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

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    Gluck Alceste :

    Great Great Great Opera !

    and what a superb performance with Jessye Norman and Nicolai Gedda !



    I can't believe I didn't know it yet ! I have to read Romain Rolland's article on this opera carefully, and I'll get to study the full score as soon as possible.
    In a world to be handled by gangsters and maniacs, art means nothing but just a junk food which there's no hope for human salvation through it... (Shāmlou)

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    Going through a Berg's Lulu phase again..... watching the new Liceu DVD of Lulu and the older Glyndebourne DVD. Love them.

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    Default Two Lulu's Two Reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by Yashin View Post
    Going through a Berg's Lulu phase again..... watching the new Liceu DVD of Lulu and the older Glyndebourne DVD. Love them.
    What a timely read...

    Opera Today
    Two Lulu's Two Reviews
    by Jim Zychowicz
    13 Apr 2012

    0886979100992.jpg

    Lulu by the Metropolitan Opera

    A recent release by the Metropolitan Opera, this two-disc set makes available on DVD the famous performance of Berg’s Lulu that was broadcast on 20 December 1980 as part of the PBS series “Live from the Met.”

    Based on the production that received its Met premiere in 1977, this video makes available John Dexter’s classic presentation of Berg’s opera that James Levine conductor over three decades ago. The Met’s production was a major event because the three-act version of Berg’s score was still new, with houses vying to program it. Even though the opera received a number of fine productions since then, this production of the Met’s Lulu remains a strong and insightful performance, which Levine led masterfully.

    Dexter’s staging offers a conventional approach to this unconventional opera, with wonderfully detailed interiors that give a sense of realism to this extraordinary score. While various obvious places in the video do not disclose the fact that this is a filmed opera rather than an opera conceived as a film, the direction gives a sense of intimacy which allows the viewers to observe the work from a closer perspective than if they were in the audience. It is a credit to the sensitivity of the production staff involved with the film that they were able to convey the interactions well, as in the finale scene of Act 2. Yet the film also gives a sense of this specific production with its closeups of Levine conducting from the pit, especially in the orchestral numbers that are part of Berg’s score.

    One element unique to this production is the setting of the film music ingeniously. With its use of stills which resemble Manga, the section has a timeless quality which fits well into the live action used for the rest of the film. The sepia-tone images and art-deco are entirely appropriate to the production, with a good sense of cinematic continuity.

    The cast was outstanding in its days and their efforts remain laudable. Julia Migenes, perhaps known best for her depiction of Carmen in the film of the opera, is a solid, convincing Lulu. In this role Migenes combines her strong acting abilities with her command of the role. Her coquettish behavior in the first act gives way to an increasingly manipulative persona, which Migenes also expresses well vocally. The penultimate scene in the third act gives a fine sense of how Migenes handles this complex role.

    As Countess Geschwitz, Evelyn Lear gives a classic performance which merits attention for the details she brings to its performance. Lear’s Geschwitz is appealing for the dimensions it offers, as both a foil for some aspects of Lulu and as an individual with a compelling presence. Lear offers a Geschwitz with consummate style, which fits well into the production, especially in her impassioned final scene. Likewise, Kenneth Riegel’s Alwa is memorable for the musical and dramatic depth it offers. Riegel’s supple voice works well in this production, where his voice is neither lost in the full orchestral sound nor harsh in the more dramatic passages of the role.

    The casting is evenly strong, with both the solo passages and ensembles well executed. The opening scene of the third act offers a brilliant rendering of the cocktail party depicted in the libretto, with the solo voices intersecting the ensemble and orchestra with appropriate style. Frank Mazura gives a strong performance in the dual role of Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper, as does Andrew Foldi as Schigolch. These and the entire cast work well under Levine’s leadership, which shaped this performance from start to finish.

    It is difficult to fault this classic performance of Lulu, except for some aspects that are out of the control of the Met. The color was fine for television in 1980, but it seems faded, even in this well-produced DVD. The sound is rendered well, but suffers at times from the necessary placement of microphones for the broadcast. While not a major obstacle, such details serve as reminders that this is a television broadcast, not a studio recording of the opera. Thus, the subtitles are entirely in English, as would occur in a broadcast. Yet it would be useful to have the original German text as an option for the subtitles.

    With several productions of Lulu available on DVD, this one is a solid choice. Dramatically and musically compelling, this performance has much to recommend. The sensuality implicit in the score is not overtly depicted, and so the parental warnings that occur with other releases of this opera are absent from this video. More than that, this performance has historic significance for being part of the production that introduced the Met’s audiences to Berg’s famous opera.

