Opera Suggestions

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by agalisgv, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. Fergus

    Fergus Well-Known Member

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    That is 100% groovy, especially opening night!

    Let's spread the Mattila-love:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv2h7M0uXV0

    Mattila and Thomas Hampson :)swoon:!) in Strauss' Arabella, from 2002. The staging is ridiculous (but really, what can you do when the climax of the whole show is literally a drink of water?), but the singing is just divine!
  2. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    LOL. Fair enough. Here are some snippets from the Jenufa production I mentioned. The opening scene is Eva Urbanova as Kotelnicka, but Mattila begins right around the one-minute mark.
  3. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    1. Five hours is a long time for anything, but there are two 20-30(?) minute intermissions.

    2. Here's a glimpse into the future seasons at the Met:
    http://balconybox.blogspot.com/2008/06/met-futures-page.html

    ITA! I think my introduction to Carmen actually started with this Plisetskaya ballet when I was a kid, followed by listening to Carmen Suite on a vinyl record and finally making it to Kirov Opera to see the real thing.

    Can't go wrong with Carmen! Plus, Garanča and Alagna are in Carmen at the Covent Garden now, so they'll be well rehearsed together by the time they cross the ocean for the Met run.
    This blogger has a ton of the ROH production photos

    She made an appearance here last week for a recital with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa :swoon:

    agalisgv, I second the recommendation to check out DVDs at your local library or Netflix. If your children liked La Cenerentola, I think they would love the Dessay/Florez version of La Fille du Regiment or another Rossini's gem - Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
  4. Quintuple

    Quintuple papillon d'amour

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    Whoa, lots to say here.

    1.
    a. Hilarious. b. OK, I kid you not. I was in a dive bar in Goleta, CA on a Tuesday night for karaoke. There was "Sitting Man" who was so tall he had to sit every time he sang on stage, and when he did, it was always "Rio". And there was a developmentally disabled Asian lady in a Christmas sweatshirt and big octagonal glasses sitting with a person watching over her. So right after Sitting Man finishes "Rio", the Asian lady gets up and hands a CD to the DJ. The video comes up, she starts singing. It's the Dvorak aria. The full thing. In Czech. And she totally sang it. I think at the end Sitting Man screamed, "Daaaaaaaaaaamn, lady!"

    2. Ooh, Simon Boccanegra really annoyed and bored me. I think I still have the point of view of what would be engaging for kids. Funny story though, the way I got to see it. One day my friend called me and said, "Hey, can you meet me at the opera house in an hour-and-a-half? My boss can't go and he gave me his tickets. They might be good seats, so, wear a tie." I wore a suit. Errr, turned out I was in a box seat next to Nancy Pelosi's for the opening night gala of the SF Opera. I didn't have time to look it up! And I even have a tux! I felt nervous even entering coz I saw all these ladies in crazy ball gowns. Apparently we really entertained our box-mates though.

    3. Maybe the production value is great, but I wouldn't say the rest of the operas on the list are super kid-friendly. Of course, Carmen is great and easy to understand. Hmm. I definitely think kids would be into The Magic Flute (but like with any Mozart opera, I say cut it short at the end of the third act).

    If you could get your hands on this DVD, The Little Prince would be perfect. It premiered here two years ago - I wish I attended!

    If you don't mind dark matter for the kids, I really, really liked the Berlin Opera's production of Verdi's Macbeth, and I saw it as a young teen. Really loved it. But I love Macbeth in general. I imagine Hamlet might be a bit too ... I dunno, long and dry? Depends on the production.

    Again, very dark, but if you could find a good production of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle ... it's one act, so great for shorter attention spans, and in the tradition of the original "Red Riding Hood" and "The Little Mermaid", it's a classic tale that's really fascinating and gruesome.
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  5. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    No, but from the descriptions I've read in reviews, Scarpia gropes the Madonna at the end of the first act, because Tosca makes him forget G-d, and at the beginning of the second, at least one of the three prostitutes that are all over him mimes fellatio.

    But I suspect a lot of the boos were because it replaced the very lavish Zeffirelli production.
  6. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    Sooo... Who went to see Tosca Live in HD from the Met yesterday?
  7. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I did! I loved it but I'm in no tecnik when it comes to opera, and I'd be interested to hear from any of the cognoscente who saw it.

    I read a review and the criticism of the direction seemed to be largely about the murder scene, well I thought it was plenty dramatic, so I don't know what the criticism was about.

    I thought Karita Matilla was really good.

