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Thread: What opera are you currently listening to / watching? CD/DVD

  1. #15166
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Verdi: Oberto



    Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Regio di Parma, Antonello Allemandi
    Cuniza: MARIANA PENTCHEVA
    Riccardo: FABIO SARTORI
    Oberto: GIOVANNI BATTISTA PARODI
    Leonora: FRANCESCA SASSU
    Imelda: GIOGIA BERTAGNI

    My complete box of the Tutti Verdi arrived today - watching the first DVD.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Strauss: Salome
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    A little while ago I listened to Bernd Aldenhoff as Siegfried (in both operas)... and, for the first time in my life, actually enjoyed what he was doing. So I thought I'd revisit him as Parsifal...

    Parsifal-Aldenhoff-1949-Gebhardt.jpg

    ... and I liked it even better! Clearly I'm losing whatever vestiges of artistic taste I may once have possessed.

    In fact Aldenhoff, Greindl, and Mödl seem to me remarkably well matched here. I tend to consider all three as actors more than singers, but here they are in their freshest voices and, to my amazement, I actually heard great beauty in those voices. Greindl produces a surprising amount of soft legato singing, e.g. at his very first appearance and, particularly, when describing the death of Titurel. (Does anyone recall how touching he makes the death of Fafner in the Ring? Somewhat similar effect here.) Of course, around this time he was also a remarkably fine Sarastro and Osmin. Very different from the "Cave Man" stereotype often associated with him!

    Aldenhoff too does a lot of soft singing, and gains greatly because he isn't pushing his voice beyond its natural limits (as he has to do, e.g., when forging the sword in Siegfried). In his performance "You know where you can find me again" isn't a public announcement to all the denizens of Klingsor's realm (as I thoughtlessly used to imagine). It's addressed quietly to one person--Kundry. Similarly, "Only one weapon" isn't a public announcement--it's addressed quietly to the one person who needs that weapon: Amfortas.

    In fact, Aldenhoff now gives me a feeling of understanding the innermost depths of Parsifal's soul in a way that only one other postwar tenor--Vickers--does. And the two are so different that I can't even begin to compare them. Vickers is an orator, preaching with great eloquence to Kundry in Act 2 and everyone in Act 3. I don't mean that disparagingly. Nothing is rarer, or more difficult to bring off, than really great oratory, and Vickers is an absolute master of it. By contrast, Aldenhoff is conversing on a private, intimate level with one person after another--pleading, rather than preaching. Just as effective, and just as difficult to do really well.

    It's a radio broadcast. I think perhaps in the opening minutes of Acts 2 and 3 Mödl makes a few more noises, to inform the radio audience that she's present, than she used to do onstage. Sound is the tiniest big crumbly, esp. in choruses.

    A few years ago, if asked to prune my collection of Parsifals, this would have been one of the ones I discarded. Not any more. Now it's way up on my short list of the 12 (or thereabouts) Best Parsifals Ever Recorded.

    I wonder what else on my shelves I haven't yet learnt to appreciate at its full value.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    RobertoDevereux.jpg

    Caballé sang the role of Elisabetta in this opera quite a lot and this 1977 performance finds her in good voice, though she takes the first scene to settle down. In her determinaton to give a dramatic performance, she occasionally overindulges in aspirates and explosive expression, but the luxury of the voice is not in doubt and she rises splendidly to the challenge of the final scene. Carreras is a splendid Roberto and Susan Marsee good, if not particularly memorable as Sara.

    Gala also give us excerpts from a 1964 Naples performance featuring Leyla Gencer as a regal and commanding Elsiabetta, though the tenor, Ruggero Bondino, is hardly in Carreras's class.

