Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #2386
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Interesting web page: FORGOTTEN OPERA SINGERS
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  3. #2387
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Bocelli sings flat.

    aaaargggghhhhhhhhh. Quite so. Bocelli sings like a labrador.

    Oh ha ha ha ha ha ha. I just stumbled across this. Hilarious!

    Ah, poor Bocelli, but if he would only stay out of opera, we would leave him alone. And, he does sing (and even howl) about 100 or more times better than I sing, so.... I'll just go out and howl with my dog!
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  5. #2388
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    I often feel awkward when people like my current listening and I don't always like theirs, but sometimes it is just not an opera that appeals to me, and other times it is one that I don't even know. However, that you all are listening to opera is what matters, at least I hope you all are listening to opera, some have not been very active lately, so I hope everything is okay.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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  7. #2389
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Do we have a thread for new releases? This released July 2021.
    https://www.arkivmusic.com/products/...anowski-937424


    We sure do! It's under the DVD/Blu-ray, and CD Reviews section:
    https://operalively.com/forums/showt...s-and-blu-rays
    Last edited by MAuer; September 2nd, 2021 at 11:23 AM.
    "Music is enought for a whole lifetime--but a lifetime is not enough for music." --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

  8. #2390
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Oops -- I meant to reply to your post about the new Fidelio recording, not edit it!

    And I know what you mean about liking posts -- and not liking them isn't meant to be critical. We all have different tastes, and a voice I love may not be your cup of tea at all.

    I hope we'll hear from some of the other OL members again as conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic start to ease. With that Delta variant on the loose, we're not completely out of the woods yet, but many opera houses are starting to resume performances with the new 2021-22 season. I recently received the season brochure from the Met, and they're enforcing strict safety precautions. No one without proof of vaccination will be admitted.

  9. #2391
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    Oh ha ha ha ha ha ha. I just stumbled across this. Hilarious!

    Ah, poor Bocelli, but if he would only stay out of opera, we would leave him alone. And, he does sing (and even howl) about 100 or more times better than I sing, so.... I'll just go out and howl with my dog!
    Speaking of Bocelli, Rhinegold Publishing (publishers of Opera Now) are offering a special edition devoted to "The Greatest Tenors," in which 10 individuals are listed: the "three" (Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras), Caruso, Gigli, Corelli, Jussi Björling, Alfredo Kraus, Vickers, and Kaufmann. Of course, choosing "the greatest" in almost any category is subjective; one might well wonder why Fritz Wunderlich hasn't been included. Wagnerians may also insist that Melchior should be in any listing of the "greatest." On the magazine cover, however, Bocelli's image is included along with most of the others. No idea why; he's not one of the 10, and I don't think there would be much argument among OL members that he really doesn't belong in this group, anyway. So why include his photo? I give a great deal of credit to the editorial staff at Opernwelt, who have simply never taken any notice of Bocelli whatsoever.

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  11. #2392
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Every year finds new recordings – either in CD or video format – of operatic rarities revived (or a new opera premiered) at the summer festivals. Some of the 2021 candidates may be:

    - Arrigo Boito’s Nerone, presented at the Bregenz Festival. According to the reviewer from Das Opernglas (Sept., 2021, issue), Boito conceived this opera as a “Gesamtkunstwerk” that was supposed to encompass all forms of dramatic expression and give the form of the classical Italian opera a pan-European synthesis. He continually revised the score and still hadn’t completed it to his satisfaction by the time he died. Afterward, Toscanini, who was one of the leading advocates of this work, developed a performance edition in collaboration with Antonio Smareglia and Vittorio Tommassini. Famed tenor Aureliano Pertile sang the demanding title role at the 1921 world premiere of Nerone at La Scala. In Bregenz, Dirk Kaftan was on the podium of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Prague Philharmonic Chorus, with a cast including Rafael Rojas (Nerone), Lucio Gallo (the magician Simon Mago), Svetlana Aksenova (Asteria), Brett Poligato (the young Christian Fanuel), and Alessandra Volpe (Rubria). Olivier Tambosi directed.

