Opera Suggestions, II

SaSherka

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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:
Hai 😁
The wonderful Violetta must have been Venera Gimadieva! She's my soprano to watch (heard her in Santa Fe a year ago)

What did you think of Marnie's music and S&D HD?

Based on the broadcast, I got curious to see Marnie HD, but after reviews came out and friends saw it, I may just wait until it gets to PBS...

S&D in house was just like @emason described it, though by all accounts the final performance ended up the best of the run, vocally (though far from ideal). I enjoyed the orchestral playing the most: tight, precise conducting.

Loved Tucker Gala concert. It's available on medici.tv and on Tucker foundation Facebook page for replay. Angela Meade blew the roof off onc again, this time with an aria from Verdi's I Lombardi. (I believe the Met is reviving it next season with her)
 

BlueRidge

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Yes, Venera Gimadieva, she was very appealing.

I like Marnie's music, I had liked Muhly's previous one which I also heard on live stream. I admit to having my doubts about Isabel Leonard. I've only twice not stayed past intermission at the Washington Opera and both times it was the uncompelling performance of Isabel Leonard in a Rossini opera that made me feel like going home was the better option. :shuffle: Nonetheless I'd go to the Live in HD Marnie except I have plans that weekend.

For the Samson & Delilah, I definitely agree with @emason's take for the third act. I thought the second act setting was quite spectacular on screen. First act seemed very static, but I loved the music. Agree about the orchestra. Whatever one thinks of Roberto's singing he throws himself into a part; I love watching him.

I adore Elina Garanca so I'm loathe to say anything negative but I felt like she never really embodied the Delilah she wanted to portray. She was still gorgeous and gorgoeous of voice though.

And whee for Angela Meade, I'll have to check out the Tucker Gala for that.
 
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Meade also sings a duet with Javier Camarena from Armida in the Tucker Gala. It was an unusual mix of music for a gala; Eyvazov's "Ah si ben mio/Di quella pira" and Blythe's "Habanera" were the only warhorses, and Blythe made a thing of it.

https://www.medici.tv/en/operas/richard-tucker-opera-gala-2018-1/

If you don't have an account, you can register for a free one and see this in full. By clicking on the playlist on the right, you can go directly to a clip.

The Nabucco selection is Oh! chi piangi di femmine imbelli (Zacarria and the Israelites)

I saw "Turn of the Screw" again last night, because I'm not sure I could make it this Saturday night, and it was everything once again. Britten and Piper (and James) outdid themselves for thought-provoking, and Peter Kazaras' direction pulled the most out of it, with help from Adam Larsen's superb projections, transforming Robert Dahlstrom's set for "Don Giovanni," which had been great for that opera. And the cast is phenomenal, so evenly matched: Benjamin Bliss (Narrator/Peter Quint), Elizabeth Caballero (Governess) -- the first among equals -- Maria Zifchak (Mrs. Grose), Marcie Stonikas (Miss Jessell), Rafi Bellamy Plaicet (Miles), and Soraya Mafi (Flora). The conductor was Constantin Trinks, and they brought the 13-member orchestra onstage for the bows.

I typically wouldn't sit on the main floor for opera -- I was up in the Second Tier for the first performance -- but because the orchestra is so small, I got the best of both visual and aural worlds.

I'm really looking forward to the "Fanciulla" HD tomorrow Saturday. At least four performances were broadcast on Sirius, the first two with Eyvazov and the last two with Kaufmann, for which there was a pre-curtain announcement that he has a cold and a request for understanding. Under the mikes, he sounded fine. I liked both tenors, so very different in timbre and brightness. The music is gorgeous.
 

kwanfan1818

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I really loved "Marnie" both over the air on Sirius a couple of times, and then Live in HD. Then I read the book, and while I thought the writing style arch and dull, I was :mad: at what Muhly and Wright (and director Mayer) did to Marnie's and Mark's mothers.

I was thrilled, though, to learn that Stephanie Blythe will become Artistic Director of Bard's graduate Vocal Arts Program in July 2019, when Dawn Upshaw steps down and becomes regular faculty.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwop...ector-Of-Graduate-Vocal-Arts-Program-20181203

I <3 Stephanie Blythe.
 

Wyliefan

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Hmm, maybe I should read the book. I've seen the movie and the opera, but I've heard they're both fairly different from the book.
 

kwanfan1818

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All of the people involved in the opera said it's more like the book than the movie is. I haven't seen the movie, and the opera brings out so much more of the tension of living that double life and her character, but I preferred almost all of the other characterizations in the book to the ones in the opera. So I'm trying to imagine how much more different the movie is. And Mark has neither Mommy or Daddy issues in the book.
 

kwanfan1818

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Last Saturday, having missed the beginning of the live Met Opera Saturday Broadcast of "Mefistofele," I tuned into the tape-delayed Pacific Time broadcast on CBC Radio 2. During station identification at intermission, host Ben Heppner announced that soprano Angela Meade was giving a recital as part of the "The Singer Behind the Song" series and giving a master class to some UBC opera program students today. So I skipped practices and headed to the UBC Old Auditorium to hear her, and I am so glad I did!

