Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #2071
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Went to la Scala Last week to see the Russian Revolution Tamerlano directed by Davide Livermore. My thoughts for what they are worth:

    Diego Fasolis has made a good job of developing a Baroque sound with the La Scala band.

    Maria Grazia Schiavo sounds better in person than on recordings. Marianne Crebassa was an adorable Irene. Bejun Mehta chewed the carpet as Tamerlano.

    Franco Fagioli was incandescent after a rather subdued start in his first aria. He absolutely sold the Baroque ABA aria; I reckon his second A sections could not have been topped by the original singer (Senesino). Apart from epic breath control, he really can go from baritone to soprano without an audible break.

    Domingo sounds even worse in person now than on recordings, wobbly and gaspy. And he was always stylistically wrong for baroque when he sang this role 10 years ago. The La Scala audience did not seem to understand this and cheered and shouted.

    La Scala stalls seats are made for very small people with stubby legs. Worth it to get closer to the stage though.

    There is an elderly lady who sits outside the ladies’ loo and tell you when you are allowed to go in (or not, as the case may be). Gentlemen on the other hand can be trusted to make their own decisions and their line moves infuriatingly quickly.
    Natalie

  2. #2072
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    There is an elderly lady who sits outside the ladies’ loo and tell you when you are allowed to go in (or not, as the case may be). Gentlemen on the other hand can be trusted to make their own decisions and their line moves infuriatingly quickly.
    Well, you know . . . standing up.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    My son just bought a used car. We picked it up tonight and got into a conversation about classical music and opera. Turns out this lady sings in the choir at just about every choral concert we attend at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We will be looking for her in the alto section this December during Messiah.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

  5. #2074
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Hurrah! PC new website allows filter by type on the new and future releases section...


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  7. #2075
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    This is from November's Opera Magazine.

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  8. #2076
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    The October issue of BBC Music Magazine (http://www.classical-music.com/) just arrived on these shores, and I quickly snagged a copy as it contains a feature story on der Jonas. There are several opera-related stories in this issue, among them one titled “The Greatest 20 Operas of All Time.” To determine these 20, the magazine contacted (in their words) “172 of the world’s finest opera singers” and asked them for their top three picks. I prefer to think of it as 171 of the world’s finest opera singers, plus Andrea Bocelli. It’s pretty disheartening when a serious publication like this one, with editors and reviewers whom one would expect to know better, includes this mediocrity in a group with the likes of Bryn Terfel, Plácido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu, Simon Keenlyside, Elīna Garanča, Christian Gerhaher, Joseph Calleja, etc., etc. (Alfie Boe is in there, too, but I think he may have some legitimate qualifications.) Of course, like any list, this one is subjective. I noticed a number of the singers selected operas in which they had appeared (countertenor Christopher Ainslie picked Orfeo ed Euridice, Handel’s Partenope, and L’incoronazione di Poppea; American mezzos Susan Graham and Frederica von Stade both had Dead Man Walking among their choices). Roberto Alagna actually listed his brother David’s Le dernier jour d’un condamné (along with Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac and Zandonai’s Francesco da Rimini). Among the greatest operas in history? No arguing with taste, I guess.
    And I bet Erwin Schrott will sure be surprised to learn that he’s a tenor!

  9. #2077
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Hurrah! PC new website allows filter by type on the new and future releases section...

    I sent them a nice email to say thank you!
    Natalie

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  11. #2078
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Great concert tonight with Anna and her Yusif in Auckland. Some thoughts:

    The repertoire was great. Some Verdi, Puccini and other verismo. Anna also sang Ebben ne andro lontana from La Wally and Song to the moon from Rusalka. I'd love to see her in that kind of repertoire, mainly because it's more the kind of thing I listen to nowadays.

    Anna was genuinely amazing. I took the girls and they were raving. The younger said " I now really understand the difference between OK singing and top singing. Anna makes it look effortless. Huge power but always maintaining beauty of tone.

    Yusif was better than I expected though he definitely lacks subtlety. The girls thought he looked like a lizard; before he starts singing his eyes go all wide and he licks his lips, and when he finishes an aria he is SO relieved. Not effortless for him. The girsl were also taken by all his shiny accoutrements (sparkly watch, diamante waistcoat buttons, shiny tie pin, gleaming patent leather shoes).
    Natalie

  12. #2079
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Great concert tonight with Anna and her Yusif in Auckland. Some thoughts:

    The repertoire was great. Some Verdi, Puccini and other verismo. Anna also sang Ebben ne andro lontana from La Wally and Song to the moon from Rusalka. I'd love to see her in that kind of repertoire, mainly because it's more the kind of thing I listen to nowadays.