    - Kaija Saariaho’s Innocence, with a libretto by Sofi Oksanen, which had its world premiere at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. In Simon Stone’s production, action took place in what Opernwelt’s reviewer (Sept.-Oct., 2021) describes as a “two story horror house.” On the lower floor, the Romanian Stela and Finn Tuomas were celebrating their wedding, while on the upper level, the dark background history of the groom’s family was told in flashbacks. Tuomas’ older brother had been involved in a violent incident at a school, and the family would have liked to banish him (as well as a firstborn) from their collective memory. But the past caught up with the present as the characters’ recollection of the murder increasingly crowded out the happy nuptial festivities, and revealed that the entire family had skeletons in the closet. Susanna Mälkki conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, with cast members who sang not only the predominantly English text, but in their native languages as well. Among the soloists were Magdalena Kožena as a waitress, Sandrine Piau (mother-in-law), Tuomas Pursio (father-in-law), Lilian Farahani (Stela), Markus Nykänen (Tuomas), and Lucy Shelton (teacher).

    - Daniel-François-Esprit Auber’s Le philtre, with the same basic plot as Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, which was heard at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival in a semi-staged performance with the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Luciano Acocello. The cast included soprano Luiza Fatyol as Térézine (corresponds to Donizetti’s Adina), tenor Patrick Kabongo (Guillaume, i.e., Nemorino), Emmanuel Franco (Sergeant Joli-Coeur), Eugenio Di Lieto (Fontanarose, the Dulcamara figure), and Adina Vilchi (Jeannette).

    - Rossini’s La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder), which was also on the program at Bad Wildbad in a fully-staged production by the soprano Stefania Bonfadelli. José Miguel Pérez-Sierra led the Krakow Philharmonic in the performance of this opera, with a plot that revolves around Giulia, the ward of Dormont, who has no enthusiasm for the prospective husband her guardian has chosen for her. She hands the gentleman (Blansac) off to her cousin Lucilla, who is more than happy to accept him. Giulia, of course, is in love with Dorvil, and thanks to the titular silken ladder, the young couple achieves the desired happy ending. The overture to La scala di seta is among Rossini’s most popular ones and often finds its way into concert programs. Among the soloists in Bad Wildbad were soprano Claudia Urru (Giulia), tenor Michele Angelini (Dorvil), Emmanuel Franco (Giulia’s servant Germano), Emmanuel Di Lieto (Blansac), Meagan Sill (Lucilla), and Remy Burnens (Dormont).

    - Rossini’s Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra, yet another production from Bad Wildbad, may also find its way into the discography. The titular heroine is, of course, Queen Bess, who ends up deciding to forget about love and concentrate on ruling her country instead. The overture to this opera was such a smash hit that Rossini decided to reuse it for his Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Bad Wildbad’s cast included Serena Farnocchia as Elizabeth, Patrick Kabongo as the Earl of Leicester, tenor Mert Süngü as the Duke of Norfolk, Veronica Marini as Matilde, and mezzo Mara Gaudenzi in the breeches role of Enrico. The experienced Rossini conductor Antonino Fogliani was in charge of the musical performance, with Jochen Schönleben directing the production.

    - Alessandro Scarlatti’s Griselda, performed at the Festival della Valle d’Itria, Martina Franca, in a new edition by the musicologist Luca Della Libera. Apostolo Zeno’s libretto, based on Boccaccio’s Decameron, deals with Prince Gualtiero, who had married a woman of humble birth and had a daughter with her, but the marriage proved so unpopular with his subjects that he pretended to have her executed, though in fact sent her off to Prince Corrado of Apulia. Years later, faced with more civil unrest, Gualtiero decides the solution will be for him to remarry. His choice of a bride happens to be Costanza, who he’s unaware is his own daughter. Griselda, meanwhile, has been fending off the romantic advances of Ottone. Finally, she reappears, her true love for Gualtiero is proven, Costanza’s true identity is revealed, and everybody lives happily ever after. George Petrou led the ensemble La Lira di Orfeo in Rosetta Cucchi’s production at Martina Franca, with soprano Carmela Remigio as Griselda, countertenor Raffaele Pe as Gualtiero, Mariam Battistelli as Costanza, tenor Krystian Adam as Corrado, and Francesca Ascioti and Miriam Albano in what were originally the castrato roles of Ottone and Roberto, respectively.

