Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    What opera have you been watching lately?

    Like the "what CD listening to lately" thread what opera DVD, Blu Ray or youtube are you watching lately, any comments always welcome......

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    Couple of Norma videos, by far my favorite overall of all video versions is the Fiorenza Cedolins (even though Pollione and Andalgisa are not strongly cast as usual) which has great modern hybrid stage production (monolithic stonehenge columns with pagan glyphs) that is both visually dramatic and emotionally effective with HD picture quality. Very heartfelt tender rendition of Casta Diva which was literally a show stopper (very long ovation from audience) only one example of great scences here for lovely Fiorenza.....

    The children which are usually an afterthought elsewhere are used in many more scences and more active than any other production, very clever and effective use. Also the final funeral pyre sequence often very weakly handled visually in other productions (usually just slowly walk off stage) is visually powerful and dramatic here with clever use of stage elements to amplify emotional impact

    As usual I always watch with subttiles on as I always learn new little details every viewing no matter how many times I have seen or heard Norma

    Did I mention that Fiorenza looks very beautiful as Norma here.......


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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    While I tackled a huge pile of ironing, I watched this ...



    ... an opera that is just perfect for Verona, what with armies and horses and warmongering stuff

    Excellent singing and I loved the production, the adorable Nello Santi conducted.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Watched a couple Attila's also thanks to Sospiro lead.......

    The newer Tutto Verdi series has a great Odabella both singing and acting from Branchini, she has the dramatic fire and rebel spirit, but production has problems with tiny physical stage and weak back screen projected images. Also for unknown reason cast is made to wear shades of green and gold facial make-up, alien like appearance

    The older Ramey version has untouchable iconic performance of Attila, but Studer is not the best Odabella and lacks HD picture quality, still a worthy purchase

    I have read comments that newest Gergiev conducted version has very good Attila performance


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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post


    Watched a couple Attila's also thanks to Sospiro lead.......

    The newer Tutto Verdi series has a great Odabella both singing and acting from Branchini, she has the dramatic fire and rebel spirit, but production has problems with tiny physical stage and weak back screen projected images. Also for unknown reason cast is made to wear shades of green and gold facial make-up, alien like appearance

    The older Ramey version has untouchable iconic performance of Attila, but Studer is not the best Odabella and lacks HD picture quality, still a worthy purchase

    I have read comments that newest Gergiev conducted version has very good Attila performance

    Thanks DA! I like Ildar Abdrazakov!

    One for the wish list.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Kaufmann's great talents wasted on production does that does act 2 very well, but elsewhere has some major visual design production weakness for me

    Act 2 does things right with Klingsor's realm and Kundry's attempted seduction of our perfect fool Parsifal, visually interesting and in harmony with operas story, visuals show some real inspiration and creative insight that kept my interest and made opera exciting, see pix



    Unfortunately Act 1, 3 were poorly handled visually, austere bare stage with barren baked dirt ground (post apocalyptic?) and the most bland generic costumes you could imagine modern white shirts and grey slacks for all and holy grail presentation was almost a joke it was so underwhelming lacking needed spirituality or gravitas.

    An attempt was made to add back much needed visual stimulus with constantly changing projected clouds on screen, is this the best we can do? There is the usual self serving rationale in booklet explaining with great fanfare the deep modern timeless elements employed with bare stage and bland generic modern costume, a zen like realization of Parsifal.....yeah right.

    If only some of the creative visual spark that was present in Act 2 was employed elsewhere in opera, this is a borderline sell for me, only reason to keep is for inspired Act 2 and Kaufmann vocals....

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post


    Kaufmann's great talents wasted on production does that does act 2 very well, but elsewhere has some major visual design production weakness for me

    Act 2 does things right with Klingsor's realm and Kundry's attempted seduction of our perfect fool Parsifal, visually interesting and in harmony with operas story, visuals show some real inspiration and creative insight that kept my interest and made opera exciting, see pix



    Unfortunately Act 1, 3 were poorly handled visually, austere bare stage with barren baked dirt ground (post apocalyptic?) and the most bland generic costumes you could imagine modern white shirts and grey slacks for all and holy grail presentation was almost a joke it was so underwhelming lacking needed spirituality or gravitas.

    An attempt was made to add back much needed visual stimulus with constantly changing projected clouds on screen, is this the best we can do? There is the usual self serving rationale in booklet explaining with great fanfare the deep modern timeless elements employed with bare stage and bland generic modern costume, a zen like realization of Parsifal.....yeah right.

    If only some of the creative visual spark that was present in Act 2 was employed elsewhere in opera, this is a borderline sell for me, only reason to keep is for inspired Act 2 and Kaufmann vocals....
    When I saw this in the cinema the performances in act 1 kept me spellbound and I didn't notice 2 hours passing - first time ever with Parsifal.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    I agree that the Act II bloodbath was the production's most striking visual aspect. But the set and direction for Acts I and III have grown on me with each viewing. Yes, the simple modern costumes can seem bland (even cheap), but overall the austere look is not out of keeping with the opera's themes of renunciation.

