GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: Brewski on April 24, 2007, 10:04:11 AM

Title: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on April 24, 2007, 10:04:11 AM
Just a few to get the ball rolling...

Frederica von Stade: Live in Edinburgh 1976.  A treasure, recorded with pianist Martin Isepp, in a great program of Dorumsgaard, Mahler, Ives, Poulenc, Britten and Offenbach. 

Dawn Upshaw: The Girl with Orange Lips.  Worth it just for Earl Kim's Where Grief Slumbers alone, but there's more: outstanding sets by Ravel, Stravinsky, Falla and Delage.

Karita Mattila: Arias & Scenes.  Bought it for the scene from Janacek's Jenufa, but was equally wowed by her Wagner, Puccini, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky.

Gerald Finley: A Song for Anything.  Roughly a third of Charles Ives' 114 songs, well-chosen and extremely well-characterized by Finley and his marvelous pianist, Stuart Drake. 

Jessye Norman: Richard Strauss Lieder.  One of the first CDs I ever bought, and still a favorite, with the debut recording (I believe) of "Malven," the little Strauss gem that was unearthed in the mid-1980s.  Geoffrey Parsons is miraculous at the piano.

What's really depressing is that assembling this small list makes me realize how many great recital recordings I don't have... :'(

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Xenophanes on April 24, 2007, 01:14:33 PM
Jussi Bjoerling at Carnegie Hall

http://www.amazon.com/Jussi-Bjoerling-at-Carnegie-Hall/dp/B000003F1Q/ref=sr_1_11/104-7564307-3333512?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177451904&sr=1-11

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 10:44:45 AM
I am surprised there have been so very few responses to Bruce's topic.

I have masses of solo discs, but to count as a recital disc, I was thinking that it ought to have been a planned recital as against a ragbag compilation. Over the years a lot of singers have recorded the bulk of specific recitals that they have been touring with that year.

However, the first one I want to mention is by a relative newcomer, she has recorded a recital disc for EMI in their Debut series. Subsequent to this issue, she has recorded Marzelline in the new Colin Davis Fidelio and the soprano part in Rattle's Carmina Burana.

The singer is Sally Matthews. Although she is in fact quite an experienced singer, this is her first recital. She has a clear, clean, sweet soprano voice. It is a Pamina voice and this is one part she has sung. There is vibrato when needed and she floats the high notes really beautifully. Her singing is poised.

The disc comprises of a group of Schubert, a few Strauss, some Poulenc and one song by someone called Bachelet, who the booklet is silent about beyond telling us he is principally famous for writing opera!??

The disc opens with a very atmospheric version of Nacht und Traume, she is good at the seeming stillness at the centre of the song and the pianist is the sure footed Malcolm Martineau. He can usually be relied upon to prevent singers from any self indulgence. That group includes a beautiful timeless version of what was almost the last song Schubert wrote, The Shepherd on the Rock. The rippling Clarenet player is Thomas Watmough and altogether this track reminded me of the early recording made by Margaret Price. Litani is also included, again, she captures the stasis of that prayerful song.

The Strauss includes the lively and the gentle, almost inevitably, Morgan gets a run out, but so well done, it is sheer pleasure. There is also an extatic version of Cacilie with the pianist producing an orchestra of sound.

Turning to the Poulenc, she sings eight songs, they seem to be over in a flash, tangy and in what sounds to me like very good French.

Finally a five and a half minute song, Chere nuit by Bachelet. What a nice surprise, substantial in every way, late 19th century French with lovely arching melody and reminiscent of Faure.

Altogether a lovely disc.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AXHMJTZ3L._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: karlhenning on April 27, 2007, 10:51:39 AM
I am surprised there have been so very few responses to Bruce's topic.

I know what you mean.  Girl with orange lips, eh?  ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on April 27, 2007, 12:41:56 PM
However, the first one I want to mention is by a relative newcomer, she has recorded a recital disc for EMI in their Debut series. Subsequent to this issue, she has recorded Marzelline in the new Colin Davis Fidelio and the soprano part in Rattle's Carmina Burana.

The singer is Sally Matthews. Although she is in fact quite an experienced singer, this is her first recital. She has a clear, clean, sweet soprano voice. It is a Pamina voice and this is one part she has sung. There is vibrato when needed and she floats the high notes really beautifully. Her singing is poised.

This sounds great.  Nice program, and an excellent accompanist, too, in Malcolm Martineau.  I'm always eager to discover great new singers, so thanks for posting this!

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on April 27, 2007, 12:59:57 PM
I was meaning to contribute here all along but my Opera and Vocal collection is quite meagre really, I don't think I have more than 20-25 recital discs in all. And I love almost every single one so it would be very difficult to single anything out.

Currently, I'm listening for the first time to the 4-disc Leontyne Price recital set that Mike recently recommended - and I can see very clearly that it's going to be a favorite. (Thanks, Mike! :D)

Another one I really like is this disc by Kathleen Ferrier. The first couple of tracks always raise my spirits when I'm down:
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41WH31TMAYL._AA240_.jpg)

I recently missed a severely underpriced copy of her 10 disc Decca set. :-\

Maciek
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 01:20:10 PM
I have several of the Debut recitals. I thoroughly recommend the following two.

Firstly, Katerina Karneus accompanied by Roger Vignoles.

Karneus won Cardiff Singer of the World in 1995, It is a mystery to me as to why she is not a high profile star. I have seen her as Octavian and she was superb. An excellent actress, she has a great touch with comedy.

This is a rich voice, but it can scale the heights with an almost soprano tone. Lots of light and darkness. She characterises songs telling a story vividly. The voice is well schooled and she did record an excellent Nuits d'ete that was attached to the BBC Music Mag, but otherwise it is unavailable.

In this recital she has, as do others, mixed standard repertoire with some esoteric material. Richard Strauss, Mahler and Joseph Marx.

I will not give a blow by blow description, but especially like the Mahler, various Knaben Wunderhorn songs, not all from the common collection, indeed some rarely recorded songs that make a nice change and a contained grave and beautiful reading of the Ruckert Lieder.

Vignoles is a real partner and he especially provides an ebe and flow.

The Marx songs are very much in the late romantic German tradition with a twist in the harmonic language. Karneus delivers them with real feeling and detail. He insists on a wide range in the songs and as indicated, this singer has no trouble with the huge leaps and throws the ribons of melody into the air, to let them hang there.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HJ0NC66EL._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on April 27, 2007, 01:34:40 PM
Thanks for the recs, Mike. I don't think I've ever seen/noticed the Debut series before! :o Will have to look around...
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 01:35:05 PM
Another Debut disc, this time from a singer who may well be familiar. Alice Coote. She was singing Sesto at the Met last week. But I have several times read that she has cancelled concerts at short notice. Usually a real risky thing for an up and coming sinder, but, there she is at the Met.

This is a darker voice, grainy, vibrant, a highly individual timbre. An intelligent singer. Her recital is a fairly extraordinary collection of pieces that in the UK are pretty much regarded as Janet Baker territory, She throws down the gauntlet. At no point did she remind me of Baker, she is working them through for herself.

Mahler songs from Knaben Wunderhorn
Schumann Frauenliebe und leben
Mahler Ruckertlieder
Hayden Arianna a Naxos

The general tone of the recital is quite grave, Julius Drake is a real poet of an accompanist. He creates moonlit landscapes and matches Coote's range of volume. My own feeling is that she does not communicate quite as directly as Baker, but she is very much worth listening to. In Ulricht she is not as hieratic as I like. But in general her Mahler very much suits her. The Haydn is arched well across the various recits and arias, it feels of a piece. She uses the words dramatically. Very much one of the coming voices and this, her first and very bold recital.

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41V60W2Y6TL._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 01:39:04 PM
My pleasure Mr Osa, I can play this game all night and into tomorrow. I have the Ferrier disc, an unmistakable voice. The opening of the first Kindertotenlieder is like listening to a stained glass window. The voice sounds so immediate as though fresh and happening now, rather than almost 60 years ago.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on April 27, 2007, 01:40:30 PM
My pleasure Mr Osa, I can play this game all night and into tomorrow.

Well, it's Saturday tomorrow, we can all stay up a little... ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on April 27, 2007, 01:49:38 PM
The general tone of the recital is quite grave, Julius Drake is a real poet of an accompanist. He creates moonlit landscapes and matches Coote's range of volume.

Isn't he just great!  I'd never heard him until getting that Gerald Finley CD, and Drake's playing really made me sit up and take notice. 

I forgot Coote is getting such great reviews in Giulio Cesare here...

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 01:58:26 PM
Now for a favourite disc by a favourite singer. Bryn Terfel. Despite him being another frequent canceller of appearances, he is just so good that he gets all the work he wants. Here I feel is a phenomenal artist. He has his kitchy side and there have been rather a lot of crossover discs. But he is a chameleon. He can sing Broadway songs without making you wince. He can sing Wotan with jawdropping authority and drama.

However of all his work, the disc that has given me the most pleasure is called The Vagabond. As the title may indicate, it means we have Vaughn Williams cycle of songs Songs of Travel. If he had never recorded any other works, this would have thrown him to the top of the pile as a singer who communicates. Song after song comes out as you may have heard it in you head, but had never heard it in life. The particular highlight is The Infinite shining heavens. VW wants some very tricky hairpins in volume Terfel delivers them all and the piece becomes liquid poetry.

There is a collection of Finzi songs, Butterworth and Ireland. Here is authority and tenderness, imagination and word pointing, aided and abetted by Malcolm Martineau.

A Shropshire Lad consists of six Butterworth songs. The final one is about a ghost questioning a living friend about what has been happening while he was dead. Ultimately a bitter song, the friend bedded the dead man's sweetheart and the living man gives an ambiguous deflecting reply to a question about her. Terfel fined his voice and empties it of tone for the ghost. It is a remarkable end to a remarkable disc.

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/413C6N6XHML._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on April 27, 2007, 02:05:03 PM
Now for a favourite song by a favourite singer. Bryn Terfel. Despite him being another frequent canceller of appearances, he is just so good that he gets all the work he wants. Here I feel is a phenomenal artist. He has his kitchy side and there have been rather a lot of crossover discs. But he is a chameleon. He can sing Broadway songs without making you wince. He can sing Wotan with jawdropping authority and drama.

Oh I totally agree with you here, and I forgot I have this CD.  Should revisit it, since he is splendid in all of this repertoire. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on April 27, 2007, 02:15:21 PM
I only have one disc:
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/61B45TQYFSL._AA240_.jpg)

I quite like it. :)

OK, I also have the duets with Cecilia Bartoli but found that a bit disappointing... :(

(You guys notice how this has changed into a moderator-only thread? ;) LOL)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 02:18:29 PM
Bruce, I heard that Handel performance on radio and Coote was indeed good. The main event though was David Daniels as Caesar and he sounded on top form; going from strength to strength as the opera progressed.

The first time I heard him was a TV relay of Theodora, an oratorio produced as an opera by Glyndbourne. He and Hunt Lieberson together simply transfixed Jane and me. Sweetness allied with expressive ability. As soon as the video came out I got it and we played it to the point part of it stretched. Eventually it surfaced on DVD and we also snapped that up. I did so want it to appear on CD, but it did not. However, the arias for Daniels from the piece were included on a recital he issued in 2002. This is a disc of oratorio arias, but what does it matter, opera or oratorio, in sound only, I am just grateful for whatever turns up.

Daniels is one of the new turbo charged Countertenors. He can sing softly, sweetly, but can also manage reasonable volume while coping with the colouratura aspects of the works.

Here we get Belshazzar, Semele, Saul, Jeptha, Messiah and the core of the disc, four arias from Theodora. From that piece comes The Raptured Soul, eight taxing minutes, superbly sung, the melismas magical, the breath control allowing extraordinary long lines. The beautiful aria from Saul has unfortunately been shorn of the exquisite harp prelude, it is fine, but Scholl is just that bit better in that aria. Said to now be at his peak, though Lis does not agree, I just hope the stream of recitals does not dry up. There are two Handel discs, this is one, but the other is just as good. But he will have to watch....Jaroussky is younger and is chasing on his heels.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ERM0T2K1L._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 02:21:22 PM

(You guys notice how this has changed into a moderator-only thread? ;) LOL)

Well, Mods have such good taste. I have that second disc, it is good, but not quite as fine as the first. Comparatively speaking he rushes the title song. It needs more time to allow that hot summer stillness to pervade.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on April 27, 2007, 02:22:50 PM
You must be right about the good taste because I consciously used the word "like" instead of "love" there. 0:) :)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on April 27, 2007, 02:28:42 PM
Daniels is one of the new turbo charged Countertenors. He can sing softly, sweetly, but can also manage reasonable volume while coping with the colouratura aspects of the works.

Interesting...I just haven't heard enough of him.  Most countertenors, in fact, are a bit of a blind spot for me -- not sure why, other than the repertoire is usually off my radar.  But almost everyone I spoke with who heard (or saw) this production said it was great.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 02:34:11 PM
Bruce, I think countertenors are an acquired taste, but if you get the bug, it is rewarding.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on April 27, 2007, 04:49:57 PM
Somehow I missed this thread!

For me there are so many excellent recital discs it's hard to choose even a half-dozen favorites. But if my arm were twisted I might choose these:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41J636P2J9L._SS400_.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CJZKX1YEL._SS500_.jpg)

(http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/380/384289.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/9962873.jpg)


These next two are group recitals but I just couldn't resist:


(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/22/57/fb9f92c008a01e4dbd23c010.L.jpg) (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/94/3d/ce68228348a04cdcee9be010.L.jpg)

Not pictured:

• A double disc recital by the heavenly Elisabeth Grümmer singing Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, etc... on Gala. Unusually for Gala the sound comes up clean and clear, here.

• Jessye Norman in a mixed recital featuring songs by Duparc, Poulenc, Satie, and my favorite song rendition by anyone anywhere, Ravel's Kaddisch.


Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: zamyrabyrd on April 27, 2007, 09:46:38 PM
Anyone for a Liederabend with Rita Streich and Gunther Wiessenhorn (DG)? Couldn't find a picture though.
"Waltzen und Arien" also wunderbar.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/519G8ZS77CL._AA240_.jpg)

ZB



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 27, 2007, 11:26:45 PM
ZB, I have some of those tracks on a compilation set, she had a way with these pieces, though I find a handful is better than a glut. After a long time with her material in the vaults, DGG have been issuing the odd disc. A realy beautiful voice.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 28, 2007, 03:21:44 AM
Across my collection I have quite a varied representation of the singing of Leontine Price. When I set out collecting LPs, I gravitated towards Maria Callas and so often she imprints so many phrases on your brain that it is difficult not to find other singers bland. Price initially fell under the Callas shadow as I listened to her Tosca, Carmen, Aida. The word pointing was just not there. But through time I have grown to appreciate just what a superb singer she has been and that in fact she was far from bland and was adventurous in her repertoire. I understand that she eventually reduced her live appearances to about 60 a year in the belief it would preserve her voice. Whether this was necessary or not, she remains in consistently good voice on all the discs I own.

Apart from a four disc set of five recital discs that span Purcell to Menotti, I also have a disc of Richard Strauss scenes. Was she a Strauss soprano? I am not too clear just what her stage roles were, but in the studio she convinces.

This disc has substantial scenes and is not exactly setting out to be a crowd pleaser. We have 14 minutes of Die Frau onhe Shatten, pieces from Gutram, Ariadne, Rosenkavalier, Die Egyptische Helana and Salome.

The voice is so full top to bottom, always right on the note. She opens up the tone on long notes and makes them bloom. Her breath control is excellent. She is a highly musical singer, phrasing is noticeably good, with that breath capacity, she can seemingly do what she likes.

As to blandness, listen to the Rosankavalier, Marschallin's monologue. At once she bites into the words, the speech aspect comes out well....a real inner conversation.

As might be expected with a singer who has this equipment, she rides the orchestra ecstatically in Es gibt ein Reich.

Most tracks are conducted by Leinsdorf, I think he could have generated a bit more excitement, especially in the Ariadne, his pacing of Salome is much better., though these are not at all the sonambulant type of performances that Eschenbach permitted Renee Fleming to committ on her Strauss scenes disc. The recordings come from 1965 to 73, though there is under an hour here. A valuable disc showing a singer at the top of her game and applying her skills to some highways and byways of pieces I think she mostly did not perform on stage.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/416C7E46TJL._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: zamyrabyrd on April 28, 2007, 09:20:54 AM
Yeah, it's about time to rediscover and appreciate Leontyne Price.

ZB
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on April 30, 2007, 09:02:01 AM
Most tracks are conducted by Leinsdorf, I think he could have generated a bit more excitement, especially in the Ariadne, his pacing of Salome is much better., though these are not at all the sonambulant type of performances that Eschenbach permitted Renee Fleming to committ on her Strauss scenes disc. The recordings come from 1965 to 73, though there is under an hour here. A valuable disc showing a singer at the top of her game and applying her skills to some highways and byways of pieces I think she mostly did not perform on stage.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/416C7E46TJL._AA240_.jpg)

Mike

I like this disc, too.  When Salome was here a couple of years ago, I wanted to do an "A/B" comparison with people singing the final scene, so I must have bought four or five different recordings of it, including this one.  (To be honest, I've only listened to the rest of the disc once or twice, and not for any good reason.  :-[  :-[  :-[)

But Price was a wonder!  I only wish I had been around during her prime, to see her in person.  I did see her Carnegie Hall recital back in the 1980s (the one captured on disc) but never in an operatic role at the Met, or elsewhere.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 08, 2007, 06:05:48 AM
Richard Strauss Lieder Simon Keenlyside Malcolm Martineau.

22 of Strauss's songs without the orchestra. I do miss that sumptuousness in some of the songs. Of course, these were not all set for other than piano accompaniment. There are some here that are new to me, of course there are favourites too.

This disc was made 10 years ago and there was a companion to it of Schubert songs, also on Classics for Pleasure.

Keenlyside has a nut brown voice, he can seemingly sing anything he turns his voice to and sing it exceptionally well. A lot of these have been grabbed from what we think of as soprano territory. I will mention two specifically that fall into that category. Befreit and Cacille. The first requires a voice of almost Wagnerian proportions and the ability to use the momentum to fly with the voice. Keenlyside and the piano, just don't manage it. It is good, but not ecstatic. By contrast he does succeed with the Cacille where the impetus is right and rapture achieved.

My touchstone for Standchen is Siegfried Jerusalem, he provides an enchanting version, seductive, quivering. Keenlyside sounds both choppy and grainy.

Other songs come up a treat and it is certainly worth buying. I think it is best heard in groups of a handful as against the full programme, varied and far from Bonbon land though it is.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on May 09, 2007, 05:33:02 PM
Some old favourites:

- Franco Corelli's EMI recital (his Calaf and Mario Cavaradossi arias here have never been approached, much better than his integral sets of Turandot and Tosca. And his accounts of A te o cara and Spirto gentil are breathtaking). 1961 (?)

- Callas à Paris (1961).

- Edda Moser Mozart recital (late sixties?).

- Elly Ameling, Schubertiade (including the most beautiful Shepherd On The Rock I've ever heard).

- The Decca recital of 'stratospheric coloratura' by Mado Robin. Some hate her, I just listen and smile.

Among more recent ones, I like the ones by Rolando Villazon and the French arias disc by Magdalena Kozena.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 10, 2007, 02:05:44 AM
Three very well filled DGG discs of Grace Bumbry. All early recordings. Until now I have had a few of her complete opera recordings, but no recital discs. Last year on TV I saw a very recent concert of her singing lieder. What struck me was just how fresh her voice sounded, so recognisably her and seemingly untouched by age. I was also impressed by her detailed interpretations. She was simply superb.

The discs coyly do not give her date of birth. A little googling and I can see she is 70 and that the recorded concert I saw came from 2002!

Here is one of the main singers about whom we can wrangle as to whether she has ever been a true soprano, she started out, mainly, as a mezzo, moved in and out of soprano roles and in her twilight years settled for the mezzo concert repertoire. However, here is a really interesting article, it indicates she could successfully subdue the Immolation Scene in the year 2000.

 http://race%20bumbryhttp//www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,180.new.html%23new


She had sung Norma and that killer role from Nabucco. Whatever worked or did not, whatever was supposedly outside her range, her voice has lasted as well as any.

What prompted me to look a little closer was that the recording dates on the first track here are 1958. Surely this is one of the longest careers.

She has been accused of blandness, her Carmen under characterised. Once more we have a singer in the shadow of Callas. But in retrospect was she bland...or was she expressive within bounds, bounds that enabled her a 50 year career?

I have never found that EMI Carmen to be bland, the voice so suits the part. But I had never understood how versatile she was until I listened to these discs and read up on her a bit.

All three discs are packed, they start with Handel. I had anticipated a generalised, let's try some Handel style....far from it. She started out professionally singing Handel and there is a real feel for the idiom, she is simply superb. Orfeo, Santuzza, Carmen, Sapho and Dalila all are fulfilled with that burnished, generous tone. It can be voluptuous, it is lightened. There is verbal acuity. But perhaps best of a good disc are the tracks from El amor brujo. Tangy, full of life. Mazzel was the conductor in 1965. I would not mind getting hold of the full disc.

Disc two is over 80 minutes, Ballo, Don Carlo....here we get a first rate O don Fatale, but following it, we get a genuinely soprano sounding act 4 Elizabeth's aria...all 10 minutes...this in 1965 when we really were thinking of her as a mezzo. Aida, Lady Macbeth...which suits her exceptionally well; then the historic Tannhauser, live. The very first black singer to gatecrash Wagner's own theatre.

Then generous gorgeous toned Brahms. Finally the third disc, clearly she benefited from being taught by Lehman, she is a natural lieder singer and along with further Brahms there is Schubert, Liszt, Wolf and Richard Strauss. In Schubert's Litanei, she is not sufficiently inward. Wolf's Verborgenheit is wonderfully arched, the drama brought out. I would like more detail and recall from that late recital that clearly a lifetime with the songs had deepened her interpretations. But what is here gives great pleasure.

A real three course banquet.

(http://www.omm.de/feuilleton/bilder/bumbry-carmen1-.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 08:00:50 AM
Resurrection Man, the name of a novel by Ian Rankin, the Scots novelist. I am taking on that role of revival with this thread.

I have just written up one recital disc on the Kathleen Ferrier thread and here I write about another sadly truncated career, 50 years between them and a very similar impact. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. If you cannot take what might be termed as spiritually charged interpretations, then this is not the singer for you.

This disc was recently issued in the Wigmore Hall Recital series, but under a different guise I caught it when issued by the BBC several years ago. It did not get all that much attention then; now of course it is greeted with open arms.

This is a true recital, a complete live performance. Mahler Ruckert Lieder, some Handel, a Brahms song and a handful of Peter Liberson songs. Shortly after the recital they were married.

The pianist here is Roger Vignoles. The Mahler partnership is strong with deep concentration and focus, very moving and beautiful. I much prefer these in their orchestral guise, but this is an exceptionally intimate interpretation. Um Mitternacht is sung last and has that calm and stasis that I feel is vital, the silences as telling as the notes.

Handel is represented by firsly 'Scherza infida' from Ariodante. This can be sung as an elegy to lost love or with anger and bitterness. Lieberson finds lots of shades and does not stick to one approach, more mercurial. This aria is quite a sing. After this comes what to this point was her only preserved Theodora aria commerating that famous Glyndbourne production. Subsequently Harry Bicket put money together to ensure all Irene's Theodora arias were preserved. That disc is indispensable. Here we get again a concentrated and benedictory version of 'As with rosy steps the morn.' Another aria almost eight minutes long, but instead of display, this one needs and gets exemplary line, long breathed phrases and an inwardness most singers cannot approach.

The Lieberson songs are a good contrast, two in German to words of Rike and after a further song, Deep River. They are grateful songs to sing. They exploit top to bottom of her warm voice and she responds in full to the words. The audience is wonderfully silent, their ultimate applause rewarded with an unusual Brahms choice, a most beautiful and poetic song, 'Unbewegte, laue Luft' Here the pianist has at least as much responsibility for the atmosphere and the wonderful gear changes. The ardent second section gives way to a rapt close and the audience must have floated out, replete, filled, fufilled.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 08:33:16 AM
Dimitri Hvorostovsky comes across as the ultimate ultra-healthy stage animal. Magnetism and zest radiate out of him. This week I have been watching some of this year's Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. As may be recalled, he and Terfel took the prizes in 1989. Though Terfel got what was considered as second best with the song prize. A vintage year. One of Hvorostovsky's competition Verdi performances is on YouTube,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1fmtMMDrLk

It has such authority, it is such compelling singing from a magnetic performer. Little this year competes with it. Though there is a jaw-dropping 23 year old Chinese baritone who will undoubtedly be famous; Shen Yang, whether or not he wins tonight.

HE WON< HE WON< HE WON< HE WON


This year the Russian entrant was in my view the least able singer, a raw student without even the notes for the pieces she sang! Frankly a poor do after they had previously been able to field such as Hvorostovsky.

I have been listening to his Philips recital from 1990, Verdi and Tchaikovsky arias. Short groups of each interspersed with one another. The Rotterdam Phil is conducted by Gergiev, a rather better than safe pair of hands. The recital is a real treasure trove of fantastic singing. No one manages long legato phrasing better than this singer. He seems inexhaustible. The video I link you to above shows just how remarkable his breath control is. On that video, you are aware he is breathing in, here on this recording, he seems altogether to dispense with the requirement.

After the competition, there was discussion as to whether Terfel ought to have won. He is the more obviously expressive singer, but DH is far from bland. He builds phrases cumulatively and does not draw any out of the arc of the plan of the music. The voice is gorgeous, dark brown and placed forwardly. There is no Slavic wobble and his Italian is good; without truly savouring the sound of the language in the way of native singers.

He gives us arias from Traviata, Macbeth, Lucia Miller, Trovatore and finally that stunner O Carlo, ascolta from Don Carlos, indeed we do listen.

The Tchaikovsky showcases his haughty Onegin, his impassioned Yeletski, the line of Ja vas I'ubl'u takes legato singing back to that generation where it was the bedrock of great singing. The Sorceress, Iolanthe and Mazeppa are also plundered for the plums.

Students ought to be made to absorb the lessons this singing can teach. That long Don Carlos aria is the satisfying and stunning close to the disc.

I wonder what tonight's competition will bring?

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on June 17, 2007, 10:22:39 AM
I really like Hvorostovsky's "Songs and Dances of Death" by Mussorgsky.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 10:26:16 AM
Barbara Hendricks is a favourite singer of mine, I like an identifiable voice and her singing is often very beautiful. Not all discs have been entirely successful. I recall a Britten issue where she was quite simply not sufficiently inside the idiom.

Here is a late disc, 2002 roughly speaking.

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FVH3ARHSL._AA240_.jpg)

Whatever sort of planning went towards the programme? It feels like a random selection flung at the wall, some stick nicely, others slide to the floor, elegantly.

Here is the order of composers....Catalani, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Bizet, Stravinsky, Celia, Puccini, Bizet, Richard Strauss. A rummage sale, dispirate styles jammed uncomfortably up against one another. There is some distortion of sound in loud passages, in itself an oddity. The orch is Radio France lead by Paavo Jarvi.

What works?

The Debussy L'Enfante prodigue, her French as always excellent, the Stravinsky Rakes progress.


Capriccio, the final scene, I love the silvery quality, but here and elsewhere there is now a beat in the middle of the voice that goes beyond vibrancy. The recital opens with La Wally, this voice was never right for this aria and the infirm tone is immediately obvious. She tries to sing it as though it was for the soubrette. There is a fragility and I get the feeling she is often fighting with the voice to get it to do almost what it once did effortlessly. An occasional parched tone strikes in the odd note. Had the recital been recorded 10 years before, then verdant freshness would have replaced the 'effort' needed in both Cappriccio and the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin.

There are still beautiful things, but the string of pearls seems now not to be evenly polished.

Butterfly.....no, too late.

This one is for fans, not a bad disc, but one that stresses the end of that best phase in a singer's life where the balance of freshness and artistry has now tipped.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 10:37:08 AM
I really like Hvorostovsky's "Songs and Dances of Death" by Mussorgsky.

Go on Anne, give us some more thoughts on the disc, I am listening to it now. Do you know the Fassbaender version?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on June 17, 2007, 05:40:27 PM
The only Fassbaender disc I have is Winterreise on DVD.  Very nice!  I like it.

I'll have to beg off from Mussorgsky's "Songs and Dances of Death" by Hvorostovsky until I can locate the CD.  I was staying with my daughter and her family for 6 years, helping with young children (17 months and a newborn - oops! lol!) so mom could graduate from law school and pass the bar.)  Every time I came home to visit, I'd haul a few (20!  LOL!) CD's back to her house.  Now I am at home full time and need to colate the 2 collections.

Have you heard Hvorotovsky's CD, "Kalinka" (Russian folk songs) w/St. Petersburg Chamber Choir and Nicolai Korniev?  It is terrific!  I'm embarassed to say this.  I must have listened to that CD at least 20 times before I realized there were no instruments accompaning the the singers!  The choral writing was so good that the voices filled all the air space.  Does anyone know what I am trying to say?

I don't know how others feel but I very much enjoy Russian choruses.  In Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina the choral singing is so clear and true and beautiful.

This is just my guessing but their choruses sound like there is an age limit for their singers and only the best may sing.  They seem to have very high standards.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 09:16:25 PM
Anne, I can dance all round your mention of Kalinka, but I don't have it. My folk song disc with Hvorostovsky is called Dark Eyes, there is a folk-orchestra. I am not over fond of the disc. I also have the Red Army choir doing all the usuals, Dark Eyes, Volga Boatman etc...though not Kalinka. Finally I have The St. Petersburg Chamber Choir in a beautiful disc called, 'The Soul of Russia'. A' capella classical pieces by such as Rachmaninov, Kalinnikov etc. A very skilled group of singers.

The Fassbaender Winterreise is quite a disc and she brings that kind of intensity to the Songs and Dances of Death. The final song is spinechilling.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on June 18, 2007, 04:23:31 AM
Anne, I can dance all round your mention of Kalinka, but I don't have it. My folk song disc with Hvorostovsky is called Dark Eyes, there is a folk-orchestra. I am not over fond of the disc.
Mike

I think I have that same "Dark Eyes" disc and I do not like it either - almost never listen to it.  To me it seems vulgar or something.

"Kalinka" is very different.  A song may have a fast tempo but there is a control or artistry in evidence.  If you decide to acquire it, I think you will not be disappointed.  In fact if you get it and don't like it, I will pay for the disc.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Drasko on June 18, 2007, 05:06:44 AM
Hvorostovsky singing A Dark Night

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nB7Q6hcY14 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nB7Q6hcY14)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 21, 2007, 12:19:41 AM
Barbara Hendricks again......this time prime-time from 1981. A strange kind of crossover album. This one takes Gershwin standards and turns them into something akin to art songs.

The man I love, They can't take that away from me, But not for me....these are included in the 10 tracks.

In this approach she is lead rather than aided by The Labeque sisters. They provide a great deal of 'extemporised' material, (The sort that is meticulously worked out before hand.) that gives some of the pieces a distinct blues feeling. 'Summertime' has a section for the pianists in the middle, it seems to bare no relation to what is in the score, but it works well. There is a kind of serious playfulness, a splashiness. Has anyone seen Joe lasts 12 minutes, as long as a long Handel aria. The singer enters after three and a half minutes of piano. Here the pianists provide an often tender accompaniment that develops into what feels like an extended suite, eventually returning to the song.

The actual playing often feels assertive rather then fun to me, but I nevertheless enjoy it. Hendricks sings beautifully, the characteristic vibrancy and creaminess is well caught. Less swooping up to notes than is often the case. A habit I deplore in other singers, but almost look for with her.

There is about 45 minutes of music on the disc, it is a world away from Ella, but it is an approach that works in its own terms.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/411J9VT1SJL._AA240_.jpg)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on June 21, 2007, 03:09:13 AM
Thanks for the review, Mike. Sounds like a must have for me. I love The Labeque sisters! ;D
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on June 21, 2007, 12:23:26 PM
It's not a recital disc but I have Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass with B. Hendricks singing.  Is very beautiful.  Has she ever come to the US?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on June 21, 2007, 12:44:22 PM
Barbara Hendricks again......this time prime-time from 1981. A strange kind of crossover album. This one takes Gershwin standards and turns them into something akin to art songs.

Thanks for the comments, Mike.  I've not seen this CD, and am another admirer of the Labèques.  I might pick this up.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 21, 2007, 08:21:31 PM
It's not a recital disc but I have Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass with B. Hendricks singing.  Is very beautiful.  Has she ever come to the US?

Anne, She was born in he USA, is now a Swedish citizen and lives in Europe. She has started her own record label, though to my ears I should think she is not too likely to get further recording contracts from the biggies; as I feel her voice is frankly in its declining years.

Here is this year's concert schedule...no US or UK. If looking for recordings, anything up to about 1995 would be good.

http://www.barbarahendricks.com/home.htm

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 23, 2007, 01:42:53 AM
Anne, She was born in he USA, is now a Swedish citizen and lives in Europe. She has started her own record label, though to my ears I should think she is not too likely to get further recording contracts from the biggies; as I feel her voice is frankly in its declining years.

Here is this year's concert schedule...no US or UK. If looking for recordings, anything up to about 1995 would be good.

http://www.barbarahendricks.com/home.htm

Mike

Interestingly, I have just been given a CD-ROM of the complete Callas Masterclasses at Juilliard, at which Hendricks was a student. These were taped in 1971 and 1972. So far I have only listened to the class at which she sings Qui la voce from I Puritani (brave girl). At first the voice sounds completely unrecognizable from the one I know, and actually rather anonymous, but as she starts to work on the aria with Callas, more and more of the Hendricks we now know starts to emerge. The performance itself not only starts to take shape, but the voice becomes more beautiful, and a personality starts to assert itself.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 23, 2007, 01:57:59 AM
That sounds like an interesting event. Sometimes with masterclasses, I feel the teacher is really just getting the student to adopt the famous one's way of it and not getting the student to discover it for themselves. Geraint Evans was bad at this as he would take several students through a part he was famous for and try to get them to replicate his way. I assume Callas was more sensitive to the individual singer?

BTW, an order for the double EMI Hendricks Best Of ....has arrived. The first five tracks are from that late and rather unsatisfactory disc I reviewed above. Butterfly etc. Hearing her right after these relative infirmities with some of her most poised and beautiful work, EG Mozart Mass in C, points up that EMI do her no favours by including those late tracks.

The second disc has some wonderful French repertoire and she does that as beautifully as can be imagined.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 23, 2007, 02:35:47 AM
Most of my favourite recitals I enjoy because they have some sort of theme or idea, rather than just being a hotch potch of arias. Unfortunately when CD came along, with its longer playing time, many recitals from the LP age were comprmoised by the addition of material from other recitals or complete recordings. I am happy to see that, in the case of Callas, EMI have now reissued all her recitals, in exactly the same format and order as their original LP issue. I wouldn't be without any of them, but her single greatest recital disc must surely be Mad Scenes, which seems to me to contain the purest distillation of her art.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/410A1GEM4CL._SS500_.jpg)

Also from the LP age, we have Sutherland's Art of the Prima Donna, still mercifully available in its original form. This still, for me, represents Sutherland at her vesy best.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/417FBKEWABL._SS500_.jpg)

However one recital that works extremely well in its CD reissue, though it is a conflation of two LP releases is Janet Baker's Berlioz CD for EMI.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41HGSB751NL._SS500_.jpg)


Amongst more modern recitals, I would single out both David Daniels' Handel arias CDs, and a lovely disc of songs with Craig Ogden on guitar, called A Quiet Thing. It has a fairly disparate group of composers and songs, that nevertheless hang together extremely well.

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41V4dgRdpjL._SS500_.jpg)



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on June 23, 2007, 06:11:28 AM
Anne, She was born in he USA, is now a Swedish citizen and lives in Europe. She has started her own record label, though to my ears I should think she is not too likely to get further recording contracts from the biggies; as I feel her voice is frankly in its declining years.

Here is this year's concert schedule...no US or UK. If looking for recordings, anything up to about 1995 would be good.

http://www.barbarahendricks.com/home.htm

Mike

Mike, thanks for that info!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 23, 2007, 10:48:33 AM
TL, I have the second two discs that you highlight. I agree that the Baker is a highly successful conflation and such a well filled disc. I have read that Baker's French is not top notch. It sounds fine to me, but then unless it is awful or there is a real French tang, such as Callas managed, I would not know.

I do especially love the Cleopatra piece, she really has the scale of it and really uses the long breathed phrases that become full of expression. She brings off a remarkable effect of emptying her voice of tone as she dies.

The Daniels disc I have to take in groups, I think the planning is intelligent, but some of the music just does not do much for me.

He seems not to have brought out a new recital for some time. I have just about all his discs, I hope the planning for new ones is not drying up.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on July 10, 2007, 09:34:23 AM
I keep forgetting to mention this wonderful disc by Bo Skovhus, which I bought after hearing his Wozzeck (excellent, not necessarily "the" version, but still good).  I love the opening Korngold, and some of the rest (e.g., Massenet, Gounod, Ambroise Thomas) is material I might not normally listen to, but his voice sells it all very well.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51F7pi9vLsL._AA240_.jpg)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 28, 2008, 10:54:03 AM
Almost a year has passed. Time to bump this thread. I have just got hold of a new issue....by a dead singer. Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson. A singer I would even listen to if she had recorded the phone directory. This disc is issued under the Avie label. It consists of arias by Bach and Handel performed by Hunt Lieberson and for the most part conducted by her long time collaborator, Craig Smith. He also died young. The indication is that there may well be more from this source, I hope so. The performances are live from The Emmanuel Archive 1992 to 1999.

The actual sound is immediate and rich, the voice three dimensional. This is the kind of balance I like.

Initially I did wonder just what they were playing at. The first aria is Bach 'Kommnt angelochten Sunder' from Cantata BWV30. It is a lilting dance, basically a call to the Faithful to get on with it! Here we open with a dirge, it sounds disastrous; almost half the normal speed. Then the singer enters and the approach is redeemed. She turns it into a meditation, depth, tenderness, a beauty that is about more than pure sound, it conveys things in itself. Suddenly the slow speed makes sense. However, very few singers could bring it off.

Nothing else is taken at an eccentric speed. After that benediction, we get all the major arias for Dejanira from Handel's Hercules. Here the voice shines and gleams. She goes through the gamut from love to anger, despair and madness. I have the Minkowsky set with Von Otter. He really charges the piece with drama to the hilt. The approach here is more measured and the singer is the focus for the drama. It is an inspired string of Arias and she does them justice.

Finally Back to Bach. One substantial aria from Cantata No 33. almost 11 minutes, yet concentration never flags. An aria of comfort. She uses very rich tone, the music almost sounds extemporised and with Bach, I regard that as the most successful possible kind of performance. In its length it unrolls before you as though it was just being created, long breathed, hypnotic and a fitting piece to leave us with. The music hangs in the air, the pizzicato echos in the head long after.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on June 28, 2008, 01:31:59 PM
Thanks for the beautiful write up, Mike. Makes one want to rush out and buy, rush out and buy!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on June 28, 2008, 02:17:38 PM
Juan Diego Florez recitals are among the most satisfying I've heard in many a moon. Not that he is a tenorisssimo (whatever that means), but everything he does offers the full package: interesting choice of material that combines the familiar and the unusual; said material suits his voice perfectly. These two points show he's an intelligent singer that doesn't pander to today's fast track, fast art type of recorded material. And the voice itself is of outstanding quality and totally unique. No clone or imitator. No Bocelli-type pumped up, hyped up small voice. He is the genuine article, less artificial and more of the ingénu than Bartoli, and a bit more fun to hear as well.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 05, 2008, 07:56:15 AM
Classical singing is not a natural process. People generally can sing a bit; but they do not just toss off Lucia's Mad Scene....even the women. It is no more natural than the relationship between Olympic runners and someone who runs to catch a bus.

So, when people claim the countertenor voice is not natural, I cannot really see their point.

All this is make way for a disc by David Daniels, possibly the best countertenor around. After quite a gap, he has now produced a new solo disc. Bach arias. In part this is an opportunity missed. The recital includes Ich Habe Genug and Vergunte Ruh...we get only part of these marvelous cantatas. I don't know what I would have got rid of to make room, but entire cantatas would have been very welcome. Daniels can be a little bland with the words, but here, he does use them and these are detailed thoughtful interpretations.

His voice is as full of sap and flexible as ever; but he does not overload the Bach with outright sweetness in the way that is more appropriate to Handel. So, no signs of a decline. He is expressive, but not in terms of the tone deployed. His expressiveness involves word pointing, phrasing and variations in volume. The tone is pretty much set, he does not use colour; what you initially hear is what you get.

I am glad to see he has reverted to Harry Bicket to accompany him, rather than the occasional speed merchant Fabio Biondi. The later was responsible for destroying Daniel's recording of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater by bashing through it as though it were a fast military march.

The English Concert are the orchestra and they are well forward in the sound picture and provide a lot of pleasure.

As well as the arias mentioned above; Daniels gives us the expected pieces from the B Minor Mass and the St John and St Matthew Passions. A very beautiful disc; I recommend it.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41%2BBlg%2Be4fL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on September 05, 2008, 08:34:49 AM
Thanks for the enticing write-up, Mike.  Even though this repertoire isn't my normal beat, I may have to give this a try.  (I have heard Bicket and like him.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 06, 2008, 12:39:55 AM
Thanks, Mike. I didn't know Daniels had a new disc out. I'm off to buy it today.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 06, 2008, 05:48:28 AM
Do let me know what you think of it.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 20, 2008, 02:25:50 PM
Daniel Taylor also has a beautiful countertenor voice. Maybe not as well honed as Daniels' but the basic material is intrinsically ome lovely. but he tends to be more laid back, even bland of expression. A bottom to Daniel's top.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on September 20, 2008, 02:37:01 PM
Another thanks for the Daniels recommendation. I was actually on the lookout for some good countertenor discs, so this came right on time! 8)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 20, 2008, 02:38:43 PM
Andre, Somehow, although I have read about him quite a few times, I have never heard Taylor. Am I right in remembering that Taylor also conducts?

I know Daniels is quite open about his private life; but I have no idea whether or not he is a 'top'.  0:)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 20, 2008, 04:00:14 PM
Mike, this is funny ! I used this lousy metaphor with absolutely no knowledge of these gentlemen's private lives. But for some reason it 'sounded' appropriate :D. Taylor does conduct (a small HIP group). I have heard him many times on records and a couple times live - most famously in Handel's Messiah, where his 'He was Despised' made time stand still. His is not a 'fleshy', but a 'chaste' kind of countertenor.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on September 21, 2008, 11:14:09 AM
OK, OK, OK. Daniel Taylor added to the list. ::) ;D

EDIT: Oh, wait, I just realised I have him already, singing Part's Es Sang Vor Langen Jahren! Might expand though, that's not a very large sample...
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 21, 2008, 11:21:26 AM
Andre, What do you suggest I get to show him at his best?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on September 21, 2008, 11:24:51 AM
Well, with absolutely no other knowledge of his other discs, I would certainly recommend the Arvo Part one. Because I know you like Part, and I notice they have the CD at BRO.

EDIT: (And also, it's a great CD - minor comment I initially forgot to add. ;D)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 21, 2008, 11:43:52 AM
Thank you for that. it is a bit odd that Countertenors mainly sing either very old music or very new. Daniels has done a Nuits d'ete....but none of them have given us a decent bit of Wagner.  ::)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 21, 2008, 11:44:20 AM
Well, I suppose I should listen to it too  :D !

Mike, Talor has made a specialty of 'theme' programs, where he teams (heheee) with instrumentist or other singers. Which is an excellent idea. I don't know about you, but for me a little countertenoring goes a long way. So, very sensibly, he makes sure we don't put it back on the shelf never to come down again. Plus, it allows him to spin off two or three records for the price of one. Well, he gets paid thrice, which is smart. The market for that kind of thing is limited after all!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 21, 2008, 11:46:53 AM
Andre, I can never get too much of a good thing; and a first rate countertenor is a good thing. What have you got that he gets a chance to shine in?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on September 22, 2008, 06:06:15 PM
Two Bach cantatas discs: 3+7+167, and 82+Psalm 51 after Pergolesi's Stabat Mater

(http://www.postedecoute.ca/catalogue/cover/xlarge/38551.jpg)  (http://www.postedecoute.ca/catalogue/cover/xlarge/77363.jpg)

Let me know if you're interested ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 24, 2008, 10:39:14 AM
Oh, Andre, thanks. That first one looks esp interesting. I will have a look for it.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 11, 2008, 02:26:26 AM
Classical singing is not a natural process. People generally can sing a bit; but they do not just toss off Lucia's Mad Scene....even the women. It is no more natural than the relationship between Olympic runners and someone who runs to catch a bus.

So, when people claim the countertenor voice is not natural, I cannot really see their point.

All this is make way for a disc by David Daniels, possibly the best countertenor around. After quite a gap, he has now produced a new solo disc. Bach arias. In part this is an opportunity missed. The recital includes Ich Habe Genug and Vergunte Ruh...we get only part of these marvelous cantatas. I don't know what I would have got rid of to make room, but entire cantatas would have been very welcome. Daniels can be a little bland with the words, but here, he does use them and these are detailed thoughtful interpretations.

His voice is as full of sap and flexible as ever; but he does not overload the Bach with outright sweetness in the way that is more appropriate to Handel. So, no signs of a decline. He is expressive, but not in terms of the tone deployed. His expressiveness involves word pointing, phrasing and variations in volume. The tone is pretty much set, he does not use colour; what you initially hear is what you get.

I am glad to see he has reverted to Harry Bicket to accompany him, rather than the occasional speed merchant Fabio Biondi. The later was responsible for destroying Daniel's recording of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater by bashing through it as though it were a fast military march.

The English Concert are the orchestra and they are well forward in the sound picture and provide a lot of pleasure.

As well as the arias mentioned above; Daniels gives us the expected pieces from the B Minor Mass and the St John and St Matthew Passions. A very beautiful disc; I recommend it.




Well I finally got round to buying this CD, and I am not disappointed. One could argue that a preponderance of lullaby like arias from sacred works robs the disc of variety, but I am not going to complain when the singing is so beautiful. As you say, Daniels doesn't really colour the voice, as some singers do (Hunt Lieberson and Baker, to name two), but he is ever mindful of the meaning of words and his diction is, as usual, impeccable. I enjoyed it immensely and can't wait to hear him at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Wednesday, where he will be singing some of this repertoire.

I have also just bought Joyce DiDonato's recent Handel arias disc, and first impressions are again excellent. The title of the disc is Furore, which makes for quite a few fast and furious arias. DiDonato certainly has the technique to deal with them, without any of Bartoli's annoying aspirates (what a relief!), and confirms my memory of her as a superbly dramatic artist, when I saw her in Hercules a couple of years ago. However, she also has the ability to float a long line in the slower arias and gives us a beautifully molded and moving Scherza infida, from Ariodante, if without quite the innigkeit, brought to it by David Daniels and Janet Baker. Dejanira's Mad Scene (Where shall I fly), from Hercules closes the recital and is as vividly characterised as it was in the theatre, quite eclipsing Von Otter's performance on Minkowski's complete set. She is performing much of this repertoire at a concert at the Barbican in December. I've got my tickets already.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rsfPSUIUL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on October 11, 2008, 09:39:42 PM
Right now:  listening to a totally mad collection on Decca (2 discs) with Marilyn Horne blowing away boundaries between baroque, classical, bel canto, lyric, romantic and dramatic opera. Add to that a unique way with traditional songs (Copland, Foster, Bernstein) and you get a pair of CDs that leaves you in a trance. Brava!          (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KTS8CYNTL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 31, 2008, 09:41:20 PM
A new discovery just this evening.

The quixotic Poulenc given dedicated performances.


(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/a6/c6/37a6224128a0bb7462d1a010.L.jpg)


Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 21, 2008, 03:10:27 AM
I have just bought this

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71RyumIuUdL._SL1300_.jpg)

2 CDs at bargain price.

The first of them, recorded in 1983,  is a classic. It was always one of my favourite LPs. Hendricks' voice was in its youthful prime and the unlikely collaboration with pianist Dimitri Alexeev somehow reaps dividends. Without losing their inherent simplicity, these simple spirituals gain in substance, almost in the way of, say, Vaughan Williams' or Britten's folk song settings. Hendricks sounds absolutely gorgeous, but also sings with glowing conviction throughout.

The second of the two CDs (recorded 1998), I have slightly mixed feelings about. Hendricks' voice sounds remarkably similar, considering the 15 year gap since the first, but, though one would expect the addition of a gospel choir to add a touch of authenticity, there is often more than a whiff of Hollywood, and, oddly, the disc misses the simplicity of the earlier one. It is enjoyable none the less, and, at bargain price, the set is well worth acquiring, if only for the first CD, which is undoubtedly one of the best things Hendricks ever gave us.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mn dave on November 21, 2008, 05:23:48 AM
Erato likes this one.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31TPHu-k0EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I haven't heard it.  :-\
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 06:56:52 AM
In 1975 Janet Baker recorded a disc of Scottish folk songs as set by Haydn and Beethoven. The idea of such composers being aware of such songs might come as a surprise to some. In part it may have been as a result of the enthusiasm for Ossian, a supposed ancient Scottish bard who was all the rage at the end of the 18th Century. This hoax brought about a vogue in Celtic song and literature. Beethoven and Haydn were at various times commissioned to set Scots songs, in the original language, mainly perfectly understandable English. Both composers absorb the original style beautifully and the arrangements do no damage to the folk elements.

Baker is accompanied by no lesser than Menuhin, George Malcolm on harpsichord and the cellist Ross Pople. It is a disc stuffed full of charm and surprises. The orchestrations are much more suitable than had the piano been used throughout, though the Beethoven settings do deploy the piano, along with expressive fiddle music. Beethoven's are perhaps more elevated as settings. There is nevertheless the feel of improvisation at various points. The most substantial song is given a beautiful chamber setting, four minutes of 'Faithfu' Johnie', a jewel of a song.

About two thirds of the songs are set by Haydn. One of his highlights is, 'O can ye sew cushions', sung with tenderness and a thread of sound at the top of Baker's range. This song yields to other interpretations, I have heard her sing it as almost a lament, but here the mood is more wistfull. It is followed by the rumbustious Birks of Abergeldie...surely some kind of editorial error all those years ago, as the place referred to is in fact Aberfeldie.

This issue is on Testament, who are known for filling their discs up. So to the original recital is added some English songs by Dowland, Campian, Purcell and others. Here in 1967 Baker was mining pure gold. The four Campian songs fly by in a moment, all delightful. Purcell offers serious art song by way of two masterpieces, 'Sleep Adam Sleep' and 'Lord, what is man?' Baker is at her best throughout, we hear the smile very often, a light touch where appropriate, solemn or serious where warranted.

On these bonus tracks we hear lute, harpsichord, viola da gamba and flute. This really is a beautiful and unusual disc. It finishes with Boyce, 'Tell me lovely shepherd', Monro's 'My Lovely Celia' and Arne's 'Where the bee sucks'. Each a complete delight.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 12:04:37 PM
Montserrat Caballe is a name I don't encounter on these boards, though as I can detect, next to no one is interested in vocal music. Feeding her name into the search facility brought up a surprising 50 hits; but in looking through he posts, almost all of them merely mention her as being in such and such a recording and there is no discussion of her abilities.

First of all, there is her voice; it was remarkable, very beautiful, she could sing with unusally soft tone, exceptionally quiet yet projected pianissimo, the flexibility to perform colouratura without asperating the runs, wonderful breath control and yet there were reserves of strength that allowed her to sing Isolde.

We tend more to think of her in the Sutherland type of roles, bel-canto, some Verdi, Puccini. But her range was actually enormous. Rossini, Richard Strauss' Salome, Turandot, Norma, Violetta, Rosenkavalier, Aida, Elizabeth in Don Carlo, Venus in Tannhauser, Lady Macbeth...and so on and on.

It has been a long career and a bit in the way that Pavarotti devalued his currency, her over-the-hill concert appearances and promotion of her modestly talented daughter have perhaps slightly tarnished the reputation of a really great singer, one who was also a great artist.

So, to the disc; it is a conflation by EMI of several sources, but it works well, except for one very black mark, but that is for EMI, not the singer.

She was yet another who fell under the shadow of Callas. I recall her almost monthly complete opera discs, often with Domingo, were received with many a....yes, but characterisation is a bit generalised, she does not have the vocal face of Callas....but who ever has or did? In retrospect however the value of a lot of her work shines through. So her Aida is often now regarded as a touchstone, also her Violetta.

This disc starts with Bellini, then moves to Verdi.

The Bellini brings out the soft tone, floating phrases and pinging top notes. Her legato is wonderful, no bumps or tooth past squeezing, the sheer sound is beautiful and she puts expression into the words. The musical line makes sense, it is not just decoration. There are three pieces each from Pirata and Puritani. These are taken from complete sets and you get the accompanying singers where appropriate.

We then move to an almost complete recital disc of Verdi with a couple of interpolations from complete sets, Aida, Don Carlos, La Forza, Macbeth and Otello. Every aria is given due attention. There is nothing in the least routine. I recall the LP of the Verdi and a highlight was the Lady Macbeth sleepwalking scene. She digs into the words, the tone of course is beautiful rather than the she devil sound Verdi wanted, but it is a reading that makes sense. However, EMI have seen fit to excise the entirety of the introduction, so you jump in at the start of the main aria, vandalism really. The Aida is dreamy and impassioned and dramatic, no one negotiates the music in a more musical fashion.

This is a budget price issue, get it if you can.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on December 04, 2008, 12:10:16 PM
Very comprehensive write-up, Mike!  (And of the Janet Baker, too.)  I like Caballe, but for some reason don't seem to have many a single recording by her.  And if I recall, I saw her live at least once back in the 1980s.  :o  Perhaps this release would be good to begin making amends for this travesty.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: The new erato on December 04, 2008, 12:16:36 PM
Montserrat Caballe is a name I don't encounter on these boards, though as I can detect, next to no one is interested in vocal music.

Well  I am. Unfortunately for Miss Caballe, my interest lies in medieval ballads and lais, renaissance polyphony, baroque opera and sacred works, romantic lieder and orchestral songs, and early modernist opera (post-Puccini). So no luck for the fat lady who sings.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 01:19:56 PM
Like I said, next to no one.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mn dave on December 04, 2008, 01:24:03 PM
What's wrong with GMGers? Why aren't folks here into vocal music?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 01:26:52 PM
Wrong thread surely Dave, a one liner. (Mine also, to make you feel at home.)

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: The new erato on December 04, 2008, 01:30:05 PM
Wrong thread surely Dave, a one liner. (Mine also, to make you feel at home.)

Mike
Signing with your name guarantees a two-liner.

Erato.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 01:31:20 PM
Oh, I think that needs to be thrashed out on the one-liner thread. I don't agree.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mn dave on December 04, 2008, 01:45:29 PM
Wrong thread surely Dave, a one liner. (Mine also, to make you feel at home.)

Mike

I should have made the question longer?   ::)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 02:08:07 PM
More from you is always welcome Dave.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Novi on December 04, 2008, 06:05:42 PM
In 1975 Janet Baker recorded a disc of Scottish folk songs as set by Haydn and Beethoven. The idea of such composers being aware of such songs might come as a surprise to some. In part it may have been as a result of the enthusiasm for Ossian, a supposed ancient Scottish bard who was all the rage at the end of the 18th Century. This hoax brought about a vogue in Celtic song and literature. Beethoven and Haydn were at various times commissioned to set Scots songs, in the original language, mainly perfectly understandable English. Both composers absorb the original style beautifully and the arrangements do no damage to the folk elements.

Mike

Thanks for the review, Mike. Are these Ossian poems or other Scots songs?

A little OT, but I remember reading that even though Schumann set a fair few Burns poems (in German translation), he apparently thought Rabbie was English :D. Oh dear! So much for a Celtic revival ;D.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 04, 2008, 10:48:40 PM
Hi, Ossian was the invention of someone called James Macpherson. He claimed to have translated the cycle of poems from ancient Scottish texts. Schubert set a number of the poems and I seem to recollect that Berlioz was influenced by them. I also think his teacher Mehul set some of the texts. Here is an item about the poetry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossian

As to Burns, he wrote in two distinct styles. One was a colourful vernacular Scots and the other a fairly literary English. I suppose before TV and radio and computers, people in other countries remained shadowy for the most part.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Maciek on December 04, 2008, 11:33:05 PM
I suppose before TV and radio and computers, people in other countries remained shadowy for the most part.

I need to add that as a signature quote. ;D

Wait, I even think it should be the GMG motto.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: springrite on December 04, 2008, 11:35:26 PM
I suppose before TV and radio and computers, people in other countries remained shadowy for the most part.


Wrong. People in very small obscure countries aspire to rise to the lofty level of being a shadow.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 06, 2008, 02:04:26 AM
Montserrat Caballe is a name I don't encounter on these boards,

Mike, Caballe has always been a favourite of mine. I have her her in a few complete Verdi roles (Amalia in I Masnadieri, Gulnara in Il Corsaro, Elisabeth in Don Carlo), and also as Lucrezia in a live performance of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia (with Alain Vanzo and much better than the studio recording). I also have a bargain 2 disc compilation of arias and songs drawn from her EMI recordings, a disc of various excerpts from some of her Decca complete sets, and, best of all, the RCA reissue of Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi Rarities. The excerpts from the Decca Turandot, and the arias from the early disc of Puccini Arias she made for EMI with Charles Mackerras, serve to remind us of her qualities in this repertoire; the sheer beauty of the sound, the prodigious breath control, the long line and those incredible pianissimi. However, if we turn to the Tosca she recorded for Colin Davis, we are sometimes aware of a tendency she had to put these abilities before the music, almost as if she was laying out the voice for admiring display. This happens at the end of Vissi d'arte, where she ignores Puccini's injunction to take a breath after the climactic top B (or is it a Bb? I can't remember) at perche, Signor. Caballe phrases through and onwards, effecting an incredible pianissimo, as she comes down the scale. It is an amazing feat, but less musical or dramatically apt than the versions of most other sopranos, who follow what is written in the score.
She is excellent in all three of the complete Verdi roles I have, but I feel her best work was in the late 1960s and early 1970s when she sang so much of the bel canto repertoire, that was her staple at that time. The first disc she made for RCA included a performance of Casta Diva, which must be counted one of the best ever made, though it has to be admitted that in this repertoire too she could have her limitations. She never really had a trill and her runs, though mostly smooth, were sometimes lightly aspirated, and she could never move around the music with quite the fluidity of Callas or Sutherland. On the other hand, she was a much more expressive singer than Sutherland, and can be very moving, where Sutherland often merely dazzles. Mention of Callas reminds me of how much Caballe revered Callas. Most touching is Caballe's contribution to Zefirelli's documentary about Callas, made shortly after Callas had died. Caballe sits in her dressing room with tears streaming down her face, simply saying, in her broken English, "Thank you, Maria, for come to us." The compliment was returned, as Callas, not known for her generosity to other singers, admired Caballe too, and in fact gave Caballe a gift of some earrings she had worn as Norma, on one of Caballe's first nights in the role. Caballe would sometimes consult the older singer about music and roles, once asking her about whether she should sing Abigaille. Callas advised her against it, saying, that it would be like putting a precious Baccarat glass in a box and shaking it about. "It would shatter," she stated. Caballe heeded the advice and never sang the role. Callas, it might be remembered, only sang it at one series of performances, when she was still in her 20s. She is absolutely fantastic in the role, but she never sang it again, so maybe she knew what she was talking about. It hasn't been exactly kind to those singers who have made a career out of it.
But I digress. Caballe definitely deserves her place in the pantheon of great singers. Looking back, we will no doubt regard her time as one of the golden ages. She was at her peak round about the same time as Sutherland, Pavarotti, Domingo, Leontyne Price, Marilyn Horne, Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto, Ghiaurov, Christa Ludwig, Bumby, Verrett, Vickers, Nilsson, to name but a few. What a rich and varied, if incomplete, list it is!