    - Franz Schmidt’s early 20th century opera Notre Dame, with a libretto by the composer and Leopold Wilk based on Victor Hugo’s novel, that was revived at the St. Gallen Festival in a production by Carlos Wagner. Michael Balke led the musicians of the Festival orchestra, who played in an adjoining building with the sound broadcast over an amplification system to the forecourt of the St. Gallen Abbey, where the outdoor stage was located. Soprano Anna Gabler sang Esmeralda, with baritone Simon Neal as the Archdeacon Frollo, tenors Clay Hilley and Cameron Becker as Captain Phoebus and Gringoire, respectively, and bass David Steffens in the comparatively small role of Quasimodo.

    None of the reviewers mentioned the performance being recorded in their critiques, but it would be unlike anything in previous years (2020 excluded for the obvious reason) if none of these productions eventually turned up on CD or DVD/Blu-ray. We'll just need to wait for several more months to pass to find out which of them will make it.
    Last edited by MAuer; October 21st, 2021 at 12:01 PM.

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  13. #2393
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    This past summer’s festivals in Pesaro and at the Arena di Verona may also prove to be sources of new recordings.

    On the program at Pesaro:

    - Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, in a colorful production by Pier Luigi Pizzi. Projected on the stage-wide background screen were some abstract/reduced animation, atmospheric lighting effects, and evocations of everything from a solar eclipse, the burning bush, collapsing pyramids, and the parting of the Red Sea. Costumes were historically influenced, with the members of the Egyptian royal family garbed in robes of deep royal violet blue. Giacomo Sagripanti conducted the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, with soloists including Roberto Tagliavini (Moïse), Erwin Schrott (Pharaon), Andrew Owens (the Egyptian Prince Aménophis), Eleonora Buratto (his love interest, the Israelite Anaï), and Vasilisa Brezhanskaya (Sinaïde. Pharaon’s wife).

    - Il Signor Bruschino, also by Rossini, is a one-act farce with some typical comic ingredients: a pair of young lovers (Sofia and Florville), the young lady’s guardian who opposes their marriage (Gaudenzio), plans by the guardian to marry the young lady off to someone else (Bruschino Junior, son of his old pal Bruschino Senior), and some useful complications (the younger Bruschino is detained at a tavern when he can’t pay his bill, and Florville decides to impersonate him, but then the elder Bruschino arrives at Gaudenzio’s house) before the inevitable happy ending (Gaudenzio must finally accept Florville as Sofia’s bridegroom). Conductor Michele Spotti and the Filarmonica Gioacchino Rossini occupied what is normally the orchestra section of the audience seating area at the Teatro Rossini, while audience members themselves were placed in the balconies. The team of stage director Renaud Doucet and set/costume designer André Barbe updated the action to the present day and situated it on a sailing ship lying at anchor in a harbor, though the reason for this location was never explained. The cast included soprano Marina Monzó (Sofia), tenor Jack Swanson (Florville), and basses Giorgio Caoduro (Gaudenzio) and Pietro Spagnoli (the elder Signor Bruschino).

    - Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra, which was also on offer at the “other” Rossini festival in Bad Wildbad. At Pesaro, director Davide Livermore decided to turn Queen Bess into a lookalike of the young Queen Elizabeth II, though the two monarchs have little more in common than their names. Evelino Pido was on the podium, leading soloists Karine Deshayes (Elisabetta), Salome Jicia (Matilde, the fictitious wife of the Earl of Leicester – the real lady was named Amy Robsart), Sergey Romanovsky (Leicester), and Barry Banks (Duke of Norfolk).

    From the Arena di Verona:

    - Puccini’s Turandot in a visually opulent production by the specialist video design team D-WOK, with Anna Netrebko as the icy Princess. As usual, she was partnered by her caro sposo, Yusif Eyvazov, as Calaf. Ruth Iniesta sang Liù, with Alexey Lavrov, Francesco Pittari, and Marcello Nardis as the trio of Ministers. Jader Bignamini conducted. COVID-related security procedures had the choristers singing offstage and replaced onstage by masked supernumeraries, an arrangement that may have discouraged any plans for a video recording.

