Opera Suggestions, II

emason

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No argument from me about Figaro either, although it is only #2 on my all-time great list. (#1 is Guilio Cesare.)

ETA: Oops, The should be Giulio, not Guilio.
 
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Spun Silver

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No argument from me about Figaro either, although it is only #2 on my all-time great list. (#1 is Guilio Cesare.)
:) I am listening to Piangero la mia sorte at this very moment. Sena Jurinac's farewell recital in London, 1981.
 

reckless

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Haven't posted in this thread for awhile, but saw Tales of Hoffman at the LA Opera tonight. It was the first time I've ever seen it, but the production was incredible. Vittorio Grigolo may be my tenor crush and, ironically, we may have lucked out that Diana Damrau and Nicolas Teste both have been ill. Teste was replaced by Christian Van Horn and I cannot imagine anyone performing the four villains better than he did. Damrau was excellent as Antonia, but her illness a few weeks ago meant that she did not perform all three of Hoffman's love. Instead, So Young Park sang Olympia and Kate Aldrich sang Giuletta. Park, in particular, was brilliant. I saw her Queen of the Night last year and absolutely love her voice.

To add to the the great production, I spent the evening sitting next to Susan Graham. I had to restrain myself from being a total fangirl. She is in town for a concert on Saturday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of our young artist training program, which she will be helping direct next year. The concert should be great. The lineup includes Placido, Damrau, Sondra Radvanovsky, and most of the current young artists, including Park.
 

reckless

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^ I've seen Susan Graham herself in Hoffmann. Nicklasse, years ago.
That's so funny. During an intermission, another singer, who I did not recognize, came over and they chatted briefly. The other singer asked if Graham had ever sung Hoffman, and she said, "No," but then added that she "covered Nicklausse" briefly.
 

Spun Silver

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That's so funny. During an intermission, another singer, who I did not recognize, came over and they chatted briefly. The other singer asked if Graham had ever sung Hoffman, and she said, "No," but then added that she "covered Nicklausse" briefly.
I guess it's my word against hers! :lol:
I think I mixed her up with Susan Quittmeyer. Sorry!
 

Spun Silver

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Oh, I figured you must have seen her when she covered the role.
Given how many times I've seen Hoffmann at the Met (esp in the Shicoff years) I may well have, but I do think I have mixed up the Susans for years and only now realized it. I dont like the Nicklausse part anyway so that probably contributed to my confusion (not sure I saw either of them in anything else). Thank you for helping me realize at last that they are two different singers!
 

kwanfan1818

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Joyce DiDonato just posted to Facebook that Alice Coote will replace her in the European tour part of "Ariodante" with Harry Bicket and the English Consort. She'll do the North American tour, then return to Europe for surgery to remove cysts (not vocal) and then rest and sing in "War and Peace" in Paris. The cancelled dates were the time she could arrange everything with her doctors.

Some of this is written and some in the video in the post:
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=joyce didonato

(I can't get a direct link; I'm not sure why.)

I hope her surgery is uneventful and that she recovers quickly and fully.

While that is happening, Europe will hear the amazing Alice Coote.
 

emason

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The Ariodante is coming up at Carnegie Hall at the end of the month. I (and possibly others here) shall report.
 

emason

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Intermission at the Met's new Rosenkavalier.

Garanca is amazing: the most fully realized Octavian as a character I've ever seen.

Chemistry between Fleming and Garanca is off the charts.

More later..,
 

emason

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Haven't seen it. More details, please.

Meanwhile, I'm still on a high from Rosenkavalier. Every other time I've seen it (always the old Met production) Octavian has been negligible. Well sung but a cipher as a character. Not so last night.

Whether it's the staging in the new production, the fact I didn't have the usual trouble reading the back of the seat supertitles, or the fact that Garanca is a prodigious talent I don't know, but this Octavian is a real character and the center of the opera. The action may revolve around the changing circumstances of the Marschallin's life but she is not the central character as I had always previously thought. What a moment of epiphany for me. Others mileage may vary.

