Author Topic: VERDI King of Italian Opera  (Read 111947 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #80 on: July 25, 2007, 02:57:40 PM »
Marvin, I agree that against his most mature works Nabucco seems simplistic. However there are great things there. The characterisation of both Nabucco and Abigallie has depth and variety. A deal of the music seems stock with waltzes backing what the soloists are doing. But then there are some great arias and ensembles. The Soprano gets some of the most fearsomely demanding music possible to sing and it is absolutely in character. I suspect it is not often performed because that part is such a killer.

I just got hold of a disc of excerpts with Anita Cerqetti singing Abigallie. It is a live recording and the stress of the part is all too evident, even for someone with the voice and technique of Cerqetti.

It is well worth investigation and I suggest the Gardelli set on Decca with Gobbi and the astonishing Suilotis, she burned out quickly and her committed singing here tells you exactly why.

Mike


There is a live performance of Nabucco in existence with Callas singing the role of Abigaille back in 1949 (at the age of 26). The sound is appalling, but, listening through it, she is even more thrilling than Souliotis, and even compounds the roles difficulties by adding an Eb in alt at the end of the big duet with Nabucco. However she never sang the role again, calling it a voice wrecker, whereas it became something of a calling card for Souliotis. In fact, when Caballe told Callas she was thinking of doing it , Callas advised her not to touch it. According to Caballe, Callas told her it would be like putting a precious Baccarat glass in a box and shaking it. It would shatter. Caballe heeded the advice and never sang the role on stage.

It's a shame the sound is so bad on this live recording. It is conducted by Vittorio Gui, no less, and has a very impressive Gino Bechi in the title role.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #81 on: July 26, 2007, 01:04:05 AM »
Marvin, I agree that against his most mature works Nabucco seems simplistic. However there are great things there.

Mike


  Agreed Mike.  Just to clarify my position further and hoping that Mozart did not misunderstand me: Nabucco should be seen.  But since Mozart is unfamiliar with these 3 operas (Aida, Il Trovatore and Nabucco)  and looking for guidance I would propose the following listening sequence: Aida then Il Trovatore then Nabucco.  My only fear was that Mozart might not like Nabucco and would stop there-  it is difficult not to like Aida (of dear there I go again putting my foot in my mouth  :-X)- anyway I would hope that Aida would encourage the listener to explore Verdi's other works, earlier works.

  marvin 

Mozart

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #82 on: July 26, 2007, 01:47:21 AM »
Okay, Im going with Aida. I have the dvd with Pavarotti and the Solti recording. This was going to be my 2nd Verdi opera but Rigoletto got in the way. I'll let you know in a few months how I like it  :)

Mozart

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #83 on: July 26, 2007, 01:53:59 AM »
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I recommend you see this live or on DVD.

What a coincidence! I was just checking the san diego opera schedule and its playing in April. What are the chances?

Offline grandma

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #84 on: July 26, 2007, 07:10:37 AM »
Another good opera is Atilla from Verdi's early years.  The DVD from La Scala with Sam Ramey has been praised again and again on several opera BB's.  It's one of my favorites.

Mozart

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #85 on: August 13, 2007, 08:50:17 PM »
Well, I have been slowly making progress on Aida, I can now listen for about 15 mins before I get bored, right after the Guerra Guerra Guerra! Is there any parts way farther along that I would particularly like? My progression of liking a Verdi opera has started the same, I like the beggining, but then get bored. And then I jump to act 2 and find something cool and that usually drives me to listen to the whole opera. So what does Aida have in act 2?

Hector

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #86 on: August 14, 2007, 03:37:07 AM »
Well, I have been slowly making progress on Aida, I can now listen for about 15 mins before I get bored, right after the Guerra Guerra Guerra! Is there any parts way farther along that I would particularly like? My progression of liking a Verdi opera has started the same, I like the beggining, but then get bored. And then I jump to act 2 and find something cool and that usually drives me to listen to the whole opera. So what does Aida have in act 2?

Nothing that could possibly detain you further.

Give it up, file it away and go back to it when you are older.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #87 on: August 14, 2007, 06:00:19 AM »

Give it up, file it away and go back to it when you are older.

You took the words out of my mouth. That said, I already loved Verdi, by the time I was 16.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Mozart

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #88 on: August 14, 2007, 01:32:59 PM »
Nothing that could possibly detain you further.

