Page 1 of 25 1234511 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 369

Thread: What have you seen recently?

  1. #1
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default What have you seen recently?

    I can't find a thread on this & apologies if I've missed it.

    I'm going to start writing short reviews of operas I see and would love to read other people's reviews.

    For starters it's Don Pasquale which I saw a few weeks ago in Wolverhampton.

    We had great seats - front row centre of the dress circle.

    In this production Don Pasquale is a conductor and Norina an opera singer & the start is very funny. Don Pasquale comes on stage, faces the orchestra & the audience & conducts the overture. One of the musicians makes a well telegraphed 'mistake' & is duly harangued by the 'conductor'.

    All the main players were excellent if a bit overwhelmed at times by the orchestra. In fact we enjoyed the arias/duets with minimal accompaniment best & these showcased the singers' skills perfectly.

    My main objection however was that it is sung in English. I love Don Pasquale so much & know most of the words & kept feeling irritated that little bits of story had to be changed so words could fit the music. There were several instances of this and the first was in the very first scene. Don Pasquale didn't consult his watch & comment it's 9 o'clock which he should have done. Also he didn't sing that he was expecting babies to appear - which reinforces (in pre-viagra days) the notion that a man in his 70s would be ridiculed for getting married & hoping for children.

    This didn't bother my friend at all; he just adores the music & doesn't care about the words.

    I must just be picky & apart from the language I would recommend it.
    Ann

  2. #2
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    La Fille du Régiment from ROH on Tuesday 25th May.

    I went with a friend who had not been to ROH before & knew neither the music nor the story. I had loaned her my copy of the 2007 production but she didn't have time to watch it.



    We went to the pre-production talk which was given by Paul Wynne Griffiths, the cover conductor. I was slightly disappointed as all he did was talk about what we were going to see anyway, (and what lots of people had already seen, either in 2007 or on DVD). I could have done with hearing about some behind the scenes stuff as well but my friend found it invaluable.

    We had great seats - Stalls Circle centre right.

    It is the same cast as the 2007 production with exception of Ann Murray taking the part of La Marquise de Berkenfeld instead of Felicity Palmer.

    From quite different perspectives, we both had a wonderful evening. My friend had no idea it was so funny and, knowing the music & story, I could concentrate on the singing (and the amazing acting). Natalie Dessay's comic timing was brilliant and she could surely have a career as a non-singing actress if she wanted to.

    Anyway to get to the important bit, I had not seen Dessay live before and I thought she was amazing and as far as I could tell, she nailed everything. I loved the antics & singing-while-you-iron stuff but Il Faut partir! Adieu! really touched me. The audience must have agreed as there wasn't a rustle, cough, sniff - not even a pin was dropped during this.

    So much has been written about Juan Diego Flórez and the legendary Ah! Mes amis that I thought it might be a bit of an anti-climax but it was as spectacular as everyone says and with all the applause, cheering, foot stamping, "encore", "bis" it made me think that one day there might actually be an encore at ROH. (If La Scala allowed it…) and the beautiful Pour me rapprocher de Marie got us all sighing!

    The rest of the cast were superb as was Dawn French (surtitles in French when she spoke English!)

    9 out of 10.

    Ann

  3. #3
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    5,817
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Lucky you to be there in person. and what a great production to see live for the first time. Dessay apparently planned to be an actress long before she chose opera, and it shows.
    Natalie

  4. #4
    Senior Member jflatter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    625
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post and very much like what I see. I am lucky to live within 45 mins bus ride from the Royal Opera House and attend roughly once a month. The last thing that I went to see was Aida directed by David McVicar and have to admit I was disappointed by the production as McVicar tried to introduce some Guilio Cesare style dancing in the triumphant march and some of the costuming was very much left to be desired. Amneris looked like something you see at Glastonbury at 4.00am.

    The singing was a bit rough and ready and I thought that Marianne Cornetti as Amneris was the best on the night. Marcelo Alvarez as Radames was very patcht whilst Michaela Carosi as Aida had no real control.

    The best thing about the night was the fantastic playing from the ROH orchestra and the conducting from Nicola Luisotti.

    I was meant to see La Fille Du Regiment but have sucumbed to a bug. But will report back when I see Salome and Simon Boccanegra.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    It must be great to live so close to ROH jflatter - it costs me ticket + hotel so I can't go as often as I'd like.

