Opera Suggestions, II

alexikeguchi

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:respec: Is your son continuing to enjoy it as much as you are?
Yes, he most certainly is! This event has also been a great opportunity for us to spend one on one time and discuss philosophy, literature, and psychology as two adults, which is really fun. I've been a full time working mother, though very involved in my children's activities, and sometimes I've wondered whether I was making the right choices. Now that I see the young adults they've become, I feel very happy with how they turned out.
 

Spun Silver

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Yes, he most certainly is! This event has also been a great opportunity for us to spend one on one time and discuss philosophy, literature, and psychology as two adults, which is really fun. I've been a full time working mother, though very involved in my children's activities, and sometimes I've wondered whether I was making the right choices. Now that I see the young adults they've become, I feel very happy with how they turned out.
How heartwarming... and how amazing to be able to share Wagner and talk about philosophy etc. with your own son. No wonder you're proud. I'm glad for you.
 

alexikeguchi

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We're just back from Gotterdammerung, and what can I say? The performance really did complete a perfect cycle. Irene Theorin was exceptional, but of course everyone contributed. At the end, the entire orchestra came up on the main stage as well, and the horn player got a solo curtain call for Siegfried's hunting theme. As for the staging, normally I'm not a fan of randomly modernizing the sets, but this interpretation actually made a lot of sense by putting a modern twist on the conflict between harnessing the environment for industry vs preservation of nature's purity. I appreciated how the Rhinemaidens were depicted as recycling plastic bottles that had been dumped in the waters, and I got completely teary-eyed when a little girl came out with the final notes and planted a sapling. I'll need a few years to process this production, but I will be really interested to see other interpretations and performers in the future.
 
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Margita in "Das Rheingold" was everything @alexikeguchi described: the cast was incredibly strong all around, but Margita nearly stole the show. The highlight for me was the scene between Alberich, Wotan, and Loge: the dramatic mastery, voice and acting, was out of this world.

Tonight in "Die Walkure," I was really impressed with Raymond Aceto's acting as Hunding. Stephen Milling is still my vocal high bar for the role, but Aceto was superb. I'm not surprised that Jovanovich had such great chemistry with Mattila, whose voice is still lovely, if not very big, because in the Met in HD in "Rusalka," he had chemistry with two different women. This is either the fourth or fifth time I've seen Grimsley's Wotan, and he really surpassed himself: while he cut his teeth on Wadsworth's production in Seattle and then developed it over the years in Seattle and other opera houses, this production is bringing out the best of him. His Act II monologue was amazing. Even if what he's saying is self-involved, self-important, and self-serving bullshit. (Wotan isn't very bright: he's used to other people doing his arguing for him, and he does not win a single verbal argument with any woman. His confrontation with Fricka was like, Wotan: "I'll give you $20 for that" Fricka: "I won't take a penny less than $50" Wotan: "I won't pay a penny less than $75.")

Star of the show tonight was the title character. I hadn't heard Thoerin live since the early 00's, the Copenhagen Ring was a dozen years ago, and besides the natural effects of aging, sometimes being in demand takes it's toll on the voice, but she was simply the greatest "Walkure" Brunnhilde I've ever seen live. (And I loved Stemme in this production in 2011.)

Now for a rest day of seminars and the Stagehand Ring movie before "Siegfried." Wheeeeee!
 

kwanfan1818

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Irene Thoerin :swoon:

But thinking ahead, does anyone here know the opera house where Lyric Opera of Chicago performs? Are the acoustics in the Upper Balcony good? First Balcony? (I don't like opera from the Orchestra level.)
 

emason

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@kwanfan1818,

I wish I could help you, but it’s been 10 years or so since last I went to Lyric. It’s a big house, as big or even bigger than the Met. I think I was in Upper Balcony and I thought the sound was fine, but I’m not the best person to ask. The balconies are far back from the stage, Met far back or more.
 

eusebius

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I'm coaching on a production of Magic Flute here in Hamilton, ON. Should be a good show if anyone is in the area this July 19. It's all young, up and coming, mostly Canadian singers and an excellent orchestra :)
 

kwanfan1818

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In a conventional theater, I've never heard anything like the roar of a Ring audience after the end if an act, which makes the subdued chill at the end of Act I of Die Gotterdammerung that much more striking.
 