Also need to mention: best Ochs ever for me also.

I'll reserve comments on the new production until those of you planning to see it in HD do so. For anyone attempting to see a remaining performance at the Met, right side of the house is to be preferred. I was center left and even that was too far left. This issue is the way the set is angled. Those of you see the HD will understand what I mean.

ETA: There were conducting issues at the start. Orchestra drowned out Fleming and Garanca in their first, all-important scene. Situation did resolve as the opera went on; the blame goes squarely to the conductor, not the singers. The screaming chemistry between Fleming and Garanca saved the day; it almost, but not quite, didn't matter that we couldn't hear them.
 
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Spun Silver

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Aaargh, @emason, are you insulting my beloved Tatiana Troyanos? Octavian was one of her signature roles at the Met. She was a marvelous actress - I dont think even her detractors, if she had any, would have called her a cypher! I still cant bring myself to go see anyone else. But your enthusiasm makes me think maybe it's time. Maybe.
 

emason

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@Spun Silver,

I am not disparaging your beloved Tatiana Troyanos. The fact is simply that I never saw/heard her sing - not in anything. There are great gaps in my opera-going. I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune.** I went to the opera a few times briefly in the mid-70s, and then abandoned opera completely for 20 years. It was only after 20 years of seeing/hearing every Swan Lake production that came through town that I had a moment of epiphany one night. It just flashed through my mind that I thought the tempi were slow and Swan Lake didn't sound good. Aha, I thought, after hearing this music so many times you've begun to develop a critical ear. At that point I realized I could venture into opera again.

Music, as I've mentioned before, is always a destination event for me. One buys a ticket and goes to a performance. I rarely listen to CDs I own, and it has been 5 years at least since the last time I turned my radio on. I almost never have music on in the house, but buy a ticket and go in person - no problem, budget permitting.

My first Octavian was Rosalind Elias, and I'm fairly certain I heard Susan Graham at some point. The others, I'm not so sure of.

**Family boasting coming up. Feel free to ignore. I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune, as I said. Likewise my late mother. 99% of the musical talent in my family was inherited by my mother's cousin, the great bass baritone, George London. One of my uncle's got the other 1%. It's ironic that with such a great talent in the family line, I struggle so with opera. My grandmother, a sibling of George's father, maintained that the real talent in the family resided in the generations of their father and grandfather; the men of the family in those generations were all cantors back in their Lithuanian shtetl.
 

kwanfan1818

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Pavarotti always said his father was the tenor in the family.

I'd never heard George London live, but I have on his recordings, and he had a magnificent voice :respec:

I, too, have never seen a "Rosenkavalier" with a fully realized Octavian characterization. The only thing I heard Troyanos live in was Sesto.

I've been sucking up as many interviews and round-table discussions on Sirius as I can. It's only the description of the production that made made me buy a ticket to the Live in HD.

During the post-letter scene, after Onegin tells her it would never work and warns her to be more discreet, because the next guy would take advantage of her, he kisses her. (Mattei was like a Strindberg character in that scene.) In this production, at the very end of the opera, after she sings her final goodbye, she wraps her arms around him and gives him a long and passionate kiss before she leaves -- it's an outdoor scene -- leaving him with his last few self-pitying lines before he collapses in fetal position. (I'm not sure if the latter is just Mattei's choice or part of the staging. But since he's at least 6'6", it was impressive.)
 
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Spun Silver

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^^'Thanks for the response and autobiographical notes, @emason. I did not know about your long timeout from opera (yes, you missed virtually all of Troyanos's long Met career) and can hardly believe you are tone deaf, even if you sing off key. I believe those are different things - but maybe not. How impressive that you are related to George London.

