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Thread: Spoiled Performances

          
   
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Involved Member Nervous Gentleman's Avatar
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    Spoiled Performances

    OK, the idea for this thread is to name a particular recording or performance of a work that was otherwise fine, but is spoiled by the participation of one individual. I do not intend to be mean-spirited by initiating such a thread; only there are several instances I can recall in which a performance is ruined by a single performer, either due to that individual having an uncharacteristically "bad night" or because such below par performances is habitual with said individual.

    What suggested this idea to me is a recording I made early this year from an internet broadcast of the very rare "sacred opera" by Anton Rubinstein, "Christus." Although I am no expert, I think the performance is excellent; with the exception of one of the principal soloists who I think so horrible that her "singing" in more akin to shrieking and, again in my opinion, she absolutely ruined an otherwise exceptional performance of a rare work. In fact, the pain being inflicted on one of her fellow soloists (who was so unfortunate as to be sitting in close proximity) can clearly be seen in this still, taken from the video of the performance:

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    Can anyone think of any similar instance?

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    I totally agree with those who claim that Netrebko leaves much to be desired as Elvira but I would enjoy this performance with her and other singers quite much if not Eric Cutler who made this unwatchable for me. Archetype of fop-tenor. They'd put Flórez instead of him, it would be only 2485454320834 times inferior to DVD with Machaidze (with Netrebko's Elvira being 2485454320800 times inferior to Machaidze's and 34 degrees of inferiority coming from bass/baritone supporting duo).

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nervous Gentleman's Avatar
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    "it would be only 2485454320834 times inferior to DVD with Machaidze (with Netrebko's Elvira being 2485454320800 times inferior to Machaidze's and 34 degrees of inferiority"

    Could you be a little more precise?

    Mathematics was never my forte.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne of Green Gables View Post


    I totally agree with those who claim that Netrebko leaves much to be desired as Elvira but I would enjoy this performance with her and other singers quite much if not Eric Cutler who made this unwatchable for me. Archetype of fop-tenor. They'd put Flórez instead of him, it would be only 2485454320834 times inferior to DVD with Machaidze (with Netrebko's Elvira being 2485454320800 times inferior to Machaidze's and 34 degrees of inferiority coming from bass/baritone supporting duo).
    I agree that the tenor wasn't good. But Anna in my humble opinion was fine.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  5. #5
    Schigolch
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    Another Bellini.

    This is a recording from 1964. After her big success with Lucia in 1959, Joan Sutherland was the Queen of London's operatic scene. To sing Norma, she prepared with her husband, Richard Bonynge, a rendition with the original keys, restoring some cuts, try different tempi than the Italian conductors... It was a very fine one, with the great Sutherland in top form, singing a superb coloratura, a Casta Diva of an almost unreal beauty, and Marilyn Horne going with her to the last mile. The duets between those two legendary singers are nothing sort of fantastic.

    However, John Alexander was the weak spot. He was painfully inadequate to sing with Horne and Sutherland. Not the worst Pollione on record, sure, but he marred such a wonderful recording....

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    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
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    I kind of feel this way about the Christie Theodora.


    It is generally a fine group of singers, especially the Septimius of Richard Croft and the Theodora of Sophie Daneman.
    But what ruins this recording (kind of) for me, is the Irene of Juliette Galstian, more specifically the English pronunciation of Juliette Galstian, which is a shame, because other than that, she has a lovely voice.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Sometimes it is not a singer that spoils a performance or recording, but rather, the stage director, or the video director (some notable examples exist in our recently published interview with video director François Roussillon - not his, he is extremely competent, but some of his peers have done some rather unwise things), or the sound engineer, etc.

    It is in my opinion even more frustrating when a good group of singers / conductor / orchestra have their fine work spoiled by someone from the non-music producing crew.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Veteran Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Sometimes it is not a singer that spoils a performance or recording, but rather, the stage director, or the video director (some notable examples exist in our recently published interview with video director François Roussillon - not his, he is extremely competent, but some of his peers have done some rather unwise things), or the sound engineer, etc.

    It is in my opinion even more frustrating when a good group of singers / conductor / orchestra have their fine work spoiled by someone from the non-music producing crew.
    *Cough*Kasper Holten Maskarade*Cough*Every Handel DVD to ever come out of Copenhagen*Cough*
    Is it just me or is it dry in here?

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nervous Gentleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Sometimes it is not a singer that spoils a performance or recording, but rather, the stage director, or the video director...

    It's funny you should mention that, because I just purchased the DVD of "Werther" with Jonas Kaufmann, despite some very negative comments at Amazon about the videography. I haven't seen it yet, so I cannot comment on the truth of these assertions, but I thought it rather striking that so many would comment negatively about the camera work.

    Some examples:

    "Unfortunately the film director was an idiot and marred an otherwise 10-star performance."

    "Weird camera angles"

    "...think twice about buying this DVD. Everything about it is excellent has been noted by all reviewers -- but from my point of view it has been sabotaged by a film editor who thinks he is being clever, playing games with his cutting."

    "Great performances, terrible video work"

    "The videographer has no faith in the opera and seems determined to imprint himself on it. As a video, it's dreck."

    There's more, but you get the idea...

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    When I watched the Kaufmann/Koch Werther, I didn't notice anything disturbing about views. Except prelude part where they show Kaufmann backstage.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nervous Gentleman View Post
    It's funny you should mention that, because I just purchased the DVD of "Werther" with Jonas Kaufmann, despite some very negative comments at Amazon about the videography. I haven't seen it yet, so I cannot comment on the truth of these assertions, but I thought it rather striking that so many would comment negatively about the camera work.

    Some examples:

    "Unfortunately the film director was an idiot and marred an otherwise 10-star performance."

    "Weird camera angles"

    "...think twice about buying this DVD. Everything about it is excellent has been noted by all reviewers -- but from my point of view it has been sabotaged by a film editor who thinks he is being clever, playing games with his cutting."

    "Great performances, terrible video work"

    "The videographer has no faith in the opera and seems determined to imprint himself on it. As a video, it's dreck."

    There's more, but you get the idea...
    This seems to be Soave's opinion as well. Apparently showing the backstage action during the opera spoiled the illusion of live opera for many people.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nervous Gentleman View Post
    It's funny you should mention that, because I just purchased the DVD of "Werther" with Jonas Kaufmann, despite some very negative comments at Amazon about the videography. I haven't seen it yet, so I cannot comment on the truth of these assertions, but I thought it rather striking that so many would comment negatively about the camera work.

    Some examples:

    "Unfortunately the film director was an idiot and marred an otherwise 10-star performance."

    "Weird camera angles"

    "...think twice about buying this DVD. Everything about it is excellent has been noted by all reviewers -- but from my point of view it has been sabotaged by a film editor who thinks he is being clever, playing games with his cutting."

    "Great performances, terrible video work"

    "The videographer has no faith in the opera and seems determined to imprint himself on it. As a video, it's dreck."

    There's more, but you get the idea...
    Yes, Benoit jacquot is on my String'em'up list when I'm world dictator.

    Followed by Chloe Perlemuter for runining these:



    f
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    This is a very fine recording -- with the exception of Wolfgang Glashof's Don Fernando. He sings flat the entire time and is generslly just awful. Thank God he's limited to the opera's final scene.

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nervous Gentleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    ...my String'em'up list when I'm world dictator.

    That seems a bit harsh!

  16. #15
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nervous Gentleman View Post
    That seems a bit harsh!
    What do you suggest then - glue headphones to their ears and make them listen to your favourite soprano from Christus on repeat?
    Natalie

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