Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #2281
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    By the way, regarding failures of major productions by major companies, Opera Today has bashed the new Tcherniakov production of Les Troyens for Opéra Bastille.

    http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...in_flames_.php

    I take it with a grain of salt because in my opinion Tcherniakov is the best opera director in activity.

    Although, there is a second bad review, and a third one, maybe I should believe it (apparently the conductor literally waved a white flag from the pit when the boos started, LOL):

    https://bachtrack.com/review-troyens-tcherniakov-d-oustrac-jovanovich-semenchuk-bastille-opera-paris-january-2019

    https://www.operanews.com/Opera_News...s_Troyens.html

    Or not. Here, a positive review (the title notwithstanding, the article reviews two pieces, it's the other one that they call disgusting):

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/02/...er-disgusting/
    I watched the production on arte.tv and you have to see it:

    Go with your initial instinct to trust in Tcherniakov. This production was pretty incredible, but also a lot to digest. I would give the first part an A+ and the 2nd part an A in theory, but a B in practice.

    The problem for people is that "La prise de Trois" was told fairly traditionally - updated to a fictional 20th-century dictatorship, but otherwise following the plot of the opera - and "Les Troyens a Carthage" chucked the original story in favor of a Tcherniakov creation. One can understand the knee-jerk reaction among these poor critics lulled into a false sense of security... ; )

    The staging of "La prise de Trois" was incredible, and Stephanie d'Oustrac was of course amazing. The moments before the curtain closes on Act II had me on the edge of my seat, and the audience clearly loved it too. The staging for the rest of the opera is in a mental health facility (resembling how he staged Carmen). Aeneas is being treated for severe PTSD, and Dido is implied to be a victim of extreme brutality at the hands of the enemy combatants in the first half (I think there was a different actress playing this character wordlessly in the first half, but the costuming made it clear). Tcherniakov's skits didn't always make total sense to me on first viewing, but I thought the idea behind was pretty great and really thought-provoking. And the idea of the 2nd half being about the trauma of the war in the 1st half... well that part is THERE in the libretto, Tcherniakov just multiplied it and really woke me up to thinking about it in that way.

    Jovanovich was amazing in this. Sememchuk was good, but I couldn't help thinking that Garanca could have made the character just a little more interesting with her supernatural charisma.

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  3. #2282
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    One has to feel some trepidation for The Met replacing their beloved Aida production (I personally feel that they should semi-retire it and bring it back every 5-6 years or so as an event, but that might not be a possibility for economical reasons).

    But in the casting announcement today (this is for 2020-2021) they announced the involvement of 59 Productions and I AM OFFICIALLY IN. This company is behind the very best projections in opera. Marnie, Steve Jobs, the very stunning Santa Fe Candide; also the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and opening night of the 2018 Proms. Modern opera productions are going to need to integrate projections better in order to be visually dazzling, and these folks are the most convincing yet.

  4. #2283
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    My wife homeschools two girls for a needy family. Today they want through this:

    Classics for Kids, What's an Opera?
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  5. #2284
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    My wife homeschools two girls for a needy family. Today they want through this:

    Classics for Kids, What's an Opera?
    What a good way to introduce opera to children. (Kudos to your wife for doing what she does).
    "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

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  7. #2285
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    What a good way to introduce opera to children. (Kudos to your wife for doing what she does).
    Couple years ago I gave the family the La Cenerentola with von Stade and the girls said they watched it. I then gave them Barber of Seville, but the mom cut off watching at one point and said time for bed. Never heard if they finished it. Not sure if she did not like the pretend drunk scene or what because there was a drunk scene in Cenerentola too.

    Wife can't stand opera and tries to imitate the high soprano in a goofy way to show me how silly it is. Oh well. That's what earbuds are for I guess.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  9. #2286
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    Wife can't stand opera and tries to imitate the high soprano in a goofy way to show me how silly it is. Oh well. That's what earbuds are for I guess.
    Shame. Each to their own I suppose.
    "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

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  11. #2287
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    Shame. Each to their own I suppose.
    Going to Handel's Alcina tomorrow night with my son.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  13. #2288
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    Going to Handel's Alcina tomorrow night with my son.
    Lovely! You must tell us what it was like and if he enjoyed it.
    "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

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  15. #2289
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    Lovely! You must tell us what it was like and if he enjoyed it.
    Just got home from Handel's Alcina a little while ago. The opera was totally awesome! The singing was pretty good and the acting and staging was great. Yes, my son enjoyed it. He was thinking it would be an opera in concert, so was quite surprised with all the scenery and acting etc.

