Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #2341
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    270
    Post Thanks / Like
    What I’ve been watching in April ranked, although to be fair #1-#4 were all really strong and I could have put them in almost any order:

    #1 - Mozart – Lucio Silla – La Monnaie, Streaming on Operavision
    A luridly entertaining version where the title character is a contemporary 1%-er. (A video during the overture links images of dictators to the wealth of powerful businessmen.) The portrayal of Silla is so over-the-top it’s kind of silly, and it becomes hard to believe his redemptive turn at the the end. But I think the director does what’s necessary to keep this opera engaging from start to finish. Some of it is not Mozart at his most inspired, but some of it is, and this production makes it feel like one of his masterworks.

    #2 - Thomson – The Mother of Us All – Juilliard & The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Streaming on Youtube
    This has a reputation as one of the great American operas, and to the extent that it's messy and overstuffed with broadly-drawn characters... it is certainly the most American of great operas. There’s more ceremony than plot; dozens of characters – some fictional, and some historical (from incongruous time periods) – convene to discuss Susan B. Anthony’s legacy and grapple with the women’s rights that she introduced to America. The libretto by Gertrude Stein is often too florid, but occasionally she illuminates the impact of women’s suffrage in ways I had never thought about before. The score by Virgil Thomson is vibrant, Copland-esque, and an orchestra of just 7 instruments is scored so perfectly it does not feel like a “reduction”. The unusual orchestra, and an outsized cast of over 30 singers, is the only reason I can fathom this isn’t performed by major opera companies all the time, but it is perfect for the needs of American music colleges.

    #3 - Lang – Anatomy Theater – Beth Morrison Projects, Streamed on Vimeo
    Beth Morrison Projects commissions a lot of interesting experimental operas. They are incredible at fostering opera talent, and also new, younger audiences. They are streaming many of their past works for the first time, a different one every week. In this one-acter which takes place in the 19th century, there is a prologue - the hanging of a woman who has murdered her family - and then the rest of the opera takes place a few hours later at an anatomy lecture where they dissect her “donated” body. Despite the fact she was an awful person, the subsequent relish with which the characters talk about her like an object is disturbing, and the way the audience is addressed as a character, implicates us and forces us to face our own capacity to objectify stigmatized people. David Lang’s music is tonal & approachable without being insipid, and I think the opera is very well-conceived and effective.

    #4 - Verdi – Nabucco – Teatro Regio Parma, Streaming on Operavision
    Hearing Verdi played by an Italian orchestra is the most perfect thing in the world. The difference is somehow both subtle and huge; it's so much more clear and pure. This production draws a parallel between the displacement of Hebrews with modern-day refugees. Although some of the choreographed movement on stage was totally bizarre, the designs and costumes made for striking stage pictures, and an extra-quiet first verse of "Va, pensiero" is ethereal and haunting.

    #5 - Verdi – Falstaff – Hamburg State Opera, Streamed on arte.tv
    Great cast, okay production. Not very funny, which that was to be expected with Calixto Bieito, who was sure to be more interested in holding a mirror up to our foibles as a society. But what could he add that Shakespeare didn’t already bake into the text? Not much, it turns out. He just made Falstaff the pig even sloppier and more disgusting. The rotating Boar’s Head set was handsome but looked crowded when the actors were in it; most scenes were staged way out in front of it.

  2. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro), MAuer liked this post
  3. #2342
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Detroit MI
    Posts
    3,749
    Post Thanks / Like
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  4. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro), MAuer liked this post
  5. #2343
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    4,383
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Nemorino View Post
    I don't know if that's a typo, or a pun, but either way
    I thought the same!!
    "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

  6. Likes Florestan liked this post
  7. #2344
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,901
    Post Thanks / Like
    I haven't been watching much opera recently but I'm currently watching La Forza del Destino from Royal Opera House with Der Jonas, Trebs and Ludovic Tezier who is actually acting!!!! What a difference that makes, because his singing has always been excellent.

