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Schigolch
December 22nd, 2011, 02:58 PM
http://www.thomasmusic.net.au/process/get_image.php?image=43

Marcello Viotti (2002)

Filippo Maria Visconti - Michael Volle
Beatrice di Tenda - Edita Gruberova
Agnese del Maino - Stefania Kaluza
Orombello - Raúl Hernández

Zurich Opera Orchestra

This is the only Beatrice di Tenda DVD in the market, so it's already a recommendation, as no other option is available.

Gruberova still sings well the role, though there is already some stress on the top notes. Mr. Volle puts on a villain face, and is convincing as such, unfortunately he is supposed also to sing in Italian... Ms. Kaluza is a solid, though a little bit too mature, Agnese, and Raúl Hernández,... well, he is not a disaster, but he looks like Hardy Har Har looking for Lippy the Lion.

The Bedermeier look of the scenery is out of touch with the historical settings, but is not too cumbersome, and late movie director Daniel Schmid handles well the staging. Good work from Mr. Viotti in the pit.

Overall: B-

Recommended for Bellini lovers.

Aramis
December 22nd, 2011, 10:53 PM
I think that Bellini is unfortunate composer when it comes to DVDs. Apart from one I Puritani, nothing satisfied me. But that's probably because it's co extremely difficult to give his operas justice musically that chances for making it both: musically and visually are minimal.

Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 09:00 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BhkCbyeYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

This DVD is worth getting for JDF alone. Wow, what a great job he does with this kind of music, and his acting is improving too. I also liked Nino Madchaize's Elvira - she played her as slightly unstable from the beginning so the mad scene was not unexpected. And she is so gorgeous, particularly in the blue dress in act 1 (and charmingly excited in her curtain call). The two leads had real chemistry and a sense of affection.

The production is stark but this is appropriate for a play about Puritans - in fact in contrast I found the Met's lace and ruffles rather odd. I thought some of the scenery rather magical, especially the forest backdrop. This is probably better seen on DVD than in the theatre as the frequent close-ups of beautiful expressive people compensate for any dullness in the staging.

I will be watching this over again. Bellini can sure write a ripping tune, can't he:D!

Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 09:07 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LlRJrZl1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

The only thing that redeems this ridiculous production is the gorgeous singing (particularly JDF). Otherwise the director takes a silly plot and makes it totally incomprehensible. What, no one these days has heard of sleepwalking? And Amina is simultaneously a simple country girl who can't stand up for herself and a mobile-phone-toting sunglasses-wearing diva? And everyone is going to get worked up because she fell asleep in the rehearsal room where there was A Man (gasp)? And then they all shred loads of newspaper (what's that about anyway?).

I'm really glad I watched it on Met Player and didn't buy it!

HarpsichordConcerto
January 7th, 2012, 10:07 AM
... and if you cannot get enough of La Sonnambula with Juan-Diego Flórez, there is this excellent CD studio recording of it with Cecilia Bartoli (Amina)! Orchestra La Scintilla (on period instruments) under Alessandro De Marchi. This was a rather "different" interpretation of the score (well, perhaps only in our times) because it was supposedly a historically informed performace practice, even for an 1831 score. Best thing to do is to listen to as many clips if you are thinking about buying this.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51x6pNv0C0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31TdmlkfbTg

Schigolch
January 18th, 2012, 12:20 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510v50MEycL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

June Anderson (Norma)
Daniela Barcellona (Adalgisa)
Shin Young Hoon (Pollione)
Ildar Abdrazakov (Oroveso)

Orchestra Europa Galante (on period instruments), Fabio Biondi (conductor) - 2001
Roberto Andò (stage director)

This was a very interesting Norma, because it was based on a critical edition by Fabio Biondi's brother, Fabrizio, using manuscripts found in Naples and Milan, showing even some things Bellini himself later changed, like the end of the First Act. Biondi also worked with the orchestration and the opera was played with period instruments (or modern reconstructions). The most shocking decision was to use a harpsichord to accompany the recitatives and provide continuo, and some fascinating tempi.

All this stuff is very interesting, but unfortunately the singers didn't buy into all of Biondi's insights. June Anderson, that in the 1980s looks like the real thing, was already in decline, and she delivers all the notes, with the Casta Diva in G major, but is not giving us back a really convincing Norma. At the end of the performance, she is exhausted.

Barcellona, an unlikely Adalgisa from a physique du role's point of view, offers here her usual warm, round singing, with easy top notes, but she is divorced from Biondi and the pit. The performance of the brave, young, but desperately inadequate tenor (a late hour replacement) is dismal.

There are other Biondi's Normas after this one, with singers like Gregory Kunde, that are even more interesting.

Overall: B, recommended for Belcanto Opera lovers

Aramis
February 15th, 2012, 03:28 PM
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_iixfKHFiTZc/TC-uQ3BurbI/AAAAAAAAAuo/xO-ufbwbIEA/s1600/capa.jpg

This CD contains selections from full performance that is avaiable only on vinyl. Too bad. How can you select highlights from opera which is one, huge highlight by itself? Still, you should have one or another because performance is truely great. I got it because of Monaco which always made me regret that his Normas (with Callas, two of them) are unlistenable for the quality. But Souliotis is quite a singer as well. During her life she was hailed as next Callas.

This magnificent rendition of Polline's monologue you will find only on the vinyl:


[Link to video deleted by Admin - video no longer available]

FORZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Dark_Angel
February 16th, 2012, 01:13 PM
Aramis
I would die for a CD version of that Noma, great vinyl sound quality

I just listened to a Nabucco with Elena Souliotis and raved about her performance.

Ann Lander (sospiro)
April 27th, 2012, 05:02 AM
Please could I have some suggestions for a CD of I Puritani. :)


I have this one which I love but I want to try a different one.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cnfx-bXVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Schigolch
April 27th, 2012, 09:44 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SVZPAZW2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-lzsJ5862o

María Callas, Rolando Panerai, Giuseppe di Stéfano, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Tullio Serafin, Milan 1953, EMI

Maria Callas's Bellini heroines are really at the top of recorded opera history. Her Elvira is just magical here, with a wonderful mad scene. Panerai and Rossi-Lemeni are great, his duet splendid. Di Stefano is perhaps not Bellini's Arturo, but at least an approximation. Serafin introduces all the traditional cuts, and is a little morose at times.... but nothing can beat Callas here!.

Overall: A

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZGQ76PWCL._SL500_AA300_.jpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMnC0W26Hkw

Joan Sutherland, Piero Cappuccilli, Luciano Pavarotti, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Richard Bonynge, London 1973, DECCA

A dream cast, with Ms. Sutherland still in great vocal shape and the legendary Arturo of Pavarotti. Cappuccilli and Ghiaurov are solid (fantastic in the "Se tra il buio un fantasma vedrai" section), and Bonynge offers a more complete and in style Puritani than Serafin.

Overall: A


Those are really the best, but there are some others quite good, like Callas's Elvira in México, Pagliughi/Filippeschi/Panerai/Bruscantini, Sutherland in 1963, Sills/Pavarotti, Mariella Devia's in Catania,...

Dark_Angel
April 27th, 2012, 01:33 PM
I agree 100% with Schigs on those two Puritani.........

The 1953 EMI Callas is a studio recording so sound is good mono, what a great Elvira she is, mad scence is "insanely" good!

For modern stereo sound the allstar Sutherland cast is a great one, Pavarotti is so good here and the Decca sound is a sonic blockbuster

Before you spend too much on any individual Callas opera remember the complete Callas 70 CD studio boxset is an amazing bargain, under $100 new at Amazon USA.....even cheaper used

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41uJzkd3Q%2BL._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000TIO4Z0/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)

Ann Lander (sospiro)
April 27th, 2012, 05:02 PM
Thanks guys. I knew I could rely on you to give good advice.

I should have qualified my requirements though. I'm not bothered who sings the soprano & tenor roles, I only need them to be competent. Only really interested in the bass & baritone.

Aramis
April 27th, 2012, 05:06 PM
Thanks guys. I knew I could rely on you to give good advice.

I should have qualified my requirements though. I'm not bothered who sings the soprano & tenor roles, I only need them to be competent. Only really interested in the bass & baritone.

Then you should put Pavarotti/Sutherland above Callas/di Stefano. Better lower voices crew there in my opinion.

Ann Lander (sospiro)
April 27th, 2012, 05:09 PM
Then you should put Pavarotti/Sutherland above Callas/di Stefano IMO. Better lower voices crew there in my opinion.

Thanks Aramis

Aramis
May 20th, 2012, 07:22 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X6BXa1%2BFL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Nice pieces. The tenor-soprano pair is one of the best to be found in this opera discography. I liked Raimondi especially in the last act, in Arturo's alone scene and in duet afterwards. Gencer is even more expressive than some would accept but doesn't miss the bel canto aspect in her creation. The baritone duo is good as well, but more the Riccardo - Ausensi was singing beautifully all the wall while Mazzoli didn't always sound to me entirely engaged and expressive. We recommend this for all who love the opera and could use another great version of it.

