Author Topic: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?  (Read 427187 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2640 on: August 09, 2021, 03:53:33 PM »
NP:

Strauss
Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60
Deborah Voigt, Natalie Dessay, Anne Sofie von Otter, Ben Heppner, Albert Dohmen
Staatskapelle Dresden
Giuseppe Sinopoli


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Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2641 on: August 09, 2021, 04:34:04 PM »
NP:

Strauss
Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60
Deborah Voigt, Natalie Dessay, Anne Sofie von Otter, Ben Heppner, Albert Dohmen
Staatskapelle Dresden
Giuseppe Sinopoli




Last week I listened to this opera in the Karajan version from 1955. I found the slightly limited sound of the orchestra a drawback. Voices are well caught, though, forward and very clear. Streich (Zerbinetta) stole the show. Wish it had been recorded in stereo a couple of years later. All the principals were still active then.

How did you like that version, John ?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2642 on: August 09, 2021, 06:50:07 PM »
Last week I listened to this opera in the Karajan version from 1955. I found the slightly limited sound of the orchestra a drawback. Voices are well caught, though, forward and very clear. Streich (Zerbinetta) stole the show. Wish it had been recorded in stereo a couple of years later. All the principals were still active then.

How did you like that version, John ?

I wanted to get that Karajan recording your talking about, but, as you pointed out as have reviews I’ve read, the fidelity is biggest drawback, so I decided to pass on it. The Sinopoli is excellent. All of the vocalists are well captured and seem to be in good voice. Sinopoli, of course, is in his element in Strauss, so I can’t make any particular criticism of his own performance. The fidelity is superb. A recommendable release that I must thank Rafael for as he’s the one who turned me onto these Strauss Sinopoli opera recordings.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2643 on: August 10, 2021, 04:53:25 AM »
Last week I listened to this opera in the Karajan version from 1955. I found the slightly limited sound of the orchestra a drawback. Voices are well caught, though, forward and very clear. Streich (Zerbinetta) stole the show. Wish it had been recorded in stereo a couple of years later. All the principals were still active then.

How did you like that version, John ?

Considering its mono, the sound on the Karajan is extraordinarily good, and I'll take his cast over any of the other recorded versions, though the Kempe comes close. Seefried, a soprano as Strauss stipulated rather than the mezzo who usually sings the role these days, is a superb Composer and dominates the prologue, as she should. Streich is, as you say, also superb, but so is Schwarzkopf and there are some lovely cameos from the likes of Hermann Prey and Hugues Cuénod. Schock is a little stolid, I suppose, but perfectly acceptable and Karajan moulds the score with real understanding. The lack of stereo sound in what is after all a chamber opera has never bothered me.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2644 on: August 11, 2021, 08:58:58 AM »
Considering its mono, the sound on the Karajan is extraordinarily good, and I'll take his cast over any of the other recorded versions, though the Kempe comes close. Seefried, a soprano as Strauss stipulated rather than the mezzo who usually sings the role these days, is a superb Composer and dominates the prologue, as she should. Streich is, as you say, also superb, but so is Schwarzkopf and there are some lovely cameos from the likes of Hermann Prey and Hugues Cuénod. Schock is a little stolid, I suppose, but perfectly acceptable and Karajan moulds the score with real understanding. The lack of stereo sound in what is after all a chamber opera has never bothered me.

No.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2645 on: August 11, 2021, 09:20:09 AM »
No.

Well it's good enough for me. These things are subjective. In fact I'd rather the more natural mono sound of this set to the overblown stereo of his Don Carlo.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2646 on: August 11, 2021, 10:16:48 AM »
Fair enough. I actually agree with everything you mention except the sound. I find the voices to be very well caught but no so the orchestra - too distant for my taste. Like you say, these things are subjective.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2647 on: August 11, 2021, 05:43:34 PM »
NP:

Ravel
L'enfant et les sortilèges
Sylvaine Gilma (soprano), Francoise Ogeas (soprano), Colette Herzog (soprano), Jeannine Collard (mezzo-soprano), Jane Berbié (mezzo-soprano), Camille Maurane (baritone) et. al.
R.T.F. National Orchestre
R.T.F. Choeur De Radio France
R.T.F. Maitrise De Radio France
Maazel




Exquisite. French opera doesn’t get much better than this other than Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2648 on: August 13, 2021, 05:31:36 AM »


This is the premiere recording of Louise, albeit in potted form. Charpentier's approval was sought and given and he even assisted in the production of the recording, made 35 years after the opera's stage premiere in 1900. In Vallin and Thill it finds its ideal Louise and Julien and it's worth putting up with the cuts and ancient sounds just to hear such authentically French singing, their diction so crisp even a non French speaking listener can all but taste the words.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online ritter

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2649 on: August 14, 2021, 11:01:03 AM »
Gianluigi Gelmetti in memoriam:



Salieri’s Les Danaïdes, a late tragédie lyrique, is a rather engaging, if perhaps also quite formulaic, work. I think though that the more recent recording conducted by Christophe Rousset on the Bru Zane label is much more exciting and idiomatic. This RAI broadcast, in excellent sound, boasts Montserrat Caballé —towards the end of her illustrious career—in the lead rôle (Gelmetti later made a studio recording for EMI with Margaret Marshall).

