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

          
   
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  1. #4681
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I'm beginning to feel guilty what with you guys listening to a bunch of challenging stuff. I, on the other hand, tend to default to old favorites for my walks:
    See, I don't find Baroque at all challenging. I'd call Berg, or Birtwistle, or Sciarrino challenging.

    Baroque is like a lovely walk along whispering streams with birds singing in the trees (and the odd full-blown hunt charging past).
    Natalie

  2. #4682
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    See, I don't find Baroque at all challenging. I'd call Berg, or Birtwistle, or Sciarrino challenging.

    Baroque is like a lovely walk along whispering streams with birds singing in the trees (and the odd full-blown hunt charging past).
    I don't know what 'challenging' music is if we are talking about simply listening to music. I know what 'challenging' means when it comes to playing music...........

    I loooove Berg and his music sounds incredibly difficult to play, but I've never seen a anyone describe his music as challenging to listen to though.
    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

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  4. #4683
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Point taken - poor word choice on my part. You guys are quite right that baroque isn't so challenging. I should have said 'interesting' or something like 'exploring' rarer works.


    I loooove Berg and his music sounds incredibly difficult to play, but I've never seen a anyone describe his music as challenging to listen to though.
    I'm not so sure about this, however. I've only listened to bits and pieces of Wozzeck, and find it plenty challenging. I know the play (I read it in college and saw it performed in (then) East Berlin, and it is flat-out depressing. The subject matter, coupled with Berg's composing style would seem not to be for the faint-of-heart.

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  6. #4684
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I'm not so sure about this, however. I've only listened to bits and pieces of Wozzeck, and find it plenty challenging. I know the play (I read it in college and saw it performed in (then) East Berlin, and it is flat-out depressing. The subject matter, coupled with Berg's composing style would seem not to be for the faint-of-heart.
    I've been deeply moved by this opera since I first discovered it on YouTube (the film version), ithe storyline certainly was depressing (not uplifting) but I don't really equate depressing with challenging really. To be honest, I just don't quite understand what is challenging about sound waves travelling into my ears to be interpreted automatically as audible sound by my brain.

    Oh well, perhaps I never will understand some things no matter how hard I try. Perhaps that is the challenge for me!

    At the moment I'm listening to one of my favourite operas that also happens to have been composed around the same time as Wozzeck, and it's the only opera in Russian I've heard from start to finish.

    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

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  8. #4685
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Ah. You've hit on one my favorite discussions with Luiz: the nature and accessibility of modern/contemporary opera. Modern/contemporary opera is one of Luiz' passions, but for me - not so much. In the not-so-quite distant past, I would go to a modern opera only because it was part of my subscription package, suffer through the first act, then leave.

    I've made some progress since, so that I now can endure a live performance and even enjoy it some. I joined Luiz in March for a concert performance of Written on Skin - and enjoyed the opera and spending time with Luiz. Recalling that your former OL name was "Composer of the Avant-Garde", I can see where these operas seem far more natural to you. I look for a different feeling from opera than the dissonance offered by modern/contemporary composers who seem to live to eschew lyricism and melody. It becomes more of an intellectual exercise for me, i.e., work, than it is pleasure.

    All that said, I like new and different things and Berg's operas have, to my knowledge, never been staged here in Washington. The Lyric Opera of Chicago will be staging Wozzeck in November (with Tomasz Konieczny and Angela Denoke) - I might make the trip, but only the first couple of performances are possible, as the schedule runs perilously close to when I will be leaving for a holiday out of the country.

    Similarly, Lulu is scheduled at the Met for pretty much the same dates in November, so there is a performance there on 24 November that is a possibility. Seeing these operas in person makes a huge difference in my appreciation than watching them on DVD, or listening to CDs, where there is no context.

    I suppose what it boils down to is that I am just a born romantic, so naturally lean toward 19th and early 20th century operas as my favored period.

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  10. #4686
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nekrotzar View Post
    I've been deeply moved by this opera since I first discovered it on YouTube (the film version), ithe storyline certainly was depressing (not uplifting) but I don't really equate depressing with challenging really. To be honest, I just don't quite understand what is challenging about sound waves travelling into my ears to be interpreted automatically as audible sound by my brain.
    That's the crux of it - although I take issue with the automatic part of this statement; brains do not interpret sound automatically, they have to learn what they are hearing, just as they have to learn to interpret sight. And human brains seem to like patterns. If you have grown up listening to the more predictable tonal patterns in Baroque, Classical and Romantic music it can take a while to get used to the apparent unpredictability of atonal Berg (I'm thinking Lulu; I find Wozzeck far less challenging). For me (and Steven Pinker); it is also a question of beauty; I find many contemporary operas often lacking in beauty (some notable exceptions being Written on Skin and L'Amour de Loin).

    BTW I love the Nose too - but partly because Gogol's story makes me crack up and its absurdity is so well realised in the music.
    Natalie

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  12. #4687
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Splendid:
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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  14. #4688
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    Was brought up recently, so I thought I'd listen to it again.

    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

  15. #4689
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    Something I'm very familiar with, having watched it many many times on YouTube and seen it performed live and heard various broadcasts of it on the radio.....this is definitely the best recording of it though.

    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

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  17. #4690
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Wagner: Siegfried
    Siegfried - Wolfgang Windgassen
    Mime - Paul Kuen
    Brünnhilde - Astrid Varnay
    Wanderer - Hans Hotter
    Alberich - Gustav Neidlinger
    Fafner - Josef Greindl
    Erda - Maria von Ilosvay
    Waldvogel - Rita Streich
    Choir and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival
    conductor Clemens Krauss
    Live concert recording, Bayreuth Festival, 10th August 1953

    Name:  Siegfried - Clemens Krauss 1953.jpg
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    Astrid Varnay or Martha Mödl? At the moment I will go with Mödl but I've only heard Siegfried so far with Varnay.

    Krauss or Keilberth? I say Krauss, the music is more dynamic and there is more content but that might be due to the work Andrew Rose has done with the Pristine recording,

    ...bringing out a much fuller, deeper and richer bass than previously heard whilst also extending and brightening the top end...
    Pan Classics or Pristine? This again will be Pristine where if we listen to side by side, the brilliant work of Rose can be heard with not only less noise but also the clarity of voice and music allowed to really shine through

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  19. #4691
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    Aaaah sooo good



    Just listening on spotify. I must get a recording of this soon. So far I only have the DVD of the phenomenal Met production.
    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

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  21. #4692
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    I've been looking at clips on YouTube of various productions of Der Ring, specifically the end of Die Walküre...so now I'm listening to the whole of that opera.



    Btw, don't tell anyone I have this box set, it isn't stolen per se, but there are certain people whom I can't let know that I've taken it out of the plastic...because...reasons.
    If you would seek salvation, remember this:
    a life in Hell can still aspire to BLISS.

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  23. #4693
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Don't stop at Die Walküre, keep going! I think this drama gets better each day, with the middle (Siegfried) or final (Götterdämmerung) being the most exciting.

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  25. #4694
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nekrotzar View Post
    Btw, don't tell anyone I have this box set, it isn't stolen per se, but there are certain people whom I can't let know that I've taken it out of the plastic...because...reasons.
    As long as you didn't have to renounce love to obtain it.

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  27. #4695
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Don't stop at Die Walküre, keep going! I think this drama gets better each day, with the middle (Siegfried) or final (Götterdämmerung) being the most exciting.
    That's certainly the way it *should* be--a steady build of dramatic tension and interest. I'm not sure I entirely agree, but that's the beauty of four operas instead of just one: we each get our favorite!

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