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

          
   
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  1. #3661
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    I started out the morning with:

    Name:  Euryanthe.jpg
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    pleasant, but other than some exceptional singing from Jessye Norman, the opera itself is (if you will forgive me) sort of .. meh.


    So, to spark things up a little for my walk this afternoon:

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    Wonderful. Suliotis is flat out thrilling, compelling singing.

    Just a coincidence that I too selected a Suliotis recording!

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  3. #3662
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Okay


    I'll try to say something helpful

    I may be some time

    (he says stepping outside)
    No hurry, and no pressure either. Even just a general impression would be helpful. I know you've enjoyed the Böhm Ring, so I'm curious if the Solti strikes you any differently.

  4. #3663
    Senior Member Involved Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I started out the morning with:



    So, to spark things up a little for my walk this afternoon:

    Name:  NormaSuliotis.jpg
Views: 101
Size:  92.2 KB

    Wonderful. Suliotis is flat out thrilling, compelling singing.

    Just a coincidence that I too selected a Suliotis recording!
    This makes my day....

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  6. #3664
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Okay


    I'll try to say something helpful

    I may be some time

    (he says stepping outside)
    Nooo! You're not going to do a Captain Oates on us .... are you?
    "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

  7. #3665
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Nooo! You're not going to do a Captain Oates on us .... are you?
    No, it was too cold.

    I came back in straight away and put the kettle on.

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  9. #3666
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Nooo! You're not going to do a Captain Oates on us .... are you?
    Um, Who is Captain Oates?

  10. #3667
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Um, Who is Captain Oates?
    A hero.

    Well until other alleged facts were unearthed.
    "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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  12. #3668
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    A hero.

    Well until other alleged facts were unearthed.
    Phew! I was afraid he was a character in an otherwise obscure Britten opera that everyone should know about.

  13. #3669
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    Terrific sounding 51 year old recording!



    Just listened to the first half of Peter Grimes on YouTube. Loved it. Will have to get more Britten on CD.

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  15. #3670
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    much Wagner today...

    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    I must confess, after all these years I've still never listened to the Böhm Ring. Please let us know how you think its individual operas stand up in head-to-head comparison with the Solti.
    Okay, so very simply

    I am comparing the recordings of Der Ring des Nibelungen by Solti and Böhm.

    Name:  Der Ring des Nibelungen - Georg Solti, Wiener Philharmoniker 1958-1965.jpg
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Size:  34.5 KB Name:  Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Karl Böhm, Bayreuth Festival 1966-7.jpg
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    The Solti recording is a studio recording recorded between 1958 and 1965 on the Decca label and the Böhm recordings are taken from the Bayreuth festivals in 1966 and 1967 under the same label.

    The Solti comes in a hard box, with each day in its own separate hard box with a booklet containing a brief introduction, track listing, synopsis, the full libretto and a few pictures. The Böhm recording is 14 discs in paper envelopes in a box containing a booklet with a brief introduction, track listing and synopsis. Of course prices vary enourmously but as an example Presto Classical sells the Solti for GBP 123 and the Böhm for GBP 31 (currently 50% discount).

    I have heard the Böhm cycle six times and am only on my second hearing of the Solti, I am still quite new to Wagner so please excuse if any of these thoughts are against convention.

    I start with Die Walküre, today’s listening. The Solti was recorded 1965 and the Böhm 1967.

    Name:  Die Walküre  - Georg Solti 1965.jpg
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Size:  30.5 KB Name:  Die Walküre  - Karl Böhm 1967, James King, Leonie Rysanek, Gerd Nienstadt, Theo Adam, Birgit Nil.jpg
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    Wiener Philharmoniker, Sir Georg Solti
    Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), James King (Siegmund), Régine Crespin (Sieglinde), Hans Hotter (Wotan), Gottlob Frick (Hunding), Christa Ludwig (Fricka), Vera Schlosser (Gerhilde), Berit Lindholm (Helmwige), Brigitte Fassbaender (Waltraute), Helen Watts (Schwertleite), Helga Dernesch (Ortlinde)

    Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm
    Birgit Nilsson (Brünnhilde), Theo Adam (Wotan), Leonie Rysanek (Sieglinde), James King (Siegmund), Gerd Nienstedt (Hunding), Annelies Burmeister (Fricka/Siegrune), Gertraud Hopf (Waltraute), Helga Dernesch (Ortlinde), Elisabeth Schärtel (Grimgerde), Sona Cervená (Rossweise), Sieglinde Wagner (Schwertleite), Liane Synek (Helmwige), Danica Mastilovic (Gerhilde)


    Both have very good sound quality. The Solti was remastered (or hiss removed from tapes) by engineer James Lock (1997) but there are no notes on this subject for the other. There is a little noise on the live recording but it is mostly theatrical imagery and not distraction (except one part, comment to follow).

    The Solti does have the advantage of the depth of sound being a studio recording, bass notes and generally more dynamic. However, sometimes the theatrics of the stage recording can add to the scenery, such as the howling wind noise in the opening storm scene.