Give it up, file it away and go back to it when you are older.

How much older?

Hector

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #89 on: August 15, 2007, 04:46:13 AM »
How much older?

Grief, that's a question and a half!

I hated Verdi at 15 but aimed to have all his operas on disc before I was 40 (I did not succeed, by the way).

They said 'Alzira' was rubbish. It's not but, after the overture, 'La Battaglia di Legnano' does nothing for me.

'Don Carlo' or 'Don Carlos'? Sod it, both!

When somebody states that Verdi tries to outdo Meyerbeer then that is the opera to listen to because, as sure as eggs are eggs, he does!

Have you heard 'La Forza del Destino'? Tunes just tumble forth from this opera. It is phenomenal!

Mozart

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #90 on: August 15, 2007, 11:37:23 AM »
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Have you heard 'La Forza del Destino'? Tunes just tumble forth from this opera. It is phenomenal

That was one of the first operas I ever heard, but the story wasn't exciting enough to me if I remember. It was right after the marriage of figaro.

Offline yashin

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #91 on: August 16, 2007, 03:45:52 AM »
I just managed to get the Luisa Miller DVD from the Met broadcast with Scotto and Domingo.  Its the only recording of this opera that i own.  Despite being from 1979 broadcast i quite enjoyed the opera.  Its not amongst my favourite Verdi-that would be La Traviata  and Il Trovatore.  Certainly worth watching.

Hector

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #92 on: August 16, 2007, 05:44:05 AM »
I just managed to get the Luisa Miller DVD from the Met broadcast with Scotto and Domingo.  Its the only recording of this opera that i own.  Despite being from 1979 broadcast i quite enjoyed the opera.  Its not amongst my favourite Verdi-that would be La Traviata  and Il Trovatore.  Certainly worth watching.

What?! Unique in that it contains Verdi's only genuinely virtuous character in Miller.

Try the Pavorotti recording. His voice is absolutely right for the great tenor arias.

Has one of Verdi's greatest overtures and opera is not opera unless the stage is littered with bodies at the end.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #93 on: August 16, 2007, 09:19:18 AM »
What?! Unique in that it contains Verdi's only genuinely virtuous character in Miller.


I'd say Violetta was genuinely virtuous, and blow 19th century morals. I'm sure Verdi thought so too, in the same way as Thomas hardy was making a point, when he subtitled Tess of the d'Urbevilles, A Pure Woman. And how about Desdemona? Is she not virtuous?
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Haffner

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #94 on: August 17, 2007, 04:51:02 AM »
Aida isn't my favorite Verdi. But the second half is incredible, particuarly the part where Aida and her father go toe to toe. The ending is quite beautiful as well.

Offline Brewski

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #95 on: October 30, 2007, 12:56:39 PM »
Tomorrow night (Halloween!) I'm seeing Verdi's Macbeth at the Met.  The reviews were excellent, so I'm very much looking forward to it.  I've only heard the score once, in Philadelphia about five years ago, but I recall liking it very much.

--Bruce
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Offline Brewski

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #96 on: November 01, 2007, 06:33:30 AM »
Wow, Macbeth was a ton of fun, mostly for the electricity generated by James Levine and the orchestra, and the terrific chorus, noticeably improved under the new chorus master, Donald Palumbo.  I'm liking the score more and more, and Levine brought out many small details--i.e., often inner lines in the orchestration--that might go unnoticed in other hands. 

The singing was mostly good, rather than great, and I'd never heard anyone in the cast live, except for John Relyea as Banquo, who was quite good.  Željko Lučić as Macbeth did a beautiful job, with a powerful, yet warm voice coupled with a keen feel for the tragedy of it all.  As Lady Macbeth, Maria Guleghina was piercing--if not always the most accurate--but she has some kind of stage presence that makes you want to watch her, even when she's flying off key or sounding strained.  The best of the night was Dmitri Pittas as Macduff, whose handful of arias pretty much stopped the show. 