    I found particularly intriguing the initial separation of the men and women onto the two sides of the stage, making it even more apparent that the holy fellowship of Grail knights is predicated on a rigid segregation of the sexes. The two camps are divided by a narrow channel through which water sometimes flows; at the end of Act I, this channel has grown into a broad chasm filled with blood. It's as if the incurable wound of Amfortas is manifest onstage as a fundamental antagonism between the sexes. Parsifal kneels and stares into this divide, as if about to enter a threatening vaginal space to confront the blood-drenched world of female sexuality in Act II. In Act III, Parsifal the savior erases this division of the sexes; he brings Kundry for the first time to the "male" side for her baptism and himself crosses to the female side as he contemplates the beauty of Good Friday. By the final scene, the men and women intermingle freely, suggesting that it is not just the sin of sexuality, but also the fear of it that has been overcome.
    Last edited by Amfortas; April 30th, 2014 at 11:32 PM.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    I found particularly intriguing the initial separation of the men and women onto the two sides of the stage, making it even more apparent that the holy fellowship of Grail knights is predicated on a rigid segregation of the sexes. The two camps are divided by a narrow channel through which water sometimes flows; at the end of Act I, this channel has grown into a broad chasm filled with blood. It's as if the incurable wound of Amfortas is manifest onstage as a fundamental antagonism between the sexes. Parsifal kneels and stares into this divide, as if about to enter a threatening vaginal space to confront the blood-drenched world of female sexuality in Act II. In Act III, Parsifal the savior erases this division of the sexes; he brings Kundry for the first time to the "male" side for her baptism and himself crosses to the female side as he contemplates the beauty of Good Friday. By the final scene, the men and women intermingle freely, suggesting that it is not just the sin of sexuality, but also the fear of it that has been overcome.
    There is some unique attempted theme in this production about separation/union of the sexes, but I watched closely again act 3 final reveal of holy grail and initially men and women still separated groups with women on "both sides" of the dividing channel/trench even when Amfortas is cured by spear women/men are still separated......only when Kundry is asked to finally lift the grail by the perfect fool do the sexes intermingle, so the key trigger event seems to be Kundry's salvation not the cure of Amfortas.......

    BTW I do like Parsifals that allow Kundry an active role in final grail lifting to complete her full circle of redemption and release

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    BTW I do like Parsifals that allow Kundry an active role in final grail lifting to complete her full circle of redemption and release
    Not only does Kundry lift the grail in this production, but Parsifal inserts the spear in the cup while she holds it--as if the sexual encounter they were denied in the flesh is consummated at this symbolic, spiritually elevated level (immediately before Kundry sinks into a peaceful death).
    Last edited by Amfortas; May 1st, 2014 at 05:53 AM.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Not only does Kundry lift the grail, but Parsifal inserts the spear in the cup while she holds it--as if the sexual encounter they were denied in the flesh is consummated at this symbolic, spiritually elevated level (immediately before Kundry sinks into a peaceful death).
    Yes good point, nice plot tie in coming full circle at final climax of opera (no pun intended)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Well, recently I have had a bit of regie fest:

    Peter Sellars' adaptation and expansion of The Indian Queen (it incorporates some of Purcell's sacred music too), focusses on the conquest of the Americas. and revolves mainly around the experience of the princess Teculihuatzin who was married to the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado. Worth a watch and a listen.



    This, on the other hand, is a bit of a giggle. Die Entführung meets the world of High fashion, it doesn't work at all and I should have checked the name of the director before I bought it, but I was too enthralled by the sight of Javier Camarena on the front cover, and it WAS worth it to to hear him sing Belmonte. I just love love love his singing, more and more every time I hear him. I'd have killed to be in the audience on the night he replaced JDF in Cenerentola at the Met. I mean JDF is an accomplished singer and his legato and phrasing are amazing, but his voice does have a rather nasal quality. I'm not sure that Camarena is quite at that level of technical perfection (but not far) but his voice is incredibly beautiful, with a little more heft and a lovely timbre.



    Also have been watching a bit of 70s operetta in between. I quite liked the Lehar although some of it is very silly (how did they get the money for the high life when they are supposed to be on the run and in hiding?), got a bit bored in the Lortzing even though Lucia Popp is very cute. I do prefer French operetta and specifically Offenbach.

    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Thanks Nat. Just been checking out Javier Camarena, I really really like him!

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Thanks Nat. Just been checking out Javier Camarena, I really really like him!
    To quote our old friend Aksel, he is amazeballs!
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    One of those films I really wish had been recorded in HD and available on DVD. Cura was amazing and Frittoli not far behind; and their relationship the most credible and intimate I have ever seen in a performance of Otello.

    Natalie

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    I have more appreciation now for the small scale Tutto Verdi Nabucco, must overlook the necessary small budget touches like using same costumes for crowd scences for both Jewish slaves and Assyrian soldiers, Nucci is really on top of his game as Nabucco

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