Opera Suggestions, II

emason

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@Spun Silver, back to the booing of Edda Moser and the conductor. After 40+ years my memories are growing dim, but it is my recollection that the performance I saw was the reviewed one. I was definitely aware that Morris was gallantly stepping in, and the words 'Met debut in the role' have always been associated with that night in my mind.

I was up in the cheaper seats where the claques hung out in those days. Since I was sitting up in claque territory, it makes sense to me that the boos might have sounded louder up there. There is no question that the boos were intended for Moser and the conductor. The production team was not there at the curtain calls, so no boos for them. The other singers all got applause, not boos.

The performance of the night for me was Te Kanawa. She was on fire and tore up the stage, a very, very feisty Donna Elvira; her dramatic presence just grabbed me. Moser seemed subdued in comparison; maybe that was part of the problem.

This was probably only the third or fourth time I had ever been to the opera at that point, so I had an awful lot to learn. At that time I wasn't following specific singers; I just bought a subscription for a night that was convenient for me with operas that I had heard of and thought I would like to hear.
 

emason

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Sorry, no report on the Ariodante at Carnegie Hall. Health issues kept me at home.

3 BIG CHEERs to @kwanfan1818 though; I was able to watch the whole thing streamed on Medici, so I didn't totally miss out.

OMG at Polinesso's lounge lizard pants. Likewise all the bling Sonia Prina was sporting. The view was certainly better than in the hall, even if my iPad really didn't do the sound justice. I will re watch at some point on my Mac.
 

kwanfan1818

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It's Intermission at a performance in which I've just heard the tenor butcher the lead role in my favorite opera. He has a very nice ringing top, but this isn't my idea of singing.

I'd leave now, but I want to hear the soprano sing the final act.

However, to anyone within a shot if Vancouver, I would very highly recommend the brilliant chamber production of Marriage of Figari, which plays through May 18 at the Vancouver Playhouse. The acoustics were not made for music, but the first eight rows, at least, are fine.

I saw the debut of the second cast this afternoon, and while the solos were top notch, I've never heard the ensembles done better or such a detailed theatrical performance of the opera.

ETA: I'm really glad I stayed for the second half, Acts III & IV. Erin Wall, the Desdemona, was worth every minute: she owned every scene she was in in those two acts. The Cassio, John Cudia, was terrific, too.

This afternoon all of the singers were stellar. Pascale Spinney, was delicious as the adolescent Cherubino. Her bio says she was a semi-finalist in this year's Met Opera Council Auditions, and she's headed to Santa Fe for their apprentice program, from which many great artists have come.

The costume designer, Sid Neigum, created a contemporary-period fusion, and he had a great time with the shoes.
 
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kwanfan1818

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If they don't release today's "Der Rosenkavalier" Live in HD to DVD, I am going g to hunt down Peter Gelb and slap him silly.

I didn't know how Robert Carsen would surpass his Falstaff, but the first two acts have been perfection.

And the Sophie, Erin Morley, looks like the love child of Patricia Racette and Ksenia Stolbova.
 

kwanfan1818

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Renee Fleming gave one swoop, like a "Nina" at the start of the scene between her, Garanca, and Morley.

The curtain calls were :wuzrobbed.

I'd switch teams for a cross-dressing Elina Garanca any day, but she has no trouser roles left in her rep :drama:
 

emason

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Am looking forward to Wednesday's re-airing, even if I have to crawl on hands and knees to get there. Want the chance to ogle everyone/everything up close.
 

kwanfan1818

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The only thing that suffered from a long shot was the very, very end. If I hadn't heard it described, I would never have understood what it meant.

Considering that the production places it at the time written, just a few years before the breakout of WWI, Ochs' assertion that Sophie would be treated at Ochs' level after the marriage, and Sophie's separate assertion that there would be what for if she wasn't treated that way had an historical sting: Franz Ferdinand's beloved wife was not royal enough, ie, descended from the throne, and the ultra-conservative guy in charge of protocol convinced his father, who was against the marriage, that it had to be morganatic, and enforced this anywhere he could reach in the empire. She couldn't sit beside him, ride in the royal carriages, in royal processions she came out after royal toddlers, etc. Sarajevo was one of few places she could be treated as a royal, and that last trip didn't turn out so well. Which isn't to say that he might not have been assassinated elsewhere, or that another pretense wouldn't have been created to start the war, but still.
 

BlueRidge

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I did love seeing Der Rosenkavalier. I like the new production and Renee and Elina were superb. Of course, Elina is my kind of man. ;)

I though Erin Morley was wonderful as Sophie. I'd like to see her more.

