Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #2356
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Love this. The soloists not only have wonderful voices, but are terrific actors as well. Eric Tappy's facial expressions -- especially the look in his eyes -- really capture Nerone's unbalanced mental/emotional state.

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

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  5. #2358
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    What Iíve been watching in May, ranked:

    #1 - Wagner Ė Tristan und Isolde Ė La Monnaie, Streaming on Operavision
    In the spirit of gesamtkunstwerk, this production has a strong design element by a visual artist. When the curtain first opens on each act, it looks totally bizarre and inscrutable, it doesnít depict anything literally from the libretto. But since this is a psychological opera of interior conflicts, each visual concept ends up working. Coupled with spectacular lighting effects and movement artists, each Act has at least one truly awesome visual climax. I didnít know Ann Peterson and Bryan Register before streaming this performance, but they are incredible in the title roles. The singers and orchestra were brilliant, making this an overwhelming experience even on video.

    #2 - Britten Ė Gloriana Ė Royal Opera House, Streamed on Youtube
    Itís hard to understand why Britten and his librettist thought it would be a good idea to portray royalty as flawed, at a coronation, but itís clear from the music that Britten wanted to portray Queen Elizabeth I with human complexity. Because of this, the opera has real drama, and is one of the few coronation operas that could be a real staple outside of momentous occasions. The extensive entry in Kobbeís Opera Book identifies 7 important musical themes and tracks their usage throughout the opera. Although not on par with Brittenís best work, for his fans itís a treasure trove of his melodic style.

    #3 - Rubinstein Ė Demon Ė Bard Summerscape, Streamed on ASO Online
    Although there are no iconic moments that match the highlights of Gounod or Boito, Iíd argue that Rubinsteinís Faustian opera is superior in terms of drama. The seduction of Tamara by the Devil plays out like Senta and the Dutchman. This is a fairly early Russian opera, and while several of the arias are in the style of Russian folk songs, the dramatic sections sound more like Schumann or Brahms. Act 3 is particularly strong, a long final combative duet. This performance could have been given a little more fire; I donít think the conductor ever reaches allegro. But Strassbergerís production is brilliant, a masterclass on how to use projections, not just for backdrops but for altering the color and texture of sets and costumes, and for spectacular rain and shadow effects. A traditional Georgian dance troupe was brought in for the ballet, and their acrobatic style is so much fun to watch, and culturally relevant, that for once what could have been an omittable section was a highlight.

    #4 - Puccini Ė Madama Butterfly Ė Royal Swedish Opera, Streaming on Operavision
    I admit, my prejudice against this opera is mostly due to its ubiquity, and that the story is just not for me. I donít doubt Pucciniís artistry. The more I see it, the more I see how masterful the character development of Cio-Cio is. Even though itís not my favorite, Iíve always loved 'Un bel di' and Iím open-minded for a production that will one day make me a fan of the whole thing. The draw here was Asmik Grigorian. Sheís terrific, and the production Ė updated to post-WWII - had some interesting choices. Some worked, some didnít. Act 2 really got me. But I donít think I would recommend it overall.

    #5 - Gluck Ė Alceste Ė Teatro La Fenice, Streaming on Operavision
    I'm still learning to appreciate Gluckís music, but this wasnít the production to inspire me. Static and colorless, both figuratively and literally: even the actors are made pale with hideous cake makeup, not flattering in HD. The opera itself seems dour enough, it didnít need extra help.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    A complete five-act version of this opera that makes the plot narrative comprehensible. And what a cast, along with Sir Tony on the podium!

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just finished this one. Really enjoyed it. The singing and acting are very good.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention. I thought Adina is marvelous! Dr. Dulcamara is fantastic! Belcore was awesome! I had some reservations with Nemorino, but I think mainly the sound of his voice was not my favorite (it is hard for a tenor to please my ear), but his acting was great. I would rather he did not actually get drunk (he was staggering) but just tipsy and emboldened as he is portrayed in most other productions of this opera. However, that said, he did a remarkable job of it. So hopefully I have enticed you all to watch this.

    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  10. #2361
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    I had some reservations with Nemorino, but
    Uhhhhhhh, I'm right *here*....

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