    The scenery changed frequently with drop down arches and other props. The Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre is small with the stage width of 30 feet (Proscenium arch width – 29’-11”). I was at the very back, probably about 75 feet from the stage, and had a view similar to this but less crowded:


    Conductor: Stephanie Rhodes Russell
    Alcina: Rose Mannino (grad student, DMA Vocal Perf.)
    Ruggiero: Andrew Lipian (grad student, MM Vocal Perf.)
    Morgana: Francesca Napolitano (senior, BM Vocal Perf.)
    Oronte: Nicholas Music (grad student, MM Vocal Perf.)
    Bradamante: Madison Montambault (grad student, MM Vocal Perf.)
    Melisso: Alan Williams (grad student, MM Vocal Perf.)
    Oberto: Catherine Moss (junior, BM Vocal Perf.)

    My favorite singers of the night were Morgana and Melisso. But all were pretty good. Ruggiero was a countertenor, which I don't care for, but I must say he sang quite well and gave a very lively and powerful performance. Had I gone Thursday or Saturday evening, Ruggiero would have been an alto as they had a different cast Thursday and Saturday from that for Friday and Sunday. If I had time I would go back tomorrow and see it again with the different cast (or even the same cast--it was THAT good!).
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  16. #2290
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    So if Violetta has tuberculosis, why is it that nobody in the opera contracts if from her, especially Alfredo? Or is the sequel that Alfredo and many others all sicken and die but nobody pursued it for the operatic stage?
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  17. #2291
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    And with the modern updatings: if Violetta has contracted TB, why doesn't Dr. Grenvil treat her with antibiotics? Or is she supposed to have some new antibiotic-resistant mutation?

    Oh well, it's opera -- doesn't have to make sense!

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  19. #2292
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    So if Violetta has tuberculosis, why is it that nobody in the opera contracts if from her, especially Alfredo? Or is the sequel that Alfredo and many others all sicken and die but nobody pursued it for the operatic stage?
    Contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis is not that contagious. Yes, one can live with a person with tuberculosis, and not contract it, especially if the sick person is not in advanced stage. Remember, Alfredo was away when she got very sick.

    In the real life story that inspired the opera, Alexandre Dumas Fils did not contract tuberculosis from his mistress.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  21. #2293
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis is not that contagious. Yes, one can live with a person with tuberculosis, and not contract it, especially if the sick person is not in advanced stage. Remember, Alfredo was away when she got very sick.

    In the real life story that inspired the opera, Alexandre Dumas Fils did not contract tuberculosis from his mistress.
    This is good to know for a couple of reasons, one being the enlightenment about the opera and its real life story. The other being that I had pneumonia a few years back and while it was "walking pneumonia" I did not feel very good and so assuming tuberculosis is worse, I would hope to avoid it. The pneumonia I had was a bit spooky after taking an antibiotic for 9 days and the doctor said I was worse, so gave me the strong antibiotic that has a 1/1000 chance of rupturing a tendon! That one knocked out the pneumonia though, else the doctor was going to stick me in the hospital.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  22. #2294
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Yikes! I'm glad that second course of antibiotics did the job for you.

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  24. #2295
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    This is good to know for a couple of reasons, one being the enlightenment about the opera and its real life story. The other being that I had pneumonia a few years back and while it was "walking pneumonia" I did not feel very good and so assuming tuberculosis is worse, I would hope to avoid it. The pneumonia I had was a bit spooky after taking an antibiotic for 9 days and the doctor said I was worse, so gave me the strong antibiotic that has a 1/1000 chance of rupturing a tendon! That one knocked out the pneumonia though, else the doctor was going to stick me in the hospital.
    That sounds awful.

    Are you completely recovered now?
    "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

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