Aramis
December 11th, 2012, 08:55 PM
http://productimages.wehkamp.nl/is/image/Wehkamp/183920_pb_01/430/opera-royal-de-wallonie-i-puritani-(dvd).jpg

I loved this. Stefania Bonfadelli is exquisite Elvira and delivered very moving scenes of madness, ending of act I and THE mad scene in act II. Her good acting made poorly conceived (in libretto) character of Elvira at least acceptable. I loved her the most of all cast and so did the audience, as most cries and standing ovations occured when she came for the applause at the end. Marc Laho is lyric Arturo, there's no high F but he's not the only one to skip it, IS HE? His non-extreme high notes are strong and flawless. Vittorio Vitelli and Wojciech Śmiłek make a fine low-voices couple of the opera, particularly the latter, with rather deep bass, suitable for this role of noble geezer. The orchestra, unlike on the other Puritani DVD (you know what I mean) gets no criticism from me. And the staging? Well directed performance (though it was tough to make Laho sing his rather difficult part and attack Riccardo with sword at the same time), fine sceneries and good period customes with - ATTENTION - awesome, long, waving capes.

I recommend it a lot.

HarpsichordConcerto
December 23rd, 2012, 05:13 AM
1412

Hasmik Papian, Hugh Smith, Irini Tsirakidis, Giorgio Giuseppini, Anna Steiger & Carlo Bosi, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra & Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera, Julian Reynolds (2005), stage director Guy Joosten. (Mine was 2 DCD)

I bought this brand new at a real cheap price, about US$13 including freight.

Probably because they had excess stock. Why? Perhaps due to the annoying staging that was tasteless and condescending of the plot and music, as explained by the stage director, Guy Joosten in the bonus material interview. Joosten explained that modern audiences wanted productions that were "...psychologically challenging" and he added by implication that a very traditional staging would not suffice to meet modern demands. I would however, think this was a case of a stage director's sheer fantasy living in his own Euro-trash bubble. So we have a Norma dressed in a red dress going after and lamenting with Pollione who was wearing a modern dark blue suit, and sometimes with a Roman chest shield, and all of whom occasionally sitting in front of a dressing table (maybe taken from behind the scenes' dressing rooms) with modern lighting around the mirrors, with black and white photos of themselves stuck on the mirror. Add to that we have a large tree trunk across the shiny mirror like floors (I hated these shiny mirror-like floors when the characters were supposed to be in a forrest). Unless of course, Joosten wanted us to "idenitfy" ourselves with the characters. We are modern, so we must therefore be sophisticated ...

Spoiled by that, but I am more impressed by the musicology that went to produce this edition of the score. The conductor Julian Reynolds prepared the score and explained in a nice set of notes (that was as rigorous as any historically informed performance practice) some interesting background and decisions taken. In the bonus material interview, he also commented interestingly about legendary Callas' singing becoming too verisimo, which was more late Verdi and beyond, than that associated with Bellini's bel canto and Romanticism of 1831. So this recording featured vocies of a more natural bel canto style, which I generally preferred.

So, I did not like the staging but I preferred the conducting and singing. If it is very cheap (like US$10, which was what I paid), then you might consider it. But I would not pay full nor even half the full price.

Aramis
December 23rd, 2012, 12:12 PM
In the bonus material interview, he also commented interestingly about legendary Callas' singing becoming too verisimo, which was more late Verdi and beyond, than that associated with Bellini's bel canto and Romanticism of 1831

I didn't hear that as I found this DVD too loathsome to watch in it's entire lenght, but opinion you bring here seems foolish to me. Does expressive singing equal verismo? Wasn't Pasta, the first Norma, noted for her expressive singing too?

Hear what Callas herself says in this interview, about being most fond of bel canto and criticising veristic ways:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xhbmP7lOeQ

Dark_Angel
December 23rd, 2012, 02:00 PM
http://productimages.wehkamp.nl/is/image/Wehkamp/183920_pb_01/430/opera-royal-de-wallonie-i-puritani-(dvd).jpg

I loved this. Stefania Bonfadelli is exquisite Elvira and delivered very moving scenes of madness, ending of act I and THE mad scene in act II. Her good acting made poorly conceived (in libretto) character of Elvira at least acceptable. I loved her the most of all cast and so did the audience, as most cries and standing ovations occured when she came for the applause at the end. Marc Laho is lyric Arturo, there's no high F but he's not the only one to skip it, IS HE? His non-extreme high notes are strong and flawless. Vittorio Vitelli and Wojciech Śmiłek make a fine low-voices couple of the opera, particularly the latter, with rather deep bass, suitable for this role of noble geezer. The orchestra, unlike on the other Puritani DVD (you know what I mean) gets no criticism from me. And the staging? Well directed performance (though it was tough to make Laho sing his rather difficult part and attack Riccardo with sword at the same time), fine sceneries and good period customes with - ATTENTION - awesome, long, waving capes.

I recommend it a lot.

Yes I would love to purchase that Puritani DVD especially if it is 16:9 widescreen, but none of my usual sources (Amazon USA, Presto UK) have it.

I have a couple Bonfadelli DVDs now (Traviata, Lucia Lammermoor)



[Link to video deleted by Admin - video no longer available]

Dark_Angel
December 23rd, 2012, 02:14 PM
In the bonus material interview, he also commented interestingly about legendary Callas' singing becoming too verisimo, which was more late Verdi and beyond, than that associated with Bellini's bel canto and Romanticism of 1831. So this recording featured vocies of a more natural bel canto style, which I generally preferred.

No no, do not understand........

That sounds like an attempt to lower the bar for modern Norma performance, also like AOGG I am puzzled by directors comments since Callas was never remembered as a "verisimo" singer and was the strongest advocate for bel canto singing style being the main force for its revival in 1950s.

The great bel canto opera Norma is perfect case in point, in the early 1950s it was rarely performed until Callas bravura style and strong support for Bellini operas in general made it a popular soprano litmus test today

http://duckside.mandarinaduck.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/maria_callas_norma_parigi.jpg

Schigolch
December 23rd, 2012, 03:03 PM
I agree with Dark and Anne.

A "verismo" Norma, you can hear if you listen to Cigna or Milanov.

What Callas is singing refers the listener to Giuditta Pasta, not to Eugenia Burzio.

The orchestra in many Normas sung by Callas is another thing. Usually conducted by Tullio Serafin they are indeed "traditional", but not rooted on verismo. From Richard Bonynge recordings with his wife, Joan Sutherland, we have a more historically informed approach. Recently, we have also a very good rendition engineered by the Biondi brothers.

On the other hand, Ms. Paspian's Norma is rather hopelessly out of style.

Hoffmann
January 18th, 2013, 04:38 AM
1500

I bought this after reading an online review and have listened to it several times and don't like it. Natalie Dessay's performance seems shrill and disengaged - I was very disappointed. I'm going to dig out my old Callas recording.

Aramis
January 18th, 2013, 12:18 PM
I liked that Dessay CD. At least when it comes to her performance of Amina. She seems quite comfortable with "mad scenes" and her Ah, non credea was very much in her style, almost haunting. And I'm not even a real Dessay fan. I really don't think it's bad recording, though surely there are better.

Hoffmann
January 18th, 2013, 01:39 PM
Going back to Shigolch's initial posting of the Beatrice di Tenda DVD - I don't know this opera at all, but love Bellini. I imagine there is a reason why Beatrice isn't well known or performed - any thoughts? There are a number of recordings out there - a couple with Sutherland - are any of the recordings worth recommending?

Thanks!

Aramis
January 18th, 2013, 01:51 PM
Going back to Shigolch's initial posting of the Beatrice di Tenda DVD - I don't know this opera at all, but love Bellini. I imagine there is a reason why Beatrice isn't well known or performed - any thoughts? There are a number of recordings out there - a couple with Sutherland - are any of the recordings worth recommending?

Thanks!

Here are three Beatrices I can recommend:

http://losslessclassics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/bonynge_bellini_beatrice_di_tenda.jpg http://www.naxos.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/0010422BC.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cEWo5dw1L._SL500_SS500_.jpg

I'd say the Pavarotti/Sutherland one is first choice with it's classic lineup and studio quality. The other two are still great alternatives, this Opera d'Oro CD is live recording but the quality is very decent. It is also one of those recordings where you hear young Carreras at his best, showing how superb he could sound when he sung diffrent repertoire than he later persued.

Schigolch
January 18th, 2013, 01:56 PM
Going back to Shigolch's initial posting of the Beatrice di Tenda DVD - I don't know this opera at all, but love Bellini. I imagine there is a reason why Beatrice isn't well known or performed - any thoughts? There are a number of recordings out there - a couple with Sutherland - are any of the recordings worth recommending?

Thanks!

Please take a look here:

http://operalively.com/forums/showthread.php/304-Beatrice-di-Tenda?highlight=beatrice

We discussed Beatrice a little bit.

