Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #901
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    Today I received and tonight watched the new Macbeth. It may well be the best recorded performance of any opera I have seen.

  2. #902
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    TWO TRAVIATAS

    I added two recent performances of La Traviata to the Blu ray shelf. One is last year's performance from Glydebourne, featuring Venera Gimadieva, Michael Fabiano and Tassis Chrystoyanis. Conducted by Mark Elder, it is on the Opus Arte label. While I should be used to the quality of Blu ray discs, it is impossible for me to be other than nearly overwhelmed by the intensity these effects add to an evening of opera. The performance is nearly complete, limited only by the eleimination of the second verses of the male cabaletta in Act 2.

    The second is the less complete performance featuring Diana Damrau, Francesco Dimuro and Ludovic Tezier. Released on Erato, the disc quality is, again, nearly overwhelming, and Damrau's Violetta is compelling.

    Along with Renee Fleming's performance from the ROH, and Angela Gheorghiu's version from La Scala on Art Haus, we have four impeccably recorded and well sung versions of what I believe is still the most frequently performed opera in the repertory.

    Some people have asked why anyone is his right mind would want more than one version. I tend to respond on the issue of whether I am actually in my right mind (whatever that is) rather than put them to sleep with a discussion of why anyone would wish to experience the differences in interpretations and vocal nuances from different exceptional performers.

  3. #903
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Some people have asked why anyone is his right mind would want more than one version. I tend to respond on the issue of whether I am actually in my right mind (whatever that is) rather than put them to sleep with a discussion of why anyone would wish to experience the differences in interpretations and vocal nuances from different exceptional performers.

    I was thinking about this subject the other day. My cousin (who lives in your area, btw) asked me after my trip to Germany last spring how many of the operas I saw were new to me. I thought about and realized only one was new - Pelleas et Melisande. He dropped it, but the implication seemed clear: why would anybody need to see something they've already seen?

    After giving it more thought, I realized that, well, people can sit and watch the Detroit Tigers play the Boston Red Sox (or whatever) in a 3 game series without giving it a thought. Not to mention watching the two teams play each other year after year after year. The point: each time leads to different results because the players would be at least slightly different/slightly older, the weather would be different, etc.

    So, it is not madness to see operas over and over (except Carmen...) or to own more than one DVD/CD of the same opera.

    QED: You, my friend, like the rest of us, are totally compos mentis.

  4. #904
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    ...You, my friend, like the rest of us, are totally compos mentis.
    Speak for yourself, my friend. My mentis is totally compost.

  5. #905
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    I will mention your conclusion on my mental health to the wife and sons. It is certain to provoke a bit of merriment ...

  6. #906
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    After giving it more thought, I realized that, well, people can sit and watch the Detroit Tigers play the Boston Red Sox (or whatever) in a 3 game series without giving it a thought. Not to mention watching the two teams play each other year after year after year. The point: each time leads to different results because the players would be at least slightly different/slightly older, the weather would be different, etc.

    So, it is not madness to see operas over and over (except Carmen...) or to own more than one DVD/CD of the same opera.
    A stickler might object that this would hold true only if each time you saw Carmen, there was a chance of a different outcome!

    Actually, I may be on to something . . .

  7. #907
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    A stickler might object that this would hold true only if each time you saw Carmen, there was a chance of a different outcome!

    Actually, I may be on to something . . .
    Yeah, it's called Regietheater.

  8. #908
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Different versions of the same opera are part of what makes it fun. No two performances are the same. Take the Wixell Pavarotti Gruberova Rigoletto from the 1980s on dvd in comparison to the updated on at the met with Damrau Beczala and Lucic. In both the singing is incredibly nice but it's not the same. An updated or different staging and different singers add a new tone and new wonder even to something you've seen or heard a dozen times or more. Plus how many people watch the same Shakespeare play over and over again and those don't even have lovely melodies. (This could be a general operatic discussion thread in and of itself)

  9. #909
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    The quality of acting in today's world of opera adds another significant dimension to this topic. For example, Juan Diego Florez has several Almavivas on the market and his performances. although vocally excellent, present the character in varied aspects. Villazon has two Manons out and his portrayal of Des Grieux is different in each. Nucci has several Rigolettos out there and his acting in each, while possessing similarities is different, too.

  10. #910
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    Yesterday the post brought the new Falstaff and it went into the player last night. While Falstff is not my favorite Verdi opera (OK, OK, I really LIKE cabalettas, and extended lines of melody!), this performance sparkles. The update to the 1950s is done with total respect for the Shakespeare plays, and is dramatically successful. The singing is uniformly first rate. One notes that an obviously frail James Levine brought to us yet another fabulous realization of an opera, while conducting from a wheelchair. A major force in opera will be missed when his final curtain falls.

