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Superfly
August 14th, 2013, 08:42 AM
Hiya folks

An avid music lover here dipping his toe into the world of opera.

So, a bit about me. For the last 3 years I've been with a London based musical theatre company and in 2011 I saw my first opera with them (Elixir of Love at the ENO). I enjoyed it very much - but I would have to admit that it didn't totally hook me. Last month however, I sang in the chorus with another company that put on an annual community opera (Verdi's Macbeth with Quentin Hayes, Miriam Murphy, Matthew Rose and Charne Rochford as the leads). Aside from it being a huge privilege to be performing with such talent, it has also most definitely lit the opera fuse inside me.

The 'dipping his toe' part is a bit misleading. Being an all or nothing kinda fella, I intend to spend every spare penny I have on opera DVD's!!! :)

I was wondering if anybody here might like to offer me any purchasing advice? I realise that everything depends on preference but I'm wary of buying a sub standard version and being put off an opera because of it. I've listed below the ones I have bought (all in the past week! And loved them all) and the ones, limiting myself to 5 a month, likely to be in Septembers batch. If you think I should be looking for a particular version, or if you think my list is missing an absolute classic, then I would very much appreciate your advice.

Re the title - I'm such a noob that I didn't even know how Traviata or Butterfly ends :cry2: although, when Violetta coughs about 5 mins in, I had a pretty good idea!

Thanks

Already got
Der Zauberflote (2003 Diana Damrau, Simon Keenlyside)
La Traviata (2011 Renee Fleming, Joseph Calleja)
Madame Butterfly (1974 film, Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo)
Don Giovanni (1978 film, Ruggero Raimondi, Kiri Te Kanawa)
La Boheme (2008 Zeffirelli, Angela Gheorghiu, Ramon Vargas)

Likely next batch
Tosca
Rigoletto
Carmen
Tristan and Isolde
The Marriage of Figaro

Soave_Fanciulla
August 14th, 2013, 10:39 AM
Hello superfly and a warm welcome. There is nothing I like better than dragging others to opera DVD overload + financial ruin, so here goes!

Great all round production, fantastic singers.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WBkz8sM4L.jpg

You seem happy with films and this is a wonderful one:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W%2BCi0MyhL._SX385_.jpg
First Tristan I ever saw and it's never been bettered in my eyes/ears:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511SfAmohcL.jpg

Rigoletto is problematic. I'm not sure I can recommend anything whole-heartedly.

This is a cute Nozze. There are others that are good too. Just DON"T BUY THE M22 ONE FROM SALZBURG!

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Lz%2Boqz63L.jpg

Superfly
August 14th, 2013, 11:05 AM
That's perfect - many thanks Soave :D I'll dive headfirst into your recommendations - I'll let ya know how I get on

I'm eyeing up this Rigolotto (I'm winging it with the image posting - if it doesn't work, it's the Metropolitan one directed by Michael Mayer) Mainly because I was blown away by Diana Damrau. If there's a better one then please shout

Thank you again

Amfortas
August 14th, 2013, 01:13 PM
Welcome to the forum, Superfly (and what a great soundtrack album!)

I second Natalie on her Tosca and Figaro selections.

My recommended Carmen:

http://ww1.sinaimg.cn/large/7704df1djw1e7c02p9kg3j20e30gjwhf.jpg

My preferred Tristan:

http://www.scena.org/blog/uploaded_images/WagnerTristanIsolde-763062.jpg

The Rigoletto you've purchased has its merits, though if only because of the extreme liberties with the "translation," I wouldn't make it my only version.

tyroneslothrop
August 14th, 2013, 01:50 PM
Welcome to Opera Lively Superfly. I'm going to make a recommendation to any new person who obviously teetering on the brink of a full-blown addiction ;) (writing in a forum obviously surrounded by fellow addicts :)). Try a 1-month subscription to the Met's Opera on Demand. [clicky (http://www.metoperafamily.org/ondemand/)] While you can find many opera performances on Youtube, only some are in HD and therefore suitable for watching on a large-screen television. The Met has many HD performances now available on Opera on Demand, and I've figured out how to watch this on a television (had to connect the TV to my computer) and this works great.

