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Thread: What opera have you been listening to, lately?

          
   
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  1. #3406
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Talking about Alex Penda, what is the verdict on her? I've been hearing about her very often lately. She has an early Esclarmonde recording which is famous. However I was reading an old review of mine of her I due Foscari DVD and I was so negative about her, in a way that I rarely am about any singer. I said I wouldn't be watching it again because she ruined the production. I don't even recall it (and probably shouldn't try to watch it again, hehehe; maybe I should uphold my own advice), so, what do other people here think of her?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #3407
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    I suppose it's easier to have as a title "Vivaldi L'Oracolo in Messenia" than "a collection of arias from Vivaldi's other operas that we've fitted onto a libretto that Vivaldi once set to music but we've lost the score so we've had to scramble a bit and by the way the recits are by Giacomelli and of course we bunged in Broschi's "Son qual nave" cos after all what's the point of a Baroque opera without some insane coloratura."

    That said it's a wonderful cast and very well conducted by Biondi.

    Natalie

  3. #3408
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto
    Kristina Hammarström (Cesare), Emanuela Galli (Cleopatra), Mary-Ellen Nesi (Sesto), Irini Karaianni (Cornelia), Romina Basso (Tolomeo), Tassis Christoyannis (Achilla), Petros Magoulas (Curio), Nikos Spanatis (Nireno)
    Orchestra of the Patras
    George Petrou
    Recorded July 2006, Patras Greece

    Name:  Giulio Cesare - George Petrou, Orchestra of Patras.jpg
Views: 138
Size:  61.5 KB

    Petrou is exaggerated fiery fast in places and gentle, gentle in others, I like the accents. Kristina Hammarström's Cesare is not as punchy and powerful as Lemieux, more like a Sandhurst graduate Cesare; almost more human. Emanuela Galli is not a sexy Cleopatra but the warmth of her voice throught her range makes her a more elegant character, more like the most beautiful woman in history. Mary-Ellen Nesi sings a Sesto that is more of a young man, than boy and Romina Basso is a Tolomeo that is just angry and bad, rather than an evil brat. Irini Karaianni and Tassis Christoyannis are a very good and convincing Cornelia and Achilla.
    The Orchestra of the Patras (of course on period instruments) are fantastic.
    This is a very good recording that now sits next to the Curtis in the tea cabinet.

  4. #3409
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post


    Król Roger II - Wojtek Drabowicz
    Shepherd - Piotr Beczała
    Roxana - Olga Pasichnyk
    Edrisi - Krzysztof Szmyt
    Archbishop - Romuald Tesarowicz
    Deaconess - Stefania Toczyska

    Conductor - Jacek Kaspszyk

    I struggled with this at first but now I'm more familiar with it, it's growing on me.
    Well now, if you can see your way through Król Roger, maybe there's hope for you listening to a little Wagner down the line!

  5. #3410
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    Well now, if you can see your way through Król Roger, maybe there's hope for you listening to a little Wagner down the line!


    One step at a time!
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

  6. #3411
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post


    One step at a time!
    What we've got to do, is get someone like Simon Keenlyside or Lukas Jakobski into a Wagner role. Then we'll be able to entice Annie in.
    Natalie

  7. #3412
    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
    What we've got to do, is get someone like Simon Keenlyside or Lukas Jakobski into a Wagner role. Then we'll be able to entice Annie in.
    If we get these two to do Wagner, it's a sealed deal.

    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #3413
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    We are now founding the SFSKWRFAB.

    It's the Society For Simon Keenlyside's Wagner Roles For Annie's Benefit.

    Membership starts at 9.99 GBP per month for the Friends category.
    Sponsors category goes for 49.99 GBP and Benefactors, for 99.99.

    A bargain, given the importance of the cause!

    You can make your contributions to this valuable society by clicking on Opera Lively's Donate button.

    5% of the donated money will be used to send harassing mail to Simon's agent energetically demanding action, and to casting departments of opera companies trying to recruit for Wagner roles. Money permitting, we'll purchase a Wagner role vocal score and send it to Simon for his study and consideration.

    95% of the money will be needed to meet Opera Lively's brokerage fees.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #3414
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    I fully support you . . . in spirit.

  10. #3415
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Oh well, the Society has just disbanded before the first donation, given that it's a moot point:

    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

    Composer : Richard Wagner
    Librettist : Richard Wagner
    Venue and Dates : Staatsoper Hamburg
    12, 19 June 1988
    Conductor : Christof Prick
    Performers :
    Hans Sachs : Donald McIntyre
    Beckmesser : Gottfried Hornik
    Stolzing : René Kollo
    Eva : Helen Donath
    Pogner : Kurt Moll
    David : Heinz Kruse
    Magdalena : Elisabeth Steiner
    Kothner : Urban Malmberg
    Nachtwächter : Simon Keenlyside

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

    Tristan und Isolde

    Composer : Richard Wagner
    Librettist : Richard Wagner, after Gottfried von Strassburg, etc.
    Venue and Dates : Hamburg State Opera
    13 (opening night), 17, 22 March 1988
    Conductor : Zoltan Pesko
    Director : Ruth Berghaus
    Stage design : Hans-Dieter Schaal
    Costumes : Marie-Luise Strandt
    Stage design : Hans-Dieter Schaal
    Costumes : Marie-Luise Strandt
    Performers :
    Tristan : William Johns
    King Mark : Harald Stamm
    Isolde : Gabriele Schnaut
    Brangäne : Hanna Schwarz
    Ein Steuermann : Simon Keenlyside

    ----------

    Erm... small roles, but Wagner roles, nevertheless.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  11. #3416
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    What we've got to do, is get someone like Simon Keenlyside or Lukas Jakobski into a Wagner role. Then we'll be able to entice Annie in.