About recommendations, I think the Sutherland recording above is nothing short of extraordinary. For the record, there are other two Sutherland's Beatrice worth of a hearing:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418WC08KA0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Dark_Angel
January 18th, 2013, 02:33 PM
1500

I bought this after reading an online review and have listened to it several times and don't like it. Natalie Dessay's performance seems shrill and disengaged - I was very disappointed. I'm going to dig out my old Callas recording.

Many great Callas Sonnambulas but the 1955 live Bernstein is exceptional, such fluid and dramatic decorative flights never cease to impress me, the crowd is whipped into a frenzy almost drowning out final high note, brava Maria


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDDDRyYMkKc&feature=player_detailpage


I also have the Dessay version which at least has the advantage of modern sound, just hard to compare to Callas vocally

Jephtha
January 18th, 2013, 06:25 PM
I have never heard an Amina to equal Callas, certainly. She seems totally inside the role(as so often), and her vocalism is haunting and intensely musical. I must admit that I have not heard the Dessay, and cannot imagine that she does the role anything like justice. However, if others here have enjoyed it, I will give it a listen.

Hoffmann
January 28th, 2013, 03:11 AM
The cd/dvds covered in this thread are Bellini's best known works. Beatrice di Tenda is covered elsewhere, which was really helpful. Any thoughts on the remaining works, especially Il Pirata?

Dark_Angel
January 28th, 2013, 03:17 AM
The cd/dvds covered in this thread are Bellini's best known works. Beatrice di Tenda is covered elsewhere, which was really helpful. Any thoughts on the remaining works, especially Il Pirata?

Try to find a used copy of the 1970 Caballe, this is 1st choice of very limited field of studio recordings in good stereo sound.......

There is a thrilling live 1959 Callas but sound quality is only OK, Maria had sung this during 1958 la scala season with Corelli but I have not seen any recordings, that would have been the one to have
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4180KDErz5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00001SVM2/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51h7-agwU2L._SL500_AA280_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000TEVKXS/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=163856011&s=dmusic)


You can also get a 1967 live version with Caballe that has very good sound (much better than Callas live) for a cheaper price with even fresher voiced Caballe

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61LPpdivUsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B001F1151G/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)

Ann Lander (sospiro)
January 28th, 2013, 05:22 AM
Thanks guys. I knew I could rely on you to give good advice.

I should have qualified my requirements though. I'm not bothered who sings the soprano & tenor roles, I only need them to be competent. Only really interested in the bass & baritone.


Then you should put Pavarotti/Sutherland above Callas/di Stefano. Better lower voices crew there in my opinion.

I've had AoGG's recommendation for a few weeks now & Cappuccilli & Ghiaurov are absolutely superb. Fantastic duet Il rival salvar tu dèi. This is a Ramey/Milnes version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHPnnaPGSjI

Schigolch
January 28th, 2013, 08:07 AM
http://www.ilcorrieredellagrisi.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/0792938004525.jpg

This is a recent recording, including our latest knowledge of the score. The vocal cast is decent, but far from superb. When you consider that the singers at the premiere were Giovanni Rubini, Henriette Méric-Lalande and Antonio Tamburini, this is indeed a hard pill to swallow, but overall it's a nice CD, and a must for Bellini lovers out there.

Hoffmann
January 28th, 2013, 05:26 PM
Both the 1970 Caballe ($19.99) and the Opera Rara (29.99) recordings are available on iTunes - Is Opera Rara worth the $10 difference?

Also, what do you guys think about the opera itself?

Schigolch
January 28th, 2013, 07:44 PM
It's another concept.

For sure, Montserrat Caballe was the owner of a voice like few others, and Ms. Giannattasio doesn't play in the same league, but the opera is not only about the soprano, anyway.

I will invest the $10 extra in the Opera Rara cd, and will listen gratis to Maria Callas:


[Link to video deleted by Admin - video no longer available]

About the opera itself, it's quite difficult to sing, especially the soprano and tenor roles, but with moments of unspeakeable beauty:

Chorus "Ciel! qual procella orribile"
Gualtiero's cavatina: "Nel furor delle tempeste"
Imogene's "Lo sognai ferito"
Duet Gualtiero-Imogene: "Bagnato dalle lagrime"
Ernesto's "Sì, vincemmo"

and of course, this wonderful "Col sorriso d'innocenza", one of the best pages ever written by Bellini for soprano:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGmxN-19jZg

It was just his third opera, and not as dramatically accomplished as Norma, or with a music so constantly inspired as in I Puritani, not even as marvelously flawed as Beatrice di Tenda, but in any case a little jewel, a small treasure.

Ann Lander (sospiro)
January 28th, 2013, 08:14 PM
I've just bought this from market seller for the bargain (I hope!) price of £11.00. Check out the price for new (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bellini-Il-pirata-Vincenzo/dp/B00001SVM2/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1359403855&sr=8-16).

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4180KDErz5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Dark_Angel
January 29th, 2013, 12:02 AM
There is a thrilling live 1959 Callas but sound quality is only OK, Maria had sung this during 1958 la scala season with Corelli but I have not seen any recordings, that would have been the one to have

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51h7-agwU2L._SL500_AA280_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000TEVKXS/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=163856011&s=dmusic)




http://www.franco-corelli.com/files/imagecache/500x500/photo_page/Franco-Corelli_18.jpg (http://www.franco-corelli.com/files/imagecache/1024x1024/photo_page/Franco-Corelli_18.jpg)



Callas and Corelli La Scala series Il Pirata......

Schigolch
May 22nd, 2013, 03:45 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hM80-xvcL._SX342_.jpg

Beatrice di Tenda by Vincenzo Bellini and Felice Romani

Dimitra Theodossiou (Beatrice), Milhály Kálmándi (Filippo), Alejandro Roy (Orombello), Josè Maria Lo Monaco (Agnese)
Conductor: Antonio Pirolli
Orchestra & Chorus: Catania - Teatro Massimo Bellini


This is the second "Beatrice" being released in visual format.

I was able to watch this performance live at Catania, back in 2010. It was the debut of Dimitra Theodossiou in the role.

Beatrice is such a beautiful and underrated opera, that is always a pleasure to listen to any new performance. We have discussed a little bit the opera here at OL: http://operalively.com/forums/showthread.php/304-Beatrice-di-Tenda

Ms. Theodossiou will never be the equal of Joan Sutherland, Edita Gruberova, Mariella Devia,... But, at her best, she is a good soprano to sing Bellini, and she was able to offer to the audience at least an adequate Beatrice. The Romanian baritone Kálmándi is the owner of a powerful voice, though he is not the most refined of singers. Josè Maria Lo Monaco is a beautiful woman, but regrettably she is not Agnese. Alejandro Roy was at his best singing the top notes, but Orombello doesn't require many, and the rest of the role was too much for him.

The production and the orchestra, just average.

This was my first operatic Blu-ray, and I was not impressed. I guess I'm too used now to HDTV for that. But technically the product is ok.

Overall: B-, a good opportunity to watch Beatrice for the fans that like Blu-ray technology.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xog0tMt0Bxw

Vesteralen
June 12th, 2013, 04:48 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LlRJrZl1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

The only thing that redeems this ridiculous production is the gorgeous singing (particularly JDF). Otherwise the director takes a silly plot and makes it totally incomprehensible. What, no one these days has heard of sleepwalking? And Amina is simultaneously a simple country girl who can't stand up for herself and a mobile-phone-toting sunglasses-wearing diva? And everyone is going to get worked up because she fell asleep in the rehearsal room where there was A Man (gasp)? And then they all shred loads of newspaper (what's that about anyway?).

I'm really glad I watched it on Met Player and didn't buy it!

Most of what you're saying is probably true. The stage direction is nonsensical to a degree, yes. But, I could relax and just let it unfold a lot better than I could many of the edgier new opera productions I've seen. And, though I've never seen this opera in a traditional performance, I would imagine the costumes and sets would probably bore me.

But, the main point is, that though I have gotten a lot of opera DVDs out of my library in the last year or so, 90% of them I either don't finish or fast-forward through. This is one DVD that entranced me from beginning to end, and I did the unthinkable (for me) - I watched it in one sitting.

A lot of it was just the singing, but I also find Dessay a rarity in the world of opera. Whether or not the director gave her a part that reads true and consistent from beginning to end, the woman can both act and sing.

So many opera stars just emote (as far as I can see), so I'm specially drawn to any who can actually act.

I will buy this DVD if I can find it at a reasonable price and add it to my very limited personal collection.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
June 12th, 2013, 06:23 PM
Most of what you're saying is probably true. The stage direction is nonsensical to a degree, yes. But, I could relax and just let it unfold a lot better than I could many of the edgier new opera productions I've seen. And, though I've never seen this opera in a traditional performance, I would imagine the costumes and sets would probably bore me.