    Jim Zychowicz

    http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...rg_.phphttp://

    13 Apr 2012

    Lulu by Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona

    8584409.jpg

    Released in late 2011, Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD of the new staging of Berg’s Lulu at the Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona is an excellent contribution to the discography of this fascinating opera.

    The production was designed by Pierre André Weitz, with stage direction by Olivier Py, and its post-modern approach supports Berg’s score through its vivid settings and facile staging. Unlike the conventional staging of Lulu, as found in another recent DVD which preserves the 1977 Metropolitan Opera premiere of the opera (filmed in 1980), this Barcelona staging plays upon the surrealistic elements of the work to powerful effect. With excellent sound and intense visuals, this recent DG release is a compelling presentation of Lulu.

    The casting is impressive, with Lulu played by Patricia Petibon, and Alwa by Paul Groves. Both singers are fully engaged in their characters both dramatically and vocally. Petibon brings out the vulnerability of Lulu along with her ruthlessness. As the narrative takes the Lulu into increasingly complex situations, Petibon expresses her character’s desperation in her acting and vocal tone, with a sense of timing that serves the music and the dram. Yet at the end, when Lulu becomes a prostitute in London, Petibon brings a sense of detachment to the climax, which allows the action to focus on the actions of Ashley Holland as Jack the Ripper and reactions of Julia Juon as Countess Geschwitz. Petibon’s subtlety allows the staging to emphasize the tragedy, and also brings out the lyrical emphases in various numbers, as with Lulu’s Lied (“Wenn sich die Menschen” in the first scene of act two.

    As Alwa Paul Groves is appealing for performative reasons. The role is well within Groves’ abilities, which receives fine voice in this video. His delivery of the passage “Über die ließe sich freilich eine interessante Oper schreiben” is memorable for the way it works well in the scene yet seems like commentary on the work itself. His clear enunciation of the text and sense of line supports both the part of Alwa and also his strangely intense relationship with Lulu.

    Ashley Holland brings a similar command to the dual role of Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper, a quality which allows him to build the dramatic and musical tension in the first part of the opera and then, at the end, to bring it to its tragic ending. Holland’s Dr. Schön interacts well with Petibon’s Lulu, as well as the other characters. The complex relationship between Dr. Schön as father and Alwa as his son emerges with appropriate edginess in this production. At the same time the final scene hinges on Holland’s intensity as Jack the Ripper.

    With the role of Countess Geschwitz, Julia Juon creates a sympathetic persona as Lulu’s erstwhile lover and dramatic Doppelgänger. Introduced only in the second act, it is important for anyone taking on the role of Geschwitz to create a solid impression, and Juon does so from the start. Her obsession with Lulu emerges without overstatement, with her final lines haunting. Juon’s performance stands well with Petibon’s, as the two women create strong impressions throughout the performance.

    Supporting all of this is the fine leadership of Michael Boder, who brings a fine sense of timing and balance to excellent sound of the DVD. Boder’s interpretation is strong, as it reflects his sense of interactions of instrumental and vocal music in this complex score. The orchestral outbursts have their place in the drama, and are nicely integrated into the polished whole of the production.

    Yet throughout the performance, the staging stands out for the bold approach to this landmark twentieth-century opera. The carefully considered and and well-thought details make support work. While this results in some provocative images, the results does not seem gratuitous Labeled with a parental advisory for adult content, this DVD makes a provocative staging available to a wide audience. The sensuality of the work emerges in overt elements, like the suggestion of sexual intimacy and the alluring sense of bodies in depicting the lust that is part of the libretto. As strong as this aspect of the production may be, it is never out of place or sensationalist. Rather, this staging makes use of those elements to bring out the narrative elements in ways that sometimes fall short in other productions. At the same time the vivid use of animal images in the prologue and first act make Wedekind’s text come to life memorably. In addition Brechtian elements emerge in the placards with slogans in various languages that punctuate some of the scenes. “Meine Seele” or “I hate sex” seen to be non-sequiturs on their own, but contribute to the entire experience when viewed within the mise-en-scène of this Lulu. As these and other elements work together well in this production, they bring a powerful focus on the dramatic aspects of Berg’s opera in a performance that includes some of the finest interpreters of the work in the first decade of the twenty-first century. A modern conception of the opera, this Lulu is simultaneously accessible for its solid conception of this seminal twentieth-century opera.

    Jim Zychowicz

    http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...lona_alban.php
    -- RS
    Opinionated? Yes... At least I have one...
    definition (adj. Holding stubbornly and often unreasonably to one's own opinions)

  5. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmithor View Post
    What a timely read...