    The Solti recording is almost eighteen minutes longer at 3 hours and 49 minutes. I do not know if this is relevant (is there any thing missing from the other recording?) but it does sound slower, more deliberate. The tension build up in the prelude for example is thrilling. Orchestration is better with the studio and Solti.

    James King (amongst a couple of other cast members) sings the same role in both recordings, though it is quite surprising the difference between two performances. The Solti recording is a more contemplative Siegmund where as he is a more impetuous character on the stage, more muscle on the biceps than between the ears. I prefer the later stage recording

    Régine Crespino is a pretty Sieglinde but Leonie Rysanek is a more pathetic Sieglinde (Böhm) with frailty. Her voice is more romantic and is very attractive here.

    On the Solti recording Hans Hotter sing a Godly Wotan on the Solti recording next to a Fricka that is Christa Ludwig, who is a strong character to match. On the Böhm, Theo Adam is a more Kingly Wotan with more powerful character with a touch of human foolhardiness. Annelios Burmeister sings a beautiful wife next to him, made strong through pain. Again it is these two that I prefer.

    Brünnhilde is sung by Birgit Nilsson on both recordings. Her character is the same for both recordings and stunningly beautiful.
    …in my ears echoed.. …caused my heart to tremble deep within my breast…
    Only on the Solti recording she is more pronounced and exaggerated. The Solti definitely has the better here. Also the slight bit of noise I mentioned before; when Brünnhilde lies prostrate before Wotan in Act 3, there should be silence. Studios can do silence so much better…

    With the other Valkyries, I can’t comment on the individual voices but as a group are much more dynamic, with a spectrum of characters on the stage recording. Again I prefer the Böhm here.

    So in summary, I agree that both recordings are great but one is a studio recording with its merits and the other is a stage recording with what I interpret as more colour and if I had to choose between the two…

    Well today it is the Böhm recording.

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  17. #3671
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Wow, thank you, Clayton! That was a wonderful comparison, much more detailed than I expected! I feel a little bad now, putting you to all that trouble. I hope, at least, you found the exercise enjoyable. You'll end up just as astute a Wagnerian as you already are for the Italian repertoire!

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  19. #3672
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    much Wagner today...



    Okay, so very simply

    I am comparing the recordings of Der Ring des Nibelungen by Solti and Böhm.

    Name:  Der Ring des Nibelungen - Georg Solti, Wiener Philharmoniker 1958-1965.jpg
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Size:  34.5 KB Name:  Der Ring Des Nibelungen - Karl Böhm, Bayreuth Festival 1966-7.jpg
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    You should copy this post over to the "DVD, Blu-ray disc, and CD reviews" forum under the Wagner heading, rarely get any new posts over there and it will quickly get lost in shuffle here on this thread........

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  21. #3673
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Attachment 6257

    I decided to listen to the Böhm Das Rheingold, as I didn't have time to listen to all of Die Walküre by the time I thought of it.

    Despite the age of Solti's Rheingold (1958), I think with the most recent remastering the sound is superior to Böhm's live recording - which is to be expected from a studio effort. There also are places in the live version where the microphone placement leads to singers sounding distant (which they probably were).

    I found that Böhm seems to conduct the introductory chords too quickly - I prefer Solti's more stately pace, which would reflect a calmer Rhine before Alberich came along sowing chaos.

    The Böhm CD, overall, benefits in dramatic emphasis from having been recorded live. There is a big difference in how the singers respond to each other, which is more effective.

    I vastly prefer George London's Wotan, who does sound 'godly' and grander to that of Theo Adam, who is effective but seemingly more prosaic.

    The clincher, though, is the finale where Solti's bold brass and pacing are stunningly beautiful and, well - grand. I think the finale may be where the live sound of the Böhm CD provides a more diminished effect - sounding sort of laid back, rather than a chest thumping Wotan pointing to his creation.

    I bow to Clayton's thoughtful analysis of Die Walküre, a far more complex undertaking.

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  23. #3674
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Puccini: Madama Butterfly
    1955
    Maria Callas (Butterfly), Nicolai Gedda (Pinkerton), Mario Borriello (Sharpless), Lucia Danieli (Suzuki), Renato Ercolani (Goro), Mario Carlin (Yamadori), Plinio Clabassi (Lo zio Bonzo), Enrico Campi (Il commissario imperiale), Luisa Villa (Kate Pinkerton)
    Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala Milan
    Herbert von Karajan
    Recorded 1-6 August 1955, Teatro alla Scala, Milan

    Name:  Madame Butterfly - Herbert von Karajan 1955, Maria Callas Remastered.jpg
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  24. #3675
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Name:  LaCalisto.jpg
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    Rene Jacobs conducting for Harmonia Mundi

    Maria Bayo
    Marcello Lippi
    Simon Keenlyside
    Graham Pushee
    Alessandra Mantovani
    et al.

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