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Thread: Miscellaneous Composers w/o their own threads - their operas on CD/DVD/Blu-Ray

          
   
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  1. #61
    Schigolch
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    I was part of the audience at Teatro Real.

    There is also a CD, with Domingo singing King Arthur:


  2. #62
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Isaac Albéniz, Merlin



    David Wilson-Johnson (Merlin), Stuart Skelton (Arthur), Eva Marton (Morgan Le Fey), Carol Vaness (Nivian, Madrid Symphony Orchestra & Choir, José de Eusebio; 2004

    World premiere recording of a reconstructed original that was never performed, and the first of the King Arthur trilogy but the second and final instalment never took any shape because the composer died. The obvious influence was Wagner's The Ring cycle, and Albéniz's music in Merlin had much Wagnerian influence. The music was a continuous stretch, such as that you might be familiar with from Wagner's operas, and the Albéniz orchestration from voice and piano parts (that was apparently how he drafted Merlin) was quite capable and the result was a decent score that I enjoyed. The staging was essentially modern, as were the costumes, but occasionally reverted to more or less period style, at least in spirit. The major deficiency was probably the libretto, which was composed in English by Albéniz's wealthy English lady patron (who also completed the libretto for the next two instalments), but she was probably no great opera librettist because the plot was very slow moving, rather descriptive than dramatic.

    The "best" part was the price: I paid about US$12 including postage for it, new.
    Still in my UWP after 2 years!!! aaargh. Must watch soon.
    Natalie

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  4. #63
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Siegfried Wagner, Der Kobold

    Any good?


  5. #64
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Domenico Mazzocchi (1592-1662), La Catena d'Adone, pastoral opera (1626). This was an early opera, a generation after Monteverdi's but where one can already hear the beginnings of the recitative-aria format. (Note that Monteverdi's later surviving operas were probably from the early 1640s).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_catena_d%27Adone


  6. #65
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Carl Orff (1895-1992), Gisei - Das Opfer (1913), premiered almost a century later, January 2010.



    I gave this DVD premiere recording and production a try, of a work composed by Orff when he was eighteen years old. The work was never staged until almost a century later, partly because the composer effectively disowned it. Orff appeared deeply fascinated by Japanese culture enough for him to compose his first opera based on a Japanese village story. The libretto was by Orff himself based on the village story translated into German.

    That was the background. Anyhow, the production itself was adequate enough for a very slow moving plot, with traditional-looking Japanese costumes, and stage materials and nice use of suitable stage colours, creating a traditional-looking, Japanese feel production. That was probably the best part of this production. The music lacked operatic characterisation, and it probably tried to sound a little Japanese here and there. Nothing particularly striking and it was more like a musical drama that had "orchestral accompaniment" (despite its very generous use of many types of instruments that was quite unusual for an opera of its time). The voice parts were not terribly striking either, and it sounded rather static throughout. Maybe the eighteen year old Orff still had a long way to go.

    I paid about US$30 to try it out. I don't think it was money well spent.

  7. #66
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Nicholas Maw (1935-2009), Sophie's Choice (2002)



    Angelika Kirchschlager (Sophie), Dale Duesing (Narrator), Rod Gilfry (Nathan), Gordon Gietz (Stingo), Adrian Clarke (Librarian), Frances McCafferty (Yetta Zimmerman), Stafford Dean (Zbigniew Bieganski), Stephanie Friede (Wanda), Abigail Browne (Eva), Billy Clerkin (Jan), Gillian Knight (Old woman on train), Neil Gillespie (Young man on train), Jorma Silvasti (Rudolph Franz Höss), Alan Opie (Doctor), Darren Jeffery (Bartender), Quentin Hayes (Larry Landau), Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Simon Rattle (conductor) & Trevor Nunn (stage director), December 2002.

    Another one of my deep discount purchase recently for about US$15 including freight. This double CD set from Opus Arte was the premiere of British composer Nicholas Maw's opera, Sophie's Choice. The opera was based on William Styron's novel from 1979 of the same title as the opera.

