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Thread: Most Memorable Performances

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Default Most Memorable Performances

    I thought it might be fun to share information, thoughts, etc., on some of the most memorable opera performances we've seen. (Since I'm a newbie, I checked the archives to make sure I'm not resurrecting a previous thread, and didn't see this topic.)

    Back in '79, when I had my first "real job" after finishing college (1979. not 1879!), one of my first purchases was of 1980 season tickets to the local opera company in Cincinnati. The final production of that season was "Il Trovatore" with Sherrill Milnes as Conte di Luna, and his singing of "Il balen" was so gorgeous that it literally took my breath away.

    In March, 1981, I traveled to New Orleans to attend their production of "Fidelio" with my then-favorite living tenor, Siegfried Jerusalem, as Florestan. Teresa Kubiak sang Leonore, and to this day, I cherish the memories of that performance. Absolutely incredible! Both of them sang beautifully and were dramatically involved with their characters. (New Orleans had also rented the Cincinnati Opera's sets from the previous season. Johanna Meier was our wonderful Leonore.)

    Naturally, Jonas Kaufmann's performances on these shores rank among the best I've seen. Last year's "Tosca" with Patricia Racette and Bryn Terfel has to be right up at the top. Fabulous voices; tremendous acting. There was also the 2003 Chicago "La Traviata" with Patrizia Ciofi in the title role, and she was exquisite. One of the best Violettas I've heard since Ileana Cotrubas.

    I've also mentioned the 2004 Met "Salome" with Mattila, Terfel, and Jerusalem. I loved her Jean Harlow-esque take on the Judaean princess. There was even a brief (extremely brief) moment at the end of the Dance of the Seven Veils where Mme. Mattila hadn't a stitch on. (Note to Met management: despite our reputation for Puritanism, I think most Americans know what nude men and women look like, and aren't particularly shocked at the sight of either.)

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    We have a thread for performances we've seen but that includes them all - good & not so good so I'm sure we can have a separate thread for most memorable.

    I would love to have seen Sherrill Milnes live. I saw Dima in Rigoletto & he was incredible but Milnes is my favourite *Verdi Baritone* and his voice nearly always makes me cry. It's a good job I do most of my listening on my mp3 player as I walk across the fields but I have been known to be in tears in the supermarket much to the consternation of check-out staff.

    I really want to see Kaufmann in Tosca & just hope ROH doesn't suffer from an outbreak of cancellitis like at La Scala.

    MAuer, I'd love to hear about any other live performances you've seen, good or not so.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I thought it might be fun to share information, thoughts, etc., on some of the most memorable opera performances we've seen
    I haven't been particularly lucky with live performances. Most of the ones I've attended in person weren't that memorable. I think that nowadays DVDs and blu-rays came to fulfill this need for me, since many of them have immortalized memorable performances.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    I haven't been particularly lucky with live performances. Most of the ones I've attended in person weren't that memorable.
    Not even Don Pasquale?


    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    I think that nowadays DVDs and blu-rays came to fulfil this need for me, since many of them have immortalized memorable performances.
    I know what you mean - it's great to have your favourite performance 'on demand'
    Ann

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    From my opera-going days in London in the 80s, the most memorable production I have ever seen was the ENO Jonathan Miller "1950s Little Italy' Rigoletto with John Rawnsley in the title role. I felt that of all the updatings I have seen, this one most perfectly captured and enhanced the spirit of the original, convincing in every detail, with the values of the setting mirroring the values of the Duke of Mantua's court - honour, jealousy, danger, power, and of course the virgin/***** attitude to women. John Rawnsley was absolutely heartbreaking in the title role - His "corteggiani, vil' razza dannata" (in English) can still bring tears to my eyes. A bonus is that subsequently I met him on a plane from Milan and for a while we became friends, so I was able to tell him how good he was.

    A technically deficient version of this magnificent production is available on DVD



    The most memorable performances I've seen came from Plácido Domingo as Otello and as Samson. In the 80s good acting was rarer and his beautiful singing and committed acting blew me away.

    My greatest regret is not to have seen Ruggero Raimondi live as Scarpia. He never seemed to feature at Covent Garden and in pre-internet days it was much harder to find out where people were singing and to get tickets for performances in other countries.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Not even Don Pasquale?
    Well, I said, most, not all. Yes, Anna's Don Pasquale was one of the memorable ones. I'm savoring it again as we speak... (see your PM)
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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