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 06, 2008, 02:20:24 AM
Thanks for that. I did not know of the connections with Callas. I agree about the lack of a real trill, I thought her scale work was good though. I have what was originally a two LP set of rare Rossini, Donizetti and on the CDs, Verdi. It was recorded 68 to 70. Most of the music remains rare, except for the Rossini Otello, a most beautiful aria which remained rare until the Rossini revival and a full recording with von Stade as Desdemona.

Amongst other discs I prize, there is the Barbirolli Verdi Requiem, also with Vickers. Although not a prime recommendation, much too much choral muttering in the first quarter of an hour; the solo work is excellent. She produces that phrasing you describe in Tosca, but here it suits. By the way, I did not enjoy her as Tosca, I felt she coarsened her voice too much.

Granados songs get a marvelous disc from her; another disc to save from a house fire.

Finally, she was also superb in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti, partnered by Janet Baker. Unfortunately, the men let the side down on this recording, but it is still worth getting to hear Davis and the women enjoying making music together.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mozartsneighbor on December 06, 2008, 12:23:44 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y6KRRCRPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

One of my favorite Monteverdi recordings. Kiehr is an Argentinian soprano, who is incredibly technically assured and she specializes in 17th century music. The Monteverdi solo motets are among his most inspired music IMHO. Her cd of music by 17th century woman composer Barbara Strozzi is also wonderful.
I love her voice but I know a couple of people who don't react well to it -- they say she doesn't sound very female, but has a rather androgynous tone, almost like a castrato. It is a bit true, but I enjoy it the way it is.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on December 06, 2008, 01:32:23 PM
My favorites are Songs and Dances of Death by Mussorsky and sung by Hvorotovsky.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: The new erato on December 06, 2008, 01:38:47 PM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4776612.jpg)

Very high on my list currently!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on December 06, 2008, 10:19:04 PM
My take on Caballé's artistry: although I wouldn't chose her as my desert island Leonora (Trovatore), Norma or Aida, there's no doubt her contribution to these great roles will remain peerless. I don't think any soprano equalled her instrumental qualities there - and indeed, once you have come to know them, most singers will be found wanting in the vocal department.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 07, 2008, 01:35:38 AM

Finally, she was also superb in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutti, partnered by Janet Baker. Unfortunately, the men let the side down on this recording, but it is still worth getting to hear Davis and the women enjoying making music together.

Mike

Mike, I'd forgotten that I also have her Fiordiligi, and she is, as you say, superb, dispatching the roles difficulties with ease.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on December 07, 2008, 08:26:37 AM
Not a vocal recital, but a  Youtube link to the incomparable Maureen Forrester (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_tXqQlFdcQ). Start with Bach's Erbarme dich, mein Gott (Matthaeus Passion). This great aria starts with a violin ritornello that lasts about a minute. Be prepared for the soloist's entrance: one of the most sumptuous, tummy wobbling voices I've ever heard. If you check the Forrester list of extracts on the right you'll get her Mahler Rückert Lieder (from the 1958 DG album with Fricsay).
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Drasko on December 07, 2008, 08:40:35 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y6KRRCRPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

One of my favorite Monteverdi recordings. Kiehr is an Argentinian soprano, who is incredibly technically assured and she specializes in 17th century music. The Monteverdi solo motets are among his most inspired music IMHO. Her cd of music by 17th century woman composer Barbara Strozzi is also wonderful.
I love her voice but I know a couple of people who don't react well to it -- they say she doesn't sound very female, but has a rather androgynous tone, almost like a castrato. It is a bit true, but I enjoy it the way it is.

I have that, and I like it. Never sounded androgynous to me, but again my knowledge on singers doesn't go far beyond me like or me no like. I bought that disc after first hearing, and being really impressed by her singing role of La Musica in Garrido's recording of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo. Already have posted this but here is it again: Kiehr's opening aria Dal mio Permesso amato from prologue to L'Orfeo

http://www.mediafire.com/?ey23tyxnb92
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: DarkAngel on April 10, 2009, 04:37:14 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/615PUcsfJ3L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41672MYW5XL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Here are two I really enjoy..........
Tsaraslondon mentioned the "art of the prima donna" earlier in this thread but worth repeating.
If you want to hear the extreme limits of soprano vocal technique this is where you go, these early Sutherland tracks are just amazing especially show pieces like Lakme "bell song" etc, the top end can almost crack glass  ;)

I am also showing a great 1CD Emma Kirkby collection on Lyre label........main attraction is the Mozart Exultate Jubilate, you will never hear anyone do it as good as Emma and Christopher Hogwood, lots of other great stuff also, very cheap used at Amazon
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on April 10, 2009, 07:48:16 PM
An outstanding and innovative format to present Schubert's Winterreise with Ian Bostridge. No stand and deliver with hand gracefully on the Steinway performance!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 11, 2009, 12:42:50 AM
I don't suppose you could get him to play the piano rather than sing?  8)

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on April 11, 2009, 06:12:31 AM
I take it you're not exactly fond of his singing  ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on April 11, 2009, 06:28:28 AM
I don't suppose you could get him to play the piano rather than sing?  8)

Mike


Luv: Of what I know about his academic background, I am quite sure he is an accomplished pianist; you are closer to him geographically than I am, maybe next time you attend one of his Lieder concerts, you could recommend to him a piano recital.

(I am ducking - I am gone!)  :-*
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 11, 2009, 08:56:30 AM
Andre,

He brings me out in hives, more so recently. I have hammered rather extensively about his mannerisims, so I won't reheat the stew again. Lis, no need to duck. I will come up behind you when you least expect and play some of Callas' least good top Cs on repeat.

You will never know when I will appear.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on April 11, 2009, 03:24:09 PM
Lis, no need to duck. I will come up behind you when you least expect and play some of Callas' least good top Cs on repeat.

You will never know when I will appear.

Mike

Mike, I just returned from my audiologist who advised me to take an Aspirin, drink lots of fluid and bedrest, and he promised I shall recuperate. But if the assault gets repeated, I should report it to the UN Human Right's Commission because continued exposure the Calla's top Cs, good or bad ones, border on torture, illegal, as you well know!  >:D

Peace!  :-*
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: DarkAngel on May 04, 2009, 07:52:32 AM
I have been busy buying up any RCA "living stereo" opera releases and have become quite impressed with work of:
Anna Moffo

This short Moffo aria collection is great:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zXyNvckjL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
 
Recorded in 1960 with Tullio Serafin, great example of her colortura technique, only downside is skimpy
run time of 45 minutes..............plenty of room for a few extra songs
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 05, 2009, 12:45:50 AM
I have been busy buying up any RCA "living stereo" opera releases and have become quite impressed with work of:
Anna Moffo

This short Moffo aria collection is great:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zXyNvckjL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
 
Recorded in 1960 with Tullio Serafin, great example of her colortura technique, only downside is skimpy
run time of 45 minutes..............plenty of room for a few extra songs

Well vocal recitals at that time tended to only run about 45 minutes, so the only way a company can extend playing time is to add material from other recitals or complete recordings, which would destroy the autonomy of the original release.
I am reminded, that at about the same time, Moffo recorded a disc of Verdi arias, which is also excellent, but unfortunately seems to be unavailable right now.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: DarkAngel on May 05, 2009, 03:26:52 AM
I see where RCA Living Stereo has an aria collection by Price, but I had to go with the Moffo CD first plus she has a better selection challenging tracks..........

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/514KRCPE6DL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


Speaking of Anna Moffo....
I used to think that Callas was almost untouchable in her rendition of Rossini aria Una Voce Poco Fa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AThDejzVRvo&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AThDejzVRvo&feature=related)

But then I found this amazing version by Anna Moffo..........
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjKwm3enCTw&feature=PlayList&p=8E6AFD42F554B19C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjKwm3enCTw&feature=PlayList&p=8E6AFD42F554B19C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20)

Tsaraslondon
Has La Divina finally met her match in this great aria, and isn't Moffo just beautiful and wonderfully sassy in this video, a fabulous Rosina?  :D

It is available on an early EMI aria collection but extremely high price on used market  :(

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41WZQASC4ML._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Anne on May 05, 2009, 06:47:36 PM
At least 10 years ago there was a collection of guys who truly admired Anna Moffo.

There is or was a video tape of Anna Moffo singing possibly "La Traviata."  Maybe it was a different opera she sang.  I can't remember.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on May 06, 2009, 05:23:58 PM
Moffo is very good vocally (to say the least) but she doesn't convey the complexity of Rosina's character. Shining high notes and a knowing wink at the camera come in handy and she knows her strong points.

IMO she is easily outclassed as Rosina by both Callas and De los Angeles. It's not just the vocals, but in this particular case the 'face' behind the singing. Callas' Rosina has 'danger' written all over it. De Los Angeles' has such an arsenal of guileful charm and humour that one can imagine this girl easily surmounting any hurdle (100% the sister of L'Italiana in Algieri's Isabella).

Moffo's late carreer was one of sad vocal decline, but she was not a little helped by her being the wife of RCA' boss Robert Sarnoff. Most of her 1970s records (all on RCA) show her in vocal distress and do not serve her reputation.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 10, 2009, 03:08:59 AM
Moffo is very good vocally (to say the least) but she doesn't convey the complexity of Rosina's character. Shining high notes and a knowing wink at the camera come in handy and she knows her strong points.

IMO she is easily outclassed as Rosina by both Callas and De los Angeles. It's not just the vocals, but in this particular case the 'face' behind the singing. Callas' Rosina has 'danger' written all over it. De Los Angeles' has such an arsenal of guileful charm and humour that one can imagine this girl easily surmounting any hurdle (100% the sister of L'Italiana in Algieri's Isabella).

Moffo's late carreer was one of sad vocal decline, but she was not a little helped by her being the wife of RCA' boss Robert Sarnoff. Most of her 1970s records (all on RCA) show her in vocal distress and do not serve her reputation.

You hit the note on the head, LP. Moffo was a beautiful woman, with a lovely voice (at least in her early career), but I rarely feel that she completely gets to grips with the character she is portraying. Her Violetta, pleasing to the eye and the ear, never grabs the imagination the way that singers, such as Callas, Cotrubas, De Los Angeles and Stratas do. Indeed, as I have mentioned before, it seems to me that, both in her recorded and video performances, she skates over the surface of the role's deeper complexities.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 31, 2009, 11:00:03 AM
Do you like recitals where the mood is sustained rather than a recital that provides contrast? If the latter then, nevertheless, I suggest the following to you.

It is not a true recital, but a conflation of three substantial fillers from three different discs, brought together and making a satisfying whole.

Linda Finnie singing Mahler's 'Kindertotenlieder' and  'Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen', added to which a rare piece by Richard Strauss, Notturno. In each the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is conducted by Neeme Jarvi. The recordings date between 1990 and 1992 and are from Chandos.

In each instance, the reviewers very much concentrated on the main sellers with each disc, Mahler symphonies in the first two instances, the Rosenkavalier suites in the latter. A pity, because some very interesting music making was overlooked.

Jarvi is not everyone's cup of tea, but he is a very good accompanist. In the Mahler, there is nothing eccentric, much of the playing is very beautiful, sweet, plangent strings and woodwind.

But the real reason to look for this disc, is Linda Finnie. She is a Scot who started her career in the early 70s. I remember being in chorus often in those early days, she was always an interesting singer who held the ear. She has appeared on quite a few Chandos discs. The voice is juicy, dark, warm, a contralto tone. But she can lighten it, the top notes are for the most part very well taken and she fines her tone down beautifully.

As heard during these years, it is a firm voice, she digs into the words and several times here she produces memorable interpretations. Later, she was taken on by Bayreuth, she appears in the recorded Baremboim Ring. Although the voice sounds very ample, it was not an over large instrument. The last couple of times I heard her, which was a few years ago, she had developed a Wagner wobble, the sheen had disappeared. I suggest she has been forcing the voice. A great pity.

Here, where the voice is at its prime my favourite is the collusion between her and Jarvi in the final Gesellen song, 'Die zwei blauen augen'. It is taken slowly, the funeral march aspect is much emphasised. This song is an early precursor to the ultimately easeful death of the 9th Symphony, despair gives way to a strange consolation, an acceptance and absorption into the ether. It is brought off tremendously well.

Her singing is subtle, she never indulges a braying chest voice, rather like Marlyn Horne did in her Kindertotenlieder recording. Although I like that disc, she is inclined to hit you over the head with her tone. Finnie, allows you the glimpses of the abyss, the grief, more from the inside rather than laid on from the outside.

The final piece is the 18 minute long Strauss, a mood piece. Not memorable in terms of any big tunes; but gravely beautiful and flowing. Again, she uses the words intelligently, the voice really was a great one.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: zamyrabyrd on June 03, 2009, 06:31:04 AM
I just bought a great collection (Naxos) of Mahler (Kindertotenlieder, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen) and Schumann (Liederkreis) done by Fischer-Dieskau in the 50's and recommend it highly.

ZB

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 06, 2009, 01:07:47 AM
Is this even a recital I wonder....a collection of Alessandro Scarlatti cantatas.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scarlatti-Cantatas-2-Alessandro-Scarlatti/dp/B00000DFKP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1244280552&sr=1-2

I have had this disc for quite some time, but listening to it today has prompted me to write a little about it. A lava flow of beautiful melody, lively and gentle in turn.

A bright, tiny  HIP band is conducted by McGegan.

The six cantatas are secular. Pastoral subjects are the theme, love mostly. David Daniels is at his freshest, responding to the words and with natural phrasing the voice very lovely. A beautiful disc.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on July 31, 2009, 11:26:12 PM
Behind the scenes Elgarian and I have been discussing the English soprano Teresa Cahill. We both like her, but, she was never a headline artist. She has contributed well in some excellent ensemble casts and can be especially well heard on a Chandos disc of Elgar, 'Spirit of England' conducted by Alexander Gibson.

There her voice soars above choir and orchestra and that sparked a memory of a Strauss recital I had seen in a shop. I went searching the net and found a new copy on Amazon Marketplace.

The disc is on a label called Diversions. Two LP recitals have been brought together; both accompanied by Roger Vignoles, so clearly safe and imaginative hands there. The first half of the disc consists of 18 Strauss songs, the second six Rachmaninoff songs. Then back to Strauss with six further songs, three of which are the first three Strauss songs from the start of the disc with marginally different timings. The sealed disc had somehow let in moisture and the notes for the disc are welded together, but I can tell that both recitals are from 1982, the first is from Chandos, the Rachmaninoff and second Strauss group from the BBC, that recording has a dryer more forward acoustic.

But back to the main event. Her voice is as though born for Strauss. It is creamy and pure and very beautiful. Her breath control allows her to throw about those long lyrical phrases and she sings expressively and can pull out big notes and drama. The size of the voice suits the song repertoire well.

There is a mix of the expected and the lesser known, so Cacile, der Rosenband and Meinem Kinder are all there. One song new to me was Die Georgine, the longest track on the disc at 3.44. The piano steals in, a gentle song with lots of those ecstatic leaps of a fifth to throw the voice up into the air. Like all the others, it is beautifully done. I don't know why she was not snapped up by the major labels, as there have not been many voices like this put before us.

The Rachmaninoff songs are sung in Russian. They are a group mainly of nature inspired songs. She produces hush and melancholy here.

It is a generously filled disc, so the three repeated songs still leave you with well over an hour of beautiful performances of some lovely music.

Again prompted by our discussions, I bought the CFP double disc of excerpts from Don Giovanni and Rosenkavalier. Both largely with the Scottish Opera repertoire casts of the time. What great casts they were able to assemble then! Each is performed by the then SNO, conducted by Gibson and the draw  for me was Cahill as Sophie in the latter opera. You also get Dernsch as the Marschallin and Anne Howells as Octavian, who sings very slightly under the note at times. This was recorded in 1975 and is, notwithstanding Howels, pretty delectable. As this is really about Cahill, then I urge folk to get the discs, she has to be heard in the presentation of the rose; those vital phrases taken as securely and beautifully as in any recording I know.

She was a substitute for an indisposed Elizabeth Harwood, who had performed the opera with Scottish Opera. Having also got the live Rosenkavalier with Harwood, the part is more suited to Cahill. Sufficiently well suited that she performed the part in Covent Garden under Carlos Kleiber.

She is yet another of those singers, we all know some, who we admire and wonder why about. Why don't we have a dozen recitals, why did she not record Mozart and Bach? I guess we just have to be grateful for what is there.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 01, 2009, 01:41:30 AM
I heard Cahill as Sophie in the Scottish Opera production of Der Rosenkavalier, with exactly the cast of that CfP disc. It was my first exposure to the opera, and one of the most memorable evenings I have ever spent in the theatre. I loved the performance so much that I went back the following week to catch the last performance in the run. The cast could hardly have been better. I don't remember Anne Howells singing flat, but I do remember that she acted the part superbly. Teresa Cahill sang, as you say, superbly, floating out securely beautiful tone in all those high lying phrases. She was at least the equal of Edith Mathis, whom I heard sing the role at Covent Garden a couple of years later (with Gwyneth Jones and Brigitte Fassbaender). Helga Dernesch remains to this day, the best Marschallin of my experience, more naturally aristocratic than Jones, and certain details of her characterisation have remained imprinted on my memory, though this was well over 30 years ago now.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2009, 05:19:13 AM
TL, I was at one of the earlier run of performances, it might have been the first night. For that one the female line-up was Dernsch, Janet Baker and Elizabeth Harwood. I have discs of a performance that was broadcast. Those performances were in English and it says something for the pull Scottish Opera had on certain singers then, that Dernsch learned her part in English for the production.

Were the later performances in German? The CFP studio recording of excerpts is.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2009, 08:06:42 AM
Again prompted by our discussions, I bought the CFP double disc of excerpts from Don Giovanni and Rosenkavalier. Both largely with the Scottish Opera repertoire casts of the time. What great casts they were able to assemble then! Each is performed by the then SNO, conducted by Gibson and the draw  for me was Cahill as Sophie in the latter opera. You also get Dernsch as the Marschallin and Anne Howells as Octavian, who sings very slightly under the note at times. This was recorded in 1975 and is, notwithstanding Howels, pretty delectable. As this is really about Cahill, then I urge folk to get the discs, she has to be heard in the presentation of the rose; those vital phrases taken as securely and beautifully as in any recording I know.

This is the 2CD set Mike is talking about:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QN3HAY84L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I can't believe this has been allowed to go out of print. Hearing the Presentation of the Rose on this highlights disc (on LP, then) was one of the great defining moments of my musical life, back in the late 70s. I'd never heard any Strauss before, and this duet between Sophie and Octavian blew my head off. I remember sitting, dazed afterwards, with one of those 'what was that?!' feelings. Such moments always stay very precious, of course, but this has always, ever since, been my touchstone performance of Presentation of the Rose, and I've never heard one since that moves me as much. (Not that I have particularly extensive experience, I should in fairness say.)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2009, 08:12:53 AM
Well, Alan, I am not going to urge you to listen to other versions if the one you have satisfies so much. I must have over a dozen versions of the scene across my collection.

The Don Giovanni is also very good. I cannot imaging John Shirley Quirk doing this on stage, but he is terrific on disc.

As I got this set this week, it may be possible to dig it out from somewhere. Well worth the effort.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2009, 08:36:55 AM
Well, Alan, I am not going to urge you to listen to other versions if the one you have satisfies so much. I must have over a dozen versions of the scene across my collection.

Yes, I'm a lost cause on this one. I remember at one point buying the Schwarkopf/Karajan recording because it was supposed to be 'definitive', and being crushingly disappointed - utterly unmoved by the whole thing. It seemed almost - how can I say it? - clinically executed. I guess that completely disqualifies me as a listener worth attending to in these discussions. Sometimes there's no shifting these most deeply entrenched personal preferences. But now I'm taking this way off topic. I must stop. I'll come back when I've got time to say something sensible about my favourite recital discs. Meanwhile, the secret passwords are 'Susan Graham' and 'Reynaldo Hahn'.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 01, 2009, 09:01:58 AM
TL, I was at one of the earlier run of performances, it might have been the first night. For that one the female line-up was Dernsch, Janet Baker and Elizabeth Harwood. I have discs of a performance that was broadcast. Those performances were in English and it says something for the pull Scottish Opera had on certain singers then, that Dernsch learned her part in English for the production.

Were the later performances in German? The CFP studio recording of excerpts is.

Mike

Yes, Mike, the later performance were in German, which, though it was the first time I'd seen or heard the opera, bothered me not one jot. You see I did what I wish so many would do before they go to the opera; ie some research, so when I got there I already had a good idea about the plot and what to expect.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2009, 09:02:14 AM
Alan, Oddly enough, right now I am listening to a recital of French Songs with Philippe Jaroussky and the opening song, as on the Graham disc, is the exquisitely beautiful  'A Chloris'. I think I will write this recital up. But it is really another of my counter-tenor-obsessive discs, so not likely to gain very much foothold here.

I do understand the issue over specific performances. I have a number that no matter what, though I listen politely, the poor performers are wasting their time and mine.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2009, 09:06:40 AM
Yes, Mike, the later performance were in German, which, though it was the first time I'd seen or heard the opera, bothered me not one jot. You see I did what I wish so many would do before they go to the opera; ie some research, so when I got there I already had a good idea about the plot and what to expect.



Ah right. I was just wondering which language. I have a book about Scottish Opera and it lists all the performances for the first 10 years, they had only to then done the Rosenkavalier in English and I rather thought that they may well have changed language for a revival. It must be a chore for singers to learn the same work in more than one language. Not many houses were likely to ask Dernesch to use her English to sing the role. It shows a lot of commitment.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 01, 2009, 09:13:07 AM
Yes, I'm a lost cause on this one. I remember at one point buying the Schwarkopf/Karajan recording because it was supposed to be 'definitive', and being crushingly disappointed - utterly unmoved by the whole thing. It seemed almost - how can I say it? - clinically executed.

It's odd how different listeners have different reactions to the same performance. I can't get to the end of the Schwarzkopf/Karajan Der Rosenkavlier without shedding a tear at least once.

I also have an early recording of the Presentation of the Silver Rose, with Schwarzkopf as Sophie this time and Irmgard Seefried as Octavian. Karajan is again the conductor. It's worth a listen. I also used to own the CfP version on LP and I enjoyed it immensely, much prefering Cahill's rounder, creamier voice to Stich Randall's silvery whiteness on the complete Karajan.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2009, 10:42:49 AM
It's odd how different listeners have different reactions to the same performance. I can't get to the end of the Schwarzkopf/Karajan Der Rosenkavlier without shedding a tear at least once.

I do think that sometimes a major musical experience burns itself into my memory so fiercely that I become almost unable to accept an alternative interpretation without a struggle - a struggle that, wisely or not, I may be unwilling to undertake. So it's not that a judgement can sensibly be made on the works that fail to make an impact; rather, they never really stood a chance.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2009, 11:14:41 AM
Alan, Oddly enough, right now I am listening to a recital of French Songs with Philippe Jaroussky and the opening song, as on the Graham disc, is the exquisitely beautiful  'A Chloris'.

Well, there's a nice bit of synchronicity. I'll waffle on a bit along these lines. This is the CD in question, as Mike has already realised:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mo7j0RIfL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Details here, with samples:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belle-%C3%89poque-Reynaldo-Hahn/dp/B00000AG7M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1249155869&sr=1-2

If ever there were a mood-dependent CD, this would be it; there are times when it simply wouldn't be what I'd want to listen to, and I suspect that there are some people for whom it would always be a complete turn-off. But when the mood is right, it's so deliciously beguiling that I drop into it as if it were a soft comfortable chair. You know what you're in for from the first song - 'A Chloris' - and from there on it's a long, langorous drift through a French-flavoured fin-de-siecle wistfulness, where ladies droop gracefully upon their chaise-longues, and speak of loves long lost, or of new loves that might be found ... and then lost. Always there's that implication of an underlying sadness in this music; of an era exhausted by itself; a ending, of a kind.

Reynaldo Hahn has a lovely gift for melody: sometimes very lovely indeed - try 'Tyndaris' (track 6), or 'A Chloris' (track 1) from the samples at the link above. And somehow Susan Graham gets right under the skin of the music. Whether she would sound French to a French person I can't say, but she oozes Frenchness, to me, and sings exquisitely, nearly always with a hint of longing in her voice for a happiness never quite within reach. "I remember, ah yes, I remember. Everything seemed to bode so well."

Not a collection for every day. But a collection that, on some days, is almost essential.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Brewski on August 01, 2009, 11:25:44 AM
For some reason I don't have this, since I'm definitely in the "pro-Graham" camp, and she does French repertoire beautifully.  I could sink into that soft comfortable chair any time. 

Last year I heard her in Berlioz's Les nuits d'été--just fantastic--with Boulez and Chicago.  (And I'm not particularly a Berlioz fan, either.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2009, 12:52:05 PM
Alan, An interesting review of the Hahn disc. As a companion, here I will write about Philippe Jaroussky's French Recital entitled 'Opium'.

The notes equate the heady perfume of the Opium flower, to the bouquet of French Song. Perhaps so, but if you are looking for the languorous and degenerate, well, I don't really think it is evoked here. There are some beautiful songs and some are slow, but there are interspersed with bracing jolly songs. So the suggested mood of a druggy dream of sensuality is not sustained, blame the programming and the chaste basic voice quality of this singer.

What we get is a string of 24 very enjoyable songs by a group of composers including Hahn, Chaminade, Massenet, Faure and a number of others. They are not grouped, each composer who has several songs is spread amongst the others. The programme is not themed, not chronological. But it works perfectly well as a string of unmatched but polished pearls.

All are accompanied by pianist Jerome Ducros and several have additional string parts.

Jaroussky is one of the newer counter-tenors. I don't think he sounds like any of the singers we have discussed except possibly Mera. This is a very beautiful voice, well produced and to my ears, most of the time on this disc he sounds like a soprano rather than a man. Anyone who is not up for that kind of ambiguity will be best to avoid. But then the whole marketing of this singer is deliberately ambiguous. I am not bothered what sex the singer is, what I want is artistry allied to a great voice, we have that here.

I am not going to compare this much with either Graham or von Otter's discs, I am happy to deal with it on its own terms. Heady is not in his repertoire and that is perhaps a slight weakness; but what we do have is a calm beauty and it is well worth listening to.

This voice type is clearly looking to expand beyond the baroque and the modern. Some attempts are more successful than others, I chalk this one up as a success, though concede it both could and should have had a more powerful narcotic kick.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: The new erato on August 01, 2009, 10:04:00 PM
The most impressive song disc to have arrived in my collection the last couple of years probably is this disc:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4776612.jpg)

Any lovers of Sibelius symphonies absolutely need this. Fabulous singing and great songs.

The lack of texts is a serious omission though, fortunately I have them from other discs.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2009, 10:14:41 PM
I should think the texts to most works can be found here....

http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/s/sibelius.html

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2009, 11:37:54 PM
Philippe Jaroussky's French Recital entitled 'Opium'.

The notes equate the heady perfume of the Opium flower, to the bouquet of French Song. Perhaps so, but if you are looking for the languorous and degenerate, well, I don't really think it is evoked here. There are some beautiful songs and some are slow, but there are interspersed with bracing jolly songs.

These differences are interesting, given that from the titles, one might more similarities than differences between Graham's and Jaroussky's discs. I don't think Graham ever comes close to 'bracing' or 'jolly' on her disc. That's not to say they're all slow and dolorous - they're not, by any means. But even in the more cheery, bright songs, there's always an edge of sadness: 'Alright, so here we are having a good time at this party - but of course it all has to end...'

Massenet probably adds a cheery influence to the mix of the Jaroussky too, I imagine? Hahn may have been a pupil of Massenet (I think he was?), but his temperament seems to me very different; not that I'm an expert!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on September 19, 2009, 08:04:05 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qO0M-3k6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This isn't a recital disc as such, but a 7 CD collection that gathers together a mass of material from Popp's career. So far I've listened to the first CD (mostly Handel) and the second, which is wholly Mozart arias. The first was marvellous. The second - the Mozart - has flattened me against the wall.

OK, look - all I knew about Lucia Popp was her famous Queen of the Night performance in Klemperer's recording of The Magic Flute. And it is brilliant. I wasn't sure that I didn't prefer Patricia Petibon singing 'Der holle rache kocht in meinem herzen', but I could see that Popp's version was justly famous. Oh, and I have Popp's recording of Suor Angelica too, but prefer Cristina Gallardo-Domas's version by some distance. But I hadn't delved further than this.

It's odd how these things happen. Recently I stumbled across a Popp autograph, and bought it for a small sum.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/PoppLuciaautograph.jpg)

It's just a bit of paper - no photo or anything - I thought I'd trim it to a square and put in in my Magic Flute box. But somehow, having that bit of paper that she'd written on started me delving on Amazon to see what was available, and what do you know? This box had just been released at a bargain price. So I bought one for the weirdest of reasons, thinking it would be a more interesting place to keep my autographed bit of paper than the Magic Flute box!

I wasn't prepared for the devastation that the Mozart CD has wreaked. One aria after another, so fine, so masterly, so packed with feeling, that it left me feeling quite numb. This kind of singing is simply unanswerable - beyond any criticism I might attempt. She sings these arias as if they were written for her; as if they were just waiting for her to come along and perform them. So I think I've fallen into posthumous love with Lucia Popp. At the moment, I can't think of any music that can follow this. I need a day or two of silence, to recover.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 19, 2009, 12:38:54 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qO0M-3k6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This isn't a recital disc as such, but a 7 CD collection that gathers together a mass of material from Popp's career. So far I've listened to the first CD (mostly Handel) and the second, which is wholly Mozart arias. The first was marvellous. The second - the Mozart - has flattened me against the wall.



I'm assuming that the Mozart disc is mostly drawn from the disc of Mozart Arias she did with Leonard Slatkin, which was for many years one of my treasured LPs, and which I now own on CD in EMI's Great Records of the Century series. Popp also contributed to DG's Complete Mozart Concert Arias Edition, having a disc to herself, which was also issued separately. Does anyone know if this has since seen the light of day? I'd love to own it again.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on September 19, 2009, 08:37:38 PM
I'm assuming that the Mozart disc is mostly drawn from the disc of Mozart Arias she did with Leonard Slatkin,

The Slatkin recordings are there, yes, plus others - you can see the full list here (Disc 2):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Icon-Lucia-Popp/dp/B002M3Z986/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk?ie=UTF8&qid=1253424830&sr=1-2

There are also 8 Mozart items on Disc 1.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 18, 2009, 12:42:59 AM
Jonas Kaufmann: German Opera Arias. Mahler Chamber Orchestra: Abbado.

Within seconds this recital grips you and you know you are in for something well beyond standard expectations. Lohengrin's 'In fernen land' opens with a few moments of silken strings, then the voice steals in, the legato is faultless, the timbre is dark, the sound gradually expands from the gentle opening to the declamatory final bars. An arc of sound and of narrative drama. I cannot imagine a recital with a better start.

He then moves onto the subsequent aria 'Mein lieber schwan'. At once the longing, the regret, then anger, again that narrative pull. This singer projects the character, no mere singing lesson, a three dimensional presentation of the inner journey Lohengrin takes.

Clearly Kaufmann is tough minded. He has pretty much dictated the format of the programme. Starting with Lohengrin, ending with extended extracts from Parsifal. In between some Mozart, some Schubert, Fidelio and Walkure. It is not at all a typical romantic German Arias disc. One 10 minute extract of Zauberflote includes the long duologue with The Speaker. Not at all an obvious choice. Here the tone is full and open. This is a Tamino on the heroic side. He has not quite the sweetness of his idol Wunderlich, but he has more heft and pays more attention to words.

He caresses the second Schubert aria, surely he would be a great lieder singer with the detail he brings out in phrasing and wordpainting. But perhaps the voice will soon be too large. He has been careful to retain Tamino, but will in all probability lose the role as he increasingly takes on the heavier roles. He looks ahead in the linear notes to explain that although Tristan still lies a long way ahead, other Wagner roles impend. I hope that as more Wagner enters his repertoire he can escape the beat in the voice that would so affect the kind of pure sound he presently makes.

Another highlight is the aria for Florestan. That begins with a rare and hair raising dispair. The initial note coming from somewhere far, far away, then ripping the air with its increased intensity. He again takes us on that journey into the thoughts of the man.

By now expectations could not possibly be higher: Wintersturme: somehow it sounds to my ears slightly effortful, there is not quite the liquid ease I expected in getting round those notes near the start. As the aria progresses into the areas of forte and slow moving notes, it warms up. Here I missed that matchless intimate ardour of Melchior. The only occasion when I was thinking of another singer throughout this demanding and contrasted recital.

I hear the occasional parched note, especially when descending on a third from a higher note. He has a baritonal quality and a lot of the most enduring tenors have that. The bottom is rich, the top gleams.

I hope that he gets a chance to record the bulk of these works complete, especially in Fidelio and Lohengrin. I don't generally collect the work of many tenors, Vickers, Bjoerling are exceptions, but I add Kaufnann for the steady, open, round tone and especially for the intelligence and commitment he displays. He has that special skill to draw you in and to hold you.

Abbado is a wonderful accompanist, he moulds the pieces and had at least some influence on the programme. The sound of the recording is open and forward. Time now to search out some more of his work. I am at last hooked.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: The new erato on October 18, 2009, 01:19:14 AM

He caresses the second Schubert aria, surely he would be a great lieder singer with the detail he brings out in phrasing and wordpainting.

He is a great lieder singer, re his disc of Strauss songs on HM.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/HMC901879.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 18, 2009, 02:42:23 AM
Thanks, yes, I noticed that when I then went on a search, also that he does have a Fidelio on DVD from a few years ago.

I have a lovely disc of Siegfried Jerusalem performing orchestral versions of Strauss songs. Should Kaufmann produce some Schubert songs, I would snap them up,but am not nearly so adicted to Strauss songs.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on October 18, 2009, 08:11:01 AM
Mike, this is a wonderful review. You have sold me in tryingt this disc from Kaufman. I wasn't too keen on the previous recital, finding him unduly mannered,  in the italian arias.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 18, 2009, 09:07:43 AM
Andre, You make me a bit nervous here as him singing Italian arias is about the only time we have ever disagreed. So, I hope my opinion on the German repertoire finds us on common ground.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJEUqzFcLkQ

Let me know how you get on.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on October 19, 2009, 05:57:18 PM
Fear not, my friend. I have seen (heard) plenty of youtube extracts and I have come to appreciate Kaufmann a lot more in german opera than in italian. BTW, I have the same rapport with Jon Vickers. I don't much care for his italian opera portrayals (except as Giasone, Pollione and Otello), but am in thralls whenever he sings in German. I think it simply has to do with the character of the voice, both of which seem suited to their careful - almost painstaking - pronunciation of the german language. Every syllable registers. It doesn't work all that well when they are singing in Italian - the flow and euphiniousness aren't quite there.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 08, 2009, 06:42:28 AM
Here is a true recital: one designed around the singer and provided with a theme plundered from a rich and deep treasure chest.

Schubert Complete Songs Volume 6. Anthony Rolfe Johnson accompanied by the Svengali of the series Graham Johnson.

The theme here is one of night and the dark. This provides more variety than might be supposed and included here we have a song based on MacPherson/Ossian that is more of a scena than a mere song, nevertheless unfinished at over eight minutes. Full of atmosphere with an opening that steals in. This was the final hurrah in Schubert's love affair with the King of Celtic romantic gloom.

Contrasts are provided with the beautiful lullaby 'Der Knabe in der Wiege D579', sung as a father watches his child and its mother sleeping.

We are also provided with fascinating contrasting settings of the same poem 'Abends unter der Linde'. But the highlight for me is the exquisite hushed song 'Abendstern' to a Mayrhofer poem. Having shared accommodation, there was some kind of estrangement between the poet and Schubert, sufficient that the composer was no longer subscribing to his friend's published poetry. After a gap of several years, Schubert perhaps made amends with a final group of five settings by his one time friend. This one, two short verses, is memorable with a sinuous melody and the gentle, hushed beauty of it is wonderfully expressed by Rolfe Johnson at his most fluidly honeyed. He always expresses the words, they are never bland, but they are made to fit within the legato phrasing.

Here is masterclass singing at the opposite poll to that of Bostridge who draws attention to the words while breaking up the lines.

This lovely disc is closed by a group song for male voices. The end of an evening of drinking has reluctantly and wistfully arrived. Here is a kind of communal singing I have only now experienced in Eastern Europe. We are I think the poorer that we replace this sign-off Guten Nacht with football chants. But I can't see even German supporters now bringing this lyrical Schubert off; even when there is a late kickoff.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 29, 2010, 12:03:40 AM
Bryn Terfel........Bad Boys

How bad does a bad boy have to be to qualify here? Iago, Scarpia, Mephistopheles, well obviously, but Don Basilio....Dulcamara? I hesitated for some time before I bought this disc, not because the boys weren't bad enough, but because of the programming. Into the middle of a stream of classical villains and at least the unscrupulous, we find ourselves with Sweeney Todd, some Gilbert and Sullivan and a song from Les Miserables.

Not only that, but I can see no structure to the recital apart from the modern pieces being shoe-horned intothe middle; to give the discerning time to go make a coffee perhaps. However, I was lured by a low asking price.

Terfel is a favourite singer of mine and I have a fair few of his recordings. He is not just good with words, he is great. In recent years the condition of his voice has puzzled me. I heard a live relay of The Messiah from Wales a few years ago, his singing was painful. This was due to a pronounced beat in the voice on any sustained notes. I thought to myself, well, that's it, the Wagner Wobble has got him, it will be downhill now.

Subsequently I heard him live in the theatre as Wagner's Dutchman. He was utterly superb and the voice was in great condition, solid and full of colours.

On this disc we have a voice half way between these two experiences. The wobble is much in evidence in any middle range note of any length. The bottom is noticeably weak, strong and true at the top, but the variety of vocal colour I am used to is missing. The expressiveness is mainly a matter of phrasing, word use and volume. Perhaps his way of alternating phrases between a blast and a whisper has become a mannerism. There is pleasure to be had, but if this recital is a dispatch from the front line, then our soldier is far from fresh and possibly ailing.

With the bottom of the voice so noticeably weak, how does he manage Wotan so well? I recall reading an interview with Hotter, another singer with a perhaps variable lower range. He suggested that Wotan's most cavernous notes were well supported by the orchestra and that rather than pushing his voice, he would smite the stage with his spear at the critical moments. He said no one ever noticed he soft peddled those notes. But our bad boys here have no spear to deploy. However Terfel is well supported by orchestra, Paul Daniel as conductor and a chorus where needed.

There are two Mephistos here, Boito's and Gounod's. Both are given great gusto. A pity the Berlioz incarnation was not included, that would have provided a healthcheck on sustained legato singing, of which there is not really any here. Pizarro is well snarled through, Scarpia is very successful in portraying a man in total preoccupation, whilst around him the Te Deum thunders. Roderic from Ruddigore I enjoyed much more than I expected to.

Sondheim is a terrific wordsmith, but as a composer, he makes the music subservient to the words and produces streams of dry, secco recitative. I recently went to 'A Little Night Music'. Apart from 'Send in the Clowns', the rest would have been better handed over to a collaborator. I don't 'get' why he is so admired and although Sweeney Todd is gripping, the extract here does it no favours.

But the surprising failure here is Iago. I find it difficult to explain just what is wrong. His voice sounds curiously constricted. The Credo seems like it is sight-read, the concept splintered and the bluster is unconvincing. Here the whisper/blast combination sounds empty.

I explained that there was no logical shape to the recital. I imagine chronological programming would mean either opening or closing with the piece of merde from Les Mis and that really would not cut the mustard. So we open with Boito and close with Don Giovanni. A successful closing track, Giovanni is confronted by The Statue, Leporello hides under the table and Giovanni is defiant as he is dragged down to hell. Terfel has fun.

Christoff persuaded EMI to let him sing all three bass parts in Boris Godunov, here, Terfel sings all three parts in that penultimate Giovanni scene. His Statue is not really cavernous, but then that hope is so often postponed, but he differentiates his voice and he gets round the Mozart. A spectacular close to the disc, though in my head I then hear the opening chords of the final ensemble.

So, a mixed bag. I hope that next time round his voice is in a more refulgent phase. The silk has gone, the colours are flattened. Is Wagner to blame after all I wonder?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on January 29, 2010, 08:37:11 PM
Mike, that's a great review ! And very balanced. Terfel has right from the start been a blind spot for me. The voice, yes. The manner, noooo !
Quote
Perhaps his way of alternating phrases between a blast and a whisper has become a mannerism

That's been Terfel's way since inception. Regardless of the voice (sumptuous, arresting), the way he interprets is dead wrong. He  out Fischer-Dieskauses the Master himself.

I'm sure a strong conductor (not a Levine, not an Abbado) could get him to do what he was born to do best: sing, sing, sing. Simon Boccanegra, Rigoletto, Amonasro would have been great roles for him. Roles that require a great singing line. Wagner? Shouting matches as he does them, the roles' sensibility and subtleties somewhat eluding his personality.

Ass bass-baritones carreers go, Terfel has a good 10 years to go. I hope hemakes the best out of it.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 30, 2010, 02:02:47 AM
Andre,

Interesting where our taste in singers overlaps and then where it diverges. I enjoy a lot of Terfel's singing, but don't like much of the cross-over work he clearly enjoys. His concert persona of the big boyo from the valleys makes me cringe. At the end of one concert of lieder, he encored with several sentimental Welsh songs. He cleverly caters to a wide fan base.

Some comparison to DFD is probably valid.

I recall a programme about DFD where it was explained that he seemed to be more admired than loved as a singer. People could easily attest to the talent, had to have his discs, but then often left them the shelf. I do feel a bit like that about him. There is sometimes too much art on display. Some of his Bach I would never part with, but in opera, I am not sure if his interpretation of any single role is my favourite. In lieder, I find some of his performances spot on and others overwrought. I think that he is best in oratorio.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 30, 2010, 07:54:40 AM
but in opera, I am not sure if his interpretation of any single role is my favourite. I

Mike

That got me thinking, and I have to admit that I couldn't really think of an operatic role, for which Fischer-Dieskau would be my favourite singer - Olivier in Capriccio perhaps? I do rather enjoy his intellectual Wotan in Karajan's Das Rheingold, but have admit that it has very little in common with Thomas Stewart's characterisation in the later operas. I also rather enjoyed his approach to the Dutchman in Konwitchny's recording of the opera, whilst admitting that there may be others who have sung the role better, if with less psychological insight.

In Lieder, I enjoy him rather more, particularly in some of the earlier EMI recordings with Gerald Moore, when the actual voice could still be a thing of great beauty.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 31, 2010, 09:02:14 AM
Elizabeth Schwarzkopf: Strauss Four Last Songs plus 12 others. George Szell.

I find it difficult to be objective about these performances. Those of the Last Songs I have known for over 40 years. This recording with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin was my introduction to these pieces. I have long neglected it on my shelf in favour of Janowitz, sometimes Auger, Norman...and several others. But I returned to it and the magic was immediately there. It is a classic recording and will always be admired and loved.

As we often suggest, the first performance we hear of some pieces imprint themselves on us. In a great performance such as this, as you listen, you wonder how it could be done any other way.

Several recordings of Schwarzkopf in these songs have surfaced, I have two. In the earlier, I have read that her voice was fresher and that you can detect that....well, I can't. This Szell was made in 1966, she was about 50, so possibly the voice was indeed no longer quite as easeful at the top, but so marginal are the 'problems' as to be a nit picking exercise.

There is an alchemy about this recording, the performance draws you into its half light, its nostalgia, the glow of autumn. A very special atmosphere is sustained. The pacing is sensible, neither too fast or slow. Szell phrases beautifully and provides an ebb and flow without losing the arch of each song.

Schwarzkopf was often criticised for being arch, for overworking the words or phrasing, but here, in this highly un-natural art form, it all sounds natural and 'right'

The rest of the programme comes from the same sessions plus six from another Szell session in 1969, this time with the LSO. The sound matches well across the tracks. Most of these additional songs stick to what are now well trod paths. Not all are in orchestral arrangements by Strauss, but were authorised by him. One that is, is Morgan; a song written as a wedding gift for his wife. Here the voice is perhaps not quite as fluid as would be ideal, but what a lot of compensations there are as we receive from a singer long steeped in this material.

A beautiful disc, described by someone as "slush corner". Perhaps the teeth would fall out on a constant diet of such luscious beauty....but then, having held these sounds in my head since childhood, I am not really the objective guide you might need before you commit to a further debit from your bank account.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 02, 2010, 11:42:07 PM
Mike,

I agree with all you have to say about the Schwarzkopf Vier letzte Lieder. Admittedly, like you, it is the recording I first got to know the songs by, but it has remained with me, and though I have several others now (2 other Schwarzkopf recordings, with Ackermann and Karajan respectively, Janowitz/Karajan,  Popp/Tennstedat and Fleming/Thielemann), it is always Schwarzkopf/Szell that I hear in my mind's ear.

I'll append here what I wrote in the Vier letzte Lieder thread many moons ago, and only add that this disc, along with the Baker/Barbirolli Mahler disc remains one of my favourite orchestral Lieder discs of all times.



Quote
I have all three of Schwarzkopf's recordings , 1953, live 1956 and 1965, with, respectively, Ackermann, Karajan and Szell. I also have Popp/Tennstedt and Janowitz/Karajan.

I have to say, that, though I enjoy all these recordings, it is the Schwarzkopf/Szell recording I like best, as, for me, they get right to the heart of these songs as no others do. With Strauss's gorgeous writing for the soprano voice, it is all too easy to forget that these are Lieder, and to ignore the texts and just revel in the sheerly beautiful sounds, provided by a Te Kanawa, a Fleming, or indeed a Janowitz. I also feel the more mature Schwarzkopf better suited to the songs than the young one. After all, these are Autumnal songs, and the voice of youth doesn't seem quite right somehow. Certain phrases in Swhwarzkopf's later recording are now so firmly etched into my memory, that they spoil me for all others and Schwarzkopf and Szell seem to be completely at one in their vision. Two places stick out for me, Schwarzkopf's voicing of the words langsam tut er die mudgewordenen Augen zu in September, where Szell matches her tone perfectly in the orchestra. The other is in the final song, Im Abendrot. The way Schwarzkopf sings the words so tief im Abendrot has an almost cathartic release, not matched in any of her other recordings (nor by any other soprano), and superbly seconded by the rich carpet of sound Szell provides for her. Ist dies etwa der Tod, asks Schwarzkopf/Eichendorff, and as the orchestra creeps in with the quote from Tod und Verklaerung, one can only assume that it is. For me it is one of the classic discs of all time, and would definitely be one for my desert island./quote]



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on February 20, 2010, 11:53:07 PM
A singer new to me.

We seem to live in a time of plenty where baritones are concerned. Though it is my voice part, I don't dash out to keep supplementing my collection to hear all the new ones. But at last I tumbled to Christian Gerhaher. His discs are not just distinctive due to his many qualities, but to the partnership he has with his regular pianist, Gerold Huber, who is an exceptional accompanist.

I have been vaguely aware of the praise Gerhaher's recent discs have received. The ecstasy induced by his latest release prompted me to go hunting. Instead of the new discs I settled for two earlier Arte Nova releases from 2002 and 2003. The critics suggest he has improved considerably in recent years. I wonder about that, because these early discs contain some of the most satisfying singing and interpretations I know of.

The earlier album contains some Schubert, Brahms and Frank Martin. Gerhaher has a most beautiful nut brown voice. He is an instant communicator and places the words right at the front of the face. Every consonamt is audible, but not in an exaggerated way. Here we have a singer who thrives on telling a story or taking you to another place.

The Brahms consists of the 'Four Serious Songs', they remain songs rather than being blown up into arias. The Schubert is all beautifully sung and he manages many individual touches in the use of the words. He also deploys his excellent legato phrasing, so that the expression is within the line of the music rather than breaking it up.

The second disc contains Mahler's 'Kindertotenlieder' with Huber a sensitive and supportive pianist. There is then a performance of the 20 minute Schoenberg chamber piece, 'Kammersymphonie Op9' from 1906, played by the Hyperion Ensemble. This is a passionate, sweeping piece and as the title suggests, it contains a piano; which is integrated into the textures rather then highlighted. Although an early piece, it is already sliding about, experimenting with atonality.

The Hyperion players stay on for the final Work on the disc. The Schoenberg chamber reworking of Mahler's 'Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen'. Translucent textures are key here and the orchestration includes the piano for the percussive effects. A delightful rethinking and fronted by Gerhaher's superb singing. He takes the high notes without undue stress. There is a nice ebb and flow in the interpretation.

He can sound like Fischer Dieskau, who has at least briefly taught him, but his performances don't at all sound like emulation. He is distinctive in his own right. If it is true he has improved, then he surely must be at the absolute pinnacle of today's lieder singers.

These discs are bargains in every way. They also prompt me to look through the Arte Nova catalogue with a lot more attention.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 25, 2010, 02:06:54 PM
An Easter programme with a difference. Via Crucis

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FTtgER4gL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

This disc combines 17 century pieces with Sicilian folk songs. The progress of the disc revolves around Mary's meditations looking at her child; she sees the pain of the future. The second part of the programme takes in the fulfillment of Mary's visions in the Crucifixion and finally, the resurrection.

The singing is divided between Nuria Rial, Philippe Jaroussky and the male quartet Barbara Furtuna, who provide an earthy tang to set against the pellucid sounds made by the others. There is enormous pleasure here, the orchestra is made up of about 25 musicians playing such as baroque guitars, psalterion, dulcimer, viole de gambe etc. Rich, but never overwhelming.

There is some extemporisation. Possibly the most famous piece here is Merula's 'Hor ch'e tempo di dormire' a hypnotic piece where the accompaniment rests on two notes, back and forth rocking as Mary envisions the child in her arms in his final pain. It is a remarkable piece. In this version, the musicians have provided some quite violent harmonies at the ends of some verses. It works, Rial's light soprano is a beautiful instrument; but although I enjoy this version, I prefer the austerity of the original as voiced by the plangent tones of Sarah Mingardo.

But there is so much to beguile here. It is not a procession of miserable and dolorous music any more than you might extract from Bach's music when covering the painful parts of the journey.

This is an original and marvelous progression of pieces, Rossi, Cazzati, Biber and many others. The colours glow, the melodies are sinuous. A really beautiful disc of mainly little known music.

Try this to get a flavour of the sounds........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11POTypBh2I&feature=channel


Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 27, 2010, 03:49:55 PM
Mike, this is wonderful, totally unexpected stuff. The video extract took me by srprise. Without it, I would have htought the cornet-likeinstrument to be a trumpet or alto-saxophone. And the 'traditional' singing sounds like anything one might encounter today on a hot smmer night in a corsican village tavern. Apparently extemporaneous music making, but at the highest level of sophistication.

I need to have this. Thanks for this unusual offering !
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 11, 2010, 11:18:45 AM
Susan Gritton, BBCSO, Edward Gardner: Chandos

Finzi Dies Natalis, Britten
Les Illuminations, Quatre Chansons
Delius, Late Lark

Over on the Finzi thread I explained that my long treasured Dies Natalis with Wilfred Brown was suddenly irking me; the 1930s received pronunciation distracted me. I decided to plump for this brand new version, which, featuring a soprano, would certainly be different. The premier of the piece was given by a soprano, so was clearly sanctioned by the composer. I was also attracted by the overall programme.

As a sequence it works beautifully.

Gritton has a soft, but firm and round tone. Her voice is forward, and forwardly recorded. Her way with the words does not get in my way.

The Finzi is regarded as his masterpiece. It is a very English idiom, pastoral, with a strong serving of mystical ecstasy on the side. There is an impulsiveness, not nervous energy, but certainly momentum that is curtailed with some gentle ruminations.

This is a good version, but it lacks the propulsion and sheer airiness of the older version. Although Gritton does not annoy me with her pronunciation, frankly she does not much flavour the words. The accompaniment is beautifully played and recorded, but the conductor is effective rather than inspired.

It is much the same in Les Illuminations: that last ounce of tang and virtuosity, of being on top of the piece is missing. Heather Harper on a BBC disc is a miracle of darting light. I want more savour of the words. There are lovely things here though.

The Quatre Chansons are extraordinarily accomplished to be produced at 14 years old. This is Britten as Ravel, lovely songs and very well performed here, as satisfying as their premier recording with Jill Gomez.

The Delius is a premier recording, a pleasant piece, but not a great find. Better I think to have ended with the French songs.

I will get a lot of pleasure of of this disc, but Wilfred will probably call successfully to me once again across the years.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on July 29, 2010, 07:01:29 AM
Heather Harper is a name which is not much mentioned on these threads. She sings in a number of well thought of performances. I think of her primarily as a Mozart, Handel and Britten singer, though her range went to Wagner to Verdi and, as here, Richard Strauss. Her contribution in the Hickox Britten 'War Requiem' is especially fine, so too hew Ellen Orford in the Davis version of Britten's 'Peter Grimes'. The Female Chorus role in 'The Rape of Lucretia' is wonderfully voiced. Her live Hunting Fathers and 'Les Illumination' are live performances caught on the wing and unequaled.

I was looking for copies of Leontyne Price singing Strauss 'Four Last Songs'. I am still waiting for the Price disc; but while searching I came across this disc. Harper recorded the Four Last Songs twice, this is the second one, dating from 1988, she was 58.

Is it any good? Yes, it certainly is.

The performance is on CFP which cost me less than £4 with free postage! The silly price, did not encourage me to lower my expectations or judgement calls. This joins Schwartzkopf, Janowitz, Auger and Norman, who are my first recommendations depending on what you want out of the pieces. It comes ahead of Studer, Fleming, te Kanawa, Della Casa and Isokoski.

This is not just based on voice alone. Richard Hickox steers the LSO through the songs providing an underlying pulse for each which moves them along but not at the expense of expressiveness. The orchestra shimmers and is mellow, there is lots of detailed phrasing within the pulse. Harper at a relatively advanced age does not put a foot wrong. Some German vowels sound on the harsh side; apart from this the silvery soprano, ample and warm, sounds in terrific condition; high soft, high loud, diminuendo, nothing seems stressed. It is a distinctive voice, she does not vary tone much, but is expressive with words and volume. It is a fully formed thought through performance and there is nothing of the routine about it.

Accompanying the set we have 12 orchestrated Strauss songs. She includes about four that were new to me; a bonus as I have quite a few discs of Strauss songs. The programme is a delight and as the conductor does not get lost in cream-puff land, they do not pall. The programme lasts just over an hour and I was left wanting more, to the extent I played it straight through twice, then again the next day.

 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51puHHu%2BgPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

If you don't believe me; try the samples.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strauss-Songs-London-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B001DCGKKS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280418589&sr=1-1

I wonder how Leontyne Price will compare?

Mike

Edited for typos and punctuation

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian on July 29, 2010, 07:53:51 AM
Mike, I've only listened to the Four Last Songs so far, and none of the others; but on that limited basis I'd say you've pretty well nailed it in your review here. Particularly I think your description of the timbre of her voice is bang on the mark. I'm amazed to learn that she was 58 when she made this. She doesn't sound young, certainly - but 58?!

I'm not a great devotee of the Four Last Songs, and haven't a wide experience of different approaches, but this is quite likely to become the one I most often turn to - certainly I prefer its warmth and sensitivity to  Kiri's recording, which is the one I'm most familiar with. And at this price, well - who could lose?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: karlhenning on July 29, 2010, 10:10:43 AM
Heather Harper is a name which is not much mentioned on these threads. She is part of a number of well thought of performances. I think of her primarily as a Mozart, Handel and Britten singer, though her range went to Wagner to Verdi and, as here, Richard Strauss. Her contribution in the Hickox Britten War Requiem is especially fine, so to the Davis Britten Peter Grimes, Lucretia. Her live Hunting Fathers and Les Illumination is remarkable.

I was looking for copies of Leontyne Price singing Strauss Four Last Songs. I am still waiting for the Price disc; but while searching I came across this disc. She recorded the Four Last Songs twice, this is the second one, dating from 1988, she was 58.

Is it any good? Yes, it certainly is.

The performance is on CFP which cost me less than £4 with free postage! The silly price, did not encourage me to lower my expectations or judgement calls. This joins Schwartzkopf, Janowitz, Auger and Norman, who are my first recommendations depending on what you want out of the pieces. It comes ahead of Studer, Fleming, te Kanawa Della Casa and Isokoski.

This is not just based on voice alone. Richard Hickox steers the LSO through the songs providing an underlying pulse for each which moves them along but not at the expense of expressiveness. The orchestra shimmers and is mellow, there is lots of detailed phrasing within the pulse. Harper at a relatively advanced age does not put a foot wrong. Some German vowels sound on the harsh side; apart from this the silvery soprano, ample and warm, sounds in terrific condition, high soft, high loud, diminuendo, nothing seems stressed. It is a distinctive voice, she does not vary tone much, but is expressive with words and volume. It is a fully formed thought through performance and there is nothing of the routine about it.

Accompanying the set we have 12 orchestrated Strauss songs. She includes about four that were new to me; a bonus as I have quite a few discs of Strauss songs. The programme is a delight and as the conductor does not get lost in cream-puff land, they do not pall. The programme lasts just over an hour and I was left wanting more, to the extent I played it straight through twice, then again the next day.

 (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51puHHu%2BgPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

If you don't believe me; try the samples.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strauss-Songs-London-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B001DCGKKS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280418589&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strauss-Songs-London-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B001DCGKKS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280418589&sr=1-1)

I wonder how Leontyne Price will compare?