I mention this because for less than the cost per month of an opera DVD, you can experience before you buy, many performances, including the particular Rigoletto you mentioned above.

Superfly
August 14th, 2013, 03:39 PM
Amfortas - I'm Superfly on a few various forums. My love for opera is new and exciting but me & Curtis go waaaaaaay back :cool:

I've not purchased that Rigoletto yet, I was only toying with it as I saw Miss Damrau's involvement. But I didn't realise it was an adaption - I think for my first viewing I should go the traditional route. I'll look for another on that I think.

Thanks for the great link tyroneslothrop :tiphat: I'll deffo be checking that out. I am a bit of a collector so I'll probably end up buying any I like but that will help narrow down the search.

That's two Carmens & two Tristans to pick. I have a friend that was a professional opera singer in Australia - I'll ask her to choose for me! I was very tempted with the Ring Cycle - but she's advised me to work up to that one

Many thanks again all - much appreciated

Ann Lander (sospiro)
August 14th, 2013, 05:29 PM
:happydance.2:

Yay! A fellow Brit has joined! We're rather thin on the ground so Superfly you are very welcome!! That would have been the Blackheath Halls Macbeth? I didn't see it but by all accounts it was brilliant. Have had the privilege of seeing both Matthew Rose and Charne Rochford live so it was bound to be good.

Not on your list but I have form for occasionally mentioning my favourite opera & I wouldn't want to disappoint my friends on here. I refer of the course to Verdi's masterpiece Simon Boccanegra :)

And I can recommend this one

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516E0yW5ImL._AA190_.jpg

And while you're in the mood for Verdi, this Macbeth is the best. And I know because I saw it, more than once, and got a smidgen obsessed with it :p

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GldfVQlUL._AA190_.jpg

Happy watching!

Soave_Fanciulla
August 14th, 2013, 09:04 PM
Amfortas - I'm Superfly on a few various forums. My love for opera is new and exciting but me & Curtis go waaaaaaay back :cool:

I've not purchased that Rigoletto yet, I was only toying with it as I saw Miss Damrau's involvement. But I didn't realise it was an adaption - I think for my first viewing I should go the traditional route. I'll look for another on that I think.

This is my pick for a traditional Rigoletto. Domingo and Cotrubas are two of my favourite singers, and it's a straightforward production. I'm pretty sure it's on Met Player and it's certainly complete on YouTube.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xr%2BmT0oFL.jpg


Thanks for the great link tyroneslothrop :tiphat: I'll deffo be checking that out. I am a bit of a collector so I'll probably end up buying any I like but that will help narrow down the search.

Yes it's a very good site and a great suggestion. There are two complete Rings on this site so you could start there. I'd suggest starting with the older Levine production there which is very naturalistic, and move on after that. Don't forget there are also hundreds of complete operas on YouTube, and you can also see operas on medici TV and Arte live web.


That's two Carmens & two Tristans to pick. I have a friend that was a professional opera singer in Australia - I'll ask her to choose for me!

From a singing point of view the Meier/Jerusalem Tristan wins as Jerusalem is a better singer than Gambill, and a wonderful voice. I just think the production is a bit meh, funny costumes and very stylised directing. Meier and Stemme are both outstanding Isoldes. Really you need both. Best to check out excerpts on YT and make up your mind from that!

For the Carmen you are choosing between a very evocative film which would work as a film in its own right, with a wonderful earthy Carmen, a great voice as Don Jose, the best Escamillo ever in Ruggero Raimondi; and a good stage production with two excellent leads; but a darker take on the plot (which is pretty dark already). Again I couldn't live without both, but it was this Francesco Rosi film of Carmen that led me to take my first steps back into opera after a 15 year hiatus after I moved from London to NZ. I tracked it down on Amazon and paid a fortune for it, and the rest is penurious history.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
August 14th, 2013, 10:14 PM
Welcome to Opera Lively, Superfly. I see that our friends have made some excellent suggestions already.