    Anna was genuinely amazing. I took the girls and they were raving. The younger said " I now really understand the difference between OK singing and top singing. Anna makes it look effortless. Huge power but always maintaining beauty of tone.

    Yusif was better than I expected though he definitely lacks subtlety. The girls thought he looked like a lizard; before he starts singing his eyes go all wide and he licks his lips, and when he finishes an aria he is SO relieved. Not effortless for him. The girls were also taken by all his shiny accoutrements (sparkly watch, diamante waistcoat buttons, shiny tie pin, gleaming patent leather shoes).
    Sounds great. So pleased Anna was so good and loved your girls' description of Yusif! They have inherited their mum's imaginative use of English.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    When I hear some people moaning and groaning that there are no "real Verdi singers" around today, I want to ask them if they've ever heard Anna Netrebko (or Anja Harteros).

  15. #2081
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    When I hear some people moaning and groaning that there are no "real Verdi singers" around today, I want to ask them if they've ever heard Anna Netrebko (or Anja Harteros).
    Actually the baritone that they are lugging around with them (but not actually billing), Bolshoi Theatre principal Elchin Azizov, is a Verdi baritone. He did a great Iago "Credo", full of despite and world weariness. And Yusif and he sang the Rodrigo/Carlo "Dio, che de l'alma infondere" duet from Don Carlo, which was a treat.
    Natalie

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  17. #2082
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Four singers discuss how they choose and prepare new roles.

    https://www.gramilano.com/2017/10/to...are-new-roles/

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  19. #2083
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    I am currently in Paris, having seen both Clemenza and Falstaff, and with House of the Dead yet to come. Went to the Oct 17 Marina Rebeka Norma, some notes:

    * Unreservedly the best of the 3 Norma's I have seen so far
    * Calleja was properly interacting with his costars, with quite an intense "Va crudele" and there was a lot more grappling with his costars in general, in contrast to opening night when he'd just grab them and then remain like that. Someone had told me they thought the production had Pollione as much more of an abuser than a typical production, and based on this performance, I agree!
    * I thought Rebeka was great! She did sometimes take a little pause before a big high note, but the agility was there, and she didn't need to stretch and pull at the tempo like Radvanovsky had. She was also more emphatic and menacing (in the bit before Casta Diva when she chastises the druids and also "In Mia Man"), though her chest voice was not as impressive as Radvanovsky.
    * Supers toned down the silly staggering and jerking about quite a lot.
    * My seat was Balcony row A on the right side, where it is quite a lot louder than Family Circle. Could feel the sound of the timpani bouncing off the scalloped ceiling above me.

  20. #2084
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    Falstaff: Nov 16
    Conductor: Fabio Luisi
    Falstaff: Bryn Terfel
    Ford: Franco Vassallo
    Fenton: Francesco Demuro
    Alice: Aleksandra Kurzak
    Nannetta: Julie Fuchs

    I got a top-price ticket for this, but for whatever reason, chose a seat in the balcony (second row, reasonably central, not under an overhang), and there were serious problems with the sound. The orchestra was much, much louder than the stage and a good 5-10% of what Bryn Terfel sang was largely inaudible. It would be unreasonable to make judgements about the singing based on this, but I'm going to have a go anyway: I totally haven't been taking the third Mrs. Alagna seriously as a singer, I was wrong, she was great! It's usually not that pleasant to watch people on stage attempt to appear to be having fun, but I thought she did a nice job of it, with great wit and charm. What I could hear of Terfel sounded fantastic, and he did a great job of moving like a fat person. Other favorites were Julie Fuchs (Nannetta) and Francesco Demuro (Fenton). Thought Fabio Luisi was great.

    At first I thought the production was quite traditional, for all that it appears to be taking place on an old-timey industrial estate, with various bags and boxes scattered about. The inn is still an inn, though it's next to a garage; Ford's house is in front of the 3-story building that houses Mrs Quickly's laundry business, and Herne's Oak at Windsor Park is actually a a poorhouse (I think? Owned by Ford, with the women's chorus as its inhabitants). But there's the usual business with the letters, the screen, the laundry basket, and the river (which we cannot see, but is represented by wavy water reflections on a brick wall behind a hole in the stage. In act 3 when Bryn Terfel climbs out of this hole, he is completely wet).

    But then, in the last scene, the women's chorus comes pouring out of the poorhouse, everybody passes around sheets of paper, and suddenly there is a ballot box and a political poster urging people to vote Ford! And the curtain comes down with Alice and Ford front and center, celebrating casting their votes. I'm not quite sure what to make of this, maybe commentary on the struggle for power between Kapital and labor, I don't know?

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