Mike

This looks very nice, especially for the price.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mjwal on July 30, 2010, 02:47:15 AM
You've sold me on the Harper/Strauss - I'll report back on my impressions. At the moment my favourite 4 Last songs is the Ansermet/Stich-Randall - with an airy, light orchestral tissue quite different from anything else I've heard and soaring lines from that underrated (IMO) soprano. (The other work on the CD is the Fauré Requiem with Souzay and a rather provincial French-style chorus.) Talking of Stich-Randall and vocal recitals: I love the 1956 recital on INA with Rosbaud: some wonderful Lieder (Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss), Debussy's Ariettes oubliées , finishing with "Die Forelle" and "Widmung" as encores. Her German is very clear (with only one memory slip where she adds an extra consonant to an adjective) and expressive, always with the long line in view. This is quite different from the Schwarzkopf or even Seefried manner. A pity that so little of her work is available.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on July 30, 2010, 02:52:13 AM
I hope you enjoy it. I won't have to feel too guilty if not, as it costs so little. I agree there is too little of th silvery voice of Stich-Randall. Though in fact, it could expand into a fairly fulsome sound.

This is a lovely example of her work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t0MtqYikDc

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: The new erato on July 31, 2010, 12:37:32 PM
This joins Schwartzkopf, ..............

Ackermann or Szell?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on July 31, 2010, 12:49:53 PM
I have both, plus the early Karajan. The recording I was referring to is the Szell one.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 13, 2010, 12:57:35 AM
Time to bump my own favourite thread.

A second hand disc. All three of the major Mahler solo voice song cycles plus a short group from Wunderhorn which includes Ulricht. The singer, Brigitte Fassbaender.

Here is a voice packed full with individual character and timbre. Distinctive from her first notes, it is a rich, purple and tangy voice. She was often to be found in best voice within opera sets, Cosi or perhaps her amazing singing in the Guilini Trovatore. But for solo discs, she had to await an Indian Summer. A summer with the occasional squall.

Once 'discovered' she was provided with many opportunities. Her Schubert is ultra dramatic and in some instances appropriately deranged. Here is a singer of great intelligence who cannot commit a dull phrase of singing.

This may sound exhausting to listen to, not so. But with the insights and the life experience, there was the inevitable downside. It is ironic that when most in the solo recital highlight her voice was past its very best. The vibrancy can become uncomfortable under pressure and high notes can be jarring. The upper reaches of 'Ging heut' morgan' have moments of discomfort. I have an oldish track of her storming through Ponchielli, Suicedo from Gioconda; she sounds like a soprano. But her usual tone was deep mezzo and as such, her general tone suits some of these Mahler songs more than others.

The Conductor is Chailly and the orchestra is the Deutches Sym Orc Berlin. The recordings took place in 1988/89 and I assume they were originally paired with various of the Chailly Mahler Symphony cycle.

I think so far that it may read as though I am indulging in special pleading for a slightly over the hill singer. But I don't intend that to be the tone here. I do wish she had been caught ten years earlier, but what we have is a partnership that yields a lot of insights. Not many singers savour the words so. It is her native language after all, but the praise stands. She takes you to the heart of wonder, regret, remorse, love, grief and so on. Each song is a jewel, its facets explored and turned toward you to catch the light.

She carries the line well for example in, 'Ich atmet' einen linden Duft' In two and a half minutes Mahler captures perfume in musical language. The line has to be maintained like a thread through pearls and she carries that and does not over express. So anyone fearing that the disc becomes one damned mini-psychodrama after another can relax.

A late gift from a very great singer.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Sergeant Rock on November 13, 2010, 10:05:24 AM
The Conductor is Chailly and the orchestra is the Deutches Sym Orc Berlin. The recordings took place in 1988/89 and I assume they were originally paired with various of the Chailly Mahler Symphony cycle.

No, they were actually issued together on a single disc apart from the symphonies. (Chailly's "filler" was unusually interesting, and different: works by Bach, Schoenberg, Berg, Zemlinsky, Diepenbrock.) A couple of years after the songs Chailly and Fassbaender recorded Das Klagende Lied too. That plus the song cycles are now coupled on a Decca twofer that I've been eyeing for quite some time. Your review of the songs has finally convinced me to hit the buy button.

Sarge
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 13, 2010, 10:14:35 AM
Thanks for the information Sarge, I wondered, but could not be hacked trying to track the truth of it.

I have just ordered another Kate Royal recital and will review it if I can think of 'out worthwhile to write about it.

Cheers,

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: kishnevi on November 14, 2010, 07:30:10 PM
No, they were actually issued together on a single disc apart from the symphonies. (Chailly's "filler" was unusually interesting, and different: works by Bach, Schoenberg, Berg, Zemlinsky, Diepenbrock.) A couple of years after the songs Chailly and Fassbaender recorded Das Klagende Lied too. That plus the song cycles are now coupled on a Decca twofer that I've been eyeing for quite some time. Your review of the songs has finally convinced me to hit the buy button.

Sarge

She also recorded DLvdE with Guilini; the tenor is Francisco Araiza.  That performance, and the Klagende Lied, are part of DG's Complete Mahler box, which is how I know of them.

The only other recording I have of hers (actually, there probably are more but I don't recall them at the moment) is of Winterreise, almost the only female Schubert song performance I have.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 30, 2010, 03:42:55 AM
I have had this recital for some time. It has languished and until today I have not managed to listen right through the disc.

Diana Damarau sings Mozart Opera Arias. Conducted by Jeremie Rhorer on Virgin Discs.

The language of wine has its parallel in how we describe voices. Well, here goes. A touch of lemon and tannin, rather than diamonds in a string, a cascade of cut glass. I can't get along with this voice at all. I find the tone alternatively sweet then shallow, there is an innate vibrato in the upper middle of the voice and some tooth paste swelling in phrasing.

Against that is her acuity with words and an ability to ping top notes as though from another voice, often pure in sound. Her phrasing is musical. But...rather a big but....I don't like the voice at all. Thus my inability to listen right through to the disc. About half of it would be OK. I get fatigued with the angry doll attitude in some arias and in the likes of Pamina, she lacks the beauty I look for.

At her best she provides interest and narrative to a longish aria from La finta semplice. But two arias later, we have the trial of Martern aller Arten, exhausting in the wrong way. Workmanlike rather than triumphant in getting through those notes, a lesson rather than relishing what is being unrolled before us.

So, not for me I am afraid. I wonder what garners her so much praise? Perhaps this disc is not representative of her work, or that the microphone does not like her.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Guido on December 31, 2010, 09:30:31 AM
I also find her hard to like - she's very good in some roles (her Sophie is nice), but considering she is a lyric coloratura, her vibrato can be very wide indeed - something of which I am never a fan. Thing is, she can also sing very purely a sweetly e.g. the famous phrase "Wie himmlische, nicht irdische, wie Rosen vom hochheiligen Paradies". Her singing in Die Schweigsame Frau last summer was another case in point. Perplexing. Haven't seen her live though. Maybe she's just popular because she's better than Dessay. I'm not a great fan of either.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 01, 2011, 12:03:25 PM
Guido, Damarau is in the DVD of Rosenkavalier I recently bought. I watched Act 1 yesterday. Fleming gives a remarkable performance. I hope when she appears that Damarau is at her sweetest. I will report back on the DVD thread when I get through the whole performance.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Marc on January 01, 2011, 01:15:01 PM
(http://i55.tinypic.com/23h2bls.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Lucia-Popp-Orfeo-Sergey-Prokofiev/dp/B0000044WI

Beautiful, lovely, et cetera! :-*
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Guido on January 01, 2011, 01:36:47 PM
Oh I just posted on the other opera DVD thread Mike - so glad that you liked Fleming's performance. I think it's wonderful, but I'm an unashamed fan - I know that some around here, like Tsaraslondon are more guarded in their praise. The role fits her like a glove vocally, and the acting I think is also amongst her finest. She's very good at these "thinkey" heroines, because it's who she is - her Tatiana at the Met was also very affecting, mainly because that's roughly who she was as a young girl, and now also (ok, not royalty, but wildly successful, famous, and rich). Her Capriccio Countess (Madeleine) also.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 01, 2011, 02:04:32 PM
I am with you. I don't think I have seen such an intense reading of that final long section of Act 1 of Rosenkavalier. But it completely fits the words and is basically quite a disturbing and disturbed reading; as against the usual rather more soft centred approach.

I also thought her Tatania was first rate and have reviewed that and the Cappriccio. The latter again I enjoyed enormously, except for the odd idea of having her in a stage box observing...that was self conscious, but a small point up against the entire role.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Guido on January 01, 2011, 04:07:16 PM
Yes, that staging of the last scene annoys me more and more - it's so unsubtle and obvious, in this most subtle and recherché of operas, and ruins the best bit of the whole opera somewhat. (oh look , she's wearing a glitzier slightly differently hued version of the same dress, oh look the servants have over the top makeup - it's an operatic version of the real events guys! Look!) Actually it completely ruins it because what one is really meant to realise at the point the Count suggests the theme of the opera, is that the whole thing is folding in on itself, the mirror in the mirror etc. (we're back to the Marschallin). In this staging, only the last part is Flamand/Olivier's creation, not the entire opera.

And the last scene also loses it's poignance and depth - we're meant to be thinking about the uncertainty of life and the future, the impossibility of the choices we make (and more generally, the ending of this era of german opera, the ending of a life and creative career as Strauss' rapturous penultimate essay for soprano and orchestra...) and then the beautiful sighing irony and lightness of the very end... Instead, we're constantly brought back to the opera within an opera motive, the inherent weirdness of the operatic medium, the stage itself and how unnatural it is to declame your inner most thoughts with music accompanying to an audience of a thousand...

But I really do love the rest of the staging! As I've said before it's my favourite opera, and I love the updating here - such a beauty and elegance and naturalness to it all.

The Met Capriccio is even worse than their Rosenkavalier for chocolate boxeyness - everyone praises the Te Kanawa DVD to the nines but I hate what it looks like. Another reason I find it hard to watch is the acting from the men - all seems a bit hammy and overdone - they don't seem like people I'd want to know.

The Met broadcast coming up in April with Renée Fleming is actually a new production which I'm curious to see - I think it's another updating to 1942, the year the piece was premiered. It's such a common trick to just update a piece to the time the composer wrote it, rather than the date it's meant to be set in, but it's obvious why it works - the effect can seem more cohegent often - the visual and aural seem less at odds.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on January 01, 2011, 06:34:26 PM
The Met broadcast coming up in April with Renée Fleming is actually a new production which I'm curious to see - I think it's another updating to 1942, the year the piece was premiered. It's such a common trick to just update a piece to the time the composer wrote it, rather than the date it's meant to be set in, but it's obvious why it works - the effect can seem more cohegent often - the visual and aural seem less at odds.

It's the same John Cox/Mauro Pagano production from San Francisco they did with Te Kanawa in 1998, but with new costumes and "interior décor" by Robert Perdziola.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 02, 2011, 02:40:28 AM
Guido, I agree with you entirely on the odd framing device in the Capriccio. It entirely undercuts the integrity of what went before.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Guido on January 02, 2011, 04:16:02 AM
Thanks Wendell - didn't realise it was as old as that, though I was aware that it had been done before. The production I had been talking about was the previous one which is on the Te Kanawa DVD.

I'm guessing this is the new one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFp5CMY6dlE (It's the met opening night gala that she did a couple of years ago.)

The decor is certainly very plush and apt, but somehow the costume, makeup and wig look less sophisticated than I think they're meant to... Somehow they conspire to make her look quite old! Is this the costume in the new production?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on January 03, 2011, 04:28:36 AM
Thanks Wendell - didn't realise it was as old as that, though I was aware that it had been done before. The production I had been talking about was the previous one which is on the Te Kanawa DVD.

I'm guessing this is the new one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFp5CMY6dlE (It's the met opening night gala that she did a couple of years ago.)

Again, it's all the same production. with some new furniture and costumes.  It premiered in Covent Garden in 1991.  San Francisco did it in in June 1993 (those performances produced the DVD you refer to).  Lyric Opera of Chicago did it in 1994, and it came to the Met in 1998, with several of the same cast members as in the DVD (Te Kanawa, Keenlyside, and Kuebler as the points in the love triangle).  It was used again for that gala in the youtube video, with a new John Galliano frock for Fleming and the new interior decoration (same old set) by Perdziola who, according to the Met website, will also be doing the costumes for the upcoming revival.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Guido on January 03, 2011, 05:26:23 AM
Again, it's all the same production. with some new furniture and costumes.  It premiered in Covent Garden in 1991.  San Francisco did it in in June 1993 (those performances produced the DVD you refer to).  Lyric Opera of Chicago did it in 1994, and it came to the Met in 1998, with several of the same cast members as in the DVD (Te Kanawa, Keenlyside, and Kuebler as the points in the love triangle).  It was used again for that gala in the youtube video, with a new John Galliano frock for Fleming and the new interior decoration (same old set) by Perdziola who, according to the Met website, will also be doing the costumes for the upcoming revival.

Ah right! Sorry for being so dim!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 27, 2011, 11:19:18 PM
A little time ago a professional countertenor came onto the site and left a link, within a thread of discussions on his voice type, to a very interesting technical article on singing. I followed up and found that the singer, Ian Howell, had made some recordings. I listened to samples and felt prompted to buy this disc on the Americanbach label:

'1685 and the art of Ian Howell'.

1685 was the birth year of Bach, Handel and Domenico Scarlatti. So there is plenty of scope here to range across masterpieces that can be tackled by the countertenor. The disc starts with Scarlatti's Salva Regina. The only other recording I have of this piece is by Janet Baker and she had that gift of injecting meaning and emotion into any phrase or word she chose. The melismatic repeated opening words are a case in point. So, from the off Howell tells us he is highly musical, phrasing terrifically well, has excellent breath control and sings with taste. He is not up for providing the ultra expressive experience that was Baker's hallmark. Arguably the older and slower recording makes too much of a meal of it. But it packs an emotional punch that this new performance is not aiming to emulate.

But the piece comes up fresh and the purity of the voice is a pleasure to listen to. The tone is sweet. He reminded me of Alfred Deller; but more substantial and obviously with a wider range. I would welcome more weight of tone and the balance on the recording sometimes felt like the voice was not given sufficient prominence.

He is accomplished without being outright virtuosic, some scale work sounds careful rather than tossed off. I enjoyed his performances, regard them as a find and will watch out for this singer. He has a thriving international career. The rest of the well filled disc includes all of Bach's Cantata BWV 170 Vergnugte Ruh, now so well recorded but bearing for most older listeners that indelible stamp of Baker in her prime. But we can't keep harking back as though there was only one legitimate way to sing these works. Here the opening aria is taken swiftly, it ripples along, with beautiful playing from the American Bach Soloists.

Handel is well represented by arias from Saul, Rinaldo, Giulio Cesare, Serse and Orlando.

Generous samples are available on his site:

http://www.ianhowellcountertenor.com/live/

It will be interesting to see how this singer develops.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 01, 2012, 02:36:52 AM
Margaret Price died just over a year ago: an event that seems to have spurred various music companies and radio stations to disgorge their treasures. A pity they did not do this a decade ago to give the singer the pleasure of witnessing the increase in the catalogue of her superb performances.

The disc I have here is issued by BR Classik. Simply with the name of the singer as title; it contains live works performed within Sunday morning relays of concerts from Munich between 1977 and 1991. The sound quality is very good, the voice well captured and forward, it is also very consistent. There are some pieces here that I am not aware are available elsewhere in her catalogue.

This voice has often been described as warm and creamy. She excelled in Mozart, Strauss and Verdi and seemed not to have to drop the Mozart once the Verdi became mainstream. She was initially a mezzo, which slightly surprises the listener, as her lowest notes are slightly weak. But a minor quibble and there are few of them. She latterly suffered from stage fright in a fairly major way; but certainly I have only once encountered a recording where this might have been a noticeable issue. Hers was a first rate technique where the voice was evenly supported from top to almost bottom and she could fill out those Verdi lines as adroitly as she got round the fast work in Mozart. In the Mozart she uses slight portamento to good effect.

Hers is probably the most beautiful Isolde we have on disc, there she also showed that she used words intelligently. In this gathering of arias there is no Isolde. We have a number of the expected Mozart roles plus the surprise of Parto, Parto from Clemenza di Tito. This is usually assigned to the Mezzo, here she sings it superbly tossing off the long lines with excellent breath control. The Dove Sono has a couple of moments where she is not entirely comfortable.

There is Weber and Rossini, then Casta Diva. Here and in the final Verdi there is a concentration and projection that is hypnotic. Without losing detail, she sings across the arias. Otello, Forza, Aida extracts follow and then a final long 11 minute aria from Don Carlo. This is well kept to last; it left me in a bit of a trance....eventually I realised the music had finished and I was sitting in silence, magical.

A treasurable disc.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 01, 2012, 02:19:01 AM
On one of the Wagner threads I recently left a review of a live concert performance of Tristan that provided an all round memorable evening. The Brangane was new to me and for me a very impressive find. I hunted out any discs she had produced, by chance her debut solo disc has just been issued.

Christianne Stotijn accompanied by Joseph Breint: 'Stimme der Sehnsucht' on the  Onyx

With a title meaning, 'Voices of longing' we are not going to encounter much to laugh about. Songs by Pfitzner, Strauss and the major focus of the disc: Mahler's Kindertotenlieder. Now although no comedy, it is not a miserablist recital and the Strauss is much about love rather than loss. The recital has the Mahler at the end, but exceptionally, Strauss's 'Morgan' is placed as a postlude and that has significance. The Mahler is not approached in an epic of the neurotic and grief laden. This is a deeply reflective interpretation. A touch of disbelief, regret, loss, latterly with the 'Morgan', resignation is projected backwards. An interesting piece of programming. It is very effective.

The voice is forward, rich and vibrant. Moments reminded me of Fassbaender. But although she has been taught by, among others, Janet Baker, if I have to compare her in order to provide a reference point; then Christa Ludwig is closer in sound if not in temperament.

The Mahler is really excellent and the pianist almost makes me forget that we don't have the full orchestral palate. Even in that Wagnerian outpouring of  Strauss's 'Befreit', I am content with the piano. The voice is large in real life, but she resists the temptation to oversing this song as it puts the voice into flight mode.

I did not get much out of the Pfitzner; penny plain, but I probably need to put time in on them to get them to yield their quality. I like the idea that she has not gone for an obvious pairing, an intelligent singer providing an interesting programme.

I believe we will hear a lot more from this singer. This is an auspicious first recital disc, I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 01, 2012, 03:28:36 AM
On a roll today: another Mezzo. Sarah Connolly. She is probably now right at the peak of her career in terms of the voice condition balanced with the insight she brings to what she sings. In a week I will hear her sing The Angel in 'Gerontius' and a couple of weeks ago I heard her juicy Octavian at the ENO. In the last decade she has produced a string of admired performances.

I first encountered her on the Glyndbourne Julius Caesar DVD and I don't expect to encounter it better acted and sung. Her Dido in the Purcell opera is I think the best take on the part in the last 30 years. She has been showcased in a few recital discs, but sadly few in relation to her 50 years.

Chandos has issued a disc of English Song: 'My True Love Hath My Heart'. She is aided and abetted by Malcolm Martineau.

I have quite a few discs of English song and I do enjoy, as here, where the famous ones rub shoulders with rare or new ones. The newest material is put at the end: Richard Rodney Bennett's three songs collectively known as, 'A History of The Dansant', that final 'e' should have an acute over it. The composer's sister supplied the words, biographical of their parents. Very enjoyable songs, grateful to sing.

Backwards, many of the expected composers appear, Britten, Howells, Ireland and Ivor Gurney; this latter has two songs, one being that beautiful melismatic piece, 'Sleep'. As elsewhere, well everywhere, Connolly is excellent at capturing mood and the light hearted songs are kept appropriately light. The solemn songs are mined. Verbal acuity is gratefully heard. I can't discern an arc to the programme, but it is totally enjoyable.

Mike
Title: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lisz on December 29, 2012, 11:06:13 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41N4FNY2QTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

A surprising holiday gift from overseas....is anyone familiar with this recording? Thx in advance for any thoughts you can share.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 29, 2012, 11:11:38 AM
I have had this recording in different formats for about 40 years and I can's see past it to any other version. Christoff's French is demonic, but perhaps that is appropriate. Most of the other singers have good French and it is terrifically sung.

I hope you enjoy it.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Lisz on December 29, 2012, 11:43:07 AM
I have had this recording in different formats for about 40 years and I can's see past it to any other version. Christoff's French is demonic, but perhaps that is appropriate. Most of the other singers have good French and it is terrifically sung.

I hope you enjoy it.

Mike

Mike, thx so much for the feedback.

The friend who sent it mentioned that it is one of his favorite operas, loves that it is in French, "the plot (based on Goethe's master work)," and the "superb" work of Victoria de los Angeles, in particular the "Jewel Song," all new to me. It will take me a while to get through it, but am really looking forward to it.

Hilde
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 01, 2013, 07:28:19 AM
Mike, thx so much for the feedback.

The friend who sent it mentioned that it is one of his favorite operas, loves that it is in French, "the plot (based on Goethe's master work)," and the "superb" work of Victoria de los Angeles, in particular the "Jewel Song," all new to me. It will take me a while to get through it, but am really looking forward to it.

Hilde

I still think that, on balance, it's the best Faust available, and very French, despite the fact that, of the major roles, only Valentin is sung by a native French singer. For some reason, every time I hear the overture in this set, it really conjures up the atmosphere in a theatre, and I can imagine the lights dimming and the audience settling down, that sense of expectation before the curtain rises.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 01, 2013, 11:25:08 AM
On DVD the Pappano is excellent....and fun.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 26, 2013, 09:57:56 AM
Here is a recital that will be listened to as a touchstone in a generation.

Wagner: Jonas Kaufmann, Runnicles, Deutcher Opera Berlin, Decca

This singer in this repertoire cannot be bettered and possibly never has been. Reinzi, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, Walkure, Siegfried Meistersingers and the Wesendonk Lieder.

There are a very few singers who can make a language so come alive to a foreign ear. I don't understand much of it without following the words, but even without following them, you certainly get the idea. I think his tone is getting rounder, possibly also darker. His dramatic sense and intelligence means the extended In fernam land and the Rome narration are entirely gripping and as i noted in his Florestan, he traces the arc of a piece of music and shoots you across it with his imagination. I have never heard Wagner tenor singing that I have enjoyed so very much.

It all feels like it is torn from live performances, i just want more. I even fell under the spell of a tenor in the Wesendonk Lieder. It does not make me want to forgo the female singers, it was written for soprano, but he makes a very good case for it using the tenor range, though an exceptionally dark tenor. This sounds like a full baritone voice which has by miracle been transported upwards, intact, flowing, generous high notes and rich middle and low notes. This voice might just last!

I hope someone can give us a complete Tristan with him and i am daily waiting for the Met Parsifal.

The sound is forward and open, Runnicles is a wonderful conductor and together they have made what will become an historic recording.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 11, 2013, 01:20:53 AM
There are a handful of pieces where despite my intensions, i cannot resist yet another well received version. Missa Solemnis, Das Lied von Der Erde, St Matthew Passion are amongst them. Les Nuits d'ete is another. I don't know, I probably have rising a baker's dozen and along comes yet one more i did not resist.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Robin Ticciati and Karen Cargill. The other pieces on the disc are: The Love Scene from Romeo and Juliet and La morte de Cleopatre, all Berlioz of course. The disc has had fairly universal praise. Do I recommend it? Yes strongly, but not without reservations.

Is it my ears I wonder? First up is the song cycle. This is a chamber orchestra and the voice is placed very much to the fore. I can hardly hear the orchestra in some of the quite areas of the cycle, of which there are many. The strings seem to whisper a commentary rather than join the partnership. Other than that, the pacing is unerring and colours do come through now and then. The conductor and singer conspire to draw you into their world with great concentration and I was certainly carried along with the feeling that I was listening to a symphony rather than a collection of disparate movements. So, I know that I will listen repeatedly to this disc. Now the singer, it took me a little time to acclimatise to her voice, I am not fond of a integral vibrato which is noticeable here in the middle register. But I was won over by the many qualities. Around the vibrato is a most beautiful dark voice and either I got used to it, or it somehow lessened throughout the disc. Her French sounds first rate to my untutored ear. She brings a terrific inner quality to her performance and I loved it. It does not copy any one else's approach. It is a special performance, not perfect, but how rare is perfection?

The Romeo and Juliet was beautifully played, but again to my ears the orchestra sounds under nourished, a bit. But that bit is the difference between enjoyment and being swept off your feet. Berlioz is the master of the passionate rush and here passion is just slightly muted.

The final piece is the cantata, another of my favourite pieces. This stands superbly up to the competition. Yes, Baker, Norman, Podles , this one goes straight up there with them. Right from the first utterance Cargill grabs you and colours the drama, a very imposing queen. This was for me the most satisfying performance. it felt live and as though the culmination of a longer opera. it is worth the cost of the disc, even if the other performances had been less good than they are.

I thought this name Cargill rang a vague bell and looking through likely candidates, lo and behold, she was on a terrific version of Das Lied that was on my shelves. Partnered by Runnicles and Botha this live prom performance was stuck to the front of a BBC music magazine, but I see it can be had on Amazon. It is well worth searching out. Cargill's voice is pretty well supported, one or two hollow notes apart, even four or five years ago she was pretty well superb and she responds imaginatively to the words. But the whole piece is beautifully conceived, and in the Runnicles style, this is not the stoic approach, it is dramatic. Botha is also well worth hearing.

Mike

Edit: Puzzled at the sound balance, i have listened to the disc on my other system. Sound turned up, the Arcam definately brings out more orchestral detail. I have not specifically noticed this before.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 11, 2013, 04:35:52 AM
You piqued my curiosity so I did a quick Spotify search. No "Nuits d'Ete", but the search threw up a couple of LSO live discs, a Beethoven 9 with Haitink, a "L'Enfance du Christ" with Colin Davis and  a Verdi Requiem, also with Davis.

I didn't have much time so just listened to the Lux aeterna from the Requiem, and thought it quite riveting. There are a few vocal problems. The voice doesn't have the solidity and firmness of a Ludwig, a Cossotto, or even a Baltsa (at least early in her career on the Muti recording), but she really connects with the text and there is the sense of a true partnership with Davis. The other soloists on this Requiem are Christine Brewer, Stuart Neil and John Relyea, none of them singers I would readily seek out, but this excerpt made me want to hear the whole performance.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 11, 2013, 04:47:00 AM
I will have a listen to the Verdi. Thanks.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: BobsterLobster on May 11, 2013, 05:01:23 AM
One of my most treasured CDs- but quite hard to get hold of these days:

Title: Lucy Crowe......Lucy Crowe.......Lucy Crowe
Post by: knight66 on July 13, 2013, 10:25:11 PM
You will guess from how I titled the heading that i have come to praise not to bury Lucy Crowe. Do we need yet another Handel Arias disc? Well, back in 2012 when this was issued I clearly thought not. But having accidentially encountered the song and the singer on Spotify I now urge people to go and listen for themselves. Where I am living I have a bit of a spotty web connection, so even though most of the time I could hear the disc at will, I safeguarded myself and bought it....so, down to it.

Lucy Crowe, The English Concert, Harry Bicket on Harmonia Mundi   Handel in Italy 74 minutes

Here we have the young Handel writing religious and non religious music for church princes. We have a couple of substantial pieces Armida abbandonata and Salve Regina HWV241 plus a collection of arias from Resurrezione, clori and a couple of sonata movements. It is a very beautiful disc and the singer is set in a resonate acoustic, but forward so that you do catch the expressivity in her singing. It is a perfect voice somewhat in the Ameling frame, but I say that simply to provide a reference point, not to suggest she is a sound-alike. The technique is not even noticeable, so the singer has arrived at that place where she is utterly secure in what she is doing and stylistically she seems at home bringing these pieces to life without breaching the confines of the slightly cool concert platform.

Since I got the disc I have listened over and over and looked for more by the singer. She is a superb Mozartian and brings more overt feelings to his opera roles.

The orchestra and conductor as an important element and the names ensure you know what stile and sensitivity they will bring to the performances.

Now for another run through.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 22, 2013, 03:10:57 AM
Verdi: Kaufmann: Sony

This is a much heralded disc by probably the most versatile and skilled tenor now singing. (Let's leave Domingo out of this now.)

It is a very generous disc, it even contains a 'bonus' track. Now in this context what the hell is that? Did they find it down the back of the fridge, was it recorded accidentally....what codswallop, especially as it has been tacked onto the end after the final utterances of Otello. Idiotic programming. Indeed what is the programming here? Chronological would have been good, random seems to have been the method.

His voice seems to ever darken and I hear an odd covered, cupo sound from a lot of his technique. I want the words to sit more closely just behind the teeth. In La Forza some phrases almost sound like they are being sung through cupped hands. But this is perhaps all carping, as he has so much on offer.

His voice now sounds out of scale in Rigoletto where the Duke's music can sound deceptively Mozartian. Here it is big boned, heavy, dramatic. The Don Carlo fits like a glove, ditto Trovatore. But the journey here is towards Otello which is flat out remarkable. Several times I have complained at the lack of use of the words in Otello, any healthy big voice gets a shot at it. At last here is a modern tenor who understands what to do with words.

A lot of superb communication right through the programme and his top notes are a joy. This is not at all a typical Italianate voice. But I would be glad to hear any of these portraits in full.

The sound picture is forward. The orchestra is good, Morandi is the trusted and capable conductor.

There are 13 tracks on the discs and what is now lavish packaging with libretti, essay and notes on each role by the singer. There are also lots of moody photos of the star.

Edited due to my typing in an entirely different tenor's name.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: North Star on September 22, 2013, 04:30:38 AM
Verdi: Hoffmann Sony
Interesting reading as usual, Mike!
But I assume you mean Kaufmann, hot Hoffmann :D For a while there I was excited about a new tenor :(

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 22, 2013, 05:01:27 AM
Haha,quite right and thanks. I will amend. A bit pathetic really as I had the blinking CD in my hands while I was writing.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: kishnevi on September 22, 2013, 07:49:57 AM
I think there will be a sort of plain vanilla issue released without the bonus track, without the fancy packaging and possibly without the moody photographs.

At any rate,  I've given it a first listen.  He is a much darker-hued tenor than one often gets in Verdi,  and he makes it work.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 24, 2013, 12:04:02 PM
David Hansen, countertenor, Academia Montis Regalis, Alessandro De Marchi: RIVALS        Harmonia Mundi.

The name of this disc is apt. The singer throws down the gauntlet in a flamboyant way for his debut recital. He has recorded nine arias which are all premier recordings. The composers are unfamiliar, Vinci, Leo, Bononcini and Broschi. These composers provided astonishing showpieces for that set of rival singers some of whose names, such as Farinelli, still resound down 200 years.

This singer has a really remarkable range which extends well into soprano territory. There is plenty of muscle here and I don't mistake the sound for that of a female, which I have done with one or two countertenors I can think of. We cannot really know quite what the famous castrati sounded like, but it was not a sound that was mistaken for a female, being somehow trumpet like. Here we have sweetness, but a power that suggests muscularity, fluidity in the coloratura, no noticeable break in the registers and excellent breath control.

He phrases interestingly and certainly avoids monotony. I prefer the slow pieces and the second piece here is 13 minutes of meditative music making with obbligato, like an echo of a Bach aria. It is a really fine disc and the unfamiliar music is becoming established in my ear as I have listened over several weeks.

I went onto YouTube and caught some Handel and Mozart and as agents like to claim, he is the full package, voice, acting ability and striking looks. He has just moved recording companies and I assume plans are afoot. I hope so. Some of my favourite countertenors are becoming venerable and it is good to know there is talent like this coming up after them.

Mike 
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Peregrine on October 24, 2013, 01:04:34 PM
Great thread!

Possibly the recital disc I'd take to the proverbial desert island:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0006M4ROC.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_V1116382036_.jpg)

A rather virile debut from the legendary tenor.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Peregrine on October 24, 2013, 01:13:35 PM

Also from the LP age, we have Sutherland's Art of the Prima Donna, still mercifully available in its original form. This still, for me, represents Sutherland at her vesy best.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/417FBKEWABL._SS500_.jpg)


I have long wanted to purchase this classic album, but I'm sure I remember reading there are remastering 'issues'? I see several versions on Amazon, so is the version to choose?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 10, 2013, 01:24:48 AM
Ivor Gurney Songs: Susan Bickley, Iain Burnside: Naxos

In several ways Naxos has done us a favour. One is the exploration of Gurney's output, another is giving us over an hour of Bickley.

I bought this disc off the back of listening and watching Bickley in the Britten DVD of 'The Turn of the Screw' where she shone amongst a superb cast and the voice hit home. It is a juicy mezzo with warm tone and she knows how to make words tell. Looking for more of her I encountered this disc and what a beautiful stream of songs we are given.

I learned several of Gurney's songs years ago and despite connecting with them, somehow I looked no further and filled up on Schubert and Brahms. So, here for example, are 'Five Elizabethan Songs', using words oft set from the time of the first Elizabeth. 'Sleep' is a tiny masterpiece about loss and the conjuring of sleep that allows the bliss to be recaptured. It yields to regret or anger depending on the approach: wistful or bitter. Here the former way is explored. As with all of these the words come alive and the arc of each song is evident. The approach sensitive and the technique allows plenty of expression, really using the dynamics. I did not know the preceding song in the set, Shakespeare's Under the Greenwood Tree, an instant favourite.

There is so much here, nothing longer than four minutes, 30 songs receive care and imagination from the singer and of course Burnside.

I wish it had been a double disc it gives so much pleasure.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Fafner on November 10, 2013, 01:33:26 AM
Simon Estes - Richard Wagner

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ngVgnlLaL.jpg)

This was my introduction to Wagner. I bought it back in the 90's as a used vinyl LP in a bargain bin for less than a dollar and I played it all the time. I recently bought it again on CD - the original Philips edition from 1984. Of course, I have heard Wotan performed better, but I still love it.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Mario Denis on January 10, 2014, 05:28:35 PM


all time favorite....saw him live in winter 1977, the same year I saw Leontyne Price, in Vancouver. :P

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 10, 2014, 10:26:35 PM
Mario, Can you give us your memories from those recitals?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Guido on January 11, 2014, 05:30:27 AM
Mike - agreed on the quality of kaufmann's singing but when you hear him in the theatre you realise that he is not a heldentenor and probably not even a dramatic tenor. The extremely covered sound works well on recordings, and I think he is superb on the Wagner disc, but there really is no way he will make an adequate tannhauser or Siegfried in the theatre - his Parsifal and siegmund, wonderfully sung though they were, were already not exactly large. Additionally the vocal cover makes his live Verdi not really that thrilling to me.

I think he is a great vocalise and artist, and there are many recordings of his that I love (have you heard the Strauss songs?) but I have rarely been as enamoured by him live as I have been with his efforts on disc.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 11, 2014, 12:20:45 PM
Guido, You may well be right, for me so far he is solely a recording artist and that can be manipulated in many ways. But is is interesting and intelligent. I have problems with the swallowed sound in the middle of his voice and the sound is increasingly dark. But I enjoy a lot of what I have heard on disc so far.

Mike
Title: Claudio Monteverdi Lamento D'Arianna
Post by: edith1 on February 04, 2014, 01:18:27 PM
I would like to introduce you to my recording of Monteverdi's lament. This song is very important to me. Singing was a great experience. Because every woman is like a mythological arianna. we have similar feelings when we are abandoned. I have many thoughts in my mind and desire for discussion but first, please listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgEQ2ts01Ro
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on February 04, 2014, 02:30:48 PM
Thank you for posting that, it is terrific. If is an epic lament and you clearly have the scale of it. I also enjoyed the Gluck that is on YouTube. Have you finished studying? What are your plans?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on February 23, 2014, 01:01:32 AM
Counter tenor time again.

Handel Oratorio arias: Iestyn Davies, The King's Consort Robert King

This disc has had quite a few mentions in the UK press, all highly complimentary. It was not available on Spotify, so I bought it. There is a lot that is right. The voice is sweet, forward and clear, he has an excellent technique and is a tasteful musician. However, I found it quite a dull listen. He does not inhabit or enliven the music, the words are clear, the meaning not conveyed. I wanted him to put his back into it.

So, despite the sheer quality all round, I felt this to be a miss, not a hit.

Mike

On Nigel Wilkinson's blog I have just read an aside he quotes about this singer being described, as though he is about to sing Evensong at you.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Octave on March 14, 2014, 09:41:31 PM
I love this thread, and thanks to all the contributors.  I was horrified to see that it had accrued less than one page of posts in 2013, but that is the life and dormancy of threads.

It's possible that this thread alone will cause me to do some catastrophic buying even before summer's end.

Pardon me for being a slave to the reissue racket release schedule, but do any of the following from the eruption of Decca's MOST WANTED RECITALS series, qualify as top-notch/must-have for any of you?  I guess I have heard some work from most of these singers, but I am never sure about various singers' ability with different material in different moments of their career....those are variables that I've not researched.  Also I am being lazy so I do not have to do dozens of searches.

Somehow it seems wild that they would release such a large number of items all at once.  And not all together in a coffin!   0:)

A tidy list with links, from Presto:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/s/Most%2BWanted%2BRecitals (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/s/Most%2BWanted%2BRecitals)

A text list for here:
1. Romantic Songs by Rossini, Bellini & Donizetti. Ugo Benelli and Lydia Marimpietri. Erik Smith at the piano.
2. Inge Borkh operatic recital with the LSO and Anatole Fistoulari plus bonus tracks from another recital with the VPO and Rudolf Moralt.
3. Renato Bruson, Donizetti arias with the Orchestra of the Teatro Regio di Torino plus bonus tracks from Le Grandi Voci dell´Arena di Verona featuring Bruson.
4. Operatic recitals by Giuseppe Campora and Gianni Poggi plus arias with Gino Penno.
5. José Carreras first ever 1976 recital with the Royal Philharmonic and Roberto Benzi. Some arias have been released before but never in it´s entirety.
6. José Carreras second recital with the LPO and Jesús López-Cobos featuring arias by Rossini (O muto asil!!!), Verdi and Donizetti. The same is true of this one, it appears complete for the first time.
7. José Carreras sings popular songs: Granada, Be my Love, etc. English Chamber Orchestra, Roberto Benzi.
8. Eugene Conley operatic recital 1949-1950 plus Italian opera arias from another recital.
9. Fernando Corena Mozart arias plus Cimarosa´s Il Maestro di Cappella.
10. Fernando Corena in Orbit. Popular songs...includes Tonight from West Side Story!
11. Regine Crespin song recital. Songs by Schumann, Wolf, Debussy and Poulenc. Bonus opera arias tracks.
12. Lisa Della Casa operatic recital with the VPO conducted by Heinrich Hollreiser plus Lieder recital.
13. Lisa Della Casa & Vico Torriani: Lieder aus unserer Heimat plus Cristina Deutekom Promenade Concert.
14. Schubert: Die Schöne Müllerin with Anton Dermota and Hilde Dermota.
15. Cristina Deutekom in Vienna plus Christmas with Cristina Deutekom.
16. Ursula Farr sings arias from Nozze di Figaro, Der Freischütz, etc, plus arias from a second recital.
17. Nicolai Ghiaurov and Franco Tagliavini in scenes from Boito´s Mefistofele conducted by Silvio Varviso plus bonus arias from other Ghiaurov recitals, includes the Au fond du temple saint duet with Ghiaurov and Pavarotti.
18. Hilde Gueden sings Mozart arias with the VPO and Alberto Erede conducting. Plus bonus tracks from Verdi and Puccini recital.
19. Hilde Gueden Richard Strauss recital with Friedrich Gulda piano plus bonus tracks of Strauss arias.
20. Hilde Gueden "My Secret Heart", songs by Noël Coward and Ivor Novello plus traditional songs from Vienna.
21. Hilde Gueden children´songs from many lands plus Christmas songs. Some NEVER before released tracks here.
22. Hans Hotter "The Art of Hans Hotter vol.1" Recorded in the Sofiensaal in 1973.
23. Hans Hotter "The Art of Hans Hotter vol.2" Recorded in 1973 too.
24. Gwyneth Jones scenes from Verdi, Covent Garden Edward Downes, plus arias conducted by Angelo Quadri
25. Flaviano Labo operatic recital plus Bruno Prevedi opera arias.
26. George London on Broadway with the Roland Shaw Orchestra plus Wagner scenes.
27. Pilar Lorengar opera arias with the LPO and Jesús López-Cobos plus bonus tracks from Puccini recital.
28. James McCracken & Sandra Warfield operatic duets plus bonus arias with McCracken.
29. Janine Micheau operatic recital with Roger Desormiére plus arias from second recital with Muir Mathieson.
30. Arnold van Mill favourite opera arias plus arias and songs with Raphael Arie.
31. Verdi scenes with Birgit Nilsson, Luigi Ottolini, Grace Hoffman and Louis Quilico, Royal Opera House conducted by John Pritchard. Includes the Wesendonk Lieder from a 1970´s Philips recording.
32. Julius Patzak operatic recital plus "Songs from old Vienna".
33. Gianni Poggi Italian songs.
34. Schubert: Schwanengesang with Hermann Prey and Walter Klein plus Goethe Lieder with Karl Engel.
35. Wolf´s Mörike Lieder with Hermann Prey and Gerald Moore.
36. Mado Robin sings scenes from Mireille and Lucia di Lammermoor with Michel Malkassian and Libero De Luca.
37. Joseph Rouleau sings French Opera plus Raphael Arie in Russian arias.
38. Heinrich Schlusnus Lieder von Schubert plus Lieder from another recital.
39. Paul Schoeffler operatic recital (VPO/Bòhm and Moralt) plus highlights from the Knappertsbusch Meistersinger.
40. Cesare Siepi sings songs by Cole Porter plus Verdi arias.
41. Cesare Siepi songs from Italy plus arias by Mozart, Meyerbeer and Halévy.
42. Gerard Souzay sings Handel. Rameau and Lully arias.
43. Gerard Souzay sings Schumann´s Dichterliebe with Dalton Baldwin.
44. Gerard Souzay sings Schumann´s Liederkreis op.39 with Dalton Baldwin.
45. Gerard Souzay sings mélodies by Bizet, Chabrier, Debussy, Fauré, etc.
46. Nancy Tatum operatic recital plus recital of American songs.
47. Giuseppe Valdengo Italian songs plus arias by Verdi, Gounod, Thomas, etc.
48. Jennifer Vyvyan Mozart and Haydn recital.
49. Ingvar Wixell sings Verdi Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Silvio Varviso.
50. Virginia Zeani operatic recital with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni plus Puccini arias.

(the above list copied from the kind contribution of someone on another discussion board)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: kishnevi on March 15, 2014, 12:40:21 PM
Cesare Siepi singing Cole Porter ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

Sounds like something I'd want to hear just for the sake of hearing it....although I don't think I'd go back to it very often, if ever.   And Fernando Corena singing WSS is not far behind it in that respect.

There are a couple of singers in the list whom I have not heard of,  but a lot of the singers there were steady reliable leads at the Met and other important opera houses when I was a lad back in the 70s (and earlier)--Siepi and Corena being good examples, although I would have to go dig through the piles to see exactly which ones appear in any of my older opera recordings.  [ETA: actually, most of these singers seem to have been active in the 50s and 60s, and were at the end of their careers when I may have first heard them on Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in the 70s/80s, if I ever heard them on those.  There are of course some exceptions, Carreras being the most obvious.]

Souzay's recitals are of interest.  I know several of his recordings are well liked by people here--perhaps one of them can speak up and say if any of his best recordings are among the four CDs that appear here.

I've already got enough vocal recitals that I don't listen to, so I'll probably skip this series.  Except of course for that Siepi CD.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 15, 2014, 10:16:12 PM
Most Wanted??? By whom I wonder. It is a fascinating rag bag. I agree with Jeffrey in the ones he suggests are notable. But I would add Mado Robin, she was very skilful and in her time famous. Joseph Rouleau had a fine bass voice and was especially good in his own language, I would go for that one. People like Hotter and Geuden are self recommending. But in part, what does recital mean here. I can see that in some instances it means pulling together whatever is in the archives and bunging in popular songs. It can make for an uncomfortable ride.

 A singer they have probably done this for is Virginia Zeani....who she? Well, if you track down her singing Traviata, you will instantly wonder where she has been hiding. A really good technique, a good communicator and exactly right for that part. She is also excellent as Liu. I would recommend that disc and hope they don't include on the disc any dim scratchy live performances, but have her at her best in the then best sound. Nilsson, well, it depends really. She sang Mozart even when she was doing Wagner, there is a Tosca and an Aida floating about, but to me, apart from Turandot, she is not successful in the Italian roles. This disc may be quite interesting with the Wesendonk, she was perfectly capable of subtlety.

Personally I would avoid Deutekom unless you like angry doll Queen of the Night sounds. Nor do I ever think of Wixell as anything other than reliable. I cannot imagine an hour of him.

One famous name here whose disc is a sleeper is Gwyneth Jones. I usually avoid her like a plague, but this is a very early disc, before the Wagner Wobble took over and the voice is gleaming. That is another I recommend.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Octave on March 15, 2014, 10:43:27 PM
Thanks to both of you for the suggestions and caution.  I got chuckles from both posts, and "angry doll" and "Wagner Wobble" are now in my lexicon.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Octave on April 07, 2014, 02:04:59 AM
I'm curious about opinions of Marilyn Horne's work across the Decca recitals collected here:


Marilyn Horne: THE COMPLETE DECCA RECITALS (Decca, 11cd)

I think I like her voice, but it seems like (as in most cases) she might not be equally fine in all material.  My interest in this period of her recording life was piqued by Lilias Pastia's brief mention of a 2cd distillation, now OOP.  (See below.)  I am assuming that all of that material is available across this box, but I haven't checked.

Right now:  listening to a totally mad collection on Decca (2 discs) with Marilyn Horne blowing away boundaries between baroque, classical, bel canto, lyric, romantic and dramatic opera. Add to that a unique way with traditional songs (Copland, Foster, Bernstein) and you get a pair of CDs that leaves you in a trance. Brava!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: ritter on April 08, 2014, 01:30:06 AM
Bidù Sayao's rendition of Debussy's La Damoiselle élue, and of Susanna's and Zerlina's arias, are probably the most ravishing singing I've ever heard... What a lovely voice, and what  perfect phrasing and diction! I cannot understand why this is OOP  ??? ...



Regards,

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 10, 2014, 05:56:23 AM
Rosalind Plowright, Philip Mountford:Song Recital 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'. It is on the Romeo Records label.

I first encountered Plowright at an Edinburgh Festival concert, over 30 years ago, of Lohengrin Act Two under Abbado. I was in chorus. There was a buzz, as this hot new soprano was appearing.....in a dress by the same designer as had designed the recently married Princess Diana's wedding dress. She was a stunner, tall, elegant and a gleaming fresh soprano voice capable of the demands of Elsa. There was a very slightly difficult start and then marvellous things as the voice warmed up. It has always been a very large voice and over the years it struck me that she was sometimes fighting it. I recall there was extended back stage warming up to get it pliable for the Wagner.

There were one or two memorable recordings, chief amongst them for me Leonora in Trovatore in the Giulini version which I value as much as the Callas and Leontyne Price assumptions.

In 1999 Plowright moved very successfully to the mezzo range, her lower voice is very rich and warm with lots of colours. She describes this second career as her "hags, bags and witches phase" and one of her very best bags is as Klytemnestra. She recorded an Amneris for Chandos in English, such a terrific performance it is tempting to rename the opera.

Here we have a self financed recital disc, she claims it will be the only such disc. It seems to have been recorded recently and the singer is now reaching her mid sixties. The disc has had a couple of very favourable reviews. I bought on the strength of these and my enjoyment of her earlier work. The pianist is excellent, an equal partner.

But, a pity this programme was not recorded 10 years ago. The voice has loosened and is gusty from the middle upwards. The rewards are acuity of words, she really conveys what is happening. She provides atmosphere and there are some lovely lower tones. But for me, it made for difficult listening. The opener is Stradella's Pieta Signore. It lasts 16 minutes and was a real trial as the wobbles and infirm tone make their frequent appearances. Four Brahms songs follow, but I sensed that struggle to control and to scale the voice down. The de Falla set following is more forgiving, the Tchaikovsky group suit her dark tones and she carries the lines well. The most successful are the Kurt Weill songs including an excellent Surubaya Johnny. But we have been taught these by the ageing and equally splintered voice of Lotte Lenya.

Onwards, some Britten and the English settings are successfully taken, though O Waly, Waly becomes onomatopoeic in an uncomfortable way. There are several other English songs with the title song second to last, her work in English sounds to come more easily in the small scale needed for them, though the title song is given its mini-epic status.

I had looked forward to the disc, I wanted to like it. But really, go elsewhere for the very considerable best of this singer and shame on the recording companies for allowing her insights and talent to languish without any solo discs until too, too late.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: ritter on May 10, 2014, 09:40:34 AM
Sounds interesting, knight66. Perhaps the programme of this recital doesn't appeal that much to me, but it's good to know its been released.

Just wanted to tell you that I say Plowright as Klytemnästra here in Madrid a couple of seasons ago (conducted by Bychkov, and with Deborah Polaski in the title rôle), and she was SUPERB! Her entrance on the stage was a stunning theatrical moment: from "regal" to "broken woman" in just a couple of phrases.

I had never seen her live, and only heard her on record (the Sinopoli Forza and Mahler Second, recordings which I admire). I am really glad I got to see her in the Strauss opera.  :)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 10, 2014, 09:53:30 AM
Thanks for that post. With the voice as it is, I should think that she will still do well in the opera house and she is a terrific actress. I would cheerfully pay to see her in that part.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: king ubu on May 27, 2014, 05:13:51 AM
Made my way through this thread a few days ago ... actually it's one that prompted me to register here, finally!

Ordered copies of the Coote, Karnéus and Matthews EMI discs as a result - samples sounded good indeed!

As for favourites, for starters, one of my most recent discoveries, the wonderful Sabine Devieilhe with programme of music by Rameau:



Check this for starters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kNblZlxAN4
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: king ubu on May 27, 2014, 05:57:17 AM
Another one to obsess about - vinyl only and not that easy to find, I think:

(http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p532/ubu-roi/Classical/RenataScott-ArieDiBellini_zps90c3931e.jpg)

Renata Scotto - Arie di Bellini (Fonit Cetra)

(sorry for not including this in the post above - had to look for the LP and take a snapshot first)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 27, 2014, 07:48:50 AM
Welcome, welcome, I am very glad some of the recommendations were useful to you. Do get back to tell us how you like.....or don't like the discs. I have a Dietrich Henschel lieder disc I need to review, I will get to it shortly.

Thanks for your suggestions, Sabine D is new to me, so I am off to have a listen.

Cheers,

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: king ubu on May 28, 2014, 02:17:13 AM
Mike, what is your impression of Devieilhe? I'd be interested to know!

Just double checked, and no, this wasn't mentioned here it seems:



Lily Pons - Coloratura Assoluta (Masterworks Heritage, 2 CD, 2998)

If there is perfection, this has to be it! I'm into disc 2 by now and I'm quite speechless! (Another recital that had a similar effect on me, some months back, was Steber's Verdi album, reissued by Sony in their nice little singers series that I hope will go on ... the "Scotto Sings Verdi" is similarly astonishing ... and the disc by Daniza Ilitzsch is mighty fine, too, though I'm not sure either it nor the Preiser CD of hers do in the end qualify for this thread - but deserve mention they do!)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Moonfish on May 28, 2014, 07:37:18 AM
Made my way through this thread a few days ago ... actually it's one that prompted me to register here, finally!

Ordered copies of the Coote, Karnéus and Matthews EMI discs as a result - samples sounded good indeed!

As for favourites, for starters, one of my most recent discoveries, the wonderful Sabine Devieilhe with programme of music by Rameau:



Check this for starters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kNblZlxAN4

Yes, some threads here are indeed great for late night reading, but perhaps not as beneficial for one's credit card account when the night closes...    ???
The Devieilhe recording you posted is quite interesting...and Rameau as a bonus....hmmmm     *click*
Thanks for the link!  The musicians seem like they are having such a great time!!!

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 28, 2014, 09:03:06 PM
Mike, what is your impression of Devieilhe? I'd be interested to know!

Thanks for that recommendation, I found the disc on Spotify. A very good technique, the voice perhaps a little monochrome, but she uses words very well and dramatically. I watcher her sing Mozart Queen of the Night aria on Youtube, slightly bumpy start, but then she provides a very adroit display of her abilities. I will enjoy the Rameau disc, I can see she is able to inject playfulness into the arias as well as the dolorous.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Que on May 28, 2014, 11:51:19 PM
Bidù Sayao's rendition of Debussy's La Damoiselle élue, and of Susanna's and Zerlina's arias, are probably the most ravishing singing I've ever heard... What a lovely voice, and what  perfect phrasing and diction! I cannot understand why this is OOP  ??? ...



Regards,

That one is a must IMO! :o :)  As is its companion - if possible even more so....




Another from this Heritage series that I love with a passion:



Q
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: king ubu on May 29, 2014, 12:37:53 AM
Thanks for that recommendation, I found the disc on Spotify. A very good technique, the voice perhaps a little monochrome, but she uses words very well and dramatically. I watcher her sing Mozart Queen of the Night aria on Youtube, slightly bumpy start, but then she provides a very adroit display of her abilities. I will enjoy the Rameau disc, I can see she is able to inject playfulness into the arias as well as the dolorous.

Mike

Very good to hear, Mike! Hope you'll enjoy the disc!

Not sure she's right for Queen of the Night yet ... a bit on the young side. (On the other hand, there's 25 year old Edita Grubevora doing great here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhoFfNS36yA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhoFfNS36yA))

And thanks Que, will have to get that one as well, I suppose!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Moonfish on May 29, 2014, 07:33:52 AM
Arrrrrgh - now you guys have enticed me towards acquiring vocal recitals..    ???
Already went for the Sayan (Brazilian - Thanks Que) as well as the Devieilhe (Thanks Ubu)....
This will be interesting!

A few months back I picked up a few sets of opera compilations (3x40cds). The quality is highly (!) variable, but they are very fun to explore in terms of voices from the past... From my point of view a worthwhile investment. So not exactly stellar quality, but lots of vocal nuggets.
They are available (2 & 3 cheaply) at Amazon.de
Here is a review from Musicweb from 2001: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Sept01/Great_voices.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Sept01/Great_voices.htm)

Part 1: http://www.amazon.de/Great-Voices-Opera-I-Various/dp/B000035QD4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401380930&sr=8-2&keywords=great+voices+of+the+opera (http://www.amazon.de/Great-Voices-Opera-I-Various/dp/B000035QD4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401380930&sr=8-2&keywords=great+voices+of+the+opera)

Part 2: http://www.amazon.de/Great-Voices-Opera-Maria-Callas/dp/B00005826N/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MJ6D5XA7BZDMRVBNCRT (http://www.amazon.de/Great-Voices-Opera-Maria-Callas/dp/B00005826N/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MJ6D5XA7BZDMRVBNCRT)

Part 3: http://www.amazon.de/Great-Voices-Opera-3-Various/dp/B00005B470/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MJ6D5XA7BZDMRVBNCRT (http://www.amazon.de/Great-Voices-Opera-3-Various/dp/B00005B470/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MJ6D5XA7BZDMRVBNCRT)

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Sept01/greatvoices.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 22, 2014, 06:45:05 AM
Virginia Zeani: Operatic Recital: Decca

Zeani, a Romanian had a very successful career from the 1950s through to her retirement in 1982. Seemingly she sang Traviata more often than any other singer, over 500 times. Callas's husband supposedly told Zeani that she was one of the very few sopranos that Callas was afraid of. You won't get any of that from the disc notes which are silent about the singer apart from naming her. This issue is one of the 50 or so most requested vocal recitals that Decca has been issuing in batches. I am no slouch on singers, but I had never heard of her.

Listening has been deeply rewarding, she was a superb singer and it is a loss to us that she was left on the sidelines of recorded history. She has a very vibrant, dark soprano, flexible and with ease at top and bottom. Her technique and breath control are top drawer. All that could nevertheless leave little impression, but added to her gifts is a her word painting and dramatic involvement. She is a singing actress.

The original LP contained the two main arias from Lucia di Lammermoor, Sonambula, Puritani, two from Boheme and two from Traviata. Each is a gem, especially affecting is her Traviata and her savouring of the words. Even the reading of Alfredo's letter is deeply affecting. Added to that original issue are 10 further Puccini arias from what I assume was another LP recital, 79.41 minutes in total. Most of the Puccini is played over and over like classical wallpaper, but there is nothing of the routine about any of them here. The voice is forward and three dimensional and having listened through, I started the disc again. This is a really superb issue and valuable for what is basically a lost style of singing.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: KevinP on November 15, 2014, 04:36:27 PM
Generally speaking, I'd never been particularly interested in singers. So long as they sang the notes the composer wrote, I didn't really care who sang them. But that changed recently, particularly after a listen of Leontyne Price.

Consequently, the recital album wasn't a genre I had much interest in, except for an inexplicable handful of Pavarotti discs I bought in the 80s (and hardly listened to since the initial burst). And that's changed too.

Witness these recent additions to my collection, which almost seem to be making up for lost time.


14 discs.



12 discs


10 discs


15 discs


10 discs

And these are on their way:


14 discs


11 discs


20 discs


With more in my Amazon cart waiting for be ordered.


The joy of discovery...
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 16, 2014, 07:00:41 AM
Well, like a religious convert your fervour is causing you to dive headlong into an ocean. What a great collection already. Many of my own favourite singers and performances sit in those boxes and I hope you come back in some detail to tell us what you think. I have virtually all the Janet Baker material in their original guises and what a collection like this can do is send you off to discover the full pieces. She in particular has a very wide repertoire excepting the Verdi/Wagner/Puccini axis. Price is another favourite. Many years ago her Tosca, Carmen etc would be compared to Callas and found wanting in expression, but in reality she was rarely bland and the sheer voice fits a lot of her roles like a glove. She recorded some quite adventurous recitlals which were chronologically programmed and although I really don't now want to hear her in Handel, nevertheless, the sheer variety was impressive and I listen to those discs more than to almost any other recitals.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 24, 2014, 08:01:07 AM
She recorded some quite adventurous recitlals which were chronologically programmed and although I really don't now want to hear her in Handel, nevertheless, the sheer variety was impressive and I listen to those discs more than to almost any other recitals.