    Was this one that you saw live, Annie?
    Natalie

  8. Likes MAuer liked this post
  9. #2345
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    3,356
    Post Thanks / Like


    Speaking of der Jonas . . . There’s no lack of excellent recordings of Carmen, and this one from the Royal Opera House with JK and Anna Caterina Antonacci is one of the best. And, yes, there’s another Cincinnati Opera alumna among the principals: Norah Amsellem (Micaëla), who appeared with the CO as Liù in the 2015 production of Turandot and as Violetta in the 2018 La Traviata.

  10. Likes Adrian, Soave_Fanciulla liked this post
  11. #2346
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    3,356
    Post Thanks / Like


    Though it’s not up to the standard of Fidelio or possibly even Paer’s Leonora, I still enjoy Gaveaux’s setting of J. N. Bouilly’s Léonore. This video of Opera Lafayette’s production includes another Cincinnati Opera alumnus, Jean-Michel Richer (Florestan), who appeared with the CO as the Father in the 2018 U.S. premiere of Another Brick in the Wall.
    Though I wasn’t involved in my own Cincinnati Opera centennial listening/viewing project when I put the Salzburg Festival recording of Rusalka (with Nylund and Beczala) on the CD player, it, too, includes a CO alumnus in the cast with Alan Held (Water Sprite), who appeared in Cincinnati’s 1990 production of Lucia di Lammermoor as Raimondo.
    While I have more recordings featuring CO alums Caballé, Domingo, Milnes, and Levine, none of them include any other Cincinnati Opera veterans who have not been represented on the other recordings to which I’ve listened or which I’ve watched over the past few weeks. And the company has hosted some pretty starry cast members over the past century, listed here by decade:

    1920s-1940s
    Coe Glade, Frederick Jagel, Bruna Castagna, Gladys Swarthout, James Melton, Robert Weede, Elisabeth Rethberg, Raoul Jobin, Giovanni Martinelli, Leonard Warren, Dorothy Kirsten, Bidu Sayao, Kersten Thorborg, Nan Merriman, Jarmila Novatna, Stella Roman, Risë Stevens, Eugene Conley, Jan Kiepura, Licia Albanese, Zinka Milanov, Charles Kullman, Lawrence Tibbett, Alexander Kipnis, Jeanette MacDonald, Martial Singher, Marjorie Lawrence, Salvatore Baccalone, Ezio Pinza, Ramon Vinay, Margaret Harshaw, Martha Lipton, Osie Hawkins, Set Svanholm, Italo Tajo

    1950s-1960s
    John Alexander, Blanche Thebon, Jerome Hines, Robert Merrill, Eleanor Steber, Herva Nelli, Barry Morell, Frances Bible, Antonietta Stella, Giuseppe Campora, Charles Anthony, Phyllis Curtin, Mary Curtis-Verna, Giuseppe di Stefano, Mary Costa, Andrea Velis, Arlene Saunders, Ezio Flagello, Lucine Amara, Felicia Weathers, Theodor Uppman, Lili Chookasian, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Anna Moffo, Kenneth Riegel

    1970s-1990s
    Gilda Cruz-Romo, William Cochran, Veriano Luchetti, Karan Armstrong, Johanna Meier, Jeanne Piland, James McCracken, Alan Titus, Gianna Rolandi, Catherine Malfitano, Neil Shicoff, John Brecknock, Bianca Berini, Erie Mills, Greer Grimsley (as Papageno!), Eric Halfvarson, Richard Leech, John Cheek, Isola Jones, Don Bernardini, Hei-Kyung Hong, Raymond Aceto, Fabio Armiliato

    While they never sang in any CO performances, Renata Tebaldi and Franco Corelli were the featured soloists in a gala concert sponsored by the company in 1973. In 1979, Dame Joan Sutherland and conductor Richard Bonynge were the stars of a gala benefit concert at Music Hall given for the Cincinnati Opera.