Yes, Troyanos was an iconic Octavian - it was her Met debut role and one she sang into middle age. She was tall, dark, handsome, and a true singing actress who threw herself into every role she sang, Kundry, Ariodante, Eboli, Carmen (recording only, never in an opera house) and Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi being among my favorites, along with Octavian and the Composer. I will never forget her in a concert performance of Ariodante opposite the young soprano June Anderson. Despite wearing an evening gown Troyanos characteristically performed the dickens out of the title role, at one point passionately taking the hand of a startled, petrified Anderson. She was once quoted as saying, "I must get ahold of a role or die" and that commitment is what made her such an exciting artist. In Rosenkavalier she was Octavian every second she was on that stage, whether she was moving or singing or just standing off to the side. There was a Met DVD of a complete 1982 Rosenkavalier with Levine conducting (at his most sublime), and Troyanos, Te Kanawa, Judith Blegen, and Kurt Moll (my favorite Ochs). It is out of print (https://www.amazon.com/Strauss-Rose...01GUPBFW0/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8) but can apparently be rented on Youtube. But then, recordings are not of interest to you. I am glad you enjoyed the performance with Fleming and Garajca and enjoyed getting your mid-performance bulletin!
http://www.metopera.org/Season/On-Demand/opera/?upc=811357018675
 

emason

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Thanks, @Spun Silver. I wish I had come to opera earlier and more frequently, but the first few times I tried were meaningless to me.

One of the first things I heard at the Met was a Don Giovanni. James Morris was the Don (in his first season of doing it at the Met IIRC), Te Kanawa tore up the stage as Donna Elvira, while Edda Moser was Donna Anna. At the curtain calls, Moser was booed, and I mean BOOED, and then the conductor (whoever it was) likewise. I had had what I thought was a perfectly enjoyable evening and had no idea a large section of the audience was so unhappy with the performance. I have no clue what anyone thought was so egregiously wrong. I did learn later that Moser was known as a German lieder singer, and perhaps thought not to be suited to Mozart, but the strength of the boos hurled at Moser and the conductor were something I have never forgotten. I was out of my depth with no critical sense about what I was hearing, so I retreated from opera. Dance, especially ballet, became my passion, since, while music was important, the visual was even more so, and that I could get.

I had a friend who was a great opera-goer, and he tried to help me. He adored Maria Callas, whereas I thought her voice shrill and unpleasant. Richard hauled out 2 different CDs of Puritani one night and played me the same aria, first with Callas, then with Joan Sutherland. Did I hear a difference? Actually, yes, I answered. Sutherland has a beautiful voice, but I have no clue what she's singing. I think she must have marbles in her mouth. Callas is assaulting my eardrums, but the melodic line was beautifully sustained, and I heard every syllable of perfect Italian. Richard just laughed and pronounced me fit to attend the opera whenever I wanted, so eventually I dipped my toes back in and started going again.
 

BlueRidge

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I will never be an opera connoisseur, but I'm okay with that. :lol: I just like it and I derive great enjoyment from it even if I don't have a sophisticated appreciation for the music.

Der Rosenkavalier was actually the second opera I ever saw live. The first was La Boheme, my mother a huge opera fan, specifically took me to see that so I could appreciate opera. I liked it. The Der Rosenkavalier was an accident, my parents had tickets and my father went out of town so I went. I had no idea what I was seeing/hearing. For many years I thought Strauss was not listenable and Der Rosenkavalier was dry and boring. :lol: I learned otherwise when I got to appreciate opera more.

The performance I saw was the Met at the Kennedy Center with Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, Frederica Von Stade, and Kathleen Battle.

I LOVE Elina Garanca and I cannot wait to see the live in HD, not least now after reading emason's posts!
 

emason

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@BlueRidge, I hope I haven't oversold it for you. I don't want anyone to be disappointed because I gave it such high praise.

Here in NY we get Wednesday repeats of the Saturday HDs (don't know about elsewhere); it's easier to get tickets for those, and I'm considering going. I want to see the interaction between Fleming and Garanca up close; also want a closer look at some of the costumes.
 