    Long story short; the opera/novel, a semi (or maybe full) autobiographical account of a writer getting involved with a married woman by the name of Sophie, who was a survivor of German concentration camp from WWII, ended the opera seeing both her and her husband tragically dead.

    Musically, the score sounded more or less tonal but as if accompanying the singers and unfolding plot on a rather thin sounding layer. Dramatically reasonable intense, and capable of sustaining the moods for well over three and a half hours long (think Giulio Cesare in Egitto length), the opera's music was reasonably engaging on a dramatic level. I heard, or I think I heard, Benjamin Britten-sounding orchestral effects, but more on a tonal level, if that makes sense!

    Staging was practically authentic as far as the time periods were concerned (there were several moments of going back and forth in time, from WWII to and from the first decade or two following). The singing and orchestra under Simon Rattle were probably the best part of this production. None of the singers irked me and I thought they all did their part and even looked the part.

    For the price I paid, I'm pleased. I last checked at the website, and it appears to be back on full price.

  8. #67
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Bo Holten (born 1948), The Visit of the Royal Physician (2009)



    Johan Reuter (Johann Friedrich Struensee), Gert Henning-Jensen (King Christian VII), Elisabeth Jansson (Queen Caroline Mathilde), Sten Byriel (Ove Høegh-Guldberg), Djina Mai-Mai (Bootee-Caterine) & Gitta-Maria Sjøberg (Queen Dowager Juliane Marie), Royal Danish Opera Choir & Royal Danish Orchestra, Bo Holten the composer himself. 154 minutes (opera).

    Stylised semi-historical account of Christian VII of Denmark (1749-1808), his royal wife Queen Caroline Mathilde (1751-1775), and their royal physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee (1737-1772). Yes folks, this was a modern opera premiered only three years ago about a Danish king over two centuries ago, in more or less stylised form.

    Long story short; the young king, more or less partly insane, married his young queen after becoming king following the death of his father. Matters however, eventually led their royal physician, Struensee to become the de facto ruler of Denmark and the new lover of Queen Caroline, much to the disgust of the royal establishment. Eventually, the empress Dowager, Christian's mother seizes power and orders Christian to sign an arrest warrant sending Struensee to be beheaded, and Caroline Mathilde sentenced to exile.

    This was one of those interesting contemporary operas depicting a historical account with the main singers on stage dressed up in superficially traditional 18th century costumes backed by a modern, avant-garde stage. The music was a mixture of styles, exchanging between more or less tonal with "other" modern dramatic styles often using thin orchestral textures, with the composer himself writing a set of notes explaining for this usage of mixed styles to convey the story. The singers were generally capable but I thought there were little in the music to develop the characters despite plenty of potential considering the amount of historical events involving them; from coronation of a king to signing the exile of his queen, mixed with a bit of insanity regarding the king, for example. The few moments when the music sounded like it was gaining some tonal momentum, it would break off into another direction. So overall, a very mixed set of sounds and operatic experience.

    I paid about US$23 including freight from a sale, which I thought was reasonable though I would not have bothered with it had it not been on sale.

  9. #68
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Nicholas Maw (1935-2009), Sophie's Choice (2002)
    This double CD set from Opus Arte
    You mean DVD, I suppose.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  11. #69
    Schigolch
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    Die Tote Stadt - Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    1983 Berlin
    Deutsche Oper

    Paul: James King
    Marie/Marietta: Karan Armstrong
    Frank: William Murray
    Brigitta: Margit Neubauer
    Fritz: Lenus Carlson
    Stage Director: Götz Friedrich
    Conductor: Heinrich Hollreiser

    James King, almost sixty years old, was already not in the best vocal condition for singing Paul. However, he was able to offer us a surprising portrait of a crepuscular man, a much more mature Paul that was intended in the opera. His voice was still potent enough to challenge Korngold's orchestration, but his performance was not really first class, always pushed to the limit, and close to suffocation.

    Karan Armstrong, was the stage director's wife, and she performed magnificently... as an actress. Her Marietta, like her Lulu, won't be remembered by Armstrong's refined singing.

