Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #2251
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Hopefully you'll recover soon and have a wonderful Christmas.
    I'm planning to watch a couple of things on Operavision; I'm on vacation for 12 days, yay!
    I'm sure you are aware of it, but if not - you're probably going to want to catch our beloved Barbara Hannigan in the Bayerische Staatsoper's livestream on 12/28. World premiere of The Snow Queen by the very good composer Hans Abrahamsen.

  2. #2252
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Fairy Tale Operas for Christmas 2019:

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    Strauss – Die Frau Ohne Schatten – Mariinsky Theatre (2011) – Youtube

    Sadly, I had never seen this opera before, but now that I have I LOOOOOVE it. In fact, I could see this becoming my favorite Strauss opera (Der Rosenkavalier is probably his best, but this is more my style.) I imagine the only thing keeping this from being performed as often must be the vocal demands. I didn’t expect much out of this production, but it was really good – with a nice contrast between a traditionally staged fanciful spirit world and a drab contemporary setting for the human world.

    Piazzolla – Maria de Buenos Aires – Opéra national du Rhin – arte.tv

    This was a last-minute substitution - calling it a fairy tale opera is doubly debatable - but I soon discovered there’s some Christmas imagery in the 2nd act so it felt really appropriate for a Christmas Eve Eve. This is a really great vehicle for Piazzolla’s music. I didn’t know there was so much recited poetry in this libretto, but I like it. I think this production takes some liberties with the libretto, and I can’t say I always followed it, but given that the story is more about poetry and imagery it doesn’t matter so much. Yes there is more dancing than singing in this show, but I love it and would let it take over my "opera night" again.

    Abrahamsen – The Snow Queen – Bayerische Staatsoper – staatsoper.tv

    Hans Abrahamsen has written amazing music for Barbara Hannigan before, so this was one of the most anticipated world premieres of the year. It didn’t disappoint. This is an unusual opera which eschews big, loud climaxes for quiet, cathartic ones. Abrahamsen depicts coldness in music so well, with tight Ligeti-an tone clusters and shivering, pulsing repeated notes. It has a Hansel and Gretel-style cast, with a soprano and mezzo-soprano playing a boy and girl, and a baritone playing the Snow Queen. In this psychological staging by Andreas Kriegenburg (already the 2nd production of the opera) the characters are adults and the fantasy story is a dream. The production is beautifully austere. Hannigan was incredible as usual, but I was also really swept away by Rachael Wilson’s powerful and beautiful mezzo. This was a highlight of the year for me. Great finale to the year!

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  4. #2253
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    Re watched an old friend, shame about the bad lip / music synchronizing

  5. #2254
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Awesome! Totally Awesome Performance! The singing, the acting, the libretto. Awesome.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  7. #2255
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    I love this recording, the stage settingsbut the singing by Miss Sills is great.

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  9. #2256
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    ^ I a glad you posted that. I had a Traviata binge last year and ended up with about a dozen on DVD but somehow was not aware of this one. Love any opera with Sills (La Fille du Regiment and Barber of Seville are both AWESOME). So now I have ordered a copy of this Sills Traviata for the rediculously low price of $5.36 Shipped! Ha, can hardly get a bowl of soup for that anymore. What a deal!
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  11. #2257
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    Verdi: Macbeth


    Renato Bruson (Macbeth), Mara Zampieri (Lady Macbeth),


    Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor)
    Re watched this yesterday, still a very good performance, Zampieri is so underrated.

  12. #2258
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    ^ I a glad you posted that. I had a Traviata binge last year and ended up with about a dozen on DVD but somehow was not aware of this one. Love any opera with Sills (La Fille du Regiment and Barber of Seville are both AWESOME). So now I have ordered a copy of this Sills Traviata for the rediculously low price of $5.36 Shipped! Ha, can hardly get a bowl of soup for that anymore. What a deal!
    Well my order got cancelled. Seems the seller could not find the DVD. Oh well, I ordered from someone else. Still a great deal at $8.20 shipped.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  13. #2259
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    What a voice for this role, stunning in one word.

  14. #2260
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I assume Sophie Koch sings the Composer in this performance. I have a different video of Ariadne with her in the part, and she's terrific.

  15. #2261
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I assume Sophie Koch sings the Composer in this performance. I have a different video of Ariadne with her in the part, and she's terrific.
    Yes she is the composer, she's great, her best video ( for me)is opposite Jonas in Werther.

    - - - Updated - - -


    One of the best performances I ever saw, the puppets working remarkable well.

