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

          
   
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  1. #1936
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    These are two CD's that I have not listened to. However I can predict the future. Tomorrow's schedule:

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    Postman delivered today. Nice man.

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  3. #1937
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    These are two CD's that I have not listened to. However I can predict the future. Tomorrow's schedule:

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    Postman delivered today. Nice man.
    That is a beautiful sight.......
    Mentioned to you before this is the only studio recording of Traviata for Callas done on small italian label Cetra thus a lesser male cast, contract terms prevented her from recording studio version with EMI (only live Traviatas on EMI although they later purchased Cetra recordings) without question the best sounding Traviata but later live performances capture nuances of Violetta better by Maria with far better male casts.....still you must own this

    The 1953 Lucia Lammermoor is Callas EMI label debut after Walter Legge signed her from Cetra label thus the superior male cast of Stephano and Gobbi, this is a definitive Lucia for me on many levels! A near seamless bravura performance by Maria with dazzling mad scence you will really treasure, the Pristine XR remaster crushes the EMI release in superior sound quality, this is truely an unforgetable opera treasure!

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  5. #1938
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Looking forward to listening to both of these later today. It's going to be a goood day.

    In the meantime found something in the back of the tea cabinet today. I don't even remember buying this.

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    Might have been a present a long time ago. I think this might be good lunch time listening...

  6. #1939
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    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!
    I suppose almost any deconstruction of the dramatic action in the Ring would sustain your argument. On paper, you are quite right.

    However, I'm not sure how many operas exist that are without plot holes, have a libretto/drama that makes sense, or that are dramatically coherent. In some ways, this is one reason why a perceptive director - Regie, even - makes the difference in making the action in the Ring/any opera come alive. I say this based upon seeing 2 Rings - one that was awesome dramatically (in sum), and the other, while it had some strong dramatic moments, in my view, failed overall (no chills/hair standing on end at the conclusion is my acid test). While sitting in the audience during a Ring, the last thing I am doing is deconstructing the libretto.

    I think it comes with the territory that opera is all too frequently dramatically weak - it does not affect one's - our - love for the art form.

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  8. #1940
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Looking forward to listening to both of these later today. It's going to be a goood day.

    In the meantime found something in the back of the tea cabinet today. I don't even remember buying this.

    Name:  Mad scenes sm 280.jpg
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    Might have been a present a long time ago. I think this might be good lunch time listening...
    Yep that is sooooooo goooooood, it comes with different cover CD and is included in studio recital boxset, the Il Pirata studio mad scence is especially valuable since live recording is not great sound

    Actually your CD version adds a couple tracks to release I have shown


  9. #1941
    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
    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!
    I agree with the dramatic flaws. I just think it's all too good, musically, so even though as you know I do value a lot the dramatic aspects of opera in general, in the case of the Ring I'm so impressed with its overwhelming beauty (the music just rolls over you in waves) that the dramatic downsides don't bother me. I consider the Ring as an exception in my thinking, in this regard.

    Funny enough, I can't grant to Parsifal the same consideration, since I exclusively object to Parsifal in dramatic terms but find its music almost as compelling as that of the Ring; but unlike the Ring, the same rule doesn't apply for me and the end result is that I dislike Parsifal in spite of its exquisite musical beauty.

    Regarding the Ring on the other hand, for me it's also almost like suspension of disbelief (when for instance you're reading a beloved but illogical science-fiction novel - you say "this would defy the laws of physics, but I enjoy it all the same") - I enjoy the Ring so much, musically speaking (and yes, also dramatically because even though it has flaws, the story is still very entertaining with great characters and interesting situations) that the fact that for instance Brünnhilde like you correctly mentioned is out of character in Götterdämmerung doesn't stop me from loving this opera almost as much as I love Die Walküre.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  10. #1942
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    People enjoy opera in different ways and for different reasons. I have a background in theatre, and tend to place particular emphasis on the dramatic aspect (which of course is largely, though not exclusively, expressed through the music). In practice, this means there are fewer works I find really satisfying, and even those with some critical reservations. Strictly speaking, perhaps I'm not really an opera fan (but then again, neither was Wagner).

    It's fine to value the music above all else and pay less attention to dramatic values. This approach is probably best suited to the vast majority of operas that have been written. But for better or worse, I remain most interested in that relatively small handful of operas that manage, even if imperfectly, to wed beautiful music with compelling drama.

  11. #1943
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I suppose almost any deconstruction of the dramatic action in the Ring would sustain your argument. On paper, you are quite right.

    However, I'm not sure how many operas exist that are without plot holes, have a libretto/drama that makes sense, or that are dramatically coherent. In some ways, this is one reason why a perceptive director - Regie, even - makes the difference in making the action in the Ring/any opera come alive. I say this based upon seeing 2 Rings - one that was awesome dramatically (in sum), and the other, while it had some strong dramatic moments, in my view, failed overall (no chills/hair standing on end at the conclusion is my acid test). While sitting in the audience during a Ring, the last thing I am doing is deconstructing the libretto.

    I think it comes with the territory that opera is all too frequently dramatically weak - it does not affect one's - our - love for the art form.
    I agree with you that we opera lovers do love several operas that have librettos that are true disasters in dramatic terms. I am capable of suspending disbelief and overlooking dramatic flaws for the sake of the music of certain operas. However, I can't *always* suspend disbelief/overlook flaws or annoying messages. It doesn't function the same way for all operas, for me. Some operas have librettos that bother me too much and ruin it for me. Case in point, Parsifal. Another case in point, Ernani.