But, the main point is, that though I have gotten a lot of opera DVDs out of my library in the last year or so, 90% of them I either don't finish or fast-forward through. This is one DVD that entranced me from beginning to end, and I did the unthinkable (for me) - I watched it in one sitting.

A lot of it was just the singing, but I also find Dessay a rarity in the world of opera. Whether or not the director gave her a part that reads true and consistent from beginning to end, the woman can both act and sing.

So many opera stars just emote (as far as I can see), so I'm specially drawn to any who can actually act.

I will buy this DVD if I can find it at a reasonable price and add it to my very limited personal collection.

Glad to see you back on Opera Lively. I was thinking of you one of these days, since I'll be attending, with three other OL members, Il Viaggio à Reims, an opera you like, live at Wolf Trap Opera on June 23rd.

Yes, Natalie Dessay is a very gifted actress. She actually started her career as a stage actress, then took what she calls a long, 33-year detour in opera, and after September 2013 she is retiring her singer career and going back to straight theater.

Another good actress is Anna Caterina Antonacci.

Vesteralen
June 17th, 2013, 04:19 PM
Glad to see you back on Opera Lively. I was thinking of you one of these days, since I'll be attending, with three other OL members, Il Viaggio à Reims, an opera you like, live at Wolf Trap Opera on June 23rd.

Yes, Natalie Dessay is a very gifted actress. She actually started her career as a stage actress, then took what she calls a long, 33-year detour in opera, and after September 2013 she is retiring her singer career and going back to straight theater.

Another good actress is Anna Caterina Antonacci.

Sad to hear that, though, realistically, it's probably a smart move to opt out of singing when the voice is past its prime. I will miss her.

Any chance that she might still go into the studio now and then for an occasional album like "Vocalise"?

As to Antonacci - I bought Un giorno di regno, but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. Now I feel motivated to pull it out and give it a try.

Thanks

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
June 17th, 2013, 04:33 PM
Sad to hear that, though, realistically, it's probably a smart move to opt out of singing when the voice is past its prime. I will miss her.

Any chance that she might still go into the studio now and then for an occasional album like "Vocalise"?

As to Antonacci - I bought Un giorno di regno, but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. Now I feel motivated to pull it out and give it a try.

Thanks

Well, although Antonacci is nice there, it isn't her best acting job. Try the DVD of Cherubini's Medea.

http://www.amazon.com/Cherubini-Medea-Anna-Caterina-Antonacci/dp/B002011WYK/

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cY17%2B5heL._SY300_.jpg

Soave_Fanciulla
June 17th, 2013, 07:50 PM
Well, although Antonacci is nice there, it isn't her best acting job. Try the DVD of Cherubini's Medea.


Oh yes! She dominates the stage any time she is on.

Dark_Angel
July 27th, 2013, 05:42 PM
More Callas reveries, reliving the immortal Normas from 1955 La Scala season. Please check this recording of the great Norma trio "perfido" where the love triangle is uncovered and Norma vents her anger at Pollione, massive sustained climax at 2:34 is thrilling beyond compare....

For the best possible recording of this Norma seek out the Divina label release which uses the original BJR master tape as source.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcBFjfJO1Qk&feature=player_detailpage

Clayton
September 25th, 2013, 06:26 PM
I Capuleti E I Montecchi; I love this recording in its entirety.


[Link to photo deleted by Admin - photo no longer available]

I love the opera and the singing by the superb cast is divine. However if I may, I would like to leave the more in depth discussion of the actual musical content to those more technically knowledgeable and eloquent than myself. I want to relate my enjoyment of the recording up to the point where I pressed play; the packaging.
I am excited by the box, I think the cover artwork is great. It is well designed with great composition, colour and texture. It immediately attracted my attention when I saw it in the store (I was seeing a different opera at ROH) and I took notice. I know that I should not just judge by the cover but those things that are precious to me I want to encase, bind my arms around, protect and place them in an environment most respectful to those items.
I think about each and every plant in my garden the same as well. Every day when I am pottering around in the garden I am not only thinking about their well being and admiring their individual beauty but also I consider their physical presentation. Maybe given certain developments, this year the Ophiopogon would be better served (I serve the plant, not the other way round) planted in the steel pot and maybe placed under the Syringa Microphylla?
So of course when the recording is presented in such a beautiful box, I think that all those that made this recording did so with such passion and respect that they tended to each and every detail with due diligence. This allows the the product to command my attention. I notice the great artwork.
The background is a slightly hazy, pastoral setting in a muted sepia organic colour suggesting a setting in the Old World and is straight away a warm feeling. Before that stands two principal characters in sharp definition. A soft, sexy and feminine character, arms around herself perhaps vulnerable in feeling and dressed in lilac coloured silk, a colour of ancient nobility. Standing close and in a protective embrace a strong masculine (sorry Elina, I'm talking about Romeo not you) character dressed in clothes of pure white and a strong dark colour covered with gold and stone jewels of a noble warrior. This character stares straight at you, confident and confrontational.
Though perhaps the story is not just about these two central characters, the colours of the portraits sit gently on the background and do not contrast too noticeably. Also they are slightly off horizontal centre to the right of the picture. No this is also the Opera "I Capuleti E I Montecchi", the title of which is written equally just off centre but off the vertical, left aligned and on two lines and as though mutually respectful and sharing importance with the characters in the composition. The title is not only in the largest font on the cover but in a salmon pink colour and italic styled font. Whilst the font sits well with the story so far there is something about the colour; salmon pink or orange I am not to sure (I may have different interpretations of colours to others)... I think I have it... This colour feels modern, almost artificial as though it does not fit with the period. Almost fantasy. Is there an element of fantasy in this production? It tells me I can expect a journey to a far away land... Finally I also like the small yellow brand badge in the top left corner. It is not obtrusive but balanced; balanced in the artwork and balanced in the commercial aspect in that I like just a small assurance from the brand that it is their brand quality.
So I loved the cover design.
Then there was the point of sale material that suggested to me that these were superstars singing to great critical acclaim. I had never heard of Anna Netrebko or Elina Garanca. (This is the first CD I have purchased for almost 17 years and I have been away from the world of music completely for equally the same time).
I am now excited beyond negotiation and the sales contract is completed.
I am at home and I carefully cut away at the plastic wrapping, slightly confused about the box shape within. How does it open? Oh! I see... I now understand that this sort of box design is common but as I said I have not purchased a CD for etcetera etcetera
I open the box with a smile on my face amused by simple but effective mathematical architecture of this casing when... coloured discs? The story from the cover box is carried through to the colour of the discs; one lilac and one pink. (Now I know coloured discs are common now but etcetera etcetera). I briefly note the book that is enclosed in the case with schedule of songs, essay on Bellini and the opera, synopsis, line by line libretto with translations and some nice pictures of the performers.
Although at this stage I can not afford too much time looking at the book, the emotions are almost fever pitch and I have to pour myself a medical quantity of Lagavulin in to the occasional Baccarat Harcourt tumbler. After a few reassuring sensations reaching down my throat in to the belly, my spirit is calmed, deep breaths are taken and a steady hand places the beautiful magical lilac disc in to the player and I press the play button.
The rest is music.

I will be more than surprised if any reader has reached this far into this perhaps didactic chunter but if you have, maybe it is time you poor your own "medical" and go and enjoy your own "I Capuleti E I Montecchi"!

Clayton
September 25th, 2013, 06:31 PM
2575

Erm. I was trying to attach this file to the above review.

In case I still haven't managed to do it correctly could someone please attach a nice picture of the DG recording?

Thank you.

Dongiovanni
September 27th, 2013, 11:50 AM
This is the first CD I have purchased for almost 17 years and I have been away from the world of music completely for equally the same time

Welcome back to the world of music ! Many exciting things are going on, this is a great place to find out all the new productions, DVD's, CD's and live performances. Indulge !

I have that CD of Capuleti, it's great. And yes, the cover is just gorgeous.

Clayton
September 27th, 2013, 12:58 PM
Welcome back to the world of music ! Many exciting things are going on, this is a great place to find out all the new productions, DVD's, CD's and live performances. Indulge !

I have that CD of Capuleti, it's great. And yes, the cover is just gorgeous.

Thank you. With no other comment, I was beginning to get worried I had a cover problem!

Now I am just waiting for the postman to knock with a delivery of the Opera Rara Il Pirata. I am also excited about this cover

Ann Lander (sospiro)
September 27th, 2013, 07:27 PM
I love the old EMI box sets & these just happen to be two of my favourites as well. #winwin

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4180KDErz5L._SX355_.jpg

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cnfx-bXVL._SX355_.jpg

Hoffmann
September 28th, 2013, 12:46 PM
I have the Opera Rara recording and am not crazy about it. Arkivmusic.com gave soprano Carmen Giannattasio kudos for her dramatic singing, a la Callas. She is not Callas. I don't think she has an easy time with the high register, which sounds to my aging ears like screaming. So, I followed Annie's lead and bought the EMI/Caballe:

2587

I haven't listened to it yet, so don't know how to compare to the Opera Rara recording.