    Opera Today
    Two Lulu's Two Reviews
    by Jim Zychowicz
    13 Apr 2012

    0886979100992.jpg

    Lulu by the Metropolitan Opera

    A recent release by the Metropolitan Opera, this two-disc set makes available on DVD the famous performance of Berg’s Lulu that was broadcast on 20 December 1980 as part of the PBS series “Live from the Met.”

    Based on the production that received its Met premiere in 1977, this video makes available John Dexter’s classic presentation of Berg’s opera that James Levine conductor over three decades ago. The Met’s production was a major event because the three-act version of Berg’s score was still new, with houses vying to program it. Even though the opera received a number of fine productions since then, this production of the Met’s Lulu remains a strong and insightful performance, which Levine led masterfully.

    Dexter’s staging offers a conventional approach to this unconventional opera, with wonderfully detailed interiors that give a sense of realism to this extraordinary score. While various obvious places in the video do not disclose the fact that this is a filmed opera rather than an opera conceived as a film, the direction gives a sense of intimacy which allows the viewers to observe the work from a closer perspective than if they were in the audience. It is a credit to the sensitivity of the production staff involved with the film that they were able to convey the interactions well, as in the finale scene of Act 2. Yet the film also gives a sense of this specific production with its closeups of Levine conducting from the pit, especially in the orchestral numbers that are part of Berg’s score.

    One element unique to this production is the setting of the film music ingeniously. With its use of stills which resemble Manga, the section has a timeless quality which fits well into the live action used for the rest of the film. The sepia-tone images and art-deco are entirely appropriate to the production, with a good sense of cinematic continuity.

    The cast was outstanding in its days and their efforts remain laudable. Julia Migenes, perhaps known best for her depiction of Carmen in the film of the opera, is a solid, convincing Lulu. In this role Migenes combines her strong acting abilities with her command of the role. Her coquettish behavior in the first act gives way to an increasingly manipulative persona, which Migenes also expresses well vocally. The penultimate scene in the third act gives a fine sense of how Migenes handles this complex role.

    As Countess Geschwitz, Evelyn Lear gives a classic performance which merits attention for the details she brings to its performance. Lear’s Geschwitz is appealing for the dimensions it offers, as both a foil for some aspects of Lulu and as an individual with a compelling presence. Lear offers a Geschwitz with consummate style, which fits well into the production, especially in her impassioned final scene. Likewise, Kenneth Riegel’s Alwa is memorable for the musical and dramatic depth it offers. Riegel’s supple voice works well in this production, where his voice is neither lost in the full orchestral sound nor harsh in the more dramatic passages of the role.

    The casting is evenly strong, with both the solo passages and ensembles well executed. The opening scene of the third act offers a brilliant rendering of the cocktail party depicted in the libretto, with the solo voices intersecting the ensemble and orchestra with appropriate style. Frank Mazura gives a strong performance in the dual role of Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper, as does Andrew Foldi as Schigolch. These and the entire cast work well under Levine’s leadership, which shaped this performance from start to finish.

    It is difficult to fault this classic performance of Lulu, except for some aspects that are out of the control of the Met. The color was fine for television in 1980, but it seems faded, even in this well-produced DVD. The sound is rendered well, but suffers at times from the necessary placement of microphones for the broadcast. While not a major obstacle, such details serve as reminders that this is a television broadcast, not a studio recording of the opera. Thus, the subtitles are entirely in English, as would occur in a broadcast. Yet it would be useful to have the original German text as an option for the subtitles.

    With several productions of Lulu available on DVD, this one is a solid choice. Dramatically and musically compelling, this performance has much to recommend. The sensuality implicit in the score is not overtly depicted, and so the parental warnings that occur with other releases of this opera are absent from this video. More than that, this performance has historic significance for being part of the production that introduced the Met’s audiences to Berg’s famous opera.

    Jim Zychowicz

    http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...rg_.phphttp://

    13 Apr 2012

    Lulu by Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona

    8584409.jpg

    Released in late 2011, Deutsche Grammophon’s DVD of the new staging of Berg’s Lulu at the Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona is an excellent contribution to the discography of this fascinating opera.

    The production was designed by Pierre André Weitz, with stage direction by Olivier Py, and its post-modern approach supports Berg’s score through its vivid settings and facile staging. Unlike the conventional staging of Lulu, as found in another recent DVD which preserves the 1977 Metropolitan Opera premiere of the opera (filmed in 1980), this Barcelona staging plays upon the surrealistic elements of the work to powerful effect. With excellent sound and intense visuals, this recent DG release is a compelling presentation of Lulu.

