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

          
   
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  1. #1366
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Rigoletto x 2

    1955 Callas Rigoletto, one of the magical 1950s EMI recordings with Callas/Stephano/Gobbi trio at peak vocal power, Gobbi for many is the best Rigoletto ever. The two male vocalist sing in a dramatic forte style not heard today.....

    1964 Kubelik with young Renata Scotto and golden tenor Carlo Bergonzi as the duke, excellent studio sound quality, Fischer Dieskau raises some eyebrows as Rigoletto but I enjoyed his performance, at reduced price a great version to buy

  2. #1367
    Member Recent member deNoget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deNoget View Post
    I've been interested in opera in french recently.

    Attachment 2313
    I just realized this Muette recording was just released last week. Was listening on Spotify.

  3. #1368
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deNoget View Post
    I just realized this Muette recording was just released last week. Was listening on Spotify.
    I swear by Spotify and the Naxos Music Library (clicky).
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  4. #1369
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    I've been interested in opera in french recently.
    Nice. I have had what I call my French project for a while - I haven't had the time to complete it, though - of listening to a number of French operas (or operas in French). I have acquired already all that are on this list I posted [here] but I still need to listen to some of those - the project hasn't moved much for a while although I got to a couple of the ones still in red).

    Anyway once I get to the last one, I may continue to expand. Obviously I missed Fauré's Pénélope in that list.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  5. #1370
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Obviously I missed Fauré's Pénélope in that list.
    I listened to Fauré last evening, following along with this vocal score: [clicky] Unfortunately, it's not in English... and I really need English

    I will better judge the overall opera when I can figure out what is going on. But from a musical perspective only, it definitely is French. and Fauré.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  6. #1371
    Member Recent member deNoget's Avatar
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    That is quite a list! I am also a man of listening lists; I often find myself putting them down for a while and revisiting them a couple of years later.

    I find myself interested right now in nineteenth/early twentieth century French opera. I have always found it strange that history has bequeathed us this Italian/German dichotomy of Romantic opera: Verdi & Puccini v. Wagner & Strauss. Now these four composers clearly deserve their place in the repertoire, but wouldn't it make sense for a duo of French composers to achieve this level of renown?

  7. #1372
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deNoget View Post
    I have always found it strange that history has bequeathed us this Italian/German dichotomy of Romantic opera: Verdi & Puccini v. Wagner & Strauss. Now these four composers clearly deserve their place in the repertoire, but wouldn't it make sense for a duo of French composers to achieve this level of renown?
    Yes, Berlioz and Debussy, simply don't have the same ring, and the fact that Debussy could only produce one work--well, that was very Beethoven-like, wasn't it, and frankly, it really is reminiscent of JD Salinger or Harper Lee, two other artist who were terrified that their next work would be a failure to the point of becoming mute.

    It's too bad that Rossini was so silent in his France years, as he spent more of his life in France than in Italy, so we could have counted him as an honorary Frenchman, like Meyerbeer.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  8. #1373
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Yes, Berlioz and Debussy, simply don't have the same ring, and the fact that Debussy could only produce one work--well, that was very Beethoven-like, wasn't it, and frankly, it really is reminiscent of JD Salinger or Harper Lee, two other artist who were terrified that their next work would be a failure to the point of becoming mute.
    Might have to go with Berlioz and Massenet, then--though that's not entirely satisfying either.

  9. #1374
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Yes, Berlioz and Debussy, simply don't have the same ring
    Ahem, I disagree. Berlioz in my opinion is as good an opera composer as any, maybe with the exception of Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi - but not too far behind. His production was small but all of high quality. And deNoget, there are French composers who have significant renown - pieces by Gounod and Massenet for example are well anchored in the standard repertoire, and if we count Offenbach among the French (I would), then he's another one; Berlioz is of the highest level of quality, and going back to the Baroque, we get Rameau, Gluck, and Lully. Not to forget Bizet, who composed arguably one of the top five most popular operas of all time. Carmen, Faust, Werther, Manon, Thaïs, The Tales of Hoffman, Les Troyens, etc., are very famous operas and are side by side with the very top of the German/Austrian and Italian operas. Then you get also some isolated masterpieces like P&M, Lakmé, Le Rossignol, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, etc., so, I don't see the French that much behind, actually.

    And Tyrone, Rossini did compose Guillaume Tell, Le Comte Ory...
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); August 6th, 2013 at 11:23 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  10. #1375
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    This is really the most gorgeous Romeo et Juliette, two perfect leads and wonderful singing.



    I REALLY prefer the five act version of Don Carlo - but starting in the middle of the story means that Willy Decker can focus us almost entirely on the dysfunctional father-son relationship rather than themes oflove vs duty.



    A rather sweet if a little clunky production of Midsummer Night's Dream; Puck steals the show:



    This production of Elena from Aix must come out on DVD. Cavalli is a wonderful opera composer, and I love the mix of serious and buffo in his works. And I have a girl crush on Xavier Barna-Sabadus in a skirt, which I think is very 17th century of me.



