Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #961
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    I love that cover for Manon Lescaut. Can't imagine why...

    Anyway its been a little while since I've see any new opera in full (maybe a little less than a week ages by my standards). What I did watch however was a startling production of two operas whose contrasts made for an engaging double bill on the Met on Demand.

    Iolanta was a delightful little opera with Netrebko and Beczala brilliant in the two main roles. Just like Onegin the opera was characterized by beautiful melody throughout but with some glorious highlights that sent it into the stratosphere. However its libretto did disappoint near the end somewhat even if the music remained glorious however, it was still a wonderful opera with a strong cast all around and a great staging. Duke Bluebeard's Castle on the other-hand was almost the opposite. Its libretto and plot are a masterpiece throughout and it's fascinating on many levels. Music wise its ridiculously small cast (A Soprano and a Bass) still managed to carry the interest though it did not have melodies as lovely as many of my other favourite operas. Overall all however I loved the double bill and its definitely worth a watch.

    9/10 Staging great singing great for both. Iolanta's libretto near the end maybe not to everyone's taste but still quite strong (poor Modest had his brother lived they were starting to make a great team opera wise). Duke Bluebeard s music may not be to everyone's taste; in addition it is a dark piece. This is not so much a criticism as a warning. I'm quite fond of dark operas even violent ones (Tosca, Written on Skin, Il Tabarro, Turandot and Don Carlos as some examples) however Duke Bluebeard for all its talk of light is probably darker than any other I've seen so far . Nevertheless highly recommended!

  2. #962
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Netrebko Iolanta on Met on Demand? I think it's about time I signed up again for a month.

  3. #963
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Luiz did a review of this production somewhere on the site. Suffice to say it is incredibly accurate and informative this really is a must watch!

  4. #964
    Junior Member Recent member Lellobeetle's Avatar
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    I recently watched Medea with Jose Carreras and Montserrat Caballé and was not impressed. Didn't care for the music at all.
    Laura

  5. #965
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just started this one tonight. Have never see the Flying Dutchman before. Very dramatic.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  6. #966
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Well after a long period without any new opera for me (might have been more than a week) I watched Shostakovitch's strange opera The Nose. Now normally on my what I've been watching posts I mark performances out of 10 in this case however I feel my usual scale is quite useless with an opera as delightfully absurd as the Nose. The production itself is amazing and is in brilliant marriage with the music and the story in the fact it is as absurd as the opera it is paired with. I liked the singing overall and when the singing was not as strong the acting of the cast more than made up for it. I confess that the music did not grab me as much as my favourite operas and I found it much less melodic than Written on Skin with it possibly being the hardest opera Musically I've tried to follow so far (I am not as caught up on the more contemporary operas to compare it with but I don't feel the Nose is similar musically to other works I've see of the same period such as Turandot and Bluebeard). In some ways however the relatively chaotic dissonant nature music was to the operas benefit. It is also very funny and passes my test for a comedic Opera (Did I laugh 5 times properly or have at least 1 minute long or more laugh/ chuckle).

    */* The Nose is too absurd for the typical Busoso scale but is definitely worth a watch especially this 2013 Met production although the music may be harder to follow than other opera fare. Prima un avvertimento! It is an Opera to be watched rather than heard to be appreciated and while this may stand for nearly all opera I feel this sentiment is no more true than with The Nose. Due to its absurd nature it could at times be hard to visualize mentally which as listeners we may otherwise attempt to do with other works using a libretto and a CD.

  7. #967
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Povero Buoso View Post
    Well after a long period without any new opera for me (might have been more than a week) I watched Shostakovitch's strange opera The Nose. Now normally on my what I've been watching posts I mark performances out of 10 in this case however I feel my usual scale is quite useless with an opera as delightfully absurd as the Nose. The production itself is amazing and is in brilliant marriage with the music and the story in the fact it is as absurd as the opera it is paired with. I liked the singing overall and when the singing was not as strong the acting of the cast more than made up for it. I confess that the music did not grab me as much as my favourite operas and I found it much less melodic than Written on Skin with it possibly being the hardest opera Musically I've tried to follow so far (I am not as caught up on the more contemporary operas to compare it with but I don't feel the Nose is similar musically to other works I've see of the same period such as Turandot and Bluebeard). In some ways however the relatively chaotic dissonant nature music was to the operas benefit. It is also very funny and passes my test for a comedic Opera (Did I laugh 5 times properly or have at least 1 minute long or more laugh/ chuckle).