    If ever that happened I'd be trampling over everyone and fighting every man & his dog for a ticket. Black Friday crowds would be like Victorian gentlewomen compared with me.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

  12. #3417
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Talking about Alex Penda, what is the verdict on her?...
    Lovely. I like all her performances in the Jacobs' Mozart productions.

    Today though, I listened to his (/her) Agrippina

    Handel: Agrippina, HWV 6
    Drama per musica in tre atti original version (Dec. 1709), Libretto di Vincenzo Grimani
    Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Agrippina), Jennifer Rivera (Nerone), Sunhae Im (Poppea), Bejun Mehta (Ottone), Marcos Fink (Claudio), Neal Davies (Pallante), Dominique Visse (Mago Narciso) & Daniel Schmutzhard (Lesbo)
    Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
    René Jacobs
    Recorded July 2010 Teldex Studios, Berlin

    Name:  Agrippina - René Jacobs 2010, Alex Penda, Jennifer Rivera, Sunhae Im, Bejun Mehta.jpg
Views: 96
Size:  37.2 KB

    Maybe slightly outshone by Poppea (Sunhae Im) and Ottone (Bejun Mehta) but maybe that's the plot. Also perhaps Nerone (Jennifer Rivera) but that maybe just my attraction to her from her performance as Licida (L'Olimpiade). Either way, a yes to Penda from Clayton.

  13. #3418
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Lovely. I like all her performances in the Jacobs' Mozart productions.

    Today though, I listened to his (/her) Agrippina

    Handel: Agrippina, HWV 6
    Drama per musica in tre atti original version (Dec. 1709), Libretto di Vincenzo Grimani
    Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Agrippina), Jennifer Rivera (Nerone), Sunhae Im (Poppea), Bejun Mehta (Ottone), Marcos Fink (Claudio), Neal Davies (Pallante), Dominique Visse (Mago Narciso) & Daniel Schmutzhard (Lesbo)
    Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
    René Jacobs
    Recorded July 2010 Teldex Studios, Berlin

    Name:  Agrippina - René Jacobs 2010, Alex Penda, Jennifer Rivera, Sunhae Im, Bejun Mehta.jpg
Views: 96
Size:  37.2 KB

    Maybe slightly outshone by Poppea (Sunhae Im) and Ottone (Bejun Mehta) but maybe that's the plot. Also perhaps Nerone (Jennifer Rivera) but that maybe just my attraction to her from her performance as Licida (L'Olimpiade). Either way, a yes to Penda from Clayton.
    Thanks, but I'm still not convinced.

    Let's listen to the exact same aria, by Alex Penda, and then by Ghena Dimitrova.

    What we notice in this comparison is that Penda puts a lot of effort into it, and is to be commended for being a tiny lady and producing a big sound. However Dimitrova does it much more effortlessly, with a narrower vibrato, and she keeps pitch better in the difficult passages both in the high and the low notes, not to forget that her musicality in the dynamic variations is finer - a much superior version, in my opinion.

    This said, direct comparisons don't take away the merit of the former singer just because someone else does it better - if we get one specific aria to compare a singer to others, there is always someone to be found that specializes in certain areas of the repertory and can do a better job - it's just that the jury about Penda is still out, for me. I have the impression that Penda's voice is no longer 100% healthy, which is understandable for someone who sang Esclarmonde so early in her career (a dangerous thing to do), and someone who apparently sings a forceful repertory that maybe is not as good a match to her voice (while Dimitrova is completely at ease in this repertory); therefore one can expect a bit of wear and tear, after many years trying to push those notes like this.





    And then, the other objection I make to Alex Penda is timbre of voice. Let's now listen to the queen of beautiful timbre; this unique voice with this aural quality that only comes once or twice in a century: of course, La Bellissima! Here I acknowledge that in terms of technique, Anna's rendition is not ideal (there is the occasional breathing problem), but the timbre... wow! Not to forget that the dramatic interpretation is also miles ahead (although of course she benefits from this being fully staged versus a concert performance - but like Soave said, Anna *is* Lady Macbeth!):

    Last edited by Soave_Fanciulla; January 5th, 2018 at 07:57 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  14. #3419
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I wasn't impressed by Alex Penda's Leonore in Fidelio in Santa Fe in August. She certainly gave 100% effort, and it is a difficult role, but it seemed to me that she really had to strain both to hit some of her notes and to produce enough volume to fill Santa Fe's auditorium.

    To top it all off, she is scheduled to sing Salome there next summer. I shudder to think.

  15. #3420
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Name:  Lohengrin - Rudolf Kempe 1963.jpg
Views: 79
Size:  41.8 KB

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    This is one of my favoritest of all opera recordings! How do you think it compares to your other Lohengrins?
    Thrilling, brilliant and exciting to the point where it is almost exhausting to listen to it. All the way through.
    Musically speaking I am not intelligent to talk about the technical merits of this recording but each of the characters (particularily Lohengrin) are nearly the exact image I had before listening to this opera for the first time (after reading the synopsis and libretto).
    Great sound as well, great remastering (engineer Paul Baily). Orchestra, horns and all are thrilling.

    Name:  Jess Thomas, Lohengrin.JPG
Views: 90
Size:  26.8 KB

    Wagner: Lohengrin
    Jess Thomas (Lohengrin), Elisabeth Grümmer (Elsa), Christa Ludwig (Ortrud), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Telramund), Gottlob Frick (Heinrich), Otto Wiener (Herald)
    Wiener Philharmoniker,
    Rudolf Kempe
    Recorded November, December 1962 & April 1963, Theater an der Wien

    Purchased on sale at PC for GBP 13.47. Unbelievable bargain.

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