Mike

Mike, I have the box set of those recitals and I find my experience almost the reverse of yours. Quite aside from the fact that technically she is not really up to the demands of some of the music (Casta diva is a terrible mistake, and she doesn't really negotiate the Mozart coloratura particularly well), she rarely seems to have anything specific about the music. It's as if she just lets the glorious voice roll out and leaves it at that. I was so excited to get the set, but found I was profoundly disappointed. It's' rare that we disagree, but my impressions were quite different from yours. I listened to them once, then put them aside. I tried again recently to see if I was just feeling particularly churlish when I first listened to them, but, no, I felt exactly the same way, and, regardless of the variety in the material, I found no real variety in the interpretations. There is never a moment when a phrase or moment will suddenly come into sharp relief as it does with Callas, Baker, Schwarzkopf, De Los Angeles ot Hunt Lieberson, all of whom are amongst my favourite singers.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 24, 2014, 11:18:44 AM
Oh.....as you say, we are usually at one. I do agree that she is relatively expressionless up against the singers you list, all of whom are favourites. I have on another thread complained that she does not do well on the words up against Baker in the Solti Verdi Requiem. Ditto, her Strauss 4 Last Songs is unremarkable. Perhaps I do just get rolled all over by the sound of her voice. I don't find her bland, but she is certainly fairly generalised. I do like the modern pieces she attacks, you just don't otherwise hear a voice like that in those works. I gave her marks for imaginative planning.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 16, 2015, 03:14:43 PM
Nachtviolin:A Schubert Recital

Here is a truly great recital., baritone Christian Gerhaher continues his collaboration with the pianist Gerold Huber, they have put together a pensive recital of roughly two dozen of Schubert's songs, punctuated by one or two darker more dramatic pieces.

I have enjoyed Gerhaher on disc for some time, but was very disappointed to hear him live where he resorted to whispers and parlando. But on disc he seems to sing as would be hoped. The voice flows like a river evincing wonderful legato. He is expressive without squeezing the tone or breaking up the arc of phrases, as does the mysteriously admired Bostridge. Here the words are pointed and intelligently used within the legato.

The mix of songs ranges from the well known to the relatively obscure: very much my kind of recital. Despite having probably 50 discs of Schubert songs, it is a treat to encounter new ones which are so beautifully performed.

The pianist is also first rate, they clearly enjoy a great rapport with one another. An hour which you will end satisfied and quite possibly in a contented trance.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 16, 2015, 03:29:11 PM
Alice Coote, English Concert, Harry Bicket: Handel Arias

This disc has not been received as rapturously as I had expected. I bought it when I saw it at bargain price second hand. So my expectations were calibrated accordingly. There are 11 tracks where we move through Radamisto. Alcina, Hercules, Giulio Caesare and Ariodante.

This is a warm and quite rich voice, even top to toe and the breath control is excellent. The disc contains mostly slow arias and I enjoyed them enormously. There is no indelible word painting, but there is a rightness to the approach and plenty of character and expresivity. Then the surprise, the fast and furious arias sound careful, not effortful but as though she is not firing on all cylinders. 'Where shall I fly?' Is basically a character in extemis, but here, a bit anxious with cautious runs. Try Ann Sophie Von Otter for an assault that hits the mark.

So, whilst I understand the reasons for the mixed reviews, there is a lot to enjoy.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Jo498 on January 17, 2015, 12:44:38 AM
Which of the Gerhaher/Huber discs are you referring to? Probably "Nachtviolen" as this seems the most recent one. I have the earlier "Abendbilder" which I remember to like a lot. Gerhaher is probably the finest youngish (although about 45 now) male lieder singer today.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 17, 2015, 01:23:25 AM
Apologies Jo, I gave everything there except the most important information. You are right, Nachtviolin. I have edited the post. I have not heard the other disc you mention, though am tempted to. I have a number of his earlier discs. I agree that he is special, a very beautiful high baritone, but he can come out with some rich low notes, though they sound as though from another singer, they almost startle.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Jo498 on January 17, 2015, 02:08:55 AM
His earliest on Arte Nova (the three Schubert "cycles") are not always as good, I seem to recall (I only have one of them), although there is a disc with chamber versions of Mahler lieder that is highly commendable.
But the "Abendbilder" is very good (on RCA) as is the "Melancholie" Schumann disc and probably also the newer Mahler (I have to re-listen to this one, I guess).

Another nice Schubert-Recital is Pregardien's "Lieder von Abschied und Reise" (songs of farewell and travel). And also the dark Mayrhofer-Lieder with Pregardien/Staier, although the latter is not a varied and maybe not so nice for listening all through in one sitting.
As good as Fi-Di and some other singers of the past were, I think we have a lot of very worthy lieder singers today.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: kishnevi on January 17, 2015, 01:28:39 PM
There is also Goerne.  His series on HM is now apparently complete.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 18, 2015, 07:44:47 AM
Jo, even his earlier work struck me. I have reviewed at least a couple of those discs on this site. You are right that there is a great range of excellent singers coming out with very worthwhile Schubert discs. Most of the ones I have noticed are men. Another, whose recital I also received this week is:

Winterreise Matthew Rose, Bass and Gary Matthewman.

Well worth getting hold of, here is a real bass voice. It is in interesting approach, very much an angry man who refuses to accept his fate. He is sardonic and can certainly be tender. rose is mainly known as an opera singer, but he crams a huge amount of detail into the piece. The pianist is excellent, evidently they have quite a rapport. It provides a contrast to those performances that are preoccupied with a beautiful sound.

Goerne is one singer I have not explored much, I have a Bach solo cantata disc, but it did not get to the heart of the music, it seemed a bit bland. However, I know he is very much admired.

Mike

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mc ukrneal on January 18, 2015, 05:22:03 PM
Goerne is one singer I have not explored much, I have a Bach solo cantata disc, but it did not get to the heart of the music, it seemed a bit bland. However, I know he is very much admired.

Mike
Try him in more romantic fare before you write him off. His Schubert is very good.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on July 04, 2015, 09:30:22 PM
Half a year has passed; time to bump this thread.

O Solitude, Purcell songs and instrumental pieces, Andreas Scholl, Accademia Bizantia, Stefano Montanari.

I like this disc a lot, but it will not be to all tastes. It often reminded me of the sexed-up arrangements that Raymond Leppard made of Monteverdi's music when the operas were being revived in the UK during the 1970s. On this disc the continuo constitutes a miscelanious group of instruments including a harp. I wear no hair shirt in favour of authenticity, but there were a couple of occasions here when I felt that less would have been more and that the simplicity of the music should have been given a chance to make its mark. But mostly, I was very happy to have the continuo line so varied and hear it glitter.

Scholl is in good voice and he makes the words tell. Of course there are transpositions and his taking on Dido's Lament will jolt some listeners. Having heard it sung by every kind of female voice from Flagstad, Leontyne Price and Jessye Norman through to Catherine Bott and Emma Kirkby, Scholl should be simply another alternative, but for me, it does not work. But there are a lot of pleasures here, If Music be the food of love, One Charming Night, Sweeter than Roses, Music for a While; they and others are voiced exquisitely. There are two duets with the French countertenor, Christophe Dumaux and it is interesting to hear the two contrasting voices. The Frenchman's less soft grained, but beautiful voice, perhaps over emphatic in Sound the Trumpet. But they blend especially successfully in the other duet, new to me and the longest track here, O dive custos.

There is a bit too much orchestral padding sprinkled amongst the vocal items, but although I have reservations, I recommend the disc to those with a broad mind who are not constrained chiefly by authenticity.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: king ubu on July 15, 2015, 04:31:10 AM
Alice Coote, English Concert, Harry Bicket: Handel Arias

This disc has not been received as rapturously as I had expected. I bought it when I saw it at bargain price second hand. So my expectations were calibrated accordingly. There are 11 tracks where we move through Radamisto. Alcina, Hercules, Giulio Caesare and Ariodante.

This is a warm and quite rich voice, even top to toe and the breath control is excellent. The disc contains mostly slow arias and I enjoyed them enormously. There is no indelible word painting, but there is a rightness to the approach and plenty of character and expresivity. Then the surprise, the fast and furious arias sound careful, not effortful but as though she is not firing on all cylinders. 'Where shall I fly?' Is basically a character in extemis, but here, a bit anxious with cautious runs. Try Ann Sophie Von Otter for an assault that hits the mark.

So, whilst I understand the reasons for the mixed reviews, there is a lot to enjoy.

Mike

Better late than never, but: I bought this straight from the label when they offered a discount on it when it was brand new, and I enjoy it a lot!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on July 30, 2015, 11:51:28 AM
It is a very long time since I have heard that disc. I borrowed it from the library in LP days.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 05, 2016, 10:20:43 AM
Who here likes, or dislikes Elizabeth Schwarzkopf?

Schwarzkopf at Aix en Provnce 1954, INA Memorie Vive IMV067:

Here is a genuine recital disc, a live one. As such it is a very rare animal from a singer who preferred the medium of the recording studio. I have never bought into the opinion that Shcwarzkopf is too arch, studied and self conscious. But if you think so, then try this live recital. Here there were no second chances for this perfectionist. If it was felt that the element of risk is missing from the carefully recorded work, here there are plenty of risks. This recording comes from July 1954. She is closely recorded and works well with Hans Rosbaud in his role as pianist.

The repertoire is wide leading finally to a group of songs by the singer's beloved Wolf. She moves through Bach, Handel, Pergolesi, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms towards the Wolf. There are several pieces here that are not otherwise available. My favourite performance is Mozart's Abendempfindung, uttely beautiful and genuinely charming. The words are at the front of the face, the close microphone enebles us to hear all the shades of meaning.

Handel's Care selve shows wonderful line and breath control and highlights her adherence to bel canto methods. Unusually here she sings a song normally associated with the male voice; something she was later to become quite strict about. The colours in Brahms's Von Ewige Liebe should be dark, she does manage this very well. The Schubert is authoritative and sounds natural.

At almost 80 minutes, the entire recital has been provided and although the sound is not quite wht EMI usually achieved, it is on every level a very satisfying disc.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 05, 2016, 11:19:57 AM
Who here likes, or dislikes Elizabeth Schwarzkopf?

Schwarzkopf at Aix en Provnce 1954, INA Memorie Vive IMV067:

Here is a genuine recital disc, a live one. As such it is a very rare animal from a singer who preferred the medium of the recording studio. I have never bought into the opinion that Shcwarzkopf is too arch, studied and self conscious. But if you think so, then try this live recital. Here there were no second chances for this perfectionist. If it was felt that the element of risk is missing from the carefully recorded work, here there are plenty of risks. This recording comes from July 1954. She is closely recorded and works well with Hans Rosbaud in his role as pianist.

The repertoire is wide leading finally to a group of songs by the singer's beloved Wolf. She moves through Bach, Handel, Pergolesi, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Brahms towards the Wolf. There are several pieces here that are not otherwise available. My favourite performance is Mozart's Abendempfindung, uttely beautiful and genuinely charming. The words are at the front of the face, the close microphone enebles us to hear all the shades of meaning.

Handel's Care selve shows wonderful line and breath control and highlights her adherence to bel canto methods. Unusually here she sings a song normally associated with the male voice; something she was later to become quite strict about. The colours in Brahms's Von Ewige Liebe should be dark, she does manage this very well. The Schubert is authoritative and sounds natural.

At almost 80 minutes, the entire recital has been provided and although the sound is not quite wht EMI usually achieved, it is on every level a very satisfying disc.

Mike

I love Schwarzkopf and have recently acquired the new Warner Box Set of all her EMI recitals. Not a dud amongst them, it's a wonderful memento of one of the greatest sopranos of the twentieth century.

As you mention, she preferred the medium of recording, but she did approve some of her live recitals for release, for instance the all Wolf programme from Salzburg with Furtwangler at the piano, a 1956 Salzburg recital with Gerald Moore (in what would appear to be a very similar programme to the Aix disc), and a Carnegie Hall recital with George Reeves, as well, of course, as the Royal Festival Hall Tribute to Gerald Moore, with De Los Angeles and Fischer-Dieskau.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 05, 2016, 01:42:16 PM
Does the Warner box significantly improve the sound on the earlier editions of the CDs? I have been hoovering up some very cheep second hand CDs of Schwartkopf's Schubert/lieder recitals, possibly available via new Warner box owners.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 05, 2016, 02:49:10 PM
Does the Warner box significantly improve the sound on the earlier editions of the CDs? I have been hoovering up some very cheep second hand CDs of Schwartkopf's Schubert/lieder recitals, possibly available via new Warner box owners.

Mike

They all sound pretty good to me, but maybe not significantly an improvement. That said, even in the mono recordings, the sound has always been pretty good.

What I like about this set is that it reproduces exactly all the recitals Schwarzkopf made  for EMI in their original format, some of the items never before available on CD. Unfortunately, though, there is no extra disc with texts and translations, as there was with the Callas box. This does Schwarzkopf a disservice. To really appreciate her art you need to understand what she is singing.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 05, 2016, 10:25:31 PM
Thanks, that confirms to me that there is little to be gained in rebuying all the discs that I already have.

Cheers,

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on January 05, 2016, 11:23:58 PM
They all sound pretty good to me, but maybe not significantly an improvement. That said, even in the mono recordings, the sound has always been pretty good.

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-drQpY0QYAtE/VgCfowzL-HI/AAAAAAAALsM/Ab1pqETI70w/s1600/Elisabeth%2BSchwarzkopf%2BComplete%2BRecitals%2BWarner%2BClassics%2BOriginal%2BCover%2BArt.jpg)

What I like about this set is that it reproduces exactly all the recitals Schwarzkopf made  for EMI in their original format, some of the items never before available on CD. Unfortunately, though, there is no extra disc with texts and translations, as there was with the Callas box. This does Schwarzkopf a disservice. To really appreciate her art you need to understand what she is singing.

There is indeed a small but discernible improvement on the sound of all of the Warner remastered cd's in the Schwarzkopf box set vis-a-vis their EMI/Abbey Road re-engineered counterparts.

The Warner incarnations of the cd's have reduced hiss and a clearer vocal timbre when you hear them with a good D/A converter, headphones, and headphone amp- which will reveal everything.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 06, 2016, 01:37:02 AM
There is indeed a small but discernible improvement on the sound of all of the Warner remastered cd's in the Schwarzkopf box set vis-a-vis their EMI/Abbey Road re-engineered counterparts.

The Warner incarnations of the cd's have reduced hiss and a clearer vocal timbre when you hear them with a good D/A converter, headphones, and headphone amp- which will reveal everything.

And there is, as I mentioned, the added attraction of having the discs as they were originally conceived. This means, for instance, we get for the first time all the recorded excerpts from Arabella, and all four discs of The Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Songbook in their original sleeves, each programme so carefully thought out. Until now all these discs were only available piecemeal.

I've listened to the whole set now, and it has been a joyful journey. I'd call it essential.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on January 06, 2016, 08:40:06 AM
And there is, as I mentioned, the added attraction of having the discs as they were originally conceived. This means, for instance, we get for the first time all the recorded excerpts from Arabella, and all four discs of The Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Songbook in their original sleeves, each programme so carefully thought out. Until now all these discs were only available piecemeal.

I've listened to the whole set now, and it has been a joyful journey. I'd call it essential.

Absolutely.

The beauty of the box itself, the accompanying booklet with the photos, and the collated original album cover art all being in one place were what made me buy the set to begin with!

I just love the way it 'looks' on the top of one of my cd shelves. ;D
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 06, 2016, 09:23:55 AM
I know what you mean about the boxes; but as I have been filling the shelves, I need more of a pretext really. I am still thinking about the Janet Baker box. I have most of what is in it, but it does contain some material that is not otherwise available.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Marsch MacFiercesome on January 06, 2016, 09:40:39 AM
I know what you mean about the boxes; but as I have been filling the shelves, I need more of a pretext really. I am still thinking about the Janet Baker box. I have most of what is in it, but it does contain some material that is not otherwise available.

Mike

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

But then, isn't beauty its own pretext, John? ;D . . .

Which Janet Baker box were you thinking about?- the EMI (I presume) or the Philips?- I'd get both, myself.

I'll buy anything with Baker just because I love her singing so much.

Well, maybe not 'so much' but rather ' ' ' ' soooooooooooooooooooooo much. ' ' ' '

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 06, 2016, 09:53:56 AM
My discs sit behind doors in a huge cabinet; so I don't see them in the way I once did with the old LP boxes: Karajan Parsifal and Kleiber Tristan, those boxes were positively tactile.

I have the Phillips Baker box. Prior to the issue of the EMI one, I reckon I had virtually everything that has ever been issued. These include some live performances brought out by a company which advertised that it was about to issue CDs of Baker as Cassandra AND Dido in the Berlioz, (I assume two unrelated performances melded), then it promptly went defunct. No singer influenced me more. She has been my close companion for almost 50 years.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 06, 2016, 10:21:38 AM
My discs sit behind doors in a huge cabinet; so I don't see them in the way I once did with the old LP boxes: Karajan Parsifal and Kleiber Tristan, those boxes were positively tactile.

I have the Phillips Baker box. Prior to the issue of the EMI one, I reckon I had virtually everything that has ever been issued. These include some live performances brought out by a company which advertised that it was about to issue CDs of Baker as Cassandra AND Dido in the Berlioz, (I assume two unrelated performances melded), then it promptly went defunct. No singer influenced me more. She has been my close companion for almost 50 years.

Mike

I too have held off the EMI box, as I'm pretty sure I have most of the stuff on it already. I wonder what I'm missing though. Baker, as you know, is one of my favourite singers. She had this ability (Callas had it too of course) to make you feel that the music sprang newly minted from her lips. The act of singing became as natural as speaking.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 06, 2016, 10:28:23 AM
There are duets with DfD and I think with another singer that I don't have. But it is a pick and mix, in that much of it is an assemblage of extracts. I have all the main works in full with her performances in their setting.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 08, 2016, 10:24:45 PM
I had another read through the tracks on the Baker discs. There look to be about two discs worth that have never been made available on CD; I ordered it at a bargain price.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 10, 2016, 04:53:07 AM
I had another read through the tracks on the Baker discs. There look to be about two discs worth that have never been made available on CD; I ordered it at a bargain price.

Mike

Oh dear, looks as if I'll have to make yet another purchase.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 10, 2016, 06:57:09 AM
I have also just plumped for a live Tristan with Vickers and Nilsson; live from Orange. I listened to stretches of it on Spotify and was wowed. Spotify was supposed to stop me buying CDs rather than prompt me.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 10, 2016, 09:59:38 AM
I have also just plumped for a live Tristan with Vickers and Nilsson; live from Orange. I listened to stretches of it on Spotify and was wowed. Spotify was supposed to stop me buying CDs rather than prompt me.

Mike

Oddly enough, it's done the same to me.  :-[ It's become a rry before your buy site for me!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on January 24, 2016, 01:02:19 AM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=25541.new#new


Link to a review of a superb new song sycle: Let me tell you, by Hans Abrahamsen.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 24, 2016, 02:18:54 AM
Frederica von Stade French Arias LPO Pritchard Sony

I noticed that a box set of this singer's recitals is about to be issued. Long a favourite singer of mine, I went looking for some recitals I had missed. They tend to appear second hand when this kind of collected works is issued. Sure enough, the disc specified above was available for £1 on Amazon.

von Stade has had a terrific career. She was popular and well recorded. But as soon as she stopped appearing in opera houses, her reputation seemed to go into eclipse. Who ever discusses Teresa Berganza these days? It is quite mysterious how the stock of some singers remains high while that of others plummet. von Stade had a most beautiful, round, rich voice with an attractive very tight vibrato which provided distinction and colour to her singing. She was a very good linguist and her French in particular was well thought of.

This disc has nine arias covering Berlioz, Massenet, Thomas, Meyerbeer, Gounod and Offenbach. I wish there were more of them all. Her Margarite is plangent, the Offenbach is high spirited. She delineates the various characters, nothing is generalised. It is a beautiful disc. Pritchard was always a sympathetic accompanist and this singer is not one who will ask for indulgent tempi: so all goes well.

I also bought her recital disc of Faure which I only ever had on a long gone cassette. I know that will also be enjoyable. It is sitting waiting to be played.

Mike

 
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 24, 2016, 02:52:15 AM
Teresa Stitch-Randall A Portrait, Vienna Radio Orch, Priestman, Millennium Classics
Opera arias by Bellini, Boito, Verdi, Gounod, Strauss etc.

Recently on a car journey we turned the radio on and heard most of the Jewel Song from Faust by a singer I could not place. My wife and I were both eager to hear who it was. I certainly would never have guessed. At home I turned to Amazon and found a studio recital with the piece on it.

I was surprised to learn that the singer was an American, discovered and promoted by Toscanini who seemingly said that she was "The find of the century." He was not known for extravagant praise, so that was a serious endorsement. His faith in her bore fruit up to a point. She moved to Europe early in the successful phase of her career and was a regular soloist in Vienna and at the Aix de Porvence for about 15 years. She specialised in Mozart and Strauss. Her most famed recording is as Sophie in the first Karajan Rosenkavalier. She is also a bright light in the Markevitch Life for a Tzar. But there are very few studio discs available and the live ones are mainly expensive.

The voice is silvery, bright and certainly it was suited to Mozart. She has a sound technighq, coping well with legato and with florid work. She uses words intelligently. Notes with the disc claim that she mainly sang entirely without vibrato. That puzzled me, as this disc shows that she deploys a vibrancy, a very tight, attractive vibrato, and occasionally she removes it. The sound is pure when she pulls back the vibrato it can sound tubular. The recording is in fair sound, recorded in the early 1950s.

So, how does the disc stand up? I was surprised to hear her singing Norma Tosca and Traviata. The Norma opens the disc and the approach is primarily lyrical rather than dramatic. But she certainly is expressive with the words, it is not bland. I recently heard the Bartoli take on the piece and Stitch-Randall's approach is very similar. Post Callas we tend to expect a large dramatic voice, but this lighter approach works. She does not sound like the role is too big for her. The same goes for Traviata where the voice expands and shows increased weight. The Gounod is as good as I have heard in the aria. The Strauss es Gibt ein Reich is plush and soars. It does not have Jessye Norman type weight, but is in the line with the likes of Lisa Della Casa.

It is a very enjoyable disc which includes Tosca and Lakme amongst other roles. I listened to a live lieder recital from Aix. Reviews of the disc classed it as the best of its kind. Via Spotify on my iPad it certainly came across well. One I will probably buy when I see it at a good price.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: ritter on March 29, 2016, 01:19:08 PM
Teresa Stitch-Randall A Portrait, Vienna Radio Orch, Priestman, Millennium Classics
Opera arias by Bellini, Boito, Verdi, Gounod, Strauss etc.

Recently on a car journey we turned the radio on and heard most of the Jewell Song from Faust by a singer I could not place. My wife and I were both eager to hear who it was. I certainly would never have guessed. At home I turned to Amazon and found a studio recital with the piece on it.

I was surprised to learn that the singer was an American, discovered and promoted by Toscanini who seemingly said that she was "The find of the century." He was not known for extravagant praise, so that was a serious endorsement. His faith in her bore fruit up to a point. She moved to Europe early in the successful phase of her career and was a regular soloist in Vienna and at the Aix de Porvence for about 15 years. She specialised in Mozart and Strauss. Her most famed recording is as Sophie in the first Karajan Rosenkavalier. She is also a bright light in the Markevitch Life for a Tzar. But there are very few studio discs available and the live ones are mainly expensive.

The voice is silvery, bright and certainly it was suited to Mozart. She has a sound technighq, coping well with legato and with florid work. She uses words intelligently. Notes with the disc claim that she mainly sang entirely without vibrato. That puzzled me, as this disc shows that she deploys a vibrancy, a very tight, attractive vibrato, and occasionally she removes it. The sound is pure when she pulls back the vibrato it can sound tubular. The recording is in fair sound, recorded in the early 1950s.

So, how does the disc stand up? I was surprised to hear her singing Norma Tosca and Traviata. The Norma opens the disc and the approach is primarily lyrical rather than dramatic. But she certainly is expressive with the words, it is not bland. I recently heard the Bartoli take on the piece and Stitch-Randall's approach is very similar. Post Callas we tend to expect a large dramatic voice, but this lighter approach works. She does not sound like the role is too big for her. The same goes for Traviata where the voice expands and shows increased weight. The Gounod is as good as I have heard in the aria. The Strauss es Gibt ein Reich is plush and soars. It does not have Jessye Norman type weight, but is in the line with the likes of Lisa Della Casa.

It is a very enjoyable disc which includes Tosca and Lakme amongst other roles. I listened to a live lieder recital from Aix. Reviews of the disc classed it as the best of its kind. Via Spotify on my iPad it certainly came across well. One I will probably buy when I see it at a good price.

Mike
I don't know that particular disc, but as of late I've been listening to (and buying) a lot of Teresa Stich-Randall's recordings. Her Mozart from Aix-en-Provence with Rosbaud is top-notch, and I daresay that her rendition of the chorale Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren--starting at 4'15" in the YouTube below--from J.S. Bach's cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen BWV 51 conducted by Karl Ristenpart is one of the most ravishing vocal recordings I have ever heard.

https://www.youtube.com/v/HPUp4k6q11E
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 02, 2016, 09:15:26 AM
Ritter, Thanks for that link. I agree, as good as I have heard with superb breath control. She made it sound as though it had been no effort for her. The art that hides art.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Spineur on May 03, 2016, 05:26:41 AM
To my dismay, a search for Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon on GMG did not returned any results !!
Here are two recitals, which have been prepared and performed with great care in a repertoire which I think fits each of them best.   Their natural talent comes across beautifully in these recordings.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: kishnevi on May 03, 2016, 06:01:49 PM
To my dismay, a search for Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon on GMG did not returned any results !!
Here are two recitals, which have been prepared and performed with great care in a repertoire which I think fits each of them best.   Their natural talent comes across beautifully in these recordings.

I have a few CDs from both (admittedly,  I have neither of the ones you point to).  I seem to recall they did a CD together.  Both leave me a bit cold.  Villazon has the technique, but somehow....

The one I like best from him is, of all things, the Monteverdi CD with Emmanuelle Haim and various other singers, Combattimento.

For her, I would point out her Traviata recording.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 03, 2016, 09:43:05 PM
To my dismay, a search for Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon on GMG did not returned any results !!
Here are two recitals, which have been prepared and performed with great care in a repertoire which I think fits each of them best.   Their natural talent comes across beautifully in these recordings.

There are 67 hits for Netrebko. I knew there had to be some because I have written about her. She is not a favourite of mine, but the disc you have shown is I think her best recital disc. Her voice is quite dark and the Russian music fits it like a glove. I saw her Traviata on DVD and thought the whole production, with both singers, was excellent. But rather oddly, the climax takes place at the Act II party;  so shattering that it overshadowed the death scene.

I got all eager about her recent Verdi disc that includes the Macbeth arias. But on closer listening, although the intensions were good, the notes were not all there, the technique careless. I saw her live as Guilda some years ago and thought that her dark timbre worked against the character. To my ears she sounds often like a pushed up mezzo. In the last week she has suddenly cancelled appearing as Norma at Covent Garden in a new production designed around her. However, it was before the tickets went on sale and the top prices have now fallen considerably with the replacement singer. I am not criticising her for this, but it is not the first time she has done exactly this.

For Villazon I found 49 hits, I imagine the search engine was having a bad day when you searched. Again, having mentioned him, I knew there had to be something. I think he is as marvellous as Netrebko in that Vienna Traviata. I also very much like him in Don Carlos. I recall one critic as saying that in that production he acts mainly with his eyebrows and thought that was completely unjust. He has been recording some Mozart and it is OK, but he sounds effortful as against what I think of as a classic Mozart singer. My opinion is that he took on parts a bit too heavy and has compromised his voice. He went through a period of real difficulties and since then, on recovery, he has been doing more Mozart, less Verdi. I like him, his singing and persona comes across as very honest. But I don't find him individual in the way I like when I look for recital discs. I prefer watching and hearing him rather than just hearing him, when the problems in the voice come under closer scrutiny.

Mike




 
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 03, 2016, 10:31:50 PM
Benjamin Appl Baritone, James Baikieu piano: Songs to the words of Heine. Champs Hill Records

Greig, Rubinstein, Schubert, Mendelssohn, (brother and sister), Schumann

This is a debut disc of what I think is an unusually talented young singer. I first heard him a few months ago on radio in the car and had to look up who it was when I got home. I have followed his broadcasts since then. He is one of the BBCs Young Artists, so gets some very useful exposure. He recently sang Mahler songs in a live concert, very, very fine.

So I urge folk to get this disc and watch this singer's career.

The disc is absolutley terrific. It consists of three groups of songs, one by Rubinstein then four songs from Schwanengesang, surrounded by the other composers mentioned until the latter part of the disc which consists of a complete warmly ardent Dichterliebe. Only one short poem is explored twice. This is the kind of recital I go for, some songs I don't know and some well known to me. On this disc the Fanny Mendelssohn and Rubinstein were unfamiliar.

My ear was especially caught by the third in the Rubinstein set. Es war ein alter König is a short matter-of-fact poem about an old king, a young wife, her equally young page and the obviously necessary deaths of the young lovers. This becomes a chilling little masterpiece of economical story telling. Appl really tells the story in a way that sounds like natural speech rhythms. The pianist provides a hushed, grief laden accompaniment. It is quite shattering. This is a good illustration of how well they work together.

They scale the heights of Schubert's Die Stadt, again hand in hand creating atmosphere and word painting. The concentration and focus is almost palpable. I think Der Atlas yields to more weight, but my favourite version of this might be thought to be vulgar and crude, which is never part of this singer's makeup. His approach is direct, open and he looks for the narritave, imprinting words and using the drama where appropriate. There is nothing bland.

The wonderful Mendelssohn Neue Liebe flies past sounding like an extract of Midsummer Night's Dream, then the melting payoff. The Schumann is simply beautiful. No wonder the singer received rave reviews as a late substitute at a recent Wigmore Hall recital.

I have made this review long enough and you catch my drift....This singer has a warm light brown voice whch he can darken. Every word is clear, yet integrated within the legato lines. And he does not sound like an imitation of Fischer Dieskau. He is not in anyone's shadow. I hope for more discs, many more.

Listen for yourselves.....

      http://www.benjaminappl.com/Benjamin_Appl_Baritone/CD_RELEASE_STUNDEN_TAGE_EWIGKEITEN.html   
Mike


 
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Spineur on May 04, 2016, 05:06:02 AM
Jonas Kaufman is another favorite of opera houses, which is not in the "favorite recital".  As Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon he has been singing too much for his own good.  I am not terribly fond of him in the italian repertoire, but in Wagner, he really brings german romanticism back to life.  This particular recording has a transcription of the Wiesendonck lieders for tenor.

Mike: I keep getting less hits with the search engine than you do.  Global moderators must have special privileges !!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Spineur on May 04, 2016, 05:22:46 AM
Benjamin Appl Baritone, James Baikieu piano: Songs to the words of Heine. Champs Hill Records

Greig, Rubinstein, Schubert, Mendelssohn, (brother and sister), Schumann

This is a debut disc of what I think is an unusually talented young singer.

I'll follow him but will wait for his second CD:  I have already quite a few recordings of the Dichterliebe -Fisher Dieskau- and -Nathalie Stutzmann- (mezzo).

Thanks for pointing him out to us.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 04, 2016, 06:11:44 AM
Jonas Kaufman is another favorite of opera houses, which is not in the "favorite recital".  As Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon he has been singing too much for his own good.  I am not terribly fond of him in the italian repertoire, but in Wagner, he really brings german romanticism back to life.  This particular recording has a transcription of the Wiesendonck lieders for tenor.

Mike: I keep getting less hits with the search engine than you do.  Global moderators must have special privilages.

You are definately having a hard time. I have written quite often about his discs, including on this thread. You may have missed him as you have left a letter off his name when you typed up your post. I found my posts, about a dozen of them, via the search engine.

As to Appl, I hope there will be lots of discs. I have been reading through reviews of his concert work, they are glowing and I was happy to see that my opinion was not at all out of line.

Cheers,

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Otis B. Driftwood on September 14, 2016, 05:09:36 AM
(https://diablusinmusica.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/dame-janet-baker-the-great-emi-recordings-20cds.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Que on September 14, 2016, 06:47:27 AM
Welcome to the forum!  :)

Q
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 14, 2016, 07:28:35 AM
Otis, A favourite singer of mine. I have the set and ust about everything she has recorded. Can you tell us what you especially like about her singing and what best suits her?

And welcome.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Otis B. Driftwood on September 14, 2016, 12:17:52 PM
Sorry, I didn't realize that the title of the thread was "Favorite vocal recitals", and I was just posting the CD I was happening to listen.  :-[
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 14, 2016, 12:38:14 PM
Well, the box is chock full of vocal music, don't worry about it. Recital can mean a planned disc, compilations etc. But it would be good to learn what you liked or did not like about what you have heard.

Cheers,

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Spineur on April 21, 2017, 07:44:36 AM
Benjamin Appl Baritone, James Baikieu piano: Songs to the words of Heine. Champs Hill Records

Greig, Rubinstein, Schubert, Mendelssohn, (brother and sister), Schumann

This is a debut disc of what I think is an unusually talented young singer. I first heard him a few months ago on radio in the car and had to look up who it was when I got home. I have followed his broadcasts since then. He is one of the BBCs Young Artists, so gets some very useful exposure. He recently sang Mahler songs in a live concert, very, very fine.

So I urge folk to get this disc and watch this singer's career.

The disc is absolutley terrific. It consists of three groups of songs, one by Rubinstein then four songs from Schwanengesang, surrounded by the other composers mentioned until the latter part of the disc which consists of a complete warmly ardent Dichterliebe. Only one short poem is explored twice. This is the kind of recital I go for, some songs I don't know and some well known to me. On this disc the Fanny Mendelssohn and Rubinstein were unfamiliar.

My ear was especially caught by the third in the Rubinstein set. Es war ein alter König is a short matter-of-fact poem about an old king, a young wife, her equally young page and the obviously necessary deaths of the young lovers. This becomes a chilling little masterpiece of economical story telling. Appl really tells the story in a way that sounds like natural speech rhythms. The pianist provides a hushed, grief laden accompaniment. It is quite shattering. This is a good illustration of how well they work together.

They scale the heights of Schubert's Die Stadt, again hand in hand creating atmosphere and word painting. The concentration and focus is almost palpable. I think Der Atlas yields to more weight, but my favourite version of this might be thought to be vulgar and crude, which is never part of this singer's makeup. His approach is direct, open and he looks for the narritave, imprinting words and using the drama where appropriate. There is nothing bland.

The wonderful Mendelssohn Neue Liebe flies past sounding like an extract of Midsummer Night's Dream, then the melting payoff. The Schumann is simply beautiful. No wonder the singer received rave reviews as a late substitute at a recent Wigmore Hall recital.

I have made this review long enough and you catch my drift....This singer has a warm light brown voice whch he can darken. Every word is clear, yet integrated within the legato lines. And he does not sound like an imitation of Fischer Dieskau. He is not in anyone's shadow. I hope for more discs, many more.

Listen for yourselves.....

      http://www.benjaminappl.com/Benjamin_Appl_Baritone/CD_RELEASE_STUNDEN_TAGE_EWIGKEITEN.html   
Mike
You wiĺl be happy to know that I acquired this new album of this young singer



He is a light barytone almost tenor.  Maybe not yet at Wunderlisch level, but it is all around an excellent album.  The first half is devoted to classical german lieders of Brahms, Schubert, Strauss.  The second half has some british repertoire, a Poulenc (does not suits him).  He has a natural voice which he uses with economy of means.  It is devoid of any "affected" intonation that some singers use and abuse.





Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2017, 09:21:55 AM
Spineur, Glad to know that you enjoy his new disc. I have it and do like the homeland concept and the way it has been put together, though Home Sweet Home is not a song I would ever look for. The RVW Silent Noon is especially fine within the English songs, Appl captures the stillness of the heady summer day described in it.

It is a voice that sounds suited to Mozart, Handel and Bach, he has recorded some Telemann as part of a quartet of soloists in a cantata. He also has a live Wigore recital available. I look forward to his voice becoming more mature and possibly a little richer. But he is already at the lead of his generation of lieder singers.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 18, 2018, 09:58:38 PM
Bump.....a year has passed.

https://open.spotify.com/album/5Kj1IptUI1q9E8klgTbwgz?si=DQtFvoXRQ8KMdWtjDWuPRw


Recently I had an exchange on Twitter with a few folks who were complaining about recitals where the ordering of the pieces on the disc seem to copy the idea of throwing jelly at a wall. Here is another such. But despite the randomised button having been pressed, it should not be missed.

This is the first solo album of the Georgian mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili. She arrives at this point fully formed as a singer actor. One with a remarkable voice. It is rich and full, dark and powerful, vibrant and flexible. The characters leap out of the speakers. The repertoire includes some obvious pieces, Carmen, Trovatore, Samson and some far less popular material: The Legend of Shosta Rustaveli anyone? This latter is probably by a Georgian composer and sounds like Rimsky, with a long sinuous melody.

The sound is first rate, Giacomo Sagripanti conducts the RAI orchestra and he insures there are no indulgences in tempo. He noticably shapes phrases carefully.

There are two pieces from each of Carmen and Don Carlos, split up amongst the others in no discernible order. That compromises my pleasure here, but, this is I think one of the best voices around today, perhaps a great one.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: anothername on April 18, 2018, 10:10:18 PM
(https://s6.postimg.cc/ohvivu7t9/GOODS1_1389590274.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/ohvivu7t9/)

(https://s6.postimg.cc/snzkuuaj1/1467203475_0300754_BC.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/snzkuuaj1/)

(https://s6.postimg.cc/9zx5i8jil/710_Vz8_PYTUL._SL1200.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/9zx5i8jil/)

(https://s6.postimg.cc/dmy2d3zp9/5060212591159.jpg) (https://postimg.cc/image/dmy2d3zp9/)

(https://i.imgur.com/4arZXYE.jpg?1)

(https://i.imgur.com/DtoMyic.jpg)


Just a few  ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 19, 2018, 04:10:23 AM
Nice to know there is another admirer of Benjamin Appl. I have those discs and can see there is a new Lieder disc of his. He has also been recording some Bach. The Heimat recital is terrifically well planned and takes you on a journey, which is exactly what a recital should aim at.

I have the Suliotis disc and really enjoy her on it; though I even enjoy her Lady Macbeth with critics slagged off at the time. They might be rather kinder now, as so few current singers can even attempt it.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: anothername on April 19, 2018, 04:23:37 AM
Nice to know there is another admirer of Benjamin Appl. I have those discs and can see there is a new Lieder disc of his. He has also been recording some Bach. The Heimat recital is terrifically well planned and takes you on a journey, which is exactly what a recital should aim at.

I have the Suliotis disc and really enjoy her on it; though I even enjoy her Lady Macbeth with critics slagged off at the time. They might be rather kinder now, as so few current singers can even attempt it.

Mike
You mean this one I guess...
(https://s6.postimg.cc/emgf4pfyp/hyperioncdj33127.jpg) (https://postimages.org/)
Not to be missed.  ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: North Star on April 19, 2018, 06:13:30 AM
You mean this one I guess...

Not to be missed.  ;)


I'll wait and see if those are boxed up ;)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 19, 2018, 06:30:19 AM
Yes, that is it. I have not ordered it yet. I may wait until I see a bargain, currently waiting on a bargain for Nelson’s new Bruckner disc.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: anothername on April 19, 2018, 06:46:09 PM
Quote
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.
That's your answer, ignore bullies.  $:)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Mirror Image on April 19, 2018, 07:30:18 PM
To make this incredibly difficult on myself instead of making a large list, which would be much easier, here’s my pick for favorite vocal recital:

(https://img.discogs.com/VguCH4a-8WCWnI8AhKOahatgkI0=/fit-in/600x587/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-8884473-1470768316-9178.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mjmosca on May 29, 2018, 01:45:45 AM
Lately I have been listening to Regine Crespin's recording of "Les Nuits d'ete" and the Ravel Sheherezade" with Ansermet conducting. Absolutely beautiful! Crespin's unique voice is perfect in this repertory. Highly recommended! thank you.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on September 14, 2018, 09:34:51 AM
 I snapped up Magdalena Kozena’s first recital disc of Bach arias, I enjoyed it, but subsequently could not get much out of her disc of Mozart, Gluck and Myslivecek. It was many years until I heard and saw her in Rattle’s Berlin St Matthew and suddenly the voice clicked with me. There is the Melisande, again for Rattle and recently I have been buying her discs at bargain price. I think this one is the pick of them so far.

The voice sits between soprano and mezzo. On this disc she sings Sesto in Giulio Cesare, on another disc she sings Cleopatra. Likewise here she ranges between the mezzo and soprano roles. The voice is limpid, like seeing sunshine through amber. She is unafraid to make ugly sounds when she feels they are warranted.

She sustains attention and uses silences intelligently in a long aching aria from Alcina and throws off Had I Jubal’s Lyre, Ariodante, Orlando, Hercules, Rinaldo and others. Most are well trod but here, far from hackneyed.

The accompaniment is anything but routine, lovely tenderness from them and muscular playing where appropriate. It hangs together well as a program, one of the best Handel discs I own.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ah-mio-cor-Handel-Arias/dp/B000RHSRQU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1536948886&sr=1-1&keywords=Kozena+handel+arias+venice


Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 10, 2018, 01:20:48 AM
Mahler 20 songs: Wunderhorn, Fahrenden Gesellen, Ruckert, Urlicht
Singer Christian Gerhaher
Pianist Gerold Huber
RCA Red Seal

I especially love these songs in full orchestral dress and they lose colour when the setting is the piano alone. There is always an exception to such rules, and this is it. These two musicians have a remarkable symbiotic partnership and the piano is so exceptionally expressive and full of colour that for the space of the disc, I simply don’t miss the orchestra at all. In a detailed programme note Gerhaher explains that most of the songs were created with piano accompaniment, then some were orchestrated.

A few years ago I eagerly awaited a Mahler concert which included the Ruckert, sung by Gerhaher. However I did not really hear him. For an Albert Hall prom he decided to adopt a whispered parlando and he was all but inaudible from where I sat. However, this disc was set down several years before that event and he had not started to experiment with his non-singing in huge hall phase. I have read this complaint about another of his concerts.

The disc:

The sung legato is magical. He smooths out the supposedly expressive bumps we normally get in Ich bin der welt, yet it remains very expressive, the legato spun like silk. The moments of gentle inwardness are safely caught for us by the engineers. He has the chops for the big moments and does not underplay them. Gerhaher’s way with text reminds me of Schwarzkopf, who can sing conversationally, telling a tiny story rather than PROJECTING the words. He also has developed this skill, and as I indicated, the partnership with Huber is very special and provides a disc I know I will come back to over and over.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Elgarian Redux on October 10, 2018, 07:00:43 AM
I snapped up Magdalena Kozena’s first recital disc of Bach arias, I enjoyed it, but subsequently could not get much out of her disc of Mozart, Gluck and Myslivecek. It was many years until I heard and saw her in Rattle’s Berlin St Matthew and suddenly the voice clicked with me. There is the Melisande, again for Rattle and recently I have been buying her discs at bargain price. I think this one is the pick of them so far.

The voice sits between soprano and mezzo. On this disc she sings Sesto in Giulio Cesare, on another disc she sings Cleopatra. Likewise here she ranges between the mezzo and soprano roles. The voice is limpid, like seeing sunshine through amber. She is unafraid to make ugly sounds when she feels they are warranted.

She sustains attention and uses silences intelligently in a long aching aria from Alcina and throws off Had I Jubal’s Lyre, Ariodante, Orlando, Hercules, Rinaldo and others. Most are well trod but here, far from hackneyed.

The accompaniment is anything but routine, lovely tenderness from them and muscular playing where appropriate. It hangs together well as a program, one of the best Handel discs I own.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ah-mio-cor-Handel-Arias/dp/B000RHSRQU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1536948886&sr=1-1&keywords=Kozena+handel+arias+venice


Mike

Couldn't agree more, Mike. It's a stupendous collection. Her "Dopo Notte" on this disc is electrifying - pure air-punching joy, and a perfect proof of my contention that Handel invented rock and roll.

There's a  live performance of it that has been viewed 25,000 times - 24,000 of them being mine, I should think:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vugvsENVVJ4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vugvsENVVJ4)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 10, 2018, 07:14:58 AM
Very good Alan, great Youtube clip. If you think you can get on with Pelleas et Melisande, I recommend it. She is not the usual passive, fey character and the beaurt that Rattle draws from the orchestra is intoxicating.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 10, 2018, 08:52:27 AM
I've been a little put off Kozena after hearing her at a concert which also featured David Daniels. I can't remember the exact details, music of the Baroque, a mixture of duets, solos and orchestral works. Daniels was his usual communicative self, attempting to also connect with his partner during the duets, but she was quite blank and I don't think she even looked at him once. There was no denying the quality of the voice, but she came across as terribly dour and rather dull. There was no joy in the music making.

It did put me off her and I haven't really listened to her since. Maybe it's time I rectified that. Maybe she was just having an off night.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: ritter on October 10, 2018, 10:54:45 AM
Mahler 20 songs: Wunderhorn, Fahrenden Gesellen, Ruckert, Urlicht
Singer Christian Gerhaher
Pianist Gerold Huber
RCA Red Seal

I especially love these songs in full orchestral dress and they lose colour when the setting is the piano alone. There is always an exception to such rules, and this is it. These two musicians have a remarkable symbiotic partnership and the piano is so exceptionally expressive and full of colour that for the space of the disc, I simply don’t miss the orchestra at all. In a detailed programme note Gerhaher explains that most of the songs were created with piano accompaniment, then some were orchestrated.

A few years ago I eagerly awaited a Mahler concert which included the Ruckert, sung by Gerhaher. However I did not really hear him. For an Albert Hall prom he decided to adopt a whispered parlando and he was all but inaudible from where I sat. However, this disc was set down several years before that event and he had not started to experiment with his non-singing in huge hall phase. I have read this complaint about another of his concerts.

The disc:

The sung legato is magical. He smooths out the supposedly expressive bumps we normally get in Ich bin der welt, yet it remains very expressive, the legato spun like silk. The moments of gentle inwardness are safely caught for us by the engineers. He has the chops for the big moments and does not underplay them. Gerhaher’s way with text reminds me of Schwarzkopf, who can sing conversationally, telling a tiny story rather than PROJECTING the words. He also has developed this skill, and as I indicated, the partnership with Huber is very special and provides a disc I know I will come back to over and over.

Mike
I was lucky enough to see the Gerhaher / Huber tandem in an all-Mahler program four years ago here in Madrid. These were my impressions after the concerts:

I'm just back home from Gerhaher's all-Mahler recital, and it was extraordinary!!!  :) At the intermission, they announced through the PA system that instead of the Rückerts, Gerhaher would perform the Kindertotenlieder...This was a bit of a letdown, initially (I'm very partial to Ich bin der Welt...) but, boy, was I mistaken...Gerhaher's Kindertotenlieder were superb, and the highlight of a great concert (as was his only encore, a very poignant Urlicht)... this man is a lieder singer of the highest calibre... :) (and Gerold Huber on the piano was a first-rate accompanist)...
Fortunately, the recital was held at the smallish Teatro de la Zarzuela, and my son and I were in the stalls, so we heard everything perfectly, while a sense of intimacy was preserved. I fully understand, though, that such a feeling could not possibly be achieved in a venue like the Royal Albert Hall. Pity the recital you attended was held there... :(

I too am partial to the Mahler songs in their orchestral guise, but when performed as Gerhaher and Huber did, there’s a poignancy, a delicacy and a purity and makes one not regret the orchestral versions.

The recital will remain in my memory for as long as I live (or retain my mental capabilities  ;)), and the CD is an excellent reflection of it.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 10, 2018, 02:23:57 PM
I've been a little put off Kozena after hearing her at a concert which also featured David Daniels. I can't remember the exact details, music of the Baroque, a mixture of duets, solos and orchestral works. Daniels was his usual communicative self, attempting to also connect with his partner during the duets, but she was quite blank and I don't think she even looked at him once. There was no denying the quality of the voice, but she came across as terribly dour and rather dull. There was no joy in the music making.

It did put me off her and I haven't really listened to her since. Maybe it's time I rectified that. Maybe she was just having an off night.

I have had mixed experiences of her. I know what you mean about being blank. She sang a very cool, detached Scherezade at the proms this year, she was certainly strained at the top of her range. I saw her do the mezzo solo in Berlioz Romeo and Juliet. It probably lasts about six minutes. She used a score, which I thought showed she was not really bothering to prepare, then sang into it and ignored everyone. I tend not to enjoy watching her. She has a stiff stance and the facial expressions can look painful with her gaze into some invisible middle distance.

But there is some good singing going on and Bach, Handel and Vivaldi seem to suit her.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on October 10, 2018, 02:29:55 PM
I was lucky enough to see the Gerhaher / Huber tandem in an all-Mahler program four years ago here in Madrid. These were my impressions after the concerts:
Fortunately, the recital was held at the smallish Teatro de la Zarzuela, and my son and I were in the stalls, so we heard everything perfectly, while a sense of intimacy was preserved. I fully understand, though, that such a feeling could not possibly be achieved in a venue like the Royal Albert Hall. Pity the recital you attended was held there... :(

I too am partial to the Mahler songs in their orchestral guise, but when performed as Gerhaher and Huber did, there’s a poignancy, a delicacy and a purity and makes one not regret the orchestral versions.

The recital will remain in my memory for as long as I live (or retain my mental capabilities  ;)), and the CD is an excellent reflection of it.

What a superb experience. He is a very intelligent singer, but is careful not to get too cerebral. He really communicates. I have a number of his early discs in partnership with Huber and I have reviewed several here including the Nachtviolin disc. I would love to hear him live, but in the right venue, and the right music. He is in the Rattle St Matthew CD from Berlin. That performance is altogether extraordinary. He sings Christ and perhaps due to his placing, separate from everyone else, he makes very little impact. I gather his live Wagner is excellent.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on November 01, 2018, 01:30:56 PM
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miroir-s-Elsa-Dreisig/dp/B07F84FQBZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1541106179&sr=1-1&keywords=Elsa+dreisig


Miroirs Opera Arias: Elsa Dreisig, Michael Schonwadt, Orchestra National Montpellier Occitaine
Gounod, Massenet, Puccini, Rossini, Mozart, Strauss, Steibelt

Buy, buy, buy. This is the best recital by a young singer that I have heard in a very long time. Dreisig is approaching her middle 20s and has been winning awards. This is her first recital and as far as I can see, her first recording. There is a concept, the miroirs provide us with characters as conveyed by two different composers for Juliette, Rosina, Salome etc.

However, despite the storylines, is Rossini’s Rosina anything like the Countess Mozart conveys? I don’t really find the juxtapositions work as an idea, musically, no problem. Here we get sensational, spectacular singing and insights into the characters. Dreisig is, I think, half French, so the French sounds native and the culmination of the disc is the final scene of Strauss’s Salome in Strauss’s French adaptation. I can’t imagine this going better than here. The voice rides over the orchestra where it needs to and there is plenty beautiful gentle, sensuous singing. The disc price is easily worth this track. I would love to hear these artists in the whole piece. I do not get along with the Nagano French edition because of Nagano’s flaccid approach and the uningratiating Salome.

The Rossini Una voce has a real freshness and humour to it, the technique is first rate. Thais and Faust’s Margaritte are paired because of their contemplations gazing into mirrors, as I say, ignore all that, the arias get first rate performances.

70 minutes of this singer was not enough, it quickly became 140, I look forward to more.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: betterthanfine on November 29, 2018, 05:07:07 PM
Dreisig goes on my wishlist. Thank you for the review, knight66!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on November 30, 2018, 10:38:40 AM
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miroir-s-Elsa-Dreisig/dp/B07F84FQBZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1541106179&sr=1-1&keywords=Elsa+dreisig


Miroirs Opera Arias: Elsa Dreisig, Michael Schonwadt, Orchestra National Montpellier Occitaine
Gounod, Massenet, Puccini, Rossini, Mozart, Strauss, Steibelt

Buy, buy, buy. This is the best recital by a young singer that I have heard in a very long time. Dreisig is approaching her middle 20s and has been winning awards. This is her first recital and as far as I can see, her first recording. There is a concept, the miroirs provide us with characters as conveyed by two different composers for Juliette, Rosina, Salome etc.

However, despite the storylines, is Rossini’s Rosina anything like the Countess Mozart conveys? I don’t really find the juxtapositions work as an idea, musically, no problem. Here we get sensational, spectacular singing and insights into the characters. Dreisig is, I think, half French, so the French sounds native and the culmination of the disc is the final scene of Strauss’s Salome in Strauss’s French adaptation. I can’t imagine this going better than here. The voice rides over the orchestra where it needs to and there is plenty beautiful gentle, sensuous singing. The disc price is easily worth this track. I would love to hear these artists in the whole piece. I do not get along with the Nagano French edition because of Nagano’s flaccid approach and the uningratiating Salome.

The Rossini Una voce has a real freshness and humour to it, the technique is first rate. Thais and Faust’s Margaritte are paired because of their contemplations gazing into mirrors, as I say, ignore all that, the arias get first rate performances.

70 minutes of this singer was not enough, it quickly became 140, I look forward to more.

Mike

I listened on Spotify today, Mike, and I agree with you.

It's a long time since  I've listened to a recital on which the singer characterises so well. It will be interesting to watch her career. She seems to be taking it quite slowly so far. She's singing Manon (in the Massenet opera) and Elvira in I Puritani next year, and debuting Gilda in 2020.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on November 30, 2018, 12:39:01 PM
I listened on Spotify today, Mike, and I agree with you.

It's a long time since  I've listened to a recital on which the singer characterises so well. It will be interesting to watch her career. She seems to be taking it quite slowly so far. She's singing Manon (in the Massenet opera) and Elvira in I Puritani next year, and debuting Gilda in 2020.

I'll third that sentiment! I got a free 3-month trial to Amazon Music Unlimited with a recent order, and the Dreisig album is available on it. She's also on a couple of tracks from guitarist Thibaut Garcia's disc Bach Inspirations, where she joins him for the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria and the aria from Bachianas brasileiras No. 5.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on December 15, 2018, 06:09:52 AM
Thanks guys, I remain as enthusiastic after a number of hearings. Panting for more basically.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mc ukrneal on December 17, 2018, 11:20:01 AM
Thanks guys, I remain as enthusiastic after a number of hearings. Panting for more basically.

Mike
Thanks from me too. The bits I heard sounded pretty awesome.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on January 31, 2019, 07:49:31 AM
To make this incredibly difficult on myself instead of making a large list, which would be much easier, here’s my pick for favorite vocal recital:

(https://img.discogs.com/VguCH4a-8WCWnI8AhKOahatgkI0=/fit-in/600x587/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-8884473-1470768316-9178.jpeg.jpg)

I was wondering whether or not you or other fellow opera and vocal enthusiasts knew if a label (or more than one) have released on CD Souzay's album of operatic arias?  I quite enjoyed listening to it the other day--though the LP wasn't in the best of shape alas.  I also would love to get ahold of his Bach recordings and am wondering about that too (regarding both LP and CD formats).

Best wishes,

PD

p.s.  Mirror Image:  looking forward to finding a copy of your album!  Fingers crossed anyway.   :)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 02, 2019, 03:39:11 AM
I hve so many recital records. Many of them are listened to once and never again, so I've decided to revisit them all again, and assess how many are worth keeping.

This is one I certainly won't be getting rid of, unless I decide to buy DG's issue, which is of the whole Edinburgh recital. This one is only part of it, plus some tracks that were recorded in Salzburg the previous year.

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_1080/MI0002/929/MI0002929048.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

These are the last notes ever recorded by Fritz Wunderlich. Two weeks later he fell from a stairway in a friend's country house due to carelessly tied shoes. Thus a freak accident deprived the world of one of the greatest lyric tenors of the twentieth century. He was a couple of weeks short of his 36th birthday and at the height of his powers.

Wunderlich was unusual, if not unique, among German tenors in that his impeccable legato remained in tact no matter what language he was singing in. Indeed his recordings of arias by Verdi and Puccini, though mostly sung in German, have an Italianate ardour and passion that would be the envy of many a native Italian tenor. Some have complained that this very ease of emission and beauty of tone act against him when he is singing lieder and his commercial recordings of the same repertoire as at this concert (recorded the previous year for DG) do lack a certain sense of involvement. There is a world of difference between those studio recordings and this concert however, Wunderlich has now thought himself into the plight of the man depicted in the Dichterliebe and here we have all the pain and suffering of a young man. Surely what Heine and Schumann intended. And of course we still have the benefit of that glorious, golden tone. Unfortunately, as in the studio, his performance is rather let down by the somewhat prosaic playing of Hubert Giesen. To bad he never worked with Gerald Moore.

Nevertheless this is a treasurable memento of a historic occasion and as such should be in any serious collection of vocal music, if you can still find it anywhere, that is. I believe DG also issued the concert at some point, and that may be easier to find. We are left to wonder what wonders he would have achieved had he not been taken from us so young. Whom the Gods loved indeed.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 02, 2019, 05:43:11 AM
Wunderlich is a favourite of mine, though not usually for song. His Lenski aria is my favourite despite it being in German. It is such a pity that there is not a lot more of his work left to us.

I recall reading that Wunderlich died in between sessions for Karajan’s Haydn Creation, which then required a substitute tenor to be engaged for the recits he was yet to record.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 02, 2019, 09:37:51 AM
Yes, that's true. He had recorded all the arias, but not the recitatives, and rather than abandon the whole project, they brought in Werner Krenn to fill in the gaps.

Wunderlich is one of my favourite tenors, a voice of heady beauty allied allied to natural musicality. He was still young when he died, and I think he would have gone on to become a good Lieder singer. It's a shame he recorded all his Lieder with Hubert Giesen, who can be a bit of a dead weight. The Edinburgh recital shows a deepening response to the poetry from the studio recordings of only the previous year.

He recorded extensively for DG, EMI and also, I believe, Elektrola.

I have a 5 disc DG set, which includes Lieder, operetta, opera arias and extracts (all in German) and popular song.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41AZES7Q6HL.jpg)

a 6 CD EMI set, which covers slightly different repertoire

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71hhanLyUgL._SL1200_.jpg)

and a 2 CD Verona set of live material

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/969/MI0000969339.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

As well as his peerles Tamino on Böhm's Die Zauberflöte, the aforementioned Karajan Die Schöpfung, his wonderful Steersman in the Konwitshcny Der fliegende Holländer and a live account of La Traviata with the young Teresa Stratas.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 02, 2019, 09:43:53 AM
I take it that Traviata is in German?

I have a fair bit of his singing including Schumman songs. I also have two Das Lied von der Erde recordings, operetta, opera and Bach/Haydn. It was an irreplaceable voice. 

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 02, 2019, 09:51:16 AM
I take it that Traviata is in German?

