Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #1231
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    The production gets heavily into the concept that Manon becomes some kind of soft porn star rather than just Geronte's mistress. In act 2 the mezzo "singer" initiates some girl on girl action, and the "dance master" is filming it. It's certainly distracting and rather alienating. Opolais gives a committed performance, but to be honest I don't like her voice - there's a harsh dimension to it. If I were recommending a DVD I'd stick to the old Scotto/Domingo one - it's more convincing.

    Let's face it, I bought this entirely for der Jonas.
    I must confess that I'm not the biggest fan of her voice either. I think it is good but not great. She is a gifted actress and it's not like she can't sing well either - at times she does, but not always. Or, I mean, it's not exactly a question of not singing well, but rather, one of timbre, like you said - there is something harsh about it; I agree. I suppose some people might like that kind of timbre, but apparently you and I don't.

    Remember that picture I posted of my family dining at Lincoln Restaurant while waiting for the Pearl Fishers with Diana Damrau? Kristine Opolais passed by our table, walking to the back of the restaurant. Whoa! She is tall and pretty and sexy, for sure! She is also very daring in her productions and doesn't shy away at all from expressing her sex appeal. So, I confess that if I purchased this, it wouldn't be exactly thanks to her timbre of voice.

    But then, as much as we joke about cough cough assets, as a matter of fact it's not the reason why I purchase DVDs... and your more than mixed review of this particular product is another reason why I haven't pulled the trigger on this one, and probably never will.

    It's not that I am a big fan of Puccini's Manon Lescaut either. For this story, I prefer Massenet's Manon, and Henze's Boulevard Solitude. So, buying this just because the soprano is pretty and sexy won't do it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #1232
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    To be honest, I purchased this video for der Jonas' Des Grieux. Opolais' voice didn't bother me that much, but the staging concept is rather annoying. It would have been more convincing had Manon been turned into a very expensive call girl or even some old billionaire's young trophy wife (closer to the original story) than a porn star.

  3. #1233
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    I heard Opolais sing Mimi in Vienna 2 or 3 years ago and thought she was superb - she sang opposite Piotr Beczala. That performance was one of the few that rendered me teary.

    The second time I heard her sing, it was in La Clemenza di Tito a year or so later. Because she was singing, I particularly looked forward to seeing her, especially after her Vienna performance. I thought she struggled with the role, which seemed to be too high for her voice, so maybe something of a miss-casting.

    WNO has done Manon Lescaut 2 or 3 times over the years, twice with Patricia Racette. I really don't care for the opera and also am not a big fan of Racette.

  4. #1234
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    If I were recommending a DVD I'd stick to the old Scotto/Domingo one - it's more convincing.
    Haven't seen that 1980 Met production; I've got the 1983 Covent Garden with Te Kanawa and Domingo. Have you seen that one? Can you compare the two?

  5. #1235
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Haven't seen that 1980 Met production; I've got the 1983 Covent Garden with Te Kanawa and Domingo. Have you seen that one? Can you compare the two?
    From memory: Scotto doesn't sound so good, but she will break your heart.

    I gave the Met one 5 stars and the ROH one 4.
    Natalie

  6. #1236
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Gounod's Roméo et Juliette from Vienna with JDF and Marina Rebeka. I got a bit bored, despite the good singing from these two - the production had its moments but also its longueurs, and the rest of the cast was rather anodyne. It may be that Gounod doesn't really click with me.
    Natalie

  7. #1237
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    From memory: Scotto doesn't sound so good, but she will break your heart.
    That sounds about right, as it also perfectly describes her great Met Suor Angelica.

  8. #1238
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    longueurs . . . anodyne . . .
    Dammit, I can't keep up with all the bonus-points word scores!

  9. #1239
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    I really don't care for the opera
    I love Puccini operas but buying a recording of Manon Lescaut actually required a few glasses of gin and pink cranberry lemonade (for any members in Britain it goes best with Bombay sapphire) from Marks and Spencer's to become a good idea to follow through with. I don't regret the decision though as Manon Lescaut has some good bits. I will be honest though in that I fail to understand how it is more popular than more deserving Puccini works such as La Rondine the less performed Il Trittico operas (Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica) and La Fanciulla de west.
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

  10. #1240
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Povero Buoso View Post
    I love Puccini operas but buying a recording of Manon Lescaut actually required a few glasses of gin and pink cranberry lemonade (for any members in Britain it goes best with Bombay sapphire) from Marks and Spencer's to become a good idea to follow through with. I don't regret the decision though as Manon Lescaut has some good bits. I will be honest though in that I fail to understand how it is more popular than more deserving Puccini works such as La Rondine the less performed Il Trittico operas (Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica) and La Fanciulla de west.
    Is it because Tabarro and Fanciulla have no show-stopping numbers and are rather a through-composed glorious sea of evolving melody? People expect that from Wagner but not from Puccini.
    Last edited by Soave_Fanciulla; April 17th, 2016 at 11:47 PM. Reason: Spelling!
    Natalie