The production, by Adrian Noble, is darkly beautiful, with tall thick columns that rearrange themselves in formations around the stage, and groves of leafless trees in the background.  In Act III, when Macbeth drinks the witches' potion and sees visions, there are some very cool special effects, such as shiny ring-shaped ornaments that slowly descend through a green cloud of laser light in the ceiling, and a huge sphere that comes up from the floor, with faces projected inside, sort of like the crystal ball used by the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

But the choral and orchestral contributions were the most memorable and powerful.  I am amazed that James Levine can conduct Babbitt and Carter on Sunday, and Verdi on Wednesday.  Expertise in widely varying repertoire is to me, one of the hallmarks of a great conductor.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #97 on: November 01, 2007, 01:02:10 PM »
Wow, Macbeth was a ton of fun, mostly for the electricity generated by James Levine and the orchestra, and the terrific chorus, noticeably improved under the new chorus master, Donald Palumbo.  I'm liking the score more and more, and Levine brought out many small details--i.e., often inner lines in the orchestration--that might go unnoticed in other hands. 

The singing was mostly good, rather than great, and I'd never heard anyone in the cast live, except for John Relyea as Banquo, who was quite good.  Željko Lučić as Macbeth did a beautiful job, with a powerful, yet warm voice coupled with a keen feel for the tragedy of it all.  As Lady Macbeth, Maria Guleghina was piercing--if not always the most accurate--but she has some kind of stage presence that makes you want to watch her, even when she's flying off key or sounding strained.  The best of the night was Dmitri Pittas as Macduff, whose handful of arias pretty much stopped the show. 

The production, by Adrian Noble, is darkly beautiful, with tall thick columns that rearrange themselves in formations around the stage, and groves of leafless trees in the background.  In Act III, when Macbeth drinks the witches' potion and sees visions, there are some very cool special effects, such as shiny ring-shaped ornaments that slowly descend through a green cloud of laser light in the ceiling, and a huge sphere that comes up from the floor, with faces projected inside, sort of like the crystal ball used by the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

But the choral and orchestral contributions were the most memorable and powerful.  I am amazed that James Levine can conduct Babbitt and Carter on Sunday, and Verdi on Wednesday.  Expertise in widely varying repertoire is to me, one of the hallmarks of a great conductor.

--Bruce


    Hi Bruce, I am glad to hear that you have enjoyed Macbeth and I am pleased to hear that Levine is STILL conducting at the MET.  I have so many Verdi  DVD operas conducted by Levine from the MET and most of them are superb, La Forza del Destino, Don Carlo and Otello come to mind. What frequently draws me to the MET productions as you so eloquently described with this Macbeth production (Macbeth seeing visions, special effects et al.) is how lavish and impressive the sets, stage designs and special effects are.  Even in those cases where the singing is not excellent the stage designs are more often than not quite impressive and enough to sustain the viewer's interest in the opera.    Levine proved to be very versatile during his tenure at the MET. He has conducted so many fine productions of Wagner's operas, Verdi and countless others. 


  marvin

Offline Brewski

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #98 on: November 01, 2007, 01:11:21 PM »

    Hi Bruce, I am glad to hear that you have enjoyed Macbeth and I am pleased to hear that Levine is STILL conducting at the MET.  I have so many Verdi  DVD operas conducted by Levine from the MET and most of them are superb, La Forza del Destino, Don Carlo and Otello come to mind. What frequently draws me to the MET productions as you so eloquently described with this Macbeth production (Macbeth seeing visions, special effects et al.) is how lavish and impressive the sets, stage designs and special effects are.  Even in those cases where the singing is not excellent the stage designs are more often than not quite impressive and enough to sustain the viewer's interest in the opera.    Levine proved to be very versatile during his tenure at the MET. He has conducted so many fine productions of Wagner's operas, Verdi and countless others. 


  marvin

Marvin, I suspect this production will be around for awhile; initial reports are very positive.  And good news, if you didn't see it already: it's on the live broadcasts schedule for January 12!  :D  The cast is slightly different but the principals are intact, and Levine is conducting.  I will definitely be seeing it again.  I don't know the opera that well (yet) but it's hard to imagine someone handling the score with more power and finesse combined.  When the orchestra and chorus were at full blast, I felt like wind was rushing past my ears. 

This production seems like it may have "staying power," whereas if you read any of the reports of the new Lucia di Lammermoor, it sounds less satisfying.  (I didn't see it, so can't comment.)

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Anne

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Re: VERDI-King of Italian Opera
« Reply #99 on: November 01, 2007, 05:54:10 PM »
Marv,

I just wanted to tell you I replied to your Falstaff post that you wrote yesterday.