I have a fair bit of his singing including Schumman songs. I also have two Das Lied von der Erde recordings, operetta, opera and Bach/Haydn. It was an irreplaceable voice. 

Mike

No, the Travaiata is in Italian. Hermann Prey is the Germont.

I used to have the Klemperer Das Lied von der Erde on LP, but never got it on CD for some reason. Kubelik with Baker is my favourite version. However I do have a Krips version with Wunderlich in the tenor songs and Fischer-Dieskau doing the lower songs.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 03, 2019, 02:58:46 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51tv50zs7vL.jpg)

An interesting and enterprising recital recorded in 2003, when Alagna was at the top of his game. It's certainly a pleasure to hear authentically sung French.

As far as I'm aware, Alagna never attempted any of these roles on stage, but, if these excerpts are anything to go by, he'd have made an excellent Faust and Cellini.

Though he negotiates Iopas's high-lying tessitura well enough, I rather prefer a lighter lyric tenor in this music, and, conversely, I'm not sure he'd have had the heft for Enée on stage. Admittedly I've been brought up on the heroic sound of a Vickers here, but the role has recently been taken by Michael Spyres, a tenor with a lighter voice than Alagna. Having heard both Alagna and Spyres live, I'd have said Alagna would be more suited to the role's demands than Spyres. The few excerpts included here certainly go very well. The  excerpt from L'Enfance du Christ is quite charming and direct in its utterance and the Mab scherzo from Roméo et Juliette is suitably deft and witty.

Next come excerpts from La Damnation de Faust, with the addition of a rarity in the shape of a setting for tenor and guitar of Mephisophélès's serenade, taken from the earlier Huits Scènes de Faust. Alagna is joined by his then wife, Angela Gheorghiu, for the duet Ange adorée, which is sung most beautifully. What a shame he never attempted Berlioz's Faust on stage.

Like Iopas. Bénédict also probably needs a slightly less beefy voice, but Alagna manages his short aria well enough.

More convincing are the excerpts from Benvenuto Cellini, another role which I would have thought would have suited him well. He was apparently slated to sing it on the Nelson recording, but pulled out for some reason. He may not quite erase memories of Gedda in one of his greatest roles, but, on the evidence of the two arias recorded here (La gloire était ma seule idole and Sur les monts les plus sauvages, his voice had the ideal weight and penetration, not to mention his perfect diction and attentio to the text.

Charming in every way are the excerpts from Lélio, with the addition of texts spoken by Gérard Dépardieu, but Berlioz's bombastic and over the top arrangement of La Marseillaise, which ends the disc, rather outstays its welcome  and was all a bit much for me.

Bertrand de Billy's accompaniments are all a little too reticent for my liking, and the disc would no doubt have benefited from the presence of a Colin Davis or John Eliot Gardiner in the pit. Nevertheless, if you like Berlioz, and I do, this is a highly enjoyable disc and an excellent reminder of Alagna at his considerable best.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2019, 07:52:56 AM
This recital from Véronique Gens (w/ Roger Vignoles on piano) remains a solid favorite:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ZrwdEum5L._SL1425_.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on March 04, 2019, 03:38:04 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51tv50zs7vL.jpg)

An interesting and enterprising recital recorded in 2003, when Alagna was at the top of his game. It's certainly a pleasure to hear authentically sung French.

As far as I'm aware, Alagna never attempted any of these roles on stage, but, if these excerpts are anything to go by, he'd have made an excellent Faust and Cellini.


He did sing Énée in Berlin in 2014. There are excerpts on youtube. That wig!!

Énée's Act I entrance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8el1KRTO2_c
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 04, 2019, 06:50:45 AM
He did sing Énée in Berlin in 2014. There are excerpts on youtube. That wig!!

Énée's Act I entrance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8el1KRTO2_c

So he did. It wasn't listed as one of his roles on Wikipedia (but then I should know not to trust that source).

Hard to tell from this snippet how successful he was (or wasn't). Many have fallen in the attempt, and even Domingo and Gedda might be numbered amongst its casualties.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 14, 2019, 01:53:41 AM
(https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0886/9226/products/wunderlichcollectiondg4351452.jpg?v=1523660051)

Before his untimely death at the age of 35, Fritz Wunderlich made a lot of recordings for both DG and EMI, mostly for the German market, hence the reason why all the excerpts from French, Italian and Russian opera are sung in German.

That said, regardless of language, Wunderlich's gorgeous, lyric, golden-voiced tenor gives us a glimpse of a near ideal Rodolfo, Duke of Mantua, Lensky, Cavaradossi and Elvino.

This 5 disc set gives us 2 discs of operatic fare from Handel and Mozart to Verdi and Puccini, 2 discs of Lieder (complete recordings of Die schöne Müllerin and Dichterliebe and various other Lieder by Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven) and a final disc of popular Italian and German songs, such as Lara's Granada and Sieczynski's Wien, Wien, dur du allein.

One of the most disarming elements of Wunderlich's singing is that sense of pure joy in the act of singing itself, and it's a quality that is hard to resist. True, there have been deeper, more probing versions of the Schubert and Schumann cycles (even by Wunderlich himself, when captured in concert a year later), but few sung with such consistent beauty of tone.

Stand out tracks for me are the Mozart items (arias from the Böhm Die Zauberflöte, and the Jochum Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Lensky's Kuda, kuda from Eugene Onegin. His opening lines in the Act IV duet for Rodolfo and Marcello from La Boheme (sung with Hermann Prey) are sung with a poetic beauty of such sorrowful radiance, that questions of language are totally forgotten, and this carries through to Cavaradossi's great E lucevan le stelle from Tosca. As Elvino (a lovely Prendi, l'anel ti dono from La Sonnambulawith a somewhat quavery Erika Köth) he sings with a shy diffidence that is thoroughly charming, and what Gilda would not be conquered by the seductve tones of this Duke?

My once critcism would that be he occasionally aspirates fast moving moving music, most in evidence in the Lortzing excerpts, but in all he displays a strong personality, and, once heard, there is no mistaking him.

The popular items might not be to everyone's taste, but it is here that his gift of communication is most in evidence, singing with sheer uninhibited pleasure. One of my favrourite tracks is his performance of Lara's Granada. You get the feeling that he arrived in the studio feeling pretty good that day, and the golden outpouring of tone, right up to a couple of glorious top Cs, is infectiously enjoyable. It's hard not to listen with a smile on your face.

In the grand scheme of things, Wunderlich would have gone on to have a great career, no doubt feted as one of the greatest tenors of his day, but it wasn't to be and he was killed in an accident just a few weeks short of his 36th birthday. How lucky we are that these recordings exist to remind us of what the world lost.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Jo498 on March 14, 2019, 02:03:01 AM
Yes, that Granada is glorious. Among other guilty pleasures, Wunderlich also had a few impressive operetta hits (probably on eurodisc? and probably several recordings/broadcasts) from Lehar, Kalman and others, like "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" or "Allein, wieder allein" (Volga song from Zarevitch).
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 14, 2019, 02:50:01 AM
Yes, that Granada is glorious. Among other guilty pleasures, Wunderlich also had a few impressive operetta hits (probably on eurodisc? and probably several recordings/broadcasts) from Lehar, Kalman and others, like "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" or "Allein, wieder allein" (Volga song from Zarevitch).

There are a lot of operetta excerpts on EMI (now Warner) too. I also have a 6 disc Warner box.

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Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on March 14, 2019, 08:35:55 AM
Wunderlich is a favourite of mine, though not usually for song. His Lenski aria is my favourite despite it being in German. It is such a pity that there is not a lot more of his work left to us.

Mike

He's a favorite of mine too.   ;D

PD
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on March 14, 2019, 08:44:55 AM
Yes, that's true. He had recorded all the arias, but not the recitatives, and rather than abandon the whole project, they brought in Werner Krenn to fill in the gaps.

Wunderlich is one of my favourite tenors, a voice of heady beauty allied allied to natural musicality. He was still young when he died, and I think he would have gone on to become a good Lieder singer. It's a shame he recorded all his Lieder with Hubert Giesen, who can be a bit of a dead weight. The Edinburgh recital shows a deepening response to the poetry from the studio recordings of only the previous year.

He recorded extensively for DG, EMI and also, I believe, Elektrola.

and a 2 CD Verona set of live material

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As well as his peerles Tamino on Böhm's Die Zauberflöte, the aforementioned Karajan Die Schöpfung, his wonderful Steersman in the Konwitshcny Der fliegende Holländer and a live account of La Traviata with the young Teresa Stratas.

Who released the Edinburgh recital?  And when is it from?  I'd love to get ahold of that one! 

I have that EMI/Warner set plus some other recordings.  A while ago, I also picked up this neat set:  Fritz Wunderlich Edition on DG (one of those LP-sized boxed-sets).  Also have:  The Original Masters - The Art of Fritz Wunderlich  and the reasonably-priced 10-CD boxed-set on Membran/Brilliant called Welterfolge und Raritäten.

What a voice!  Meltingly beautiful....such a shame to have lost him and so young.   :'(

Best wishes,

PD
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 14, 2019, 08:52:35 AM
Who released the Edinburgh recital?  And when is it from?  I'd love to get ahold of that one! 



I have it (well some of it on Myto) but DG issued it too. The recital is from just a couple of weeks before he died, and is his last notes recorded for posterity.

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Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on March 14, 2019, 11:09:51 AM
I have it (well some of it on Myto) but DG issued it too. The recital is from just a couple of weeks before he died, and is his last notes recorded for posterity.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5181VRL6qHL.jpg)
Thank you for the information Tsaraslondon.  How do you find the recording quality?  And how was his voice that day/evening?

Best,

PD
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 14, 2019, 12:11:33 PM
Recording quality fine. I refer you to the review I did earlier in the thread - reply #299.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on March 15, 2019, 06:10:31 AM
Recording quality fine. I refer you to the review I did earlier in the thread - reply #299.
Thank you!  :-)

PD
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 21, 2019, 08:26:39 AM
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This 5 disc set brings together most, though not all, of the recordings Dame Janet Baker made for Decca, Argo and Philips during the 1960s and 1970s. Though contracted to EMI (and Warner have a pretty exhaustive ten disc box set of her work for that label, called The Great Recordings), she made a few recordings for Decca/Argo (including her famous recording of Dido and Aeneas) in the early 60s, and then a tranche of recitals for Philips in the 1970s. The range of material here is not quite as wide as that on the aforementioned Warner, but takes us from 17th century arie through to Britten.

Disc 1 is a selection of what most vocal students would know as Arie Antiche (called here Arie Amorose), (in somewhat souped- up arrangements) by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner. Whilst the arrangements can sound somewhat anachronistic today, Baker's wonderfully varied singing is not and each little song emerges as a little gem. The disc is rounded off with a couple of arias from La Calisto recorded shortly after her great success in the role of Diana/Jove at Glyndebourne.

Some of Baker's greatest early successes were in Handel and Disc 2 is mostly taken up by a superb 1972 Handel recital she made with the English Chamber Orchestra under Raymond Leppard. How brilliantly she charts the changing emotions in the cantata Lucrezia and also in the arioso-like Where shall I fly from Hercules,but each track displays the specificity of her art, the way she can express the despair in an aria like Scherza infida and the joy in Dopo notte. The disc is rounded off by a 1966 recording of Bach's Vergnügte Ruh and her incomparable When I am laid in earth from her 1961 recording of Dido and Aeneas.

Disc 3 has excerpts from a 1973 Mozart/Haydn recital and a 1976 Beethoven/Schubert disc, both made with Raymond Leppard, with the addition of arias from her complete recordings of la Clemenza di Tito and Cosí fan tutte under Sir Colin Davis. The two Haydn cantatas (one with piano and one with orchestra) are very welcome, but we do miss her stunning performance of Sesto's two big arias from La Clemenza di Tito, and her gently intimate performance of Mozart's Abendempfindung. Fortunately these have been included in a superb selection taken from the same two recitals on the Pentatone label, which includes all the missing Mozart and Schubert items. This disc also includes her recording of Beethoven's Ah perfido!, a little smaller in scale than some, but beautifully judged none the less. It doesn't have Callas's ferocity, it is true, but it is much more comfortably vocalised.

Disc 4 is of music by Rameau (excerpts from her 1965 recording of Hippolyte et Aricie, which well display her impassioned Phèdre), Gluck (arias for Orfeo and Alceste taken from her 1975 Gluck recital) and Berlioz (1979 performances of Cléopâtre and Herminie and Béatrice's big scene from Davis's complete 1977 recording of Béatrice et Bénédict). The biggest loss here is of the majority of the Gluck recital, which included many rare items, though the complete reictal was at one time available on one of Philips's budget labels. Baker is without doubt one of the greatest Berlioz exponents of all time, and the two scènes lyriques are especially welcome, the range of expression in both fully exploited.

Disc 5 is of late nineteenth and twentieth century French song and Benjamin Britten; the whole of a disc of French song made with the Melos Ensmble in 1966, excerpts from the composers own recordings of The Rape of Lucretia and Owen Wingraveand Phaedra, which was composed specifically for her. The Melos disc includes Ravel's Chansons Madécasses and Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle and Delage's Quatre poèmes hindous and is a fine example of Baker's felicity in French chanson. The Britten excerpts remind us of her sympathetic portrayal of Lucretia and her unpleasant Kate in Owen Wingrave. The Britten cantata is a great example of her controlled intensity.

Remarkable throughout is the care and concentration of her interpretations. Nothing is glossed over, nothing taken for granted, and she was one of those artists who could bring the frisson of live performance into the studio. Nor do I think she ever made a bad record. One of my all time favourite singers.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: king ubu on March 22, 2019, 12:22:59 AM
(https://rovimusic.rovicorp.com/image.jpg?c=Dbb9I9CtNddnPlCX-fGpWgSijaXJlYnq0St31qpAJWo=&f=6)

Revisiting the recent disc by Elsa Dreisig ... she was on the front cover of German magazine "Fono Forum" a few months ago (around the time late in 2018 her disc was released). Bought it upon Mike's insistence one page up (thanks!), as I initially planned to skip it (don't ask why), which would have been too bad really!

Her voice may not have quite the strength to pull off all of the roles which she excerpts on the album, but the CD certainly is gorgeous!

On top if that, I just realized it's her that's going to sing "Manon" in the new Massenet production premiering at Zurich opera soon (Piotr Beczala will sing des Grieux). I've got a ticket for a later show in mid May, so it will be a while, but still the news/realizing is a good reminder to play the CD again (third or fourth spin, I think).

https://www.opernhaus.ch/en/spielplan/calendar/manon/
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Biffo on March 22, 2019, 01:49:45 AM
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This 5 disc set brings together most, though not all, of the recordings Dame Janet Baker made for Decca, Argo and Philips during the 1960s and 1970s. Though contracted to EMI (and Warner have a pretty exhaustive ten disc box set of her work for that label, called The Great Recordings), she made a few recordings for Decca/Argo (including her famous recording of Dido and Aeneas) in the early 60s, and then a tranche of recitals for Philips in the 1970s. The range of material here is not quite as wide as that on the aforementioned Warner, but takes us from 17th century arie through to Britten.

Disc 1 is a selection of what most vocal students would know as Arie Antiche (called here Arie Amorose), (in somewhat souped- up arrangements) by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner. Whilst the arrangements can sound somewhat anachronistic today, Baker's wonderfully varied singing is not and each little song emerges as a little gem. The disc is rounded off with a couple of arias from La Calisto recorded shortly after her great success in the role of Diana/Jove at Glyndebourne.

Some of Baker's greatest early successes were in Handel and Disc 2 is mostly taken up by a superb 1972 Handel recital she made with the English Chamber Orchestra under Raymond Leppard. How brilliantly she charts the changing emotions in the cantata Lucrezia and also in the arioso-like Where shall I fly from Hercules,but each track displays the specificity of her art, the way she can express the despair in an aria like Scherza infida and the joy in Dopo notte. The disc is rounded off by a 1966 recording of Bach's Vergnügte Ruh and her incomparable When I am laid in earth from her 1961 recording of Dido and Aeneas.

Disc 3 has excerpts from a 1973 Mozart/Haydn recital and a 1976 Beethoven/Schubert disc, both made with Raymond Leppard, with the addition of arias from her complete recordings of la Clemenza di Tito and Cosí fan tutte under Sir Colin Davis. The two Haydn cantatas (one with piano and one with orchestra) are very welcome, but we do miss her stunning performance of Sesto's two big arias from La Clemenza di Tito, and her gently intimate performance of Mozart's Abendempfindung. Fortunately these have been included in a superb selection taken from the same two recitals on the Pentatone label, which includes all the missing Mozart and Schubert items. This disc also includes her recording of Beethoven's Ah perfido!, a little smaller in scale than some, but beautifully judged none the less. It doesn't have Callas's ferocity, it is true, but it is much more comfortably vocalised.

Disc 4 is of music by Rameau (excerpts from her 1965 recording of Hippolyte et Aricie, which well display her impassioned Phèdre), Gluck (arias for Orfeo and Alceste taken from her 1975 Gluck recital) and Berlioz (1979 performances of Cléopâtre and Herminie and Béatrice's big scene from Davis's complete 1977 recording of Béatrice et Bénédict). The biggest loss here is of the majority of the Gluck recital, which included many rare items, though the complete reictal was at one time available on one of Philips's budget labels. Baker is without doubt one of the greatest Berlioz exponents of all time, and the two scènes lyriques are especially welcome, the range of expression in both fully exploited.

Disc 5 is of late nineteenth and twentieth century French song and Benjamin Britten; the whole of a disc of French song made with the Melos Ensmble in 1966, excerpts from the composers own recordings of The Rape of Lucretia and Owen Wingraveand Phaedra, which was composed specifically for her. The Melos disc includes Ravel's Chansons Madécasses and Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle and Delage's Quatre poèmes hindous and is a fine example of Baker's felicity in French chanson. The Britten excerpts remind us of her sympathetic portrayal of Lucretia and her unpleasant Kate in Owen Wingrave. The Britten cantata is a great example of her controlled intensity.

Remarkable throughout is the care and concentration of her interpretations. Nothing is glossed over, nothing taken for granted, and she was one of those artists who could bring the frisson of live performance into the studio. Nor do I think she ever made a bad record. One of my all time favourite singers.

I already had practically all of the contents (except the Britten) of this box on LP, including the missing Schubert and Mozart but bought it anyway for convenience - many old favourites here. The Warner Icon box is currently available from Amazon UK at a bargain price of £11 but I already have all the contents scattered over various CDs.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 24, 2019, 10:24:37 AM
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Good to be reminded of Baltsa's pre-eminence as a lyric/dramatic mezzo at the beginning of the 1980s, when this recital was recorded.

The recital shows off to advantage her keen dramatic instinct, a tangily individual timbre, and a voice that was, at this time at least, absolutely seamless from top to bottom. Though she had already recorded Eboli and Amneris for Karajan, this recital concentrates for the most part on her work in the field of bel canto.

Baltsa was an exciting stage performer, as I can attest, having seen her live on many occasions and a great deal of that excitement comes through on disc, the climaxes of the arias from La Favorita and Il Giuamento being pafticularly thrilling. She has a strong vocal personality, which comes across stunningly on disc, and she realises the different demands of classical, Romantic and verismo music. If there is a limitation, it is that she rarely colours or weights the voice to suit the character she is playing, something more noticeable in a recital disc than it would be in a complete performance.

Stand out tracks for me were the aria from La Donna del Lago, where she gently caresses the opening cavatina, and the aforementioned arias from Il Giuramento and La Favorita. Indeed, on this showing it is a great pity that nobody thought to make a complete recording of the Donizetti opera with her, though preferably in the original French rather than Italian as it is here.

To sum up, this is a great memento of an important singer recorded when the voice was at its peak. I seem to remember that it was issued in the UK originally on EMI, but the recording was made by Orfeo, and it is that issue I have.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 25, 2019, 03:12:32 AM
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Tchaikovsky; Eugene Onegin - Tatiana's Letter Scene
Verdi: Aida - Ritorna vincitor
Puccini: Tosca Vissi d'arte
Puccini: La Boheme - Quando m'en vo
Weber: Der Freschütz - Wie nahthe mir der Schlummer - Leise, leise
Strauss: Salome - Closing Scene

Ljuba Welitsch shot through the operatic firmament like a comet in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Unfortunately she developed nodules on her chords by 1953 and her international career was over almost before it started. In that brief time her Salome at least became the stuff of legend, and to this day is considered one of the greatest of all times, though a prodjected complete recording with Reiner conducting never materialised. There are two live perforances from the Met, from 1949 and 1952. The latter has the best all round cast, but she is in fresher voice in the former.

These recordings all date from the 1940s when her voice was at its silvery best, and the final scene from Salome, conducted by Lovro von Matacic dates from 1944, when Strauss himself chose her to sing the role at the Vienna Opera in a production, which was to celebrate his eightieth birthday. They worked on the piece for six weeks, with Strauss himself attending the rehearsals, so, from that point of view at least, we should consider her performance here as authentic. Indeed this must be exactly the voice Strauss had had in mind. It remains silvery, youthful and light, and yet cuts through the heavy orchestral textures with no apparent effort. Not only that, but her word painting and identification with the role is so vivid that at the end of the scene one literally feels Herod's distaste when he commands his soldiers to kill her. This scene alone is indispensable, whether one has one of the complete live recordings or not.

The other arias were all recorded between 1947 and 1949, when the voice was still in fine shape, but they do expose some of her weaknesses. The best of them is Tatiana's Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, here sung in German, which teems with girlish impulsiveness and teen-angst longing. There is no sense of strain and the high notes ring out gloriously. Please also take note of the wonderful horn playing of Dennis Brain.  This scene ranks as highly as the Strauss in the Welitsch discography.

Musetta's Waltz makes its effect well, with loads of personality, but she misses the anguish and contrasts in Aida's Ritorna vincitor, and her Vissi d'arte is rather penny plain. Neither scene really registers anything at all and she has a tendency to rush the beat, which can be quite annoying. The Weber is better, but she still lacks the poise and control evinced by such singers as Elisabeth Grümmer and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

When the voice started to let her down, she did not retire, but moved to character roles, most famously singing the Duenna in Karajan's first recording of Der Rosenkavalier. As late as 1972, she played the role of the Duchess of Crakentorp in a Fille du Régiment at the Met.

Not a recital in the true sense of the word, as all these performances were recorded for 78s, this compilaton is essential none the less for the Strauss and Tchaikovsky at least.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 26, 2019, 02:21:49 AM
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Like many of Cecilia Bartoli's releases, this one has a catchy title and cover, but is really just a convenient way of grouping together some arias from orotorios written during a short period when stage performances were banned by the Papacy.

This is the only Bartoli recital I own, a gift from a friend, who loves her unreservedly, and no doubt intended to win me over to the cause. Unfortunately his well-meaning intentions didn't work. I've never been a big fan of Ms Bartoli's hectoring, over-vibrant manner, especially in fast music, and this recital disc doesn't do much to help me overcome my prejudice. I dig it out from time to time, in the hope that my reactions might be different and that I will be able to enjoy what so many others obviously do, but to no avail. In some of the slower arias, Handel's Lascia la spina, for instance (his first thoughts on the famous aria that eventually found its way into his Rinaldo as Lascia ch'io pianga) I begin to capitulate to the way she gently caresses the line and the genuine pathos of the performance, but I simply cannot get on with the rat-a-tat firing off in the faster music, which sounds just un-musical to me.

Even in some of the slower arias, Caldara's Si piangete pupille dolente, for instance, she presses on individual notes, losing sight of the long legato line, the tone too breathless and vibrating. This must be a conscious decision on her part, because she is quite capable of maintaining the line when she wants to.

For those who respond to her style more sympathetically than I do, I should say that the programme is an interesting one and Mark Minkowski's accompaniments with Les Musiciens du Louvre are excellent.

I often complain these days about faceless singers with no personality, and Bartoli is certainly not that, easily recognisable from just a few short measures. I just wish that her individual style and personlality were more to my taste.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 27, 2019, 01:34:01 AM
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Now this is great singing.

In the 1993 notes that accompany this re-issue of the one recital record Jon Vickers ever made, Vickers says,

Quote
At the time of the Italian Arias recording the field of opera was a totally different world than today. One sought to prove oneself worthy of association with the opera houses, general administartors, conductors, producers and singers one admired - even was in awe of. There was a humbling consciousness of the great history of places like the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala, Bayreuth, Vienna and Salzburg. Emphasis was upon delving as deeply as possible into the psychological depths of the text illuminated by the genius of the composer's music. To dare to indulge any particular personal ability was to invite derision from colleagues and thunderous disapproval by public and press alike as being in bad taste and imposing of oneself upon a great work of art.

To be honest, I've listened to plenty of live performances from those days when bad taste and personal indulgence brings the house down, but his statement does give you a snapshot into the way the man worked, of his seriousness and dedication to his art.

This recital disc was recorded at the same time as his first recording of Otello under Tullio Serafin, when his only Wagnerian role was Siegmund, and you were more likely to hear him as Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Radames, Canio or Don Carlo. Later of course he want on to tackle Tristan and Parsifal, though he never sang Siegfried, and he dropped out of scheduled performances of Tannhäuser at Covent Garden, due to his religious scruples, saying he could not empathise with the character and that, in any case, the opera was blasphemous in character.

First impressions when listening to this disc are of the sheer size of the voice, and the power - a power that can be reined back to a merest pianissimo, then unleashed at will, like an organist pulling out all the stops. The other is intensity. Whether singing gently or loudly, there is a concentration and intensity that makes each short aria into a mini monodrama, and an ability to focus in on the meaning of each word and note. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing thrown away.

From a purely vocal point of view, it was still a very beautiful instrument back in 1961, and an aria like Cielo e mar is sung not only with golden tone, but with a true sense of wonder, and a way of pulling in and out of full voice that never destroys the long legato line.

Where many Italian tenors will add extraneous sobs and aspirates to indicate emotion, particularly in an aria like Federico's Lament from L'Arlesiana, Vickers achieves an even deeper vein of emotion by never straying from the written notes, but simply (as if it was simple) intensifying his sound. In this he ressembles Callas, whom he revered so much having been Giasone to her Medea on many occasions.

One of the stand out tracks on this recital for me is Chénier's Un di all'azzurro spazio delivered with mounting passion, but also somehow giving us a sense of the intellectual in the man. Canio suffers like no other, and yet he doesn't have to break down in sobs at the end to make us feel it. His Otello developed into one of the towering creations of his, or any other, age, but even here, with the arias taken out of context, he conveys all the man's pain and suffering.

Listening to this recital today at a distance of some years has been a peculiarly emotional experience. Jon Vickers was, and remains, unique, and we are unlikely to hear his ilk again.

 
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 27, 2019, 06:31:07 AM
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Nobody would deny the honeyed beauty of Kathleen Battle's pearly soprano, nor her felicity and ease of movement in fast coloratura. Nor would they deny Wynton Marsalis's stupendous trumpet virtuosity. One would therefore assume that putting the two together would give you a winner. Given that the programme is a welcome mixture of the well-known and the unfamiliar, you might also expect a nicely varied recital.

Well that doesn't really happen here, I'm afraid. Quite aside from the fact that there is absolutely nothing authentic about the performances (the orchestra made up of modern instruments and Marsalis playing on a valve trumpet), there is a sameness of approach and a preponderance of fast arias that tends to the monotonous, and in the rare slower pieces, the music starts to sound more like Rachmaninov's Vocalise than anything authentically baroque.

As background music, it is undemanding and pleasant to listen to, especially if you have a sweet tooth, but, aside from showing off the prowess of its two stars, it doesn't really add up to a satisfactory whole.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on March 29, 2019, 02:10:35 AM
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This 1976 recital was, I believe, Von Stade's first recital disc. In 1970, at the age of 25 she had secured a comprimario contract at the Met, debuting there as one of the Three Boys in Die Zauberflöte, and international acclaim followed in 1973, when she appeared as Cherubino at Glyndbourne in a Peter Hall production that was also televised. Von Stade's winningly boyish Cherubino catapulted her to stardom alongside Kiri Te Kanawa and Ileana Cotrubas, who played the Countess and Susanna. I remember seeing it on TV, and the impression they all made.

Though American born, Von Stade spent a good deal of her youth in Europe, and later spent some years in France, and so is completely at home in the French language. Indeed French opera and song became a staple of her repertoire though, at this early stage of her career, she doesn't always use the words to her advantage, and some of the arias could be more clearly characterised. That said, the voice itself, a clear lyric mezzo, is always beautiful and her use of it unfailingly musical. She is best at winning charm and bittersweet sadness, and the least successful item here is Charlotte's Va, laisse couler mes larmes from Werther, which doesn't compare to what she achieves in the complete recording under Davis (recorded in 1980).

My favourite performances are of Mignon's Connais- tu le pays?, which captures to perfection Mignon's wistful longing for her homeland (I always think it a pity that Von Stade wasn't the Mignon on the Almeida recording, on which she plays Frédéric) and the aria from Cendrillon, and it is no surprise to find that she went on to have a great success in the complete role. Her natural charm also comes across well in the Offenbach arias and in Urbain's aria from Les Huguenots.

The aria from Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict for the most part goes well, though her responses are a little less vivid than Janet Baker's on the complete Davis recording, and the Allegro lacks a little in joyfulness. Her natural plaintiveness is more suited to Marguerite's D'amour l'ardente flamme, though, here too, there is a sameness of vocal colour which misses the urgency of the middle section.

A very enjoyable recital disc then, the beauty of the voice and her winning personality well caught, if with the proviso that she doesn't yet quite convey the complete range of emotions required by the music. Nevertheless it always a pleasure to hear such beautiful and musical singing.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on March 29, 2019, 03:40:14 AM
My favourite performances are of Mignon's Connais- tu le pays?, which captures to perfection Mignon's wistful longing for her homeland (I always think it a pity that Von Stade wasn't the Mignon on the Almeida recording, on which she plays Frédéric)

Yeah, I've always wished that she and Horne had exchanged roles.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on March 30, 2019, 10:43:27 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/713Njx42iEL._SL1085_.jpg)

Now this is great singing.

In the 1993 notes that accompany this re-issue of the one recital record Jon Vickers ever made, Vickers says,

To be honest, I've listened to plenty of live performances from those days when bad taste and personal indulgence brings the house down, but his statement does give you a snapshot into the way the man worked, of his seriousness and dedication to his art.

This recital disc was recorded at the same time as his first recording of Otello under Tullio Serafin, when his only Wagnerian role was Siegmund, and you were more likely to hear him as Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera, Radames, Canio or Don Carlo. Later of course he want on to tackle Tristan and Parsifal, though he never sang Siegfried, and he dropped out of scheduled performances of Tannhäuser at Covent Garden, due to his religious scruples, saying he could not empathise with the character and that, in any case, the opera was blasphemous in character.

First impressions when listening to this disc are of the sheer size of the voice, and the power - a power that can be reined back to a merest pianissimo, then unleashed at will, like an organist pulling out all the stops. The other is intensity. Whether singing gently or loudly, there is a concentration and intensity that makes each short aria into a mini monodrama, and an ability to focus in on the meaning of each word and note. Nothing is taken for granted, nothing thrown away.

From a purely vocal point of view, it was still a very beautiful instrument back in 1961, and an aria like Cielo e mar is sung not only with golden tone, but with a true sense of wonder, and a way of pulling in and out of full voice that never destroys the long legato line.

Where many Italian tenors will add extraneous sobs and aspirates to indicate emotion, particularly in an aria like Federico's Lament from L'Arlesiana, Vickers achieves an even deeper vein of emotion by never straying from the written notes, but simply (as if it was simple) intensifying his sound. In this he ressembles Callas, whom he revered so much having been Giasone to her Medea on many occasions.

One of the stand out tracks on this recital for me is Chénier's Un di all'azzurro spazio delivered with mounting passion, but also somehow giving us a sense of the intellectual in the man. Canio suffers like no other, and yet he doesn't have to break down in sobs at the end to make us feel it. His Otello developed into one of the towering creations of his, or any other, age, but even here, with the arias taken out of context, he conveys all the man's pain and suffering.

Listening to this recital today at a distance of some years has been a peculiarly emotional experience. Jon Vickers was, and remains, unique, and we are unlikely to hear his ilk again.


Thank you for all the recent insightful posts. Vickers is my favourite tenor. I wonder why there were not more recitals from him? I gather he had a long held resentment that some of his greatest roles were never committed to dick. Largely this was remedied by the emergence of a number of live performance, Parsifal and Don Carlo are two.

Perhaps we need the whoe role to really appreciate his artistry. A short aria does not give him enough scope. His projection of roles is about much more than sound.

I only saw him ones, as Otello. He was down for a Peter Grimes, but was ill, so I missed him and regret I did not get more of him. But we do have a fine legacy.

Mike 
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 01, 2019, 12:57:57 AM


Thank you for all the recent insightful posts. Vickers is my favourite tenor. I wonder why there were not more recitals from him? I gather he had a long held resentment that some of his greatest roles were never committed to dick. Largely this was remedied by the emergence of a number of live performance, Parsifal and Don Carlo are two.

Perhaps we need the whoe role to really appreciate his artistry. A short aria does not give him enough scope. His projection of roles is about much more than sound.

I only saw him ones, as Otello. He was down for a Peter Grimes, but was ill, so I missed him and regret I did not get more of him. But we do have a fine legacy.

Mike

Yes, like Callas, he is best experienced in a complete role, but, again like Callas, he also had this ability to distil the essence of a role into a single aria.

I love John Ardoin's description of him in The Callas Legacy as "this complete artist (a musician rather than a tenor)".

It parallels something Callas says to a student singing Amneris's L'abborita rivale from Aida.

Quote
At the end of the duet, breathe just before the F-sharp of "si". You will need plenty of breath here not only for the crescendo you must make with the tenor on the G, but because he will probably, I'm sorry to say, scream his head off. This is not very elegantly put, but t is all to true.

Having sung many times with the likes of Kurt Baum, Richard Tucker and Mario Del Monaco she was obviously speaking from experience.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 01, 2019, 03:06:57 AM
Heck, what a set of typos I managed in that last post!

It is a pity that Vickers version of Das Lied was laid down too late. I had that Davis version on LP when it first came out and with Wunderlich as my touchstone in it, Vickers sounded stressed and dry. So, I lived without the performance for several decades. A few years ago I reacquired it as a CD. This time round, prepared for disappointment, I was more impressed and as a whole it gives me a fair bit of pleasure.

But his Schubert Winterreise is a grisly object.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 01, 2019, 03:21:29 AM
Heck, what a set of typos I managed in that last post!

It is a pity that Vickers version of Das Lied was laid down too late. I had that Davis version on LP when it first came out and with Wunderlich as my touchstone in it, Vickers sounded stressed and dry. So, I lived without the performance for several decades. A few years ago I reacquired it as a CD. This time round, prepared for disappointment, I was more impressed and as a whole it gives me a fair bit of pleasure.

But his Schubert Winterreise is a grisly object.

Mike

I've never heard it, but I know it excites controversy. When I worked at MDC, the record shop, Bernard Pallut, who was the head of the mail order division, though it, in intention at least, the greatest performance he had ever heard.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 02, 2019, 07:04:44 AM
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miroir-s-Elsa-Dreisig/dp/B07F84FQBZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1541106179&sr=1-1&keywords=Elsa+dreisig


Miroirs Opera Arias: Elsa Dreisig, Michael Schonwadt, Orchestra National Montpellier Occitaine
Gounod, Massenet, Puccini, Rossini, Mozart, Strauss, Steibelt

Buy, buy, buy. This is the best recital by a young singer that I have heard in a very long time. Dreisig is approaching her middle 20s and has been winning awards. This is her first recital and as far as I can see, her first recording. There is a concept, the miroirs provide us with characters as conveyed by two different composers for Juliette, Rosina, Salome etc.

However, despite the storylines, is Rossini’s Rosina anything like the Countess Mozart conveys? I don’t really find the juxtapositions work as an idea, musically, no problem. Here we get sensational, spectacular singing and insights into the characters. Dreisig is, I think, half French, so the French sounds native and the culmination of the disc is the final scene of Strauss’s Salome in Strauss’s French adaptation. I can’t imagine this going better than here. The voice rides over the orchestra where it needs to and there is plenty beautiful gentle, sensuous singing. The disc price is easily worth this track. I would love to hear these artists in the whole piece. I do not get along with the Nagano French edition because of Nagano’s flaccid approach and the uningratiating Salome.

The Rossini Una voce has a real freshness and humour to it, the technique is first rate. Thais and Faust’s Margaritte are paired because of their contemplations gazing into mirrors, as I say, ignore all that, the arias get first rate performances.

70 minutes of this singer was not enough, it quickly became 140, I look forward to more.

Mike
She also recorded a track for the new Warner Berlioz box. Thought you might want to hear it (with piano). I got it on a highlights disc of the set, but it is also available on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/v/dFqcor59QSk
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 02, 2019, 02:17:26 PM
Thanks for that mc ukrneal, I would never have guessed it was Berlioz. I think I read that it was a very early song. Dresig’s straight forward approach is right for what is a very simple piece.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Mandryka on April 02, 2019, 09:37:18 PM
I have a recording of Vickers singing Das Lied with Maureen Forrester, in Boston with William Steinberg, which I can let you have if you want.

There’s a song recital disc with Vickers, with Dichterliebe and some Purcell and Haendel.


There are, by the way, two recordings of his Winterteise, one better than the other (the good one is with a famous pianist, Gerald Moore maybe.)

I saw a few times at Covent Garden, and finally reciting Enoch Arden at the Wigmore Hall (the latter was dreadful!)

My own favourite recital disc of 19th century music is this one

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81znaEu5tuL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: springrite on April 02, 2019, 09:45:23 PM
Heck, what a set of typos I managed in that last post!

It is a pity that Vickers version of Das Lied was laid down too late. I had that Davis version on LP when it first came out and with Wunderlich as my touchstone in it, Vickers sounded stressed and dry. So, I lived without the performance for several decades. A few years ago I reacquired it as a CD. This time round, prepared for disappointment, I was more impressed and as a whole it gives me a fair bit of pleasure.

But his Schubert Winterreise is a grisly object.

Mike
The first time I ever saw Vickers was in the early 80's in Giulini's famous concert when he announced on stage that it was to be his last concert (for the foreseeable future) as he is returning home to be with his wife who was not well. "She devoted her whole life to me. It is time for me to devote the rest of my life to her." Appropriately, the program was the Schubert Unfinished Symphony and Mahler's Des Lied von der Erde, with Vickers. It was sublime!

Vickers also recorded one of the most special Winterreise.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 03, 2019, 01:06:01 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/970/MI0000970096.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Here are some of the 78s the young Björling made in his native Sweden between 1933 and 1949, the earliest made when he was a budding tenor of twenty-two.

Most are vocal gems, but one or two (the rather loud and penny plain Je crois entendre encore, and the unpoetic duet from La Boheme with Anna- Lisa Björling for example) are less than great.

The voice itself was a magnificent one, no doubt about it, with a silvery purity throughout its range, the high notes free and easy; just listen to his joyfully ebullient 1938 performance of Offenbach's Au mont Ida from La belle Hélène, sung in Swedish, but with terrific swagger, the top notes flying out like lasers. From a few years ealier we have a plaintively sensitive performance of Valdimir's Cavatina from Borodin's Prince Igor, the legato line beautifully held, his mezza voce finely spun out.

For the most part, though, Björling will be remembered for his performances in Italian and French opera, and there are plenty of examples here of his wonderfully musical performances in that genre. Some regret the absence of a true Italianate tone, but he will never resort to sobs and aspirates to express emotion, and, personally, I find his comparative restraint very attractive. It is true, he is not always imaginative with his phrasing, and nowhere will you get the kind of psychological introspection you would hear in a performance by someone like Vickers, but his singing is always musical, and of course there is a great deal of pleasure to be had from the voice itself, which Italianate or not, is a thing of great beauty.

This is Volume 2 in an old EMI series and some of the very best of these 78 recordings are included on Volume 1, but there is still plenty to treasure here. Apart from the two aforementioned arias, I would single out the Ingemisco from the Verdi Requiem, Des Grieux's lovely Dream from Manon, sung with liquid, honeyed tone, and his ardently poetic Cielo e mar, from La Gioconda.

The disc finishes with a couple of unexpected examples of his work in Lieder, a gorgeously lyrical Beethoven Adelaide, and a beautifully restrained and rapt account of Strauss's Morgen.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 03, 2019, 06:19:22 AM
I have a recording of Vickers singing Das Lied with Maureen Forrester, in Boston with William Steinberg, which I can let you have if you want.

There’s a song recital disc with Vickers, with Dichterliebe and some Purcell and Haendel.


There are, by the way, two recordings of his Winterteise, one better than the other (the good one is with a famous pianist, Gerald Moore maybe.)

I saw a few times at Covent Garden, and finally reciting Enoch Arden at the Wigmore Hall (the latter was dreadful!)

My own favourite recital disc of 19th century music is this one

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81znaEu5tuL._SY355_.jpg)

Thanks very much for that kind offer. I will PM you.

I can recall getting hold of ‘The King of the High Cs’ when it was first issued. His voice was so juicy and his pleasure in singing was very obvious. When I was buying some early CD equipment, the listening room had Pav and Sutherland in Traviata on the sound system. I have never since heard anything so realistic, as though they were in the room with me. Of course, that was not the equipment I bought. I could peobably have had a flat and a car for the cost of that superb sound.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 07, 2019, 01:53:29 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51aJZXt2SZL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51WmSwRrUsL.jpg)

This is a wonderful recital disc and a great example of the art of Shirley Verrett, dating from 1967, before she ventured into soprano territory.

It starts with a stunningly virtuosic rendering of Orphée's Amour, viens rendre à mon âme from the Berlioz edition of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. Verrett maintains a true appreciation of the classical style, the chest voice used more sparingly than in Verdi, vibrato kept to a minimum. She also gives the piece a properly heroic dimension. Orpheus is after all srengthening his resolve at this point.

The two Donizetti items showcase her facility in bel canto, though with so many French items in the recital, it's a shame she sings the aria from La Favorite in Italian.  The short scene between Giovanna and Enrico from Anna Bolena gives us the chance to hear her engagement with the text in recitative, her legato line in the cavatina and her felxibility in the cabaletta. The aria from La Favorita also goes well, again displaying her deep legato in O mio Fernando, and her thrilling dramatic thrust in the cabaletta.

She is even better in the French items, giving us a beautifully restrained performance of Premiers transports from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, and one of the best versions I have heard of Margeurite's D'amour l'ardente flamme, one of the composers greatest inspirations. Verrett's responses to the text are just that bit more vivid than those of Von Stade, whose eary French recital I listened to recently, with a much greater range of colour. Only Callas surpasses her in creating an atmosphere of utter forlorness and longing, though it has to be admitted that by the time she recorded it her actual tone couldl sound somewhat frayed and thin, where Verrett is firm and rich throughout.

She is grandly eloquent in the aria from Sapho, and wonderfully alive to the many changes of emoton in the Letter Scene from Werther, briliantly charting Charlotte's mounting anxiety. This too is one of the greatest performances you will ever hear of the scene, and it is a great pity she never recorded the complete role.

It is also nothing short of tragic that she never recorded the role of Dalila, one of her greatest stage successes, and her beautiful reading of the famous Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix closes the recital proper. Disappointingly she follows regular performance practice, by splitting the phrase in Ah, réponds à ma tendresse in order to snatch an extra breath. It is so much more effective when sung, as Saint-Saëns indicated, in one long breath, though Callas is one of the only singers to do it that way. Aside from that one slight cavil, her comparative restraint is welcome and all the more seductive for letting the music speak for itself.

The Verdi pieces at the end are taken from complete recordings of the two operas. She is wonderfully vivid as Preziosilla and darkly commanding as Ulrica.

In all Verrett's superb musicality is evident, and I often wonder why she recorded comparatively little, given the flurry of opera recordings made in the 1970s. That her superb Carmen was never committed to disc is little short of criminal.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 09, 2019, 11:04:08 PM
(https://img.discogs.com/oOiXove9kfBrC-QKgr08UhwPpXM=/fit-in/600x533/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-12665160-1539626691-5475.jpeg.jpg)

It seems incredible now that this disc was released over 30 years ago, but there it is, clearly written in the insert, "Recorded August 1988 at Manhattan Center Studios, New york", though, IIRC, it had a different cover on its first release.

Barber's wonderfully nostalgic Knoxville, Summer of 1915, a setting of James Agee's prose-poem has now, it would seem, become quite popular. It was first recorded by its dedicatee, Eleanor Steber in 1950, a couple of years after its premiere, but had to wait another eighteen years before being recorded again, though very successfully by Leontyne Price. It had to wait a further twenty years for this version by Dawn Upshaw, but its success has led to a spate of others by the likes of Barbara Hendricks, Sylvia McNair, Roberta Alexander, Kathleen Battle, Jill Gomez, Karina Gauvin and, most recently, Renee Fleming.

Steber was a wonderful singer, and her version is very fine, but for me it misses the essential childlike quality of the piece and she can sound a bit mature, even a trifle prim. Price, on the other hand, is surprisingly successful at scaling down her rich velvety voice to the needs of the writing, and her version is deservedly well known. Dawn Upshaw, on the other hand, has by nature what Price had to strive for. She has exactly the light voice and direct manner the piece needs and there is no need for her to characterise; she simply has to be herself, her diction natural and unforced. David Zinman’s tempi are also just right, and it is no surprise to find that this version has been a top recommendation since it was first issued.

The rest of the programme is also attractive, its centrepiece being John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs, originally written for piano, but here given in his chamber orchestra version. The songs are settings of 16th century devotional Indian poems by Mirabai, who, after her husband died, devoted her life to the God Krishna. The texts are alternatively erotic, ecstatic and devotional, the orchestrations colourful, the vocal range wide and Upshaw is fully up to their demands.

The interesting but quite short programme is rounded off with a couple of operatic pieces, a short extract from Menotti’s radio opera The Old Maid and the Thief, and Anne Trulove’s No word from Tom from Sravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and Upshaw would seem perfectly cast in both.

Like most of Upshaw’s records the material chosen is refreshingly different and well worth investigating.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on April 10, 2019, 01:46:02 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/oOiXove9kfBrC-QKgr08UhwPpXM=/fit-in/600x533/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-12665160-1539626691-5475.jpeg.jpg)

It seems incredible now that this disc was released over 30 years ago, but there it is, clearly written in the insert, "Recorded August 1988 at Manhattan Center Studios, New york", though, IIRC, it had a different cover on its first release.


Yeah, I've got that original release:



Great disc!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 12, 2019, 12:14:38 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/tLTo4Vn52XTtpOB6ufkHhcnfUo8=/fit-in/600x596/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-8615652-1465200442-8858.jpeg.jpg)

"Come again, sweet love doth now invite," sings Barbara Bonney at the beginning of this recital, and the invitation is so beguiling that it would be hard to resist.

What follows is just over an hour of pure delight. We start with a selection of lute songs by Dowland, Campion, Morley and Byrd, all accompanied by Jacob Heringman. Bonney's pure tone and natural, unaffected manner might suggest a lack of personality and yet she has something personal to say about each song, with a lovely smile in the voice for the quirky Away with these self-loving lads, and a deeper vein of melancholy for the famous Flow my tears which in turn is followed by a delightfully charming It was a lover and his lass.

She is joined by the viol quartet Phantasm for Byrd's O Lord, how vain are all our frail delights, who also provide an instrumental interlude between this and the other Byrd piece Though Amaryllis dance in green with John Jenkins's Fantasy no 3.

More variety is accorded when, for the Purcell items, Bonney is accompanied by The Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood, with Andrew Manze suppling violin obligato in the lovely Plaint from The Fairy Queen, which preceded by couple of instrumental items here (two Airs from Abdelazar) is not taken too slowly for once.

Fairest Isle, both the song and the disc it gives its name to, might possibly be considered a tribute by this American soprano to the land she has made her home, and she finishes with one of the most well known English arias in the repertoire, Dido's wonderful Lament from Dido and Aeneas. It is perhaps not so powerfully intense as versions by Dame Janet Baker and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in their complete sets, but, taken out of context, it makes a fitting conclusion to a recital that affords nothing but pleasure.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on April 12, 2019, 04:34:31 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51MzKSh%2B48L.jpg)

This recital has been rightly praised in this thread. Sayao’s voice has the sheen and suppleness required to spin a beautiful legato while perfectly articulating the texts. She may lack the thrilling vocal expansion of Sutherland in the last phrases of The Jewel song (at "Marguerite, ce n’est plus toi, ce n’est plus ton visage") but she makes up for it with a perfectly placed high C at the end. Her Manon is sheer delight. She captures the character’s disarming flirtatiousness like no other soprano I know.

The only chink in her armoury is the lack of a real trill, but that’s a small price to pay for what she brings. I listened to Juliet’s waltz yesterday with Mady Mesplé and was sorely disappointed, not least by the way her vocal production makes it almost impossible to understand the words (in her own native language!). Sayao’s pronunciation is near perfect, a big plus in the Hahn, Duparc and Debussy items, where her easy conversational delivery ideally espouses the vocal line.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 13, 2019, 01:17:05 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51MzKSh%2B48L.jpg)

This recital has been rightly praised in this thread. Sayao’s voice has the sheen and suppleness required to spin a beautiful legato while perfectly articulating the texts. She may lack the thrilling vocal expansion of Sutherland in the last phrases of The Jewel song (at "Marguerite, ce n’est plus toi, ce n’est plus ton visage") but she makes up for it with a perfectly placed high C at the end. Her Manon is sheer delight. She captures the character’s disarming flirtatiousness like no other soprano I know.

The only chink in her armoury is the lack of a real trill, but that’s a small price to pay for what she brings. I listened to Juliet’s waltz yesterday with Mady Mesplé and was sorely disappointed, not least by the way her vocal production makes it almost impossible to understand the words (in her own native language!). Sayao’s pronunciation is near perfect, a big plus in the Hahn, Duparc and Debussy items, where her easy conversational delivery ideally espouses the vocal line.

I have this disc too, and enjoy it very much.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 13, 2019, 01:17:38 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51T2PpFKh7L.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81qjqA6Oi3L._SL1352_.jpg)

Jennie Tourel was born in Russia in 1900 of Jewish parents, but she and her family left just after the Revolution, temporarly settling in Danzig before moving to Paris. She fled to Lisbon just before the Nazis occupied France and from there to the USA, becoming a naturalised Amercian in 1946.

She had an illustrious career both in the opera house and on the recital stage, and was the creator of the role of Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. She was still active when death ended her career in 1973, in fact in the middle of performances of Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment in Chicago. The longevity of her career is testament to her sound technique, but if the years were kind to her voice, she was also careful never to overtax it. She knew what suited her and stuck to it.

The dates of the recordings on this disc are unknown, but the Italian and French items are stereo, which would place them at least from the early to mid 1950s. Her voice is still admirably firm, with no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato. Her legato isn't always perfect, and her runs can be lightly aspirated, which mars her performance of the Rossini items, and also of Bizet's Adieux de l'hotesse arabe, though she sings it with more personality and drama than many.

Berlioz's Absence is sung with piano, and is notable for the firmness of the line, though personally I prefer a more inward display of longing. Tourel is too loud in places and she rushes the pharse la fleur de ma vie. Much better are Poulenc's Violon and Liszt's Oh! Quand je dors and I particularly enjoyed Ravel's Kaddish, which exploits her rich lower register.

The Russian items are all worth hearing, beginning with a mournful Tchaikovsky None but the lonley heart, the cello obligato adding to the pervading sense of melancholia. As befits the general mood of the Russian items, she uses a bigger, more dramatic sound, but she can also be lightly high-spirited in a song like Dargomizhsky's Look darling girls. In all she displays a strong personality and superb musicianship.

Song texts and translations are provided on the disc itself, which doubles as a CD-ROM, though, annoyingy, if you want to read them at the same time as listening to the disc, you will have to print them out before playing the disc on a CD player.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 14, 2019, 12:31:37 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51RjHQYmaSL.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51EIKzse7WL.jpg)

The lion's share of this CD is a reissue of what, I believe, was Caballé's first recital disc for RCA, recorded in 1965 when the voice was at its freshest, and at around the same time as her sensational international debut in Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall, when she was a last minute replacement for Marilyn Horne. Up until then her repertoire had focused on Mozart and Strauss, plus Massbel enet's Manon, and in fact she made her Glyndeboure debut later the same year as the Marschallin. However it was as a bel canto specialist that she would eventually become known, and she was one of the sopranos (along with Sutherland and Sills) who spearheaded the bel canto revival, set in motion by the legendary 1957 La Scala Visconti production of Anna Bolena with Callas.

The voice itself was rich and velvety, even throughout its range, her breath control exemplary, with the ability to float the most incredible pianissimi, an effect she perhaps overused in later years. There were a few chinks in her armour, especially for a bel canto specialiste; her trills were somewhat ill defined, and though the voice had flexibility and negotiated florid music well, there was the occasional hint of an aspirate, never encountered in the singing of Callas or Sutherland.

The tendency to aspirate, noticeable in the very first phrase of Casta diva, mars the beauty of the performance and the aria is not as mesmerising as it can be, despite the gorgeous sound. But this is nit picking and hers is still one of the most ravishing performances of the piece you will hear. Better I think is the Mad Scene from Il Pirata, which is sung with deep feeling and a true appreciation of the dramatic situation. The cabaletta does not have the lacerating effect of Callas in the same music, but works well within Caballé's gentler conception.

All three Donizetti roles which follow became Caballé staples in the next few years, and she fulfils all their demands for vocal gandeur and personality. Always evident is the sincerity of her art, but she is not one of the world's character actors. It has to be admitted that all these Donizetti and Bellini heroines sound much the same, the characters pretty interchangeable. Does that matter? Well I suppose that depends on one's personal preferences, and mine are well known. That said, I am grateful for what she has, and Caballé is certainly not unfeeling, in fact often most affecting. Where Sutherland's dazzling performances often leave me cold, I find Caballé's dramatic commitment, albeit rather generalised, satisfies me more. We would be privileged to hear singing of such beauty and accomplishment now.

RCA have here added a Mira o Norma , recorded in 1972 (I assume this is from the complete set with Fiorenza Cossotto, though she is not credited) and the first part of the closing scene from Anna Bolena, recorded in a somewhat boomy acoustic in 1970. Already there is just a very occasional hint of the hardness that would later affict her loud high notes and result in the over-exploitation of those floated high pianissimi, but there is still much that is very beautiful. Befittingly, the disc ends with the quite close to the cavatina from Anna Bolena, the final phrase spun out and floated through the air on a pure thread of glorious sound. It is for moments such as these that the art of Montserrat Caballé will most be remembered.


Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 19, 2019, 01:48:39 AM
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The first time I heard Maggie Teyte was when I was just starting to enjoy French song. I was learning Duparc's Chanson triste and a friend played me her recording of the song with Gerald Moore at the piano. I was absolutely entranced and it has remained my yardstick ever since. First of all the flowing tempo they adopt is aboslutely right (so many take it too slowly) and she responds perfectly to all Duparc's markings - floating the tone beautifully on the mon of mon amour (it is marked doux by Duparc) an effect I have tried, not too successfully, to emulate myself. Her high A is clear, clean and true, but she takes the lower option on the words de tes bras, dipping down into that gloriously rich lower register she had. As you listen, you feel the song is addressed to you personally and you want to just lie back in the warm embrace of her comforting words. The French christened her L'Exquise Maggie Teyte, and the adjective suits her perfectly.

She was born in 1888 in Woverhampton, but went to Paris in 1903 to study with the famous tenor Jean De Reszke. She made her first public appearanc in 1906, singing Cherubino and Zerlina under Reynaldo Hahn, making her first professional appearance in Monte Carlo the following year. She then joined the company at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and was shortly after chosen to replace Mary Garden in the role of Mélisande, for which she was coached by Debussy himself. She is the only singer ever to have been accompanied in public by Debussy himself, and she is an invaluable link to so many musicians of the past. Despite her early success however, she didn't really establish herself with the main opera houses, and went into semi-retirement after her second marriage (to Canadian millionaire Walter Sherwin Cottingham) in 1921.

In 1930 she tried to resuscitate her career, but ended up singing in variety and music hall (24 performances a week!) until, in 1930, she made some recordings of Debussy songs with Alfred Cortot, which were so successful that she then became known as the leading French song interpreter of her time. She also sang at Covent Garden in such roles as Butterfly, Hänsel and Eurydice in Gluck's opera, as well as Manon in English (with Heddle Nash).

The present set concentrates on recordings of French song with orchestra and piano made between 1940 and 1948, making her 60 when she recorded Ravel's Schéhérazade, not that you would ever suspect it. The voice is still absolutely firm with no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato, top notes pure and true (a thrilling top B flat in Asie), the inimitable lower register gloriously rich.

It starts with a rather hectic recording of Berlioz's Le spectre de la rose. The fast tempo was presumably adopted so that they could fit the song onto a single 78, but it does remind us that it is in waltz time and she brings a peculiarly intimate touch to the closing lines,which are sung with an ineffable sadness. Absence is sweetly touching.

Occasionally her attention to the meaning of the words can get in the way of the music, and the tempo fluctuations in Fauré's Après un rêve are just too much, the general speed much too slow, but the accelerando on Reviens, reviens just too much. On the other hand the tempo for his Clair de lune is absolutely spot on with a moment of pure magic as she infuses her tone with warmth at Au calme clair de lune and Gerald Moore switches to a more free flowing style in the accompaniment.

Over the two discs there is scarcely a performance that doesn't warrant attention, but I single out for special consideration Duparc's gorgeous Phidylé, which is lazily erotic as it should be (note her telling observation of the diminuendo on baiser - most singers miss it completely) and the aforementioned Chanson triste, the former with the LSO under Leslie Heward, the latter with Gerald Moore on the piano. Also on disc 1 is a superb performance of Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle, whilst she breathes new life into Hahn's popular Si me vers avaient des ailes.

In all she remains inimitable and individual, though, it seems these days, only known to connoisseurs. This set is no longer available, nor are the Debussy songs she recorded with Cortot. John Steane says in his wonderful book The Grand Tradition,

Quote
But basically the point about Maggie Teyte is the very simple one, that her singing is so good: that is, her voice is so clear, its production so even, its intonation so faultless, its movement in big upward leaps so clean and athletic, and its excellence was so well preserved for so long.

Not only is her actual singing so good, but she has something personal to say in all she does, and voice and style are instantly recognisable.

There are other examples of her art more readily available on other lablels but this old EMI set is a treasure and I urge Warner to reissue it along with the Debussy songs with Cortot. It should be in the collection of anyone who is interested in French song.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 19, 2019, 11:28:50 PM
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I’m going to stick my neck out and say that this is the best recital record Callas ever recorded, and by default one of the classic recital discs of all time. The 1954 Puccini disc and "Lyric and Coloratura" find her in better voice, but this one sums up more than any other her greatness, her ability to bring alive music that can seem formulaic, and even plain dull in the hands of lesser artists.

