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Thread: What opera have you been listening to, lately?

          
   
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  1. #1921
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    An opera website recently rated it their #1 recommended opera.
    Yeah, Die Walküre is OK. What do those people from Opera Lively know, anyway? If you were to listen to them, you'd think Parsifal is the tenth most recommended opera. Absurd! More like #1,793! Not to forget that Les Troyens should be #2 instead of #9!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    After Rinaldo, I listened to this CD recommended by Dark Angel - a huge improvement over the Opera D'Oro recording with some of the same casting:

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  3. #1923
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    After Rinaldo, I listened to this CD recommended by Dark Angel - a huge improvement over the Opera D'Oro recording with some of the same casting:

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    I have many opera d oro live recordings but you must sample them closely before buying as the sound quality can sometimes be very marginal, to hear many great stars in operas otherwise unavailable is a service I greatly appreciate

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  5. #1924
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    ...I am really enjoying this. I'm starting to see more and more.
    This comment applied to the Der ring des Nibelungen as opposed to Die Walkure by itself.

    Wagner: Siegfried
    Wolfgang Windgassen (Siegfried), Erwin Wohlfahrt (Mime), Theo Adam (Der Wanderer), Gustav Neidlinger (Alberich), Kurt Böhme (Fafner), Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), Vera Soukupova (Erda), Erika Köth (Waldvogel)
    Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele,
    Karl Böhm
    Recorded in 1966

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  7. #1925
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Wagner: Götterdämmerung
    Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), Wolfgang Windgassen (Siegfried), Josef Greindl (Hagen), Gustav Neidlinger (Alberich), Thomas Stewart (Gunther), Ludmilla Dvoráková (Gutrune), Martha Mödl (Waltraute), Dorothea Siebert (Woglinde), Helga Dernesch (Wellgunde), Sieglinde Wagner (Flosshilde), Marga Höffgen (Erste Norn), Annelies Burmeister (Zweite Norn), Anja Silja (Dritte Norn)
    Orchestra and Chorus of the Bayreuth Festival,
    Karl Böhm
    Recorded live in concert in 1967

    Name:  4 Gotterdammerung sm 300.jpg
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    Our poll put Die Walkure so far ahead of the the other 3 parts. Perhaps because this is only my third time hearing it or as a neophyte I don't quite hear the same thing yet, I don't see the gap. I am not sure which part I like the most but I can not see why Die Walkure is so far ahead in popularity. Ask me again in another 400 days time. I should have heard it another 12 times by then.

  8. #1926
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Clayton, a very cool resource to have as you get into the Ring is this:



    Cooke analyses the main leitmotivs in groups, and give excellent musical illustrations. I listened to it when I started on The Ring, and now that I'm reasonably familiar I listened again, and it is very helpful and illuminating.
    Natalie

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  10. #1927
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Clayton, a very cool resource to have as you get into the Ring is this:
    I cut my teeth on Cooke's guide. Indispensible.

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  12. #1928
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Listening to this right now. My feelings are a bit mixed.

  13. #1929
    Senior Member Involved Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I enjoy this one very much too.

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  15. #1930
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    I'm still working my way through the France TV Culturebox website.

    So far I've seen Verdi's Attila, with Michele Pertusi who is a bit suave to be a bloodthirsty world conqueror, and Makvala Aspanidze as Odabella who has just the sort of big wobbly dramatic soprano voice that sets my teeth on edge. Ruggero Raimondi's solution to losing your voice as you get older is not to transform himself into a mezzo or whatever (cough Domingo cough) but rather to start directing (I think Catherine Malfitano did the same thing). Unfortunately this production was rather dull and predictable, stick to the day job Ruggie boy. On the plus side, it seems to be available with no country restrictions.



    Slightly better was Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera from Orange, with Ramon Vargas in the title role. The best thing about it is Anne Catherine Gillet as Oscar - I really love her voice, it's got a lot of character and depth for such a light role.



    The best of the bunch was Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail from La Monnaie. A nice young cast and the most wonderful acting from the Pasha. I have never seen such an convincing recognition scene (when the pasha recognises Belmonte as the son of his worst enemy, who drove him as a renegade and stole his true love). This actor, Markus Merz, became incandescent with rage and pain and it was incredibly powerful, and of course this made the forgiveness scene so much more meaningful. This production is also freely available, I think, so Alan, here is your opportunity to get to know the opera in a good staging.



    I also watched (from YouTube, taken down now) a rather odd staging of Verdi's Aida by Olivier Py from Paris last year, where the whole action seems to have been transplanted to the Risorgimento and the Egyptian gods were replaced by the Catholic church (apparently referring to the conflict between the Austro-Hungarian empire and Italy). Nice singing from young Oksana Dyka as Aida, and Marcello Alvarez did a lot of belting in Celeste Aida, but thereafter had some lovely moments. I do get bored with traditional grand spectacle stagings of Aida so it was fun to have something different to watch.



    Less listening than usual, but I did enjoy this lovely recording of Handel's Saul, showcasing the talents of Christopher Purves and Sarah Connolly:

    Natalie

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  17. #1931
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    Listening to this right now. My feelings are a bit mixed.
    Yes, I decided to get the library to buy this for me (hehe) because I wasn't too sure about Hansen either, despite all the hype.
    Natalie

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  19. #1932
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Our poll put Die Walkure so far ahead of the the other 3 parts. Perhaps because this is only my third time hearing it or as a neophyte I don't quite hear the same thing yet, I don't see the gap. I am not sure which part I like the most but I can not see why Die Walkure is so far ahead in popularity. Ask me again in another 400 days time. I should have heard it another 12 times by then.
    As one who subscribes to this view, I'll speak only for myself, and probably tee people off in the process.