  11. #911
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    With the glory's of met on demand i have managed to experience two more operas for the first time. The first Eugene Onegin with Hvorstovsky Vargas and Fleming was superb and a recording of Onegin went straight on my I Pod being a wonderful Opera with the Mets simplistic staging effective for me at conveying the story and music. Lensky especially had really pleasant melodies the Polonaise was gorgeous and Onegin was a wonderful introduction to the Russian part of the Repertory.

    The other Opera was Nabucco. Sadly I did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped. That is not to say it was poor just only very good, much like Aida, it had me excited and captivated at times but just didn't seem to have that special sparkle I associate with my favourite Verdi operas. However, the rightfully famous Va Pensiero made my hair stand on end for nearly the full 10 minutes it was played twice! (the encore for it being almost an inevitability) and I enjoyed the prominent bass role of the high priest Zaccaria . If I took away one thing from the opera it was it is helping me justify my theory that Verdi's music for Bass is consistently some of his best. Although, often only a minor fraction of his opera it is almost always consistently outstanding. I have yet to find a Verdi Opera out of the six I have seen so far (Aida, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Nabucco, Rigoletto and Un Ballo in Maschera) in which the Bass, though often only there for a brief period of time, does not go a significant way to stealing the show as a solo,duet etc or leading a chorus (such as the brilliant Ve'se di notte for Un Ballo in Maschera).

    Eugene Onegin (Met 2007) 9.5/10 (Any quibbles had were minor at best I am sure technically there were some problems somewhere but I am not a technical person (a humanities uni student without any musical training) if I like what I hear and see it gets my vote.

    Nabucco (Met 2001) 8/10 ( 1. Staging was good and effective at conveying the story. 2.Singing seemed to me to be good all round but I have a soft spot for Pon's anyway. 3. Music was overall very good but not as magical as my favourite Verdi and the plot makes Il Trovatore's look sensible by comparison.

  12. #912
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Clayton you want to watch this Theodora with Stéphanie d'Oustrac, Philippe Jaroussky, Katherine Watson, and Kresimir Spicer, cond. William Christie, on Arte: clicky
    Natalie

  13. #913
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Clayton you want to watch this Theodora with Stéphanie d'Oustrac, Philippe Jaroussky, Katherine Watson, and Kresimir Spicer, cond. William Christie, on Arte: clicky
    Thank you, I most certainly will. It does look good.



    Oh look, there's Clayton singing in it.

  14. #914
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Povero Buoso View Post
    With the glory's of met on demand i have managed to experience two more operas for the first time. The first Eugene Onegin with Hvorstovsky Vargas and Fleming was superb and a recording of Onegin went straight on my I Pod being a wonderful Opera with the Mets simplistic staging effective for me at conveying the story and music. Lensky especially had really pleasant melodies the Polonaise was gorgeous and Onegin was a wonderful introduction to the Russian part of the Repertory.

    The other Opera was Nabucco. Sadly I did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped. That is not to say it was poor just only very good, much like Aida, it had me excited and captivated at times but just didn't seem to have that special sparkle I associate with my favourite Verdi operas. However, the rightfully famous Va Pensiero made my hair stand on end for nearly the full 10 minutes it was played twice! (the encore for it being almost an inevitability) and I enjoyed the prominent bass role of the high priest Zaccaria . If I took away one thing from the opera it was it is helping me justify my theory that Verdi's music for Bass is consistently some of his best. Although, often only a minor fraction of his opera it is almost always consistently outstanding. I have yet to find a Verdi Opera out of the six I have seen so far (Aida, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Nabucco, Rigoletto and Un Ballo in Maschera) in which the Bass, though often only there for a brief period of time, does not go a significant way to stealing the show as a solo,duet etc or leading a chorus (such as the brilliant Ve'se di notte for Un Ballo in Maschera).

    Eugene Onegin (Met 2007) 9.5/10 (Any quibbles had were minor at best I am sure technically there were some problems somewhere but I am not a technical person (a humanities uni student without any musical training) if I like what I hear and see it gets my vote.

    Nabucco (Met 2001) 8/10 ( 1. Staging was good and effective at conveying the story. 2.Singing seemed to me to be good all round but I have a soft spot for Pon's anyway. 3. Music was overall very good but not as magical as my favourite Verdi and the plot makes Il Trovatore's look sensible by comparison.

    Don Carlo! Make Don Carlo your next listening adventure. Verdi at his most inspired. And, top notch bass roles, too!

  15. #915
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    That was the plan anyway! I've seen the role list and it looks good plus met on demand has the five act french version which by all accounts is supposed to be superior. If its as good as the worst of the Verdi I've seen still makes it worth a watch and if its as good as Rigoletto or La Traviata it makes it a necessity to watch!

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