I know I’ve said this elsewhere, but her singing has an improvisatory air about it, almost as if she is extemporising on the spot; how she achieves this whilst closely adhering to what is on the printed page is a mystery beyond solving. In the Anna Bolena finale, the recitative alone provides a lesson in how to bind together disparate thoughts and ideas. She brilliantly conveys Anna’s drifting mental state, whilst still making musical sense of the phrases and the long line. We can only imagine what she might have achieved in Monteverdi’s recitativo cantavo.

Once into the first aria, Al dolce guidami, her voice takes on a disembodied sound, as if the singing is coming from the far recesses of her soul. Her legato is as usual superb, her breath control stupendous, those final melismas spun out to the most heavenly lengths.  In the cabaletta Coppia iniqua, her voice takes on a majestic power, and she manages the oft omitted rising set of trills with more force than anyone.

In the magnificent Final Scene from Il Pirata, she traces a long Bellinian line second to none; spinning out the delicate tracery of the decorations from Digli ah digli che respiri  onwards with magical fluency. A complete contrast is afforded when she rears back with the words Qual suono ferale, before launching into the thrillingly exciting cabaletta.

Ophelia’s scene from Hamlet is quite different. There is no formal recitative, aria, recitative, cabaletta construction. The scene is more a series of arioso segments interspersed with recitative and can often sound disjointed as a result. Callas binds together its disparate elements with masterly ease. Her voice is lighter here than in either the Bellini or Donizetti, and though the very upper reaches tax her somewhat, she sings with delicacy and consummate skill. The switch from Italian to French causes her no problems at all, her enunciation of the French text admirably clear. Yet again every fleeting expression, every change of thought is mirrored in her voice.

A listening companion of the eminent vocal critic John Steane once said to him regarding Callas, “Of course you had to see her,” to which he replied, “Oh, but I can, and I do.” This was her genius, amply displayed in this recital; the ability to make us see as well as hear.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 21, 2019, 12:24:10 AM
That gift of singing, unrolling the music as though she was extemporising is perhaps her rarest gift of all. It was not inevitable and it is fully felt in some music only. So few musicians have this ability. Recently I heard the late Brahms piano pieces played by Glenn Gould. I know them well to listen to, but he took them to an altogether different level from even Katchen. Ruminative, and as though he was inventing the music and taking me on a journey with him.

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is another who seemed to meditate her way through music. This was especially strong in Bach: as though she was streaming him direct, rather than adhering to notation that is hundreds of years old. 

I will get that Callas recital down and give it a listen. But it won’t be today. Right now it is the second half of Bach’s St Matthew while my wife is making spiced Easter Biscuits and we have a walk planned for later.

Happy Sunday all.

Mike

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 22, 2019, 09:08:07 AM

The Irish Soprano Heather Harper has died at age 88. She was versatile encompasing Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, Handel and Bach, Wagner Mozart and Britten.

Below I have copied a review of a Strauss disc from nine years ago; how time flies.


Heather Harper is a name which is not much mentioned on these threads. She sings in a number of well thought of performances. I think of her primarily as a Mozart, Handel and Britten singer, though her range went to Wagner to Verdi and, as here, Richard Strauss. Her contribution in the Hickox Britten 'War Requiem' is especially fine, so too hew Ellen Orford in the Davis version of Britten's 'Peter Grimes'. The Female Chorus role in 'The Rape of Lucretia' is wonderfully voiced. Her live Hunting Fathers and 'Les Illumination' are live performances caught on the wing and unequaled.

I was looking for copies of Leontyne Price singing Strauss 'Four Last Songs'. I am still waiting for the Price disc; but while searching I came across this disc. Harper recorded the Four Last Songs twice, this is the second one, dating from 1988, she was 58.

Is it any good? Yes, it certainly is.

The performance is on CFP which cost me less than £4 with free postage! The silly price, did not encourage me to lower my expectations or judgement calls. This joins Schwartzkopf, Janowitz, Auger and Norman, who are my first recommendations depending on what you want out of the pieces. It comes ahead of Studer, Fleming, te Kanawa, Della Casa and Isokoski.

This is not just based on voice alone. Richard Hickox steers the LSO through the songs providing an underlying pulse for each which moves them along but not at the expense of expressiveness. The orchestra shimmers and is mellow, there is lots of detailed phrasing within the pulse. Harper at a relatively advanced age does not put a foot wrong. Some German vowels sound on the harsh side; apart from this the silvery soprano, ample and warm, sounds in terrific condition; high soft, high loud, diminuendo, nothing seems stressed. It is a distinctive voice, she does not vary tone much, but is expressive with words and volume. It is a fully formed thought through performance and there is nothing of the routine about it.

Accompanying the set we have 12 orchestrated Strauss songs. She includes about four that were new to me; a bonus as I have quite a few discs of Strauss songs. The programme is a delight and as the conductor does not get lost in cream-puff land, they do not pall. The programme lasts just over an hour and I was left wanting more, to the extent I played it straight through twice, then again the next day.

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If you don't believe me; try the samples.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strauss-Songs-London-Symphony-Orchestra/dp/B001DCGKKS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280418589&sr=1-1

I wonder how Leontyne Price will compare?

Mike

Edited for typos and punctuation
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: ritter on April 22, 2019, 09:19:39 AM
The Irish Soprano Heather Harper has died at age 88. She was versatile encompasing Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, Handel and Bach, Wagner Mozart and Britten.
...
I posted this sad news in the General Opera News thread before seeing your post here, knight66. A very engaging and versatile singer.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 25, 2019, 01:35:41 AM
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Zaide: Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben
La finta giardinera: Crudeli fermate... A dal pianto
La clemenza di Tito: S'altro che lagrime
Cosí fan tutte: Ei parte...Senti... Per pietà
Il rè pastore: L'amerò,sarò costanze
Lucia Silla: Pupille amate
Idomeneo: Se il padre perdei
Die Zauberflöte: Ach ich fühl's


Kiri Te Kanawa became known to the world when she sang Let the bright Seraphim at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, but opera afficionados had known of her for at least ten years before that. I remember very clearly seeing a TV broadcast frm Glyndebourne of Le Nozze di Figaro, in which Te Kanawa played the Countess, Ileana Cotruas Susanna and Frederica Von Stade Cherubino. It effectively launched all three ladies' international careers, and it was principally as a Mozart singer that Te Kanawa became known.

Later she sang roles by Verdi (the gentler heroines like Desdemona and Amelia in Simon Boccanegrea), Puccini (Mimi and Manon), Strauss (the Marschallin, Countess Madeleine and Arabella), as well as Gounod's Margeurite, Tatyana and Barber's Vanessa, but I still think of her chiefly as a Mozart specialist, and it is in this repertoire that I enjoy her most.

It is good to see so many arias taken from Mozart's lesser known operas, but the recital tends to concentrate on gracefully flowing arias, and so there is little variety. Of course there is much pleasure to be gained from the beauty of Dame Kiri's creamy soprano, and her technical command of the music, but she evinces little character and the recital tends to settle back comfortably into its frame. You could of course argue that the music demands no more than it is given, and, for most of the music you'd probably be right, but when it comes to the recitative and aria from Cosí fan tutte, my mind kept going back to a more sharply characterised, but no less scrupulously sung version by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and I couldn't help but wonder what she would have made of a similar collection.

Still, we should be grateful for what we have. It is rare indeed to hear such accomplished singing (and orchestral playing) allied to such a glorious voice. The disc certainly plays to her strengths, that is a voice of creamy beauty, even throughout its range, and maybe it is better experienced piecemeal, rather than in one sitting, when you'd be less inclined to notice the lack of variety in the programme.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on April 25, 2019, 09:23:07 AM
Naxos disc of Vaughn Williams songs sung by Roderick Williams Baritone, piano Iain Burnside.

I have been dimly aware of Roderick Williams, but have not listened to him an a concentrated way. I heard him singing some Delius and decided to look for some of his work. This disc has The Songs of Travel, The House of Life and from 20 years later in composition, four songs set to poems by Fredegond Shove.

The voice is light very sweet, open and forward, evenly produced and you can easily make out ever word he sings. He sounds very natural, which no doubt hides a lot of work.

He is expressive within bounds, everything is civilized. He is not going for visceral and I am very happy to take him on his own terms. There is nothing dull here and his legato draws the ear so that I sat up to hear the songs from the House of Life that had never really caught my ear before. The famous song in the set is Silent Noon, which is well done. But I thought the songs either side were finer. This is a singer created to sing Finzi, he does rhapsodic beautifully.

The Songs of Travel go very well, they are not etched into the mind as with Terfel for example. This is perhaps a more traditional approach. Of course, the piano is in safe hands, sensible tempi, sensitive painting of the sounds.

A delightful disc.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 27, 2019, 02:55:34 AM
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This disc was recorded back in 2003, when Joseph Calleja was a virtually unknown twenty-six year old, and on the threshhold of his career. At that time, the voice was a light lyric tenor with a distinctive fast vibrato, more akin to the sound of tenors like De Lucia and Bonci than what we have become used to since.

Repertoire on the disc is judicially chosen, and I am very surprised to see that in his most recent disc of Verdi arias, he tackles music for Otello, Manrico and Radames (though I don't think he has sung any of these roles on stage yet). Listening to the performances on this disc, one wouldn't suspect for a moment that the voice would develop to embrace that repertoire. So far he has taken his career slowly and I do hope he doesn't push himself too far.

But back to the recital disc in question, and I must say I find it very satisfying. Far from the can belto of so many tenors, there is lighness and grace to his singing, and he refreshingly brings as much attention to recitative as he does to an aria. Take the opening piece, the recitative to Alfredo's Dei miei bollenti spiriti, which brims with joyful high spirits, softening with a touch of intimacy at Qui presso a lei. The aria itself is sung with a nice buoyancy and affectionate phrasing, switching to a more propulsive manner for the cabeltta.

The Macbeth aria is sung with a deep sense of melancholy, whilst the Duke is all charm and insouciance, though the top D he attempts is a little insecure. Nemorino's Quanto e bella is delivered with a nice winsome charm, and Edgardo's final scene is suitably tragic.

I'm not sure the aria from Adrianna Lecouvreur was a good choice for him, as it seems to cry out for a beefier sound. Nevertheless his restraint is most welcome, and it is good to be free of all those sobs and aspirates that used to pass for emotion in some Italian tenors of an earlier generation

In all Riccardo Chailly offers impeccable support, and it is good that scenes are given complete with chorus and interjections from other singers (Linda Easley as Annina and Giovanni Battista Parodi as Raimondo).

All in all a very successful debut recital, and it is good to know that Calleja is still active today, largely fulfilling the promise he showed in this one.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on April 27, 2019, 04:02:15 AM
When vacationing in Malta a few years ago the cd "Joseph Calleja: The Maltese Tenor" was prominently advertised and sold in various places. I had never heard of him. I bought the disc and liked what I heard. He sings lyric to spinto roles (Puccini’s and Massenet’s Des Grieux, Faust, Cavaradossi, but also Nadir, Rodolfo...). Definitely a very nice instrument, well schooled and tastefully used.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 28, 2019, 01:26:06 AM
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This four disc set is of recordings made between in the 1940s and early 1950s, when Tebaldi was in her twenties. It is a mixture of live and studio recordings, so sound quality varies quite a bit. It is also a convenient grouping together of four different discs issued by Fonit Cetra in 2002, which no doubt explains why we get so many different performances of the same aria. Given that there is little difference between them, you may decide you don't need to listen to four different performances of La mamma morta and of Desdemona's Willow Song.

And of course the first thing we need to say is that it was an extraordnarily beautiful voice, even throughout its range, firm and rich, her diction admirably clear, though, even at the beginning the very top could sound strained and off pitch. The top C climax to her 1950 Cetra studio recording of Aida's O patria mia is hard won and slightly under the note and the voice's greatest beauty lies in the middle register, though many of today's sopranos would also kill for the richness down below. Nor is she an unfeeling performer, though, at this stage in her career, it can tempt her into excess, especially when singing live, and she tends to sound lacrymose rather than truly moving. She goes way over the top in Desdemona's Willow Song, and she is much more restrained, and consequently more moving, in the Decca Karajan recording. The other thing to say about Tebaldi is that, however beautiful the voice, however firm the delivery, however musical her singing, her performances rarely stay in the memory, nor does she ever really light up a phrase or a line the way others can. Performances of some of this same music, by such as Muzio, Callas, Caballé, De Los Angeles and Schwarzkopf resonate in my mind's ear, and I can often recall individual details. With Tebaldi I never can. I can recall the sound of the voice, but little that is specific to the music she is singing. In these early performances, I found that she often over-characterises the music, introducing sobs and emphases which detract from the beauty of the sound, rather than make it more dramatic. It is somewhat akin to watching a hammy actor.

A few specifics then about the discs themselves. Disc 1 covers studio recordings made for Decca and Fonit Cetra in 1949 and 1950, arias from Aida, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Otello, La Boheme, Mefistofele, La Wally, Andrea Chénier and, most surprisingly Susanna's Deh vieni from Le Nozze di Figaro, though she makes a very heavyweight Susanna, and this is the least successful item on the first disc. Recorded sound here is fine here, and there is certainly much pleasure to be gained from the voice itself.

The prize of Disc 2 is some extended excerpts from a 1951 concert performance of Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco with Carlo Bergonzi and Rolando Panerai. Though she is taxed by some of the coloratura, the role suits her well. Also excellent are the two extracts from a 1950 performance of the Verdi Requiem under Toscanini, with Giacinto Pradelli, Cloe Elmo and Cesare Siepi. It is somewhat dimly recorded, but you can hear how fine she was in this work. Why Decca never recorded her in it is beyond me. A welcome surprise is Elisabeth's Dich, teure Halle (in Italian) from Tannhäuser. It is also good to hear the young Di Stefano in a 1950 concert performance of the Act I duet from Madama Butterfly.

Disc 3 is entitled Gli Inediti, which is presumably of previously unissued recordings. This time she sings the Countess's Porgi amor but, though more suited to the character, Mozart is not really her métier. The excerpts from a 1949 performance of Andrea Chénier wih Del Monaco are prime examples of that hamminess I alluded to, but she gives us a lovely performance of Louise's Depuis le jour in Italian. It lacks Callas's quiet intensity and mounting rapture, but is much more securely sung and works well on its own terms. The disc closes with a small piece of history; a 1945 performance of the love duet from Otello, with the then almost sixty year old Francesco Merli, though recording here is at its dimmest. Nevertheless it affords us a glimpse of the great tenor in one of his most famous roles.

The fourth disc pits Tebaldi against her teacher, Carmen Melis. Excerpts from Tebaldi's first recordings of La Boheme and Madama Butterfly, which I personally prefer to her later recordings under Serafin, and arias from Manon Lescaut and Tosca, all very fine. Melis is caught in excerpts from Tosca and Massenet's Manon. She is a singer who is new to me, and I must say I found her very impressive, and actually more communicative than her pupil, though the top C at the line Io quella lama gli piantai nel cor is a little precarious, and she takes the upper option on the word cor. The Manon excerpt is Manon's N'est-ce plus ma main (in Italian) from the duet with Des Grieux, and she is wonderfully seductive and persuasive.

Tebaldi is a central singer in that she demonstrates most of the virtues of good singing. The voice is a beautiful one, the line always firmly held, her legato generally excellent. Her only faults are a lack of a trill and clumsy execution of fast moving music (hardly necessary in most of the music she sang) and a slightly short top. (I remember that in her interview with Luca Rasponi for the book The Last of the Prima Donnas, she bemoans the ever rising pitch of modern orcehstras, which must have been a nightmare for her.) My preferences are well know, and I prefer singers who have something more specific to say about the music they assay, but the set is one I still enjoy dipping into from time to time.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on April 28, 2019, 07:42:00 AM
My own reaction to Tebaldi’s art is quite similar to yours.

She did not record the Verdi Requiem for Decca, but that label has issued a live performance from 1951, which I listened to recently and briefly commented in the WAYL thread. The back of the jewel case has an honest assessment of the sound (quite rough). I found Tebaldi very uneven in the part, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes vulgar - as if she was singing Nedda or Santuzza.

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Her best work IMO is to be found in her portrayal of Liú in the Leinsdorf recording. THAT one is memorable.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 28, 2019, 10:15:03 PM
My own reaction to Tebaldi’s art is quite similar to yours.

She did not record the Verdi Requiem for Decca, but that label has issued a live performance from 1951, which I listened to recently and briefly commented in the WAYL thread. The back of the jewel case has an honest assessment of the sound (quite rough). I found Tebaldi very uneven in the part, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes vulgar - as if she was singing Nedda or Santuzza.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71DFT370IYL._SX522_.jpg)


Her best work IMO is to be found in her portrayal of Liú in the Leinsdorf recording. THAT one is memorable.

You've hit the nail on the head, and it's one of the things I don't like about Tebaldi. Given the voice itself was gorgeous, I find she cam sometimes be vulgar, introducing the worst excesses of the verismo singer into all the music she sings, more in evidence in these early recordings than it was later. Her Desdemona, for instance, is a lot more poised for Karajan in 1961 than it was in the earlier performances. How much this was due to a refinement in her art and how much was down to Karajan not allowing her her usual intrusive sobs, I don't know.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 29, 2019, 12:50:25 AM
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Well this is something of a hotch potch, no doubt explained by its provenance - music included in the 1991 documentary film made after his recovery from leukemia My Barcelona, a celebration of the unique relationship between the man and the city of his birth.

What we get is a mixture of operatic arias, popular song and excerpts from Ramirez's Navidad Nuestra and Misa Criola, which, surprisingly perhaps, makes for a pleasantly varied disc.

No great revelations, I suppose. Carreras is at his honeyed best in Cavaradossi's E lucevan le stelle from the 1976 Davis recording of Tosca, a performance of poetic beauty, made before some of the heavier repertoire he essayed took a toll on his essentially lyric tenor, but most of the selections give pleasure. I particularly enjoy his version with piano of Mompou's haunting Damunt de tu només los flors and the Ramirez pieces are also great fun.

An undemanding but enjoyable disc.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 30, 2019, 12:45:42 AM
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On 17 February 1959, Joan Sutherland sang her first Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden. She had first been engaged at Covent Garden in 1952, singing small parts, such as Clotilde to Callas's Norma. That same year she sang her first leading role there (Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera), but the administration didn't at first realise her potential and the roles she sang (Agathe, The Countess, Desdemona, Gilda, Eva, Pamina, Lady Rich in Gloriana and Jennifer in Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage) gave no real indication of the direction her career would take. She herself had thought she would be a Wagnerian soprano, but Richard Bonynge, who married her in 1954, eventually convinced her otherwise, and in 1959 Covent Garden gave her the honour of a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor, directed by Franco Zeffirelli and conducted by Tullio Serafin. Sutherland proved a sensation, and, at the age of 35, she became a star, in demand all over the world for dramatic coloratura roles.

This disc adds to her debut recital, made shortly after the Covent Garden Lucia, two arias from one of her most successful sets The Art of the Prima Donna  (Casta diva and the I Puritani Mad Scene), recorded in 1960 and Santo di patria, lifted from another set The Age of Bel Canto, recorded in 1963.

Those who know me will know I am not much of a Sutherland fan. The mannerisms (the mushy diction especially, the droopy portamenti, the weak lower register) that crept in as early as the 1960s irritate me so much I find it hard to listen, and the beauty of the voice is, for me at least, no compensation.

It is good to be reminded, then, that it was not always so, and she sounds quite different here, the voice much more forwardly produced, and, even if she rarely uses the words to suddenly bring a phrase into sharp relief, her diction is much clearer as a result. Maybe this has something to do with the conductors she was working with then, all Italians, Nello Santi for the debut recital, Francesco Molinari-Pradelli for The Art of the Prima Donna, Tullio Serafin at Covent Garden. Interestingly Serafin advised her to study the role of Lady Macbeth, but Bonynge obviously thought otherwise.

The main meat of the disc, however, is that first ever recital made with the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra under Nello Santi. Lucia's two big solos were an obvious choice, to which are added Merce, dilette amiche from Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani, Ernani! Ernani involami from Ernani and O luce di quest'anima from Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix.

Throughout the technical command is stunning, as is the beauty of voice, the top notes, of which there are many, one of its greatest glories. Nor is she just a technical machine. Though there is little attempt at vocal characterisation (Norma doesn't sound much different from Lucia), she is not an unfeeling singer. There is command in Norma's Sediziose voce, poetic feeling in the recitative to the Ernani aria, breezy grace in the aria from I Vespri Siciliani.

Fresh from the success of the Covent Garden performances, the Lucia arias are predictably best of all. Here not only is the execution vocally stunning, but she is the very epitome of the young Romantic heroine, driven mad by despair. Like Callas, she is a far cry from the piping, doll-like sopranos who had made Lucia something of a laughing stock among opera cognoscenti by then. Unfortunately already by her first complete recording of the opera made in 1961,  the tone has become more occluded, the diction less precise, the vowels begin to be rounded and dulled, and the vitality and immediacy heard here starts to droop.

Though vital and alive in the scene from Verdi's Attila, conducted by Richard Bonynge, the diction is not as clear as it is on that frst recital, though the recording here does give some indication as to the size and fullness of the voice. Even with that small niggle about the diction, this is still a stunning performance, thrilliingly dramatic, and I've never heard it better sung. Deutekom on the Philips complete set is pallid by comparison.

So this disc, along with The Art of the Prima Donna are, I would suggest, essential Sutherland, and remain permanent parts of my collection. The rest I personally can live without.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 02, 2019, 04:19:48 AM
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This two-disc compilation is drawn from the EMI catalogue and includes arias taken both from complete sets and recital discs.

People often go misty-eyed at the mere mention of Franco Corelli and he still inspires a huge following among opera lovers. For many he can do no wrong, and certianly the voice was a magnificent one, unique and no doubt a God-given gift. For me it's more often a case of (to paraphrase the song from A Chorus Line) voice ten, artistry three. Not always, I hasten to add, and, if the performances on this set are anything to go by, he did respond to a strong hand at the helm. Predictably the best of them tend to be taken from complete sets, particularly those conducted by Zubin Mehta (Celeste Aida), Lovro von Matacic (Vesti la giubba) and Tullio Serafin (Pollione's Meco all'altar di Venere from the second Callas Norma), which is arguably the best of all).

These are all on Disc One, where elsewhere there is just too much can belto sobbing. Manrico's Ah si, ben mio, from the Schippers complete set, is delivered at a relentless forte (why not his stunning Di qella pira, I wonder?), as are the excerpts from the Santini recording of Andrea Chénier. Worst of all is the graceless, over-loud version of Roméo's Ah, lève-toi, soleil, sung in execrable French. Listen to this and then to Bjørling, Kraus, Gedda or Alagna to hear how beautifully poetic the aria can sound.

Disc 2 has even less to commend it, I'm afraid. The best performances are taken from a recital record with an unknown orchestra under one, Franco Ferraris. Cavaradossi's Recondita armonia lacks poetry, but E lucevan le stelle is much better, though he rather ruins the final measures with an excess of sobbing. Cielo e mar is also a fine, sensitive performance, with the added bonus of those gloriously free and ringing top notes.
 
But the less said about some of the items though, the better. After the operatic arias, we are treated (I'm not sure that is the correct word) to a selection from, presumably, a record of sacred arias, all in absolutey ghastly arrangements. Handel's ubiquitous Largo from Semele is mangled almost beyond recognition, the Schubert and Bach/Gounod Ave Marias sung through a sort of treacle soup, and Rossini's Domine Deus from the Petite Messe Solenelle bludgeoned to death. Franck's Panis angelicus, taken, by the looks of things, from another album, doesn't fare much better, nor, surprisngly does Lara's Granada from the same album. Not entirely Corelli's fault, as the arrangement is quite possibly the most ghastly I've ever heard, the tempo pulled around so much the piece loses any sense of flow. What price Wunderlich's gloriously ebullient and sunny version for DG? Corelli sounds plain angry.

Fortunately the final two items somewhat redeem this sorry mess. The arrangements might not be much better, but in Cardillo's Core 'ngrato and De Curtis's Torna a Sorriento, one just basks in the Mediterranean warmth of Corelli's glorious tenor. It is moments like these that remind us of why we listen to him.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 03, 2019, 12:16:50 AM
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It was in 1979 that Kurt Weill's widow, Lotte Lenya, saw Stratas singing the role of Jenny in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahoganny. Knocked out by Stratas's performance, she called her her "dream Jenny", and afterwards she wrote to her, "nobody can sing Weill's music better than you do," and offered her a number of unpublished songs that she had closely guarded since Weill's death in 1950.

The result was the first of these two discs, recorded in 1981, in which Stratas sings a collection of songs to piano accompaniment by Richard Woitach. Unfortunately, for the CD release, Nonesuch omitted the lyrics and translations that were included with the original LP, and what notes that remain are in minuscule print, almost too small to read without a magnifying glass. This seems little short of a crime, given Stratas's vividly dramatic performances. Even without the aid of translations you can get a gist of their meaning, but how much more satisfying the disc would be be if we knew exactly what she was singing.You might be able to find texts and translations of some of them by scouring the internet, but it's a long and arduous task.

Most people had no doubt got used to Lenya singing Weill's songs in her gravelly baritone, but, as Lenya herself pointed out, her voice dropped over the years, and Stratas was performing them in the original keys. That said, most of these originally written for cabaret, had hardly ever been performed since and were here receiving their first recordings, though they are much better known now, and Weill selections have appeared from artists as diverse as Anne-Sophie von Otter and Ute Lemper.

Teresa Stratas was 54 at the time of the first recording. She had made her professional debut at the age of 20, joining the Met company the following year (1959), becoming a Met favourite until her final performance there in 1995 (in the role of Jenny in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahoganny). The voice can be termed useful rather than beautiful, and, though a diminutive figure, she had a powerful stage presence, great personal beauty and was a superb actress. This might explain why she made comparatively few recordings, the most famous probably being Pierre Boulez's recording of the completed Lulu, a role she had made her own in the Paris premiere. Beautiful or not, it was the perfect instrument for Weill's songs, which rely on expression rather than beauty of tone.

Favourites for me here are the two settings of the same melody, one French, one German Wie lange noch and Je ne t'aime pas, the two Propaganda Songs Buddy on the Night Shift and Schikelgruber, and the glorious Youkali. Though the second disc is enlivened by the orchestral accompaniments, I have a special affection for the more intimate piano settings.

This second disc appeared four years later, and is more far reaching, though much of the material was more well known. The Y Chamber Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz  has an undeniable of a theatre orchestra about it, which is perfect for the material. The songs are taken from Broadway musicals, and both German and French theatre works. Texts and translations are at least included, though print is again minuscule.

Stratas's range is formidable. Though capable of the "Brechtian bark" we are probably more used to, it is bound into the fabric of her performance, as is the full operatic soprano at key moments. Consequently not only do we get the full meaning of the lyrics, but the lyricism of Weill's writing is revealed to a much greater extent. Take the most famous song on the album, Surabaya Johnny, which emerges almost as a mini psycho-drama for solo performer. Her French and German are both impeccable, her command of the Broadway idiom just about perfect (a few years later she was to record the role of Julie in John McGlinn's first ever complete recording of Jerome Kern's Showboat). One of the most glorious performances is of Lonely house from Street Scene, which is swirlingly lyrical with an aching loneliness.

Both discs are an absolute must.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 03, 2019, 01:20:53 AM
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Recorded in 1976, when she was already 35, this was Ileana Cotrubas's first and only recital disc. The playing time of the original disc being somewhat short, Sony have here added excerpts from the excellent complete recording of L'Elisir d'Amore also under Sir John Pritchard, Depuis le jour, from the complete Prêtre recording of Louise and O mio babino caro from Maazel's Gianni Schicchi.

As Cotrubas herself says in the notes, Leonora's Pace, pace was somewhat unexpected, a role that Cotrubas was never likely to sing on stage, and it really does need a fuller tone. I'm not sure if she ever sang Liu or Magda, but she could well have done and the other arias are all from her active repertoire.

It opens with a charming performance of Norina's Quel gaurdo il cavaliere from Don Pasquale, a role she sang at Covent Garden at around the same time. She was a highly successful Susanna ay Glyndebourne in 1973 (alongside Te Kanawa's beautiful Countess and Freredica Von Stade's radiantly ebullient Cherubino, performances which catapulted all three to stardom) and she is quite delightful in her Deh vieni.

The other side of her personality is captured in a deeply felt Ach ich fühl's, and the natural morbidezza (an Italian word without any direct translation) which suited her to roles like Mimi and Violetta, is here displayed in her singing of the Puccini arias (Si, mi chiamano Mimi, Liu's Tu, che di gel sie cinto, and Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine. Though there is a hint of strain in the upper reaches of Gilda's Caro nome, the aria also suits her well, and it here emerges as a dreamy reverie rather than the coloratura showpiece it often is.

The L'Elisir d'Amore are lovely in every way, as is Lauretta's O mio babino caro, and Depuis le jour well captures Louise's quiet intensity and mounting rapture.

A lovely memento of a well-loved artist.


Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 09, 2019, 11:00:06 PM
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Berlioz's Les Nuis d'Eté has always been a favourite work of mine. I have ten recordings and have heard quite a few more and this famous recording, one of the earliest, made in 1954, has always rightly been considered one of the best.

The voice itself is a beautiful one, firm and even throughout its range,and she is thoroughly in control of its resources. There is a great deal of pleasure to be had merely from the sound of the voice and the way she weights and measures phrases, but she is also keenly responsive to the poetry, ideally melding the needs of the musical line to the meaning of the words.

True, Villanelle has always seemed a tad too slow to me, a little lacking in gaiety, but it is close to the metronome marking of crotchet  = 96, so perhaps the fault lies with Mitropoulos, who fails to make the woodwind light enough. Elsewhere he provides excellent support and speeds are judiciously chosen.

The rest of the disc is taken up with more Berlioz (beautifully sung performances of La Captive, Le jeune pâtre breton and Zaïde conducted by Jean Morel) and orotorio arias by Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn. True, these latter, conducted by Max Rudolf, have a slightly old-fashioned, somewhat Victorian air about them, but they are impeccably sung and her diction is exemplary. These were recorded a few years earlier, in 1951, and the voice is at its freshest and most beautiful.

The disc comes with copious notes and photos, but, regrettably, no texts and translations.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 10, 2019, 09:27:06 AM
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The 1960s and 1970s were halcyon days for opera on disc. New recordings of both repertoire and rediscovered works appeared on an almost monthly basis, alongside recital records by major artists. Duet recitals, though not as frequent, were also a feature of this time, and could sometimes provide more variety in the juxtaposition of two different voices.

This 1969 duet recital finds both singers at the height of their vocal powers and provides a feast of great singing. It doesn't quite get off to the best of starts however, with a performance of Serbami ognor from Rossini's Semiramide in which Caballé's scale passages are less than perfect, and which does not erase memories of Sutherland and Horne in the same music.

Vocally the duet from Anna Bolena is much better, and Caballé is here very touching in the section (Va, infelice where Anna forgives Giovanna, maybe not as moving as Callas with Simionato, but then, who is? Their voices blend well in the Norma duet too, and the Aida finds both singers alive to the drama, and it is great cause for regret that Verrett never got to record Amneris in a complete recording.

The principal pleasures of both the Barcarolle from Les Contes d'Hoffmann and the Flower Duet from Madama Butterfly are primarily vocal, and it is certainly wonderful to bask in the sheer beauty of two such gloriously rich voices in full bloom. The disc finishes with the great combative duet from La Gioconda, with the two ladies striking points off each other in splendid fashion.




Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 11, 2019, 08:15:53 AM
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In 1965 Elena Souliotis burst into the operatic firmament like a shooting star. The star's trajectory was swift and by 1971 it had pretty much burned itself out. In fact the recordings she made for Decca pretty much sum up the path of Souliotis's career. The best of them are the 1965 recording of Nabucco under Gardelli, made when she was only twenty-two, and this recital disc made the followiing year. By the time of the recording of Macbeth, made in 1971, she was sung out, and it is salutory to compare the recording of Lady Macbeth's opening aria heard here to the one on the complete set. The problems hinted at in the recital (the occasionally unsupported middle voice, the chest voice and upper registers not properly integrated) have now become major issues. Her voice aged twenty years in five. Macbeth was the last major recording she made for Decca, though she did pop up again in 1991, singing the Zia Principessa to Mirella Freni's Suor Angelica. Hearing the two singers together, you would never for a minute think that Freni was the older singer.

But back to the recital in question, and listening to it now, even with the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to understand why she created such a stir at the time. It was becoming obvious that Callas was leaving the stage (indeed she made her last ever stage appearance in 1965) and people were looking for a singer of comparable dramatic flair. Souliotis, spelled Suliotis back then, certainly seemed to fit the bill. It was not a plush voice, but had a penetrating thrust and power, good flexibility and she sang with real dramatic conviction.

The first item, and the first side of the orignal LP, is the closing scene from Anna Bolena, a Callas speciality, and one would have to admit that there are times that she sounds as if she is ghosting the performance by the older singer. On the debit side also is her lack of a trill. The cabaletta is famous for a rising series of trills, delivered with incredible accuracy and tremendous force by Callas, but Souliotis doesn't even attempt them. Aside from these flaws, though, the performance is alive to the drama, the melismas in the cavatina beautifully spun out, and the cabaletta thrilling in its rhythmic thrust. Callas may still reign supreme, but I'd still rate this performance more highly than those by Sills, Sutherland, Caballé and Gruberova.

Next up is Lady Macbeth's entrance aria, which is thrilling, if a little vulgar. Comparisons with Callas are again inevitable, and it has to be said that in Callas's performance, particularly in the complete live recording under De Sabata, we get a greater sense of Lady Macbeth's vaulting ambition. Her chest voice is also better integrated, whereas with Souliotis it tends to be a feature unto itself. I like the Luisa Miller aria, though a little too mich of Lady Macbeth creeps in and she tends again to overdo the chest voice. On the other hand, Morro, ma prima in grazia from Un Ballo in Maschera is feelingly sung and actually quite beautiful.

Still, there is the overriding sense that, though there is enormous potential here, this is a voice that is as yet unformed. Singing so many performances of Abigaille at the tender age of twenty-two can't have been good for her. Callas sang the role only once, at the age of twenty-six, but never touched it again, calling it a voice-wrecker. Maybe she was right. The role's creator, Giuseppina Strepponi, who became Verdi's mistress and later his wife, also sang the role a great deal and she was also sung out by the time she was thirty-one.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 11, 2019, 09:04:47 AM
Yes, a sad story. She also did a Norma that was not well received. Despite the failings, I like her Lady Macbeth more than the critics did and more than certain contemporary singers. There is also a Cav which I enjoy. She was like an athlete whose best was done before her life was one third over.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on May 11, 2019, 09:15:24 AM

The 1960s and 1970s were halcyon days for opera on disc. New recordings of both repertoire and rediscovered works appeared on an almost monthly basis, alongside recital records by major artists. Duet recitals, though not as frequent, were also a feature of this time, and could sometimes provide more variety in the juxtaposition of two different voices.

This 1969 duet recital finds both singers at the height of their vocal powers and provides a feast of great singing. It doesn't quite get off to the best of starts however, with a performance of Serbami ognor from Rossini's Semiramide in which Caballé's scale passages are less than perfect, and which does not erase memories of Sutherland and Horne in the same music.

Vocally the duet from Anna Bolena is much better, and Caballé is here very touching in the section (Va, infelice where Anna forgives Giovanna, maybe not as moving as Callas with Simionato, but then, who is? Their voices blend well in the Norma duet too, and the Aida finds both singers alive to the drama, and it is great cause for regret that Verrett never got to record Amneris in a complete recording.

The principal pleasures of both the Barcarolle from Les Contes d'Hoffmann and the Flower Duet from Madama Butterfly are primarily vocal, and it is certainly wonderful to bask in the sheer beauty of two such gloriously rich voices in full bloom. The disc finishes with the great combative duet from La Gioconda, with the two ladies striking points off each other in splendid fashion.

It is a pity that Verrett was given so few opportunities to record recitals, there are only a very few, some hard to come by. A great Lady Macbeth, recorded twice, Eboli, the live recording is the one to have with Corelli and Janowitz. There is a very good Orfeo and Dalila and the mezzo parts in Ballo, Rigoletto and Norma. There are others, but why so very few recitals?

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 11, 2019, 09:48:30 AM
It is a pity that Verrett was given so few opportunities to record recitals, there are only a very few, some hard to come by. A great Lady Macbeth, recorded twice, Eboli, the live recording is the one to have with Corelli and Janowitz. There is a very good Orfeo and Dalila and the mezzo parts in Ballo, Rigoletto and Norma. There are others, but why so very few recitals?

Mike

To be honest, I think that Verrett was under-recorded generally. She never made a commercial recording of Carmen or Dalila, both of which were signature roles for her. It occurs to me that actually very few mezzos made many recital records. I don't recall much from Bumbry, who is on quite a few complete operas during that period. Caballé, on the other hand, recorded quite a few, as did Sutherland. Maybe there was a feeling that operatic mezzos didn't sell as many records as sopranos.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on May 11, 2019, 03:20:55 PM
To be honest, I think that Verrett was under-recorded generally. She never made a commercial recording of Carmen or Dalila, both of which were signature roles for her. It occurs to me that actually very few mezzos made many recital records. I don't recall much from Bumbry, who is on quite a few complete operas during that period. Caballé, on the other hand, recorded quite a few, as did Sutherland. Maybe there was a feeling that operatic mezzos didn't sell as many records as sopranos.

The likes of Rita Gorr or Viorica Cortez, both endowed with sumptuous voices and larger than life dramatic instincts were woefully shortchanged by recording companies  :(.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 12, 2019, 01:25:18 AM
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When I think of Régine Crespin I tend to think of suave sophistication, intelligence and cool reserve, qualities that make her the perfect interpreter of the songs of Ravel, Debussy and, especially, Poulenc and Ravel. But of course it was a large, refulgent voice and not one to be confined to the recital platform. The operatic stage would also seem to be its natural home.

Unfortunately too much of this French sang froid creeps into her performances of Verdi here. This Amelia is only slightly perturbed to find herself at the gallows at midnight, this Aida only mildly conflicted between loyalty to her lover and her fatherland. One feels that she wouldn’t want to get too upset in case she mussed her dress and beautifully coiffed hair, so just shrugs and walks away. In this she is the very antithesis of Callas who, famously, listened to this performance of Ritorna vincitor in a break during tense recording sessions of her final Verdi disc. Callas was so insensed at a performance that went against every grain of her dramatic being that she decided to sing it there and then, though the aria hadn’t been planned, and the result was a performance of blazing intensity a million miles from what we get here. Aside from being far too slow, Crespin never really gets to grips with Aida’s torment and anguish.

Of course Crespin’s singing is always musical, intelligent and well considered, the voice firm and well supported, but, for me, there is a lack of passion, a sense of detachment that doesn’t go well with Verdi. The best item is Lady Macbeth’s Sleepwalking Scene, though it is taken unconscionably slowly. Her tone well captures the feel of a woman  walking and talking in her sleep, and there are some fine details of interpretation. She takes a lower option at the end rather than attempt the top D fil di voce, and we note that the top of the voice can be unwieldy, steely and just under the note, as it is at the climax of Amelia’s Ecco l’orrido campo from Un Ballo in Maschera. In that respect Eboli’s O don fatale suits her better, and she does at last inject a bit more passion here, but the aria should be thrilling and it just isn’t.

Paradoxically Elisabetta’s great Act V aria from Don Carlo is taken rather too fast, and I also wonder why she didn’t sing it in French. In consequence the grand opening statement feels rushed, as does the end, and the aria loses its shape. This might have more to do with Prêtre than Crespin, whose speeds can be a bit hit and miss, and nowhere does he seem the right conductor for Verdi. It is interesting to note that, though he was a great favourite of Callas, she retained the services of Nicola Rescigno for her 1960s Italian recitals, using Prêtre only for the French recitals and her Carmen and second Tosca.

In general the Wagner items suit her better, though here too I would prefer to hear Schwarzkopf or Grümmer in the Lohengrin arias. Crespin convincingly conveys Elsa’s deam-like state, but she is far less personal with the text. There is no quickening of the pulse at the approach of the knight, and, yet again, it feels as if she were on the outside looking in. Her singing is tasteful, intelligent, musical and yet I don’t feel she is truly involved.

We get more propulsive singing for Sieglinde’s Eine Waffe lass’ mich dir weisen, and of course we are reminded she recorded the role in Solti’s Ring. She also makes a suitably seductive Kundry in the short extract from Parsifal.

That said, none of this is material I would choose to hear her in. For that I would turn to her superb performance of Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Ansermet (though not her Nuits d’Eté which also suffers from a lack of passion), to her singing of songs by Poulenc, Debussy and Satie and to some of the operettas of Offenbach that she recorded, music that responds better to her equivalent of the arched eyebrow.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 13, 2019, 01:05:22 AM
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Domingo recorded quite a few duet recitals in the 1970s, with Sherrill Milnes (1970), with Katia Ricciarelli (1972), with LeontynePrice (1974) and this one, with Renata Scotto, in 1978, which is, in many ways, the most successful.  For a start, the material is refreshingly unhackneyed, and, although we are vouchsafed only four excerpts, they are quite long (the shortest 8’52”), which makes for a more satisfying listening experience than lots of shorter pieces. The original LP had the French items, which are no doubt better known on the first side and the Italian ones on the second.

Scotto was at the high watermark of what was often referred to as her second career. In the 1960s she had recorded for EMI and DG, but signed to CBS/Sony in the 1970s appearing on many complete sets and recording recitals of Verdi and verismo. The voice was never a conventionally beautiful one and by this time could turn squally and shrill on top notes, but the compensations were many and included her superb musicality, her dramatic involvement, her attention to the text and her natural, unforced, excellent diction. As you can hear here, her French was less idiomatic than her Italian but you can at least hear the words clearly, and it is the French items I enjoyed most on this recital, though that could possibly reflect my preference for the material in question. I’ve never been a big fan of verismo.

Domingo is his reliable self, the voice in good shape, but at this time in his career his performances could seem a little generic, and there is not much difference between his Roméo and his Des Grieux, his Loris and his Giorgio, however musical his actual singing.

Both singers are attentive to the different styles required of the composers in question, but it is Scotto who is better at vocal characterisation, adopting an appropriately more seductive tone for Manon than she does for the girlishly innocent Juliette.  Her Fedora also sounds more mature and commanding than her Luisa in the Mascagni opera, which is a sort of verismo mirror piece to Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable duet recital, both in terms of the singing and the music tackled, and it is an excellent showcase for both singers.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 15, 2019, 05:43:55 AM
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Quite aside from David Daniels's pre-eminence as a Handel singer, he could also be credited with treading where few countertenors dare to go. In this mixed recital he adds to the more usual countertenor repertoire of seventeenth and eighteenth century song, Lieder by Beethoven and Schubert, French chanson by Gounod and Poulenc and English song by Vaughan Williams. Other recitals will see him venturing out into American song and Broadway, and he even made a recording of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Eté. He has never been one to cofine himself to the usual areas of countertenor repertory.

To all he brings great beauty of voice, a superb legato, a fullness of tone rare in countertenors and an innate musicality. This fullness of tone is not a mere fabrication of the gramophone as I saw him live on many occasions and can attest that the voice rang out freely in all the venues I heard him. In addition he has a winning personality with a rare gift of communication, which comes across in all his discs.

Many of the songs here are concerned with night (the disc, after all is called Serenade) and the pervading atmosphere is therefore one of quiet reflection, but gaiety puts in an appearance too, and we note the singers facility in fast moving music, without a hint of an aspirate. We also note how the singer's expression changes from one song to another, making us feel we can see as well as hear.

We start with a group of Lieder framed by Beethoven's and Schubert's setting of Adelaide, both beautifully sung. He gives the girl's voice a suitable urgency and death a darker more consolatory tone in Der Tod und das Mädchen, but the prize of this group is his wonderful performance of Nacht und Träume, his legato impeccable , the long line firmly held. This is beautifully ccomplished singing and absolutely no allowances need to be made for the limitations of the countertenor voice.

From here we move to a group of songs by Caldara, Gluck, Cesti and Lotti, the more usual repertoire for this type of voice. Caldara's Selve amiche soothes the soul, whilst Lotti's Pur dicesti, o bocca bella is irresistibly light and charming. The Gounod and Poulenc items are all superb, the Vaughan Williams beautifully characterised, finishing with a movingly heartfelt Hands, eyes and heart.

The final items bring us back to more familiar countertenor territory, with joyful performances of Sweeter than roses and I'll sail upon the Dog Star, followed by an eloquently comforting Evening Hymn, which brings to a close an eminently satisfying recital. Martin Katz is throughout a worthy partner.

As I said earlier, I saw Daniels live on many occasion, and this recital replicates to perfection what it was like to hear him in the concert hall. There was never any difficulty hearing him and he had the rare ability of drawing the audience in, of making each person feel he was singing just for them.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on May 15, 2019, 11:33:45 AM
Yesterday I listened to the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor. I found 2 performances by Callas on youtube, one from the Met in 1956, the other one uncredited, but I suspect it was from the Berlin performances. The youtube description ascribes it to the «  Aria Collection vol 4. »

I confess to be a huge fan of this scene, it is dramatically static but musically it is the incarnation of mental schizophrenia, with the mad Lucia conversing with the voices within her head when she duets with the solo flute. It is eerie and chilling, and musically transcendent.

The 1956 Met performance

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_EJ_LKsxU (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_EJ_LKsxU)
She was ill at the time but very few allowances need to be made. She attacks the high notes forte and the sound does waver but every time she fines it down to a lovely and dramatically effective piano.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rv1nmNJQgNk (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rv1nmNJQgNk). Callas displays a mix of astounding vocalism and almost supernatural dramatic powers. It is simply impossible to match that.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 15, 2019, 12:04:31 PM
Yesterday I listened to the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor. I found 2 performances by Callas on youtube, one from the Met in 1956, the other one uncredited, but I suspect it was from the Berlin performances. The youtube description ascribes it to the «  Aria Collection vol 4. »

I confess to be a huge fan of this scene, it is dramatically static but musically it is the incarnation of mental schizophrenia, with the mad Lucia conversing with the voices within her head when she duets with the solo flute. It is eerie and chilling, and musically transcendent.

The 1956 Met performance

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_EJ_LKsxU (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y_EJ_LKsxU)
She was ill at the time but very few allowances need to be made. She attacks the high notes forte and the sound does waver but every time she fines it down to a lovely and dramatically effective piano.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rv1nmNJQgNk (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rv1nmNJQgNk). Callas displays a mix of astounding vocalism and almost supernatural dramatic powers. It is simply impossible to match that.

Yes the second one is Berlin, and it's staggering, even if she does end the cadenza on the lower Eb.

Robert Sutherland, her accompanist on the ill fated final concert tour, recounts how, whilst they were rehearsing, someone sent Callas some records of the Berlin Lucia, and they finished early one afternoon to listen to the recording. At the end of the Mad Scene, Callas turned to Sutherland and asked him what he thought. He was a bit at a loss for words, especially as they were both well aware of her present vocal state, so he just said, "Well it's marvellous singing, Madame Callas." Marvellous?" she retorted, "It's bloody miraculous!" and laughed, but then added, "And to think I went back to my dressing room and cried, because I thought I hadn't sung well enough."

She must have been imagining something beyond the realms of possibility.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 16, 2019, 04:46:08 AM
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When this recital first appeared in 1975, Scotto had been absent from the catalogues for some time. She was principally known on record for her Butterfly under Barbirolli (recorded for EMI in 1966) and for Mimi, Violetta, Gilda and Lucia (all recorded in the early 1960s for DG).

Butterfly was her calling card for many years, and the recording has remained one of the most recommendable (though, save for Liu in the Molinari-Pradelli Turandot, recorded in 1961, she appears not to have made any further complete opera recordings for EMI until she recorded Abigaille under Muti in 1977).

She first made her mark deputising as Amina in Edinburgh for Callas, who, in poor vocal health at the time, had refused to sing an extra uncontracted performance that La Scala had tried to thurst upon her. That was in 1957 and it would appear that, though she had considerable success on stage, recording companies were not so quick on the uptake. She herself has admitted that she could be a bit prima donna-ish in a "my way or no way" sort of manner, until she met her husband, Lorenzo Anselmi, who, according to Scotto, helped her to become more professional, and think more about the music.

She was at first known as a coloratura, but even in the early 1960s, John Steane notes that her high notes did not seem to come easily and could have a hard and pinched quality. She also had a great success as Butterfly, the role in which she had made her Met debut, but it soon became clear that this was the only repertoire Bing would call on her for. He refused to offer her anything else so she was absent from their schedules for a long time, returning in 1974 to sing Elena in I Vespri Siciliani, under Levine who became her champion. For many years, she was the Met's house soprano, singing a completely new repertoire, which included Verdi roles like Leonora in Il Trovatore, Desdemona, Luisa Miller and Lady Macbeth. 

This Verdi recital also marked the beginning of a new, fairly intensive recording schedule for her. In the ten years since her recording of Madama Butterfly the hardness on top has become more noticeable, and many of the louder notes above the stave are quite strident. There are however compensations in her musicality, her dramatic awareness, her deep legato and the firmness of the line. Then there is the added attraction of her attention to detail and her intelligent use of the words, though occasionally there is a lack of spontaneity. Art does not always conceal art.

There is a good mixture here of the familiar and the not so well known. In the former camp would be Lida's aria and cabaletta from La Battaglia di Legnano, a fairly conventional piece whose cabaletta is nonetheless energetically exciting, and which Scotto attacks head on. There is a slight suspicion that the voice is a little small for the other early works here (Nabucco and I Lombardi), but she has an innate feeling for Verdian style and the cavatinas of both are beautifully moulded, the cabalettas propulsive and exciting. The voice takes on a lovely melancholy tinta  for Elena's Arrigo, ah parli a un core, which lies mostly in the middle register,  though she eschews the written low F# in the cadenza, taking a higher alternative, and sings a bright and breezy Merce, dilette amiche. Best of all, probably because neither takes he much above the stave, are Violetta's Addio, del passato, the reading of the letter absolutely heart-wrenching, and Desdemona's Willow Song and Ave Maria, which is alive to every dramatic contrast, her singing full of anxious foreboding. Soon after this she would make a most touching Desdemona both on stage at the Met and on record in Domingo's first recording.

Some may prefer a richer voice for this music, but few who are more vocally endowed sing with such specificity, such attention to the meaning of the text, such musicality and appreciation of Verdian style. Where other sopranos, like Souliotis and Sass, can be accused of being copycat Callases, Scotto can be said to have absorbed the lessons of Callas without losing her own individuality. This is a very good recital.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on May 16, 2019, 08:44:39 AM
One of my favourite Verdi recitals. Possibly because of its less than full size voice for Abigail’s aria she seizes it by the throat and totally subjugates it. That death-defying octave plunge is awesome. Every time I fear her vocal cords have snapped ???.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on May 16, 2019, 08:57:07 AM
I haven't listened to this in a few years, I may even not have gone through all of it  ::). Time to make amends and go through it again. Contents are very well chosen and plenty of air time is devoted to her greatest roles (3 discs each of various performances of Lucia, Norma and Violetta). Most of the material is from live performances, but commercial discs are used to complete the portrait and contrast the public vs the studio performances. Most of it is in good sound, although some are of the antediluvian kind, such as the Turandot bits that end disc one. The booklet is informative, well documented and illustrated. 126 double size pages.

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Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mc ukrneal on May 16, 2019, 05:19:02 PM
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The first time I heard Maggie Teyte was when I was just starting to enjoy French song. I was learning Duparc's Chanson triste and a friend played me her recording of the song with Gerald Moore at the piano. I was absolutely entranced and it has remained my yardstick ever since. First of all the flowing tempo they adopt is aboslutely right (so many take it too slowly) and she responds perfectly to all Duparc's markings - floating the tone beautifully on the mon of mon amour (it is marked doux by Duparc) an effect I have tried, not too successfully, to emulate myself. Her high A is clear, clean and true, but she takes the lower option on the words de tes bras, dipping down into that gloriously rich lower register she had. As you listen, you feel the song is addressed to you personally and you want to just lie back in the warm embrace of her comforting words. The French christened her L'Exquise Maggie Teyte, and the adjective suits her perfectly.

She was born in 1888 in Woverhampton, but went to Paris in 1903 to study with the famous tenor Jean De Reszke. She made her first public appearanc in 1906, singing Cherubino and Zerlina under Reynaldo Hahn, making her first professional appearance in Monte Carlo the following year. She then joined the company at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and was shortly after chosen to replace Mary Garden in the role of Mélisande, for which she was coached by Debussy himself. She is the only singer ever to have been accompanied in public by Debussy himself, and she is an invaluable link to so many musicians of the past. Despite her early success however, she didn't really establish herself with the main opera houses, and went into semi-retirement after her second marriage (to Canadian millionaire Walter Sherwin Cottingham) in 1921.

In 1930 she tried to resuscitate her career, but ended up singing in variety and music hall (24 performances a week!) until, in 1930, she made some recordings of Debussy songs with Alfred Cortot, which were so successful that she then became known as the leading French song interpreter of her time. She also sang at Covent Garden in such roles as Butterfly, Hänsel and Eurydice in Gluck's opera, as well as Manon in English (with Heddle Nash).

The present set concentrates on recordings of French song with orchestra and piano made between 1940 and 1948, making her 60 when she recorded Ravel's Schéhérazade, not that you would ever suspect it. The voice is still absolutely firm with no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato, top notes pure and true (a thrilling top B flat in Asie), the inimitable lower register gloriously rich.

It starts with a rather hectic recording of Berlioz's Le spectre de la rose. The fast tempo was presumably adopted so that they could fit the song onto a single 78, but it does remind us that it is in waltz time and she brings a peculiarly intimate touch to the closing lines,which are sung with an ineffable sadness. Absence is sweetly touching.

Occasionally her attention to the meaning of the words can get in the way of the music, and the tempo fluctuations in Fauré's Après un rêve are just too much, the general speed much too slow, but the accelerando on Reviens, reviens just too much. On the other hand the tempo for his Clair de lune is absolutely spot on with a moment of pure magic as she infuses her tone with warmth at Au calme clair de lune and Gerald Moore switches to a more free flowing style in the accompaniment.

Over the two discs there is scarcely a performance that doesn't warrant attention, but I single out for special consideration Duparc's gorgeous Phidylé, which is lazily erotic as it should be (note her telling observation of the diminuendo on baiser - most singers miss it completely) and the aforementioned Chanson triste, the former with the LSO under Leslie Heward, the latter with Gerald Moore on the piano. Also on disc 1 is a superb performance of Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle, whilst she breathes new life into Hahn's popular Si me vers avaient des ailes.

In all she remains inimitable and individual, though, it seems these days, only known to connoisseurs. This set is no longer available, nor are the Debussy songs she recorded with Cortot. John Steane says in his wonderful book The Grand Tradition,

Not only is her actual singing so good, but she has something personal to say in all she does, and voice and style are instantly recognisable.

There are other examples of her art more readily available on other lablels but this old EMI set is a treasure and I urge Warner to reissue it along with the Debussy songs with Cortot. It should be in the collection of anyone who is interested in French song.
I've long been curious about this singer and having identified a cheap copy of this on Amazon, I pounced. I can't say I love the voice quite as much as you do. The style of singing from these earlier periods is not always to my liking, and I feel she has more vibrato at times than you. But that aside, she is really quite a thoughtful singer and oozes French singing at nearly every turn. Hahn's Si mes vers avaint des alles was so good that I repeated it several times before moving on. I think it was my favorite track of the set. Clair de Lune is generally as good as advertised too. In general, I preferred the slow songs where she could luxuriate in the moment. Sometimes it was just a turn of phrase that captured the attention.  There were times I wish she would have pulled back just a bit or floated the note a bit more (for example at the start of Debussy's Romance or Faure's Le secret). But once she settled in, I was captivated.  There were times I almost felt she was singing just to me, and I don't think there can be higher praise than that.

Thanks for drawing attention to this sometimes forgotten singer.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 16, 2019, 11:31:50 PM
I've long been curious about this singer and having identified a cheap copy of this on Amazon, I pounced. I can't say I love the voice quite as much as you do. The style of singing from these earlier periods is not always to my liking, and I feel she has more vibrato at times than you. But that aside, she is really quite a thoughtful singer and oozes French singing at nearly every turn. Hahn's Si mes vers avaint des alles was so good that I repeated it several times before moving on. I think it was my favorite track of the set. Clair de Lune is generally as good as advertised too. In general, I preferred the slow songs where she could luxuriate in the moment. Sometimes it was just a turn of phrase that captured the attention.  There were times I wish she would have pulled back just a bit or floated the note a bit more (for example at the start of Debussy's Romance or Faure's Le secret). But once she settled in, I was captivated.  There were times I almost felt she was singing just to me, and I don't think there can be higher praise than that.

Thanks for drawing attention to this sometimes forgotten singer.

I am so glad you enjoyed her.

On the subject of vibrato, I just want to make it clear that I was referring excessive vibrato which can turn into a wobble. Teyte's singing is so firm, her production so solid, that there is no suspicion of wobble even at the age of 60.

If you feel like investigating further, then you could do no better than this Decca set of recordings made rather earlier than the EMI set.

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A particular favourite of mine is Tu n'es pas beau from La Périchole, which dates from the early 1930s, which is disarming in every way. I just love those dips into chest voice. Admittedly there is quite a lot of lighter fare here (Deep in my heart from The Student Prince, Coward's I'll follow my secret heart), but I enjoy it very much.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on May 17, 2019, 03:37:14 PM
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Superb programming, interpretation and vocal execution. Hannigan and her partner create the perfect musical and psychological setting for these sometimes elusive pieces. 31 songs divided in 6 groups. One can savour each separately, or assemble one’s own mini recital.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 19, 2019, 04:47:29 AM
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This well-filled four disc set was issued to time in with De Los Angeles’s seventieth birthday in 1993, when, incredibly, she was still active on the concert platform, having made her stage debut in 1941. I don’t know when she officially retired, but she died just over ten years later. The set dates from the good old days, when notes texts and translations were included. Not all of this material is that familiar, so they are absolutely essential. Nowadays you are lucky to even get a web link to them.

The set concentrates on the recital side of De Los Angeles’s career and all the recordings date from the 1960s and early 1970s, with two discs of song with orchestra and two with piano or, as in the case of Falla’s Psyché chamber ensemble.

