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  1. #46
    Schigolch
    Guest
    Let's walk again a little bit out of the mainstream, and take a look at Condor, from the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Gomes.



    In a unrecognizable Samarcanda, in the 17th century, queen Odalea must remain chaste. A band of robbers, the Black Horde, leaded by Condor, is ravaging Samarcanda. But then Condor meets Odalea and... yes, they fall in love. Zuleida, Odalea's mother, confess the queen Condor is no other than the lost son of sultan Amurath. Odalea promotes Condor to the exalted job of Grand Visir but the people of Samarcanda, understandably angry for this course of events, revolt. Almanzor, a wicked wizard, curse the queen and only the sacrifice of a true lover can save her. Of course, Condor volunteers and stabs himself, promptly followed by Odalea.


  2. #47
    Schigolch
    Guest
    Just about to complete his education at the Naples Conservatory, Bellini wrote at twenty four his first opera, the dramma semiserio Adelson e Salvini.

    Using a libretto by Andrea Leone Tortola, already put on stage in 1815 by composer Valentino Fioravanti, Bellini just worked on this for a few months.

    In 17th century Ireland, we are at Lord Adelson's (baritone) castle. Roman painter Salvini (tenor) is passionately in love with Adelson's fiancée, Nelly (soprano). An old enemy of the Adelson family, Struley (bass), takes advantage of this situation, and forges a letter from Adelson to a girl from London, so Salvini can convince Nelly to escape with him to Italy. Fortunately, the plot is discovered, Salvini shoots Struley, Adelson and Nelly get married and Salvini is engaged with Adelson's ward, Fanny (mezzo).

    The opera was very well considered in the Conservatory, and impresario Domenico Barbaja decided to commission an opera from Bellini, the future Bianca e Gernando. Bellini even revised Adelson in 1829, for a staging that never happened. In fact, aside from the Naples conservatory performances, the opera was never staged until 1985 in Catania.

    Clearly, this is not a masterpiece, but it's a good effort, and even better, in my opinion, that an Oberto or Donizetti's first operas.

    Let's hear the overture. After a brief fanfare, there is a melody that Bellini will reuse in Il Pirata.




    In the 1829 revised version, Bellini wrote for Salvini this delightful "Ecco, signor, la sposa", when he delivers Nelly to his fiancé, Adelson, that also inspired some music for Valdeburgo in La Straniera:




    But, of course, the most interesting piece of the opera is this romanza in F minor for Nelly, "Dopo l'oscuro nembo", that will be recalled in I Capuleti e i Montecchi:


  3. #48
    Schigolch
    Guest


    Pauline García was the daughter of the great Spanish singer and composer Manuel García, and sister of the very famous María Malibrán. Pauline was his father's delight, and from childhood she showed a great musical talent, both as singer and composer. At 19, she married with Louis Viardot, the manager of the Parisine Théatre des Italiens, and she adopted the name by which she is better known: Pauline Viardot-García.

    Unfortunately, we cannot hear any Pauline Viardot's recordings, as she died in 1910, but already 89 years old. However, we cannot miss her delightful chamber opera, Cendrillon, premiered in Paris a few years before her death:


  4. #49
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    I hope florezidos militia formation already eliminated author of this evil propaganda video:


  5. #50
    Schigolch
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    Greek composer Spyridon Samaras (aka Spiro Samara), that wrote the Olympic anthem, lived for more than 25 years in -Italy, and was also composing some operas in the verismo style.

    One of them, La Martire, premiered at Naples in 1893 with a libretto by Luici Illica, and got a modest succes.

    The plot is simple: in a small Romanian village near the river Danube, Natalia lives with his husband, the longshoreman Tristano, and her daughter, that is very sick. Natalia's marriage is very unhappy, because Tristano in unfaithful, a drunkard and an abuser. After the death of the child, a desperate Natalia meets with her old fiancé, Mikael, that want to run with her and start together a new life. However Natalia can't find any strenght in her, and settles for a suicide instead.

    We can watch the opera in youtube, from a performance in Corfu, the native city of the composer:



    And there is some nice music to be found.
    Last edited by Schigolch; January 14th, 2012 at 10:26 AM.

  6. #51
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    Really good duet and ensamble from one of less famous operas by Rossini:



    As you may see in the comments, some consider it to be better that other version with Flórez, the one released on CD.

  7. #52
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    Seems like Flórez has luck when it comes to productions modernized in good taste (rarity). First he got La Fille updated to World War I which was actually watchable, now he got this:



    Lovely duet, btw.

  8. #53
    Schigolch
    Guest

    Errico Petrella

    Errico Petrella was born in Palermo, and though he wrote some 25 operas, and was the most succesful of Italian composers, after Verdi, during the 1850s and 1860s, he is all but forgotten outside Italy.

    His style was a little bit old-fashioned compared to Verdi's, who kind of despised Petrella's conservative ways, but there are a couple of operas that do have some merit, and can be listened with pleasure today.