    The other way around is also true. Operas with extraordinary librettos like Otello (Verdi's), Les Troyens, Written on Skin, Peter Grimes, Pélleas et Mélisande, Lulu, La Traviata, Le Nozze di Figaro, Giulio Cesare, Tosca, etc., we love *even more* given that they also have sublime music and it all ties up so well with the theatrical aspects.

    Certain kinds of operas - notably early Opera Seria, or Baroque serious operas, and some Bel Canto ones, have absurd/illogical librettos (think I Puritani for example) but they don't really rely that much on the librettos, which end up being incidental devices to just carry the music forward, therefore these are more easily enjoyable regardless o the libretto. Something like Parsifal on the other hand, has a mission and an agenda and strongly puts its libretto forward and it happens that it annoys the hell out of me in terms of subject matter, so, I have more trouble ignoring it.

    Basically we love some operas because of their exquisite music, not because of the same old, same old story about the damsel in distress who wants to marry the young tenor but the evil baritone wants her for himself (or he is his father and wants to marry her to a lecherous but rich or powerful bass-baritone). These stock characters and common-place plots that repeat over and over along the history of opera seria, at one point, get to be a "who cares?" kind of thing, if the music is super beautiful.

    But then, the composers - and the librettists - were well aware of this; that it didn't really matter. Look at Handel, for example. With a few exceptions (Giulio Cesare, Aggripina, for example), most of his librettos are a mess of intertwined relationships always involving a deposed or exiled king, a fiancee or wife in distress given the absence of her man, to a point that I can't even distinguish a Handel libretto from the next one. It becomes a blur. Just like Couchie said - "Is this the Handel opera with lots of da capo arias where the countertenor is struggling to get the soprano, or is it that other Handel one with lots of da capo arias where the countertenor is struggling to get the soprano?" To which I replied, "neither one; this one is rather that Handel one with lots of da capo arias where the countertenor is struggling to get the soprano." Or something to this effect. But the thing is, it's always a very beautiful blur!

    So the bottom line is that Handel librettos don't really matter.

    But Wagner librettos do. So, I get more excited when they succeed, and more disgusted when they fail, because the stakes are higher.

    So, it's when a libretto takes itself very seriously but fails, that it gets to disturb me to the point of hindering the music.

    Like I said already, the Ring is an exception. I think it's another order of magnitude. The music is *too* sublime to be hindered by the flaws of the libretto.

    Do I make any sense?
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); January 3rd, 2014 at 02:36 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  12. #1944
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    People enjoy opera in different ways and for different reasons. I have a background in theatre, and tend to place particular emphasis on the dramatic aspect (which of course is largely, though not exclusively, expressed through the music). In practice, this means there are fewer works I find really satisfying, and even those with some critical reservations. Strictly speaking, perhaps I'm not really an opera fan (but then again, neither was Wagner).

    It's fine to value the music above all else and pay less attention to dramatic values. This approach is probably best suited to the vast majority of operas that have been written. But for better or worse, I remain most interested in that relatively small handful of operas that manage, even if imperfectly, to wed beautiful music with compelling drama.
    Alan. I'm telling you, please watch this: http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/le...allonie-143447
    Natalie

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  14. #1945
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    Yep that is sooooooo goooooood, it comes with different cover CD and is included in studio recital boxset, the Il Pirata studio mad scence is especially valuable since live recording is not great sound
    Good booklet with libretto and a little about the operas too.

    With the EMI Il pirata recordings, you say the sound is not great. Do you mean the sound is bad or just what can be expected for a live recording for that period?

  15. #1946
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Good booklet with libretto and a little about the operas too.

    With the EMI Il pirata recordings, you say the sound is not great. Do you mean the sound is bad or just what can be expected for a live recording for that period?
    Only one live 1959 Il Pirata recording and the sound is just OK not terrible but not great either, but the studio recitial recording of Pirata mad scence gives us the full glory of what could have been.....you do get two live versions of the final scence climax in EMI release since they include an alternate 1959 Amsterdam finale also with Rescigno after complete opera

    Sound samples available at Amazon if you want to check it out.....


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  17. #1947
    Senior Member Involved Member Itullian's Avatar
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  18. #1948
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    The 1953 Lucia Lammermoor is Callas EMI label debut after Walter Legge signed her from Cetra label thus the superior male cast of Stephano and Gobbi, this is a definitive Lucia for me on many levels! A near seamless bravura performance by Maria with dazzling mad scence you will really treasure, the Pristine XR remaster crushes the EMI release in superior sound quality, this is truely an unforgetable opera treasure!
    Is it the full version? Does it include the Wolf's Crag Scene?
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  19. #1949
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Is it the full version? Does it include the Wolf's Crag Scene?
    No.

    Gramaphone magazine March 1954
    The first scene of Act 3 (A Hall in the Castle of Ravenswood) is cut and the act begins with the festive music of the next scene, a Hall at Sir Henry Ashton's Castle.
    More review and details
    http://www.pristineclassical.com/paco084.html

  20. #1950
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Thanks Clayton, you've saved me some money. I've crossed this off my list of Lucias to buy because if these scenes are cut, then much of what I enjoy about this opera has been cut.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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