She opened with "L'altra notte in fondo al mare" from "Mefistofele" -- after hearing her over the airwaves, it was amazing to hear it live -- followed by four songs by Richard Strauss ("Morgen," "Befreit," "Allerseelen," and "Zueignung), then "Eben ne andro lontana" from Catalani's "La Wally" -- best known as the aria in the movie "Diva" -- and ending with "Addio, mio dolce amor" from Puccini's "Edgar," with the UBC Opera Ensemble. As she said later, her selections were from operas that aren't performed. I always hope that's not true of "Mefistofele," but it just doesn't get performed very often, now that a company like NYCO doesn't have a Treigle-Ramey reason to keep it in the rep.

Moderator Nancy Hermiston asked Meade a few questions after each aria and the set of songs, and then she led an audience Q&A after the recital. During intermission we moved downstairs where there were tables with holiday cookies and candy and tea and coffee, and then we went back upstairs for the master class with two sopranos and two mezzos.

Each student prepared a binder of five selection and chose one to sing. Andrea Wyllie sang "Ach, ich fuhl's" from Mozart's "The Magic Flute," Simran Claire sang "Una voce poco fa" from Rossini's "Barber of Seville," Leila Kirves sang "Visi d'arte," and Meade later asked her to sing "Non mi dir" from Mozart's "Don Giovanni," and Irem Ince sang the most rarely performed choice, "Da, chas nastal!" from Tchaikovsky's "Maid of Orleans." Each sang her chosen aria all the way through to open, and then Meade focused on whatever she thought was best given the time constraints.

Meade was engaging and direct. And her dad was able to attend. (She's from Centralia, WA, so not that far away.)

Meade will sing Leonora in Seattle Opera's "Il Trovatore" in mid-late January, so I look forward to hearing her again very soon.
 

alexikeguchi

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I woke up today to notification that I got tickets to see Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival next year! The cast isn't listed on the website, but I don't really care because I know it will be an amazing experience regardless. We hope to arrive in Munich a couple days beforehand and warm up for the opera with a tour of Neuschwanstein.
 

kwanfan1818

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I neglected to mention the truly excellent accompanist for Meade and the students, Richard Epp


It's been a great few weeks for voice in Vancouver: Simon Keenlyside and Malcolm Martineau gave a fantastic recital the last Sunday in November, too.
 

kwanfan1818

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There are photo banners in Thunderbird Arena (Jgpf/gpg Vancouver) celebrating renowned UBC student athletes, and the caption on one is, "2008 Canadian university golf champion and UBC Opera Student. Andrew Robb"
 

Wyliefan

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Thoughts on the La Traviata Live in HD: Juan Diego Florez is SO INSANELY HOT. :swoon: :D

As for the actual production, it seems pretty polarizing, but I loved it.
 

BlueRidge

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I had a bit mixed feelings about the La Traviata production but overall enjoyed it. It felt a little tawdry to me, and the colors of the costumes were not appealing.

I thought Diana Damrau was sensational.
 

Wyliefan

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I liked the colors -- they were a nice change from the usual. Someone I know said recently that these days the Met's palette mostly ranges from gray to dark gray. :)
 

kwanfan1818

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ITA about Juan Diego Florez's hotness, but we knew that from seeing him dressed as a nun and in bed with Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato (in leather drag) in "Le Comte Ory" ;)

I loved everything about that La Traviata except dragging in the daughter. (They did that in Seattle, except the daughter was an awkward 12-year old hiding her braces, and not likely in love with someone and about to be married, if only Alfredo would give up Violetta, unless... the ultimate of Ick. But I digress.)

There's no way Germont's daughter would have been in the same room as Violetta. Everyone would have seen her enter, and it would have been around Paris in 30 minutes flat, even without cell phones. And that's apart from making her into a hang-dog wimp, ugh.

But I loved everything else about the production, and Diana Damrau is the love-child of Meryl Streep and Patricia Racette :swoon:

I heard the NYE performance of "Adriana Lecouvreur" on Sirius, and Netrebko, Rachvelishvili, and Beczala just :kickass::kickass::kickass:. As did Maestri, such a great Falstaff on the Live in HD, who played the stage manager Michonnet, one of the thousands in love with Adriana. If only my favorite tenor aria, "E la solita storia" from Cilea's "L'Arlesiana" was in it, because Adriana Lecouvreur is performed, and "L'Arlesiana" (probably rightfully) isn't.