Clayton
September 28th, 2013, 02:15 PM
I have the Opera Rara recording and am not crazy about it. Arkivmusic.com gave soprano Carmen Giannattasio kudos for her dramatic singing, a la Callas. She is not Callas. I don't think she has an easy time with the high register, which sounds to my aging ears like screaming. So, I followed Annie's lead and bought the EMI/Caballe:

I haven't listened to it yet, so don't know how to compare to the Opera Rara recording.

Oh dear! I have just taken delivery of the Opera Rara...
However before I have listened to it, Clayton-the-unhealthy-fascination-with-packaging is very much excited about this. What a beautiful book! Fantastico! Bellisima! The CD case! The CDs! I am over excited again and will stop here

Ann Lander (sospiro)
September 28th, 2013, 02:52 PM
Oh dear! I have just taken delivery of the Opera Rara...

You're becoming more like us by the minute. :laugh4: Listening to different versions is exciting.



However before I have listened to it, Clayton-the-unhealthy-fascination-with-packaging is very much excited about this. What a beautiful book! Fantastico! Bellisima! The CD case! The CDs! I am over excited again and will stop here

Packaging is part of the pleasure. I've bought another recording of the same version just to get a box set/libretto.

Hoffmann
September 28th, 2013, 03:26 PM
Oh dear! I have just taken delivery of the Opera Rara...
However before I have listened to it, Clayton-the-unhealthy-fascination-with-packaging is very much excited about this. What a beautiful book! Fantastico! Bellisima! The CD case! The CDs! I am over excited again and will stop here

Make sure to report back! I'm interested to know what you think - and if I'm crazy, or what. The male singers are fine, it's her I have a problem with, which isn't good considering that Bellini wrote such extravagant music for the female voice. I don't think I should have to work so hard to like something...

Clayton
October 1st, 2013, 10:05 AM
Make sure to report back! I'm interested to know what you think - and if I'm crazy, or what. The male singers are fine, it's her I have a problem with, which isn't good considering that Bellini wrote such extravagant music for the female voice. I don't think I should have to work so hard to like something...

Dutifuly reporting back! I agree she is no Callas; that would be silly of Arkivmusic to compare. However I did like Carmen Giannattasio in her role, actually I would go the other way and am searching for something in Jose Bros that I think is missing. That is a very minor point though and overall I do like this recording/opera very much. I did also read in the other thread that you were much happier with the Caballe recording and as you say it probably is just preference... I am curious now though and feel compelled (for educative purposes) to follow sospiro and your lead and buy that recording!

JohnGerald
August 16th, 2014, 05:57 PM
There have been some Bellini releases since last September. A new DVD of La Sonnambula with Jessica Pratt is available on Blu ray and a lovely performance it is. While it is more dramatically sensible than the Met's version, the latter has better singers. Pratt, though, perhpas because she is younger, has a more fluid coloratura. The tenor, Shalva Mukeria, was good enough, but no JDF. Checking my review on amazon.com to make sure I am not violating their copyright to it reminded me to get some more Renato Ratti Ochetti, which I was consuming with enthusiasm when I first watched it.

(Note to boardmeister: pulchritude alert!!)

Two CD sets are not mentioned on this thread. One is i Capuleti with Kasarova and Mei, which rivals the excellent one with Netrebko and Garanca, and an Opera Rara release of La Straniera with Patrizia Ciofi, released in '09, if memory serves. Lovely, if a bit uneven singing from the cast, but mandatory for fans of Bellini, or Bel Canto.

JohnGerald
September 1st, 2014, 04:17 PM
I just ordered I Puritani with Netrebko, against my better judgment (tenor issues, I hear). I will post my thoughts on it after i get and view it.

Soave_Fanciulla
September 1st, 2014, 06:49 PM
I just ordered I Puritani with Netrebko, against my better judgment (tenor issues, I hear). I will post my thoughts on it after i get and view it.

Eew yes, serious tenor issues, but Trebs is lovely.

Ann Lander (sospiro)
September 1st, 2014, 07:10 PM
Eew yes, serious tenor issues, but Trebs is lovely.

:confused:

There's a tenor in this opera and a soprano?!

Never noticed; this opera is bass heaven. ;)

JohnGerald
September 1st, 2014, 07:15 PM
Think of the original "Puritani Quartet": Grisi, Lablache, Tambourini and Rubini. Plus a mezzo and another tenor and bass. It's expensive to stage even if a good cast is available. But well worth it.

Soave_Fanciulla
September 1st, 2014, 07:30 PM
Think of the original "Puritani Quartet": Grisi, Lablache, Tambourini and Rubini. Plus a mezzo and another tenor and bass. It's expensive to stage even if a good cast is available. But well worth it.

She's joking. Our Annie is a bass kind'o'girl. Everyone else is just filling in time while the basses rest for their next big aria.

JohnGerald
September 1st, 2014, 07:57 PM
She's joking. Our Annie is a bass kind'o'girl. Everyone else is just filling in time while the basses rest for their next big aria.

So was I. It's a kind of musically obscure irony of sorts.

Soave_Fanciulla
September 2nd, 2014, 03:47 AM
So was I. It's a kind of musically obscure irony of sorts.

Aahh. As you can see musical history irony sails right over me.

Ann Lander (sospiro)
September 2nd, 2014, 04:30 PM
*sigh* :love8:




http://youtu.be/mgOBHO48ZLg

JohnGerald
September 6th, 2014, 04:48 PM
I had a most pleasant surprise last night when we played the Met's version of I Puritani for the first time. Netrebko, as much as I have heard of her was gobsmackingly incredible, especially in "Qui la voce..."! Teno Eric Cutler was a bit troublesome, but any tenor who finishes on his feet, without a hernia, cannot invite too much criticism. Along with the Decca version with Machaidze and Florez, we have two stunning performances of this bel canto classic, and I am not advocating one over the other. They will both get plently of play time here.

And on a philosophical note, do you ever think about the tremendous historic perspective these DVDs offer? No longer restricted to sonically compromised recordings, we can visit all of the present "A team" over the years, to see in retrospect, how they developed, and offer future generations the chance to see "our favorites" in their prime(s).

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
September 6th, 2014, 06:35 PM
I had a most pleasant surprise last night when we played the Met's version of I Puritani for the first time. Netrebko, as much as I have heard of her was gobsmackingly incredible, especially in "Qui la voce..."! Teno Eric Cutler was a bit troublesome, but any tenor who finishes on his feet, without a hernia, cannot invite too much criticism. Along with the Decca version with Machaidze and Florez, we have two stunning performances of this bel canto classic, and I am not advocating one over the other. They will both get plently of play time here.

And on a philosophical note, do you ever think about the tremendous historic perspective these DVDs offer? No longer restricted to sonically compromised recordings, we can visit all of the present "A team" over the years, to see in retrospect, how they developed, and offer future generations the chance to see "our favorites" in their prime(s).

Yes, Anna was spectacular in that DVD and her tenor was badly outmatched.

About your second paragraph, it is of course fabulous that we now have DVDs and even better, blu-ray discs; my only concern is, for how long? The industry is moving to streamings and downloads, and physical discs may become obsolete. But then, their digital counterparts are more short-lived... you download something, then your computer becomes obsolete, hard drives crash, and so forth. Maybe it's being old-fashioned but the certainty of holding a physical copy of a recording is reassuring, and the digital files thing has never been my preference since I am disorganized, rarely back-up stuff, and have had my share of computer failures (these thingies don't seem to be able to last longer than some five years anyway) - I'm currently upset that my laptop which is the only place that holds most of what Opera Lively is and how it is controlled and operated, is threatening to die, the F key is not working properly, the screen goes black sometimes unexpectedly... and when I tried to buy a new model, I saw that today's laptops for the most part don't even have a CD/DVD player or even a hard drive, relying on "the cloud." I don't like it.

If this thing dies unexpectedly, with my poor backing up practices, we'll be in trouble. I did back up recently most of the files that contain our books, etc., but still, all sorts of pictures and folders, I don't even have space any longer to store it all in the one external hard drive I got. I need to go buy another external hard drive and back up everything but I keep postponing it. Dangerous... I'm playing with fire.

JohnGerald
September 6th, 2014, 06:47 PM
As to having hard physical discs, I note that turntables for vinyl records are still being sold, and CDs are still being issued (although CD players are diminishing in number). I suspect that issues with streaming, downloads and clouds will be resolved after I have left the planet. Fortunately for the time I have left, Blu ray and DVD performances still issue.I just keep the nude pics out of the cloud after the sad story of those Hollywood chicklets and their hi-jacked photos ...

As for computers, mine continues to hiccup and burp, and will require replacement soon. Yours, however is an asset to our art form. Perhaps if the members took up a collection ...? It would be beyond tragic to lose all this. Perhaps an icon of a monkey with a tin cup and an old organ grinder leading to the "contribute" part ... ? :sarcastic:

Soave_Fanciulla
September 6th, 2014, 08:53 PM
I like hard copies too - we a re always having internet probs here. Last time I tried a stream (live performance fof Clemenza from Munich) there were so many outages I simply gave up.