    Interesting review of Aida but I'm not surprised. McVicar's work occasionally misses the mark.

    Shame you missed La Fille. In my opinion JDF's voice has matured and has a warmth it sometimes lacked before.

    My next treat is Boccanegra so we'll compare notes!
    Ann

  6. #6
    Senior Member classidaho's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Southern Idaho
    Posts
    200
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    What a brilliant and interesting thread. This is exactly what I hope for in a forum like this.

    I live a life 'alone' in a 'non-classical' enviroment (I must lower the volume for everything I listen to, and I have purchased only one opera DVD, because I am the only one I know who will watch it).

    This type of thread is a great extension to my life and I am really enjoying it. I don't blame the members of my family, because I cannot really enjoy the 'tunes' that they listen to either.

    Keep the great reviews coming!
    always shoot from the hip....

  7. #7
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    5,817
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Went to the NZ Opera production of Le Nozze di Figaro last night with my 14-year old daughter. It was great to share my favourite opera with someone who has never seen it (it’s her favourite opera too now). She laughed at all the funny bits – especially Figaro saying that two men must have jumped out of the window and he wasn’t going to comment on things he knew nothing about. She also proffered her expert opinion that Cherubino's "Non so piu" embodied “the unbelievable horniness of 14-year-old boys”.

    It occurred to me what a blessing surtitles have been; when I first started going to the opera you missed all these finer points unless you had a perfect grasp of 18th century Italian or whatever the language was.

    I always love the experience of live opera, the camaraderie with the audience (when they are not coming in late, talking or rustling sweetie packets), the feeling of risk, the glorious rounded 3D sound of the orchestra – I really heard the dialogue between oboe and voice yesterday.

    The production was beautiful and simple, making very good use of a set of sliding doors and panels that provided little rooms for the action to take place in. Costumes were denim 18th century (go figure). The production emphasised the buffa aspect, was well planned, executed and rehearsed, genuinely funny, and the singers paid praiseworthy attention to the recitatives, always essential in Mozart.

    The Suzanna and Figaro of the real-life married couple Emma Pearson and Wade Kernot were the standout performers, particularly the light footed and creamy-voiced Pearson, a fantastic soubrette characterisation. Nuccia Focile was the advertised “star”, but was more to be praised for her acting (still the Rosina of Barbiere, if a little depressed) than her singing; her Porgi was particularly strident and she seemed to have real trouble with both line and tone. Can’t think why anyone would want her to sing Mozart. Other singers were competent and involved.

    Two funny things: one of the younger and less experienced violinists started panicking as what he was playing was manifestedly different from everyone else, and had to have his place found for him by an exasperated colleague (no credit to da Ponte for that one).

    Overheard as we were leaving: Old lady, looking bewildered: “Well, I wonder what happened to the “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro” (to the tune of Largo al factotum).
    Natalie

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    309
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I saw L'incoronazione di Poppea about a week ago and I posted a kind of review of it in my blog.
    I can think of several other things to say about although it doesn't really fit in anywhere... I'm hopeless at writing reviews...
    ****Karen Patricia****
    http://www.karen-patricia.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    Went to the NZ Opera production of Le Nozze di Figaro last night with my 14-year old daughter. It was great to share my favourite opera with someone who has never seen it (it’s her favourite opera too now). She laughed at all the funny bits – especially Figaro saying that two men must have jumped out of the window and he wasn’t going to comment on things he knew nothing about.
    What a great introduction for your daughter. She'll always remember her first Nozze.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    She also proffered her expert opinion that Cherubino's "Non so piu" embodied “the unbelievable horniness of 14-year-old boys”.



    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    It occurred to me what a blessing surtitles have been; when I first started going to the opera you missed all these finer points unless you had a perfect grasp of 18th century Italian or whatever the language was.
    My German is rubbish so I find surtitles invaluable.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I always love the experience of live opera, the camaraderie with the audience (when they are not coming in late, talking or rustling sweetie packets), the feeling of risk, the glorious rounded 3D sound of the orchestra – I really heard the dialogue between oboe and voice yesterday.

    The production was beautiful and simple, making very good use of a set of sliding doors and panels that provided little rooms for the action to take place in. Costumes were denim 18th century (go figure). The production emphasised the buffa aspect, was well planned, executed and rehearsed, genuinely funny, and the singers paid praiseworthy attention to the recitatives, always essential in Mozart.