Now that Renee has retired the role from her repertoire, when next the Met performs Der Rosenkavalier, who should be the Marschallin?
 

kwanfan1818

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If you get a chance, go see "The Paris Opera" documentary ("L'Opera") by Jean-Stephane Bron, who documented the tumultuous 2015-16 season. It's mostly about Lissner, who head the house, several opera productions, the company's outreach youth orchestra program, and a young, exceptionally talented Russian bass-baritone, Mikhail Timoshenko, who auditioned for and was selected for their multi-year young artists development program, with a little ballet thrown in as seasoning, including the entire kerfuffle over Benjamin Millepied's departure.

I can't find credits and didn't recognize everyone, but it had Bryn Terfel and a few shots of Jonas Kaufman rehearsing "Damnation of Faust," Brandon Jovanovich and Gerald Finley in rehearsal for "Die Meistersinger" -- he was replaced in at least the opening by Michael Kupfer-Radecky at the very last minute in a complicated production -- and, I think it was Toby Spence who was the singer struggling with the word "Wurst," and Olga Peretyatko as Gilda, with some longshots and audio of Quinn Kelsey's Rigoletto.

It's snarkalicious, with plenty of backstage/behind-the-scenes footage.
 
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BlueRidge

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So now Kristine Opolais has withdrawn from Tosca at the Met.

She's replaced by Sonya Yoncheva.

I'm not surprised after the comment the NY Times writer made about Opolais's performance of Vissi d'Arte at the Gala. I like Opolais and I'm disappointed that her star is not rising anymore it seems.

Yoncheva is a very strong voice so she probably can be a good Tosca I guess. I haven't really liked her when I've heard in Met Radio broadcasts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/arts/music/met-opera-tosca-opolais-yoncheva.html
 

kwanfan1818

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I was looking forward to hearing Opalais' Tosca and seeing it in HD. I've never heard her live, though, and plenty of singers sound different than on mikes.

I really loved her Rusalka in HD.

I hope she's okay.
 

kwanfan1818

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Seattle Opera's summer opera is a New Zealand Opera physical production of "Madame Butterfly" directed by Kate Cherry. It's a beautiful box set in the middle of the stage, with sliding shoji screens, and the lighting by Matt Scott is splendid.

In the smaller roles, Renee Rapier's Suzuki and Rodell Rosel's Goro were dead on vocally and dramatically. Weston Hurt sang Sharpless with sensitivity and elegance, traits he also showed here as Germont and Nabucco. I finally got to hear Alexey Dolgov, the :swoon: Lensky in the last Met in HD "Eugene Onegin," who has a wonderful voice live, too, but, poor guy: according to the Seattle Times, on opening night last Saturday, he had vocal difficulties and only sang Act I, with the tenor from the other cast, Dominick Chenes, stepping in for Act III -- if the smoke from the BC wildfires didn't do it, I'm sure it didn't help if he was ailing -- and he was in great voice tonight, but, Seattle audiences boo the villain, and while there were many candidates in this opera, he got the nomination. In the program, he said that he's been booed every time he's sung Pinkerton in America, and his colleagues reassured him it wasn't about him, but he sounded so great tonight, it would have been nice for him to get some cheers. The chorus was terrific, too, which is SOP or them, and during the humming chorus, they had at least some of the chorus up near the high boxes, and the effect was magical.

The first, second, and third stars of the game go to Lianna Haroutounian, the Cio-Cio-San. She was very close to the stratosphere of my goddess, Stephanie Blythe. Her performance was a knockout. She's the real deal.

Seattle Opera broadcasts the middle Saturday night performance on KING-FM, including via streaming internet. That's this Saturday, August 12 at 7:30pm PDT, 10:30pm EDT

http://www.king.org/

First act is about 50 minutes, followed by a 30-minute intermission, and then Acts II-III running straight through (~90 minutes).

And great news for the community: Seattle Opera is reviving "An American Dream" this September (7, 8, 10m, 14, 15, 17m) at Washington Hall. (seattleopera.org/americandream).
 

Spun Silver

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Just mentioning that a company called Dell'Arte opera will be doing Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen with a small orchestra, in Czech, at La Mama in the East Village this W, F and Sun. afternoon. It is an incredibly beautiful and original opera. I've never seen a production worthy of it but I live in hope. Running time is under 2 hours, with one intermission, and tix start at $29. I will be going on Friday night, https://www.fevo.com/discovery/dellArte-Opera-Ensemble-UNTAMED-Opera-Festival-AezEO2hu

They are also doing La Calisto on Thus. and Sat. but I am not familiar with that one.

On another note: does the whole world know about Elizabeth DeShong? I had never heard of her until I caught some of her Rosina in Barbiere on the radio while driving to CT this weekend, until we lost the station. Such a warm, beautiful voice, and her coloratura is astounding. I hope to see her in Semiramide at the Met this season.
 

kwanfan1818

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New York City Opera did a beautiful production by Maurice Sendak in the early '80''s and it was broadcast in the "Live from Lincoln Center" series in 1983:
http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1228875/

Corsaro directed and Michael Tilson Thomas conducted the premiere. Gianna Roland sang Vixen Sharp-Ears.

