Opera Suggestions

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

  1. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    :smokin: This and this ;)

    Getting back to the weekend at the Met, though.
    I did post a little blurb about Faust, but it must've gotten lost in the interwebs.
    Having watched the Faust HD on Wednesday, the text, staging, and 1st cast singing were fresh in my mind. Imho, Joseph Calleja had a better chemistry with Ms. Poplavskaya than Mr. Kaufmann, but both were vocally splendid. I still prefer Calleja's voice, though. Rene Pape vs Ferruccio Furlanetto - two very different Mephistos, and FF took a while to warm up. I preferred RP and his rolling R's :swoon: Oh, I was sitting next to an audio engineer for the last act, who had the control board for the crying baby, off-stage organ and off-stage chorus. Wonder what exactly he was controlling though as I couldn't hear any difference when he was adjusting the sound.

    I was prepared to be enchanted (;)) by The Enchanted Island and I sure was by the sets, animation and gorgeous singing. Anthony Roth Costanzo played Prospero the whole evening, substituting for ailing David Daniels and he got the biggest ovation of the night after his "Forgive Me" aria from Handel's Partenope. I wish I could say you could hear a pin drop, but we had an ailing audience as well. I took note of Mr. Costanzo last season in Handel's Agrippina at Boston Lyric Opera and, boy, he brought it down at the Met! I also liked his beautifully sung Act I ending aria. He did look a bit funny playing the old Prospero, but I was far enough in the balcony not to have this fact distract me from his voice.
    Joyce DiDonato has an astonishing breath control in "Maybe here, maybe soon" from Handel's Teseo. She also has the most transforming role in this pastiche. My only quibble was why Sycorax couldn't use the newly returned powers to prettify Caliban? :lol:
    Danielle deNiese's Ariel seemed to be on stage for most of the show and she was the comic relief. 3rd time hearing her opening aria and I still don't think she has enough breath to get through it... The rest was pretty.
    SPOILER? I also really disliked the dance sequence to Rameau. The storyline supposedly related to Caliban summoning Island's help, but the music and movements seemed really out of place there. I felt sorry for whoever was singing before/after the Great Neptune Entrance as I could hear the moving set up in the balcony and I can only imagine how loud it was on stage.

    Overall, it was a very pleasant night at the opera as a showcase of artists singing arias, but I don't see a future potential, unless some arias can be cut and story reworked.
    ETA: Joyce added some photos! Facebook and Flickr set

    I had an amazing time @ the Met (and @ Follies on Broadway!), but I came down with a random food poisoning today, so the high of the weekend has, sadly, passed very quickly :(
    I have tickets to the opening night of Götterdämmerung, so I may come and see The Enchanted Island again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  2. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    And this :smokin:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Hx3_Wc6erw#t=7m56s

    I've been listening to "Enchanted Island" on Sirius, and JDD and Pisaroni have sounded wonderful.

    I love Calleja's voice, even if Kaufmann is prettier. I've also had a crush on Furlanetto ever since I heard him interviewed, and he started almost every sentence with "Therefore..." I'm hoping to get to San Francisco for his Atilla next June, with Nixon in China and The Magic Flute.
     
  3. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    deNiese is batting one for three with me. I heard her Cleopatra in Chicago and thought she was fab, but then I heard her Susanna at the Met - meh, and now this which I also thought was meh. I guess the Cleopatra is going to be the highlight for me and that was 4 years ago.

    As to the arias and story, I think the story is fine, and I don't think any arias need to be cut exactly, but I do think they came across as limited in variety.
    After awhile they all started to sound alike; not enough highs and lows, but everything all of a piece if you know what I mean.

    I enjoyed the evening, but I'm not giving it the rave most everyone else is and even my desire for a closeup look at the costumes is not enough to get me to see the HD broadcast. Once was enough, at least for now.
     
  4. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I heard a fantastic bass for the first time this afternoon: 33-year-old Finnish bass Mika Kares sang a single performance of Verdi's "Attila" for Seattle Opera. In Seattle Opera's blog, he said people referred to him as "baby bass".

    He has remarkably clean and agile technique and the vocal quality within his range is amazingly consistent. He doesn't have a distinctive timbre yet, which will probably come when his voice matures over the next 7-10 years -- basses tend to mature late -- but I would love to hear him in recital, and I can't wait to hear his Wagner sometime.

    The Odabella this afternoon was Susan Neves, who was a powerhouse. I looked her up on the (Met Opera-centric) Opera-L list, and the latest reference to her is from 2003, when she subbed in something, and people were using all caps in their posts wondering where she had been hidden. She covers a lot of roles, which limits the amount of performances, but 9 years is a long time not to be noted at all on an opera forum :(

    It is nice to see another strong tenor (Russell Thomas) a decade out of the Young Artists Program.
     
  5. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    It has always seemed to me that good basses are few and far between so this is exciting. Thanks for the report.
     
  6. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    I am on my way to NYC for the opening night of Gotterdammerung, armed with a 100+ year old vocal score. I hope the English translations have been updated since!
    emason, any chance you're coming to the Met too?
     
  7. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Alas, no, not for this. I only have one performance left and it's for Aida in early February. Enjoy and be sure to post a review.

    ETA: Thanks for asking though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  8. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I'll be on the other side of the plaza on Saturday. ;)
     
  9. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    No Aida for me. I still haven't watched last year's HD / PBS broadcast.

    It was my 1st Gotterdammerung and I fully expected to doze off, but the singing and orchestra were sooo good! Once the audience finally calmed down with all the coughing and sneezing by the end of Act 1, the rest of the night was a delight. Voigt and JH Morris got overpowered by the orchestra a few times, but not being familiar with any other interpretations, I don't know if it is common. Waltraud Meier got the most out of her stage time and the only one that acted out her role on top of superb singing. (I'm now a fan!)
    I was able to move from my Balcony Box seat to almost center Balcony's last row, so I had a great sound spot for Acts II and III. I had empty seats on both sides for the 2nd Act and it was a pure bliss with no neighborly distractions. Sadly, it wasn't the case for Act 3, when a young couple showed up from nowhere and the guy, who sat next to me, clearly didn't want to be there. He kept making annoying sounds, moving in his seat, looking at his watch and was generally stealing my concentration. I was nervous the whole act afraid that he'd get up and leave. Le sigh.
    Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the almost-6 hours flew by faster than some of the 3-hour operas. Glad I went!

    I was back home on Saturday already, although probably should've stayed until Sunday. Saw Esta at the Met on Fri though =)
     
  10. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the review. I always thought I didn't like Wagner until a friend took me to Valkyrie last season. I was hooked from note #1 and, like you, thought the opera flew by faster than a lot of shorter ones I've been to.
     
  11. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    I totally get the Ring followers now! I even played with the idea of attending one of the Met Ring cycles in the spring, but I think I'll stick to classical recordings for now.
    I am planning to be at NY Phil's concert with JDD in Feb and at L'Elisir d'Amore with JDF and Damrau on 3/24.
     
  12. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, you should have hung around and seen NYCB with me. Didn't you once mention that you know one of the ladies in the company?
     
  13. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    Next time... No, I don't know anyone @ NYCB. A family friend used to be in their children's division and danced some solos years ago.
     
  14. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I'm glad you liked "Gotterdammerung"! Sorry about your Act III neighbors, ugh. It has some of the best scenes.

    I've seen the Ring each time it's been presented in Seattle from 1995-2009, and I've traveled three times: Adelaide in 2004, Toronto in 2006, and San Francisco last summer. True Ringheads laugh at that. Since I've been on vacation and traveling alone, I've attended the seminars and symposia, and it's amazing how many people you see over and over and over again. The Ringheads gather together during breaks and discuss their five-year plans. "Oh, I'm going to Aix." "I was going to go there, but decided to go to the outdoor one in Arizona and try peyote on the day off." "You mean you didn't see the XYZ Ring at Bayreuth? [big pitying look]"

    Some Ringheads are wealthy, and they travel to multiple Rings every year, and others save up every dime they have to be able to spend their yearly vacation at one of them. Often it's an agonizing decision, with cast lists scoured and dissected, and schedules checked with a fine-toothed comb. ("XYZ is scheduled to sing his first Siegfried, but when is he going to learn the part with all those Tristans in his schedule/with his voice in tatters/with his history of cancellations/with his wife leaving him." etc.)

    For the three operas with intermissions, the Adelaide presenters did it the European way, with one very long intermission for dinner. They offered various options, and I did the buffet. We were seated at group tables, and I met some incredibly nice people. Most of the people were from Australia, and some of the people from Sydney were a bit disgruntled that there was no way that the Sydney Opera House could have presented such a big, intricate production, and they had to travel to Adelaide where the Festival Theatre was big enough and had the technical apparatus for the staging. (It opened with a proscenium-high water curtain to represent the Rhine, but at least it wasn't Melbourne that had the bragging rights for the first Australian Ring.) I also met a couple where the woman grew up in Madagascar, and they were astonished that I came all the way from Seattle to see their Ring. Asher Fisch got a first-rate performance out of the South Australia Opera Orchestra. It was an amazing experience. I even got to see one day of a five-day cricket match between Australia and New Zealand on the off day after the morning lecture. (Daniel Vettori :swoon:)

    Ringheads are a lot like FSUers who travel from one skating competition to another.

    Oh, oh, listen vicariously for me!!!!!
     
  15. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    So, who is braving the HD crowds tomorrow for the Met's Gotterdammerung? I'll be playing Sleeping Brunny instead and will wait for the full Ring cycle either on PBS or encore HDs.
     
  16. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    I'll be on the other side of the plaza again. :p
     
  17. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    No Wagner for me. I'm eagerly anticipating Ernani!
     
  18. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I went to Aida Thursday night; it's only the second one I have ever been to and I won't even say how long ago the last one was. As with the first Aida I heard, Amneris out-sang everyone else on stage - with the exception of the Met chorus. They were fantastic and the finish of the 2nd act was truly memorable. I liked the production too; it's very nice is a tasteful Cecil B. DeMille cast of thousands way. The second act was really thrilling.
     
  19. PAskate

    PAskate New Member

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    I'm hoping to attend my first live Met performance this year. I have a girls weekend planned with friends from college and a Met opera is one of the possible events on the schedule. I've never see an opera live, but I have seen the Met live in the theatre. I'm seriously hoping that everyone's up for the opera. You can usually catch a Broadway road show in a city near you, but it's a lot harder to see high quality opera outside of the big cities.
     
  20. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    For anyone in Los Angeles, Goldstar still has some half-price tickets for the LA Opera's production of Simon Bocanegra, starring Placido Domingo.

    The LA Opera also announced its 2012-13 season and it is getting a lot of criticism for being rather uninspired. Some of the criticism is justified, particularly when you take into account that the three war horses on the calendar -- Don Giovanni, Tosca and Madama Butterfly -- have all been performed within the past five years. I understand they are trying to play things pretty safe due to the economy, but it has made me hesitant about renewing my subscription. (I probably will renew, because I am interested in seeing the other three operas, I Due Foscari, The Flying Dutchman and La Cenerentola, and the Renee Flemming Susan Graham recital.)
     
  21. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    Saw a fabulous production of Jacques Offenbach's La Périchole at New England Conservatory yesterday. So much fun! Very colorful production, excellent comedic timing and lovely singing from all the students.

    Oh, and Joyce DiDonato won a Grammy for her Diva/Divo CD the day before her birthday. This fangirl is beyond thrilled! :D
     
  22. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Not NYC, but I just got a fundraising email from Seattle Opera for the 2013 Ring Cycle, and it was entitled, "A Message from Wotan" :lol:

    Listening to Diva/Divo right now, in JDD's honor.
     
  23. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    And how did you like it, assuming you went to the HD yesterday?

    I opted for a last-minute standing room ticket, but sat down after the 1st scene as the orchestra was only about 3/4 full. Loved hearing Angela Meade live for the 1st time and I look forward to her future roles. Something was missing in Hvorostovsky's singing, but not in Furlanetto's (liked him more here than in Faust) Giordani was the weakest link: he sounded ok solo, but not in duets, esp. with Meade. I wonder how it all sounded in HD?
    I also got in to see the quiz during 1st intermission and Diana Damrau was the lovely guest hostess. She then stayed to watch Joyce DiDonato interview Furlanetto & Hvorostovsky on the HD broadcast (The Met apparently now shows interviews on TVs on the orch level :)
     
  24. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I did see it, notwithstanding I couldn't get anyone to go with me after my father had to stay home due to hip surgery (We're both making it to Manon!).

    I really liked Angela Meade and I look forward to seeing more of her.

    I am not a fan of Giordani and I think that the impact of the entire opera was lessened by not having a tenor who could make a real impact. I don't really get why he is cast in so many roles at the Met.

    I liked Hvorostovsky. I thought Furlanetto was great.
     
  25. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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  26. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Giulio Cesare is my favorite opera, and if the Met is getting a new production, then I am beyond thrilled.
     
  27. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    Got an extra ticket to Khovanshchina tomorrow at the Met. Good, but cheap orchestra seat. Any takers?

    I went to see Ernani HD encore to compare how the same performance would come across on the screen. Definitely more interesting to see costumes up close (but production is still boring). Hvorostovsky came out better on screen, Meade & Furlanetto were little worse than live: their voices carried better in house! Still didn't like Giordani. It's a shame when the title character is the weakest link vocally. Sirius had a broadcast yesterday of the same production when it premiered in 1983, with Pavarotti as Ernani. WHAT a HUGE difference!

    On our local scene, Boston Lyric Opera put up a very well-done production of Barber of Seville. A perfect mix of singing, acting, stage directing! So good that I am coming back on Sunday to see it again after seeing the final dress rehearsal :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  28. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Oh my, I wish!

    I got myself a ticket for the Washington Opera full series next season so I will be seeing some live opera!
     
  29. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Oh my, I wish too, but I can't. A friend went last week and has been raving about how good it was.
     
  30. SaSherka

    SaSherka New Member

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    Was able to find another opera lover for that extra ticket. Loved everything about the opera - music, singing, production (and a fun panel discussion with Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczala and Mariusz Kwiecien during intermission - I put most of it on YouTube & will link later if I remember)
    Now I am looking forward to L'Elisir d'Amore on Sat with a fantastic cast - Florez, Damrau, Kwiecien & Corbelli :) Squeee!