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

          
   
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  1. #406
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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I've just finished Verdi's I Masnadieri from a very recent (5/31/2012) RAI5 broadcast live from the Teatro di San Carlo, with the house orchestra conducted by Nicola Luisotti, and a local cast of unknown singers. My impressions of this poorly know early Verdi opera are mixed. The overture is very beautiful, but the opera itself is not very notable (except for some good duets and a couple of other decent numbers) and has a rather absurd libretto - I used to have Ernani as the silliest libretto in a Verdi opera but this one actually may beat it in this regard.

    Well, it's our of Schiller's The Robbers which I haven't read, so I don't know if the silliness is found in the original or not. If it is, then it's Schiller's fault, not Verdi's librettist's. But reading about The Robbers on Wikipedia, it seems more substantial than the libretto, so it's probably indeed the fault of the librettist, a poet and translator called Andrea Maffei - the guy who helped a bit with Piave's libretto for Macbeth, and also collaborated with Mascagni in a couple of operas.

    So, you have this nobleman, Carlo, who out of boredom decides to embrace a life of anarchy and rebellion. His father Count Massimiliano is disgusted. Carlo decides to mend his ways and writes to his father asking for forgiveness. His cunning younger brother Francesco however who wants to be Count at their father's passing intercepts the letter and writes to his brother instead, saying that Dad has not forgiven him, has actually cursed him. Well, Carlo thinks, so be it, I'll just be a criminal - and becomes the head of a gang of robbers, rapists, and murderers. Meanwhile Francesco has a servant in disguise give to the old man the false news of Carlo' death, in the hope that this will kill the elderly count, who faints and is thought to be dead. Francesco also produces a sword on which supposedly Carlo wrote with his blood that since he was dying, his fiancée Amalia should marry Francesco. Well, she doesn't want any part of this and flees. Francesco buries his father alive but as the old man revives, instead sends him to a cave in the forest, announces his fake death and becomes the count. Fleeing Amalia bumps into the gang of robbers and finds Carlo alive. They rejoice, etc. Carlo learns about his brother's machinations and wants revenge. The not-so-dead count resurfaces and seems to forgive Carlo, who sends his goons to destroy the castle and capture Francesco. Meanwhile Francesco asks a priest for forgiveness, is denied, and - apparently not in the libretto in which the goons return saying they failed to capture him, but done in this production - kills himself. One would think that all is well. Well, surprise surprise, Carlo is distressed that the fiancée will learn that he is a bandit. Well, so, to prevent her from learning it, he finds a good solution: he goes and confesses it to her. She says she'll stick by him anyway. OK, now all is well, right? Well no, Carlo thinks it is too much of a shame to be a bandit in front of his fiancée - and hey, finds the perfect solution for his dilemma this time: he stabs her to death. Curtain.

    Whaaaaat???

    About the staging, it does show what Anna Caterina Antonacci was saying to us in her interview - that Italian productions in regional theaters (and the San Carlo is hardly just regional) nowadays aren't what they used to be. The entire opera, probably to save money, has only one set in spite of the various different scenes in very different locations for the four acts. The set is ugly and makes no sense. It would have been better to just present the opera in concert form rather than in this ugly, generic set. The singers are not good, neither vocally nor acting-wise. Pretty much the only part that does well is the orchestra. So, maybe with a better staging I'd have appreciated this opera more - even when one tries to separate these aspects and judge the opera on its own merits it's hard not to be influenced by a poor staging and poor vocal performance.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); September 7th, 2012 at 06:59 AM.
    "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 Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    aaah, lovely. Only in opera.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Makes the plot of Il Trovatore seem reasonably sensible by comparison.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Ongoing homework
    "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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    Her voice was so beautiful. It's really a pity that she left us so early.

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    What a luxury of having five superstars in one opera! I especially like Bjoner's Kaiserin.

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    I have to say I'm a huge fan of Polaski.

  14. #418
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    This is nearly perfect as a traditional Meistersinger, only let down by the Walther of Marco Jentzsch who is vocally not up to the demands of the role. But Finley, my goodness, Eva is an idiot, it would be Hans Sachs for me!



    Such a lovely recital disc, not only because Roberta Invernizzi is a Vivaldi Goddess, but also the choice of arias is inspired, varied and gorgeous.



    Ewa Podleś' voice makes me swoon. Those low notes, and then amazing coloratura.



    Great cast in this. Highly recommended.

    Natalie

  15. #419
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    This is nearly perfect as a traditional Meistersinger, only let down by the Walther of Marco Jentzsch who is vocally not up to the demands of the role. But Finley, my goodness, Eva is an idiot, it would be Hans Sachs for me!


    Such a lovely recital disc, not only because Roberta Invernizzi is a Vivaldi Goddess, but also the choice of arias is inspired, varied and gorgeous.


    Ewa Podleś' voice makes me swoon. Those low notes, and then amazing coloratura.


    Great cast in this. Highly recommended.
    Done deal! So I shall need to buy the first three recordings at some stage. (I have the Vivaldi).

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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