    In the performances of both Caballé and Gencer, the shadow of Callas is defnitely felt, and I find myself wondering what she would have made of the role.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Sep-17-2021 at 11:12.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Finishing up the Levine Ring.
    Overall excellent. Only a weak Reiner Goldberg preventing this from being truly great. Having Morris, Kurt Moll, Heinz Zednik and Matti Salmonin and Jessye Norman more than make up for it.
    I love it for its perfect pacing, gorgeous sound, orchestral brilliance and Levine's expert conducting.
    On to the Haitink Ring.
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-17-2021 at 16:58.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Junior Member Endeavour's Avatar
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    Bellini's La Sonnambula with Richard Bonynge conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Nicolai Ghiaurov in the main roles.
    Pavarotti - Complete Operas - 51-52 - Bellini - La Sonnambula.jpg

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    It's been years since I've listened to this opera.
    Gonna give it a go today with this legendary Karajan recording.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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  13. #15173
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    Verdi: Oberto



    Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro Regio di Parma, Antonello Allemandi
    Cuniza: MARIANA PENTCHEVA
    Riccardo: FABIO SARTORI
    Oberto: GIOVANNI BATTISTA PARODI
    Leonora: FRANCESCA SASSU
    Imelda: GIOGIA BERTAGNI

    My complete box of the Tutti Verdi arrived today - watching the first DVD.
    Very enjoyable, the five main singers did a good job, the tenor was especially good. The opera itself is decent as Verdi's first effort, although you can tell that he still had ground to cover before he would be able to capture dramatic effect at his best. There are similarities that bring to mind Rigoletto, father and daughter, e.g., but in an embryonic stage

    These productions were staged at the Verdi Theater in Busseto which adds an extra level of interest. I've never let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and am grateful for the completeness of this set even if none of the productions would be considered "the best."

    Next up Un giorno di regno.
    Last edited by SanAntone; Sep-17-2021 at 17:22.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post


    It's been years since I've listened to this opera.
    Gonna give it a go today with this legendary Karajan recording.
    i LOVE this set. So joyfully life affirming. It exudes a real joy in the act of music making. It's something I hear in the Galliera and Gui Barbiere, the Gui Le comte Ory and the Gavazzeni Il Turco in Italia, but rarely in more modern recordings.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  17. #15175
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    In the DVD player this afternoon is Verdi's Stiffelio, the now vintage Met production with Domingo.

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    Junior Member JustinTaylor's Avatar
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    A fabulous performance!
    Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 3.01.12 PM copy.jpg
    August 26, 1957
    “NOW a warning?”

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Well, I can't say I liked this opera much more than I have in the past.
    It just doesn't seem to grab me.
    I hung in pretty well with the first 2 acts, but was bored and found my mind wondered during act 3.
    The final 5 minutes is brilliant, but that's about all i can say i really like.
    The sound is great and it has voices that i love.
    I just have a hard time getting into.
    Mostly it sounds like a Italian wedding. No knock on those of course.
    I suppose what i mean is, "were's the beef?"
    I will try again later today.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    On to Haitink's Ring. Siegfried.
    This has Jerusalem as Siegfried, a big improvement over Goldberg.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    In spite of the weak sounding Walther, this is well worth hearing.
    The rest of the cast is very good, especially Finley. Who is brilliant.
    It is a lively, high spirits production.
    There is some stage noise, but in this case i kind of enjoy it.
    The sound is full and clear.
    Happy that I bought it.
    Last edited by Itullian; Sep-18-2021 at 01:15.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Arrived in the post today.

    Listening to Act 1.

    Lively tempo, very good singing and excellent sound quality (you wouldn't think it was a live 1975 recording).

    Amfortas - Theo Adam
    Titurel - Fred Tescheler
    Gurnemanz - Ulrik Cold
    Parsifal - Rne Kollo
    Klingsor - Reid Bunger
    Kundry - Gisella Schröter

    Rundfunkchor Leipzig - Rundfunkchor Berlin - Thomanerchor Leipzig - Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig

    Herbert Kegel

    Recorded live, Leipzig Kongreßhalle, November 1st 1975


    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Sep-18-2021 at 01:29.

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