    The first is Jone, o L'ultimo giorno di Pompei, full of good melodies and some exciting drama.


    Petrella - Jone - Overture

    Petrella - Jone- Canti chi vuole

    Petrella - Jone - Vanne, e serba geloso l'arcano

    Petrella - Jone - Tu sol, tu sol sacrilega


    And of course, his major success I Promessi Sposi:

    Petrella - I promessi sposi - Fragments

  9. #54
    Schigolch
    Guest


    Emilio Arrieta was a Spanish composer, trained in Italy, that won in 1846 the first prize in a competition arranged by La Scala with her opera Ildegonda, with a libretto by Temistocle Solera.





    Coming back to Spain, he was a favourite of Queen Isabella, that ordered a small theater to be built within the Royal Palace, and there Arrieta presented La Conquista di Granata, in 1850:





    His best work is Marina, that was premiered as a zarzuela in 1855, but the composer himself adapted later as an opera, whose first performance was given at Teatro Real, in 1871:



    Alfredo Kraus - Marina - A beber, a beber...

    Montserrat Caballé - Marina - Pensar en él

  10. #55
    Schigolch
    Guest
    Berthold Goldschmidt was a survivor. He started to write Opera just about the time Nazi's regime came to power in Germany. Being a Jew, his work was not precisely welcome. He was fortunate to be able to flee to England (twenty members of his family died in the Holocaust), where he found a new home.



    His first opera was based on Fernand Crommelynck's “Le Cocu Magnifique”, about a husband so obsessed about the fidelity of his wife, that ended up causing her to start several affairs, just to prove himself right. It was premiered in 1932, and forbidden the year after.



    The last opera by Goldschmidt was Beatrice Cenci, on the interesting story of the 16th century Roman aristrocat, Francesco Cenci, that forced himself into her daughter Beatrice's intimacy, and was killed by her and other members of the family, that were later executed for the murder, and inspired Shelley to write "The Cenci: A Tragedy in Five Acts".



    There are also operas on the same subject by Havergal Brian and Alberto Ginastera.


  11. #56
    Schigolch
    Guest


    It was a strange life for Manfred Gurlitt.

    In spite of being a good composer, with some very nice works, he is remembered today by his two 'shadow' operas. Two operas based on the same material, and with the same title, that masterpieces of the 20th century, like Wozzeck and Die Soldaten.

    Gurlitt's Wozzeck was premiered one year later than Berg's, and is really a nice piece, a lovely post-Romantic opera that can't resist the comparison with the great work by Berg, but it's very pleasurable on his own merit.

    Ironically, Gurlitt was forced to leave Germany after being accused of Jewish ancestry and he went to... Japan, where he was very well respected as conductor and teacher.




  12. #57
    Schigolch
    Guest


    Robert, le Diable is a wonderful "Grand Opéra" by Meyerbeer.

    In its time, it was an enormous success. However, it came out of fashion after the First World War, and given the tremendous difficulty to find an adequate singing cast, it's not performed often.

    The CD above, from the Opera Garnier, in Paris, was recorded during a series of performances, in 1985. A version in VHS was also released, and it's still relatively easy to find, though image quality is very poor.

    There were some good singing from all principal roles, but the queen of this recording is beyond any doubt a great June Anderson:


  13. #58
    Schigolch
    Guest


    Sigurd is an opera by French composer Ernest Reyer, premiered at La Monnaie (Brussels) in 1884. The libretto is based on the familiar, for an Opera fan, legend of the Nibelungs.

    This is a nice opera, one of the last Grand Opéra ever staged (even if there are only four acts), with a plot based on legends, many choruses, a Ballet, in the Second Act in Iceland we should see on stage a storm, a lake burning and a palace of fire...

    An example from youtube:


  14. #59
    Schigolch
    Guest


    Joaquín Rodrigo is known mainly by his piece for guitar and orchestra, El Concierto de Aranjuez.

    His only incursion in the lyrical scene, El hijo fingido, based on a play by Lope de Vega, was premiered in 1964 and was a little fiasco. However, it was staged again in 2001 to celebrate the centenary of the composer (he died a couple of years before, at 98) at Teatro de la Zarzuela, in Madrid, and was something of a success. The CD above was recorded at that time.

    If you like El Concierto de Aranjuez, there is a good chance you will also like this El hijo fingido.


  15. #60
    Schigolch
    Guest
    Just heard this version of Königskinder, by Engelbert Humperdinck:



    And it's really nice. I usually enjoy the singing of Klaus Florian Vogt, and he is fine here, but the rest of the cast are also at a good level. Ingo Metzmacher is conducting this late Romantic piece wonderfully and the sound is superb.

    It's a good opportunity to enjoy this neglected opera (somewhat superior in my mind to Hänsel und Gretel), and with similar quality to the 1950s recording with Fischer-Dieskau.

    Below, a youtube with the staging in Zurich, also with Metzmacher conducting, and Isabel Rey / Jonas Kaufmann singing:


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