    The Suzanna and Figaro of the real-life married couple Emma Pearson and Wade Kernot were the standout performers, particularly the light footed and creamy-voiced Pearson, a fantastic soubrette characterisation. Nuccia Focile was the advertised “star”, but was more to be praised for her acting (still the Rosina of Barbiere, if a little depressed) than her singing; her Porgi was particularly strident and she seemed to have real trouble with both line and tone. Can’t think why anyone would want her to sing Mozart. Other singers were competent and involved.

    Two funny things: one of the younger and less experienced violinists started panicking as what he was playing was manifestedly different from everyone else, and had to have his place found for him by an exasperated colleague (no credit to da Ponte for that one).

    Overheard as we were leaving: Old lady, looking bewildered: “Well, I wonder what happened to the “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro” (to the tune of Largo al factotum).
    Great review.
    Ann

  10. #10
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    OK just got home from seeing Rigoletto by Welsh National Opera & even though it's been a long day & I'm tired, I'm too hyped up to sleep.

    Gwyn Hughes Jones (Duke) was patchy. Annoyingly the show piece arias were good - his Donna è mobile was perfect but he fluffed what I would call easy bits.

    Sarah Coburn (Gilda) was a revelation. I'd not heard her before & she was excellent; vulnerable & sparkling.

    David Soar (Sparafucile) was sinister & frightening & one of the best Sparafuciles I've ever heard. (He's leaving WNO & I hope to see him in other roles in the future)

    Simon Keenlyside (Rigoletto) was spectacular. (I can't find the words to describe this magnificent performance) & outshone the others.

    But I hated the production - Rigoletto set in Washington DC in the 1960s just did not work for me. I couldn't help thinking all that talent & hard work was wasted on a story which at times was farcical. I know opera plots are farcical but I don't think the White House employs people with disabilities for their amusement.

    Hopefully Simon Keenlyside will do it again with a more traditional production.

    Quality not good but I only take photos of the curtain call & even then never use flash.

    Ann

  11. #11
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    5,817
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post

    Simon Keenlyside (Rigoletto) was spectacular. (I can't find the words to describe this magnificent performance) & outshone the others.
    Glad SK did the trick - but in the photo he is just too good-looking to be Rigoletto. He needs at least a hump, a silly hat, a pair of tights, a huge false mole and a heap of make-up.

    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    But I hated the production - Rigoletto set in Washington DC in the 1960s just did not work for me. I couldn't help thinking all that talent & hard work was wasted on a story which at times was farcical. I know opera plots are farcical but I don't think the White House employs people with disabilities for their amusement.
    [/URL]
    Honestly you have to tell us more. How on earth did it work? Who was the Duke supposed to be? JFK?

    I mean I can see the point of updating Rigoletto to a period and place where the mores reflect the story - like Jonathan Miller's 50s Little Italy mafioso production at ENO, but this sounds totally ludicrous.
    Natalie

  12. #12
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    To add a bit more: Yes, the President is the Duke & it's set in the early 1960s so I suppose it's JFK. Act II "Ella mi fu rapita!" scene is the Oval Office.

    For me though there was a scene in Act I which I didn't like at all. Rigoletto has a disability (polio?) which means he has to wear a leg brace. He is a sort of gopher for the President/Duke rather than a Court Jester. At the end of "Gran nuova! Gran nuova!" all the courtiers/entourage mimic Rigoletto by limping while they dance & then they do a conga around the stage exaggerating one of their legs.

    I'm sure 50 years ago people with disabilities were mocked and not just in private, I remember the "DOES HE TAKE SUGAR?" campaign & maybe I'm being too sensitive but people around me were shifting in their seats & I thought the cast looked uncomfortable & embarrassed.

    However I'm still very pleased I went. I wish I could describe SK's conviction & passion & skill better. The first duet with Gilda & "Deh, non parlare al misero" had me in tears & his acting is better than anything which has ever won an Oscar. As he tries to get to the door in "Cortigiani, vil razza dannata" his anger gives him such strength he almost overcomes his disability & his tormentors. They fling him across the stage & his "Ah! voi tutti a me contro venite..." is heartbreaking.