    Those on the podium of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for CO performances have included Fausto Cleva, the company’s Music Director/Musical Advisor from 1934-1962; Sir Thomas Beecham, Thor Johnson, Anton Guadagno, Erich Kunzel (subsequently Music Director of the Cincinnati Pops), Nicholas Rescigno, Michael Tilson Thomas, Alberto Zedda, Marco Armiliato, and Louis Langrée, who joins Thomas Schippers and Max Rudolf as CSO music directors who conducted their band in CO performances. Not too shabby for a small opera company in the American Midwest.

  12. Likes Florestan, Soave_Fanciulla liked this post
  13. #2347
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    4,383
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    I haven't been watching much opera recently but I'm currently watching La Forza del Destino from Royal Opera House with Der Jonas, Trebs and Ludovic Tezier who is actually acting!!!! What a difference that makes, because his singing has always been excellent.

    Was this one that you saw live, Annie?
    Didn't see it. Couldn't get ticket.
    "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

  14. #2348
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Detroit MI
    Posts
    3,749
    Post Thanks / Like
    Excellent production in all respects.
    Sung in English and has available subtitles.
    Jon Vickers is awesome as Vasek, best stutter singing ever!
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  15. #2349
    Senior Member Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    536
    Post Thanks / Like

  16. Likes Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post
  17. #2350
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Detroit MI
    Posts
    3,749
    Post Thanks / Like
    Awesome performance by Doris Soffel! If you like a good mezzo, get this!
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  18. #2351
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,901
    Post Thanks / Like
    I watched this candyfloss version of Barry's The Importance of being Earnest on OperaVision. This is the second production of this recent opera that I have seen, the first enlivened by the incomparable Barbara Hannigan. The absurdist lot is mirrored in the absurdist music, complete with plate-smashing as percussion. I appreciate that the librettist left Wilde's words intact, (Thomas Adès could have learned from that in The Tempest when he reduced Shakespeare to prose of the highest banality). Good ensemble cast, a pretty pastel set and some stratospheric singing from Alison Scherzer as Cecily. Recommended.

    Natalie

  19. Likes Nemorino, Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post
  20. #2352
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5,901
    Post Thanks / Like
    Still working my way though the Operavision backlog and I am very happy that I decided to watch this Rusalka. The singers are all doubled by dancers and this opera-ballet version works very well, partly due to the fact that there is a good deal of orchestral music in the opera and the ballet fills in here (after all, what are the singers supposed to do during all this down time?). A simple but beautiful and effective set (the kind of Machine that actually works) and some nice singing, especially the Water-Sprite.

    Natalie

  21. Likes MAuer, Nemorino, Ann Lander (sospiro) liked this post
  22. #2353
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Midwestern U.S.
    Posts
    3,356
    Post Thanks / Like

  23. Likes Adrian, Soave_Fanciulla liked this post
  24. #2354
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    4,383
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Still working my way though the Operavision backlog and I am very happy that I decided to watch this Rusalka. The singers are all doubled by dancers and this opera-ballet version works very well, partly due to the fact that there is a good deal of orchestral music in the opera and the ballet fills in here (after all, what are the singers supposed to do during all this down time?). A simple but beautiful and effective set (the kind of Machine that actually works) and some nice singing, especially the Water-Sprite.

    " ...some nice singing, especially the Water-Sprite." Sold!
    "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

  25. Likes MAuer, Soave_Fanciulla liked this post
  26. #2355
    Senior Member Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    536
    Post Thanks / Like

    Been awhile since I watched this one, so a nice cuppa and let start !!!

Similar Threads

  1. Watching Opera DVDs in 3D
    By Couchie in forum General Operatic Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: August 27th, 2012, 04:05 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


free html visitor counters
hit counter




Official Media Partners of Opera Carolina

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Opera Carolina

Official Media Partners of NC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of North Carolina Opera

Official Media Partners of Greensboro Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Greensboro Opera

Official Media Partners of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and Piedmont Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of The A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute
of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Piedmont Opera

Official Media Partners of Asheville Lyric Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of Asheville Lyric Opera

Official Media Partners of UNC Opera

Opera Lively is the Official Media Partner of UNC Opera
Dept. of Music, UNC-Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences

www.operalively.com

VISIT WWW.OPERALIVELY.COM FOR ALL YOUR OPERA NEEDS