  11. #1241
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Is it because Tabarro anf Fanciulla have no show-stopping numbers and are rather a through-composed gloriuus sea of evolving melody? People expect that from Wagner but not from Puccini.
    They are missing out. I can't imagine going through life only knowing Butterfly, Tosca, Boheme and Turandot* though all of them are excellent. However, in my opinion Puccini never really went down in quality he just moved further away from the old styles.It also doesn't help Puccini's case that many musicologists of the past have kept pushing him down as a popular tune peddler who is vastly inferior to Verdi (something I disagree with so far though I am yet to see Verdi's final masterpieces so cannot make a final judgement call). Fortunately I have the feeling that Puccini's lesser known works are being increasingly recognized as valuable and under-performed in comparison to what they deserve. The fact that Pappano has in effect championed several of the lesser known Puccini's in recent years (Recordings of La Rondine and Il Trittico as well as stagings at the ROH of both. Nothing as regards to La Fanciulla though I hope this will change in a season or two) may have helped them along. I sincerely hope that at least La Fanciulla and Il Trittico become more mainstays than they have in the past (La Rondine is lovely but perhaps less deserving objectively. Subjectively I still love it!). Here's hoping that the likely performance of a new Il Trittico at the Met (100th anniversary where it was first premiered they would be doing the opera community a disservice if they didn't hold it) will cement its place in the repertory as it's far and away my favourite thing by Puccini and my favourite opera/s tied with Rigoletto and Un Ballo in Maschera.

    *Fermo! che fai? T'arresta! remains my permanent alarm. Somehow the best part of 4 months has not dimmed its ability to wake me for 9 am lectures...
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

  12. #1242
    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
    They are missing out. I can't imagine going through life only knowing Butterfly, Tosca, Boheme and Turandot* though all of them are excellent. However, in my opinion Puccini never really went down in quality he just moved further away from the old styles.It also doesn't help Puccini's case that many musicologists of the past have kept pushing him down as a popular tune peddler who is vastly inferior to Verdi (something I disagree with so far though I am yet to see Verdi's final masterpieces so cannot make a final judgement call). Fortunately I have the feeling that Puccini's lesser known works are being increasingly recognized as valuable and under-performed in comparison to what they deserve. The fact that Pappano has in effect championed several of the lesser known Puccini's in recent years (Recordings of La Rondine and Il Trittico as well as stagings at the ROH of both. Nothing as regards to La Fanciulla though I hope this will change in a season or two) may have helped them along. I sincerely hope that at least La Fanciulla and Il Trittico become more mainstays than they have in the past (La Rondine is lovely but perhaps less deserving objectively. Subjectively I still love it!). Here's hoping that the likely performance of a new Il Trittico at the Met (100th anniversary where it was first premiered they would be doing the opera community a disservice if they didn't hold it) will cement its place in the repertory as it's far and away my favourite thing by Puccini and my favourite opera/s tied with Rigoletto and Un Ballo in Maschera.

    *Fermo! che fai? T'arresta! remains my permanent alarm. Somehow the best part of 4 months has not dimmed its ability to wake me for 9 am lectures...
    While I agree with most of what you said, in my opinion one can't say that Puccini is underestimated (not that this is what you are saying, but still). He is *hugely* popular. I mean, I saw a survey one of these days with most performed operas in the world in a given year (I don't remember what year), and Puccini gobbled both the number 1 and the number 2 spots, with La Bohème and Tosca, and Madama Butterfly was not far behind. So, this surely compensates for some of his works being relatively under-performed. Still, nobody doubts that Il Triticco, Fanciulla, Turandot, Manon Lescaut, and La Rondine are solidly anchored in the standard repertory. While they aren't his most popular works, they still *are* members of the standard repertory. It's only Edgar and Le Villi that aren't in the standard repertory, and with good reason - Edgar is not that good, and Le Villi while cute is still very primitive. But that's OK. Even Wagner's early works aren't in the repertory.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  13. #1243
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    While I agree with most of what you said, in my opinion one can't say that Puccini is underestimated (not that this is what you are saying, but still). He is *hugely* popular. I mean, I saw a survey one of these days with most performed operas in the world in a given year (I don't remember what year), and Puccini gobbled both the number 1 and the number 2 spots, with La Bohème and Tosca, and Madama Butterfly was not far behind. So, this surely compensates for some of his works being relatively under-performed. Still, nobody doubts that Il Triticco, Fanciulla, Turandot, Manon Lescaut, and La Rondine are solidly anchored in the standard repertory. While they aren't his most popular works, they still *are* members of the standard repertory. It's only Edgar and Le Villi that aren't in the standard repertory, and with good reason - Edgar is not that good, and Le Villi while cute is still very primitive. But that's OK. Even Wagner's early works aren't in the repertory.
    Agreed. Last I checked his good works are all in the top 200 operas performed worldwide but I tend to worry that any that are lower down in the repertory (especially La Fanciulla de west and La Rondine) may be at risk of further neglect (like La Rondine was for many years till Ang, Rob and Tony's recording) if they are not actively championed. Il Trittico is in respect safer in this regard. I confess I do have selfish reasons for championing Puccini as I want his operas performed as much as possible so I have a better chance of seeing a live performance of some of my favourites which is less likely for La Fanciulla de west, Il Trittico and La Rondine at the moment.
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

  14. #1244
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Les Nozze di Figaro from Berlin last year, cond, Gustavo Dudamel, with Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Dorothea Röschmann, Anna Prohaska, Lauri Vasar and the fantastic Marianne Crebassa (the Berlin audience shared my enthusiasm for this mezzo.)



    Natalie

  15. #1245
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    (More) Alcina from Genève, on Arte. Katie Mitchell kind of spoiled this to me, because after Aix-de-Provence I will never be able to sit through an Alcina without comparing — and this has a whole lot to compare!

    Not extraordinary but nonetheless nice. Stage direction can get a little farcical, Morgana is a big let down and Melisso (Michael Adams looking damn fine) is oddly violent. Monica Bacelli's Mi lusinga il dolce affetto made me forget to close my mouth, though. Kudos to Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani too, beautiful light tenor and super clear diction.

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