    I admittedly spent most of the third act visualizing who has skated to the music as it was playing... :lol:
  8. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Thanks for explaining.

    Big deal. Boo to the audiences. :rolleyes:
  9. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Tosca kills Scarpia in a moment of panic; she sees the knife, she grabs it, she stabs him. Then, because he has died suddenly with no last rites, she places candles around the body, in her way giving him last rites. In this production, it is staged as premeditated murder; she sees the knife, she picks it up and hides it, she thinks about killing him and then a while later she does and then she leaves without giving him her version of last rites.

    That's one of the issues that enrages the traditionalists about this production. There is a big difference between self-defense/unpremeditated murder and murder.
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    That I can see as being a bit of a problem. That's majorly changing the character's character.
  11. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Well, we caught Aida today. This time there were actual people in the theater besides us :p.

    Anyhow, it wasn't quite the hit I was hoping for, but my oldest was generally positive about it by the end. The man playing Ramades had a tremendous voice I thought. Did anyone else watch it?

    We're planning on seeing Turandot next. And they did confirm they were doing a new production of Carmen this year, so not so sure about that one.
  12. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone seen this one?

    IPHIGENIE EN TAURIDE
  13. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    The Metropolitan Opera and Seattle Opera did a co-production of "Iphigenie en Tauride" a couple of years ago, and I was lucky to see it in Seattle three times and to hear it on Sirius again. (The big news at the Met was that Placido Domingo sang the baritone role, and it put butts in seats for an unknown opera, but I thought it was Susan Graham's, the Iphigenie's, vocal triumph.) It's got very beautiful music, but it's not like a Verdi or Puccini opera or even Mozart, his contemporary, in the overall sound or in the libretto, which, like earlier operas, is based on myth.

    The most famous music from it is the tenor aria, which survived on a number of tenor aria albums, like this one posted to YouTube, sung by George Thill:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLYr9qQLweQ

    You should be able to get a feel for whether you'd like the music from this.
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  14. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    My whole family went to see Aida yesterday, but I am going to the encore on Nov 11 or 12. All of them were pleased with the production, singing and intermission interviews, so I am looking forward to it.

    As for Carmen, I listened to the Covent Garden one yesterday on BBC radio (the one with Garanca and Alagna). The recording will be available until next Saturday here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnpy

    I am seeing Rossini's Tancredi today. Di Tanti Palpiti
  15. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    It's very clever of the Met to interview the singers from the upcoming HD at intermission of the current one. Marcelo Giordani (Calaf) was tiffed in a very nice suit, and Maria Guleghina (Turandot) was wearing a low cleavage black pants suit with some kind of white decoration at the bottom of one side of the jacket. They are the best ambassadors for getting the audience on their side and invested in the performance. I was going to skip Turandot, but I'm re-thinking that now.
  16. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I would argue that groping the Madonna isn't exactly in character either. Even some of the less traditionalist critics didn't like it, from what I hear.

    Even were I not a Christian -- and for what it's worth, I'm Protestant rather than Catholic -- I'd think there would be little to be gained from deliberately trying to shock and offend a portion of the audience.
  17. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Despite the news reports, he didn't grope the Madonna, he kissed her. When I was in Europe, I saw older worshippers in Spain do the same, although not as precipitously and publicly. I don't know whether this would have been true in Rome.

    I'm not so sure Tosca's action was that out of character. In the instrumental music that is played while Scarpia writes out the safe conduct passes, there are cues for her to look around, see the knife at the table, freeze at the thought that she could use it to kill him, and then to take it and hide it, usually at her side, as the traditional Tosca Act II dress is short-sleeved. Scarpia usually runs across the room after he sings "Tosca, you're finally mine!" rather than jumping her on the couch, but I saw a Seattle Opera production in which Greer Grimsley did the sofa plunge earlier in the scene.

    In this production, she sees it earlier and thinks about using it, but then puts it back on the table. (The transmission microphones picked up the big clunk when she did.) Later, when she decides she has to use it -- all of her Visi d'Arte-ing having accomplished nothing -- she hides it under the pillow on the sofa, instead of pacing around the stage with the hidden knife.
  18. Little Princess

    Little Princess New Member

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    Mozart's operas totally rock!
    I especially lurve Figaro, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni.

