Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 426883 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2820 on: November 21, 2021, 12:18:56 PM »
Cross posting from the main forum.



A few years ago I came across the Libera Me from this performances on youtube and I was totally knocked out by Norman's performance. Shortly after it disappeared from youtube and I searched in vain to see if the complete performances had ever been issued. Eventually the complete performance did surface on youtube, but I was thrilled to find earlier this tear that it had been issued on disc by BR Klassik.

I have the earlier of Muti's commercial recordings, which was recorded round about the same time as this 1981 performance. It also features Baltsa and Nesterenko, but has Scotto and Luchetti in the soprano and tenor roles. It is a performance I've always enjoyed, but it has to be said that this live one trumps it. It doesn't have the precision of the studio effort, but there is a real sense of occasion and the soloists could hardly be bettered.

This is the only instance I know of Norman singing the soprano part and she is absolutely magnificent, just as intelligent as Scotto, but more comfortable in the upper regions of the role, where Scotto can be squally. Carreras is at his youthful, honeyed best, his voice still very beautiful and singing with wonderful commitment. Baltsa and Nesterenko are even finer than they were in the studio version.

Muti's conducting is urgently dramatic, but also tender and lyrical. In short this is one of the best performances I've ever heard of the work and might just now become my favourite.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2821 on: November 22, 2021, 06:53:48 PM »
BTW these Bychkov recordings are from a very cheap box currently selling for 12.99€ at JPC:



The Strauss, Wagner and Verdi are superb, with state of the art sound. The Rachmaninoff disc, too except I’m not overly fond of these particular scores  :-\

Are these discs hybrid, Andre? If they are, I'll definitely be acquiring this set.
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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2822 on: November 23, 2021, 02:19:50 PM »
Are these discs hybrid, Andre? If they are, I'll definitely be acquiring this set.

You mean can they be played as regular CDs ? Yes, that’s it. I don’t own a SACD player.

Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2823 on: November 23, 2021, 05:36:55 PM »
NP

First ever listen to this opera.
The CD set I have carries over the cover art of the LP issue above. A later CD issue was seemingly produced by a design team that didn't realize the opera was not set in Paris 1910.

Full cast listing

The booklet has a lengthy essay diving into the compositional and performance history, plus a musicological analysis, in English and French, but only the German portion has a synopsis of the action on stage. (Did they think Germans weren't up on their Homer?)  So non-Germanophones must actually read the libretto to see where it diverges from Homer (most important omissions seem to be cutting out Telemachus entirely, and making the finale less violent: only the suitors are killed, not the disloyal maids, and in place of the confrontation with the suitors' families, the people of Ithaca acclaim their returned king.)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 05:44:34 PM by JBS »

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2824 on: November 24, 2021, 03:58:40 AM »
NP

First ever listen to this opera.
The CD set I have carries over the cover art of the LP issue above. A later CD issue was seemingly produced by a design team that didn't realize the opera was not set in Paris 1910.

Full cast listing

The booklet has a lengthy essay diving into the compositional and performance history, plus a musicological analysis, in English and French, but only the German portion has a synopsis of the action on stage. (Did they think Germans weren't up on their Homer?)  So non-Germanophones must actually read the libretto to see where it diverges from Homer (most important omissions seem to be cutting out Telemachus entirely, and making the finale less violent: only the suitors are killed, not the disloyal maids, and in place of the confrontation with the suitors' families, the people of Ithaca acclaim their returned king.)

I had this set on LP with the cover detailed above and now have the same CD issue you posted.

I do like the opera. The music is rather beautiful, but it's a bit lacking in dramatic event. It works well enough as an aural experience though. This is a fine recording of it too.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2825 on: November 24, 2021, 04:20:13 AM »
I had this set on LP with the cover detailed above and now have the same CD issue you posted.

I do like the opera. The music is rather beautiful, but it's a bit lacking in dramatic event. It works well enough as an aural experience though. This is a fine recording of it too.
+1

I too had this recording of Pénélope on LP in its original garb, and now with the floral fin-de-siècle cover. IMHO, the best bit probably is the prelude, but the whole thing is beautiful (despite it being very static). And Jessye Norman, as usual, is outstanding!

Fauré made a reduction of the prelude for solo piano, which works wonderfully well IMO:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/SL4YEgSZXwk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/SL4YEgSZXwk</a>

EDIT (THREAD DUTY):

Act II of Parsifal, in Daniel Barenboim's 1991 studio recording.


This, of course is the "Kundry act", and what a Kundry! Waltraud Meier was for decades the greatest exponent of the role, and here she is in extraordinary form. Barenboim is a Wagner conductor to reckon with, perhaps slightly of the traditional, "reverential" type, but the results here are first-class: a Berlin Philharmonic in excellent shape, the marvels of this wonderfully scored piece apparent in each bar, and the conductor manages to shape of the whole act perfectly. Gunther von Kannen is sounds simultaneously elegant and tormented as Klingsor (and this fits the rôle perfectly). Siegfried Jerusalem is perfectly adequate as Parsifal, singing with class, but I tend to find this tenor somewhat anonymous (even the two times I saw him live in this opera).
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 05:27:46 AM by ritter »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2826 on: November 24, 2021, 07:57:26 AM »
You mean can they be played as regular CDs ? Yes, that’s it. I don’t own a SACD player.

Yep and thanks for the feedback. At that price, it's rather enticing I must say.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2827 on: November 24, 2021, 09:58:09 AM »


EDIT (THREAD DUTY):

Act II of Parsifal, in Daniel Barenboim's 1991 studio recording.


This, of course is the "Kundry act", and what a Kundry! Waltraud Meier was for decades the greatest exponent of the role, and here she is in extraordinary form. Barenboim is a Wagner conductor to reckon with, perhaps slightly of the traditional, "reverential" type, but the results here are first-class: a Berlin Philharmonic in excellent shape, the marvels of this wonderfully scored piece apparent in each bar, and the conductor manages to shape of the whole act perfectly. Gunther von Kannen is sounds simultaneously elegant and tormented as Klingsor (and this fits the rôle perfectly). Siegfried Jerusalem is perfectly adequate as Parsifal, singing with class, but I tend to find this tenor somewhat anonymous (even the two times I saw him live in this opera).

[Emphasis added] Agreed. Meier "owned" the role of Kundry for a long time, and she was near peak form at the time of this recording. Good observations on Barenboim and Jerusalem as well.

I attended a 1992 NY Met Opera Parsifal with Meier and Jerusalem, but Levine conducted.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 10:15:20 AM by T. D. »

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2828 on: November 24, 2021, 01:14:56 PM »
First listen to Vincent d’Indy’s Fervaal, in this super-budget release of a 1962 French radio performance:


D’Indy’s L’Étranger, AFAIK his only other opera to have been recorded (on the Accord label), made a very week impression on me when I listened to it some years ago. This is a more ambitious work, and the prelude has been recorded often (by Monteux, for instance). According to Wikipedia, some refer to this as the “Parsifal français”. I am inclined to say it’s a “Parsifal de pacotille”  ::).  The admittedly very adroit orchestration doesn’t compensate for the obvious lack of worthwhile thematic material or development, and the originally Swedish plot, transplanted to the South of France to make it more “national”, seems uninteresting.

The radio performance (in tolerable sound) is undistinguished.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 01:18:47 PM by ritter »
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