But I do back up. All my DVDs are on 6TBs of storage, and my downloads and home computer are backed up on two separate external drives. I'd hate to lose them.

Hoffmann
September 6th, 2014, 10:20 PM
Yes, Anna was spectacular in that DVD and her tenor was badly outmatched.

About your second paragraph, it is of course fabulous that we now have DVDs and even better, blu-ray discs; my only concern is, for how long? The industry is moving to streamings and downloads, and physical discs may become obsolete. But then, their digital counterparts are more short-lived... you download something, then your computer becomes obsolete, hard drives crash, and so forth. Maybe it's being old-fashioned but the certainty of holding a physical copy of a recording is reassuring, and the digital files thing has never been my preference since I am disorganized, rarely back-up stuff, and have had my share of computer failures (these thingies don't seem to be able to last longer than some five years anyway) - I'm currently upset that my laptop which is the only place that holds most of what Opera Lively is and how it is controlled and operated, is threatening to die, the F key is not working properly, the screen goes black sometimes unexpectedly... and when I tried to buy a new model, I saw that today's laptops for the most part don't even have a CD/DVD player or even a hard drive, relying on "the cloud." I don't like it.

If this thing dies unexpectedly, with my poor backing up practices, we'll be in trouble. I did back up recently most of the files that contain our books, etc., but still, all sorts of pictures and folders, I don't even have space any longer to store it all in the one external hard drive I got. I need to go buy another external hard drive and back up everything but I keep postponing it. Dangerous... I'm playing with fire.

This is a tough one. I don't have anything backed up, either, but don't really worry about it. I buy hardcopy CDs and download them into iTunes and manage all of my recordings from there - wireless connection from both my computer and television to my speakers, etc., works great and am very happy with the whole thing.

On the other hand, I have been very careful not to throw anything out - I keep hard copies of all my CDs, etc. I bought a second hard drive to use to back stuff up, but damned if I can figure the thing out. I guess I could buy my nephew dinner and invite him over to do it for me, but that's kind of humiliating.

I would suggest that you consider buying Apple. Nothing is perfect, but my iMac comes pretty close. I know 'buying Apple' are fighting words for some people, but their software is highly reliable, rarely glitch-y, and the machinery holds up forever. Further, there are a couple of Apple Stores in Charlotte and one in Durham (I don't know where you live, but imagine you aren't too far from one of those cities), which would give you access to their genius bars. They also would know how to download your files to your brand new MacBook Pro! Nothing like a free nerd to fix what's wrong!

Dark_Angel
September 7th, 2014, 12:18 AM
I had a most pleasant surprise last night when we played the Met's version of I Puritani for the first time. Netrebko, as much as I have heard of her was gobsmackingly incredible, especially in "Qui la voce..."! Teno Eric Cutler was a bit troublesome, but any tenor who finishes on his feet, without a hernia, cannot invite too much criticism. Along with the Decca version with Machaidze and Florez, we have two stunning performances of this bel canto classic, and I am not advocating one over the other. They will both get plently of play time here.


I like the visual treatment in Machaidze version of mad scence "vien diletto" with lamps and dark ominous figures hovering in the background, visual depiction of lurking madness...then she walks back to join them to close, well done

Also notice the unusual "stagehand" camera view from behind the singers, showing conductor and audience at the end


[Link to video deleted by Admin - video no longer available]

JohnGerald
September 7th, 2014, 02:42 AM
Ma'am, I am almost as much in awe of Machaidze as Netrebko. With Florez, the Decca Puritani wins by a nose, but just having watched the Met version for the second time, I am VERY happy to have both versions.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
September 7th, 2014, 04:20 AM
This is a tough one. I don't have anything backed up, either, but don't really worry about it. I buy hardcopy CDs and download them into iTunes and manage all of my recordings from there - wireless connection from both my computer and television to my speakers, etc., works great and am very happy with the whole thing.

On the other hand, I have been very careful not to throw anything out - I keep hard copies of all my CDs, etc. I bought a second hard drive to use to back stuff up, but damned if I can figure the thing out. I guess I could buy my nephew dinner and invite him over to do it for me, but that's kind of humiliating.

I would suggest that you consider buying Apple. Nothing is perfect, but my iMac comes pretty close. I know 'buying Apple' are fighting words for some people, but their software is highly reliable, rarely glitch-y, and the machinery holds up forever. Further, there are a couple of Apple Stores in Charlotte and one in Durham (I don't know where you live, but imagine you aren't too far from one of those cities), which would give you access to their genius bars. They also would know how to download your files to your brand new MacBook Pro! Nothing like a free nerd to fix what's wrong!

Hehe, I can relate to that. I wish my son would do some of this stuff for me... but he's gone, and busy. Yes, my wife has a Mac and keeps telling me to buy one. But it would be a learning curve. I don't know anything about Macs. And I'm not sure they last forever. My son's Mac Pro has just died. Yes, there's a Mac store nearby in Durham. I live in Chapel Hill, a few miles from Durham.

MAuer
September 7th, 2014, 12:10 PM
My old "entertainment system" from the mid-'80s with turntable, CD player, radio, and tape deck (!) is still going strong. But my computers only last seven years on average. Modern inconveniences . . . :sarcastic:

Ann Lander (sospiro)
September 7th, 2014, 12:43 PM
My old "entertainment system" from the mid-'80s with turntable, CD player, radio, and tape deck (!) is still going strong. But my computers only last seven years on average. Modern inconveniences . . . :sarcastic:

Built-in obsolescence :mad5426:

Hoffmann
September 7th, 2014, 05:25 PM
Hehe, I can relate to that. I wish my son would do some of this stuff for me... but he's gone, and busy. Yes, my wife has a Mac and keeps telling me to buy one. But it would be a learning curve. I don't know anything about Macs. And I'm not sure they last forever. My son's Mac Pro has just died. Yes, there's a Mac store nearby in Durham. I live in Chapel Hill, a few miles from Durham.

I can understand your concern, but would suggest that the learning curve with a Mac isn't severe. Apple also has a tutoring program (it costs $100) for what I seem to recall are as many lessons as you want over the course of a year - that would be enough to cover most of your needs, I would imagine. It might be worth a visit and talking with them.

JohnGerald
September 7th, 2014, 06:48 PM
Locally, there is a service called "The Geek Squad". For computer impaired relics like me, they can be quite useful. They aren't exorbitant, although they communicate in a form of English that I find mostly incomprehensible.

As far as "engineered obsolescence", do not get me started ...

MAuer
September 8th, 2014, 12:57 PM
Locally, there is a service called "The Geek Squad". For computer impaired relics like me, they can be quite useful. They aren't exorbitant, although they communicate in a form of English that I find mostly incomprehensible.

As far as "engineered obsolescence", do not get me started ...

Yes, they're good, and my "Geek" spoke in plain English. I think that program is affiliated with the Best Buy chain.

JohnGerald
November 17th, 2014, 04:27 PM
Last night, we watched the new SFO Blu ray of i Capuleti ei Montecchi. The "abstract" staging (according to Joyce DiDonato) was a bit off putting at first, but became irrelevant once the singing started. There are a lot of en travesti parts, going back to Monteverdi, and while a few folks get their knickers in a twist over women in mens' parts (I'm speaking of drama here!), I don't. The sound of soprano/mezzo harmonies can be phenominal, and it is so here. At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, when DiDonato and Cabell get together the sound approaches the celestial.

I have and enjoy the two CD versions of this opera, but with the recent addition of a HD TV, I spend my opera time watching as well as listening.

This is one hell of a performance, kiddies. Get it.

Soave_Fanciulla
November 19th, 2014, 04:33 AM
Last night, we watched the new SFO Blu ray of i Capuleti ei Montecchi. The "abstract" staging (according to Joyce DiDonato) was a bit off putting at first, but became irrelevant once the singing started. There are a lot of en travesti parts, going back to Monteverdi, and while a few folks get their knickers in a twist over women in mens' parts (I'm speaking of drama here!), I don't. The sound of soprano/mezzo harmonies can be phenominal, and it is so here. At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, when DiDonato and Cabell get together the sound approaches the celestial.

I have and enjoy the two CD versions of this opera, but with the recent addition of a HD TV, I spend my opera time watching as well as listening.

This is one hell of a performance, kiddies. Get it.

Waiting for the friendly postie to deliver it.

Adrian
November 19th, 2014, 12:59 PM
Last night, we watched the new SFO Blu ray of i Capuleti ei Montecchi. The "abstract" staging (according to Joyce DiDonato) was a bit off putting at first, but became irrelevant once the singing started. There are a lot of en travesti parts, going back to Monteverdi, and while a few folks get their knickers in a twist over women in mens' parts (I'm speaking of drama here!), I don't. The sound of soprano/mezzo harmonies can be phenominal, and it is so here. At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, when DiDonato and Cabell get together the sound approaches the celestial.