Disc 1 covers French song with orchestra (though not her wonderful recording of Les Nuits d’Eté, which was recorded for RCA). We start with one of the most recommendable of all versions of Ravel’s Shéhérazade, in which she is a vivid narrator, taking an almost childlike pleasure in the sights she describes. In the Cinq Mélodies populaires grecques she is the epitome of a young village girl, whilst the Deux Mélodies hébraïques bring out a more seductive quality in her voice. Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer exposes the occasional fragility in the voice, but is still a beautiful performance.

Disc 2, which concentrates on Spanish song with orchestra, would probably be my favourite of the four. It almost exactly reproduces a disc called The Maiden and the Nightingale, released in EMI’s Great Recordings of the Century, though it omits that Granados title track. Favrouites here are the Montsalvatge Cinco canciones negras; wonderfully soothing in the Cancio de cuna para dormir a un negrito and irresistibly playful in the Yambambos of the Canto Negro. I also love Mompou’s El combat del Somni, especially the soulful Damunt de tu nomes los flors. Another joyful performance is Rodrigo’s De los alamos vengo, madre. We are reminded that De Los Angeles probably did more than any other singer to put Spanish song on the map.

Disc 3 brings us more French and Spanish repertoire, this time with piano accompaniment, or chamber ensemble as in Falla’s Psyché. Though her French isn’t entirely idiomatic, she is an ideal interpreter of Debussy, Ravel, Fauré and Hahn. The performance here of Falla’s Sietes canciones populares españolas, with Gonzalo Soriano at the piano, is not generally considered her best, and it is true she is not as fierily earthy as Conchita Supervia, but equally valid in its more playful style.

Disc 4 is more mixed, and presumably covers material likely to turn up in her recitals as openers or encores. I have always treasured her performances of Fauré’s Chanson d’amour, which is sung with a delightful smile in the voice, and her ideal performance of Clair de lune, which captures to perfection its ancien style, but includes a wonderful change of colour when the accompaniment switches to a more fluid figure at Au calme clair de lune. All the piano accompaniment on this disc is provided by Gerald Moore and it also includes a group of duets (from Purcell to Tchaikovsky) with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, finishing off with a couple of extracts from Moore’s farewell concert at the Royal Festival Hall, with Schwarzkopf joining the pair for Mozart’s La Partenza.

To get a fuller picture of this lovely artist, one would ideally want some representation of her operatic career, but this one captures well many elements of the recital side of her career. As in all such compilations, I might cavil at some of the choices, but the programme over the fours discs is varied and enjoyable, and De Los Angeles always brings her inimitable individual stamp to all she sings.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 30, 2019, 12:10:08 AM
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Issued to mark the one hundredth anniversary of Schwarzkopf’s birth in 2015, this fantastic 31 disc set brings together all the recital discs Schwarzkopf made in the LP age with her husband Walter Legge between the years 1952 and 1974, adding the live 1953 Wolf recital from Salzburg, with Furtwängler and the farewell to Gerlald Moore at the Royal Festival Hall in 1967, in which she shares the platform with Victoria De Los Angeles and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. It is a considerable achievement, covering operatic excerpts and a huge range of Lieder and song, both with orchestra and piano. It is not quite the full story, for there was to be one further recital to come, made for Decca in 1977 and 1979, and simply called To My Friends.

A fuller review of this box set on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/elisabeth-schwarzkopf-the-complete-recitals-1952-1974/ (http://"https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/elisabeth-schwarzkopf-the-complete-recitals-1952-1974/")
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 02, 2019, 05:45:10 AM
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This Handel recital, which showcases the talents of Natalie Dessay, concentrates solely on the music Handel wrote for Cleopatra in his Giulio Cesare, and even includes music he wrote but later cut from the full opera.  Variety is provided, by the orchestra (the excellent Le Concert d'Astrée under Emmanuelle Haïm) contributing a couple of orchestral interludes, and by Sonia Prina as Caesar, whose contributions, however are restricted to a few lines of recitative and the final duet.

It is quite interesting to hear side by side, as we do here, Handel's first and final thoughts on certain scenes, so the heroic Per dar vita all'idol mio gave way to the grieving Se pietà di me non senti, whilst the lilting siciliano of   Troppo crudele siete was dropped in favour of the  intensely moving, and justly famous Piangerò.

Dessay is on top form, stunningly agile in the florid music such as Da tempeste il legno infrante, playfully seductive in V'adoro pupille, movingly heartfelt in Piangerò.

Le Concert d'Astrée under Emmanuelle Haïm, offer superb support. This is no replacement for a performance of the complete opera, of course, but nonetheless a wonderful distillation of Dessay's Cleopatra, a role she performed with great success at the Palais Garnier in Paris, shortly after making this record.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on June 02, 2019, 05:49:20 AM
A wonderful record indeed !
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2019, 12:26:08 AM
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This is not a recital as such, but a collection of off the air recordings made by Schwarzkopf between the years 1941 and 1952. We get the opening of a Berlin Das Rheingold, conducted by Artur Rother (Schwarzkopf as Woglinde), Nie werd ich deine Hulde verkennen from a Vienna performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by Rudolf Moralt (with Emmy Loose, Anton Dermota, Peter Klein and Herbert Alsen), a duet from Weber's Abu Hassan from 1942, with Michael Bohnen, and part of the Act II finale of Le Nozze di Figaro from La Scala in 1948, with Imrgard Seefried and W Hoefermeyer (who he?) under Karajan. We also get a couple of excerpts from the 1950 Salzburg Festival, both conducted by Furtwängler; Mi tradi from Don Giovanni (on which unusually she takes an unwritten upward ending, presumably sanctioned by Furtwängler though absent from all other versions by her) and Marzelline's opening duet and aria from the famous performance of Fidelio at which Flagstad sang Leonore. In all Schwarzkopf displays her familiar virtues of pure, firm tone, excellent legato and elegant phrasing, the voice shot through with laughter in the lighter pieces. Marzelline's aria is sung with a fuller tone than we often hear in this music, but captures perfectly her wistful charm. Ilia's Zeffiretti lusinghieri is taken from a 1951 Turin Radio Mario Rossi broadcast, but it is not quite so accomplished as the one on her studio recital of the following year.

The rest is is given over to a Hamburg broadcast from 1952, beginning with a lovely performance of He shall feed his flock, from Handel's Messiah (sung in German). The Act I monologue from Der Rosenkavalier is perhaps less detailed than the one on the complete set under Karajan and no doubt some might prefer it for that reason, though I wouldn't necessarily be one of them. It's a lovely performance nonetheless. Schwarzkopf's Countess is also justly well known, and Porgi amor is sung with creamy tone and matchless legato, but the excerpts from Madama Butterfly (sung in German) don't really work for her, and indeed Schwarzkopf herself, when she heard them in later years, thought them "rather screechy on top". She did however approve the aria from Korngold's Die tote Stadt (the soprano version of the duet Glück das mir verblieb) and rightly so, as this is without doubt the prize of the whole disc. I have never heard it sung better, not by Te Kanawa, not by Fleming, not even by Lehmann, who recorded the duet with Richard Tauber. The pianissimi on the top notes, the diminuendi, the way she fades the tone are absolutely miraculous, no other word for it. Everyone needs to hear this, but getting the recital on disc is quite difficult these days. Fortunately you can hear it on youtube

https://youtu.be/ZoGQd1dsAlw (https://youtu.be/ZoGQd1dsAlw)

The whole disc is a fitting repost to all those who think Schwarzkopf was a studio creation, catching her live and on the wing, but treasured mostly for that sensational and unfortunately unrepeated performance of the Korngold.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: mc ukrneal on June 04, 2019, 01:29:27 AM
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This is not a recital as such, but a collection of off the air recordings made by Schwarzkopf between the years 1941 and 1952. We get the opening of a Berlin Das Rheingold, conducted by Artur Rother (Schwarzkopf as Woglinde), Nie werd ich deine Hulde verkennen from a Vienna performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by Rudolf Moralt (with Emmy Loose, Anton Dermota, Peter Klein and Herbert Alsen), a duet from Weber's Abu Hassan from 1942, with Michael Bohnen, and part of the Act II finale of Le Nozze di Figaro from La Scala in 1948, with Imrgard Seefried and W Hoefermeyer (who he?) under Karajan. We also get a couple of excerpts from the 1950 Salzburg Festival, both conducted by Furtwängler; Mi tradi from Don Giovanni (on which unusually she takes an unwritten upward ending, presumably sanctioned by Furtwängler though absent from all other versions by her) and Marzelline's opening duet and aria from the famous performance of Fidelio at which Flagstad sang Leonore. In all Schwarzkopf displays her familiar virtues of pure, firm tone, excellent legato and elegant phrasing, the voice shot through with laughter in the lighter pieces. Marzelline's aria is sung with a fuller tone than we often hear in this music, but captures perfectly her wistful charm. Ilia's Zeffiretti lusinghieri is taken from a 1951 Turin Radio Mario Rossi broadcast, but it is not quite so accomplished as the one on her studio recital of the following year.

The rest is is given over to a Hamburg broadcast from 1952, beginning with a lovely performance of He shall feed his flock, from Handel's Messiah (sung in German). The Act I monologue from Der Rosenkavalier is perhaps less detailed than the one on the complete set under Karajan and no doubt some might prefer it for that reason, though I wouldn't necessarily be one of them. It's a lovely performance nonetheless. Schwarzkopf's Countess is also justly well known, and Porgi amor is sung with creamy tone and matchless legato, but the excerpts from Madama Butterfly (sung in German) don't really work for her, and indeed Schwarzkopf herself, when she heard them in later years, thought them "rather screechy on top". She did however approve the aria from Korngold's Die tote Stadt (the soprano version of the duet Glück das mir verblieb) and rightly so, as this is without doubt the prize of the whole disc. I have never heard it sung better, not by Te Kanawa, not by Fleming, not even by Lehmann, who recorded the duet with Richard Tauber. The pianissimi on the top notes, the diminuendi, the way she fades the tone are absolutely miraculous, no other word for it. Everyone needs to hear this, but getting the recital on disc is quite difficult these days. Fortunately you can hear it on youtube

https://youtu.be/ZoGQd1dsAlw (https://youtu.be/ZoGQd1dsAlw)

The whole disc is a fitting repost to all those who think Schwarzkopf was a studio creation, catching her live and on the wing, but treasured mostly for that sensational and unfortunately unrepeated performance of the Korngold.
I'd not heard that. Absolutely wonderful. You can hear it from the first note too - it's gonna be good. Thanks for posting that!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2019, 04:16:58 AM
I'd not heard that. Absolutely wonderful. You can hear it from the first note too - it's gonna be good. Thanks for posting that!

I came across it for the first time quite a few years ago now. It was once on a Melodram double LP release, but I thik this is its only CD release and you'd be hard pressed to find it anywhere today.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 04, 2019, 04:29:53 AM
I came across it for the first time quite a few years ago now. It was once on a Melodram double LP release, but I thik this is its only CD release and you'd be hard pressed to find it anywhere today.

Just checked and it's also on this 2 disc set which came out in 2015.

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Europadisc are selling it for £14.36 https://www.europadisc.co.uk/classical/125940/Elisabeth_Schwarzkopf:_100th_Anniversary.htm#sthash.JB1xcPHR.dpuf (https://www.europadisc.co.uk/classical/125940/Elisabeth_Schwarzkopf:_100th_Anniversary.htm#sthash.JB1xcPHR.dpuf)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 05, 2019, 01:33:59 AM
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This EMI disc collects together recordings from Tito Schipa's first recording sessions in 1913, recordings made in the 1920s and 1930s and one (Werther's O, nature) recorded in 1942, when Schipa was 54.

The name of Schipa is most associated with style, elegance and grace (not for him the over-emotional sobbing excesses of Gigli), though the first aria included on the disc (Che faro from Orfeo ed Euridice) is hardly a model in that respect. The unstylish playing of the orchestra is certainly no help, but Schipa too has some lapses in style, with occasional aspiarates marring his legato.

The 1913 recordings tell a different story and reveal a surprising amount of power and squillo, not qualities one normally associates with the singing of Tito Schipa. They also offer so much more in the elegance of the phrasing, the firm line and his wonderful legato, as well as a proper appreciation of character and the dramatic situation. The prizes here are the Duke's Ella mi fu rapita...Parmi veder le lagrime, from Rigoletto, Tu che a dio spiegasti l'ali from Lucia di Lammermoor and the Siciliana from Cavalleria Rusticana.

There are treasures too amongst some of the later recordings, even the 1942 Werther aria, which is wonderfully poetic, but the 1934 aria from Manon is also superb.

However I think I derived the most pleasure from the duets. WIth Toti Dal Monti we get a lovely Prendi l'anel to dono from La Sonnambula, and, even better, a gorgeous Tornami a dir from Don Pasquale, which is just about ideal in every way, the two singers blending thier voices and playing with the musical line in perfect synchronicity. Then, probably best of all is the famous Cherry Duet from Mascagani's L'Amico Fritz, with the charming Mafalda Favero. Throughout he caresses and moulds the line and there is a moment of pure magic when he sings the words sei pur bella on a delciate thread of sound which perfectly expresses Fritz's shy awakening to love. It is moments such as these which make us turn to these old recordings.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 08, 2019, 01:12:30 AM
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Looking through my collection I note that the majority of fairly recent recital acquisitions seem to be mostly of music of Handel and the baroque. I'm not sure whether this has more to do with a change in my taste, the general change in taste or the dearth of decent singers of Verdi, Wagner and nineteenth century muisc in general. Whatever the reason, I think it's safe to say there are far more excellent Handel singers around these days than there used to and the performers on this disc are certainly fine examples.

Handel's operatic duets are rare delights, usually either expressing sadness at lovers' parting or delight in reunion, and there is a good cross-section of both types in this recital. That said, I am not a Handel specialist and I personally find less variety here than I would in a programme of duets from the bel canto period or Verdi. The programme is drawn from well-known works, such as Rinaldo, Serse and Rodelinda, as well as lesser known works like Silla and Teseo, with no less than five excerpts (including the Act III Sinfonia) from Poro, and certainly no fault can be found with the performances.

We hear two very fine voices in prime condition, DiDonato's darker, straighter mezzo contrasting and blending nicely with Ciofi's bright, clear soprano. Both are expressive artists with a fine legato and superb technical proficiency in the florid music. They also repond well to the dramatic elements in the music, and are superbly supported by Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco. The disc can be recommended unreseverdly to all lovers of Handel and the baroque, even if on this occasion, and I realise this has no relevance to the present disc, I found myself wishing I was listening to, say, Caballé and Verrett in their disc of Romantic opera duets.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on June 08, 2019, 07:45:01 AM
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Joseph Schmidt was a huge star in the 20s and 30s. Possessor of a naturally placed lyric tenor, his liquid tones and engaging musicality made him the darling of radio shows. That, and the fact that, at under 5 feet tall an operatic career was a physical impossibility. My first encounter with his art was through a 5disc EMI compilation in which he was allotted Ach so fromm from Flotow’s Martha (aka M’appari when sung by italian tenors). Even though the totality of his recorded art dates from the time of the 78rpm, there are litterally dozens of cds devoted to his singing, including a 10 cd compilation. That’s a lot of 78 sides for a recording career that lasted less than 5 years ! Being jewish his last appearance was in 1933 in Berlin. Subsequently he was a touring artist in the States and Europe. When the War broke in 1939 he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and became a fugitive, then interned in a refugee camp near Zurich, where he contracted pulmonary disease. He died of a heart attack 2 days after being released, aged 38.

I have to confess that although I find his voice beautiful, a handful of tracks go a long way for me. Same with McCormack, Bing Crosby, Luis Mariano, Rudolf Schock, even Fritz Wunderlich. There is an innately high level of calories to that type of voice and repertoire that fills my cup rather fast. Schmidt’s plangent, slightly plaintive tones does wonders in items like Ach so fromm, Una furtiva lagrima and german/austrian operetta songs. The source recordings are practically all from radio tapes, thus of good quality.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 09, 2019, 12:20:06 AM
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Born at the beginning of the last century, the Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão, a pupil of the tenor Jean de Reszke, first made her career in Europe as a coloratura, singing such roles as Lucia, Elvira, Amina and Zerbinetta. She made her US debut in 1935, and was soon after engaged by Toscanini for a performance of Debussy's La damoiselle élue, making her Met debut in 1937 in the role of Manon. Thereafter she became a great favourite and sang regularly there until 1952, when she retired from the stage, retiring completely from public performance in 1957. In 1959 she made her final recording, of Villa-Lobos's Forest of the Amazon, with the composer conducting, and it is the Aria from Bachianas-brasilieras, no. 5, also conducted by the composer which opens this disc. Of the many recordings that exist of this popular piece, this one is certainly one of the best, and might even be considered definitive.

From there we turn to French opera and we note her perfect diction and facility in the language. Juliette's Waltz Song is all youthful charm and lightness, the voice clear and bright with none of the acidity often associated with coloratura sopranos of the time (though one imagines it was quite small and certainly not capable of singing the big Act IV aria, which indeed is cut in the live recording of the opera with Bjørling as Roméo). Charm and grace also characterise her Marguerite and Manon, though she is able to find a deeper vein of feeling for an Adieu notre petite table, which is close to the ideal.

We next hear a group of French songs, both with orchestra and piano. Hahn's Si mes vers avaient des ailes suffers somewhat from an awful (and not particularly well-played) orchestral arrangement, but Duparc's Chanson triste is quite lovely, even if the orchestra isn't much better. Her peformance of L'année en vain chasse l'année from Debussy's L'enfant prodigue rivals that of Victoria De Los Angeles, and we also hear a charming performance, with piano accompaniment, of Ravel's Toi, le coeur de la rose, excised from his L'enfant et les sortilèges, which works remarkably well out of context.

A selection of Folk Songs of Brazil, arranged by Ernani Braga, bring this lovely disc to a fitting close. The disc is beautifully presented with plenty of photos and articles in English, German and French, though, regrettably, no texts or translations, and is a fitting memorial to a charming and lovely soprano.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 09, 2019, 11:38:33 PM
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Joyce DiDonato gives us here a collection of largely little known bel canto arias, some by composers such as Pacini, Mercadante, Valentini and Carafa who are hardly household names. It doesn't get off to the best of starts as the heroine of Pacini's Stella di Napoli sings a jolly little ditty, in which the heroine berates her lover for not being there to hear her dying breath. It is the sort of aria that gives bel canto  opera a bad name and is exactly the thing that Gilbert and Sullivan took such delight in parodying.

Happily we are on much stronger ground with the next item, a lovely elegiac piece from Bellini's Adelson e Salvini, and thereafter things greatly improve, though it is safe to say the best items are those by the more well-known triumvirate of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, even if the final item, a fourteen minute excerpt from Pacini's Saffo does much to exonerate him.

DiDonato's singing is supremly accomplished with a mastery of coloratura, scales, trills and legato which is second to none. Added to her technical accomplishments, she has a wonderful grasp of the dramatic situations presented and there is no doubt that she is pre-eminent in the field today. If I were nit-picking, I would say that her singing doesn't quite have the sheer personality of some of her predecessors in this music, and the preghiera from Maria Stuarda doesn't quite erase memories of Montserrat Caballé or Janet Baker in the same piece. But, that would be unfair and we should be grateful for what we have, which is a great deal; a singer at the height of her powers with a beautiful voice, technically proficient, put at the service of the music.

She is excellently supported by the Orchestre ey Choer de l'Opéra de Lyon under Riccardo Minasi and the disc comes with notes, texts and translations, though a little more information about the dramatic situations would have been welcome. Warmly recommended.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 12, 2019, 10:58:45 PM
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Davidsen-Philharmonia-Orchestra-Esa-Pekka-Salonen/dp/B07Q363D8M/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Lise+davidsen&qid=1560411387&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Lise Davidsen, Wagner and Strauss:Philharmonia conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen

This is a much anticipated disc from a young(ish) singer who has been gaining plaudits for everything she does. I was eager to get my mitts on it. For me it is a let down. Do my ears really just hear things differently from others? I get the feeling that hype has been sweeping all critical thinking away recently. I really don’t get the adulation surrounding Netrebko. I hear a singer who is pushing the voice hard, who has stripped her voice of its former glamour and hardened the tone. It is less flexible which causes intonation problems. I very tersely put my view into a discussion on Twitter and was told by one distinguished critic that he expected better of me!

Now here again, I just don’t get what seemingly everyone else is raving about. Davidsen has a strong powerful voice with good high notes. However, I detect no interpretative imagination whatsoever. I keep reading that she is only 33, so her interpretative qualities will improve, really? If you sing the Strauss Four Last Songs without detectable expression at 33, when will you start to mine the depths of them? She has been praised for this straight forward approach. I find it penny plain flat in expression.

I read lots of praise for her intimate reading of Morgan. To my ears it is far from intimate. Go back to Schwarzkopf, Baker, Margaret Price, Janowitz and others and find the gentle stasis. There is nothing inward here, less loud and tubular in sound is as good as it gets. I assume she understands the words, perhaps I am wrong.

She has a habit of starting a note marginally flat, developing the note with vibrato and then pushing so that some upper notes become a bit wild. It happens in the narcoleptic version of Ariadne’s Es gibt ein Reich. And....then there is her lack of legato. Phrases and sound are broken up unmusically. I want a sustained line.

The Ariadne is her calling card. But Salonen there and elsewhere is sluggish and the Strauss aria has no impetus, it and the narration passage from Lohengrin are boring.

This is not an awful disc, without any hype I might have enjoyed it in a limited way. But I don’t hear the great white hope of Wagner sopranos that so many others hear. I feel conned, I would like a return of my money.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 13, 2019, 12:53:45 AM

This is not an awful disc, without any hype I might have enjoyed it in a limited way. But I don’t hear the great white hope of Wagner sopranos that so many others hear. I feel conned, I would like a return of my money.

Mike

Are we all just nostalgic or have standards really dropped? I honestly think the latter is the case.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 13, 2019, 01:01:35 AM
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This is a superb compendium of recordings taken from live concerts given by Callas between 1949 and 1959. It is being offered as a FREE download (yes, you read that right, free) from Divina Records, so surely there can be no reason not to snap it up while you still can. The sound, while hardly state of the art, is not bad for the period, all of the performances having been taken from radio broadcasts. Taken from BJR LPs, transfers are up to Divina’s usual high standards and the download comes with an excellent pdf of the booklet which accompanied the original release.

The first track is actually her first 78 recording, made for Cetra in 1949, a beautiful performance of Casta diva and Ah bello a me ritorna, though without the opening and linking recitatives in which Callas always excelled. The aria is ideally floated, the scales and coloratura in the cabaletta stunning in their accuracy. We next turn to a radio concert recorded for Turin radio in 1952, with Oliviero de Fabritiis conducting. Callas was obviously out to demonstrate her versatility, and was also trying out for size a couple of roles she would sing later that year, Lady Macbeth and Lucia. To Lady Macbeth’s Letter Scene and the first part of Lucia’s Mad Scene, she adds Abigaille’s Ben io t’invenni from Nabucco and the Bell Song from Lakmé. She is in stupendous voice in all, the high E in the Bell Song ringing out here much more freely than it does in the 1954 recording. Not only is the singing technically stunning, but the contrasts she affords as she switches from the powerfully ambtious Lady Macbeth, to the sweet and maidenly Lucia, from the demonically triumphal Abigaille to the improvisatory story-telling of Lakmé are simply out of this world. You really don’t hear singing like this nowadays.

Next we move to a 1954 Milan concert, starting with her justly famous and technically brilliant recording of Constanze’s Martern aller Arten from Die Entführung aus dem Serail (sung here in Italian as Tutte le torture), her one Mozart stage role. Not only does she execute the difficulties with ease, she sounds properly defiant. It is a thrilling performance. Louise’s Depuis le jour (sung in French) suits her less well, and the performance is marred by occasional unsteadiness. Nonetheless it is hard to resist the quiet intensity of her intent. Armida’s D’amore al dolce impero from Rossini’s opera is, like the Mozart, stunningly accomplished, even if some of the more daring variations from the Florence complete performances have been trimmed down. The bravura of the singing is still unparalleled. The last item from this concert is Ombra leggiera from Meyerbeer’s Dinorah, a rather empty piece, which is hardy worth her trouble, though it improves on the studio recording with the addition of the opening recitative and the contribution of a chorus. Her singing is wonderfully accomplished, the echo effects brilliantly done, but it is not a piece I enjoy.

Another Milan concert, this time from 1956, brings us her best ever performance of Bel raggio lusinghier from Semiramide, though she adds little in the way of embellishment and the effect is less thrilling than her singing of the Armida aria. We get her first version of Ophélie’s Mad Scene from Hamlet (sung here in Italian rather than the original French of the studio recording), which is superb, it’s disparate elements brilliantly bound together. We also have a beautiful performance of Giulia’s Tu che invoco from La Vestale, which seques into a rousing performance of the cabaletta, and she revisits the role of Elvira in I Puritani with a lovely performance, with chorus and soloists, of Vieni al tempio.

From Athens in 1957, there is a dramatically exciting performance of Leonora’s Pace, Pace from La Forza del Destino, in which she manages the pitfalls of the piano top B on invan la pace better than you would expect for post diet Callas. Her performance of Isolde’s Liebestod (again in Italian) is very similar to the Cetra recording, warm and feminine, passionately yearning.

From the 1958 Paris Gala we have her minxish Una voce poco fa from Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with its explosive ma, as Rosina warns us she is not to be messed with. She sings in the mezzo key with added higher embellishments. This is followed by a couple of lesser known performances from a UK TV special, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Mimi’s Si mi chiamano Mimi is similar to the performance on the complete recording, charming and disarming, whilst Margarita’s L’altra notte from Mefistofele is a touch more vivid, a little less subtle than the studio recording.

Just one item from the 1958 rehearsal for the Dallas Opera inaugural concert, the Mad Scene from I Puritani. Though, by 1958, Callas’s voice had been showing signs of deterioration, Bellini’s music still suits her admirably, and she sounds in easy, secure voice here up to a ringing top Eb at its close. The scale work is as supple as ever, and she executes its intricacies with ease even when singing at half voice.

To finish off we have the Mad Scene from the 1959 Carnegie Hall concert performance of Il Pirata. It had been a variable evening, with Callas’s colleagues hardly in her class, but here, left alone on the stage, Callas responds to the challenges of the final scene superbly, the cavatina, in which she spins out the cantilena to incredible lengths, becomes a moving lament to her son, and the dramatic cabaletta is then thrillingly flung out into the auditorium. The audience unsurprisingly go berserk.

How lucky we are to have these wonderful live performances preserved in sound, and how grateful we are to Divina Records for offering them to us free of charge. Nobody need hesitate.

 https://www.divinarecords.com/bjr143/bjr143.html (https://www.divinarecords.com/bjr143/bjr143.html)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on June 13, 2019, 01:29:52 AM
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Davidsen-Philharmonia-Orchestra-Esa-Pekka-Salonen/dp/B07Q363D8M/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Lise+davidsen&qid=1560411387&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Lise Davidsen, Wagner and Strauss:Philharmonia conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen

....it and the narration passage from Lohengrin are boring.


I listened to it via Amazon Music and was underwhelmed, despite all the praise it's received. Glad it's not just me. But there's nothing from Lohengrin on the disc. Tannhäuser, perhaps? Those early Wagner heroins do sound a bit alike.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2019, 01:53:36 AM
I listened to it via Amazon Music and was underwhelmed, despite all the praise it's received. Glad it's not just me. But there's nothing from Lohengrin on the disc. Tannhäuser, perhaps? Those early Wagner heroins do sound a bit alike.

Thanks, yes, of course, Tannhauser. I should be more careful.

M
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 13, 2019, 12:39:37 PM


Lise Davidsen, Wagner and Strauss:Philharmonia conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen

This is a much anticipated disc from a young(ish) singer who has been gaining plaudits for everything she does.

I've now had time to sample some of the tracks.

So this is what passes for good Wagner and Strauss singing these days? When it comes to the Vier letzte LIeder we might quibble about the various merits of Schwarzkopf, Janowitz and Popp, of Norman, Te Kanawa and Fleming, but one thing they all had in common was a basically beautiful timbre. I hear very little of beauty in the over-vibrant sound of the voice itself. The intonation is quite often suspect, and I deplore this habit of starting a note flat and vibrato-less than adding more and more vibrato to it as she swells the tone. Nothing very interesting interpretively either.

Morgen was really not good at all. Thankfully, I only listened on Spotify. I doubt I'll be listening again.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: KevinP on June 13, 2019, 04:40:41 PM
A few years back, I discovered the joy of vocal recital mega boxes: large boxes devoted to a single vocalist. (or the 54-disc Decca Sound box with 55 vocalists, most of whom I'd've never heard if not for this.)

Admittedly, I don't listen to everything in every box. That trend in the 60s of having opera stars sing folk songs from their home countries produced some discs I'm going to skip (although Pavarotti's and Leontyne Price's are listenable), plus there's some crossover/popera stuff that gets included and skipped.

Funny though. Younger me was very insensitive to the the singer. I was only interested in what the composer did; as for the performance, just plug in a vocalist. Looking back, I can't believe I ever felt that way. Now I love picking an aria or lieder and queuing up all the different versions I have.

Recent orders I'm awaiting:
The Brigitte Fassbaender Edition
Victoria De Los Angeles: The Voice of an Angel
Elly Ameling: The Dutch Nightingale
Christa Ludwig: The Complete recitals on Warner Classics
The Art Of Grace Bumbry
Regine Crespin: Portrait

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2019, 08:16:23 PM
I've now had time to sample some of the tracks.

So this is what passes for good Wagner and Strauss singing these days? When it comes to the Vier letzte LIeder we might quibble about the various merits of Schwarzkopf, Janowitz and Popp, of Norman, Te Kanawa and Fleming, but one thing they all had in common was a basically beautiful timbre. I hear very little of beauty in the over-vibrant sound of the voice itself. The intonation is quite often suspect, and I deplore this habit of starting a note flat and vibrato-less than adding more and more vibrato to it as she swells the tone. Nothing very interesting interpretively either.

Morgen was really not good at all. Thankfully, I only listened on Spotify. I doubt I'll be listening again.

So that is three out of three of us unimpressed. As so often Ts, we hear the singer the same way. I tried to download that mouthwatering Callas disc you suggested, I got no email with access. I will try again.

M
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2019, 08:21:22 PM
A few years back, I discovered the joy of vocal recital mega boxes: large boxes devoted to a single vocalist. (or the 54-disc Decca Sound box with 55 vocalists, most of whom I'd've never heard if not for this.)

Recent orders I'm awaiting:
The Brigitte Fassbaender Edition
Victoria De Los Angeles: The Voice of an Angel
Elly Ameling: The Dutch Nightingale
Christa Ludwig: The Complete recitals on Warner Classics
The Art Of Grace Bumbry
Regine Crespin: Portrait

That list of orders will provide a lot of listening. They are all favourites of mine except for Crespin who sounds to me to sing flat. But it must be a trick of my ears, as others don’t ever mention it. I am still pondering the Fassbaender set, I already have a lot of her work.

Two big boxes I have which I dip into a lot are the Warner Janet Baker and the DG Janowitz.

Mike

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 14, 2019, 12:05:30 AM
So that is three out of three of us unimpressed. As so often Ts, we hear the singer the same way. I tried to download that mouthwatering Callas disc you suggested, I got no email with access. I will try again.

M

I got an email back almost immediately, so don't know what happened in your case. I do hope you manage to download it. The singing is spectacular.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 14, 2019, 12:07:56 AM
That list of orders will provide a lot of listening. They are all favourites of mine except for Crespin who sounds to me to sing flat. But it must be a trick of my ears, as others don’t ever mention it. I am still pondering the Fassbaender set, I already have a lot of her work.

Two big boxes I have which I dip into a lot are the Warner Janet Baker and the DG Janowitz.

Mike

Mike

The Philips Janet Baker box is also worth having, as it covers quite a bit of material not on the Warner box.

The Schwarzkopf Recitals box on Warner is also wonderful, despite the absence of texts and translations, so necessary with a singer of Schwarzkopf's specificity.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2019, 02:54:26 AM
The Philips Janet Baker box is also worth having, as it covers quite a bit of material not on the Warner box.

The Schwarzkopf Recitals box on Warner is also wonderful, despite the absence of texts and translations, so necessary with a singer of Schwarzkopf's specificity.

Yes, I have both of those and a Schwarzkopf set of early recordings, much duplicated in the mater box. Although I have all the Baker and Janowitz recordings in full, it is good to have arias from complete works brought together handily. A critic I follow on Twitter has been commissioned to pull together some early recordings of Baker, some of which have not been issued on CD. No doubt I will leap on that when it comes out.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 14, 2019, 03:08:21 AM
A critic I follow on Twitter has been commissioned to pull together some early recordings of Baker, some of which have not been issued on CD. No doubt I will leap on that when it comes out.

Mike

That's something I will no doubt want as well. Please keep me informed. Incidentally my twitter handle is the same as the one here.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 16, 2019, 11:26:12 PM
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Sylvia Sass shot to stardom at the age of 25 after singing the role of Griselda in a 1975 Covent Garden production of Verdi’s I Lombardi which also starred José Carreras. Decca were quick to sign her up and her first recital LP (one side of Puccini, one of Verdi) followed in 1977. A further opera recital followed in 1979 and finally in 1981 a recital of songs by Liszt and Bartók, in which she got to sing in her native Hungarian. She also appeared on Solti’s recordings of Don Giovanni (as Donna Elvira) and Bluebeard’s Castle and on the Philips recording of Stiffelio. She was hailed as the new Callas and, like others saddled with the epithet before her, her international stardom was short-lived, though she continued to sing in opera (though mostly in Hungary) until 1995 and made many records for Hungaraton.

From the very first notes of Turandot’s In questa reggia it is clear that this is a singer with a personality, always aware of the dramatic possibilities of the music. The voice can caress, but equally it has bite and power and the top can glare when singing at full tilt. The four Puccini heroines given here (Turandot, Tosca, Manon and Butterfly) emerge as distintinctively different characters, which isn’t always the case in a Puccini recital. There is also much that is fine in the Verdi items, the Sleepwalking Scene from Macbeth being particularly good, but here we notice a tendency, also evident in the Puccini items, for there to be too great a gap between her loud and soft singing, where the loud singing can take on a strident, squally edge that contrasts too greatly with the almost disembodied purity of her soft singing.

By the time of the second recital this tendency to veer from ultra soft to ultra loud has become more pronounced, even more noticeable when singing live. I remember seeing her as Norma at Covent Garden in 1980 and you could hardly hear her when she was singing quietly. Not that the second recital doesn’t have its attractions. Lady Macbeth continues to be impressive, and there are some lovely moments in the Il Trovatore aria, with its spectacularly floated high D.

The 1981recital of Liszt and Bartók songs, with András Schiff at the piano, is rather impressive. Sass brings vivid personality to and drama to a song like Liszt’s Die Loreley, as well as a beautiful, comforting quality to Kling leise, mein Lied. She also makes musical sense of Bartók’s sometimes angular vocal lines, brilliantly supported by Schiff’s superb playing of the difficult piano accompaniments.

It is a great shame Sass never really fulfilled the promise of her early successes, but these discs serve to remind us why people found her so exciting when she first burst onto the scene and receive a qualified recommendation from me.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2019, 12:07:45 PM
I had the original Verdi and Puccini Decca LP. I think I will plump for the double disc you have reviewed. It was an exciting voice. She scaled it well for the Strauss Four Last Songs which has a whole lot more about it than the Lise Davidsen disc. I have also been listening to her in one Macbeth aria and really enjoyed her. She reminds me a lot of Suilotis.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 17, 2019, 12:48:10 PM
I had the original Verdi and Puccini Decca LP. I think I will plump for the double disc you have reviewed. It was an exciting voice. She scaled it well for the Strauss Four Last Songs which has a whole lot more about it than the Lise Davidsen disc. I have also been listening to her in one Macbeth aria and really enjoyed her. She reminds me a lot of Suilotis.

Mike

She reminds me of Souliotis too, though she actually lasted a good deal longer. I had a few of her Hungaraton recitals on LP. The Wagner disc was pretty good. I have a Donizetti/Verdi disc on CD too, and that is also very enjoyable.

Unfortunately live she was a rather mannered performer. I remember she used to cup an ear with one hand and wave the other one around as she sang, which was very distracting. I heard her as Norma, when Baltsa's Adalgisa walked away with the honours, Elisabetta in Don Carlo and in a concert performance of Turandot with the extended Alfano ending. On that occasion it was Barbara Hendricks's Liu who stole the show, though her Turandot was more convincing than her Norma and Elisabetta.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on June 17, 2019, 02:56:53 PM
She reminds me of Souliotis too, though she actually lasted a good deal longer. I had a few of her Hungaraton recitals on LP. The Wagner disc was pretty good. I have a Donizetti/Verdi disc on CD too, and that is also very enjoyable.

Unfortunately live she was a rather mannered performer. I remember she used to cup an ear with one hand and wave the other one around as she sang, which was very distracting. I heard her as Norma, when Baltsa's Adalgisa walked away with the honours, Elisabetta in Don Carlo and in a concert performance of Turandot with the extended Alfano ending. On that occasion it was Barbara Hendricks's Liu who stole the show, though her Turandot was more convincing than her Norma and Elisabetta.

Very interesting ! These big dramatic soprano roles demand so much from the leading lady, both vocally and histrionically. It’s a huge professional bet every time. Same with Aida, always in danger of losing the contest to Amneris. And of course if she is indisposed, it is front page news the day after, whereas nobody cries murder if the same thing happens to the Eboli or Adalgisa !
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2019, 11:52:26 PM
Very interesting ! These big dramatic soprano roles demand so much from the leading lady, both vocally and histrionically. It’s a huge professional bet every time. Same with Aida, always in danger of losing the contest to Amneris. And of course if she is indisposed, it is front page news the day after, whereas nobody cries murder if the same thing happens to the Eboli or Adalgisa !

I imagine you have put your finger on exactly why Callas was never talked into those roles when her vocal problems made the higher range of her voice less easy to work with. Mezzo divas are not going to be called the likes of La Divina.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 18, 2019, 12:37:52 AM
I imagine you have put your finger on exactly why Callas was never talked into those roles when her vocal problems made the higher range of her voice less easy to work with. Mezzo divas are not going to be called the likes of La Divina.

Mike

Though Callas did of course sing Norma at the end of her career, when Zeffirelli coaxed her back into the opera house. She only agreed to do Tosca if they could do Norma as well. Vocally it was really beyond her by this time, though many averred that, even with half a voice, she was still the greatest Norma in the world, as her understanding of the role remained unparalelled, even if she was only vocally comfortable in about two thirds of it.

Famously, she was unable to complete the last performance, and, after a single performance of Tosca at Covent Garden a couple of months later, she never appeared in an opera again.

As a footnote, when Cossotto, who was sharing the role with Simionato, sang Adalgisa she decided she would profit from Callas's vocal insecurity, loudly outsinging her and holding on to notes in the duets after Callas had indicated they should end. Callas told Zeffirelli she was hurt by her behaviour and he vowed never to work with her again, which he didn't.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on June 18, 2019, 05:15:00 AM
Way back when (late seventies?) I listened to a radio broadcast of Don Carlo, an opera I did not know. I vividly remember the impression made by the mezzo-soprano who sang Eboli, completely taking over stage, house and audience with her singing of the Veil Song and her big dramatic scena (O Don fatale). At the end of the performance the audience erupted and soon shouts of Eboli! Eboli! were heard, with a deafening roar of bravos at her curtain appearance. That was Elena Obraztsova. I guess the Elisabetta and Carlo must not have been pleased... ::)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on June 18, 2019, 09:26:26 AM
I have a wonderful live Don Carlo with Corelli, Janowitz and Verrett. It is Verrett who brings the house down:the O Don fatale is epic.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 19, 2019, 12:05:27 AM
Similarly, I saw Don Carlo more than once in the old Visconti production. I can’t recall the whole cast for its final outing, but it was Baltsa’s Eboli who brought the house down.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: JBS on June 19, 2019, 09:55:31 AM
Don Carlo(s) is really one opera in which the tenor and soprano come in behind the three "secondary" roles when people think of musical highlights. Think how often Philip's solo scene and Eboli's Don fatal show up on recital discs.  The Carlo/Rodrigo duet often shows up in "Great Duets" compilations.  But arias by Carlo or Elisabetta? Off the top of my head I can think of no recitals or compilation discs with an aria for Carlo. I vaguely remember one CD with an Elisabetta aria, but can't think who the singer was. (Callas, perhaps?)

So I think anyone who sings those two leads should expect not to be the audience favorite that night.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on June 19, 2019, 10:42:17 AM
Well, Elisabetta has one big aria that shows up on almost every soprano recital of Verdi arias: Tu che le vanita.

As for Carlo, he is certainly short shrifted in an opera titled after his character !
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on June 20, 2019, 01:17:36 AM

As for Carlo, he is certainly short shrifted in an opera titled after his character !

Only where arias are concerned. He has three big duets with Élisabeth, one with Rodrigue, the scene with Rodrigue and Eboli, etc. Not surprising that so many star tenors have done the role, despite the lack of a big solo piece.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on June 20, 2019, 04:02:00 AM
You are right, of course. That was a gross simplification on my part. Don Carlo is a hugely complex work, in which Verdi totally invested himself.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: JBS on June 20, 2019, 05:31:57 PM
. I vaguely remember one CD with an Elisabetta aria, but can't think who the singer was. (Callas, perhaps?)


BTW, it was Callas.
But Don fatal was also in her repetoire.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 21, 2019, 12:57:48 AM
According to Lord Harewood in Opera on Record by far the most recorded excerpt from Don Carlo is Philip's Ella giammai m'amo ir Elle ne m'aime pas, though O don fatale has proved popular with both mezzos and sopranos.

Elisabeth's great scene seems to have been excerpted less, possibly because of its length. It was a great Callas favourite and she sang it many times in concert as well as on record. Off the top of my head I can only recall other recital versions by Leontyne Price, Régine Crespin and Felicia Weathers. I'm sure there have been others, but it doesn't turn up that often, to be sure.

When it comes to Carlo, I think he is one of Verdi's most interesting tenor roles, despite the fact he only has the one short aria. He is no stock hero, but a young man disappointed in love, desperate for the approval of a stern father who for the most part ignores him, always in the shadow of his best friend, the noble Posa. Of all Verdi's tenor roles only Otello is of comparable complexity.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 21, 2019, 01:25:54 AM
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This was Katia Ricciarelli's debut recital, released in 1972 when she would have been 26. For this 1991 CD release, BMG added two items from a duet recital with Domingo, made at the same time.

Ricciarelli had an illustrious career and prolific recording career, but, it always seems to me, has never enjoyed the acclaim of her slightly older Italian contemporaries, Mirella Freni and Renata Scotto. She perhaps asked a little more of her essentially lyrical voice than it would deliver but, unlike singers like Sass and Souliotis, she was intelligent enough to later drop some of her dramatic roles in favour of more lyric fare. Her Turandot might have been ill advised but, like Sutherland's, it was confined to the studio.

This Verdi disc catches her at her peak singing, for the most part, a selection of unfamiliar arias from Giovanna d'Arco, I Masnadieri, Jérusalem, Il Corsaro and I Vespri Siciliani as well as arias from Otello, Il Trovatore and Don Carlo, plus duets from Un Ballo in Maschera and Otello with Domingo.

The voice is a beautiful one and she is an imaginative singer, responsive to mood and text, but there are occasions when her legato is not as good as one might wish. If one were to compare her performance here of Medora's Non so le tetre immagini with a late one by Callas, made in 1969, it is to find that, despite Callas's by this time waning resources, the long line is maintained, the wide intervals bound more closely together, where Ricciarelli can be a little angular. Nor is Ricciarelli's coloratura technique as clean as Callas's. One is grateful for the beauty of the tone and her dramatic involvement, nonetheless.

Ricciarelli is a singer I have come to appreciate more with the passing of the years. I heard her live a few times, on the last occasion at a concert at the Barbican when her voice was probably past its best. The programe consisted mainly of bel canto arias, and I remember well her outstanding singing of Giulietta's Oh quante volte, so good that it held the audience in rapt silence. She was forced to repeat the aria as an encore at the end of the night.

She is always musical, always alert to the drama, always imaginative and this Verdi disc is a good reminder of her excellence in the field. There are very few sopranos singing today who could touch her in this repertoire.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 23, 2019, 02:21:18 AM
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These days, with Domingo's sometimes less successful forays into the baritone repertoire, it is easy to forget just how amazing his career was, not to mention how long it has lasted. This two disc set is a composite of three recitals made in 1968, 1971 and 1972 when Domingo (27 at the time of the first disc) was already an experienced artist, having first appeared on stage at the age of sixteen and singing his first major role (Alfredo) in 1961 at the age of 20.

The earliest of these recitals, which was given the title Romantic Arias heralded the arrival of a major artist, not only a tenor but a musician. The repertoire is wide ranging, taking in music from Handel to Mascagni and he sings in Italian, French, German and Russian. I can't think of many tenors, even from the golden age of 78s, who could sing Puccini and Mascagni with so much passion and yet give us a wonderfully accomplished Il mio tesoro from Don Giovanni, the longest run sung cleanly and accurately and not only spun out in a single breath but phrased through into the next statement of the opening tune. The only other tenor I've come across who manages it as well is John McCormack. In all, whether it be in Lohengrin's Narration or Lensky's aria, sung in Russian, his singing is musical and immaginative. If we were to nitpick, it might be to note that, especially in the Italian items, there is a lack of excitement, of real intensity, though I'd aver both are qualities that later served to make him the best Otello to be heard for many years. So he may not thrill in the manner of a Franco Corelli, but could Corelli have ever embraced such a wide range of differing music styles with such musicality and sensibility? I dount it very much. So let's be grateful for what we have.

The second disc entitled Domingo sings Caruso is less wide ranging, most of the arias more well known, though it does include an aria for Marcello from Leoncavallo's version of La Bohème, and the third La Voce d'Oro, an apt description of the golden tone that pours forth. Again, in both recitals, one might note that his singing can be a little generic, but his musical sensibilities are always evident. Nor does he ever indulge in the vulgar mannerisms of some who preceded him. His singing is always tasteful, his musical manners impeccable.

To the three recitals, BMG have added two Leoncavallo arias (another from La Bohème and one from Chatterton) which were originally included as fill-ups for his recording of I Pagliacci under Nello Santi. Both are attractive pieces, wonderfully sung by Domingo.

Looking at Domingo's website I see his calendar is still pretty full, with engagements, both singing and conducting, booked up to November next year. It is a remarkable achievement for a man approaching his eighties. There is no doubt the promise of these early recitals has been not only fulfilled but surpassed. Now that we have said goodbye to Domingo the tenor, now might be a good time to go back to these early recordings and remember just how good he was.




Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 28, 2019, 11:11:15 PM
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A four disc set that collects together all five of Leontyne Price's Prima Donna recital records proves to be a variable pleasure.

Full review on my blog https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/leontyne-price-the-prima-donna-collection/ (http://"https://tsaraslondon.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/leontyne-price-the-prima-donna-collection/")

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on June 29, 2019, 12:50:21 AM
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This 1997 compilation of recordings by Kathleen Ferrier was no doubt leveled at the popular Classic FM market. Not a whiff about the provenance of the various tracks, no texts or translations, nor a mention of the accompanists, amongst whom would be the illustrious name of Bruno Walter.

There is, however, a great deal of pleasure to be had from this hotch potch of songs and arias, even if it would seem that very little thought has gone into the programming.

Kathleen Ferrier died from cancer in 1953, at the age of 41 at the height of her career. She had made her operatic debut at Glyndebourne in 1946, creating the role of Lucretia in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and following it with that of Orfeo in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, a role with which she was particularly associated (and indeed there are two versions of Orpheus's Lament included here, one in Italian and one in English). She also formed close associations with Sir John Barbirolli and Bruno Walter, who later wrote "I recognised with delight that here potentially was one of the greatest singers of our time." A memento of their association is included here in a thrillingly intense version of Um Mitternacht from Mahler's Rückert LIeder and of course most people will be aware of their great recording of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.

Ferrier, a genuine contralto of the sort that seems to have gone out of fashion today, had a voice that one most associates with a grave solemnity, suited to such pieces as Have mercy, Lord, on me from Bach's St Matthew Passion, but it could equally turn to gaiety and lightness, as it does here in such songs as Bridge's Go not happy day and the traditional song I know where I am going, both delivered with perfect, natural, unforced diction, which never impedes her natural legato. I also particularly enjoy the beautiful Quilter songs, which we rarely hear these days.

The Handel and Bach items would get no points for authenticity today, but, if the style and voice might seem old-fashioned, her sincerity and gift for communication do not. Her singing has a way of going straight to the heart in a way that should never go out of fashion.

There are better representations of Ferrier's art out there, but this one serves well as an introduction to a great singer, who died far too young.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 01, 2019, 12:37:34 AM
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Lucia Popp, who tragically died of brain cancer at the age of 54, is one of those sopranos everyone seems to love, and with good reason. She had a winning personality, an immediately recognisable voice of great beauty and a rare gift for communication.

She made her debut at the age of 23, a light coloratura, singing roles such as the Queen of the Night, Blonde, Zerlina, Despina, Sophie, Oscar and Susanna, but by her 30s had moved on to the lyric repertoire and her roles would henceforth be Pamina, the Countess or the Marschallin. She was also active on the concert patform and was a superb recitalist, and this compilation, taken from her EMI recordings, is a good example of her work in all fields.

Disc 1 concentrates on works with orchestra starting with a lovely rendition of Rusalka's Song to the Moon, taken from a 1988 recital of Slavonic Arias. She is ideal in the two Smetana arias too, but the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin, which closes disc 1, ideally requires a fuller tone. One appreciates the fullness of heart nonetheless.

Gorgeous in every way are the exceprts from the Frühbeck de Burgos recording of Carmina Burana, no doubt the main reason many of us consider his recording a first choice for the work. I was lucky enough to hear Popp sing Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder under Tennstedt at the Royal Festival Hall in the early 1980s and their 1982 recording has long been considered a top recommendation for the work, so it is good to have it here included in its entirety. A further reminder of their artistic collaboration is the inclusion of the fourth movement of Mahler's Symphony no 4, where Popp strikes and ideal note of childlike innocence.

Disc 2 starts with some 1967 recordings of Handel and continues with Mozart, taken both from complete recordings and a 1983 recital, so we get examples of her Queen of the Night under Klemperer and her Pamina under Haitink (both often considered touch stones for the roles). I don't know if she ever sang Donna Anna on stage and I'm not sure the voice would ever have been right for the role. None the less the line in Non mi dir is beautifully sustained and the coloratura section cleanly articulated in a way heavier voices don't often achieve. The Schubert songs expose a slight lack of colour, and we note that she is better at expressing joy as in Die Forelle and An Sylvia than the drama inherent in Gretchen am Spinnrade. On the other hand that fullness of heart I spoke about earlier suits Strauss's Zueignung to perfection.

If one were to find any other fault, it would be to note that her legato is not always perfect. She has a tendency to use what John Steane once referred to as the squeeze-box method of production, where each individual note is given a slight push which impedes the long legato line. One might also note that the voice lost some of its silvery purity in the later recordings. She was a considerable artist, nonetheless, and this compendium, which finishes with Popp letting her hair down in arias from Die lustige Witwe and Die Fledermaus can be considered to live up to its title.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 05, 2019, 10:03:55 AM
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If we are to say goodbye to Renée Fleming the opera singer, then now might be a good time to be reminded of this, one of her most successful recital discs, recorded in 1996, when Fleming was at the height of her powers, and before the tendency to indulge in jazzy slides and swoops had become too pronounced.

All but one of the roles represented here were part of her stage repertoire at the time, and she would in fact go on to sing Strauss's Daphne in 2005.

The programme is both varied and interesting. We start with both of Countess Almavivas arias from Le Nozze di Figaro, sung with ideal poise and beauty of tone, before plunging into the romantic imaginings of Tchaikovsky's lovelorn Tatyana. Fleming plays the ardently impulsive young girl to the life. She yearns indwardly In Rusalka's Song to the Moon, and I doubt I have ever heard Ellen's Embroidery Aria from Peter Grimes sung with such superb control and feeling. Desdemona's Willow Song and Ave Maria crops up on many recitals, but Fleming does not suffer at all by comparison with such well known interpreters as Rethberg, Ponselle or Tebaldi.

I suppose the two cornerstones of Fleming's repertoire have been Mozart and Strauss, so it is fitting that, having started with Mozart, we should finish with Struass, a suitably ecsatic version of the closing scene from Daphne.

The recital is beautifully presented with Larissa Diadkova contributing as Filipyevna and Emilia and Jonathan Summers as Balstrode. The London Symphony Orchestra under Solti provide excellent support.

The only criticism I would have is that her diction is not always as good as it might be, but in all other respects this is a classic recital disc.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 07, 2019, 02:20:38 AM
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Rosa Ponselle is known for having one of the most extraordinary voices ever to be recorded. Along with Caruso and Ruffo, she was one of Serafin's "three miracles" and had a voice of unparalleled richness and power. According to Walter Legge, the voice was "majestic, enormously rich in overtones. Her legato was perfect with a breath control that only makes the listener breathless with amazement."

Her career was not long, and she retired relatively early at the age of 40. Some say her withdrawal from the stage was precipitated by adverse criticisms for her Carmen, but it could just as well have been put down to her shrinking top register. The rest of the voice remained admirably secure and rich however, and recordings made at her villa in the 1950s reveal it still to be firm as a rock, though she hadn't sung in public for many years.

Her first recordings were acoustics made for Columbia, but she switched to Victor in 1923, when from 1925, her recordings were made using the electrical process, and all the recordings here have been produced by Ward Marston. The collection gathers together just one recording of every Verdi extract Ponselle recorded, so there are no duplications and, where she did record an extract twice, Marston has chosen whichever he considered to be the best, regardless of whether it was acoustic or electrical.

If we are to think of the ideal Verdi soprano, then Ponselle is undoubtedly the voice to which one would turn, its timbre rich and velvety with ample reserves of power, admirably firm but flexible, limpid and responsive. If there are any faults, they tend to be attributable to the recording process and the strictures of side lengths, thus the recitative to the Ernani aria is somehwat perfunctory and rushed where Callas is incredibly detailed with a much greater range of tone colour.

I wonder too about pitch. Ponselle was known to occasionally employ downward transpositions, so would D'amor sull'ali rosee (recorded acoustically in 1918) be sung at pitch, gven the fact she opts for the optional high Db? It is a lovely performance, the high notes poised and beautifully integrated into the line, so maybe questions of pitch don't really matter, though they would affect the sound of the voice itself.

Nevertheless all the performances here could be considered models of Verdi style, not only the arias, but the duets with Martinelli, Pinza and Stracciari and the final trio from La Forza del Destino with both Martinelli and Pinza, surely one of the greatest versions of ths scene ever committed to disc. Other favourtes for me would be the Miserere (with Martinelli) which exploits her gloriously rich lower register and La vergine degli angeli from La Forza del Destino, her legato perfect and the line spun out on a pure, firm thread of sound the likes of which you will not hear from any other singer.

Of course Ponselle was much more than a Verdi soprano, as we know from recordings of excerpts from Norma, La Gioconda and L'Africaine, as well as songs, but it is good to have here a collection of Verdi arias sug by arguably the greatest Verdi soprano of the twentieth century.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: KevinP on July 08, 2019, 03:33:25 PM
Probably not worth starting a new thread about, so I'll ask here:

Who would you like to see get a big box release of vocal recitals?

My first choice would probably Martti Talvela.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 10, 2019, 12:28:20 AM
Probably not worth starting a new thread about, so I'll ask here:

Who would you like to see get a big box release of vocal recitals?

My first choice would probably Martti Talvela.

I'd probably go for Victoria De Los Angeles. There have been a few box sets, but nothing as exhaustive as the ones for Callas, Schwarzkopf and Janet Baker. I had an LP set called Les Introuvables de Victoria De Los Angeles, which was much better than ant of those that have come out on CD since.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 12, 2019, 11:39:07 PM
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"Great Moments" is the title of this three disc compilation, issued in 2000, and EMI certainly had a great deal to choose from. Nicolai Gedda must be one of the most recorded tenors in history. I suppose one should point out that the "moments" here are all purely operatic. To get a more rounded view of Gedda's range, both in range and repertoire, one would have to include his work in orotorio and song, embracing music from Bach to the present day, as well as some operetta. But this is a sensible conflation of music from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, covering twenty years of recording from 1952 to 1974.

Gedda was a keen linguist and sang virtually without accent in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, English and his native Swedish. This linguistic ability no doubt also informed the vast range of music and styles he was able to embrace. It certainly makes for a pleasingly varied selection of excerpts.

Disc one is made up, mostly, of the earliest material, hence we have excerpts from his splendid Dimitri on the 1952 Dobrowen recording of Boris Godunov (with Eugenia Zareska) and the whole of his first recital for EMI, recorded in 1953. A further excerpt from Boris Godunov from a 1969 recital is included, along with an aria from Rimsky-Korsakov's May Night which shows the voice virtually unchanged in seventeen years, though the style is possibly a little more assertive.

The 1953 recital is a real treasure-trove of delights, opening with a version of Lensky's Act II aria, which is so beautiful that it bears comparison with Sobinov. He sings it as an inner monologue, the pianissimo reprise spun out in mastery fashion. Also wonderful are his honeyed performance of Du pauvre seul ami fidèle from Auber's La Muette de Portici and the glorious mezza voce legato of Nadir's Au fond du temple saint. The other French items are just as desirable, but he also delivers an ardently poetic Cielo e mar from Ponchielli's La Gioconda and his sadly restrained performane of Federico's Lament from Cilea's L'Arlesiana. Some may prefer a more overtly passionate rendering in the manner of Corelli, but personally I find Gedda's vocal restraint quite refreshing and not in the least bit unemtional. This first disc ends with a joyfully ebullient version of Mes amis, écoutez l'histoire from Adam's Le postillon de Lonjumeau, sung in Swedish and recorded live in 1952.

Disc 2 is also wide ranging, starting with music by Rousseau, Gluck (Gedda coping superbly with the high tessitura of Gluck's tenor version of Orphée et Eurydice) and Mozart, before moving on to the German Romantic repertoire. Taken from a 1957 recital disc, Don Ottavio's arias and Tamino's Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön are much better than on the complete Klemperer recordings, with a lovely smile in the tone for Tamino's aria. Belmonte's Ich baue ganz, recorded in 1967 with the Bath Festival Orchestra under Sir Yehudi Menuhin and sung in impeccable English, is brilliantly done. Exciting performances of Huon's arias from Oberon lead us into the German Romantics. Gedda only once sang Lohengrin on stage, but decided that Wagner wasn't for him. His lyrical approach to In fernem Land and Mein lieber Schwann is very beautfiful nonetheless.

