Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #2386
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    The ladies and Stephen Milling's Landgrave are fantastic. Sets and many of the costumes look like something out of a cheap 1960s Hollywood sci-fi flick, but the production stays true to plot and characters. There's been much worse done to this opera in recent years.

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  3. #2387
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post

    The ladies and Stephen Milling's Landgrave are fantastic. Sets and many of the costumes look like something out of a cheap 1960s Hollywood sci-fi flick, but the production stays true to plot and characters. There's been much worse done to this opera in recent years.
    Have it, watched it some time ago. It is good.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    What I’ve been watching in August, ranked:

    #1 - Purcell – The Fairy Queen – Glyndebourne – Streamed on Glyndebourne’s Open House
    A problematically lengthy show, as all of the musical numbers are essentially superfluous to Shakespeare’s comedy (which has to be severely abridged to get this show under 4 hours). But Glyndebourne’s show, predictably, sets the gold standard. Very imaginative visuals for each of the musical sections, and they even give Bottom one of the humorous songs, which helps the show cohere. Bottom and the other “Rustics” are so hilarious in this show, and then... there’s the scene with all the rabbits. Purcell’s music is a delight to match Shakespeare’s wit. ****1/2

    #2 - Schoenberg – Moses und Aron – Komische Oper Berlin – Streamed on Operavision
    Every performance of Moses und Aron is an almost-miraculous feat of musicianship. Schoenberg asks a lot of the chorus, and Barrie Kosky asks even more by having them do a lot of choreographed stage work too. The Komische chorus is one of few in the world committed enough to pull it off. He puts together some memorable stage pictures: the Golden Calf is a scantily-clad, gold-painted cabaret dancer who by the end of the blasphemous revels is a shrivelled old crone. John Daszak is, as always, a terrific performer. ****1/2

    #3 - Dvorak - Dmitrij – Bard Summerscape – Streaming on ASO Online
    This lengthy grand opera has some dramatically faltering stretches, but Dvorak’s music is so rich symphonically that for me it was a joy throughout. Highlights are the dramatic duet at the end of Act 3 where Marina tells Dimitrij he’s not really the tsar’s son and she knew the truth all along, and Xenia’s Act 4 aria, which Olga Tolkmit performed the heck out of, almost like a “mad scene” with ferocious mood swings from tears to rage. The whole cast was one of the best ensembles of any of the Summerscape productions that have streamed. The production was fine. I don’t object to updating the setting to the fall of the Soviet Union, but the set design was pretty bland. ****

    #4 - Chabrier – Le roi malgre lui – Bard Summerscape – Streaming on ASO Online
    The story’s standard opera comique, although there has been a dialogue rewrite and a slight reordering of scenes, so maybe the original text is substandard. The music anyway is sparkling and delightful, with sophisticated harmonies and orchestral textures, standing on the shoulders of Berlioz and pointing the way for Ravel. Most of the highlights for me were in the middle act, including some big choral scenes, and a showstopping tzigane, which Andriana Chuchman made the vocal highlight. The production had a few good chuckles. I would love to revisit the opera, especially on disc with a good cast. ****

    #5 - Verdi – I due Foscari – Teatro Regio Parma – Streaming on Operavision
    On revisiting this opera, my admiration for Verdi’s score grew a lot. It’s still unrelentingly bleak, and most of the plot occurs offstage, but rather than a monotony of despair I see it now as a kaleidoscope of all the emotions that accompany despair. There are moments when joy or rage or hope or bitterness all bubble to the surface before giving up to sadness again. This is a big step in Verdi’s development for expressiveness, perhaps informed by his own experiences. The Carnival intro to Act 3 also “clicked” for me now (in the context of 2020, perhaps). It’s incongruously lighthearted, and seems not to fit the opera, but then Loredano comes on stage and says, “See? The people don’t care if a Foscari or Malipiero leads them.” They are powerless to stop the corruption, so as long as they aren’t affected they can live with the injustice. The cast was mostly just okay, but in his few scenes Giacomo Prestia made Loredano a character I truly loathed, and made me wish the librettist had fleshed out a strong villain instead of it being about the machinery of the state (an admirable choice, but hard to pull off in opera). ***1/2

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    Senior Member Veteran Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Finally took a look at this again. Paisiello's music is appealing, the production is attractive, and it's fun to hear and see the young JK early in his career.

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    I think I'm going to stop doing the monthly thing; I tend to watch things late in their viewing cycle, and I hate talking about them after they've gone. (I just don't want to take over this whole thread!)



    Mozart - Il sogno di Scipione - Teatro la Fenice - Streaming on Operavision
    This was honestly much better than I expected. One of Mozart's lesser works; more of an oratorio than a dramatic work, but this rare staging does a really good job of making each aria visually and narratively appealing. Some of the singing seemed stylistically out-of-touch (sounding more verismo) but Francesca Boncompagni is good company to Mozart's virtuosity. ***1/2

    Janacek - The Diary of One Who Disappeared - Armel Festival - Streaming on arte.tv
    Ivo van Hove has reworked this 40 minute song cycle into an hour-long theatre work that includes new music and recitations of Janacek's letters to the young "muse" of this work. As a society, we sort of adore these stories of artists driven to passion by "unattainable" women, but lately I've soured to it, and this work makes it clear, that his letters to this young girl are, at best, embarrassingly oblivious to her feelings in the matter. I adore Janacek's music, too... Van Hove's production is very interesting, detailed, and gorgeously sung. ****

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Humperdinck's Königskinder is a sort of fairy tale for adults, about individuals and communities that can't see beyond the superficial. The only ones who perceive the innate nobility of the King's Son and the Goose Girl are children.

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Zandonai – Francesca da Rimini – Metropolitan Opera – Streamed on Met On Demand
    Judging solely by this, Zandonai doesn’t seem to be a composer of memorable melodies. But there’s still a lot to like about his richly orchestrated score. The libretto, however, is structurally terrible. Its 4 acts are structured like a grand opera with an emphasis on locations rather than characters. Puccini would have insisted on compressing scenes together so that each act has a satisfying narrative arc. For a company like The Met, it’s nice to see it give variety to the repertoire. Great singing here, Mark Delavan especially has a superb, formidable-sounding baritone, perfect for a Villain. ****

    Mozart – The Magic Flute – La Monnaie – Streaming on Arte.tv
    I could hardly begin to summarize all of the moments in Castellucci's production that were completely bewildering. Women pumping their breastmilk on stage (unsimulated), burn victims speaking to the audience and sharing their experiences in haunting terms. But as Act 2 proceeded, and I remembered that the Queen of the Night is a mother, and Tamino has a “trial by fire”, these concrete correlations to reality started to accumulate a sort of transcendental meaning. It reminded me of my favorite filmmaker, Werner Herzog, who always incorporates “real” situations onto his sets, like filming in harsh conditions, believing that an infusion of reality will create an “ecstatic truth” to his fiction that the audience will intuitively feel. I don’t understand everything in this production, but I felt satisfied at the end, and I will definitely never forget it. ****1/2

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Awesome opera. Awesome production of it. Just finished this one.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    That's also the recording of Die Meistersinger I have. Excellent cast!

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    The cast here is outstanding, and the production at least doesn't get in the way of music and libretto. To me, Girard's version of Klingsor's garden of delights looks like something Morticia Addams would have come up with. The Flower Maidens, with their white shifts, long black hair, and pallid complexions, make me think of zombies.

  21. #2397
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post


    The cast here is outstanding, and the production at least doesn't get in the way of music and libretto. To me, Girard's version of Klingsor's garden of delights looks like something Morticia Addams would have come up with. The Flower Maidens, with their white shifts, long black hair, and pallid complexions, make me think of zombies.
    Easy to resist temptation to interact with zombies. More likely want to run away! Couple of my favorite singers at the top of the list. Maybe I NEED this DVD set? Tell me, if the zombies, er ah, flower maidens are clothed, I might go for it. Don't want to see naked zombies for sure (or anyone for that matter).
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    They definitely are clothed. It's just that Girard's imagery here is anything but seductive, to include the fake blood that everyone is sloshing around in. (Okay, I get the reference to Amfortas' wound.) It's a stretch of the imagination to think Parsifal, innocent fool though he be, would find anything appealing about this place.

    In the meantime, I've started viewing another one of my Parsifal videos, this one the Met/Levine production.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    This version is a classic, with a cast that’s fully the equal of the Met’s later version with JK, René Pape, and Peter Mattei.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I think this opera has some of Mozart's loveliest music.

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