    - The verismo duo of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, with another married couple in the leads: Roberto Alagna (Turiddu and Canio) and Aleksandra Kurzak (Santuzza and Nedda). They were joined by Elena Zilio (Mamma Lucia), Matteo Mizzaro (Beppe), and Ambrogio Maestri (Tonio). Marco Armiliato was on the podium. The reviewer for Das Opernglas (October, 2021) did mention that events in I Pagliacci were set in a theater; hard to tell from the costumes in the photo accompanying the review if the action had been updated to the present or left in the 19th century.

    Other possible recordings?

    This summer’s Salzburg Festival included a new production of Don Giovanni in highly individual interpretations by conductor Teodor Currentzis and director Romeo Castellucci. Cast members included Davide Luciano (Don Giovanni), Nadezhda Pavlova (Donna Anna), Vito Priante (Leporello), Federica Lombardi (Donna Elvira), Michael Spyres (Don Ottavio), Anna Lucia Richter (Zerlina), David Steffens (Masetto), and Mika Kares (Commendatore). There was also a Tosca with Anna Netrebko in the title role (wearing an elaborate – and undoubtedly very expensive -- gown designed especially for her), along with the inevitable Yusif Eyvazov as Cavaradossi and an impressive Scarpia sung by French baritone Ludovic Tézier. Marco Armiliato conducted. The staging by Michael Sturminger updated events from the turn of the 19th century to present day Rome and set them within a Mafia milieu. (Why of course modern Roman Mafiosi are going to get all worked up over Napoleon Bonaparte!).

    Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust was performed in concert format, as the composer originally intended, with the stellar soloists Charles Castronovo (Faust), Elīna Garanča (Marguerite), and Ildar Abdrazakov (Méphistophélès). Alain Altinoglu led the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and concert formation of the Vienna State Opera Chorus. One Salzburg production that probably won’t be released on a video recording was Luigi Nono’s Intolleranza 1960 in a disturbingly graphic staging by Jan Louwers with a torture scene so realistic-looking that the reviewer from Das Opernglas found it almost unbearable to watch. While Nono’s opera is half a century old, its plot is still relevant; an immigrant who wanders near the edge of a demonstration is arrested by the police, tortured, and finally released, only to die with his companion in a flood. Tenor Sean Panikkar sang the Immigrant, with soprano Sarah Maria Sun as his companion, Anna Maria Chiuri in the other major role of the Lady, and Antonio Yang and Musa Ngqungwana as an Algerian and a torture victim, respectively. The Vienna Philharmonic was conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.

    Again, the coming months will tell us which, if any, of these performances were recorded for commercial release.
    Last edited by MAuer; October 21st, 2021 at 12:05 PM.

  14. #2394
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    One production from the past summer festival season with a better-than-average chance of being released on recording is the operetta (according to Opernwelt) or opéra bouffe (according to Opera News) V’lan dans l’oeil by Hervé (a.k.a. Louis Auguste Florimond Ronger), a contemporary of Offenbach, performed at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet in a staging by Pierre André Weitz. Better than average because it was part of the Fondazione Palazzetto Bru Zane’s festival, an organization well known for reviving neglected works of the French repertoire from the late 18th through the 19th centuries and subsequently issuing recordings of these works on its Bru Zane label.
    V’lan dans l’oeil is a sendup of the great Romantic opera, particularly Weber’s Der Freischütz, except that, in this case, the prospective bride and groom are actually in love with other people. Fleur-de-Noblesse is supposed to wed Alexandrivore following an archery contest, but she’s smitten with the carpenter Ernest and Alexandrivore has a secret lover in Dindonnette. Of course, there’s a happy ending with the true lovers paired with each other. Fleur-de-Noblesse and Dindonnette were sung by sopranos Ingrid Perruche and Lara Neumann, respectively, with tenors Damien Bigourdan and David Ghilardi as Alexandrivore and Ernest. Christophe Grapperon led the Orchestre Pasdeloup.
    Weitz’s staging is described by Opernwelt’s reviewer as a combination fairy tale woodland, country fair, Punch and Judy show, horror story, and slapstick, with a forest populated by Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, a shooting gallery with photos of Maria Callas and the Russian Imperial Family (not, one hopes, as targets), and Wagner appearing as a strolling bagpiper. Regisseur Weitz was also seen onstage as the Duc d’en Face, while his pal Olivier Py donned drag to sing the role of the Marquise.

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