    The first scene of the opera, with Frank and Brigitta, is reasonably well sung, and with a beautiful visual effect, while the heavy drapes are being gradually opened, and light is entering, furtive, into Paul's "Kirche des Gewesenen". The weakest part is the Second Act, with a rather watered-down Pierrot.

    The staging, except for the well-worn suggestion of Paul's suicide at the end, is reasonably good, with a charming scenery. The conducting is too energetic at times, it seems they are playing a Military march, instead of a Post-Romantic opera.

    Overall: B-



  12. #70
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post

    Looks traditional, which I like. Was it more engaging than this version picture below? It is my only version of this fine opera.


  13. #71
    Schigolch
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    The staging was more engaging, indeed.

    You can watch the whole production in youtube, with English subtitles:


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  15. #72
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Poul Ruders (born 1949), Selma Jezková (2007) opera based on Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark. Sung in English.



    Ylva Kihlberg (Selma), Palle Knudsen (Bill), Hanne Fischer (Kathy), Guido Paevatalu (Norman/Guard 2), Gert Henning-Jensen (District Attorney/Guard 1) & Carl Philip Levin (Gene), The Royal Danish Opera & The Royal Danish Orchestra, Michael Schønwandt.

    The story was a rather tragic one. A struggling mother and son both suffering an eye condition, financially precarious and through a fatal accident involving a third party, the innocent mother ended up being sentenced to death by hanging, with the son witnessing the hanging. Yes, an emotional story indeed. But did the music support and develop that further? In my humble opinion, no it did not, and not even close. It was a short opera, lasting about 70 plus minutes. The music meandered through very thin orchestral accompaniment sounds, to vague and brief moments of tonal suspension before returning to soundscpes that superficially painted the plot, rather than characterised it. The irony was that the sleeve notes/booklet by the composer himself read that emotion was pivotal to all this. With such a conviction by the composer himself, and the rather emotional plot involved, it seemed this libretto was wasted by the weak music. The composer probably had a long way yet to go to master composing opera when working on this. Mediocre stuff.

    Glad I bought it on sale to try it out for about US$23 including freight but not full price.

  16. #73
    Schigolch
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    I agree the score is rather weak. For a more interesting opera by Poul Ruders, try The Handmaid's Tale.

  17. #74
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Offenbach, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, opéra bouffe



    Dame Felicity Lott (La Grande Duchesse), Sandrine Piau (Wanda), Yann Beuron (Fritz), Franck Leguérinel (Le Baron Puck), Eric Huchet (Le Prince Paul), François Le Roux (Le Général Boum), Boris Grappe (Le Baron Grog), Alain Gabriel (Népomuc), Maryline Fallot (Iza), Blandine Staskiewicz (Olga), Jennifer Tani (Charlotte), Aurélia Legay (Amélie) & Christophe Grapperon (Le Notaire); Chœur et Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski, 2004.

    I don't listen to a great deal of Offenbach operattas but many that I have listened to were fine entertainment at that instance. This production was a very nice one with lots of funny moments, traditional staging in spirit, capable singing and Minkwoski appeared to bring it all out nicely with Chœur et Musiciens du Louvre. Nothing really to spot to fault.

  18. #75
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Offenbach, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, opéra bouffe



    Dame Felicity Lott (La Grande Duchesse), Sandrine Piau (Wanda), Yann Beuron (Fritz), Franck Leguérinel (Le Baron Puck), Eric Huchet (Le Prince Paul), François Le Roux (Le Général Boum), Boris Grappe (Le Baron Grog), Alain Gabriel (Népomuc), Maryline Fallot (Iza), Blandine Staskiewicz (Olga), Jennifer Tani (Charlotte), Aurélia Legay (Amélie) & Christophe Grapperon (Le Notaire); Chœur et Musiciens du Louvre, Marc Minkowski, 2004.

    I don't listen to a great deal of Offenbach operattas but many that I have listened to were fine entertainment at that instance. This production was a very nice one with lots of funny moments, traditional staging in spirit, capable singing and Minkwoski appeared to bring it all out nicely with Chœur et Musiciens du Louvre. Nothing really to spot to fault.
    Offenbach has his own thread, HC
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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