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

          
   
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  1. #106
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    These are two great Atillas, hard to choose only one if pressed.
    Gardelli has stronger cast overall, but Muti and Ramey are a powerful team that really gives this version an edge

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  3. #107
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post


    These are two great Atillas, hard to choose only one if pressed.
    Gardelli has stronger cast overall, but Muti and Ramey are a powerful team that really gives this version an edge
    I know - very hard to choose but for me I prefer Gardelli's tempi & Milnes' Ezio so that one gets my vote
    "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

  4. #108
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    This has the added bonus of duets with Christophe Dumaux, and their voices go together perfectly. Not to mention that Purcell is a genius.



    Vogt delivers the most poetic Winterstürme I have ever heard. And his diction is so clear I could understand every word and they painted pictures in my mind. I'd be his Sieglinde any time.

    Natalie

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  6. #109
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Pavarotti is the greatest modern Duke for me, comparing his magnificent 1971 recording to later 1988 where he was still in fine voice and also had a very strong cast. I actually like June Anderson's Gilda a bit more than Sutherland, either way two fine versions starring Luciano.....

  7. #110
    Senior Member Involved Member StLukesGuildOhio's Avatar
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    Damn!!!

    This just arrived this week. Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with Hilde Zadek, Rita Streich, Sena Jurinac, etc... conducted by Joseph Keilberth with the Westdeutschen Rundfunks Köln Orchestra (WDR) recorded in 1954. The sound for this era is quite stupendous and both the soloists and conductor of great historical and artistic merit.

    Best of all... the prices on these Historical WDR recordings are ridiculously inexpensive. I immediately rushed to pick up the following:



    While Fidelio has never been my favorite opera, how could I possibly lose at $5 US for a recordings with Birgit Nilssen, Hans Hopf, and Gottlob Frick in his greatest role?! This performance was conducted by Erich Kleiber just weeks before his death.



    Niccolai Gedda and Hermann Prey with Keilberth performing Gluck! I already have this opera in a more contemporary period recording... but still, I couldn't pass this one up.



    Von Weber's masterpiece performed by Elizabeth Grümmer, Rita Streich, etc... with Erich Kleiber again. Again for only $10 US!!



    Strauss' masterpiece with Astrid Varnay, Leonie Rysanek, Hans Hotter and Richard Kraus?

    Double Damn!!!

    I have gotten to the point where my recordings of Strauss operas outnumber those by any other composer... Wagner included!!! I must rectify this immediately. Perhaps another Ring cycle?

    In the end, I even jumped on this disc from the same WDR historic recordings series.



    Returning to Ariadne auf Naxos, this work is a marvelous slapstick comedy... an opera about opera and the theater... with the libretto by the brilliant librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The opera was first performed (in its original form) in 1912, a few short years after the Expressionistic tragedies, Salome (1905) and Elektra (1909). In the original form, the audience was presented only with a brief hybrid: an opera that combined a serious classical story with a comedy performed by a commedia dell'arte group. Not only was the result confusing, but impractical, at barely 30-minutes the work still demanded both an orchestra and opera singers as well as a troupe of comic actors. in 1916 Strauss expanded the work with a prologue that essentially "explains" the bizarre serious/comic opera: "Ariadne auf Naxos", a tragic opera, the first work of a young composer is to be performed at the home of the wealthiest man in Vienna. The music master in informed that a comic play and a fireworks display will immediately follow the performance of the opera. The music masters protests, but informs that he who pays has the ultimate say. The composer is fascinated with the beautiful, young Zerbinetta, leader of the comic troupe of actors, but is outraged when he learns that a comic play will follow his opera. While he is raging, the steward of the wealthy man again arrives and announces that for the sake of expediency, both the tragic opera and the comic play are to be staged at the same time. The composer is aghast, but Zerbinetta is able to seductively talk him into seeing it from another perspective. The opera takes the tale of "Ariadne and Theseus" in which the daughter of the King of Minos aids Theseus (the Athenian enemy of Minos) with whom she has fallen in love, in killing the Minotaur. She then elopes with Theseus who abandons her on the island of Naxos where in despair, she commits suicide. This tragedy is mutated into a farce when Zerbinetta and her four companions from the burlesque group enter and attempt to cheer Ariadne by singing and dancing. In a sustained and dazzling piece of coloratura singing, "Großmächtige Prinzessin" / "high and mighty princess" (the most well-known aria of the opera) Zerbinetta insists that the simplest way to get over a broken heart is to find another man. In a comic interlude, each of the clowns pursues Zerbinetta.

    Ariadne auf Naxos proves a striking contrast to Strauss' other operas. As opposed to his usual penchant for lush, rich, and grandiose orchestration, Ariadne auf Naxos is performed by a stripped-down, chamber orchestra of some 35 instruments and piano. It and clearly illustrates the fact that Strauss had the ability to write striking passages of chamber music... and yet at the same time never abandon his signature sensuality.[/QUOTE]
    "Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of
    Congress .. But I repeat myself." -Mark Twain

  8. #111
    Member Member desiree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Is this good?

