Opera Suggestions, II

kwanfan1818

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Your son will see many in his lifetime, but the first is special, no matter what it is, and this one is well worth his attention.
 

emason

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Just home from tonight's performance. Polenzani was sublime. Really liked Pretty Yende a lot. She's a soprano I'm willing to hear again, and that’s a very short list.

Also saw Tosca recently. I get the Yoncheva and Grigolo love; they were quite the dramatic duo, but OMG was he an OTT divo at the curtain calls. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
 

kwanfan1818

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First intermission of the Live in HD Met Tosca, and I'm loving it. The acting is superb, and Lucic is so aristocratic and focused as Scarpia.

My only dramatic quibble so far is that Angelotti looked too tiffed and recognizeable to have just escaped from prison.
 

kwanfan1818

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So, Scarpia: Mr. Open Secret. Perfect comportment in public -- no one else hears his words before the Test Deum -- but in private, lives up to the open secret.

That plus two Cosis this week: the #metoo Hallelujah Chorus.
 

kwanfan1818

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I was caught between having not enough time to eat and the doors not being open for Vancouver Opera's Elisir d'Amore, and I noticed scores of tiffed and be-suited high school kids :cheer2:. If they had been already seated, and not chatting happily in groups clogging up the lobby, I might never have noticed.

Teenaged boys should wear suits more often.
 

alexikeguchi

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Teenaged boys should wear suits more often.
I will keep this in mind when my son and I watch SF Opera. He's at Western Washington and lives in hoodies like most students, but he actually enjoys dressing nicely now and then. It's quite a contrast to when I used to drag him and his older brother to the Oklahoma City Symphony, where the audience was actually quite well turned-out given how casual OK is overall.
 

BlueRidge

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Last Sunday I saw Kathleen Battle at the Kennedy Center perform her program Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey. This was a sensational program of spirtuals with a small choir who each sang some solos and two jazz pianists who each accompanied her for parts of the performance. I went because I am a long time fan of hers, but it seemed like most of the sold-out audience came for the program and were not that familiar with her opera career.

Her ending encore Were you there when they crucified my lord, sung unaccompanied, was one the most remarkable vocal performances I have ever heard.
 

Spun Silver

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I'm glad she's still singing, and to sold-out crowds. I saw her many times at the Met and although she wasn't an absolute favorite of mine, her silvery voice was beautiful and memorable. I wasn't happy about the way she was forced out. She seemed to disappear off the face of the earth.
 

BlueRidge

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She made mention that the program she sang at the KC was created when she was invited to go back to "that place," as she referred to it, after 22 years. I'm glad they invited her back. She's always championed spirtuals, and this program which the KC brought for its MLK commemorations was an amazing evocation of American history and the spirit of those who lived in slavery. We were lucky the KC decided to have her come here to do the program!
 

Spun Silver

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I didn't know she was back at the Met, but it should have been for opera, and much earlier. Oh well. I wonder if this spirituals concert will be televised this month. I'd love to see it.
 

alexikeguchi

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I hope it sounded something like this performance, from earlier in the tour:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5KTte58S9w
Thank you so much for that link. Her voice is sublime, and I have always loved that spiritual. There was a choir member in my church who had actually made his way from rural Oklahoma (Langston, a town founded by African American refugees from Jim Crow) to NYC to train in opera, and he used to sing "Were You There" every Good Friday service until his own passing. He had the most lovely deep bass range and sang so evocatively. Thanks for the reminder.
 

kwanfan1818

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I was lucky to have heard some amazing voices at NYCO, Met Opera, and in recital when I was a teenager. While I get some of the trade-offs between old style and new style, old training to new training, modern vs. traditional productions, etc. etc., this season I've seen and heard two of the best depictions, dramatically and vocally, of Puccini heroines in a scary number of decades of opera-going: Yoncheva as Tosca and Lianna Haroutounian's Cio-Cio-San.
 

Spun Silver

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I hope it sounded something like this performance, from earlier in the tour:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5KTte58S9w
I have to admit that for me, no one can touch Marian Anderson's version of this spiritual and Battle doesn't even come close. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2EwljwjOPhs

But her voice sounds remarkably beautiful. I don't pretend to understand whether at this point it is still suited for any of her former roles, but I have heard far, far worse at the Met.I still think they should invite her back for opera or at least to sing a couple arias in a gala concert. Make amends before it is too late! The Met's audiences would welcome her back.
 

dinakt

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I was lucky to have heard some amazing voices at NYCO, Met Opera, and in recital when I was a teenager. While I get some of the trade-offs between old style and new style, old training to new training, modern vs. traditional productions, etc. etc., this season I've seen and heard two of the best depictions, dramatically and vocally, of Puccini heroines in a scary number of decades of opera-going: Yoncheva as Tosca and Lianna Haroutounian's Cio-Cio-San.
I have not heard Lianna H., I wish I had.
Yoncheva impressed me so much though. I keep thinking- this is old-fashioned singing, in the BEST way, pure technical and emotional commitment, no gimmicks. I'll pay to hear her anytime. All too rare to hear that quality.
 

alexikeguchi

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Thanks, kwanfan, got it on my outlook (i.e. accessory brain). I'm on central time and probably won't be able to stream the entire performance due to work demands, but I'll tune in as able!
 

kwanfan1818

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If not, maybe on Saturday the 17th -- it starts at 10:30am CST. (I'll be on the Victoria Clipper for most of it, and, hopefully I can listen to it on Sirius over the engines!)
 

alexikeguchi

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I'm going on an aurora borealis watch/winter adventure sports tour of Iceland and Swedish Lapland, but I'm expecting that the landscape and culture will start building the mood for the Ring this summer!
 

DannyCurry

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Last week, I saw Only the Sound Remains, by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. It was in English but inspired by Japanese Noh theater. 1st act was spellbinding : the staging was simple but very effective thanks to a perfect lightning. Philippe Jarrousky's voice is ethereal. However, from a purely visual perspective, I think a thinner figure might have been more appropriate for his role of the spirit/angel. (And unfortunately, as always, the audience was quite awful, being noisy, commenting and coughing, with someone who couldn't help but sneeze right at the end of the 1st Act, which made people laugh when silence was needed to appreciate that moment. The second act was ok. Though it seemed that more was happening on stage, with a dancer, I was less drawn into it.)

Earlier this season, I saw Mozart's La clemenza di Tito, which was the complete opposite. It took me about 10 or 15 minutes to get into it and I ended up loving it, owing to some wonderful arias.
 

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