dinakt

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But thinking ahead, does anyone here know the opera house where Lyric Opera of Chicago performs? Are the acoustics in the Upper Balcony good? First Balcony? (I don't like opera from the Orchestra level.)
Very good acoustic, better on balconies (either balcony, I think; in a way, the upper balcony is best for sound, but lower balcony is best for combo of sound/stage action). Huge house, yes, but sound carries.
 

alexikeguchi

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At the suggestion of my Wagner fanboy son, I just placed an online request for Parsifal at Bayreuth for 2019. Prior reviews seem to indicate the production was provocative but successful, and I'm sure the overall experience will be quasi-religious regardless of whether it is exactly to my taste. There's only one performance date that works with our schedules, but hopefully we get lucky. I haven't spent much time in Germany and haven't been in Bavaria at all, so I'll make a full vacation of it and enjoy the scenic landscapes and historic towns if we're successful in getting tickets. Fingers crossed!
 
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Last minute heads up, but today (Saturday, September 22) at noon Central Daylight Time, www.wfmt.com in Chicago is broadcasting a (taped) performance of "Nabucco" from LA Opera with Placido Domingo (Nabucco); Liudmyla Monastyrska (Abigaille); Morris Robinson (Zaccaria); Mario Chang (Ismaele); Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Fenena):
https://www.wfmt.com/2018/09/22/verdis-nabucco/

Click "Listen" from the top menu.

Edited to add: next week, same time, same channel, Last Night of the Proms.
 
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Spun Silver

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At the suggestion of my Wagner fanboy son, I just placed an online request for Parsifal at Bayreuth for 2019. Prior reviews seem to indicate the production was provocative but successful, and I'm sure the overall experience will be quasi-religious regardless of whether it is exactly to my taste. There's only one performance date that works with our schedules, but hopefully we get lucky. I haven't spent much time in Germany and haven't been in Bavaria at all, so I'll make a full vacation of it and enjoy the scenic landscapes and historic towns if we're successful in getting tickets. Fingers crossed!
I am still :eek: at the thought of a son who requests tix for Parsifal (requiring a trip to Germany no less)! I walked out on it the first time I tried it, because the second act reminded me of a toilet paper commercial (obviously the Kundry must not have been very impressive). The flower maidens are still a bit challenging for me, LOL. But by the next time it became my favorite opera. The performers can make or break it though because of the length and what should be (but isn't always) the incredible emotion of the words and music. I hope you have great ones.
 

SaSherka

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Hello, opera lovers! What have you been up to?

I am eagerly following the orchestra musicians of the Lyric Opera of Chicago strike, which has already cancelled all performances and rehearsals this week. I won subscription to five operas and I hope the negotiations end amicably prior to my first trip for Siegfried.
 

Wyliefan

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I hope so too!

I've had quite an operatic month. Saw Ryan Speedo Green in recital, and then I saw a really nice production of La Traviata, both at the Kennedy Center.
 

emason

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Hi, SaSherka, it’s great to hear from you. I hope the Chicago situation resolves itself in your favor.

I went recently to the Met’s new production of Samson and Dalila, but I’m holding off on commenting until those who might be seeing the HD broadcast have done so. This coming Friday I am going to opening night of Marnie; that should be interesting. Then next week I am going up to Toronto to check out Opera Atelier and its double bill of Acteon and Pygmalion; I love Baroque Opera so, I just couldn’t say no to this.
 

maatTheViking

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I’m at a performance of The turn of the Screw (by Britten) as part of my Seattle Opera season tickets and I admit I’ve never been so tempted to leave in the intermission!

It’s not a bad set or bad singing, but I dislike the dissonant music, or at least this dissonant music. (I loved Elektra) So much soprano / high notes and it’s just not pretty. I don’t think it’s meant to be pretty - but I just don’t find it interesting. I generally don’t care for ghost stories too.

I’m not going to leave, because im stubborn. But the seats are quite empty, esp for an opening night. I’m guessing I’m not the only one not excited by this piece of music.

At least I like the staging.
 

maatTheViking

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@kwanfan1818 it seemed that people either loved it or hated it! I thought the production good, I just found the music terrible? And the story boring?

I’m concerned though why the seats were so empty...