Superfly
August 15th, 2013, 08:45 AM
Morning all

Hi sospiro / Ann. Yes, it was the Blackheath Halls Macbeth :biggrin: It was fantastic! A real honor to be performing with such talent. (On a good day) I'm a mediocre bass singer so I consider myself very fortunate. I was even blown away with the singing from the rest of the chorus - I'll be doing next years without a doubt. Matthew Rose has taken a teaching job at Trinity so we're hoping he may become a SE London opera fixture. He's a really really nice bloke - and he can sing a bit :sarcastic:

Having been mostly consigned to the dressing room, I've still not seen Macbeth! And your suggestion looks a winner from the cover alone so I think I'll likely break my DVD limit next month. Our version was in English too so it'll be great to hear it in Italian. I may have to put Simon Boccanegra on my October list - I don't want to run out of Verdi's too soon!

Thank you again soave. Amazon have let me down on a region 2 for your suggested Rigoletto but I'll try the calling the opera house later. And I think I will go for the Carmen film. To start with ;)

Thanks once more to everyone for all their comments, suggestions and welcomes. What a lovely forum :)

Superfly / Nick

Ann Lander (sospiro)
August 15th, 2013, 03:04 PM
tyroneslothrop's advice to subscribe to Met Player is sound. Another way to 'try before you buy' is YouTube. We have a dedicated thread for complete operas on YouTube (http://operalively.com/forums/showthread.php/84-Complete-operas-on-youtube).

Superfly
August 15th, 2013, 04:30 PM
37 pages of complete operas!

Oh, well - who needs to sleep anyway ;)


Thanks sospiro. I'm slowly working my way through the other threads - there's lots of little gems

Ann Lander (sospiro)
August 16th, 2013, 03:07 PM
Hi sospiro / Ann. Yes, it was the Blackheath Halls Macbeth :biggrin: It was fantastic! A real honor to be performing with such talent. (On a good day) I'm a mediocre bass singer so I consider myself very fortunate. I was even blown away with the singing from the rest of the chorus - I'll be doing next years without a doubt. Matthew Rose has taken a teaching job at Trinity so we're hoping he may become a SE London opera fixture. He's a really really nice bloke - and he can sing a bit :sarcastic:
Superfly / Nick

Bragging (sorry) :D

http://i1272.photobucket.com/albums/y392/F1Annie/th_P1010130x_zpsab6bee79.jpg (http://s1272.photobucket.com/user/F1Annie/media/P1010130x_zpsab6bee79.jpg.html)

Die Zauberflöte curtain call. Sophie Bevan (Pamina), Simon Keenlyside (Papageno) and the superb Matthew Rose (Sarastro)

Superfly
August 16th, 2013, 04:24 PM
Wow! Thank you for posting that Ann :D What a great pic! I never realised he'd worked with Simon Keenlyside. I love to try and see him (and the other leads) in any future shows. I'll keep my eyes peeled but if you hear anything then I'd really appreciate a nod. I'm going to try* and join the Blackheath chorus for a couple of concerts that are coming up. I'm really hoping Matthew will be involved - he really has a tremendous voice. And I have a soft spot for talented Bass/Bass baritones

Excellent - thanks again :)

*I say 'try' - I'm in a musical theatre show (Honk!) in October which is draining my spare time

Ann Lander (sospiro)
August 16th, 2013, 06:23 PM
Wow! Thank you for posting that Ann :D What a great pic! I never realised he'd worked with Simon Keenlyside. I love to try and see him (and the other leads) in any future shows. I'll keep my eyes peeled but if you hear anything then I'd really appreciate a nod. I'm going to try* and join the Blackheath chorus for a couple of concerts that are coming up. I'm really hoping Matthew will be involved - he really has a tremendous voice.

I think it's great that you're involved with both MT & opera, the two aren't mutually exclusive and I hope you're able to join the Blackheath chorus again.


And I have a soft spot for talented Bass/Bass baritones

There are plenty of members on here who have similar soft spots so you're not alone ;)

Soave_Fanciulla
August 16th, 2013, 08:46 PM
There are plenty of members on here who have similar soft spots so you're not alone ;)

In fact you are sospiro's friend for life if you like basses and mine if you like baritones.

PS I saw Matthew Rose last year in the ENO's Billy Budd. He was a suitably villainous Claggart.