This was the NYT review from 1981:
http://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/11/arts/opera-janacek-s-vixen-with-design-by-sendak.html

I saw it a handful of times: the music is gorgeous.

According to the review of the 1991 revival, the sets and costumes had to be reconstructed, because the originals were destroyed in a warehouse fire.
http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/22/arts/review-opera-the-return-of-a-refurbished-vixen.html

It was revived at least once by NYCO after that.
 

Spun Silver

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^ Yeah, I've seen that one, and I know it is well regarded, but it seemed cartoonish and childish to me. (Maybe because I've never been a Sendak fan particularly.) I dont know what I am looking for exactly, but something that connects with Janacek's compassion, imagination and beauty better. He's such a marvelous composer. I am not familiar with the Glyndebourne production but I like the look of the vixen in the little clip below -- a wild woman in a dress holding a foxtail instead of full-out animal dress. It will be interesting to see what this East Village production is like. I saw a review that said they politicized it in a rather obnoxious way (maybe the chicken revolution?) but that at least that aspect was contained.
https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/jun/04/cunning-little-vixen-glyndebourne-opera
 

Spun Silver

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So, Dell'Arte Opera's Vixen at La Mama was wonderful. Finally, a production that lets the music star. It is homespun but the young singers were really excellent. They had a lot of Czech coaching. And the orchestra made a huge sound for only [nb EDIT] 16 players. There is one more performance, on Sunday afternoon. I wish I could go again. Highly recommended!
 
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SaSherka

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Caught up on half a year worth of comments and wanted to give a heads up that Met's Der Rosenkavalier is airing this Sunday on PBS! http://www.thirteen.org/13pressroom/press-release/great-performances-met-der-rosenkavalier/

Highlights of my last 5 months of opera adventures: the 5-hour Lincoln Center's 50th anniversary gala at the Met was quite an EVENT, Adriana Lecouvreur with Netrebko and Semenchuk, I vespri siciliani with Abdrazakov and The Snow Maiden at the Mariinsky's Stars of the White Nights in June, the absolutely fantastic Alcina production at the Santa Fe Opera a couple weeks ago and also Venera Gimadieva's debut in The Golden Cockerel there. As usual, all my crazy adventures are on my twitter @SaSherka.

Planning to see Norma (possibly 2.5 casts) at the Met this fall, as well as The Exterminating Angel, Thais, Parsifal, Semiramide, Elektra, Cendrillon, Luisa Miller and Trebs' Tosca in the spring.

Happy 2017-2018 season listening!
 

kwanfan1818

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For those in DC, there are discounted tickets available to Washington Opera's "Aida" from Goldstar (bolded performances available now)

https://www.goldstar.com/events/washington-dc/washington-national-opera-aida-tickets

From the Kennedy Center website:

Aida:
Tamara Wilson (9/9, 13, 16, 18, 21 & 23)
Leah Crocetto (9/10, 15 & 17) **

Amneris:
Ekaterina Semenchuk (9/9, 13, 16, 18 & 23)
Marina Prudenskaya (9/10, 15, 17 & 21)

Radamès:
Yonghoon Lee (9/9, 13, 16, 18, 21 & 23)
Carl Tanner (9/10, 15 & 17)

Amonasro:
Gordon Hawkins

Ramfis:
Morris Robinson

The King:
Soloman Howard
**Goldstar lists Amber Wagner as the other Aida in their blurb, but she withdrew and the replacement was announced in August:
https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwop...A-Leah-Crocetto-Joins-the-Production-20170816
 

BlueRidge

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I saw Aida last night. Overall, I thought it was spectacular!

I actually thought I wouldn't like it as I was kind of irritated with the mock hieroglyphic designs that were featured over and over in promotional materials. And I didn't much like the opening scene which seemed drab with what I felt were too literal military uniform costumes. But by the time they got to the triumphal march scene it had all gelled and I was totally enthralled. The judgement scene was spectacularly dramatic and vivid.

I thought both Tamara Wilson and Ekaterina Semenchuk were really good, though ultimately Semenchuk really blew everything away in the judgement scene. Also really good was Morris Robinson as Ramfis. Yonghoon Lee was good but I wasn't overwhelmed with his performance.

I'm not the most critical opera goer, I'm sure there was more to critique but I was quite thrilled with it. I'd go again if I had the time.
 

kwanfan1818

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Verdi really stacked it for the mezzo in Act IV, between the scene with Radames and the Judgement scene. I read somewhere that Verdi considered naming the opera "Amneris."
 

BlueRidge

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I've never gone to the Opera in the Outfield, but I think this Aida performance will be a great one to go to.
 

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