    Das Rheingold, intended as no more than a prologue to the main story, is a fascinating work, partly as an allegory of political power, greed, and corruption. But its primordial world lacks the human element (literally) of love and compassion, and presents a limited, overly schematic picture of reality.

    Die Walküre immediately introduces that human element with the yearning, forbidden love of the Wälsung twins. This is at once the most moving and most exciting of the Ring operas--it might be aptly subtitled "Love on the Run." It also presents Wagner's most compelling dramatic conception in the god Wotan, an all-powerful ruler trapped in the dilemma of needing a completely free hero who will nonetheless do exactly as required. As the tragic story unfolds, the angry, manipulative god begins to realize that his only real salvation will come from relinquishing his beloved daughter, his hold on lordly power, and ultimately his very existence, so that a new order may take his place.

    Siegfried has a youthful fairy tale quality, while resonating powerfully with archetypal quest myths. But in creating a hero free of old prejudices, beliefs, and fears, Wagner also made Siegfried disconcertingly free of sensitivity, intellect, and any understanding of the important events surrounding him. For many listeners, this authorial miscalculation puts the central figure and the opera as a whole at a distance.

    Götterdämmerung, the grand finale, contains some of the cycle's most powerful moments and music. But its central story--Wagner's original conception before he elaborated his plan into a multi-part cycle--is problematic. This tale of Mickey-Finn love potions, carping misunderstandings, and the stabbing in the back of a hero who throughout remains oblivious to what's going on seems too random and petty to carry much meaning (as Brünnhilde says, "children crying over spilled milk"). There is also the disastrous effect of temporarily turning the loving, compassionate Brünnhilde into a vengeful harpy. In the end, the great funeral march, closing monologue, and final conflagration are tremendously powerful, but they can't erase the feeling that Wagner's overall plan had outgrown this story by the time he set it to music.

    EDIT: This post may also stand as an explanation of my earlier pronouncement that the Ring is a "failure."
    Last edited by Amfortas; January 2nd, 2014 at 08:43 PM.

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  21. #1933
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Yes, I decided to get the library to buy this for me (hehe) because I wasn't too sure about Hansen either, despite all the hype.
    It's just over, and he's certainly good. Impressive technique and all. But I have the feeling he's working so hard with the let's-make-this-thrilling vocal fireworks he sounds completely uninterested in what he's singing. Instead of thrilled I grew annoyed. That's probably why I liked the slower-paced arias better.

    But then it's just his first recording. I hope they get a better designer for his future covers.

  22. #1934
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    As one who subscribes to this view, I'll speak only for myself, and probably tee people off in the process.

    Das Rheingold, intended as no more than a prologue to the main story, is a fascinating work, partly as an allegory of political power, greed, and corruption. But its primordial world lacks the human element (literally) of love and compassion, and presents a limited, overly schematic picture of reality.

    Die Walküre immediately introduces that human element with the yearning, forbidden love of the Wälsung twins. This is at once the most moving and most exciting of the Ring operas--it might be aptly subtitled "Love on the Run." It also presents Wagner's most compelling dramatic conception in the god Wotan, an all-powerful ruler trapped in the dilemma of needing a completely free hero who will nonetheless do exactly as required. As the tragic story unfolds, the angry, manipulative god begins to realize that his only real salvation will come from relinquishing his beloved daughter, his hold on lordly power, and ultimately his very existence, so that a new order may take his place.

    Siegfried has a youthful fairy tale quality, while resonating powerfully with archetypal quest myths. But in creating a hero free of old prejudices, beliefs, and fears, Wagner also made Siegfried disconcertingly free of sensitivity, intellect, and any understanding of the important events surrounding him. For many listeners, this authorial miscalculation puts the central figure and the opera as a whole at a distance.

    Götterdämmerung, the grand finale, contains some of the cycle's most powerful moments and music. But its central story--Wagner's original conception before he elaborated his plan into a multi-part cycle--is problematic. This tale of Mickey-Finn love potions, carping misunderstandings, and the stabbing in the back of a hero who throughout remains oblivious to what's going on seems too random and petty to carry much meaning (as Brünnhilde says, "children crying over spilled milk"). There is also the disastrous effect of temporarily turning the loving, compassionate Brünnhilde into a vengeful harpy. In the end, the great funeral march, closing monologue, and final conflagration are tremendously powerful, but they can't erase the feeling that Wagner's overall plan had outgrown this story by the time he set it to music.

    EDIT: This post may also stand as an explanation of my earlier pronouncement that the Ring is a "failure."
    While I agree with the praise for Die Walkure, I cant (portable keyboard Im using lacks many signs) agree with how lowly you seem to be rating the other three operas. Remember, they are musically superb. Yes, the plot has some problematic issues like you mentioned, but the sheer beauty of this complex leitmotiv construction and musical arc has never been matched in opera, so that the work as a whole remains an extraordinary piece of art. Die Walkure is definitely my favorite but the others are not as far behind as you seem to indicate, IMHO.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  24. #1935
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    While I agree with the praise for Die Walkure, I cant (portable keyboard Im using lacks many signs) agree with how lowly you seem to be rating the other three operas. Remember, they are musically superb. Yes, the plot has some problematic issues like you mentioned, but the sheer beauty of this complex leitmotiv construction and musical arc has never been matched in opera, so that the work as a whole remains an extraordinary piece of art. Die Walkure is definitely my favorite but the others are not as far behind as you seem to indicate, IMHO.
    Yes, the Ring is musically superb and an extraordinary piece of art. But I still maintain that it's dramatically flawed and thus, by Wagner's own criterion, less than fully successful.

    If anyone wants to dispute my assessment on dramatic grounds, I would be interested in their argument. I'm happy to be proven wrong if it helps me better enjoy the Ring as a whole!

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