Superfly
August 20th, 2013, 08:18 AM
Just ordered my next batch :) I'm cheating a bit but don't tell anyone. I've changed the one order per calendar month to payday months (which happend to be today!!) And I've ordered 6 not 5. And I still need a Rigoletto which I may grab from the ROH en route to tonights rehearsals.

Went for Carmen (Film) / Tristan & Isolade (Nine Stemme) / Tosca (Angela Gheorghiu) / Macbeth (Keenlyside) / Figaro (David McVicar) / and I also threw in Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute as I'm a bit of a Bergman fan too.

Hopefully should get them by the weekend. I'll let you know how I get on.

Thanks once more to everyone for the tips

Soave_Fanciulla
August 20th, 2013, 09:45 AM
Just ordered my next batch :) I'm cheating a bit but don't tell anyone. I've changed the one order per calendar month to payday months (which happend to be today!!) And I've ordered 6 not 5. And I still need a Rigoletto which I may grab from the ROH en route to tonights rehearsals.

Went for Carmen (Film) / Tristan & Isolade (Nine Stemme) / Tosca (Angela Gheorghiu) / Macbeth (Keenlyside) / Figaro (David McVicar) / and I also threw in Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute as I'm a bit of a Bergman fan too.

Hopefully should get them by the weekend. I'll let you know how I get on.

Thanks once more to everyone for the tips

Happy watching/listening!

Ann Lander (sospiro)
August 20th, 2013, 06:00 PM
Just ordered my next batch :) I'm cheating a bit but don't tell anyone. I've changed the one order per calendar month to payday months (which happend to be today!!) And I've ordered 6 not 5. And I still need a Rigoletto which I may grab from the ROH en route to tonights rehearsals.

Went for Carmen (Film) / Tristan & Isolade (Nine Stemme) / Tosca (Angela Gheorghiu) / Macbeth (Keenlyside) / Figaro (David McVicar) / and I also threw in Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute as I'm a bit of a Bergman fan too.

Hopefully should get them by the weekend. I'll let you know how I get on.

Thanks once more to everyone for the tips

Great choices! Well apart from the Wagner of which I have not one clue! Despite the best efforts of several of my friends RW still terrifies the life out of me.

Superfly
August 26th, 2013, 09:15 AM
Quick update. Had a very busy weekend so only managed two of my new batch.

Bergmans Magic Flute - Interesting to see Bergmans take on it. Enjoyable, but not for the purists. In Swedish and with lots of the lib edited out. Good fun but not a patch on the McVicar/Keenlyside/Damrau production.

Tosca. Wow! Wow will do it I think. My new favourite, I absolutely loved it! The three leads are amazing but the tenor (Kaufmann) was jaw droppingly brilliant. Can't wait to watch it again. Many thanks to Natalie for the recommendation :tiphat:

I'm going for Carmen on Wednesday night, Nozze at a friends on Friday, Macbeth on Saturday afternoon and Tristan & Isolade on Sunday. Should be a good week! :excitement:

Superfly
September 5th, 2013, 03:13 PM
That's my batch all finished now! I really loved them all but I think I would have Tosca and Tristan & Isolde as my favs so far. Tristan was incredible - I was warned that Wagner isn't for everybody but I got immediately into it. I think the final 15 minutes will take some beating.

So now I'm enjoying watching everything again - and (with your guidance, if willing) planning my next batch :) this is in advance - I won't order anymore for a couple of weeks yet - I'm just getting prepared.

I accidentally ordered another 3 by accident. I slipped and forgot what i was doing and so I've accidentaly got Rigoletto, Eugine Onegin and Aida turning up by accident.

So, in the next lot

- I will get Sospiro's Simon Boccanegra and the Glyndebourne Cosi Fan Tutte
- I need a new Wagner - what should I go for next? I've been told Lohengrin - would that get your vote, and is there an outstanding version?
- Feel free to suggest one out of the blue. Do you have an essential favourite I've not mentioned yet?
- These 3 have drawn my eye. Any comments, good or bad? Annoyingly, I seem to be doing something wrong in pasting the images so it's :-
Giulio Cesare - Handel (Glyndebourne Festival) [DVD] [2006]
Puccini: Il Trittico with Lucio Gallo & Eva Maria Westbroek
Puccini: La Fanciulla Del West [Nina Stemme, John Lundgren, Aleksandrs Antonenko]

Thanks

Amfortas
September 5th, 2013, 04:40 PM
Glad you had such a good experience, Superfly! It must be exciting to come to these works with a fresh perspective! The DVDs you plan to view next are all excellent choices.