    "Bella figlia dell'amore" was absolutely superb & I would love to see all the cast (even the patchy Gwyn Hughes Jones) re-united & do this in a traditional setting.
    Ann

  13. #13
    Senior Member jflatter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    625
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I saw the first show in the run of Salome last Saturday at the Royal Opera House. I have noticed that it was very mixed reception from the critics but I have to say that I very much enjoyed it. Angela Denoke was Salome and although there was some slight struggle with the some of the high notes, I thought that she was very convincing. Johan Rueter was very good as Jokanaan. Gerhard Segal was a compelling and sleazy Herod and was vocally in much better form than when I saw him as Mime in the Keith Warner Ring. Irina Mishura was a solid Herodias, whilst some of the best singing came from Andrew Staples Narraboth.

    The production seems to be updated to the inter war years and was generally well thought out. The Dance of the Seven Veils has video projections of what appeared to be different parts of Salome's life, this seemed to also infer abuse during Salome's chilhood at the hands of Herod.

    Hartmut Haenchen in my view conducted a very account and the orchestra seemed in very good form.

    I shall next report on Simon Boccanegra with Placido Domingo, after I have seen it on Thursday.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Thanks jflatter for an interesting review. Some of the publicity shots looked very gruesome though!



    Hope you enjoy Boccanegra & I look forward to reading your review.
    Ann

  15. #15
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    4,994
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Simon Boccanegra

    Simon Boccanegra is my favourite opera & I'd been looking forward seeing it so much. It wasn't perfect but in a way that made it perfect.

    First 'imperfection' was announced before the opera started. Ferruccio Furlanetto (Fiesco) was unable to sing owing to illness. He would act the role and John Tomlinson would sing the role from the side of the stage. Me & several others couldn't understand why his understudy just didn't step up but we think it might have been something to do with the fact the performance was being broadcast live to several venues in UK. To be honest it didn't really work & John Tomlinson sounded rusty.

    No matter, Plácido Domingo made a fantastic impersonation of a young man, bounding around the stage during the Prologue. I can't describe his voice apart from unique but it was wonderful to hear him & his baritone/and-still-some-tenor which was strong & beautiful. I was even more impressed with his keeling over at the end. He'd obviously had some lessons on how to fall flat safely. He looked very dead but perked up for the curtain calls.

    Marina Poplavskaya was a puzzle. She has all the skills but seemed to lack confidence at times. But she made a beautiful and vulnerable Amelia. The reconciliation scene with her father was brilliantly played - she burst into tears which I think is what would happen in real life. I always cry at this scene & this was 100 times worse or do I mean better? [waterproof mascara isn't]

    I'd read lots of very positive reviews of Joseph Calleja's Adorno & he was even better than I'd hoped. Calleja is a big handsome guy & his voice is the same & he's ideal in the heroic tenor role. O inferno! Amelia qui! was exquisite & brought huge cheers and applause.

    I only took one photo of the curtain call. I can't clap, cheer & take photos at the same time. But I took more later.







    Pappano at the top, Domingo at the bottom, spider scrawl in middle Calleja.
    Baby spider scrawl top right, stage hand having a laugh with us.



    Only other 'imperfection' had nothing to do with the performance. I had an Opera Bore of the worst kind sitting right behind me. He'd obviously been classically trained as his voice would have reached the upper slips. It was over & over "OF COURSE I SAW DOMINGO'S (insert nearly every role) AND HE WAS MAGNIFICENT" (my thought - well he's singing the Doge tonight) "BOCCANEGRA IS NOT MY FAVOURITE OPERA BUT OF COURSE ONE HAS TO SEE DOMINGO" (my thought - well SB is my favourite opera no matter who sings the role). But the worst was during the applause for Calleja's O inferno! Amelia qui, OB shouted "OF COURSE DOMINGO SUNG THIS ROLE AND HE WAS MAGNIFICENT" I turned round & gave him a filthy look. I wanted to say "I KNOW HE DID BUT CALLEJA'S SINGING THE ROLE TONIGHT AND HE'S MAGNIFICENT" in other words 'shut the bleep up'. Perhaps he read my mind because he did after that!
    Ann

Page 1 of 25 1234511 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Who is the oldest member and is still very active recently?
    By UniverseInfinite in forum Community Forum
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: Mar-14-2018, 05:03
  2. Replies: 3
    Last Post: Mar-09-2009, 14:07

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •