1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Opera Suggestions

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    I went to see Seattle Opera's "La Traviata," the Konwitschny production made for English National Opera and Graz Opera. It was sung beautifully and with sensitivity and fidelity to the text by Corrine Winters (Violetta), Joshua Dennis (Alfredo), and Weston Hurt (Germont), whose "Di Provenza" was like velvet. It was cut so that it could be performed without intermission and clock in at less than two hours: there was no Act III ballet, chorus in Act IV, or that awful "Di Provenza" cabaletta, none of which I missed, but no repeat for "Addio, del passato," which I did. Unlike the Met "Eugene Onegin" which went directly from Act II to Act III but tried to indicate the passage of time in the transition, there was no attempt in this production, which ignored the timeline.

    It was set in the present, which was Verdi's intention when he wrote it. (His producers wouldn't take the risk.) The production was kinesthetically awkward, and not in a powerful way by the self-described "descendent of Brecht." I don't think even in 18th century period costume in the most traditional productions that the points that society is hypocritical and Violetta's friends are shallow are ever lost, but Konwitschny must have decided that we wouldn't get the point unless Germont dragged in his alleged daughter in Act II, a neurotic, clingly schoolgirl of maybe 12 max, which, since the production was set in modern-day Paris and not in the banlieus, and the Germonts weren't portrayed as conservative Muslims, made the issue of an impending marriage being jeopardized by Alfredo's relationship with Violetta inconceivable. (As Cher said at the end of "Clueless", "I'm only 16, and this is California, not Kentucky.") If you didn't already realize that Germont is a manipulative, hypocritical prick, he abuses this daughter in front of Violetta. The timing wasn't right for this to show how Violetta decided to give up Alfredo because she identified with the abused girl and wanted to save her, but even if it had, the girl's presence contradicted the dramatic situation in the text and would have been gratuitous even then. (The girl did make sense, though, of why Alfredo was portrayed like a bookish eight-year-old, two emotional basket cases clinging, literally, to Daddy's knees.) If you still didn't get that Germont was a hypocritical prick, his admonition at the end of Act III about how you do and do not treat a woman was so manipulative and hypocritical, you could not possibly miss it.

    Then there was the pistol Violetta took out of her purse; she was stopped from shooting herself by Germont. Because in modern day France, Violetta was packing.

    And if you missed the part about how Violetta was really alone and always alone, in Act IV Germont arrives down the left aisle of the orchestra and stops right next to the front row on the audience side of the orchestra pit, and after Alfredo sings his final duet with Violetta, he comes down to join his father, and they retreat up the aisle as Violetta dies alone.

    Seriously? New York City Opera did a powerful Muni production in the '80's or maybe early '90's set in the present in which Violetta died of AIDS in a sterile hospital ward. (Act III took place in a leather bar.) So it can be done. Apparently not by Konwitschny.

    It will be broadcast live on KING.org on Saturday, January 21, at 7:30pm Pacific Time. Thankfully without the visuals.
     
  2. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    7,405
    7,637
    113
    Sheesh.That seems like a complete misreading of Verdi's Germont.
     
    Wyliefan and skatesindreams like this.
  3. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    I like modern productions, those that change the time period, or regie -- and the director was adamant that this was not regie, because it didn't violate the text (NOT) -- even if they're not internally consistent or there are details that conflict with the text, if they give me something to think about, aside from "This is stupid."

    What I was hearing was very beautiful, though.
     
  4. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    Tonight, three of the singers in Seattle Opera's "La Traviata," tenor Joshua Dennis, baritone Weston Hurt, and mezzo Maya Lahyani, gave a recital sponsored by Wagner and More, Seattle's Wagner Society. As the President of WAM said, "This is the 'more'," and there was no Wagner. Dennis said before singing Lehar's "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz," he doesn't sing Wagner, but he chose a song in German.

    The program was a wide range of the more and less familiar pieces. The singers took turns, with Hurt singing Ravel's short cycle "Don Quichotte a Dulcinee," followed by Lahyani's "Brindisi" from Donizetti's "Lucrezia Borgia," and then Dennis in the familiar "Una furtiva lagrima." What followed was my favorite part of the recital, with Hurt and Lahyani performing Barber's "Three Songs," Hurt the first and third and Lahyani the middle song, and then Dennis singing Steven Mark Kohn's 2000 arrangement of "Ten Thousand Miles Away." Not that the standards that followed were anything but stellar: Hurt sang Ford's aria from "Falstaff," in which he sang in Seattle in 2010 ,and later "Di Provenza," which was as beautiful as last Saturday, Lahyani sang "Mon coeur s'ouvre at a voix," at once powerful and intimate -- Samson didn't have a chance -- and then "Habanera" -- wheee, "Carmen" void -- and Dennis ended with the Lehar, his first chance to let it rip. Lahyani's dress was :swoon:

    Jay Rozendaal was the excellent piano accompanist.

    It's rare to hear such big voices in a small venue (the recital hall at Benaroya Hall, home of Seattle Symphony) and to feel those walls of sound. The program was well thought out and beautifully sung. I wish more people had come to see it; it was truly a pleasure and a privilege.
     
    SaSherka, skatesindreams and emason like this.
  5. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    7,405
    7,637
    113
    It sounds kind of like chamber opera, which is a great experience. The intimacy with the singers and what's happening onstage is so special. I wonder if that will make a comeback with opera audiences seemingly on the decline. I haven't been to the Met in a while but it's been gradually getting quite depressing, between the empty seats and the chipped paint on the walls.
     
  6. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    7,405
    7,637
    113
    I heard some beautiful music from Rusalka OTHER than the aria to the moon or whatever it's called on Operavore the other night, and in the course of trying to learn more about the opera, I came across this awful review of the Met's new production. There seem to be some very positive reviews up too, but this one is deliciously evil. Has anyone seen it?
    http://observer.com/2017/02/met-opera-review-rusalka/

    Also via Operavore, I hear that Stephanie Blythe will be doing Tancredi in Philadelphia (and an interesting concert) soon.
    https://www.operaphila.org/about/news-press/pressroom/2017/tancredi/
     
  7. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    3,802
    1,339
    113
    Am going to Tancredi on Sunday the 19th and Rusalka on Tuesday the 21st, so no reports until then. Am really looking forward to Tancredi. (And am also using it as a dry run to see how easy it is to get to Philly from NY for me, as one of these days I am really going to want to go to Philly for the ballet.)
     
    kwanfan1818, SaSherka and Wyliefan like this.
  8. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    7,405
    7,637
    113
    Good for you. I used to go between Philly and NYC fairly often. It's not bad except that the trains got very few and far between after 10 pm or so, which made going to evening performances difficult. I still managed to do them though.

    If I were doing it again I would look at bus schedules. They come more often, cost less, and the Greyhound/Peter Pan ones (if they are still around) go right into center city, Philadelphia. I find them more pleasant anyway. Super-padded seats and no constant stream of people carrying around smelly food. There are also other, super cheap buses between NYC and Boston -- maybe Philly as well?
     
  9. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    3,802
    1,339
    113
    I'll look into the bus next time I go. Friend I am going with wanted to train it this time, so Amtrak it is, as we are meeting another friend who is coming by train from where she lives out in PA. The three of us will then meet fourth member of the party for brunch. Opera matinee is at 2:30, gets out around 5:30-6, train back is around 7PM. Should be doable. As for the opera, we aren't sitting together. We just bought our tickets one by one, going by price and guess about where we thought we'd like to sit. Definitely an exploratory trip, but it should be fun. OK, I've gone way off topic, but will report in about the performance.

    As for Rusalka, I think the night I am going is the same night as Coronation of Poppea at Carnegie Hall. My instinct says I should be going to that instead, but it's too late now, as I am meeting up with a friend at Rusalka. Ah well! Who knows, maybe I will love the Rusalka.
     
    Spun Silver and kwanfan1818 like this.
  10. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    22,268
    13,483
    113
    kwanfan1818, Spun Silver and Wyliefan like this.
  11. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    20,461
    7,437
    113
    Awesome! I'm going with a group to see Fidelio in April. Taking the train there and the bus back (the leader of our group wants to take a late-night train back and get in around 1 in the morning, but I ain't up for that!). It'll make for a very long day, but I'm looking forward to it.
     
    emason likes this.
  12. SaSherka

    SaSherka Well-Known Member

    4,904
    1,037
    113
    Listening to I Puritani broadcast from the Met now (first intermission). Flying to Philly for Rossini's Tancredi this Sunday. Seeing Rusalka and I Puritani at the Met in 2 weeks. That covers me for the next month ;)
    Cheers!
     
  13. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    @emason, will Corella and his penchant for dancers who do circus tricks in the classics, I'm not sure you'll want to be in Philly for the ballet anytime soon.
     
  14. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    3,802
    1,339
    113
    @kwanfan1818, I hear you, but sometimes I just need a getaway. I think Corella has a new production of Corsaire in the works or am I misremembering?; it might be worth a look. Every once in a while a girl just needs to blow town.
     
    Spun Silver likes this.
  15. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    How about Boston for "Artifact"?
     
  16. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    3,802
    1,339
    113
    That's a great suggestion, but because of other stuff going on with me at the moment it's just not possible. I'll consider Boston for a future getaway though.
     
    kwanfan1818 likes this.
  17. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
  18. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    20,461
    7,437
    113
    I am going to have to buy a ticket to the Met (hopefully I can find someone to go with me!) because I CANNOT miss Netrebko in Tosca. I can't believe they won't be showing her in the HD! I thought for sure they would!
     
  19. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    3,802
    1,339
    113
    Thanks, @kwanfan1818. #1 on my list is Semiramide; I've been wanting to experience that opera live for at least 25 years.
     
  20. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    Just for getting ready for it,

    KDFC has an San Francisco Opera 1981 archived performance with Monserrat Caballe and Marilyn Horne on its website on demand through February 28 (scroll):
    http://www.kdfc.com/KDFC-OnDemand--Stream-the-San-Francisco-Symphony-B/17262965

    On February 26 at 5pm CET -- 11am EST? -- Bayerische Staatsoper is streaming Semiramide live. Cast includes DiDonato, Barcelona, and Brownlee:
    https://www.staatsoper.de/en/staatsopertv.html?no_cache=1

    It always takes me a long time poking around their site to find the actual feed, then there's a little sponsor thing that plays, then if you select subtitles, the sponsor thing plays again, so count in some set up time. Also, it's one shot, unless you know someone who can record it. There are no official archives or do-overs.
     
    emason likes this.
  21. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    3,802
    1,339
    113
  22. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
  23. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    Roberta Peters, who, at 20, had a "star is born" moment when she subbed for a colleague as Zerlina, died earlier this year. The Met has put up a page of photos in her memory:
    http://www.metopera.org/News-Flash/Met-News-Flash1/remembering-roberta-peters/

    A guy down the hall from me freshman year of college grew up in the suburb in which she lived, and he said she was fully involved with school activities, and she would show up for pancake breakfast fundraisers totally tiffed :glamor:

    For an example of her tiffedness, see the last photo, taken in her 50's.

    She was known beyond opera for her many appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
     
    Spun Silver likes this.
  24. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    22,268
    13,483
    113
    Thanks for sharing the photos.
    I shared articles, upthread.
     
  25. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    I don't know how I missed your post -- thank you so much for the articles, @skatesindreams!
     
  26. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    48,647
    16,629
    113
    I'm thinking the same thing.

    Though I'm also looking forward to the Live in HD with Kristine Opolais and Jonas Kaufmann!

    I was just looking through the casting for the Live in HD, whee ha, a lot of goodies!

    Norma with Sondra R.
    L'Elisir D'Amour with Pretty Yende
    Semiramide with Angela Meade

    I've sent off for my subscription for the Washington Opera. At the moment I can't remember what they are doing except for the one I'm most looking forward to Alcina with Angela Meade.

    And also just enjoyed Diana Damrau on the radio in I Puritani
     
  27. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    20,461
    7,437
    113
    I like Opolais pretty well, but honestly, she doesn't have half the voice Netrebko does. As for Kaufmann, not to be a cynic, but if he actually shows up I'll be surprised.

    Those other HDs you mentioned do sound good, though!
     
  28. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

    48,647
    16,629
    113
    Netrebko is absolutely my favorite voice.

    I'm interested to see Opolais next week in Rusalka.
     
    Wyliefan and skatesindreams like this.
  29. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    22,268
    13,483
    113
    Lucky are my friends who have access to the best in opera!
    I wish that NY and DC were more "convienient" for me.
     
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    26,661
    12,634
    113
    I don't love Opolais' voice, but I love most of what she does as a singing actress.

    But I also loved Leonie Rysanek, who had some seriously bad days mixed in there, the equivalent of going from the podium to not making the free skate: with her, too, it wasn't really about the tone of the voice.

    If Kaufmann doesn't show for a NYE opener of what is described as a traditional (new) production of "Tosca" with all of the bells and whistles that implies, and his long-time vocal partner-in-crime-Opalais and the HD, I don't know what will bring him back to the Met.

    A few years ago I heard him in recital on my way to an East Coast bar mitzvah and in "Werther" on my way home from it, and I loved him and that dark timbre in his voice. On the other hand, I heard Grigolo's "Werther" on Sirius this past Thursday, and he was pretty darn wonderful, too.

    I'll be sad if Kaufmann doesn't show, but there are a lot of wonderful tenors out there. (My tenor crush is Polenzani, and I can't wait for the "Idomeneo" HD.)
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.