I have and enjoy the two CD versions of this opera, but with the recent addition of a HD TV, I spend my opera time watching as well as listening.

This is one hell of a performance, kiddies. Get it.

Waiting for the Christmas presents ;)

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
December 15th, 2014, 01:57 AM
I Capuleti e i Montecchi on DVD

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516ra2%2Bzr5L._AA160_.jpg

I Capuleti e i Montecchi, tragedia lirica in two acts, sung in Italian, premiered on 11 March 1830 at Teatro La Fenice in Venice
Music by Vincenzo Bellini
Libretto by Felice Romani, based on the play of the same name by Luigi Scevola (1818) and not on Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Scevola recovered the early Italian legends on the topic which go back to Antiquity, via Renaissance author Matteo Bandello, while Shakespeare based his play on Arthur Brooke and William Painter, who had translated into English earlier Italian texts; so, it is important to understand that Bellini's opera, unlike Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, is *not* an adaptation of Shakespeare. Also, unlike Gounod's opera which has 13 singing characters, Bellini's is shorter and more economic in its means, with only 5 singing roles.

Recorded Live at the War Memorial Theater in San Francisco, California, in October 2012

Co-Production San Francisco Opera and Bavarian State Opera

San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Riccardo Friza; acting concertmaster Laura Albers
San Francisco Opera Chorus, chorus master Ian Robertson
Stage Director Vincent Boussard
Set Designer Vincent Lemaire
Costume Designer Christian Lacroix
Lighting Designer Guido Levi
Directed for the screen by Franco Zamacona

Cast

Giulietta - Nicole Cabell
Romeo - Joyce DiDonato (an Opera Lively interviewee)
Tebaldo - Saimir Pirgu (an Opera Lively interviewee)
Capellio - Eric Owens
Lorenzo - Ao Li

The insert and packaging contain no fewer than 11 production pictures in color (they are gorgeous), credits, list of musical numbers with titles, characters, and duration, a 2-page synopsis, a 1-page statement by the stage director explaining the concept (this is a very nice touch - I wish other DVDs would have the same), and this is all repeated in English, German, and French.

EuroArts release (2014) - 2 DVDs, NTSC 16:9, region 0 (worldwide), running time 135 minutes, sound PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, and DTS 5.1, subtitles in English, German, French, and Italian; 16 minutes of bonus materials include an interview with Joyce DiDonato, an interview with Nicole Cabell, and a 2-minute talk about Joyce's early career in San Francisco as an apprentice at the Merola program. The DVD opens with scenes of the city of San Francisco and the facade of the opera house. Also included are four extensive trailers for other shows, and they are fun to watch. Very well produced DVD!

The entire opera is on DVD 1, and DVD 2 only contains the bonus materials.

This product is available from Amazon for $31.50 [clicky (http://www.amazon.com/Vincenzo-Bellini-Montecchi-Featuring-Francisco/dp/B00MP0SZ1Y/)] - also available on blu-ray disc for $36

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The orchestra performs very well the overture. The musicians look like veterans of the trade, if one gauges by their age. The first scene is in the stables of the Capulet's palace, and set design renders the location by suspending from the roof several horse saddles. The background and costumes are all bluish (very tasteful) and lighting has red and green hues, on what looks like polished metal. Costumes for all characters and the chorus are done in black leather and blue scarves.

We get in the first scene all three male singers, and it is very, very impressive how good they are. Saimir Pirgu in my opinion is rapidly dominating the field as one of the top five tenors in activity in the world, today. Eric Owens dispenses introduction, and remains as good as ever. I did not know Ao Li but he certainly doesn't disappoint.

Soon enough Saimir dispels any possible doubt one might have regarding my assertion above, when he delivers a spectacular "È serbato a questo acciaro" (misspelled in the insert as "serbata") with beautiful high notes, phrasing, and potent volume. I give myself an encore, playing again the track. Bravo!

I'm listening to the PCM track on headphones, and the sound is crystal clear, with good balance. Image is of very good definition and color.

The Saimir show continues with "L'amo tanto, e m'è si cara" - which includes a high C in the bridge between the two sections. Again, the tenor is perfect in his execution. The chorus is doing very well too.

So far so good; this seems to be a very polished product, with very good musical values. I think I'm in for a treat.

Romeo makes his entrance, and in spite of this not being a comedy at all, I almost break out laughing, so convincing Joyce is a male, in her body language! We get a good piece of blocking with the chorus leaving the scene by each half of it crossing to the opposite side, very precisely.

Then, we get to listen to Joyce's acrobatics in "Ascolta - Se Romeo túccise un figlio," which she delivers with her exquisite and flawless technique - it doesn't get any better than that! The chorus then wraps itself around Joyce using the same kind of blocking.

The second scene is in Giulietta's room, which only has a square white sink attached to the wall on red background, and there is a suspended white marble statue. Again, very visually striking. Cabell is vocally formidable in her Giulietta - what a beautiful "Oh! Quante volte"! - and she looks sexy in her strapless white gown. She climbs on the sink and tries to reach the marble statue, while lighting goes changing hues - what in the hell were the Amazon reviewers thinking when they called this staging "ugly"??? It's visually very successful. (Edit - I should have said "so far" because it does get worse, later)

Video direction is well done, with brief close-ups merging into zoomed out views.

The third scene has extremely colorful costumes for the chorus and a bit of - literally - on-you-face symbolism with the women being silent and having huge flowers on their mouths. Generally I dislike symbolism that is too obvious (with the exception of the big clock in Willy Decker's Traviata which I did like). The stage is filled with bleachers. The general effect is, well, weird. This is not a visually successful scene. We get stovepipe hats - it all looks like mid-19th century London, for no good reason.

My take on the abstract staging in scenes 1 and 2, seeing it in a positive light, had to do with its visual beauty. Scene 3 has no beauty whatsoever. Reviewers got upset with the singing while perched on top of the sink in Scene 2. It didn't bother me. Giulietta was trying to reach the marble statue. This longing attempt to reach an ideal was symbolically appropriate, I think. The bleachers, stovepipe hats, flowers on the mouth got all to look frankly ridiculous, without the redeeming quality of visual beauty.

I'm reading some reviews and I don't know where these people get their knowledge of what constitutes good singing. Someone said that Joyce has an unpleasant wobble and forces her notes. What what whaaaaattt??? Really? Where in the hell is Joyce showing an unpleasant wobble???? The same clueless reviewer bashes Saimir's singing as well. OK. No more reading of this misguided person; back to enjoying the *excellent* singing by all involved.

Nicole Cabell is *really* impressive. It's the first time I see her, beyond some YouTube clips. This is a truly excellent singer. Both her and Joyce do very well the bel canto coloratura, and they are agile and precise, both with beautiful timbre of voice, and musicality.

Let me include several pictures of the staging - these are not the Cory Weaver pictures we see on the web but rather screen captures from YouTube clips, which I made using the snipping tool for fair promotional use. In case these clips have in their turn used Cory Weaver's pictures, then the photographer is hereby credited. They follow the sequence of acts and scenes.

Act 1 Scene 1

6001

6002

6003

Act 1 Scene 2

6004

6005

I must say, the visual beauty of this scene is more than what this screen capture shows, because unfortunately the clip did not contain the more beautiful take, with splashes of red color and green shoes all making a rather good visual composition.

6006

Act 1 Scene 3

6007

6015

6008

6009

6010

Act 2 Scene 1

6011

Act 2 Scene 2

6012

Act 2 Scene 3

6013

Curtain calls

6014

The duel scene (act 2, scene 2) is done with choreography only, no swords. I like it, and singing and acting are good by Joyce and Saimir.

Act 2 scene 3 is well done and recovers beauty.

Bonus materials: Joyce explains the staging concept quite efficiently. She undoes much of the criticism I read, regarding the staging. Joyce is a very intelligent artist as we know from her interview with us, so listening to her take is very helpful in getting the viewer more favorably impressed by the staging. Joyce is, as usual, lovely, and I like what she said about being a good girl that would have been a bad boy, if she were born a boy (talking about her pant roles). Nicole looks very pretty in her interview, in her regular clothes, and she addresses a bit the vocal and emotional demands of the role. It's a good interview, too; she describes the technical side of the singing in more detail than Joyce did, and she is obviously in awe of Joyce (so am I). Then there is a 2-minute piece with Joyce talking about the Merola program that she did in San Fran as a young artist. There is a black-and-white picture of one of the productions she did while an apprentice at the Merola, and a picture of the young Joyce singing in a master class.

