I also tend to consume red wine while watching opera ...
And ... and ...
Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst
Director: Jonathan Miller
Cast: Jonas Kaufmann, Eva Mei, Vesselina Kasarova, Malin Hartelius, Liliana Nikiteanu, Günther Groissböck
Next to Die Zauberflöte, this has become my favorite Mozart opera – just one gorgeous piece of music after another!
There are no long Wagner operas. Only short attention spans.
I've seen it performed a couple of times - the first time, here at the Kennedy Center (probably 10 -15 years ago), I was bored silly. The second time, in Munich (with Kristine Opolais, John Osborn and Tara Erraught), was more interesting. La Clemenza di Tito is one opera, I think, that really requires a top notch cast - singers can't fake their way through and be successful (and Opolais was not at the top of her game that night...). I need to queue it up for a listen - maybe if/when the rain stops.
Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito
Concert performance at the Teatro Real, Madrid, 1976
Conductor: Enrique García Asensio
Soloists: Werner Krenn (Tito Vespasiano), Teresa Berganza (Sesto), Isabel Garcisanz (Vitellia), Norma Lerer (Annio), Ana Higueras (Servilia), Antonio Blancas (Publio)
As much as I love the Zürich Opera video of this opera with der Jonas in the title role, it does have a couple of drawbacks. Many of the recitatives are rendered as spoken dialogue instead, which doesn’t particularly bother me, but a lot of people (understandably) dislike it. And then there’s Vesselina Kasarova’s excessively mannered Sesto – I usually end up fast-forwarding through her arias. So I’ve been looking for some alternatives, and came across this mid-‘70s concert performance from Madrid. What a world of difference it makes to have Teresa Berganza in the role of Sesto; I could finally hear how wonderful that character’s music is. Both she and the Tito, Werner Krenn, are featured on a studio recording of this opera that I will undoubtedly break down and purchase, even though it’s running more than $30 used at Amazon. (Unfortunately, it’s not available at Presto.) Krenn’s beautiful, elegant lyric tenor is a real joy to listen to, and makes the decision to omit “Se all’impero” in this performance incomprehensible. Among the other cast members, Antonio Blancas’ Publio is a very pleasant surprise; Norma Lerer is a fine Annio; and for the most part, Ana Higueras acquits herself well enough as Servilia, though the high notes she ejects with some effort at the end of “S’altro che lagrime” are not especially pretty. Isabel Garcisanz is never more than adequate as Vitellia, and she emits some high notes during the first act that could peel wallpaper. I’m not familiar with Maria Casula, the Vitellia on the aforementioned recording, but she’s almost certain to be an improvement upon Garcisanz. Conductor Enrique García Asensio occasionally seems to rush the tempos, which at times robs arias of some of their beauty. While dropping the tenor’s major showpiece aria is the most egregious of the cuts, various sections of recitative have also been omitted.