Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #2131
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Finished the DiDonato Capuleti DVD. Very good. I checked for other DVDs and it seems the others may not be as good. There were negative reviews on the other DiDonato set. What about the Ciofi set?
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  2. #2132
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Homework

    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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  4. #2133
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just started this one tonight
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  6. #2134
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    Homework

    I like this one.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Phenomenal performance! Dreadful story!

    Never watched this opera before and it was on my list of operas to avoid. Not sure why I bought this, but that it was $8 at Dearborn Music, and Renee Fleming was featured. Later I "discovered" what a great singer Rolando is and so finally watched it. Right now I feel like I never want to see this again, but at the same time I feel drawn in to explore other performaces of this opera. There is so much dramatic singing that I hate to give up on it. In this performance Renee is awesome!

    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Gosh! I have read Verdi described as "kitsch" and now La Traviata described as "dreadful storytelling", both in the space of a few threads.

    I appreciate that over four hundred years of opera pulls opinion and tastes in different directions but to hear or read of two critical or negative comments about Verdi in such a short space must be as rare as...

    err...

    umm...

    (ah! I have an example)
    an interesting performance of William Walton's Troilus and Cressida.

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  14. #2138
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Gosh! I have read Verdi described as "kitsch" and now La Traviata described as "dreadful storytelling", both in the space of a few threads.
    I feel like it's important to point out that Florestan said "dreadful story" - which I can relate to - not "dreadful storytelling", which I would argue is objectively untrue. However you feel about the grim and dated story of a courtesan's life and death, Verdi's music took bel canto conventions as far as they could ever go dramatically, and Piave's libretto is a masterclass in concisely bringing complex characters to life. (For instance, Violetta has a pet phrase "Č strano" which she overuses, but it takes on different meanings in different contexts.)

    Romantic tragedy is not really my thing, and when outdated standards of morality are mixed in I generally start to care even less. I loathe the story behind the Manon operas. But Verdi's La Traviata is still so great and compelling.

    I particularly love this production, which is hated by people who are precious about the original 1800s setting. But I think for that reason, Flor, you might also appreciate it. It universalizes the story. For example, it taught me to not think of Violetta's death as a random source of 19th-century tragedy, but the inevitable end for all humans that we are subconsciously racing against by clinging to fleeting moments of happiness.


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  16. #2139
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemorino View Post
    I particularly love this production, which is hated by people who are precious about the original 1800s setting. But I think for that reason, Flor, you might also appreciate it. It universalizes the story. For example, it taught me to not think of Violetta's death as a random source of 19th-century tragedy, but the inevitable end for all humans that we are subconsciously racing against by clinging to fleeting moments of happiness.
    I might like that particular DVD as it has Rolando in it, and Anna is fine too. But your last sentence is what really sticks. No matter how happy a person may be, they still have to deal with death. We are dying now, a slow death that picks up speed as the years go by. The tragic operas remind us of this, the happy operas give us a few moments respite. Tragic opera may be like blues music in that they can make you feel good in a strange sort of way by just getting out these feelings. We all to often hide the looming spectre of death by activity, but it will catch up to us one day.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    JK's Royal Opera House Otello. Fingers crossed that there are no problems with his Alvaro there this month and next.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just finished watching this and have mixed feelings. Right up front I was turned off at the fact that they just jumped into the story, skipping the overture. Well, that might be good for introducing others to opera. People often don't have patience to sit through an overture. But come on.... Eugene's overture or more precisely, introduction, is only a couple minutes. Anyway, I warmed up to it but found the ending rather undramatic. But what ending of EO is not undramatic after seeing the Hvorostovsky perform it? So I am kind of between a rating for this of "meh" to "It's okay." Yeah, the actors were pretty good and the singing quite good, but overall....

    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  21. #2142
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  23. #2143
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I got into opera was – as a film nerd – I wanted to be able to appreciate the work that my favorite film directors occasionally do in this medium. Benvenuto Cellini was the pay-off to that desire in a big way; I really loved this production by Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits, & Monty Python films/animations). This opera played to all of his strengths as a director. Whatever Gilliam’s weaknesses, he’s always very good at character – whether that’s one larger-than-life eccentric, or an entire crowd. Everyone in these crowd scenes is being given a ton to do, and yet you also know where your attention should be. And Gilliam’s exaggerated visual style, and naughty sense-of-humor, lends itself well to the Roman Carnival scenes.

    I get the sense that the dumb-ish plot has kept this opera out of the repertory, but it was nothing less than 100% compelling under Gilliam’s direction. And it is chock full of great musical ideas from Berlioz.

    This was the best thing I watched in March. I thought it’d be fun to rank a whole month’s worth of viewing:

    #2 – Michieletto’s psychological Macbeth with a pretty ideal cast
    #3 – An ultra-authentic Cunning Little Vixen from Brno, although the production confused me a little bit – I needed context from program notes... or from being Czech or something.
    #4 – Nicely-sung Ariodante from Vienna last year. Excruciatingly boring production by McVicar. Hot take: the Staatsoper sucks.
    #5 – My first Manon Lescaut, live in Dallas, was definitely an opera that I went to. (No disrespect to the performers, it’s the opera’s story that I could hardly care less about.)

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  25. #2144
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Homework. Seeing this in July with Simon Keenlyside as the Count.

    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Just couldn't help myself -- watched Fidelio with Nylund and Kaufmann again yesterday evening.

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