Before the performance, someone on the Opera-L website posted a link to Rachvelishvili singing "Summertime," and it's got Morisi's name all over it as a skating program:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inJd1x8UHdA

Since YouTube reverts to autoplay, the next selection, from the same concert, was from "Maria de Buenos Aires," which, from comments here, is overused. In another five years, maybe someone will use her rendition:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In6gQ64Puvg

Because, I <3 mezzos so much, and Rachvelishvili is only 34 :eek:.
 

kwanfan1818

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I'm listening to the Met Opera Saturday broadcast of "Otello," and want to give a huge amount of :cheer2: :40beers: :cheer2: to the Metropolitan Opera Chorus. They made the opening spine-chilling, and Otello hasn't even sung a single note yet.
 

emason

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A friend of mine is a member of the chorus of the Bronx Opera Company. I have previously never been to hear them; LOL, I can’t even tell you the last time I was in The Bronx. However, this past Saturday I went up to see BOC’s production of Menotti’s The Consul, in which my friend appeared as a supernumerary. Am I glad I went! This was a great opportunity to see a piece rarely done and it was terrific; the singers and orchestra were wonderful and the staging was excellent. I’m really impressed by how much the company managed to do on what I assume was a very tight, limited budget. The program had a listing of all the seasons done by the company and I’m kicking myself for not going to see them sooner; they’ve done some really interesting things. Thumbs up for a small, local company. Not everything of merit is at the Met.
 

emason

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So, another little opera outing: Lafayette Opera Company did one night of Radamisto at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College last night. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but what I loved I LOVED. They used the first version of the opera, made some judicious cuts for a reasonable running time and had dancers as well as singers. One interesting update was to take the generals Tigrane and Fraarte, mezzo trouser roles, and have them played as women, not men. Tigrane still wore trousers, but Fraarte wore a skirt and was referred to in the supertitles as Tiridate’s sister, not brother. In the cast listing the character was listed as sibling, not brother. It gave a different take to Tigrane’s love for Polinessa and Fraarte’s love for Zenobia.

As for the singers, I really liked the Australian mezzo, Caitlin Hulcup, who sang Radamisto. Hulcup sang beautifully and acted up a storm; she delivered a heartfelt performance and had me in tears at the end. The Zenobia was Hagar Sharvit and she and Hulcup made a great pairing. Dominique Labelle had, I thought, a rough start as Polinessa. Not warmed up enough, maybe? But she got stronger and stronger as the night went on. The weakest performance was Robin Yujoong Kim as Tiridate; something was off. I must give a shoutout to Alex Rosen as Farasmane. Somewhere upthread I raved about his Theseus in the Hippolyte et Aricie I saw at Julliard last spring. Farasmane is a small supporting role, so Rosen didn’t have so much of an opportunity to show what he can do, but I’m still interested in following his career. Philadelphia Opera is doing Semele next season and Rosen is cast in that; I see a trip to Philly for a matinee in my future.

I bumped into a friend who has seen Lafayette Opera 3 or 4 times before and she thought this was the best they had ever been. She said the orchestra has never been the problem, leaving me with the impression that the singing hasn’t always been first-rate in the past.

ETA: Veronique Filloux sang Tigrane and Nola Richardson was Fraarte.
 

Spun Silver

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A friend of mine is a member of the chorus of the Bronx Opera Company. I have previously never been to hear them; LOL, I can’t even tell you the last time I was in The Bronx. However, this past Saturday I went up to see BOC’s production of Menotti’s The Consul, in which my friend appeared as a supernumerary. Am I glad I went! This was a great opportunity to see a piece rarely done and it was terrific; the singers and orchestra were wonderful and the staging was excellent. I’m really impressed by how much the company managed to do on what I assume was a very tight, limited budget. The program had a listing of all the seasons done by the company and I’m kicking myself for not going to see them sooner; they’ve done some really interesting things. Thumbs up for a small, local company. Not everything of merit is at the Met.
I used to go to the Bronx Opera years and years ago and also loved it. I remember their doing a lovely Ralph Vaughan Williams opera that neither of the major NYC companies ever touched. In fact, I served on their board briefly -- resigning after a bit of a conflict with their founder/director which in retrospect I realize I was completely wrong about. (I was young and headstrong.) I'm glad they're still around.

Small opera companies were one of my favorite aspects of the NYC musical scene. There used to be one that focused on French opera. Is it still around?
 
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The Twitter-ish version:

Lawrence Brownlee and Eric Owens gave a joint recital this afternoon at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and were so freaking amazing that during intermission, when I saw JDD in the lobby in a gorgeous red coat and all-around tiffedness, I didn't turn into a blubbering fan-girl., because I was still ethralled by the singing.

And they hadn't even started the second half.
 
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