  9. #112
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Beautifully sung, especially the males, very conventional staging (lovely Leiferkus as Tomsky), and Grigoriam, especially at the end, a convincing Herman.

    Whatever you do, don't get this:



    I tried watching and what with Atlantov's singing and the total lack of acting (I'm madly in love with you so I'm going to stand as far away fom you as possible and avoid looking at you and wave my arms at the audience and emote, sob sob bark bark). I gave up halfway through act 2. I thought to myself, what if I'm run over by a bus and this is the last thing I've seen!
    Natalie

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  11. #113
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    This is not really Britten's Gloriana as there are cuts, and it's not really a film of the opera North stage production, as some of the action takes place backstage, but amazingly enough it works, making pertinent parallels between the life of Elizabeth in her incarnation as the Vrigin queen, torn between private wants and public duties, and the life of Josephine Barstow, diva reaching the end of her career. And Tom Randle was delicious.



    My goodness this was harrowing, No holds barred:



    Back to a more romantic age. Loved the singing of the two principals in this:



    and the staging and acting in this:

    Natalie

  12. #114
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Most people celebrate wedding anniversaries. I celebrate opera anniversaries.

    Thirty-one years ago today, I was down in New Orleans for their opera company's performance of Fidelio. (Well, of course!) Siegfried Jerusalem, at the time my favorite tenor, was singing Florestan, and I wasn't about to miss that. It was an unforgettable event, and I was thrilled when Eurodisc issued a complete recording of the opera with him about a year later.

    So today, I'm listening to this:
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    Not only do I still have the program Herr J. autographed for me all those years ago, but also the pen with which he signed it (and the pen still writes!).

  13. #115
    Senior Member Involved Member StLukesGuildOhio's Avatar
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    Finally got around to watching this... fabulous!!!



    Recently, I've been in the mood for some Viennese bon-bons and so I picked up this disc of Richard Tauber singing Lehar selections.



    This one was a real eye-opener. I've been listening to a number of Gluck's operas, and I've been impressed by their classical simplicity and beauty that clearly presages Mozart... but this is something altogether different. This is an explosively dynamic musical drama more suggestive of Don Giovanni or even Beethoven. I can clearly see now why Wagner would have cited Gluck as an influence. Great cast: Nicolai Gedda, Hermann Prey, Hilde Zadek... with Joseph Keilberth conducting. Brilliant sound. I am glad I decided to jump on these operas and pick up the entire series while they were ridiculously under-priced.
    "Suppose you were an idiot ... And suppose you were a member of
    Congress .. But I repeat myself." -Mark Twain

  14. #116
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    Suliotis...........yes yes yesssssssssssss!

    In high def 24/96 format (from vinyl record I assume)
    Do I really need to ask if this is a great performance?
    Live or Studio?

  15. #117
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Angel View Post
    Suliotis...........Yes yes yesssssssssssss!

    In high def 24/96 format (from vinyl record I assume)
    Do I really need to ask if this is a great performance? Live or Studio?
    Yes, this is probably phenomenal. 1967, studio. Yes, from the 1968 vinyl, released on CD in 1995.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  16. #118
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Yes, this is probably phenomenal. 1967, studio. Yes, from the 1968 vinyl, released on CD in 1995.
    Alma
    I don't think there is a CD version of this Suliotis Norma available.....Schigs found a website with a high def (24/96) rip from vinyl record people can download, photo is of Vinyl album artwork

    What a trio: Suliotis -> Del Monaco -> Cossotto

  17. #119
    Schigolch
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    First, about the recording:

    This is a transference from the London LP London released in 1970, not the DECCA transference to CD performed in the 1980s that is no longer in catalog.

    About Soulioutis, Norma was not her best role. She sang the priestess for the first time in Mexico, in September 1967. Then there is very exciting performance in the Carnegie Hall in November, because in the same performance there are some vocal problems, along with great singing. In December, she cancelled two performances of Norma, in Florence.

    Soulioutis best singing years were from 1964 to 1967. She was hailed as the new Callas, but in fact the few flaws in Callas's singing, were present and very much exposed in Soulioutis: the totally different voice in the low, middle and top notes, the occasional crack,... but she didn't have other tools like a good legato, neither a decent trill and her coloratura was very irregular. Also, in some roles, like Norma, she was not really a vocal actress.

    On the bright side, her voice was really unique, very personal, the middle notes were sometimes a real glory, and the quality of the low notes, when correctly emited, fantastic.

    In this particular recording, from 1969, with some cuts designed to make the performance fits into only two LPs, she is not really at her top form, but it's still listenable. Del Monaco was in the decline, but Cossotto is very good.

    Last edited by Schigolch; March 22nd, 2012 at 04:18 PM.

  18. #120
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    Cardillac, by Hindemith.
    This is the first full length opera of the 20th century I've ever watched! I really liked it, I know Hindemith's orchestral style very well and I'm no opera critic, but it really went well with the story. When Cardillac, the Jeweller was first introduced, the music was very evocative of some evil laboratory, it was very compelling. Very fine libretto coupled with VERY FINE 20th century music.

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