- I need a new Wagner - what should I go for next? I've been told Lohengrin - would that get your vote, and is there an outstanding version?

Lohengrin is a good opera for someone still getting to know Wagner. This is a visually effective production with some striking performances:

http://img2.imagesbn.com/p/809478009641_p0_v2_s260x420.jpg

Superfly
September 6th, 2013, 08:11 AM
Thanks Amfortas! Yes, it's really exciting!! I'm like a kid at xmas when going home with a new DVD in my pocket :excitement: It was Eugine Onegin last night - that was something else too!

The ones I have lined up next caught my eye as Cesare & Trittico have outstanding Amazon reviews but Fanculla (aside from the added bonus of Nina Stemme) has an incredibly cool cover! I'm a sucker for packaging - good to know the content is worthwhile too.

Your suggested Lohengrin has one left in Amazons stock, so I may need to accidentaly order that one now - just to be safe

Thanks once more, appreciate it

Superfly
September 6th, 2013, 08:16 AM
Testing my pasting skills

2493

Superfly
September 6th, 2013, 08:19 AM
And now I've got that working again, let's have a cheeky plug for my show :)

2494

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
September 6th, 2013, 10:25 PM
Thanks Amfortas! Yes, it's really exciting!! I'm like a kid at xmas when going home with a new DVD in my pocket :excitement: It was Eugine Onegin last night - that was something else too!

The ones I have lined up next caught my eye as Cesare & Trittico have outstanding Amazon reviews but Fanculla (aside from the added bonus of Nina Stemme) has an incredibly cool cover! I'm a sucker for packaging - good to know the content is worthwhile too.

Your suggested Lohengrin has one left in Amazons stock, so I may need to accidentaly order that one now - just to be safe

Thanks once more, appreciate it

I second that, and consider it the best Lohengrin on video media.

Soave_Fanciulla
September 7th, 2013, 02:11 AM
I agree with that Lohengrin choice for a first excursion too!

My copy of that Fanciulla has just arrived today, I saw it on YouTube and HAD TO BUY MY OWN COPY! It is my favourite version of my favourite opera and captures the wild west spirit just perfectly. And Nina Stemme is outstanding in the title role.

You must have the Giulio Cesare. No collection can survive without it, and it's a great entry into Baroque opera.

The Trittico DVD you have selected is also very good, with the surprise standout being Ermonala Jaho in Suor Angelica. I don't even like the opera much (sorry Amfortas) but she sold it to me.

I suggest you accidentally order this too. One of the best opera DVDs in the world.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51b16YmnxKL.jpg

Soave_Fanciulla
September 7th, 2013, 02:17 AM
By the way it is also worth checking out Presto Classical's (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/) site - they sometimes have sales and their DVDs are also sometimes cheaper than Amazon. And if you ever get up to Leamington Spa you could visit their physical shop and end up accidentally bankrupting yourself.

Ann Lander (sospiro)
September 7th, 2013, 06:50 AM
By the way it is also worth checking out Presto Classical's (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/) site - they sometimes have sales and their DVDs are also sometimes cheaper than Amazon. And if you ever get up to Leamington Spa you could visit their physical shop and end up accidentally bankrupting yourself.

And if you're ever in Bath, you can bankrupt yourself here (http://www.bathcds.co.uk/) as well.

Superfly
September 9th, 2013, 07:38 AM
Many thanks for the updates and extra links :) Being financialy comfortable was never high on my list of priorities anyway

Natalie, I have your Cosi waiting for me! Lohengrin was the last in stock so I had to order that on Friday, the same with Fanciulla - and because errrrrrm, it's probably unlucky to order an even number or something, I accidentaly added your Cosi too. I really am so clumsy.

They're sitting in my Amazon locker awaiting collection this evening.

Cheers again
Nick

Superfly
October 29th, 2013, 05:33 PM
I'm the one in green :excitement:

OK, the one in green on the platform if you need specifics

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