Also do you have opening Sat season tickets? We should meet up in the intermission some time!
 
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I sit at the back of the house, and it was almost as empty for Beatrice and Benedict last season and Katya Kabanova the year before. I don't think Seattle Opera audiences like unfamiliar, unless it's a commission, like Amelia. Although the first run of Florencia of the Amazons must have been popular, because Jenkins said he brought it back based on feedback, and then no one came. He always asked us in the Q&A's to tell people about the operas, because, except for the warhorses, they depended on opening performances word of mouth and first weekend reviews.

Kazaras sang Peter Flint in the 1994 production, but I think that was in Spring 1994, before I moved to Seattle. He also directed a staging for the Young Artists Program at the Meydenbauer Center, and Miles was sung by a male soprano in the program. This production was so much more, having the resources.

I'm not a fan of ghost stories in general, but I thought this was about a lot more. I also thought Jonathan Dean did a great job in a Soundcloud segment of giving a musical overview, although I had trouble recognizing the second theme.

When I saw your post, I realized I completely forgot you have Opening Night tickets: this is the first ON that I haven't had to swap for a different performance or haven't skipped the opera altogether since I randomly selected first Saturday. I'm considering getting a pre-loaded card next season instead of a subscription, so that I can see two or three Katyas or Screws or B&B's and pass on some of the others.
 
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DannyCurry

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This summer, I saw Verdi's Il Trovatore at Bastille. What stood out for me was :
  • The Gypsy Chorus, which I had played a few years ago with my orchestra. Unsurprisingly, the pro version sounded much better (but then, sometimes when I listen to recordings or watch videos of my concerts, I think "It doesn't sound like this at all when we're onstage" :lol:).
  • A very effective staging (by Alex Ollé) with mirrors and big (wooden?) blocks moving upward or downward very quickly, and fantastic lights (by Urs Schönebaum).
 

SaSherka

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Well, I am relieved Chicago got its act together and resolved the issues! So, who lives in Chicago and wants to join me for Nov. 11 Siegfried matinee? :)

I am off to NYC for Samson et Dalila matinee and La Fanciulla del West with Eva-Maria Westbroek and Der Jonas tomorrow night. Topping off the opera weekend with our annual outing at the Richard Tucker Gala (will be broadcast on medici.tv ) Tuning in to Marnie stream shortly.
 

BlueRidge

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Hi @SaSherka! Listening to the Marnie live stream. Very intrigued by it. Going to the live in HD Samson & Delilah tomorrow.

I saw La Traviata Wednesday at the Washington Opera. It was serviceable. I liked the Violetta but I've forgotten her name. :shuffle:
 

emason

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Now that the HD of Samson et Dalila in a Snowglobe has come and gone, I am free to say I thought the production heinous. It might look better in HD, but in the house it's dreadful. The set is very constricting and awkward to move around in, if you can move at all. We Israelites get it in the neck again for having boring, bland costumes that make Orthodox Brooklyn look fashion forward. That shade of pink that everyone else seemed to be wearing or waving in their fans: OK, maybe the color is not so bad but vary the tone so that not everyone is wearing exactly the same thing. Thumbs down on the production; those that went today can talk about the singing.

Last night I went to the premiere of Marnie. What a contrast: the set is fluid and moves beautifully so that there is lots of movement on stage. Costumes are great. This is a good production with the second act being particularly great. I went to Isobel Leonard's vocal recital at Zankel Hall a number of years ago and I did not care for her; there was something about her vocal production that I didn't like. Her acting was wonderful last night, but I still don't care for her voice. She is just not the mezzo for me. The absolute highlight of the evening was the curtain calls. Denyce Graves stole every scene she was in as Marnie's mother and got rewarded for it with huge applause. Of course the production team came out, the composer, the librettist, etc. Just when you thought there could be no one else, Isobel Leonard went to get a blonde-haired woman is a long sparkly red dress; the collective gasp from the audience when we all realized at once that this was Tippi Hedren was worth the price of the ticket. Best moment of the entire night. Again, others can talk about the singing after they've been. I'm in it for the superficial snark.

PS: I did love that the ne'er-do-well younger brother was a countertenor and not a tenor, especially a countertenor I like, Iestyn Davies.
 

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