    Then I can recommend Carmen, Tosca, Turandot, and Madame Butterfly.
  19. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    I realize you and your family have already seen La Cenerentola, but may I suggest this tres voidy production featuring Juan Diego Florez and Joyce DiDonato that just came out on DVD
  20. jollibee

    jollibee New Member

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    Just a reminder that it's The Tales of Hoffmann tomorrow! It's best known aria was in Life is Beautiful and Titanic. The previews made it look minimalistic and creepy. It's going to be an adjustment after the gorgeous Turandot production, but I can't wait!!
  21. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    We went to see Turandot, and it was just spectacular :cool:. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

    We'll go see one more production, but haven't been able to decide which one.

    Do post how you liked Tales of Hoffmann missBella--I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    My favorites:

    Tosca
    Die Fledermaus (it's very funny)
    Madama Butterfly
    Carmen
  23. BYTCH

    BYTCH Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad so glad you loved Turandot , Puccini is my favorite and Turandot is my favorite of all his operas. I only wish he had lived long enough to do a final aria. Did they dim the lights at the point where Puccini's composition ended?

    My first operas were 2 one acts that our grade school class went to: L'Enfant Et Les Sortileges and Gianni Schicchi I didn't understand the first one, this was before surtitles, so we had no idea what was going on. But I still remember how much I loved Gianni Schicchi all the greedy relatives, and him leaving himself all the money at the end. It's a terrific opera for children.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
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  24. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    The next Met HD production is Der Rosenkavalier, with Renee Fleming. I saw her in recital last week and have never heard her sing better. I'm thinking of getting tickets for that performance.
  25. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    I didn't notice, sad to say. We were taken by the majesty of the production and missed the finer details of things.

    For two days afterward we would sing Nessum Dorma at the top of our lungs--much to the chagrin of others :shuffle:. Great fun.

    Der Rosenkavalier is one of the operas we were thinking of seeing, but I don't know how the music would compare with Puccini. With Fleming performing, however, perhaps it would be worth it regardless.
  26. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Der Rosenkavalier is a bit more modern than Turandot, but it is one of Richard Strauss's lushest scores that occasionally turns dissonant in places. It's not one of the more strident ones, like Elektra or Salome. It is, though, one of the longer operas at an estimated 4'45".

    One of the most beautiful scenes in the opera, maybe all of opera, is the Act II Presentation of the Rose, and Susan Graham, singing Octavian, should be superb in it.

    The Carmen that follows is going to be in modern dress.
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  27. BYTCH

    BYTCH Well-Known Member

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    I thoroughly enjoyed Rosenkavelier , and don't remember it as being that long, which speaks volumes. Whether the children would enjoy it I dunno, they didn't like Aida which has some of the most glorious music in the repertoire, so it's hard to tell. It would depend on why they didn't like it, and how long their attention spans are.

    The trouser role will be confusing--at least it's always been a puzzle to me how that convention came about. I'm sure that trouser roles are all about the music, but I have trouble getting past the characters and plot. Romeo being sung by a woman, even as wonderful as Tatiana Troyanos, still makes me shake my head. I've always wondered if they should be sung by contra-tenors.
  28. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Well, at least one counter-tenor, Brian Asawa, made it known that he desired the role of Cherubino, but I don't think anything came of it. There are, however, lots of roles that are sung by both counter-tenors and mezzo - both Sesto and Caesar in Julio Cesare, for instance.
  29. jollibee

    jollibee New Member

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    Sure! :)

    In short, I loved it. And in fact, it was such a surprise that it has become my favorite (of the season), so far!

    When I went in to the show, I thought it was going to be a dark, weird and creeepy drama, because to me, that's what the Met's preview's made it look like. In the beginning of the season, (and based on the synopsis) I almost skipped buying a ticket for it because I thought the story would be weird, too heavy, or psychological but boy, am I glad I didn't! It was not what I expected, it was easy to follow, nice and intellectual with amazing music.


    As long as you don't expect a Turandot or Aida-like showstopping spectacle, you will love this one, too.


    Visually, at times it felt like a Tim Burton-esque, (Alice in Wonderland) movie because there were some awesome magical, kooky characters, and costumes... and then there was the mesmerizing part of Kathleen Kim as a doll.

    She had to act and sing like a doll, and for me, just seeing this, made it worth the price. For teens, or someone relatively new to the opera, this will be a memorable highlight for a long time.

    I found the music, extremely accessible for hearing it for the first time --- in a way, it was more 'modern' by operatic standards and was very, very catchy. Apart from the aria in my last post, I wasn't familiar with any of the melodies but twice I almost forgot that I was in public and wanted to sing-along out loud. :lol: (During "klich-klach" and Olympia, the doll's song). And for hours and hours, they were stuck in my head.


    Overall, it's a drama (but then again, which opera isn't??) with comedy, dances and a 3-4 minute PG scene.