Then, there are trailers for three San Fran DVDs: Lucrezia Borgia, Moby Dick, Porgy and Bess, and an EuroArts DVD of Die Meistersinger. We get Renée Fleming singing very well as Lucrezia, with Michael Fabiano as Gennaro. Weird costumes but good voices! The Moby Dick has our friend Jay Hunter Morris - we've seen this production on PBS and it is *very* good! These trailers are longish and do give an idea of the productions. Other than Jay, Stephen Costello does very well in this production. The Porgy and Bess, I've purchased too but it is still in my unwatched pile. It looks good. We get Eric Owens again as Porgy, and a charming Laquita Mitchells as Bess. The Meistersinger trailer seems less compelling. This production with the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Daniele Gatti in a staging by Stefan Herhelm seems a bit bland and I wasn't impressed with the singing either (Bohinec/Gabler/Saccà/Sonn/Volle/Werba/Seppenfeld - from this sample, I'd say not recommended).

Verdict:

Staging B+ I generally like it but it does get weird and with forceful symbolism.
Set design A- Visually beautiful in two thirds of the scenes, not as much in the bleachers part
Costumes B- The London look doesn't seem to make much sense
Blocking A Generally efficient for the chorus, and I did like the duel without swords
Orchestra and conducting A+ Very competent
Singing A++ Those who dislike the abstract staging can still close their eyes and listen - it's gorgeously sung
Acting A Joyce and Nicole very good; the males were a bit stiff
Packaging and insert A+
Bonus Materials A+
Technical quality of the recording (audio/video) A++ entirely flawless

Overall A (the extremes cancel each other and the average ends up being grade A, recommended)

JohnGerald
December 15th, 2014, 03:07 AM
Whew!! I am SO glad that my amazon review did not use the word "ugly", but Joyce DiDonato said in her interview that the staging was supposed to be "abstract". I did not like it, but the singing is exquisite, and in the HD MA mode on the Blu ray it makes the staging immaterial. We've watched it 6 -7 times since getting it and will do so again soon.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
December 15th, 2014, 04:15 AM
Whew!! I am SO glad that my amazon review did not use the word "ugly", but Joyce DiDonato said in her interview that the staging was supposed to be "abstract". I did not like it, but the singing is exquisite, and in the HD MA mode on the Blu ray it makes the staging immaterial. We've watched it 6 -7 times since getting it and will do so again soon.

As you can see, I did edit my post, and I did it before I saw this post of yours (which doesn't show on the time stamp since I kept editing). I kind of changed my mind about the staging and even inserted a line up there saying that I should have said visually beautiful "so far, because it does get worse later" - and in the "later" part I even used "frankly ridiculous" so now I get what the Amazon reviewers were getting at.

Now, I read several reviews on opera magazines and blogs. About the bashing of the singing, it didn't come from Amazon. The "ugly" part did come from Amazon - not your review, but the third one, the one with one star.

Even though I got less impressed with the staging as it went on, Joyce DiDonato in her interview does advocate a lot for the staging, and she explains some of the ideas behind it.

PS - I was silly, I didn't notice when I bought the DVD that there was a blu-ray version. Anyway, I guess the PCM track is as good on DVD as on blu-ray since it is linear, non-compressed sound, and with the Sennheiser headphones, I guess I didn't miss much.

JohnGerald
December 15th, 2014, 03:28 PM
I would say, Luiz, for the benefits of readers who question getting this recording to do so. A fellow amazon reviewer with whom I exchange e mails on a regular basis saw the production and advised me to pass on the purchase. I am very happy that I did not. As you note, the singing is nearly perfect and (to me, at least) it trumps the deficiencies in staging. The same is true (again, for me, at least) with Mary Zimmerman's staging of Sonnambula and Lucia: the quality of the singing makes the dramatic deficiencies almost immaterial.

Florestan
May 17th, 2017, 04:12 PM
I just got this and it is wonderful. Also, it occupies three CDs (and average 41 minutes longer) whereas I see many of the I Capuleti e i Montecchi recordings are only two disks suggesting an incomplete performance.

Kasarova/Mei set: 2 Hours 51 Minutes
Garanca/Netrebko set: 2 hours 7 minutes
Baltsa/Gruberova set: 2 hours 9 minutes
Baker/Sills set: 2 hours 14 minutes
Larmore/Hong: 2 hours 5 minutes

So based on total time alone, this is the set to get, but regardless of that, it is worth it for Kasarova alone!

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516O-fwOgTL.jpg

Florestan
May 19th, 2017, 03:27 AM
Kasarova/Mei set: 2 Hours 51 Minutes (3 disks)
Garanca/Netrebko set: 2 hours 7 minutes (2 disks)
Baltsa/Gruberova set: 2 hours 9 minutes (2 disks)
Baker/Sills set: 2 hours 14 minutes (2 disks)
Larmore/Hong: 2 hours 5 minutes (2 disks)


Mystery solved! And as my mother used to say, if it were a dog it would have bit me. All I had to do is read the booklet that came with the Kasarova/Mei set.

Kasarova/Mei is 2 hours 12 minutes (2 disks). The third disk is the finale of Nicola Vaccai's Giulietta e Romeo, which was sometimes substituted for Bellini's ending. This practice began with Maria Malibran who felt Bellini's score did not provide adequate opportunity for her to display her vocal skills, so she began using the more dramatic Vaccai ending. So at this point, we might wonder if any of the recordings have done that. Something to look out for. At least with the Kasarova/Mei set it is an appendix on a third disk. And that is a nice bonus as it does provide some great drama.

Vaccai's Giulietta e Romeo is also available on CD and there are sound clips available here (http://www.allmusic.com/album/nicola-vaccaj-giulietta-e-romeo-mw0002890609#no-js).

Florestan
May 20th, 2018, 01:54 AM
I have a question about La Sonnambula. About 5 minutes into act II is this interlude called Larghetto maestoso, It seems out of place but apparently I never noticed it until the Bartoli set where it lasts 3 minutes, 14 seconds. Most other sets it seems the Larghetto maestoso only lasts about a minute. What is it and why is it in the opera.

I first noticed it in the Bartoli set as it is a separate track, where apparently it is part of another track on other sets and never called out as Larghetto maestoso.

Florestan
May 23rd, 2018, 12:38 AM
My Sonnambula collection on CD includes

Bartoli
Callas 1955 live
Callas 1957 live
Callas 1957 studio
Dessay
Devia
Gruberova
Lind
Orgonasova (NAXOS set)
Pagliughi
Sutherland 1980
Sutherland 1962 (is in shipping right now)
Lucia Aliberti (is in shipping right now)

I still need Scotto. This is the one I want:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81nIeFkSL3L._SX522_.jpg

Then I have all but one DVD now, and so am still looking to get this one:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pPpugDiQL.jpg

Ann Lander (sospiro)
May 23rd, 2018, 05:02 PM
My Sonnambula collection on CD includes

Bartoli
Callas 1955 live
Callas 1957 live
Callas 1957 studio
Dessay
Devia
Gruberova
Lind
Orgonasova (NAXOS set)
Pagliughi
Sutherland 1980
Sutherland 1962 (is in shipping right now)
Lucia Aliberti (is in shipping right now)

I still need Scotto. This is the one I want:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81nIeFkSL3L._SX522_.jpg

Then I have all but one DVD now, and so am still looking to get this one:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51pPpugDiQL.jpg

Wow! Fabulous collection.

Florestan
June 1st, 2018, 12:09 AM
Just discovered there is another recording of July 1994, but the lone copy I find available is selling for an atrocious price of $79.99!

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71qC8lBYgBL._SX522_.jpg
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71EPBfxKArL._SX522_.jpg



"Among Patrizia Ciofi's assets are a careful, caring musicianship, a head voice that works, and the fact that her lovely lyric soprano is governed by an artistic sensibility. In her throat, almost all of those floated entrances Bellini has so graciously designed are delicately radiant. Sometimes her upper-register tone is unsupported, which causes it to turn tremulous, but when she's 'under it', she is exceptionally good. Anyone who can take that rising and falling phrase (up to the B and down) on 'risuona' as beautifully as Ciofi does near the beginning of Act 2 merits recognition. Her floated top voice is about as easy as Devia's and a tad more ethereal, though no one can really match the older soprano for just plain security. Ciofi's sweet-toned way with the recitativi in both sleepwalking scenes, those outwardly 'spoken' manifestations of Amina's unconscious, capture Bellini's tone exactly: this is innocence, not burgeoning tragedy."
Found on this page (http://ciofi.blogspot.com/2004/05/la-sonnambula-bellini.html) which attributes the quote to Opera Quarterly Summer 2001

Florestan
June 1st, 2018, 12:23 AM
^ I just figured out that the above set is part of this set, which would be far more cost effective if I can find a decent price. Complete listing of singers and samples of tracks at PrestoClassical. (https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/7976581--bellini-complete-operas#tracklist)

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51fD%2BoL7kBL.jpg

Florestan
June 2nd, 2018, 03:12 AM
FYI: Very extensive and detailed discussion (~16 pages or so) of above 25 CD set here (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Jan09/Bellini_operas_dynamiccds552.htm).

Florestan
July 1st, 2018, 05:07 AM
Don't recall if I posted this before but here is an excellent video preview of one of my favorite Sonnambula DVDs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPTv_Sqknyw