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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Central European Opera Trip - overall scores of 16 performances

    I've seen now 15 performances in 8 opera companies, 6 cities, and 4 countries, in this opera coverage trip across Central Europe. There is a 16th one tomorrow (or actually tonight because in Berlin it is now 1 AM) but I probably can already rank all 16, because this last one, I've seen online and I've reviewed it already (although sometimes when we see live something we had previously only seen online, we change our minds - if that's the case I'll edit this post, later tonight - Edit, indeed, see below, I downgraded the score for this last show, a bit).

    Here is the link to the portal that contains links to all reviews: [click here]

    Whew, what a marathon! 19 interviews (18 in person, one by email - there may be 2 more by email, bringing the total to 21, but I learned not to count on these until they are received) and 16 operas in 16 days; one opera every evening, with no breaks in-between. I can say that I'm exhausted, but happy with the results of the trip (and looking forward to coming back in the near future).

    So, I was taking a look at my reviews (you can find links to them all in the coverage portal by clicking [here]), and also thinking about the productions. I came up with this overall ranking of the 16 performances (although of course the middle is a bit blurry). All things considered, the quality was very high, with only a couple of performances failing to score at least an A minus.

    1. Parsifal (Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich) A+++
    2. L'incoronazione di Poppea (Opernhaus Zürich) A++
    3. La Gioconda (Deutsche Oper Berlin) A++
    4. Der Fliegende Holländer (Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich) Between A+ and A++
    5. Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo (Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin) A+
    6. Semele (Komische Oper Berlin) A+
    7. Pelléas et Mélisande (Komische Oper Berlin) A+
    8. Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Staatstheather Nürnberg) A+
    9. Don Giovanni (Slovak National Theather, Bratislava) A+
    10. Blaubart (Komische Oper Berlin) A+
    11. L'incoronazione di Poppea (Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin) A+
    12. Der Freischütz (Wiener Staatsoper) A+
    13. Carmen (Opernhaus Zürich) Between A and A+
    14. Falstaff (Wiener Staatsoper) A-
    15. Die Gezeichneten (Komische Oper Berlin) B+
    16. La Traviata (Opernhaus Zürich) B

    -------------

    I won't rank the interviews; all artists were very nice and all interviews were great. But I'll mention the top three I found most compelling in terms of what was discussed:

    Salvatore Sciarrino, composer (this is the only one that has already been published)
    Andreas Homoki, Intendant, Opernhaus Zürich
    Michael Nagi, baritone

    So stay tuned for these and for the other 16 (or 18 if the two that were promised by email do materialize). To transcribe and publish these interviews it will be a while, maybe several months (not only there are hours of recordings to transcribe, but some opera companies requested to see the interview before they authorize the publication, and they will all be going on vacation now so these authorizations will only come after September).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 13th, 2018 at 10:41 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Update:

    After seeing the last show live, Blaubart at the Komische Oper, I need to downgrade its score from A+ to A- (the review explains why).

    So now, the final ranking of the 16 performances is as follows:

    1. Parsifal (Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich) A+++
    2. L'incoronazione di Poppea (Opernhaus Zürich) A++
    3. La Gioconda (Deutsche Oper Berlin) A++
    4. Der Fliegende Holländer (Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich) Between A+ and A++
    5. Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo (Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin) A+
    6. Semele (Komische Oper Berlin) A+
    7. Pelléas et Mélisande (Komische Oper Berlin) A+
    8. Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Staatstheather Nürnberg) A+
    9. Don Giovanni (Slovak National Theather, Bratislava) A+
    10. L'incoronazione di Poppea (Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin) A+
    11. Der Freischütz (Wiener Staatsoper) A+
    12. Carmen (Opernhaus Zürich) Between A and A+
    13. Falstaff (Wiener Staatsoper) A-
    14. Blaubart (Komische Oper Berlin) A-
    15. Die Gezeichneten (Komische Oper Berlin) B+
    16. La Traviata (Opernhaus Zürich) B
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Hehe, now that it's been done, I wonder if I should send a report to the Guinness. 16 operas in a row, one every evening for 16 evenings, no breaks, by 8 opera companies, in 6 cities and 4 countries! And a 7th city was visited for the Mozart museums, not to forget 19 interviews with a composer, administrators, and singers.

    I'm asking seriously; has anybody heard of someone doing this much?

    I'm feeling triumphant that it's been done, but also sad that it's over.

    Now I have to pack, and tomorrow morning I fly back home.

    I'll keep some very good memories of this trip.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I had the same thought about the Book of World Records. You've been through a real marathon over the past few weeks, and I doubt anyone else has ever done anything comparable -- especially with the interviews and reviews included.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Whew, made it back home! Now the trip is truly over... I'm already missing it, even though I'm exhausted.

    One of the highlights, was meeting our friend Jim Wieber and his friend Elizabeth.

    He is headed to Bordeaux next; have a nice trip home, Jim.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Pretty amazing itinerary, but also amazing that the quality of the performances was so consistently high. A good thing, too: imagine how draining the trip would have been had it featured one substandard performance after another!

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Pretty amazing itinerary, but also amazing that the quality of the performances was so consistently high. A good thing, too: imagine how draining the trip would have been had it featured one substandard performance after another!
    A friend of mine, European born, said "European art form; no wonder we do it better." I'd have to reluctantly agree...
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    A friend of mine, European born, said "European art form; no wonder we do it better." I'd have to reluctantly agree...
    Perhaps, but judging by the uneven quality of opera performances available on DVD--including European productions--I'd still say you had surprising good fortune.

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Perhaps, but judging by the uneven quality of opera performances available on DVD--including European productions--I'd still say you had surprising good fortune.
    I find that not always the best productions are the ones that make it to DVD. This is sometimes the case at the Met as well (the best Barber ever [the one with Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez], the best La Damnation de Faust ever, the best Tales of Hoffmann, never made it). It's hard to understand what exactly drives the DVD industry in selecting what to release. For example, the production of Ti vedo, ti sento, mi perdo is very interesting, but the artists told me in interviews that they never saw any cameras filming the show, so, it will not be on DVD. I'm not sure if DVD is the best way to gauge the overall quality of European productions.

    Another issue is that these smaller, intimate European opera houses have for the most part tremendous acoustics. That's helpful to the experience of watching these shows live.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); July 18th, 2018 at 12:13 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  17. #10
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    I find that not always the best productions are the ones that make it to DVD. This is sometimes the case at the Met as well (the best Barber ever (the one with Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez), the best La Damnation de Faust ever, the best Tales of Hoffman, never made it). It's hard to understand what exactly drives the DVD industry in selecting what to release.
    I see your point, and have long regretted the lack of DVDs for the Met Barber and Hoffmann. And don't get me started on the Stefan Herheim Bayreuth Parsifal! But I'm glad you got to see a really top-notch production of that latter opera.

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