    */* The Nose is too absurd for the typical Busoso scale but is definitely worth a watch especially this 2013 Met production.Although the music may be harder to follow than other opera fare. Prima un avvertimento! It is an Opera to be watched rather than heard to be appreciated and while this may stand for nearly all opera I feel this sentiment is no more true than with The Nose. Due to its absurd nature it could at times be hard to visualize mentally which as listeners we may otherwise attempt to do with other works using a libretto and a CD.
    The Nose is a real larf and so is the Gogol story in which it's based. And yes, it's an excellent production and Paolo Zsot is great in the title (owner's) role.
    Natalie

  8. #968
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Werther from Vienna, with Matthew Polenzani, Markus Eiche and Elīna Garanča, all excellent. I've seen this Andrei Serban production before but I preferred it this time because Polenzani makes a better Werther than Marcello Alvarez.
    Last edited by Soave_Fanciulla; January 4th, 2018 at 10:31 PM.
    Natalie

  9. #969
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    After the delights of the Nose earlier this week on met on demand today it was a foray into the German repertoire after neglecting it in favour of the Italian and even the Russian repertoire (The Nose,Onegin and Iolanta). On the recommendation of Amfortas I took a look at Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. I was pleasantly surprised and overall nearly everything was very good to brilliant. The music while not reaching the heights of my favourites did beat out some of my less favoured Puccini and Verdi while the story was a deft balance of humour and seriousness due to the opera within an opera structure. The only criticism I would have of this 2003 Met on demand Production were the ridiculous state of the dryads with elevated dresses which I must confess I could not get my head around. Overall though everything was good with Dessay being my personal favourite of the cast as her amazing outshone everyone else's brilliant.

    8.5/10 A very good Opera with great performances. It could earn an extra 0.25 points without the ridiculous dryad get ups!

  10. #970
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Watched this with a 14-year-old today.



    Best comment made: "Why does he [Wotan] wear his hair like that? IS HE EMO?"

  11. #971
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Festat View Post
    Best comment made: "Why does he [Wotan] wear his hair like that? IS HE EMO?"
    An earlier generation would have likened him to Veronica Lake.

  12. #972
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    An earlier generation would have likened him to Veronica Lake.
    Loge would be his Alan Ladd. I'd read that fan fiction.

  13. #973
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Werther from Vienna, with Matthew Polenzani, Markus Eiche and Elīna Garanča, all excellent. I've seen this Andrei Serban production before but I preferred it this time because Polenzani makes a better Werther than Marcello Alvarez.
    Thanks for posting; I've always liked this production, which, at least when featuring Garanca, becomes the Tragedy of Charlotte. I agree Polenzani is better, and it's interesting how his presence changes the dynamic. With him in the role, Charlotte's tragedy becomes about missing her chance with the right man; with Alvarez, it's more about throwing her life away on a smarmy, unworthy character.

    Also interesting that, over time, the Viennese audience seems to have warmed at least somewhat to this production.

  14. #974
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    because Polenzani makes a better Werther than Marcello Alvarez.
    Unsurprisingly, because Polenzani is a much, much better singer than Marcello Alvarez. So I'd say that Polenzani makes a better just-about-any-character than Marcello Alvares. As you know I very much like Mathew and consider him to be unfairly underestimated in the opera world.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  15. #975
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Povero Buoso View Post
    Well after a long period without any new opera for me (might have been more than a week) I watched Shostakovitch's strange opera The Nose. Now normally on my what I've been watching posts I mark performances out of 10 in this case however I feel my usual scale is quite useless with an opera as delightfully absurd as the Nose. The production itself is amazing and is in brilliant marriage with the music and the story in the fact it is as absurd as the opera it is paired with. I liked the singing overall and when the singing was not as strong the acting of the cast more than made up for it. I confess that the music did not grab me as much as my favourite operas and I found it much less melodic than Written on Skin with it possibly being the hardest opera Musically I've tried to follow so far (I am not as caught up on the more contemporary operas to compare it with but I don't feel the Nose is similar musically to other works I've see of the same period such as Turandot and Bluebeard). In some ways however the relatively chaotic dissonant nature music was to the operas benefit. It is also very funny and passes my test for a comedic Opera (Did I laugh 5 times properly or have at least 1 minute long or more laugh/ chuckle).

    */* The Nose is too absurd for the typical Busoso scale but is definitely worth a watch especially this 2013 Met production although the music may be harder to follow than other opera fare. Prima un avvertimento! It is an Opera to be watched rather than heard to be appreciated and while this may stand for nearly all opera I feel this sentiment is no more true than with The Nose. Due to its absurd nature it could at times be hard to visualize mentally which as listeners we may otherwise attempt to do with other works using a libretto and a CD.
    Very nice post. Indeed, The Nose in its absurdity needs to be watched rather than heard. I like it a lot. It's a very fine opera. Shostakovich is great. His opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is one of my favorites, and a huge masterpiece. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It's well represented in video - many of its video versions are very good.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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