Spun Silver

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The performance I saw was the Met at the Kennedy Center with Elizabeth Schwartzkopf, Frederica Von Stade, and Kathleen Battle.
!
Surely you mean Elisabeth Söderström or Renee Fleming or someone else. Schwarzkopf was from an earlier era.

@emason, I'm a little intrigued by your experience of vociferous booing at the Met. That doesnt happen very often and when it does it usually gets a newspaper story! I am not doubting you but the review (likely of a different performance) gives no clue. Very often it is the production that gets booed but this seems to have been a familiar production. Moser was a respected Mozartian and filmed the role of Donna Anna (again with Te Kanawa as Elvira) a few years later. http://www.nytimes.com/1975/01/17/archives/morris-stepping-in-sings-fine-giovanni.html
http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F01E5DA1738E732A25755C0A9679D946890D6CF
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edda_Moser

I've experienced mild booing at the Met but never the kind of scene you describe. I would kind of like to, to see what it's like, but I'm sure I would feel terrible if it was aimed at a singer. I dont mind when a bad production gets booed, though. The audience has a right to protest when an opera is wrecked for multiple seasons by some trendy stage director who thinks his or her work is more important than the music, libretto and even the singers.
 
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dinakt

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@Spun Silver,



**Family boasting coming up. Feel free to ignore. I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune, as I said. Likewise my late mother. 99% of the musical talent in my family was inherited by my mother's cousin, the great bass baritone, George London. One of my uncle's got the other 1%. It's ironic that with such a great talent in the family line, I struggle so with opera. My grandmother, a sibling of George's father, maintained that the real talent in the family resided in the generations of their father and grandfather; the men of the family in those generations were all cantors back in their Lithuanian shtetl.
George London:eek::swoon::swoon::swoon:!!! I absolutely love him. Some time in my life I was obsessing over the recording of Strauss's "Arabella" with London and Lisa della Casa.
@SpunSilver. Troyanos. Also :swoon: times infinity. Never heard her live, but another of my early opera obsessions was DVD of "Capriccio" (also Strauss) from San Francisco/93. I heard that Troyanos was already sick at that time, and then in the final days in the hospital she kept watching this DVD...
 

Spun Silver

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11,606
.
@SpunSilver. Troyanos. Also :swoon: times infinity. Never heard her live, but another of my early opera obsessions was DVD of "Capriccio" (also Strauss) from San Francisco/93. I heard that Troyanos was already sick at that time, and then in the final days in the hospital she kept watching this DVD...
Ah, I have never listened to that one because it was her last role.... I was very fortunate to live in NYC and see her often during almost her whole post-European career. If you look at her Wikipedia article, obviously written by a very knowledgeable fan, it tells another touching story about her final day in the hospital. She and George London were friends, I think -- she was one of the singers who banded together to put on a fundraising concert for him when he was ill. It is available on CD with the addition of him singing An die Musik.
 
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kwanfan1818

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medici.tv is streaming the "Ariodante" from Carnegie Hall this Sunday, April 30, at 2pm EDT/11am PDT:

http://www.medici.tv/en/concerts/joyce-didonato-english-concert-handel-ariodante/

Joyce DiDonato | Mezzo-soprano (Ariodante)
Christiane Karg | Soprano (Ginevra)
Mary Bevan | Dalinda
Sonia Prina | Contralto (Polinesso)
David Portillo | Tenor (Lurcanio)
Matthew Brook | Bass baritone (King of Scotland)
Tyson Miller | Tenor (Odoardo)
The English Concert | Orchestra
Harry Bicket | Conductor
 

emason

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Onegin is such a shameless asshole, and I love how he gets his in this Met production :EVILLE:.
I love how we get Wednesday re-airings of the Saturday broadcasts. I went tonight, and, yes, totally satisfying ending for Oregon. He is such a weasel. I would have gone for Lensky myself.

It's known that I am not a Netrebko fan, but she won me over in this. I give her mad props for her dramatic acting skills; I'm just never going to love the voice.
 

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