Maestro Gelmetti died this week in Monte Carlo, aged 75. He had held several conducting posts (at the Stuttgart Radio, the Sydney Symphony, the Rome Opera, and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic), but he was particularly associated with the obscurer reaches of the Italian operatic repertoire and lesser-known works by Rossini (many of which he recorded, sometimes with distinguished casts). I own his recordings of Mascagni’s Le maschere and Iris, Respighi’s La fiamma, and Rossini’s La gazza ladra (with Katia Ricciarelli) and Maometto II (with Cecilia Gasdia). All are highly enjoyable and valuable additions to the recorded repertoire (even if unfortunately many were made for smaller, now defunct labels —like Ricordi and Agora— ).

I saw him conduct only once, a delightful Barber of Seville here in Madrid about 15 years ago. Gelmetti would himself play the guitar from the pit in Ecco ridente in cielo in Act I, a nice touch.

https://operawire.com/obituary-italian-conductor-gianluigi-gelmetti-dies-75/

Rest in piece….
« Last Edit: August 14, 2021, 11:07:33 AM by ritter »
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Offline JBS

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2650 on: August 14, 2021, 12:34:46 PM »
Ritter's reference to this as a historical curiousity might be a good label.

Sound is not great (almost mono!), intrusive stage noises at points, music is not particularly memorable.  The soloists do a good job with what Meyerbeer gave them, but that's not much. It's probably telling that the most famous scene in this opera is the ballet scene from Act 3.

Recommended only for Meyerbeer fans and even they would probably want a recording with better sound.

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2651 on: August 15, 2021, 10:59:36 PM »


Both story and music are heavily influenced by Wagner, but Chausson has his own voice and one has to wonder why this excellent opera has receieved so few performances since its 1903 première.

There is at least one other recording available, but I can't imagine it being better than this one. Winbergh lets it down a bit, singing for the most part too loud in questionable French, but both Quilico and Zylis-Gara are superb, as are the smaller roles and Armin Jordan makes sure the performance never sags.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2652 on: August 15, 2021, 11:29:02 PM »


Both story and music are heavily influenced by Wagner, but Chausson has his own voice and one has to wonder why this excellent opera has receieved so few performances since its 1903 première.

There is at least one other recording available, but I can't imagine it being better than this one. Winbergh lets it down a bit, singing for the most part too loud in questionable French, but both Quilico and Zylis-Gara are superb, as are the smaller roles and Armin Jordan makes sure the performance never sags.

+1 for all you write.  I think this performance is preferable to the alternative/Telarc version;



which sounds pretty gorgeous due to Telarc's sumptuous engineering but I do find Botstein no more than efficient as a conductor and lacking the flair this (and many other) scores require.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2653 on: August 16, 2021, 02:46:29 AM »
+1 for all you write.  I think this performance is preferable to the alternative/Telarc version;



which sounds pretty gorgeous due to Telarc's sumptuous engineering but I do find Botstein no more than efficient as a conductor and lacking the flair this (and many other) scores require.

I haven't heard the Botstein, but I've read a couple of reviews that state the Jordan is very much better. It's not an opera I'd be wanting mutiple versions of, and the Jordan is rather good, so fills the gap more than adequately.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2654 on: August 16, 2021, 06:31:02 AM »


Callas's debut in a role with which she became particularly associated. So successful were these performances that La Scala ditched plans to stage Scarlatti's Mitridate Eupatore with her later that year and replaced it with the Cherubini opera. Hearing this set you would never suspect for an instant that it was Callas's first attempt, so brilliantly assured is her singing and she is in quite stupendous voice. A more detailed review on my blog https://tsaraslondon.com/2017/06/07/1986/
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 06:32:36 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2655 on: August 16, 2021, 11:46:55 PM »


I have four recordings of Medea with Callas, made at different stages of her career; her first performance in Florence from 1953, this one from later the same year at La Scala, the studio recording under Serafin from 1957 and the Dallas performance under Rescigno of 1958 on the day Bing had pulled his publicity stunt of publicly tearing up her Met contract.

