the slightest, but I've written about that elsewhere and will dig up my essay on request.

The Naxos sounds interesting. If Halasz is as good here as in the Naxos Fidelio, it should be a contender. I have Ostman, but it sounds merely fast and uninflected to these ears. My favorite middle-of-the-road Flute would be the Marriner, with Te Kanawa and Araiza.

As for the other major operas, I have no interest in so-called "authentic" recordings that lack the stylishness, the phrasing, and the inflection of some of the great "inauthentic" recordings of the past: for example, the Erich Kleiber Figaro (despite an inadequate Almaviva), the Krips Don Giovanni with the incomparable Cesare Siepi, the Giulini DG and Figaro, the first VPO Cosi by Boehm with Della Casa and Gueden (despite all the cuts). In my opinion, such performances are far closer to a truly Mozartian spirit than the undervitalized efforts of the HIPsters.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 05:54:12 PM by Larry Rinkel »

Offline Anne

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2007, 05:20:01 PM »
Larry,

I would appreciate it if you posted your essay on The Magic Flute.  I'd probably print it.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2007, 05:50:39 PM »
Larry,

I would appreciate it if you posted your essay on The Magic Flute.  I'd probably print it.

I wrote this in 2002 at rec.music.opera, responding to the comment quoted just below:

> Which just proves that tastes differ!  (I don't much care
> for "Abduction", either.)  Of course, with the exception of
> "Nozze di Figaro" and "Don Giovanni" (which have their
> "silly" moments, too) my principal object to most of
> Mozart's operas is the silliness of his plots.

My response:

The plot of The Magic Flute is silly only if judged by the standards of the
realistic play and novel, which are primarily 19th-century phenomena. The
Magic Flute is not a work of realism but a fable and an allegory, and has
been suggested here, works far better on stage than on recordings. (And why
shouldn't it? Mozart did not write his operas with your CD players in mind.)

Schikaneder's libretto has been criticized for inconsistency; that is, why
do the Queen of the Night and her Ladies, who first appear to be "good"
characters, turn out to be the villains, and why do Sarastro and his
priests, who are first reputed to be the villains, turn out to be the
embodiments of goodness and wisdom? Legend has it that the plot was
"changed" midstream. But if this part of the story is experienced from
Tamino's point of view, we the audience participate in his growth from
naive, unquestioning trust through mature understanding of good and evil,
and thus there is no real inconsistency. (The pivotal moment in Tamino's
education is his lengthy dialogue in the finale to Act One with the Speaker,
whom someone above referred as the "dreary priest.")

Despite some of the doggerel in the verse, the plot is really very well
executed, and if you accept it without criticizing the opera for being
something it is not, works very well. The main strength of the libretto is
the beautiful way in which the serious Tamino-Pamina main plot intertwines
with the comic Papageno-Pagagena subplot. Both Tamino and Papageno must
undergo various trials before they can achieve some degree of wisdom and
unite with the women they love. Tamino must first suffer silence and
separation from Pamina before he is found worthy of her, and when they are
united they must together endure the trials of water and fire, an
allegorical initiation into the solemn Masonic rites that were so important
to Mozart in his own life. Papageno by contrast, purely l'homme moyen
sensuel, must endure frustration and separation from Papagena, but though
his needs and wants are purely animalistic and he lacks the spirituality of
Tamino's quest, Papageno at least contemplates ending his life, which shows
sufficient selflessness that he is granted the right to reunite with his
female counterpart.

Mozart IMO responded so wonderfully well to this clever libretto because it
represented the two main sides of his own personality - the mature and
serious developing young man, drawn to Sarastro's humane philosophy of
forgiveness and the rejection of revenge, and the clownish adolescent still
in love with food, wine, smutty jokes, and sex. The film Amadeus caught only
one side of this personality, but both existed, and they account in my mind
for the level of musical engagement Mozart demonstrates throughout - in
contrast to the almost perfunctory music of La Clemenza di Tito which he was
composing about the same time. Mozart pours into this seemingly slight story
a wealth of musical forms and textures - from the coloratura of the Queen of
the Night's arias, through the simple folk-like ditties for Papageno, to the
neo-Baroque chorale prelude style of the music for the Two Men in Armor, the
austere recitative for the Speaker, the dignified arias for Sarastro, and
more. Together with Le Nozze di Figaro, this is, I believe, his most
completely successful opera.

Offline Anne

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #50 on: September 27, 2007, 05:40:01 AM »
Thank you for posting the essay - some interesting points to ponder that had never occured to me.

Haffner

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #51 on: September 27, 2007, 05:53:38 AM »
Harry, if you don't have this, please do not hesitate. Inexpensive as well. You'll never forget it.

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #52 on: September 27, 2007, 06:18:13 AM »
Harry, if you don't have this, please do not hesitate. Inexpensive as well. You'll never forget it.

Hmmmmmmmmm, what about sound, vibrato, conductor........... ;D

Haffner

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #53 on: September 27, 2007, 08:04:50 AM »
Hmmmmmmmmm, what about sound, vibrato, conductor........... ;D




Do you like Furtwangler?

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #54 on: September 27, 2007, 08:11:10 AM »



Do you like Furtwangler?

Ehhhh, no, no, don't think so. ;D

Haffner

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #55 on: September 27, 2007, 08:14:29 AM »

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #56 on: September 27, 2007, 09:02:12 AM »



oh.

Well you cannot love them all Andy.
But you know I am open for much what is around. ;D

Marc

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #57 on: September 27, 2007, 10:28:04 AM »
[....] I am open for much what is around. ;D

Yeah, sounds great, but still ....

Well, Harry, I have this feeling - more or less – you’ll end up with the conclusion that you'll have to stick to HIP performances, and maybe some Mackerras and other semi-HIP is acceptable for you.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are very fond of the boyish Emma Kirkby-like soprano voice, aren't you? ;)

So that's why I won't recommend Pritchard's Idomeneo (a.o. Pavarotti, Baltsa, Popp, Gruberova, Nucci), Krips' Entführung (Rothenberger, Gedda, Unger, Popp, Frick), Solti's Figaro (a.o. Te Kanawa, Allen, Popp, Ramey, Von Stade), Giulini's Don Giovanni (a.o. Wächter, Sutherland, Taddei, Frick and Schwarzkopf), Davis' Così fan tutte (Caballé, Baker, Gedda, Ganzarolli, Van Allan and Cotrubas), Böhm's Zauberflöte (a.o. Wunderlich, Lear, Crass, Peters, Fischer-Dieskau, Lenz) and Kertész' Tito (Krenn, Berganza, Casula, Popp, Fassbaender, Franc).

No, I won't, I won't, I won't. :P

I'll just enjoy them for my own sake. ;D

Harry

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #58 on: September 29, 2007, 03:08:20 AM »
Mozart.

La Clemenza di Tito.
Opera Seria KV 621.


Tito Vespasiano. Andre Post.
Vitellia, Claudia Patacca.
Servilia, Francine van der Heyden.
Sesto, Cecile van de Sant.
Annio, Nicola Wemyss.
Publio, Marc Pantus.

Vocal Ensemble Cocu.
Basset Horn, Eric Hoeprich.
Harpsichord, Michael Borgstede.
Musica ad Rhenum/Jed Wentz.

Recorded August 2002.

Well another opera, I live dangerously I know.
Again I find the orchestral contribution outstanding, and the voices much better as I expected.
What I have a problem with is the way of singing. It is almost as I am attacked quite viciously from behind. Allthough the sopranos sing without to much vibrato, it is when they increase in volume I get some serious problems of coping with what is offered. I am quite sure that this is the way that is should be performed, and as it is written, but somehow it is really to much for me.
The plot is fine, and the communication between the singers is outstanding, as is the singing of the choir, small scaled and a tad laid back. Not too much screaming going on there.
Recording is also better as I expected.
I must come to the conclusion that this is not for me.
Refusal bin then!

longears

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Re: Mozart operas
« Reply #59 on: September 29, 2007, 03:26:03 AM »
Not too much screaming going on there.
Harry--

I thoroughly enjoy reading your opinions of these operas.  Please keep sharing them.