Best of all on this second disc is a magical performance of Magische Töne, sung in a ravishing mezza voce of ineffable sweetness, the long legato line beautifully and firmly held. This is great singing, no doubt about it.

Disc 3 is of French and Italian arias and duets. It starts with a superb performance of La gloire était ma seule idole from Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, a role Gedda made very much his own and of course later recorded complete under Sir Colin Davis. Next comes a dramatic version of Un autre est son époux from Werther, the joyful Aubade from Lalo's Le Roi d'Ys, and the Raoul/Marguerite duet from Les Huguenots (with Mady Mesplé) with Arnold's Asil hérèditaire from Rossini's Guillaume Tell, with its fabulously ringing top notes, leading us into the Italian bel canto items.

Mirella Freni joins him for duets from La Sonnambula, Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale whilst alone he sings Edgardo's Tombe degli avi miei and Ernesto's Cercherò lontana terra. The Bellini had me wishing he had been engaged for Callas's studio recording of La Sonnambula rather than the ineffectual Monti. After all he had already sung Narciso in her recording of Il Turco in Italia.

Freni, who had yet to venture into more dramatic repertoire, blends well with Gedda in the duets, but back in 1966 she had yet to learn how to project personality in a recording. Her singing is lovely but a little anonymous. Both the solo items could be considered models of bel canto style but are also sung with appreciation of the dramatic situation, the recitatives vividly delivered.

To finish we have a clutch of encores, including Lara's Granada and the lovely Berceuse from Godard's Jocelyn, which give us a glimpse of Gedda's prowess in lighter fare and remind us of that Gedda also recorded a lot of operetta.

Given Gedda was such a prolific recording artist, there was a lot to choose from when compiling a set of Great Moments, and no doubt the set could have extended to many more discs. There is no doubt, though, that EMI have chosen some plums from his discography and there isn't a dud performance on the whole set. Extravagantly recommended.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on July 13, 2019, 02:57:09 PM
Last disc of The Art of Grace Bumbry box on DGG:

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It would appear this crossover recital was made in the 1990s. Closely miked vocals,  instrumentals and soupy arrangements notwithstanding, this finds Bumbry  in fine vocal fettle, the mid and lower ranges rock solid and the expression nicely world-weary, as befits such numbers as Sometimes When We Touch, Was It a Dream, My Way, etc.

I was reminded of another big-voiced, big-hearted soprano, Eileen Farrell, whose string of pop/blues ballad albums on the Reference label make me swoon every time. One could quibble about the inclusion of such stuff in a ‘serious’ homage compilation such as this and think of it as a mere indulgence from an over-the-hill artist. I think Bumbry should be allowed to go for what she does best, pouring her heart and soul into whatever material she fancies. Met diva Helen Traubel was castigated by management for ‘cheapening’ her brand in cabaret and Broadway appearances. She couldn’t care less and kept doing what she felt like doing.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: KevinP on July 14, 2019, 07:08:20 PM
Last disc of The Art of Grace Bumbry box on DGG:

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I haven't brought myself to listen to this one yet.


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One could quibble about the inclusion of such stuff in a ‘serious’ homage compilation such as this

Maybe, but another way of looking at it is that this disc wouldn't sell enough to warrant a dedicated release. To some extent, I think part of the rationale behind these big boxes is to give home to such releases. Pop crossover LPs and native folksong albums tend to get included if the artist recorded them.

Even without the more 'novelty' discs (which may be an unfair label), a ten-disc box set by an opera singer will get those ten discs into more homes than ten individual releases. (Although that would get some discs into far more homes.) And the presumably small percentage of people who really want the crossover discs will have to splurge on the box set.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on July 31, 2019, 07:24:34 AM

Cross posted from the WAYL thread:

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From La Divina Records, a free download of some 3 hours from Maria Callas’ radio and stage recitals. The sound on some of these items used to be atrocious. Not any more. These all sound well, ranging from ok to excellent. Callas at full tilt could overload mikes, the only real (but all the more thrilling) technical fault here. Her best top note was the B flat, always laser beam-like, with which she could fell a mature oak.

A nice conspectus of the soprano’s extraordinary vocal and dramatic range. Utterly captivating. Surprisingly, some of these arias are a wee bit better in the studio recordings, which reassures one that she always gave of her very best in all circumstances, even in the coldness of a recording studio (the I Puritani rehearsal track is amazing).

Thanks to Tsaraslondon for sharing the link to this  :).
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 01, 2019, 04:36:47 AM
Cross posted from the WAYL thread:

Thanks to Tsaraslondon for sharing the link to this  :).

More than welcome. Pleased that others are enjoying these superb performances too.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 02, 2019, 12:52:35 AM
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Although we may seem to be suffering a dearth of great Verdi and Wagner singers in recent years, Handel singing has gone from strength to strength over the last twenty years or so. However, even amongst the wealth of excellent Handel recital discs that have appeared, this one, recorded in 2004, stands out.

The programme itself is varied, with a nice sprinkling of arias from lesser known works amongst the more well known excerpts from such as Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Rodelinda and Orlando, whilst there is a good selection of different moods represented.

Sandrine Piau is the equal of everything Handel throws at her. The needle-fine precision with which she executes the florid music is breathtaking, as she tosses off stratospheric pyrotechnics with insouciant ease, but she is also adept at sustaining the long lyrical line. Furthermore she encompasses the full range of mood from quiet introspection to dramatic declamation. This is a real tour de force of Handel singing.

She is wonderfully supported by Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques and the recording cannot be faulted.

Warmy recommended.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 03, 2019, 03:30:06 AM
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Is it churlish to point out that, though this collection includes much that is desirable, there is also a great deal of material one might consider "essential" on EMI, for whom Gheorghiu recorded for the lion's share of her career? First contracted to Decca, she soon switched to EMI in order to be with the same label as her husband, Roberto Alagna, with whom she made many now well known complete opera sets. However it was Decca who first signed her up after her sensational debut as Violetta at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and here they pay tribute to her with a well filled disc of excerpts from the few recordings she made for the label before she left them.

There are two excerpts from that 1994 Covent Garden La Traviata, a reflective Ah, fors è lui, technically assured Sempre libera and an affecting Addio del passato. Solti's conducting is, as always in Verdi, a bit rigid but it is easy to understand why Gheorghiu had such a success in the role.

Next chronologically are five arias from her first recital disc made in 1995; Wally's Ebben? Ne andro lontana, Marguerite's Jewel Song from Faust, Il est doux, il est bon from Massenet's Hérodiade and Vive amour qui rêve from his Chérubin. The Wally piece is beautifully sung, though she doesn't quite capture its aching loneliness and the Jewel Song sparkles lightly as it should. The Aubade from Chérubin is also lovely, and I am reminded that I first saw her in the secondary role of Nina in the production of the opera which the Royal Opera, Covent Garden mounted with Susan Graham in the title role. She made quite an impression too. Probably the best of all these selections is the aria from Hérodiade, which is both gorgeous and gorgeously sung.

From the 1996 Lyon production of L'Elisir d'Amore we have Adina and Nemorino's Chiedi all'aura lusinghietta, in which I find her, as I did in the theatre, just a mite too sophisticated.

There are so many good recordings of La Boheme that Chailly's 1999 recording with Gheorghiu and Alagna is quite often forgotten, which is a pity as it's actually very good indeed. From this set we have Gheorghiu's touchingly sincere Si, mi chiamano Mimi through to the end of the act, and also her moving rendition of Donde lieta usci.

Perhaps most impressive of all are the items taken from her Verdi recital with Chailly. She might not quite match the breezy insouciance of Callas or Sutherland in Elena's Merce, dilette amiche, but she seems almost perfectly cast as Amelia in her Come in quet'ora bruna. Both Leonoras are beautifully sung too, and there is a dark loveliness to her tone, which reminds me, surprisingly perhaps, of Leontyne Price.

The disc finishes, fittingly enough, with the fifth take from her first album, a piece from Romanian composer George Grigoriu's Muzika, slight in musical value, but charmingly delivered.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 04, 2019, 01:31:16 AM
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One of the greatest interpreters of French song, Chalres Panzéra was actually Swiss, born in Geneva in 1896. Although he did perform in opera and was particularly renowned for his Pelléas, he became ever more in demand as a recitalist, especially for his performances of French song, and Fauré dedicated his last song cycle, L'horizon chimérique to him. His repertoire extended to Monteverdi, Lully, Schubert and Schumann and, included here is his recording of Dichterliebe with Alfred Cortot a highly individual accompanist at the piano. Panzéra was married to the pianist Magdaleine Baillot, and they had a long and fruitful partnership, all of the French songs on this disc beng accompanied by her.  Aside from the Dichterliebe, this disc includes complete performances of Fauré's La bonne chanson, L'horizon chimérique and a selection of songs by Duparc.

After World War II, he taught at the Juilliard School in New York and at the Paris Conservatoire, and wrote invaluable works on the interpretation of French song.

He had a voice of great beauty, admirably firm and seamless from top to bottom, allied to a wonderful sensitivity and refinement of style, and many of his performances are deservedly considered classics. Everything he does sounds totally spontaneous and yet one knows the amount of care that has gone into each interpretion. This is surely the art that conceals art.

Both the Fauré cycles are superbly sung, as are the Duparc songs, though his wife's spreading of the chords in Lamento won't be to everyone's taste. He totally avoids the tendency to over-sentimentalise a song like the Wagnerian inspired Extase and delivers a marvellously detailed but unselfconscious L'Invitation au voyage.

Panzéra's German sounds as natural as his French and his recording of Duchterliebe has long been considered a classic, though Cortot's playing is highly idiosycratic. It may not delve as deeply as some more recent versions by the likes of Fischer-Dieskau or Schreier, but it captures beautifully something of the essence of Schumann.

A wonderful disc well worth seeking out.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 05, 2019, 01:19:44 AM
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"Heroes", the title of this disc proclaims, though in honesty only two of the characters represented here (the Marquis de Posa and Simon Boccanegra) might be considered to fall into that category. The rest (Figaro, Enrico, Rigoletto, Germont, Renato, Tonio, Scarpia, Iago and Falstaff) hardly qualify, and some of them are downright villains.

What we do get however (and this is not always evident in compilation or recital records) is eleven sharply differentiated voice characters. Like Callas, Gobbi, though his voice is always recognisable, was adept at the art of vocal make-up and there is a world of difference between his genial, but venal Figaro and his blackly evil Ernesto, which follows. Gobbi's may not always be the most beautiful voice you will hear in his chosen repertoire, nor the most graceful (though he could indeed sing with both beauty and grace) but it is the one I often hear in my mind's ear in the roles I have heard him sing. To the characters included here, I could add his Amonasro, his Michele and Schicchi, his Don Giovanni and his Nabucco.

All but Iago's Credo on this compilation are taken from complete recordings of the operas, and we also hear the voices of Victoria De Los Angeles in the duet from Simon Boccanegra and Callas in part of the Act II duet from Tosca from La povera mia scena fu interrotta, both a locus classicus of Gobbi's art.

The last item here is Falstaff's Honour monologue, and I can do no better than quote here John Steane in The Record of Singing

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Play, for example Falstaff's Honour Monologue in a succession of recordings (Scotti, Ruffo, Stabile, Fischer-Dieskau, Gobbi) and Gobbi's is quite markedly the most satisfying, partly because he attends to what Verdi has written and sees the point of it. The phrase 'voi coi vostri cenci' is marked with a crescendo on the first word, followed by three staccato syllables. Scotti takes no notice, Ruffo and Stabile take little; Fischer-Dieskau observes the markings, as ever, but it is Gobbi who sees the pictorial force, the crescendo carrying a comical menace and the staccatos punching or flapping at the despised company as with a broom handle.

Steane's prose is as ever quite pictorial itself, but he also understands that, as with Callas, Gobbi's genius is not just to execute the notes, but to understand the point of [them].

That said, isolated excerpts don't really represent Gobbi at his best, and really one needs the complete sets from which these excerpts are taken.



Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on August 05, 2019, 05:01:15 AM
An extraordinary vocal actor, indeed. He owned the role of Gianni Schiccchi. I can’t hear another singer in this opera without noticing how his (Gobbi’s) every voice inflections and word pointing steal every scene he’s in. In some roles (Scarpia, Iago) he is properly frightening, but in others (Michele, Amonasro) the streak of nastiness may seem overdone and I’m not sure that’s what the composer intended. But you never know: both of these characters have a fanatical streak. The average person is never comfortable with displays of insanity. It could be argued that Amonasro was a psychopath and a manipulator.

Gobbi designed his own stage costumes. He had a totally integrated, even holistic conception of the characters he portrayed. Although I have no evidence on the subject, I would imagine his moves and acting owed more to his own instinct than to a director’s instructions - he himself directed many opera productions.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Wendell_E on August 05, 2019, 11:09:56 AM
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"Heroes", the title of this disc proclaims, though in honesty only two of the characters represented here (the Marquis de Posa and Simon Boccanegra) might be considered to fall into that category. The rest (Figaro, Enrico, Rigoletto, Germont, Renato, Tonio, Scarpia, Iago and Falstaff) hardly qualify, and some of them are downright villains.

There's also a Domingo "Heroes" disc on EMI with a similar cover. I suppose it refers more to the singers themselves than the characters.

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Edit: I did some googling, and also found EMI "Heroes" discs for Corelli, Gedda, Schock, Gigli, and Kraus. All tenors, of course, so they tend to be more heroic. Surprisingly, I don't see one for Vickers.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on August 07, 2019, 05:52:34 AM
Since this thread is about vocal, not necessarily ‘operatic’ recitals, I will indulge by writing about this one  :D :

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From 1987, this is the first of an eventual series that would reach some 10 albums of american pop ballads (Johnny Mercer, Alec Wilder and other masters of the genre). I own 8 of them and treasure every single track. Farrell’s mastery of word-pointing, perfect diction and incredible control of soft dynamics (very hard to achieve for such a huge voice) are a pure delight. Everything is so clear that there is no need for the texts, they can be written down straight from her singing them. One of the most surprising career twists among the legendary operatic divas.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 13, 2019, 12:43:51 AM
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The Czech soprano Jarmila Novotna made few recordings but had a long and illustrious career. She made her debut in 1925 at the age of 17, in no less a role than that of Violetta and retired in 1956 at the age of 49. No doubt some will remember her for her appearance in the Hollywood movie The Great Caruso in which she played the diva Maria Selka.

This disc collects together recordings selected by Novotna herself and taken from her own collection, and shows the voice still firm and true in 1956, when the recording of Rusalka's Song to the Moon (with piano) was recorded.

The disc doesn't, however, get off to the best of starts as, to my ears, the voice sounds strained in the upper reaches of Smetana's Lark Song from The Kiss (also with piano), which was recorded in 1926. Nor do I find her Cherubino particularly characterful, though the voice itself is quite lovely here and sounds more comfortoble in this tessitura, as it is in Pamina's arias, though she dosen't quite find the pathos needed for Ach ich fühls.

For me the most treasurable items are the piano accomapanied Songs of Lidice (Czech Folk Songs) which exploit her rich middle voice. The voice is also beautifully captured in a 1945 recording of the the folk song, Umrem, umrem, this time with orchestra and chorus, but arguably best of all is the vocal arrangement of Fibich's Poème, a piece I know from my teenage years, when I used to play it on the piano, which is deeply felt and eloquenty performed.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 13, 2019, 10:25:40 PM
An extraordinary vocal actor, indeed. He owned the role of Gianni Schiccchi. I can’t hear another singer in this opera without noticing how his (Gobbi’s) every voice inflections and word pointing steal every scene he’s in. In some roles (Scarpia, Iago) he is properly frightening, but in others (Michele, Amonasro) the streak of nastiness may seem overdone and I’m not sure that’s what the composer intended. But you never know: both of these characters have a fanatical streak. The average person is never comfortable with displays of insanity. It could be argued that Amonasro was a psychopath and a manipulator.

Gobbi designed his own stage costumes. He had a totally integrated, even holistic conception of the characters he portrayed. Although I have no evidence on the subject, I would imagine his moves and acting owed more to his own instinct than to a director’s instructions - he himself directed many opera productions.

I differ from you in your assessment of his Amonasro. I think Gobbi plays the terrifyingly single-minded patriot Amonasro to the hilt and, for my money, the Nile scene with Callas is the greatest on disc. Though pushing forward his agenda and reducing his daughter to tears, I hear the love he has for her when he sings Pensa che un popolo vinto, straziato, Per te soltanto risorger può....

As for Michele, well there is already the suggestion (as with Canio) that he is a bit of a bully. Gobbi brings out the brutishness but also manages to elicit my pity when he sings, with such feeling, the lines perche non m'ami piu. I can hear then in my mind's ear now. Admittedly, with less than great singers in the roles of Giorgetta and Luigi, Gobbi's Michele becomes the central character of Il Tabarro, but he is also the reason I prefer his recording to all others.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 15, 2019, 02:01:32 AM
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The Trinidadian/British soprano Jill Gomez was a mainstay of my early opera going life, and I heard her on more than one occasion. I particularly remember seeing her as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro and Elizabeth in Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers with Scottish Opera, as Ilia in Idomeneo and the Governess in the The Turn of the Screw with English Opera Group and as Tytania in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The voice was not large, but she was a strikingly good looking woman with a great stage presence and also a good actress. She is probably best known for creating the role of Duchess of Argyll in Thomas Adès's Powder Her Face and singing the title role in William Alwyn's Miss Julie.

I have known and loved this recital since I bought the original LP soon after it was first released in 1974, and was delighted to find that it had been reissued on CD. The programme is attractive and Gomez has a lovely voice, which she uses imaginatively and musically. Indeed one wonders why such accomplished singing has received so little attention.

We start with a group of songs by Bizet, possibly of slight musical value but direct and charming in their appeal. Gomez is delectably light and airy but also delivers a deliciously sensuous and coquettish Adieux de l'hôtesse arabe, which is probably the most well known of the group. The Berlioz items, especially La belle voyageuse, are also sung with distinction and charm.

The Debussy Proses lyriques are not performed as often as some of Debussy songs, and they are quite hard to bring off. Gomez is fascinating and vividly personal, superbly seconded by John Constable's realisation of the tricky piano part. In many places I was reminded of Mélisande's music in Pelléas et Mélisande. A superbly characterised Noël des enfants qui non plus de maisons brings ths wonderful recital to a close.

Gomez brings something personal to all that she does and John Constable provide estimable support throughout. Highly recommended if you can get hold of a copy.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 15, 2019, 02:56:45 AM
That post brought back memories and as so often ones that overlap with yours. I had that recording on LP, but not subsequently. I agree Gomez had/has a beautiful voice with a good top extension. She was an excellent linguist and clearly trusted by a number of contemporary composers to present their work.

I saw her in Mozart and Tippet, in Stravinsky and as Violetta. I also saw her in concert. I am listening on Spotify to her very appealing Songs of the Auvergne, the voice sweet and creamy at the top. So, that and four other of her discs have been ordered including the French Song recital. All told, £8 plus postage.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on August 15, 2019, 03:08:21 AM
+ 1 for her Canteloube songs (although I am still partial to Netania Davrath).

Her recital of Mozart songs is the best. These are very fragile flowers indeed, easily made uninteresting by less perceptive interpreters. Gomez makes them enchanting.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 15, 2019, 03:17:32 AM
+ 1 for her Canteloube songs (although I am still partial to Netania Davrath).

Her recital of Mozart songs is the best. These are very fragile flowers indeed, easily made uninteresting by less perceptive interpreters. Gomez makes them enchanting.

Yes, I am still partial to the Davrath which I have had in one format or another for 50 years. I think it was the first complete version, earthy and gritty as well as alluring and fun. She did not seem to record much other material.

I had forgotten the Mozart Songs disc of Gomez, I recall now having seen it. No trace of it for sale or on Spotify.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 15, 2019, 04:24:02 AM
I was brought up on the De Los Angeles Chants d'Auvergne and I have them on CD, as well as Jill Gomez's version. I did have the Davrath version on LP, but never replaced it on CD for some reason. I also have the selection Anna Moffo did with Stokowski.

I also have a lovely version of Britten's early Quatre chansons françaises with Gomez  as the soloist and Rattle conducting and an interesting recital called A Spanish Songbook, which collects together various Spanish songs as well as songs by non-Spanish composers in a Spanish style.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: knight66 on August 15, 2019, 05:00:00 AM
The Spanish disc is one of those that I have ordered. I do have the Rattle four Britten songs. That was the first recording of the pieces and remained the only one for quite some time.

Sparked by this discussion, I have been reviewing what is available of Alfreda Hodgson, another better than merel stalwart of that era.

Mike
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 19, 2019, 08:44:08 AM
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Claudia Muzio had a patchy recording career. She made her first recordings in 1911 when she was around 21 (there is some doubt as to her year of birth), an aria and a duet, then from 1917 to 1918 she recorded plentifully for Pathé. In the early 1920s she made recordngs for Edison,  but then there was nothing between 1924 and 1934 when she made what are her most famous recordings for Columbia. It would seem that the years of her greatest glory were probably when she was performing in Chicago in the early 1930s, and this is precisely the time she was silent to the gramophone. The Columbias were made a couple of years before her early death from an unspecified illness in 1936, when she was not in the best of health or in very happy circumstances.

Save for the 1911 recording of Si, mi chiamano Mimi (the first recording made by Muzio) this issue concentrates on the recordings on the Columbias. Occasionally we are aware this is not a voice in perfect health, of a shortness of breath and the inability to swell the tone at climaxes, but the voice is still unfailingly lovely and, in any case, what really singles her out is her interpretive ability. She brings something personal to all that she does. One sees the face and every fleeting change of expression. These are the qualities that make Muzio special.

Even in that very first recording of Mimi's Si mi chiamano Mimi, though the artistry is still unformed, one registers a change of expression when she sings the phrase ma quando vien lo sgelo. Already she is doing more than simply singing the notes. That said, coming, as it does, at the end of all the later recordings, one also notes how much she developed in the interim, as we actually have a direct comparison with her 1935 version of the aria, an altogether more detailed and moving rendition.

Lauri-Volpi described her voice as one "made of tears and sighs and restrained inner fire" and certainly some of the most famous tracks here are the tearfully emotional ones, like her Addio del passato, the letter reading almost unbearably moving, the aria almost more felt than sung. 

But she could also smile and charm, as she proves in the the delightful Bonjour, Suzon and Les filled de Cadiz. But hardly a track passes without some distinction. I only wish room had been found for Donaudy's O del mio amato ben, a Muzio speciality, sung without sentimentality or mawkishness, but beautfully shaded and phrased so that the song emerges as a mini masterpiece.

If you don't know Muzio's work, I urge you to right that wrong.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 20, 2019, 09:36:02 AM
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With a title like "French Operetta Arias" you'd probably be expecting quite a bit of Offenbach and maybe some Lecocq, but what we get is a disc of largely forgotten music from between the two wars. Quite a bit of Messager and Hahn, but also a couple of tracks from the Cuban composer Moises Simons (both great fun), one by Maurice Yvain, probably best known for his song Mon homme, immortalised as My man by Fanny Brice and Barbra Streisand, and one by, of all people, Arthur Honneger, from his operette Les Aventures du roi Pausole. Annoyingly the track listing just gives the titles of the songs so you have to consult the lyrics to find out the composer and work the song is taken from. With so much rare material I'd have welcomed a little more background.

What we do get, however, is a collection of delicious bonbons, an extravagant melée of delights, all delectably performed by American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who has, like her compatriot Frederica Von Stade, made quite a speciality of French music. In fact I remember seeing Graham for the first time in a Covent Garden production of Massenet's Chérubin. Here she captures to perfection the style of the period and is by turns sexy, playful and coy. At one point, due to the magic of overdubbing, she even trios with herself, on Hahn's O mon bel inconnu from his operette of the same name, in which three women answer the same lonely-hearts and fall in love with the same man.

Undemanding music, perhaps, but pure joy and wonderfully performed by Graham with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra uder Yves Abel.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 20, 2019, 11:45:43 PM
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Edda Moser, who was active on the operatic stage during the 1970s and early 1980s, should probably be better known than she is, though many will no doubt remember her from the Joseph Losey film of Don Giovanni in which she played Donna Anna.

Not strictly a recital, this is a collection of excerpts from various Mozart recordings Edda Moser made during the 1970s. Many would no doubt pick Moser for their favourite Queen of the Night, a role she sings on the patchy Sawallish recording, and indeed one notes that most of the music chosen here is for Mozart's fierier characters.

It starts appropriately enough with the Queen of the Night's arias and they really are splendid. First of all the coloratura flourishes and high notes are tossed off with ease and yet she also chracterises the music brilliantly. There is authority in her O zittre nicht, rage in her Der hölle Rache. Where many coloraturas sound merely pretty, Moser sounds regal and dangerous.

Next comes Konstanze's Martern aller Arten which is properly defiant, the coloratura not only accurately executed but filled with affronted contempt. Donna Anna's Non mi dir displays Moser's fine legato and she also has the technique to do justice to the coloratura section.

The qualities that make her an excellent Queen of the Night and Konstanze stand her in good stead for Elettra, which she sang on Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt's recording and she embraces both the lyricism of Idol mio and the fury of D'Oreste, d'Ajace.

The range is exceptional too and during the course of this disc, Moser not only has to sing a low G in Vitellia's Non piu di fiori but a G in alt in the concert aria Popoli di Tessaglia, an aria Moser herself describes as "Unperformable, written without intelligence, not one beautiful note". Well I might not go that far, but the high lying flights make impossible demands on the singer, which Moser manages incredibly well. On the other hand the low lying phrases in Vitellia's aria tax her more and the notes below the stave emerge colourless, almost as if from a different singer.

To finish up we have a couple of examples of her contributions to some of Mozart's sacred music, which showcase her deep legato and firm line. The voice may not have the creamy beautfy of a Te Kanawa or a Fleming, but it is still a very attractive instrument and she is more responsive to the emotional core of the music than Te Kanawa at least.

This is, without doubt, one of the best Mozart vocal compilations I have come across and is definitely worth hearing.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on August 21, 2019, 08:54:09 AM
I have long treasured this recital, first in its LP incarnation (minus the Idomeneo, Tito and sacred arias) and now in its cd incarnation (that same recording). Her Ma che vi fece, O Stelle is jaw-dropping stuff. There’s a later set of performances on the Berlin Classics label (1979-1981), with Popoli di Tessaglia (again) and more concert arias. The voice is a smidge less supple, but this is still Mozart singing of immense vocal and dramatic character.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 24, 2019, 11:16:44 PM
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Fifteen years separates these two discs of Spirituals by Barbara Hendricks and the intervening years have done little to tarnish the voice's beauty. I suppose if one listens carefully and with a highly critical ear, a slight wear on the top register is detectable, a little of the gloriously rich bloom has gone but, for the most part, the consistency is remarkable.

However the two discs differ quite a lot in other ways. The first one might be seen to have a more sophisticated approach, treating the spirituals more as art song with piano accompaniments beautifully realised by classical pianist, and winner of the Leeds Piano Competition in 1975, Dmitri Alexeev, whilst the second adopts what one would consider a more traditional approach with the contribution of the Moses Hogan Singers. You might think, therefore that the second would be the more satisfying, but I prefer the approach of the first, which brings more concentration on the songs and Miss Hendricks's glorious singing. More than once the second disc, though beautifully executed, has a whiff of Hollywood, and it is the first disc I listen to most often. You might have different preferences.

The first disc has a good cross section of slow and up tempo songs, of the not so well known and favourites like Swing low. sweet chariot and Nobody knows de trouble I've seen. Hendricks gorgeous voice is in prime condition here, velvety and rich in the lower and middle registers and opening out into that gleamingly individual top register. Her diction is superb too and she makes no concessions to the music, singing with a burning conviction that suits the material well. Her exhortation of The lord loves a sinner  in Roundabout da mountain would convince any sinner to repent whilst her beautifully lulling Swing slow, sweet chariot would rock any baby to sleep. She also has the voice for joy in such songs as Ev'ry time I feel de spirit, which closes a disc guaranteed to lift the spirits.

The second disc provides variety by including songs for unaccompanied solo voice and for just the choir, but, for my money, there is more musical variety in the first one.


Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 27, 2019, 12:55:32 AM
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There are some singers whose emotional connection to the music they are singing is so complete, so all-embracing that such minor details as vocal technique and beauty of voice are completely forgotten. Not that either of those two qualities are in the least bit lacking here, but they don't really register, so intense, so all-enveloping is the experience of listening.

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was one such artist and, more than once during the course of this marvelous recital, she managed to reduce me to tears. In her voice, the act of singing becomes as natural as the act of speaking. There is no artifice, no show, just total commitment to the music and that rare gift of communication.

The disc starts with a highly personal and emotionally shattering performance of Mahler's Rückert Lieder. I prefer Mahler's orchestral version of these wonderful songs but even with piano accompaniment (wonderfully realised by Roger Vignoles here) I would place this performance with Janet Baker's of the orchestral versions under Barbirolli as the pinnacle of Mahler interpretation. Indeed the desolation of Um MItternacht  is utterly overwhelming and the performance of all the songs totally gripping, with the audience sitting in rapt silence.

The Handel items, though more theatrical, more outwardly dramatic, are no less sincere. She makes musical sense of the vocal leaps in Scherza infida and pours calming balm on the ears in As with rosy steps from Theodora, a reminder of her devastating Glyndeboure performances of Irene.

She married Peter Lieberson the year after this recital and she sings here two of his Rilke settings, written specifically for her as well as an aria from his opera Ashoka's Dream, which she performed in Santa Fe the previous year. The lovely Rilke songs were recorded complete at the Ravenna Festival in 2004 but it is good to have this tantalising extract from Lieberson's opera.

To close we have two encores, a stunningly heartfelt performance of the spiritual Deep River which became something of a Hunt Lieberon speciality and a radiantly ecstatic performance of Brahms's Unbewegte laue Luft.

Hunt Lieberson died at the age of 52 when she was at the absolute height of her career, which makes every recording she made, most of them from live performances, absolutely essential. This one is no exception
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: JBS on August 27, 2019, 05:26:40 PM
I have yet to hear a recording by LHL that is not excellent and often enough a "reference recording".
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 27, 2019, 11:29:26 PM
I first became aware of her in a Proms broadcast when she was the soloist in Elgar's Music Makers. I was immediately taken by the radiance of her performance. Her rapt concentration reminded me a little of Janet Baker, of which there can be no higher praise.

A great artist and a dedicated musician. One of the all time greats.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on August 31, 2019, 11:28:39 PM
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The programme is an interesting one, though including Beethoven in a recital called German Romantic Arias might be thought to be stretching the definition a bit, and it's good to see some rarer items are included amongst the well-known. Accompaniments are in the safe hands of the Staatskapelle Dresden under Sir Colin Davis and Mattilla might be considered to be at her mid-career peak when the disc was recorded in 2001, eighteen years after she was the first winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World at the age of 23.

Unfortunately the recital doesn't really satisfy. I enjoyed most the scene from Euryanthe and Mendelssohn's concert aria Infelice!, but this might have more to do with their unfamiliarity than anything else as I had little else to compare them to . In the more familiar items I found myself constantly thinking of versions by other artists. One or two moments of smudged coloratura apart, Mattila gets round the notes easily enough, but her singing can be a bit rigid and lacking in colour and her legato is not always perfect, nor does she ever illuminate a phrase or bring something personal to the piece she is singing in the way the greatest of the past have done. There is no sense of desperation in Leonore's Abscheulicher! or radiance in the Komm, Hoffnung section, no real appreciation of the contrasting emotions in Ah perfido!. Agathe fares no better. There is no real poise and serenity, such as that achieved by Schwarzkopf, Grümmer or Janowitz. When Schwarzkopf sings Er ist's in Leise, leise we register the change of expression, the quickening of the pulse, where here the moment passes almost unnoticed.

Commendably she sings Rezia's Ocean, though mighty monster in English. It is more comfortably vocalised than Callas's late recording, also in English, but Callas fills its pages with significance where Mattila just sings the notes. She conquers its tehcnical challenges, but makes little impression dramatically.

Something of a disappointment then and a disc that is probably making for my jettison pile
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 01, 2019, 10:56:35 PM
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The English soprano Valerie Masterson was a mainstay of my early opera going life and I saw her on stage quite a few times. A light lyric soprano with great flexibility and an immediately recognisable voice, she was also much admired in France, having made her French debut in Toulouse in the role of Manon. The following year she created quite a stir at the Aix-en-Provence Festival singing the role of Matilde in Rossini's Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra opposite Montserrat Caballé. She was an arrestingly beautiful woman with a charming stage presence and I well remember her Semele at Covent Garden which was both vocally and visually stunning. Unfortunately I didn't get to see her ravishing Cleopatra in ENO's production of Handel's Julius Caesar (sung of course in English) with Janet Baker, but at least it was filmed. I did however see her as Manon, Juliette, Margeurite, the Governess in Britten's Turn of the Screw and as the Marschallin, a role she took into her repertoire quite late in her career, having had enormous success as Sophie when she was younger.

Recorded in 1986 when Masterson was approaching 50, this recital probably catches her just past her best. There is just the suspicion that the lovely voice is thinning out, a trace of a slight taint on its silvery purity. Nevertheless the recital is something of a treasure, especially considering Masterson was so little recorded.

With piano accompaniment provided by Roger Vignoles, it splits neatly into two halves, the first being of music from the baroque era (Arne, Handel and Thomas Bishop), where she is joined by Richard Adeney on the flute, and the second of songs by Gounod, Bizet and Satie. The baroque items display her neat and deft coloratura as well as her ability to shape the long line. When she sings O ravishing delight in Arne's song, the words mirror exactly the sounds coming from the speakers. It is good also to have the Handel cantata, reminding us of her many successes in his works.

The French items are all fairly light. They are a sung with elegance and style but a little more variety in the material might have been welcome here. She finishes with a delightful performance of Satie's La Diva de l'Empire which captures a coquettish smile in the voice.

A great reminder of a lovely singer.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on September 06, 2019, 04:13:03 PM
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I listened to Vanzo’s A te o cara (not on this recital) as an ear cleaner after Pavarotti’s take on the aria (in the complete Decca set). What a difference !! When the opera was over I pulled this disc for pleasure. Not everything on it is to my taste, but Vanzo is mostly innocent of any wrongdoing. French radio recordings from the era (late fifties) were rather crude affairs, with a mic stuck under the singer’s nostrils. The result is often glaring and doesn’t do justice to a singer’s attempts at voice shading. Despite this, some items emerge as miracles of voice production and artistry: Rodolfo’s Che gelida manina (in French), Mylio’s aubade from Le Roi d’Ys, a stunning Pourquoi me réveiller from Werther. Both numbers from Mireille - the enchanting duet La brise est douce et parfumée and Vincent’s cavatine Anges du paradis - reach a level of beauty and naturalness that seems to have evaporated into thin air in the decades since.

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Very nice recital by the mezzo Denyce Graves. Her voluptuous voice covers a lot of territory, from effortless high notes to deep chest tones, rock-solid throughout the compass. Characterizations are okay but generic, never venturing into the abysses of the soul uncovered by Callas (the two Dalila arias, Charlotte’s Air des lettres, Marguerite’s D’Amour, l’ardente flamme). It’s always a pleasure to hear a really good mezzo sing the gorgeous Mignon and Sapho arias, though.

Her French is quite good, but she obviously places tone production ahead of clear diction, making the loud bits rather undecipherable. The model here is Crespin. French did not come naturally to Callas (she has an accent in interviews and there are a couple of diction blots in her Carmen), but in her two EMI recitals she has worked on words and music in such a way that you’d never guess she’s not a native. Irreplaceable artistry.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 07, 2019, 02:30:15 AM
French did not come naturally to Callas (she has an accent in interviews and there are a couple of diction blots in her Carmen), but in her two EMI recitals she has worked on words and music in such a way that you’d never guess she’s not a native. Irreplaceable artistry.

Interestingly Callas was Legge's first choice for the Beecham Carmen, but she refused, saying her French was not yet good enough to sing a complete role. I love De Los Angeles, but I do think her Carmen is all too ladylike (you just can't imagine her ever pulling a knife on a fellow worker) and I often wonder what a Callas/Beecham Carmen would have been like.

I'd like to hear that Vanzo disc. He was a much underrated (and under-recorded) artist.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on September 07, 2019, 09:05:06 AM
One of the problems with Vanzo’s discography is that it’s often hard to figure what’s what in terms of dates and provenance. Small, cheapo labels pick up stuff from commercial recital discs, radio recitals, integral sets, private performances and the like and fail to give these useful indications. Since Vanzo was much in demand in France he recorded some items many times over.

In the 1950s it was quite common for an operatic soloist to give mini concerts in a casino (Deauville, Monte Carlo, Vichy etc), record a 30 minute program on the radio, pair with another singer in a Salle Favart concert, record a whole opera for radio broadcast, do it commercially with different singers/conductors, etc. Vanzo recital discs usually cull from various sources to assemble a program. It’s almost a detective work to identify the recorded items properly.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on September 07, 2019, 09:36:48 AM
Here’s a YT clip of Vanzo’s A te o cara. Listen to the way the high C# blooms in the head voice. I get a brain freeze every time I hear it. BTW Vanzo is the only tenor to sing it softly, all others I’ve heard attack it ff. I couldn’t find any source that showed dynamic marks here.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6L7m0JUJ_oo (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6L7m0JUJ_oo)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on September 08, 2019, 10:37:28 AM
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La Gencer in what she does best (Donizetti heroines) is a wonder to behold. Her Com’è bello from Lucrezia Borgia is simply divine. Caballé went one step further in cultivating those breathtaking pianissimo high notes, but Gencer integrates them more meaningfully in the musical line.

In the Verdi arias one notes greater emotional agitation in an attempt to raise the drama to a higher temperature. In doing so she sacrifices some of the bel canto fabric that Verdi never tore in the first place (a common mistake). Her Forza Leonora is immensely distraught at the sight of a piece of bread. This is a bit over the top. Vocally she triumphs over the aria’s hurdles, the pianissimo high note on invan la pace and the venomous attack on MalediZione !, where too often one hears some generic ‘Ahhhh!!’.

Performances are from 1956 under Gavazzeni and 1974 under Basile. It is not clear if they are from recitals or from complete performances (this is a cdr copied by a friend, so no notes). Any info on that?
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 08, 2019, 11:15:48 AM
Here’s a YT clip of Vanzo’s A te o cara. Listen to the way the high C# blooms in the head voice. I get a brain feeeze every time I hear it. BTW Vanzo is the only tenor to sing it softly, all others I’ve heard attack it ff. I couldn’t find any source that showed dynamic marks here.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6L7m0JUJ_oo (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6L7m0JUJ_oo)

I've finally listened to this clip. Wonderful - and I think those soft head notes are probably much closer to what Bellini might have expected in his day.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: André on September 08, 2019, 03:22:15 PM
I've finally listened to this clip. Wonderful - and I think those soft head notes are probably much closer to what Bellini might have expected in his day.

Rubini created the roles of Elvino (Sonnambula) and Arturo, so I would think that Bellini expected a tenore di grazia voice. The Wiki entry seems to confirm this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenore_di_grazia (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenore_di_grazia).

Vanzo is the real ticket here. It seems plain crazy that he would be the only tenor to sing the aria in the correct way. YT has a « A te o cara C# contest » that includes about 20 takes on that note, all taken ff. Vanzo is not included in it... ???

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RWOpbB1E-6E (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RWOpbB1E-6E)

It takes some fortitude - and a double scotch - to go through it all  >:D.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 09, 2019, 10:53:23 PM
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Essential listening, I'd venture to suggest, even for those who already have the Philips Originals box set I reviewed a few months ago. Here we have the whole of Baker's 1977 Beethoven and Schubert recital, of which three items appear on the Philips box, coupled to the Mozart items from her 1974 Mozart and Haydn recital, none of which do.

The prize of this CD is Dame Janet's superb rendering of Sesto's arias from La Clemenza di Tito. Not only is it a technical tour de force, the rapid triplet figures at the end of Parto, parto tossed off with breathtaking ease, but the range of expression is extraordinary and personal. I have never heard another singer differentiate so much between the repeated cries of Guardami!; in the first she pleads almost angrily, but in the second her tone changes completely, becoming meltingly beseeching, as if Sesto realises he has gone too far. Furthermore she has the ability to get to the emotional core of the music without ever disrupting its Classical style. Pure genius.

Elsewhere she is in enviable form in a programme that ranges wide, including rarities like Beethoven's No, non turbati and arias from Schubert's Lazarus and Alfonso und Estrella. Leppard's accompaniments, whether conducting the English Chamber Orchestra or on the piano or harpsichord are discreet rather than revelatory, perhaps happy, with such a patrician artist, to let his soloist take the lead.

The recordings, originally made for Philips in quadrophonic sound, are here issued in SACD, though I was listening in simple stereo. They are wonderfully clear and lucid.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 19, 2019, 01:04:56 AM
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As well as for DG, Wunderlich recorded extensively for EMI and this 6 disc set, now on Warner, has very little overlap with the DG set I reviewed earlier. Indeed it is amazing how much Wunderlich recorded in his relatively short career. Most of these EMI recordings were all made in the years 1959 to 1962. The exceptions are the excerpts from Klemperer's Das Lied von der Erde, which was recorded in 1964. Some have doubted Wunderlich's ability to ride the Mahlerian orchestra, suggesting that he might have had some studio assistance. Well we now have two live recordings of the work (under Krips and Keilberth, both with Fischer-Dieskau singing the lower songs) to refute that. Whether large or not, the voice had a fine ring to it and its heady beauty remained unimpaired whether at piano or forte. I think there is a discernible increase in its carrying power between 1959 and 1964, and I have no doubt he would have gone on to sing certain Wagner roles - Lohengrin and Walter von Stolzing at least.

So what do we have here? Well disc 1 starts of somewhat surprisingly with early German fifteenth century songs, then progresses through Bach, Handel (a sublime Ombra mai fu), Mozart arias from Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte  (Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön slightly more diffident here than it is on the later Böhm recording), and excerpts from Lortzing's Zar und Zimmermann and Der Wildschütz which rather outstayed their welcome for me. It finishes with excerpts from Nicolai's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, including his glorious version of Horch, die Lerche singt im Hain.

Discs 2 and 3 are mostly operetta, with the addition of ecerpts from Flotow's Martha and Cornelius's Der Barbier von Bagdad. Wunderlich's infectious joy in the act of singing made him ideal for operetta and though there is admittedly rather a lot of it here, he makes no concessions to the music; like Schwarzkopf and Gedda, he can make the music sound much better than it is.

However, for me the jewels of the set, with a couple of exceptions noted above, are all to be found on discs 4 and 5. Though all sung in German, we get some ideal performances of excerpts from Italian, French, Czech and Russian opera. Disc 4 starts with the Act I duet for Donna Anna and Don Ottavio (with Elisabeth Grümmer no less), in which he is both aristocratic and ardent, with a touch of the heroic often missing from singers of Don Ottavio. Wunderlich's Mozartian credentials are further strengthened by the inclusion of both Don Ottavio's arias and Ferando's Un aura amorosa from Cosí fan tutte. Nemorino, the Duke and Alfredo's arias are all treated to his golden tone and winning manner, his liquid legato hardly impeded by the fact that he is singing in German rather than Italian. There are more extended excerpts from La Bohème and Madama Butterfly, in which he is an ardent Rodolfo and Pinkerton (a glorious top C in Che gelida manina), whilst disc 5 gives us some lovely excerpts from French operas (Boieldieu's La Dame Blanche, Thomas's Mignon and Massenet's Manon and wonderful Smetana (The Bartered Bride). Best of all perhaps is his plaintive singing of Lensky's Kuda, kuda, but he is also superb as Hermann in The Queen of Spades.

The last disc concenrates on Lieder; Schubert, Wolf, some glorious Strauss which might just have reconciled the composer to the sound of the tenor voice, and of course his headily free singing of the tenor songs from Das Lied von der Erde. It finishes off with a song cycle by his friend Fritz Neumeyer, which unfortunately rather outstays its welcome. No matter, these are wonderful reminders of a gorgeous tenor voice that shot through the operatic firmament only to be silenced too soon.

It remains to be said that the orchestral contrubutions are fine and it is good to also encounter the voices of Aneliese Rothenberger, Lisa Otto, Pilar Lorengar, Rudolf Schock, Hermann Prey and Gottlob Frick in some of the duets and emsembles.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 27, 2019, 01:45:16 AM
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This issue passed me by when it was first released in 2010, but what a treasure it is. Always a pleasure to hear Wunderlich's glorious tenor, here we have the added frisson of hearing him live in the opera house.

His Tamino is well known from the Böhm recording. These excerpts are taken from a 1964 Munich performance, where he is joined by Anneliese Rothenberger as Pamina and Karl-Christian Kohn as Sarastro under the baton of Fritz Reiger. As on the Böhm recording, he is an ardently lyrical but also heroic Tamino and remains my touchstone for the role. Don Ottavio's two arias from a performance of Don Giovanni, conducted by Karajan in 1963 are also superb and Ottavio emerges as a more positive character than he often does, benefiting from Wunderlich's golden tone, his superb breath control and ease of movement. As in the Jochum recording he is also an ideal Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.

The excerpts from Il Barbiere di Siviglia, with Hermann Prey as Figaro, are unfortunately sung in German, but the language does not impede Wunderlich's superb legato, nor the warmth of his tone, and we get to hear his wonderfully light touch in comedy and his ability to interact with a colleague.

For me, though, the Strauss items are the biggest eye opener. I feel sure that, had Strauss heard them, it would have reconciled him to the sound of the tenor voice. The duet for the Italian Singers in Capriccio (with Lucia Popp, no less) has probably never sounded more gloriously, well, italianate, so beautiful that it elicits a spontaneous round of applause from the Vienna audience. The same could be said for his singing of Di rigori armato from Der Rosenkavalier, which is sung with gorgeous burnished tone. I doubt any Italian tenor could sing it better. So too, in the excerpts from Daphne and Die schweigsame Frau his liquid legato stays in tact, however tough the going. Suddenly Strauss's often ungrateful writing for the tenor voice makes sense. Did Wunderlich ever make an ugly sound? Somehow I doubt it. Truly he was a prince among tenors.

Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Moonfish on September 29, 2019, 10:23:00 PM
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This is a superb compendium of recordings taken from live concerts given by Callas between 1949 and 1959. It is being offered as a FREE download (yes, you read that right, free) from Divina Records, so surely there can be no reason not to snap it up while you still can. The sound, while hardly state of the art, is not bad for the period, all of the performances having been taken from radio broadcasts. Taken from BJR LPs, transfers are up to Divina’s usual high standards and the download comes with an excellent pdf of the booklet which accompanied the original release.

.....

How lucky we are to have these wonderful live performances preserved in sound, and how grateful we are to Divina Records for offering them to us free of charge. Nobody need hesitate.

 https://www.divinarecords.com/bjr143/bjr143.html (https://www.divinarecords.com/bjr143/bjr143.html)

Thanks so much for posting and sharing these gems, Tsaraslondon.  Wonderful (but I expect nothing less from the legendary Callas)!
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 01, 2019, 12:05:33 AM
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These are all live performances of material Baker recorded in the studio (twice in the case of Les Nuits d'Eté) so one might wonder if they are really essential listening.

Well, though Baker was a superb recording artist, who never really made a bad record, she was also a great communicator and collaborator and these performances, all with different conductors from the studio ones, bring with them the added frisson that comes with a live event, and the sound, though not as clear as in her studio performances, is more than acceptable.

It starts with a 1975 performance of Chausson's almost Wagnerian Poème del'amour et de la mer, which she recorded two years later under André Previn. This one has, somehwat suprisingly you might think, Evgeni Svetlanov at the helm, who takes great care over dynamics and shapes the work beautifully. Baker's range of expression, her concenration, her breath control and command of the long line are exemplary, filling its pages with rapt expression. A marvelous performance.

Baker's recording of Les Nuits d'Eté with Barbirolli, recorded in 1967 is justly famous and has hardly been out of the catalogue. She recorded it again under Richard Hickox in 1990, but by this time her voice was beginning to show signs of wear (more noticeable in a recording than when I heard them perform the work together in concert at around the same time) and the second recording has never enjoyed the acclaim of the first. This performance under Giulini was taped at the Royal Festival Hall a month after the Chausson and it is good to hear how Baker's interpretation changed depending on whom she was singing with. Giulini's speeds are expansive (Le spectre de la rose at 8'29" must be one of the slowest on disc) and would tax most singers beyond their limits, but here they never flag and Baker luxuriates in the extra room she is given to make her interpretive points. As in the Chausson, her breath control is astonishing and the range of expression wide. My notes are peppered with words like searing, delicate, passionate abandon, yearning. Though it doesn't entirely supplant the Barbirolli in my affections, it is nonetheless a performance I would never want to be without.

The earliest performance here is a 1963 recording of the Song of the Wood Dove from Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, a work she recorded five years later under Janos Ferencsik. Baker was not yet 30 when she gave this performance and, superbly supported by Norman Del Mar, her singing is urgently free and impassioned, even better than that on the Ferencsik.

Essential listening then? Absolutely and unequivocally, yes.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Biffo on October 01, 2019, 01:41:11 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/ZNcOtziNzwdB-H9ELP3yjVJfhLM=/fit-in/600x599/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-9879493-1487856491-9833.jpeg.jpg)

These are all live performances of material Baker recorded in the studio (twice in the case of Les Nuits d'Eté, so one might wonder if they are really essential listening.

Well, though Baker was a superb recording artist, who never really made a bad record, she was also a great communicator and collaborator and these performances, all with different conductors from the studio ones, bring with them the added frisson that comes with a live event, and the sound, though not as clear as in her studio performances, is more than acceptable.

It starts with a 1975 performance of Chausson's almost Wagnerian Poème del'amour et de la mer, which she recorded two years later under André Previn. This one has, somehwat suprisingly you might think, Evgeni Svetlanov at the helm, who takes great care over dynamics and shapes the work beautifully. Baker's range of expression, her concenration, her breath control and command of the long line are exemplary, filling its pages with rapt expression. A marvelous performance.

Baker's recording of Les Nuits d'Eté with Barbirolli, recorded in 1967 is justly famous and has hardly been out of the catalogue. She recorded it again under Richard Hickox in 1990, but by this time her voice was beginning to show signs of wear (more noticeable in a recording than when I heard them perform the work together in concert at around the same time) and the second recording has never enjoyed the acclaim of the first. This performance under Giulini was taped at the Royal Festival Hall a month after the Chausson and it is good to hear how Baker's interpretation changed depending on whom she was singing with. Giulini's speeds are expansive (Le spectre de la rose at 8'29" must be one of the slowest on disc) and would tax most singers beyond their limits, but here they never flag and Baker luxuriates in the extra room she is given to make her interpretive points. As in the Chausson, her breath control is astonishing and the range of expression wide. My notes are peppered with words like searing, delicate, passionate abandon, yearning. Though it doesn't entirely supplant the Barbirolli in my affections, it is nonetheless a performance I would never want to be without.

The earliest performance here is a 1963 recording of the Song of the Wood Dove from Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, a work she recorded five years later under Janos Ferencsik. Baker was not yet 30 when she gave this performance and, superbly supported by Norman Del Mar, her singing is urgently free and impassioned, even better than that on the Ferencsik.

Essential listening then? Absolutely and unequivocally, yes.

This is an album I have considered buying several times over the years and your persuasive advocacy has made me think again. Then again, I have the Previn/Chausson and it is not a key work for me. I was at the Giulini concert and the Berlioz was indeed 'expansive', Schubert's Great C major even more so. On reflection I will stick with Barbirolli. I am not too fussed about acquiring another 'Wood Dove', even from Dame Janet.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: vandermolen on October 01, 2019, 11:16:41 AM
I don't listen to that many vocal recitals and not sure if this counts. Ian Partridge is my favourite vocalist:
(http://)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 01, 2019, 11:12:26 PM
I don't listen to that many vocal recitals and not sure if this counts. Ian Partridge is my favourite vocalist:
(http://)

Excellent performances. I especially like Warlock's The Curlew. An absolutely haunting work and I think this is its best performance on disc.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: vandermolen on October 02, 2019, 09:13:14 PM
Excellent performances. I especially like Warlock's The Curlew. An absolutely haunting work and I think this is its best performance on disc.
Totally agree - especially in this performance.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 08, 2019, 09:55:29 AM
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What a treasure trove of great singing this is! Indeed four well filled discs of absolutely amazing singing.

The layout pretty much makes sense too. Disc one is given over to Der fliegende Holländer and Die Meisteringer von Nürnberg, disc two to Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, disc three to Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre and disc four to more from Die Walküre, plus Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. No texts and translations, but detailed information on the recordings and biographical notes on all the singers.

With a few exceptions (Birgit Nilsson and Hans Hotter in Wie aus der Ferne from Der fliegende Holländer recorded in 1957, Lotte Lehmann singing Euch Lüften from Lohengrin in 1948) all these Wagnerian excerpts were recorded in a relatively short period of time between 1927 and 1942; a mere fifteen years, with the majority taken from the 1930s. It rather puts paid to the lie that, when comparing singers of today to those of the past, people are drawing from a much greater time period. How many singers active between 2004 and today can compare with the illustrious voices we hear on these discs?

Only Marta Fuchs, singing Senta's ballad in 1940 gave me limited pleasure, especially when set next to ELisabeth Rethberg's 1930 account which follows. There are some famous names here of course, like Frida Leider, Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, Friedrich Schorr, Alexander Kipnis, Meta Seinemeyer and Elisabeth Rethberg, but some of the less well known names are still startlingly good, for instance Florence Easton and Walter Widdop gloriously ringing and firm toned as Brünnhlide and Siegfried in the Prelude from Götterämmerung. The warm voiced Marjorie Lawrence's career was mostly confined to France and it is in French that she sings a wonderfully malevolent Ortrud, with Martial Singher as Telramund. Though she also sang other mezzo roles, like Brangäne, she is a superb Brünnhilde in both Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, again in French, singing with rich, beautiful, unforced splendour throughout her range. Her Immolation scene is quite one of the best I have heard.

There are other fine examples of Wagner in the vernacular. Again in French we have Arthur Endrèze as the Dutchman, Georges Thill and Germaine Martinelli as Walther and Eva and Germaine Lubin as Brünnhilde, and in Italian we have Aureliano Pertile (Lohengrin's Nun sei bedankt) and Hina Spani (Elsa's Euch Lüften).

There are some well known names among the conductors too, like Leopold Ludwig, Albert Coates, Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Thomas Beecham, Eugène Bigot, Rudolf Moralt and Leo Blech etc and indeed there is hardly a track that doesn't have some interest.

Only the 1957 Holländer duet is in good stereo sound (Nilsson's top notes bursting forth from the speakers like laser beams) but few allowances need to be made for the recorded sound, and one's ears quickly adust.

Anyone with an interest in Wagner and/or singing needs to have this set in their collection. Both as a historic document and a source of great listening pleasure, it is absolutely essential.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 11, 2019, 08:45:03 AM
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Ljuba Welitsch, for the short time her star was in the ascendant, was undoubtedly a star, glamorous both of voice and personality. Renowned the world over for her Salome, a role in which Strauss himself had coached her, she was also known for her Tosca and Donna Anna. Unfortunately she had developed nodules by 1953 and thereafter, though she didn't retire completely, confined herself to character roles, like the Duenna in the Schwarzkopf/Karajan recording of Der Rosenkavalier.

This two disc set showcases her Salome, Donna Anna and Tosca, as well as Johann Strauss (the Czardas from Die Fledermaus and  Saffi's Gypsy Song from Der Zigeunerbaron).  The rest is devoted to Lieder and songs by Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Darogmizhsky, Mussorgsky, Marx, Mahler and Strauss, all with piano accompaniment, even the Vier letzte Lieder.

Whilst we get a good impression of the glamour and the silvery purity on high, the recordings do also rather show up her limitations. Best of the items is the 1949 recording of the Final Scene from Salome under Reiner, though, even here, I prefer the earlier performance she made under Lovro von Matacic in 1946, which, to my mind, has a greater degree of specificity. There is just the suspicion here that she had sung the role too many times; there is a touch of sloppiness in the delivery, which is complelely absent from the earlier recording.

She makes an appreciable Tosca, and something of her stage personality comes across here, but, I hear little of Callas's detail or Price's or Tebaldi's vocal opulence. A tendency to be careless of note values is even more evident in the Donna Anna excerpts, where we also become aware of an unwillingness to vary the volume or colour of her singing. John Steane had similar misgivings in his book The Grand Tradition.

Quote
It is hard to think of a voice with a brighter shine to it, or of a singer with greater energy and more sense of joy in that sheer act of producing these glorious sounds. Even here, however, one notes that subtlety is hardly in question; there is little of the lithe seductiveness which Schwarzkopf and Güden bring to the [Fledermaus] Czardas, for instance. And this limits much of her best work, even the Salome in which she made such an exciting impression on her audiences.

These limitations are even more evident in the songs with piano, and, though there is still much to enjoy in disc one, I found much of disc two something of a trial to listen to, the voice just too bright and unrelentingly mezza voce. The Strauss Vier letzte Lieder can work with piano, as witness a recording by Barbara Bonney, but here I just longed for the greater subtlety and range of expression of Schwarzkopf or Popp, of Norman or Fleming. The Mahler had me thinking of the shattering Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in the piano accompanied version, and the Schubert and Schumann songs hardly begin to challenge versions by a range of different sopranos from Welitsch's time onwards.

If I were to choose but one representation of Welitsch's art, it would absolutely be the 1949 live recording from the Met of Salome under Reiner, but, for a recital I'd go for EMI's old LP and CD transfer of the 1946 Salome Final Scene, which also has on it a glorious version of Tatyana's Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin. This two disc set is, I'm afraid, a mite disappointing.
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Moonfish on October 11, 2019, 08:52:09 PM
I presume you are referring to the Guild release?
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Did you by any chance hear this recording?
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And out of curiosity - What are your thoughts and experience with Nimbus recordings? E.g.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51q4rDS-lzL.jpg)
Title: Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 12, 2019, 12:19:48 AM
I presume you are referring to the Guild release?
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61AQdQqt4uL.jpg)


Did you by any chance hear this recording?
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71M5VKVpuIL._SX522_.jpg)


And out of curiosity - What are your thoughts and experience with Nimbus recordings? E.g.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51q4rDS-lzL.jpg)

I have the Salome on an old Melodram issue. It's coupled with excerpts from a 1950 Aida with Ramon Vinay and a 1951 Don Giovanni under Reiner with Eugene Conley.

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The 1952 performance has Hotter as Jokanaan, but Welitsch is not in such fresh, easy voice. The probems are beginning to show, I think.

I have some of the Nimbus issues, though not the Welitsch one. Some people find the method they used makes for more comfortable listening but somehow distances the singer from the listener. I have both a Naxos Historical and a Nimbus Ponselle release and I think I prefer the Naxos.