All four of these are worth hearing and it is fascinating to compare them. They all have different conductors and each one has prepared his own edition of the score, employing different cuts. They all also have different approaches to the score, Gui and Serafin adopting a more Classical style, whilst Bernstein and Rescigno bring to it a little more Romantic Sturm und Drang.

I have written a more detailed review of this recording on my blog https://tsaraslondon.com/2017/11/11/medea-la-scala-1953/ but suffice it to say that Callas is in terrific voice in Milan, as she was in Florence. She was several pounds lighter in December than she had been in May in Florence, but so far it doesn't seem to have had any effect on her voice. However over the next year, she would continue to lose weight until, by the time of La Vestale the following December, she would be pencil thin.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline André

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2656 on: August 17, 2021, 03:35:02 PM »
Cross-posted

Quote


I’m a huge Verdi fan, but this opera is far from a favourite. I actually find it rather unpleasant, a melodrama where all the men are rather despicable characters. Of course they come to regret their ways but too little, too late. Puccini’s La Bohème is rather similar but most of its characters (Violetta excepted) have a complexity that I find lacking in Verdi’s opera. Also, Verdi didn’t write  interesting parts for mezzo soprano or bass, something he was famously good at (whoever heard of a mezzo making a career of singing Flora Bervoix?)

This is as good a modern version as any. Surprisingly Cotrubas sings a good high E flat in her first act aria. It is an unwritten interpolation and some sopranos (de los Angeles and Tebaldi for example) eschew it. Domingo is in fine form, refulgent of voice, almost likeable. Milnes sings very well as papa Germont. Kleiber’s conducting is superb, attentive to every mood and nuance.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2657 on: August 17, 2021, 11:09:11 PM »
I always recommend the Kleiber Traviata to anyone as the best studio version of the opera, which also reminds me that I saw Cotrubas as  a superb Violetta at Covent Garden. I ike the opera rather more than you do and have seen it quite a few times on stage. I remember ENO had a particularly good and thankfully traditional production, which starred Josephine Barstow, who was mightily effective in the role.

I also have seven different recordings; the Kleiber, De Los Angeles with Serafin, and a live broadcast featuring Teresa Stratas's debut in the role and Wunderlich as a simply wonderful Alfredo, singing in Italian for once. However, in this of all roles, Callas is hors concours and nobody satisfies me as much and I have four versions with her singing the role. The Cetra studio version is let down by an inadequate conductor and supporting singers, but there are three absolutely essential live versions; La Scala, 1955 under Giulini, with Di Stefano and Bastianini, Lisbon 1958 under Ghione with Kraus and Sereni and (best of all in my opinion) London 1958 under Rescigno with Valetti and Zanasi. This one also enjoys the best sound of the three, having been taken from a BBC Third programme transmission, though the "official" MCA Classics version is best avoided, as they made a bit of a mess of the transfer. Myto and Ars Vocalis are much better.

If only Walter Legge had had the patience to wait a couple more years for Callas to be free from the terms of her Cetra contract to record his La Scala version. Stella proved to be a poor substitute and that version never sold well. With Callas, Di Stefano and Gobbi it might have become a classic of the stature of their recordings of Tosca and Rigoletto. Hindsight is a great thing.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2658 on: August 18, 2021, 12:09:55 AM »


After Florence and La Scala live in 1953, this 1957 studio recording is a decidedly low key affair. Though in better sound than either (stereo, though it's a bit flat and airless) it lacks the excitement and thrill of either of the two live versions. It was recorded shorly after Callas sang Amina at the Edinburgh Festival, when she was in poor health, and though there are no jarring wobbles like the ones one hears in the recording of Manon Lescaut made earlier in the year, she sounds a litte underpowered. Serafin too is occasionally somnolent. We'd probably be happy enough with it if we didn't know the existence of any of the live performances (and I certainly was for many years before I heard them) and Callas fails only in comparison to herself caught live and on the wing. She is still a great Medea.

Review on https://tsaraslondon.com/2017/01/08/medea/.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2021, 01:17:12 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: What Opera Are You Listening to Now?
« Reply #2659 on: August 19, 2021, 12:29:55 AM »


This is the fourth of my Callas Medeas and I'm hard pressed to decide which would be my favourite. Rescigno was always inspired to give of his best with Callas and this is an intensely dramatic performance. Callas sings with a power and security not always available to her at this stage in her career. The performance was given just after Bing had pulled his very public publicity stunt of tearing up her Met contract for a photo op and Callas was justifiably furious, granting a press conference in her dressing room before the performance. Maybe this is what fired her up, but she sounds as if she were intent on showing New York just what it was missing.

I've written a much fuller review on my blog for anyone who's interested. https://tsaraslondon.com/2020/04/15/callas-sings-medea-dallas-november-1958/
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas