Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
    Bookmark and Share
  1. #2431
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    307
    Post Thanks / Like
    Beethoven – Fidelio – Birmingham Opera Company (2002) – Streaming on Operavision until 2/24
    This is a very unusual staging; one of Graham Vick’s immersive performances where the audience is part of the action. At the start of Act 2, for example, the audience is anonymized with a number, and they have to stand on their spot with a hood over their head to hear Florestan’s aria in darkness. (I may have simulated this at home with a blanket.) There’s a lot of extra stage business which you may find distracting, but at its heart the story is all there, and so are Beethoven’s humanistic themes, in an unusually vibrant and visceral way. The orchestra sounds really raw and fiery, too. ****

    Weber – Der Freischutz – Bayerische Staatsoper – Streaming on staatsoper.tv until 3/15
    Dmitri Tcherniakov productions of non-Russian operas are sometimes intellectually stimulating but a little dry or confusing, but THIS DER FREISCHUTZ!!! It's a non-traditional telling; he has stripped it of the supernatural and all traces of German Romanticism. Now, it’s a psychological thriller about corporate bootlicking and soul-crushing power games. From atop a high-rise office building, Max wants to prove himself to Agathe’s father and his ring of elite friends. The shooting contest is to use a sniper rifle to shoot a random innocent on the streets below. This gruesome game isn’t real, but Max doesn’t know that, and the wealthy have all come to bet on whether he’ll pull the trigger. Later on, Tcherniakov also manages to make the Wolf’s Glen scene legitimately creepy and terrifying, dispensing with the typical Disneyfied “pagan ritual”. As usual, the entire Staatsoper cast is close to perfect, but Kyle Ketelsen as Kaspar is truly awesome. I’m glad this wasn’t my first Der Freischutz – it’s not an ideal first version of the opera – but it’s a revelatory staging. *****

  2. Likes Florestan, MAuer liked this post
  3. #2432
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    307
    Post Thanks / Like
    Rossi – The Enchanted Palace – Opera de Dijon – Streaming on Operavision
    This is the first production of this opera since the 1640s; it’s a treasure trove of early-Baroque music with a vivid orchestra and propulsive Renaissance dances. But you can see it’s unlikely to be revived often, as there is an absurd number of characters; there are at least 3 or 4 women (I lost track) that Atalante captures in his palace of mind-tricks, and each one has on average 2 knights who show up to rescue her. This contemporized staging makes the most of the repetitive, potentially confusing libretto by setting the stories in contrast, each couple believes they are in a different locale (hospital or airport or prison) where it’s common to feel separated from the one you love. There’s a nice sense of progression from each act to the next. It’s still overlong, but well worth listening to at least the first act. ****

    Mondonville – Titon et l’Aurore – Opéra-Comique – Streaming on medici.tv
    Another rarity, this is a 1750s pastorale héroïque, wherein the gods of mythology meddle in the romantic affairs of mortals, who remain faithful through various tests until L’Amour arrives to set things straight. It’s slight on story, but is by design a vehicle for various stage effects, which this clever production has in spades with nifty puppeteering effects (i.e. the god of wind has these big folds of fabric that are constantly fluttering about him). It’s pure fluff, but this production shows how centuries-old stage effects are still effective, especially combined with tasteful digital projections to modernize the mise-en-scène. Top-tier music production as well. ****1/2

  4. Likes MAuer liked this post
  5. #2433
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    307
    Post Thanks / Like
    Name:  71J2GI3UcNL._SX342_.jpg
Views: 24
Size:  31.3 KB

    Janacek – Vec Makropulos – Salzburg Opera Festival (2011) – Blu-Ray
    I love this opera thriller which plays like a movie, consisting mostly of short, dramatic dialogues. Several musical motives are developed, but if you’re looking for memorable tunes you’ll be disappointed until the final five minutes when the music blossoms into full grandeur. Marthaler’s production is okay - the actors have clearly done a lot of work to create their characters – but on video it’s impossible to tell whether the extra things going on at the sides of the stage are adding up to anything. I also really liked his added prologue, a rumination on the merits of a centuries-long life - the kind of philosophical conversation that Janacek apparently cut from the play he based his opera on - but this was mouthed in complete silence. Totally bizarre. Did people really get that upset about adding scenes to opera 10 years ago? ****

    Massenet – Manon – Staatsoper Hamburg – Streamed on Operavision
    I wasn’t really dying to see Manon again, but I wanted to see Elsa Dreisig who got stellar reviews for this role. She exceeds expectations with a beautiful voice, and a riveting presence. David Bosch’s production has a lot of neat character details, but sometimes goes overboard in sleaziness, like Lescaut’s repeated (simulated) heroin use, when the realistic makeup effects on his arm should have been indicator enough. The tenor was okay, but not as convincing as Dreisig or Bjorn Burger as Lescaut. ***1/2

  6. Likes MAuer liked this post
  7. #2434
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    307
    Post Thanks / Like
    Rossini – L’inganno felice – Opera Sarasota – Streamed for $25
    One of the most impressive small opera companies in the U.S., Sarasota is known to delve deep into Italian repertoire – they recently completed a decades long cycle of all of Verdi’s operas. They have recently reopened with a season of one-act operas, with social distancing enforced in the audience and the pit, and are selling streaming tickets. The staging is traditional, and incredibly beautifully detailed. The orchestra is audibly reduced in number. Tempos were taken slower than I would have liked, likely to accomodate the singers, who are good but likely still developing their voices. I wish the videos were available for longer than a month - this one has expired - but they have Il Signor Bruschino for April. Worth the money if you want a short Rossini bon-bon, but plan to pay a couple days in advance of when you want to watch: it took 48 hours for someone to email me my link to the video. It is incredible that this small company can produce multiple long-format videos of this quality. ***

    Glass – The Fall of the House of Usher – Boston Lyric Opera – Streaming now for $10
    This is a beautifully stylized made-for-video animated production. Glass’ chamber opera is perfect for the format: it’s about 90 minutes, and requires only about a dozen musicians and singers. The main plotline, Poe’s story, is depicted with stop-motion animation, beautifully designed and atmospheric. The producers of this video have added a 2nd story line about a desperate migrant family seeking asylum in the U.S. There’s very little connection or parallel to the main story, but the production posits that “the House of Usher” is more of a state of mind. Dread, I suppose. For the production of this video, it was at least partly an economical choice, as all forms of animation are costly and time-consuming. It’s also probable that they felt the atmospheric drama of Usher alone was not enough to carry the production when the main characters are puppets unable to emote with more complexity. I think the immigration subplot could have been integrated more cohesively into the opera, but since Philip Glass himself has used operas to bring awareness to social issues I think he would approve. And it's a powerful story, fits the music it accompanies, and adds some oomph to the dramatic impact of this video. ****

  8. Likes Florestan, MAuer liked this post

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