    Spotify listening:

    Natalie

  11. #1376
    Opera Lively Coordinator - Donor Member Top Contributor Member tyroneslothrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Ahem, I disagree. Berlioz in my opinion is as good an opera composer as any, maybe with the exception of Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi - but not too far behind. His production was small but all of high quality. And deNoget, there are French composers who have significant renown - pieces by Gounod and Massenet for example are well anchored in the standard repertoire, and if we count Offenbach among the French (I would), then he's another one; Berlioz is of the highest level of quality, and going back to the Baroque, we get Rameau, Gluck, and Lully. Not to forget Bizet, who composed arguably one of the top five most popular operas of all time. Carmen, Faust, Werther, Manon, Thaïs, The Tales of Hoffman, Les Troyens, etc., are very famous operas and are side by side with the very top of the German/Austrian and Italian operas. Then you get also some isolated masterpieces like P&M, Lakmé, Le Rossignol, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, etc., so, I don't see the French that much behind, actually.

    And Tyrone, Rossini did compose Guillaume Tell, Le Comte Ory...
    Ok, far be it for me to argue with a die-hard Berlioz fan but neither Massenet or Gounod can be compared with Wagner and Verdi... especially Wagner. Many French works that showed good workmanship, but with the exception of your Les Troyen, and Carmen and P&M, IMO there was nothing the caliber of the Ring, Parsifal or Don Carlo (although the latter might be classed as opera for the French if not a French opera). Rossini produced a few works in France, but mostly fell mute during those years (I suppose he lived off the residuals from his 20 earlier works).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); August 6th, 2013 at 11:23 AM.
    “The hand of Providence creeps among the stars, giving Slothrop the finger.”
    ― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

  12. #1377
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyroneslothrop View Post
    Ok, far be it for me to argue with a die-hard Berlioz fan but neither Massenet or Gounod can be compared with Wagner and Verdi... especially Wagner. Many French works that showed good workmanship, but with the exception of your Les Troyen, and Carmen and P&M, IMO there was nothing the caliber of the Ring, Parsifal or Don Carlo (although the latter might be classed as opera for the French if not a French opera). Rossini produced a few works in France, but mostly fell mute during those years (I suppose he lived off the residuals from his 20 earlier works).
    My point exactly; Les Troyens, Carmen, and P&M *are* among the very best of all time. There are just too many so called "exceptions" in the French repertoire to dismiss the French like you all are doing. So, what you are all saying is, "hm, you know, there are these incredibly good French operas that match the best ones composed by the Germans/Austrians and the Italians; then there is a second tier (Massenet, Gounod, Offenbach, Lully, Gluck, Rameau) that are up there with the second tier of Germans/Austrians/Italians; yeah, that proves that the French suck!"

    Makes no sense to me.

    I'm not saying that the French production matches exactly the two top traditions (it is hard to argue that the Italians and the Germans/Austrians have produced the best operatic bodies in history). I'm just saying it doesn't lag that far behind, and I believe it to be the third best tradition, and not by much (next in hot pursuit we have the Eastern Europeans in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Russia).
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  13. #1378
    Member Recent member deNoget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    My point exactly; Les Troyens, Carmen, and P&M *are* among the very best of all time. There are just too many so called "exceptions" in the French repertoire to dismiss the French like you all are doing. So, what you are all saying is, "hm, you know, there are these incredibly good French operas that match the best ones composed by the Germans/Austrians and the Italians; then there is a second tier (Massenet, Gounod, Offenbach, Lully, Gluck, Rameau) that are up there with the second tier of Germans/Austrians/Italians; yeah, that proves that the French suck!"
    You've summed up my general understanding of the way the opera community seems to treat the French opera repertoire. In some ways, I wonder if it is has something to do with the compelling nature of the genius composer of many operas. You can chart a composer's progress through different works, and compare, make lists, argue greatness. To say that there are three operatic masterpieces from France in the second half of the 19th century can easily be denigrated by those who want to because Wagner and Verdi each wrote more masterpieces single handedly. So did Puccini and Strauss for that matter.

    I have a feeling that there are composers like this in France in the Romantic era, but their operas are not performed either at all, or regularly. There are a lot of reasons why this is true, some of which have nothing to do with artistic quality of the works we barely know. We should not be content with only three French masterpieces.

  14. #1379
    Member Recent member deNoget's Avatar
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    Based on book reviews like this one [click], my candidates would be Meyerbeer and Massenet. Now, I haven't listened to many of their works, so you can take my thought with a grain of salt. But my gut feeling is that are missing something in our current standard repertoire.

  15. #1380
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    My point exactly; Les Troyens, Carmen, and P&M *are* among the very best of all time. There are just too many so called "exceptions" in the French repertoire to dismiss the French like you all are doing. So, what you are all saying is, "hm, you know, there are these incredibly good French operas that match the best ones composed by the Germans/Austrians and the Italians; then there is a second tier (Massenet, Gounod, Offenbach, Lully, Gluck, Rameau) that are up there with the second tier of Germans/Austrians/Italians; yeah, that proves that the French suck!"

    Makes no sense to me.

    I'm not saying that the French production matches exactly the two top traditions (it is hard to argue that the Italians and the Germans/Austrians have produced the best operatic bodies in history). I'm just saying it doesn't lag that far behind, and I believe it to be the third best tradition, and not by much (next in hot pursuit we have the Eastern Europeans in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Russia).
    I have one question here: Wasn't Gluck German (Christoph Willibald Gluck)? I understand that he lived in Paris for a while and composed a couple of operas in French, but he didn't move to Paris until he was nearly 60! So, I think he belongs to the Germans and not on your list of top French opera composers.

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