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  17. #2262
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Great way to get to know all three of Rachmaninoff's operas, but for the Miserly Knight, this other production is awesome. I recommend both.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  19. #2263
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    What I’ve been watching in January, ranked:

    #1 – Smetana – The Bartered Bride – Garsington Opera – Operavision
    Modern video recordings of this are non-existent, so I kinda expected something too old-fashioned to merit a place in the repertoire. But this is a great opera, which must have faded away due to the modern taste for operas in their original language (which has sidelined many great Czech operas). I love so much of the music in this opera, and while the libretto is not the most modern or original, it is well put together. The main character has a secret identity that resolves the plot - like so many old operas - but here the audience is let in on the secret early; the opera uses it for dramatic tension rather than leaving it as a deus ex machina for the finale. Paul Curran’s production is amazing: each of the chorus members has a character and their own story to act out, bringing a fictional 1950s village to life. I really might watch this one again to enjoy all the details.

    #2 – Donizetti – La Favorite – Houston Grand Opera – Live
    I reviewed this here. While the production on its own would fall lower on this list, in the theatre it was a thrilling day to see several great artists perform.

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    #3 – Verdi – Giovanna d’Arco – (2008) – DVD
    It’s funny how you can sometimes tell how interested a composer is in a particular subject. Like father-daughter scenes are famously always heartfelt in Verdi’s operas. But then there’s a battle scene, and the music is the most bland Italian march possible. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a sarcastic commentary, or if Verdi just didn’t care about battles. Maybe he was in a rush at the time, and I'm reading too much into it. This Tutto Verdi production is simple but very effective.

    #4 – Acher – Sternenhoch – National Theatre Prague – Operavision
    This is a really unusual and exciting new opera from the Czech Republic. The score is a melange of contemporary chamber music, old-world folk music, and fringe pop genres like industrial & electronic dance. The story is based on an Expressionist novel, and the production illustrates this gruesome tale with Tim Burton-esque macabre whimsy which devolves into something more grotesque and savage. This is the kind of pseudo-transgressive stage show that would really appeal to some of the younger generation, and prove that operas can have the same edge as other forms of entertainment. Oddly, this opera is in Esperanto, which... probably makes it more likely to be performed in other countries than Czech....

    #5 – Talbot – Everest – Austin Opera – Live
    I enjoyed this show, but was disappointed in the opera. Joby Talbot’s score is very colorful with lots of windy storminess, mysteriousness, tension, and grandeur, but the libretto starts with the characters already stranded and struggling to survive on Everest. It’s a short show at 75 minutes, but it felt long because it was all internal monologue: climbers reflecting on their lives in what they know will be their final hours. I have never read “Into Thin Air” by John Krakauer, and it’s vital to understanding the action of the opera. I went to a Q&A afterwards with the librettist, and when they explained what’s going on to the characters in the opera, there were so many amazing and dramatic things that had happened that were not explained by the opera that I was annoyed. Also, I’m really tired of contemporary operas that tell you what the lesson is at the end. It’s the opposite of poetry. Tell me a story. Make it evocative. If you do it well, I’ll figure out the deeper meaning, thank you very much.

  20. #2264
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Awesome!
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  22. #2265
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemorino View Post
    What I’ve been watching in January, ranked:

    #1 – Smetana – The Bartered Bride – Garsington Opera – Operavision
    Modern video recordings of this are non-existent, so I kinda expected something too old-fashioned to merit a place in the repertoire. But this is a great opera, which must have faded away due to the modern taste for operas in their original language (which has sidelined many great Czech operas). I love so much of the music in this opera, and while the libretto is not the most modern or original, it is well put together. The main character has a secret identity that resolves the plot - like so many old operas - but here the audience is let in on the secret early; the opera uses it for dramatic tension rather than leaving it as a deus ex machina for the finale. Paul Curran’s production is amazing: each of the chorus members has a character and their own story to act out, bringing a fictional 1950s village to life. I really might watch this one again to enjoy all the details.
    I agree. I love this production!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nemorino View Post
    #3 – Verdi – Giovanna d’Arco – (2008) – DVD
    It’s funny how you can sometimes tell how interested a composer is in a particular subject. Like father-daughter scenes are famously always heartfelt in Verdi’s operas. But then there’s a battle scene, and the music is the most bland Italian march possible. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a sarcastic commentary, or if Verdi just didn’t care about battles. Maybe he was in a rush at the time, and I'm reading too much into it. This Tutto Verdi production is simple but very effective.
    It was written during what he called his 'galley years' when he didn't have much money. He churned out formulaic operas just to make ends meet so he probably didn't give it much thought!
    "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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