    The casting is impressive, with Lulu played by Patricia Petibon, and Alwa by Paul Groves. Both singers are fully engaged in their characters both dramatically and vocally. Petibon brings out the vulnerability of Lulu along with her ruthlessness. As the narrative takes the Lulu into increasingly complex situations, Petibon expresses her character’s desperation in her acting and vocal tone, with a sense of timing that serves the music and the dram. Yet at the end, when Lulu becomes a prostitute in London, Petibon brings a sense of detachment to the climax, which allows the action to focus on the actions of Ashley Holland as Jack the Ripper and reactions of Julia Juon as Countess Geschwitz. Petibon’s subtlety allows the staging to emphasize the tragedy, and also brings out the lyrical emphases in various numbers, as with Lulu’s Lied (“Wenn sich die Menschen” in the first scene of act two.

    As Alwa Paul Groves is appealing for performative reasons. The role is well within Groves’ abilities, which receives fine voice in this video. His delivery of the passage “Über die ließe sich freilich eine interessante Oper schreiben” is memorable for the way it works well in the scene yet seems like commentary on the work itself. His clear enunciation of the text and sense of line supports both the part of Alwa and also his strangely intense relationship with Lulu.

    Ashley Holland brings a similar command to the dual role of Dr. Schön and Jack the Ripper, a quality which allows him to build the dramatic and musical tension in the first part of the opera and then, at the end, to bring it to its tragic ending. Holland’s Dr. Schön interacts well with Petibon’s Lulu, as well as the other characters. The complex relationship between Dr. Schön as father and Alwa as his son emerges with appropriate edginess in this production. At the same time the final scene hinges on Holland’s intensity as Jack the Ripper.

    With the role of Countess Geschwitz, Julia Juon creates a sympathetic persona as Lulu’s erstwhile lover and dramatic Doppelgänger. Introduced only in the second act, it is important for anyone taking on the role of Geschwitz to create a solid impression, and Juon does so from the start. Her obsession with Lulu emerges without overstatement, with her final lines haunting. Juon’s performance stands well with Petibon’s, as the two women create strong impressions throughout the performance.

    Supporting all of this is the fine leadership of Michael Boder, who brings a fine sense of timing and balance to excellent sound of the DVD. Boder’s interpretation is strong, as it reflects his sense of interactions of instrumental and vocal music in this complex score. The orchestral outbursts have their place in the drama, and are nicely integrated into the polished whole of the production.

    Yet throughout the performance, the staging stands out for the bold approach to this landmark twentieth-century opera. The carefully considered and and well-thought details make support work. While this results in some provocative images, the results does not seem gratuitous Labeled with a parental advisory for adult content, this DVD makes a provocative staging available to a wide audience. The sensuality of the work emerges in overt elements, like the suggestion of sexual intimacy and the alluring sense of bodies in depicting the lust that is part of the libretto. As strong as this aspect of the production may be, it is never out of place or sensationalist. Rather, this staging makes use of those elements to bring out the narrative elements in ways that sometimes fall short in other productions. At the same time the vivid use of animal images in the prologue and first act make Wedekind’s text come to life memorably. In addition Brechtian elements emerge in the placards with slogans in various languages that punctuate some of the scenes. “Meine Seele” or “I hate sex” seen to be non-sequiturs on their own, but contribute to the entire experience when viewed within the mise-en-scène of this Lulu. As these and other elements work together well in this production, they bring a powerful focus on the dramatic aspects of Berg’s opera in a performance that includes some of the finest interpreters of the work in the first decade of the twenty-first century. A modern conception of the opera, this Lulu is simultaneously accessible for its solid conception of this seminal twentieth-century opera.

    Jim Zychowicz

    http://www.operatoday.com/content/20...lona_alban.php
    Very nice reviews, well done!
    What about the ending to the Liceu DVD....a bit flat i thought. I take it there are several versions of this opera since when i have seen it (twice) in the theatre they have sometimes had the 'ending' at the start.

  6. #35
    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Finally caved in and bought another CD version of Idomeneo that I'd had my eye on for months:

    19421204.jpg

    The attraction here was the Idamante of Werner Krenn and the Elettra of Sena Jurinac. They don't disappoint. I was also pleasantly surprised by Waldemar Kmentt in the title role, who sings with a rich, baritonal, spinto quality. I'm less enthusiastic about Lisa Della Casa's Ilia. She makes some lovely sounds, but she's stil (for my tastes) not on the level of the ladies who sing this role in the two Glyndebourne recordings I have: Jurinac and Janowitz.

    This is a live recording from a 1971 performance at the Vienna State Opera. Recording quality isn't always the greatest, and this is a version of Idomeneo unlike any other I've previously heard. Two first act arias are cut -- Idomeneo's "Vedrommi intorno" and Idamante's "Il padre adorato" (a real shame, given the quality of the two gentlemen singing these roles), and the entire section of the chorus "Nettuno s'onore" that includes the soloists is dropped and replaced by an intermezzo. There is also an instrumental prelude to Elettra's first act aria which I'd never heard before.

    Nonetheless, I'm glad I have the recording and know it will provide me with many enjoyable hours of listening in the future.

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    I have an embarrassingly tall stack of opera recordings that I have yet to listen to. Among these, recordings by Richard Strauss, Wagner, Mozart, Gluck, and Handel outnumber all others (although there are also a slew of Verdi recordings in there). Sunday is usually my big opera day... when I sit down and seriously give listen to an opera or two. Fisrt on my list is Strauss' Elektra... for the simple reason that I have two recordings that I have yet to hear. Today I'll be playing this one:



    Considering the stellar cast and my pleasure in the other recordings from this series of historic performances.

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    Default Why so many "Lulu's? 2010 Marked the 75th Anniversary of Alban Berg's Death

    2010 marked the 75th anniversary of Alban Berg's death in 1935. Opera houses worldwide performed Berg's Lulu between 2008-2012... it was also Friedrich Cerha 30th anniversary of his completion of Lulu, Act 3... Ending years of seeing the Act 2 version, played as a torso (a musical Venus without arms)... thankfully many of these new productions were recorded... (I'm hoping Alban Berg - Lulu Opéra National de Paris, 2011 | Michael Schønwandt, Willy Decker, with Laura Aikin makes it to HD Blu-ray DVD)

    41DJ7KOz8gL._SL500_AA300_.jpg 419uGnOrpFL-1.jpg 51jJCwvgwML.jpg

    Universal Edition performances of Lulu... 2008: 11 performances... 2009: 38 performances... 2010/11/12: 97 performances


    http://www.universaledition.com/home-en
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    Opinionated? Yes... At least I have one...
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  12. #38
    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    0743459.jpg

    The long-awaited (well, by some of us, anyway!) DVD of the ROH Adriana Lecouvreur production with the fabulous Jonas K.! Yes, Maurizio is a two-timing cad, but when he sounds like this, it's hard not to fall for him. Gheorghiu is a lovely Adriana (this role really suits her), but Borodina, though singing very well, is quite matronly-looking. Of course, this underscores the fact that Maurizio's interest in her is really political and not romantic. Alessandro Corbelli is a touching Michonnet.

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  14. #39
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    Der Freitschutz...Kind of fresh music...Not complicated at all...This version, old fashion, clean, direct and good!

    51nKmxdqAnL._AA160_.jpg

    Martin

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    Just posted in the 'what are you listening to?' thread in the main forum, but Mehtas Tosca

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    The only recording of Grétry's masterwork I could find !

    For those opera fans who dont know Grétry's Richard Coeur de Lion, just remember Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, when countess is singing alone, remembering her youth.
    Last edited by Il_Penseroso; Jun-20-2012 at 07:14.
    In a world to be handled by gangsters and maniacs, art means nothing but just a junk food which there's no hope for human salvation through it... (Shāmlou)

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  18. #42
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    Getting ready for our local opera company's performance of Porgy and Bess next week with this:

    182074.jpg

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    I'm having a break from my Les Troyens homework to listen to this. Just sublime.

    Ann

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    All below on DVD (blown away by all three):

    Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de loin

    saariaho-kaija-752-l.jpg

    Aribert Reimann's Medea

    0807280155198.jpg

    Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur

    809478010005__lang-en-us.jpg
    Last edited by trosado; Oct-18-2012 at 08:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trosado View Post
    All below on DVD (blown away by all three):

    Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de loin

    saariaho-kaija-752-l.jpg

    Aribert Reimann's Medea

    0807280155198.jpg

    Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur

    809478010005__lang-en-us.jpg
    Hi trosado.

    I share your enthusiasm for the first and the third.

    Have you seen Written on Skin? It's not available on DVD but you can catch it on arte TV and it is also a "Blow you away" contemporary opera. But hurry, only twelve more days at time of writing!
    Last edited by mamascarlatti; Oct-18-2012 at 08:59.
    Natalie

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