    Is Rosenkavelier really that long? Good to know, for I shall have to sneak in some food. I didn't buy anything at the intermissions of Aida and I almost passed out by the end. :p
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
  30. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

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    So that endless yowling was you; I thought the neighbor's cat got stuck on our roof again. :lol:
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  31. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    My current favorite version of the Barcarolle is the one with Elina Garanca and Anna Netrebko.


    ITA, the music was gorgeous and the ~4 hours flew by fast! I still wonder if Netrebko could've sang the role of Giulietta, as Gubanova didn't impress me much, and I was in the house for this performance. Kathleen Kim stole the show, but it's easy to do with such a winning aria. She clearly got the most enthusiastic applause during the performance. Ms. Netrebko (Antonia/Stella) and Mr. Calleja (Hoffmann) got the well-deserved biggest curtain call applause.
    Great description! Tim Burton-esque it sure was :) I understand it is hard to stage Hoffmann, but I liked this production, although for me the action was sometimes too slow for the main characters, or too fast and all over the place for the dancers. It seems the staging at times took over the music, but I don't know how this looked on the Live in HD transmission. I want to catch an encore and also see the production with the originally announced E. Garanca as the Muse, R. Villazon as Hoffmann and R. Pape as the villains (yeah, I'll keep dreaming =D)

    All in all, it was a good outing and I got a picture with Anna Netrebko =D
    Can't wait for the Carmen in a week, but hope I am not building up too many expectations. Although after seeing the live transmission of Carmen from La Scala, I am ready for a more traditional Carmen...
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  32. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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  33. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I just heard the season premiere of the new production of "Carmen" on Sirius radio. Elina Garanca sounded great; her voice was very rich. Roberto Alagna was all :drama: as Don Jose. I can't imagine him doing the broadcast interview like his cover (and Don Jose after Alagna) Brandon Jovanovich and saying "You betcha!". Mariuz :grope: Kwiecien :kickass: as Escamillo. Montreal Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin kept the pace :gallopin1.

    According to director Richard Eyre, known for his Shakespeare productions and as director of "Iris", "Notes on a Scandal", and "The Other Man", the setting is the Spanish Civil War period. There is one intermission, for those going to the HD broadcast.

    The production was originally created for Angela Gheorghiu and her husband Alagna, but they split :skandal publicly, and she gets the last two performances next spring with :swoon: Jonas Kaufmann. (When Gheorghiu pulled out of the opening an all performances with her husband, Alina Garanca moved from Nicklausse in "The Tales of Hoffman" to "Carmen".) It pays to be a :glamor:, torn between Kwiecien and Kaufmann.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  34. piano18

    piano18 New Member

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    Go see La bohème


    mmm luscious!
  35. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    I was at the premiere and I highly recommend this to anyone thinking of going to the Live in HD on Jan 16th. It was a traditional production with clever staging and sets (nothing of that bullcrap from La Scala (ok, Kauffman was dreamy there :)) that was broadcast in theatres on Dec 7).

    I want to add to kwanfan's review that Barbara Frittoli sang the role of Micaela like I've never heard before (and Carmen is my favorite opera).

    Elina Garanca sounded fine, but
    she's a bit of an uninvolved Carmen on stage

    I still keep my fingers crossed for the Gheorghiu and Kauffmann version in April-May :swoon:

    Fabulous production! Go see it! <3
  36. RedRover

    RedRover New Member

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    I have tickets to see Carmen at the Met in February. I cannot wait! My first time ever at the Met:cool:
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  37. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Have a wonderful time, RedRover!

    If you get there early enough, you can visit not only the gift shop, but also the galleries downstairs, with portraits of the great singers who've sung at the Met.

    One of the my favorite moments in all of the arts, which they don't film on most HD broadcasts -- they opt for the stage manager calling the maestro to the pit -- is when the mini-chandeliers rise just as the lights start to dim. I get chills just thinking about it.
  38. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    Just for music alone, and not the “story line” or “stage production grandeur”, my favorites (besides Carmen and Don Giovanni) are “Il Trovatore” and “L’elisire d’amore”, and the only few I can listen to from start to end without skipping portions and enjoy the music alone without the “visual”.
  39. piano18

    piano18 New Member

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    Back a few years ago I saw a production of 'Filumena". lol. A purely Albertan production.
  40. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Ok who saw Der Rosenkavalier yesterday? Whatcha think, knowledgeable folks? :cool:

    Were there sound problems everywhere or was that our theater?