Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #2461
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Started this am, am in Siegfried now.



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

  2. #2462
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Whoops, above post should be in the listening thread.

    Just finished this though:
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    This one was weird, but a lot of fun to watch. Some goofy characters. Definitely not a traditional Rheingold. Weirdest part is where Alberich becomes a dragon and instead they have him bite a stuffed animal (doggy I think) in half and he ends up with red liquid all over his face. There is only one scene for the whole opera but they make good use of it, and most of the characters are hanging out in background regardless if it is their part. Mime is a total goofball who apparently cannot even figure out how to comb his hair. Conducted by Zagrosek.
    "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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    Who directed that production? And how is the musical performance?

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Who directed that production? And how is the musical performance?
    I am not much of a critic, so I will let the reviewers speak in the link below. Beware, Mime performs a disgusting act upon himself in Siegfried so the review says. Almost every part is played by different singers for each opera and each opera had a different director who was to give no thought to the other operas. One of the most enticing things is "Gutrune: Superb performance from Eva-Maria Westbroek, probably the highlight of the cycle." Here is a review and evaluation of each of the singers near the bottom of the scroll (way, way down it goes).
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  8. #2466
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    You might get a "kick" out of how Fafner disposes of Fasolt. Starts half way into this three minute video:
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  10. #2467
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Conductor/orchestra: Arnold Östman, London Baroque Players
    Director/set designer: Michael Hampe, Mauro Pagano
    Cast: Barbara Daniels (Agrippina), Günter von Kannen (Claudio), David Kuebler (Nerone), Claudio Nicolai (Ottone), Janice Hall (Poppea), Ulrich Hielscher (Pallante), Eberhard Katz (Narciso), Carlos Feller (Lesbo)
    Production of the Cologne Opera

    This is a wonderful production from the 1985 Schwetzingen Festival, and shows what a stage director can accomplish when he/she trusts the composer and librettist. Although Hampe’s approach is “werktreu” – faithful or true to the work – there is nothing of the old static, stand-and-deliver style here. The excellent soloists are all engaged with their characters and interact believably with each other. And what a bunch of characters: aside from poor Ottone, a fairly decent guy who more often than not is little more than a pawn in the power games played by the other figures, every single one of these individuals is “looking out for Number One” and trying to figure out what use he or she can make of the others. Barbara Daniels sings beautifully as the arch-schemer and manipulator Agrippina and captures all facets of this woman’s insidious personality, while Günter von Kannen lends his Bayreuth bass-baritone to Claudio, the Emperor easily duped and maneuvered by Agrippina and Poppea. That sex kitten in the making is sung by Janice Hall, who also has a lovely soprano. Of course, what makes this performance especially attractive to me is that the roles originally assigned to castrati have been filled here by tenors, or in the case of Claudio Nicolai’s Ottone, a baritone. And marvelous they are, especially David Kuebler as the spoiled, petulant Nerone with his attractive timbre and powerful high notes. Every one of the cast members also dispatches the many coloratura passages with ease and accuracy. At one point, Agrippina gives Nerone a lingering kiss on the lips that suggests an even unhealthier undertone in this obsessive maternal love. Even with the reassignment of some roles, an appropriate historic sound is provided by the London Baroque Players led by Arnold Östman.

    Mauro Pagano’s attractive sets feature simple classical architectural elements in all scenes except those in Poppea’s bedroom, which is lavishly adorned with billows of red fabric. Costumes are evocative of the Napoleonic era, and Jacques-Louis David’s painting of the coronation of Napoleon in particular. (Speaking of costumes, Claudio, Nerone, and even Ottone seem eager to shed theirs as soon as they arrive in Poppea’s love nest.) Because this production was originally created for the Cologne Opera, the opera’s ending has been slightly altered and the minor role of the goddess Juno cut. Instead, in a nod to the origins of the city of Cologne, established in 50 CE as capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior, Claudio not only hands the throne over to Nerone, but announces that this new provincial capital shall be named Colonia Agrippina in honor of the Empress. (The actual name was Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.) Speaking of Germania Inferior, Claudio arrives back at the Roman court in a sort of chariot crossed with a sedan chair pushed or toted by two burly supernumeraries costumed as though they’d escaped from a Victorian era staging of Wagner’s Ring.

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