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

  1. #14596
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixFootScowl View Post
    I have two Bohm Fidelios, Nilsson and Behrens. Do I also need Jones?
    Jones has always divided opinion. On the positive side are her golden tone and the blazing intensity of her acting (unmatched, I think, by any Leonore of her generation). On the negative side is an intermittent squalliness/unsteadiness which bothers some listeners so much that they can't listen to her with pleasure at all, whereas others either scarcely notice it or even find it expressive of character.

    Fidelio was Böhm's favorite opera. I think he conducted it more often than any other, and over a very long span of time, so there are recordings of him performing it with a great diversity of sopranos.

    Setting aside the soprano question, I personally prefer the 1969 Jones recording to the 1960 Nilsson. For one thing, the orchestra (Vienna Philharmonic) is vastly superior. 1960 wasn't a good year for the Met orchestra; reportedly Böhm was so unhappy with the horns that he tried to get one of them fired, and I'm afraid on the recording it's painfully obvious why! 1969's recorded sound (DG studio) is also very much better, and so is the supporting cast.

    Overall, in fact, adding up quality of recorded sound, quality of supporting cast, and the fact that its principals worked together in this opera as a regular team (probably, around 1970, the regular team), I would suggest that this 1969 DG set might well be the pick of the various Böhm Fidelio recordings for those who either like Jones's voice or, at least, are happy to hear it.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't willingly part with the 1978 Behrens recording. On nearly all of his recordings, Böhm conducts Fidelio in a surprisingly Toscaninian way--fast, incisive, vibrant, exciting (surprisingly, because none of his Beethoven symphony recordings sound particularly Toscaninian). On the Behrens recording, uniquely, he tries something a bit different, giving the music more time to breathe, so that it sounds a bit more laid-back & relaxed although not so viscerally exciting. I don't say it's better or worse, but it's different and it seems to me just as enjoyable. I personally would want to keep it alongside one of the more "typical" Böhm Fidelios.

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  3. #14597
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvn View Post
    Surely the finest cast ever assembled on record in Leonore. We're listening to it, one act per night, in alternation with the same team of principals (Jones, King, Adam) recorded the previous year in Fidelio.

    Attachment 155122

    Attachment 155123
    to hear this performance I generally watch the DVD, which is very good. I think the moment that stands out to me, to my memory at the moment, is the first singing from James King. Wow, gorgeous (and hilariouly unacknowledged on the DG set you show). But this was in the years when Gwyneth Jones really sang. When I was (many years ago) young I think I imprinted on recordings of hers that were too late, and she could do some awful things with that huge voice as it failed. But earlier, really magnificent. This is the big Fidelio performance that I prefer.

    I will have to learn the differences with leonore, both this performance and a couple of new ones, at least by Jacobs, I forget is the new Honeck Fidelio or Leonore?

    Oh, oh, looked it up, there a "version" issue for which I don't know the details, but Honeck is Fidelio with the Wiener Symphoniker (Gramophone says they have a "newly invigorated Beethoven style" because of their work with Jordan. I heard them play a couple of years ago, not very impressive. Gramophone, meh).

    GVN and I were posting at the same time, reading his post and a few others I wonder how the Behrens would be with Boehm and who the tenor is? I think Behrens did Fidelio with Solti also.
    Last edited by mparta; May-13-2021 at 17:26.

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    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Musically this has a feel to it that pushes back towards Baroque, it seems very similar in style to Pasiello's Nina which while not Baroque is close to that era.
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; May-13-2021 at 18:23.
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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    The Jochum just arrived and listened to it.
    I may have a new number 1 choice.
    This is a great recording in very good sound.
    Wunderlich is extraordinary and Koth and Bohme are great too.
    So right now my top 3 are
    Jochum
    Beecham
    Krips
    Still have the C. Davis to listen to but those 3 will be hard to beat.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  9. #14600
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    Quote Originally Posted by mparta View Post
    to hear this performance I generally watch the DVD, which is very good. I think the moment that stands out to me, to my memory at the moment, is the first singing from James King. Wow, gorgeous (and hilariouly unacknowledged on the DG set you show).
    Actually the DVD is yet ANOTHER performance filmed around the same time (1969-1970)... that cast was very much in demand doing Fidelio/Leonore for the 1970 Beethoven centenary, and no wonder! The DVD has Neidlinger in place of Theo Adam, but I don't mind that at all, because Adam's classic Pizarro was preserved visually with Janowitz & Vickers at Orange in 1977, and I find Neidlinger just as good in his own way (he gives me a not inappropriate impression that Pizarro's prisoners are dwarfs in Nibelheim...).

    Quote Originally Posted by mparta View Post
    (and hilariouly unacknowledged on the DG set you show).
    Yes, people kinda noticed that when the CD set was first issued! I remember someone described it as Hamlet without the King.

  10. #14601
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    The biggest issue I have with almost every single conductor when it comes to Fidelio/Leonore is the Marzelline's ACT 1 aria being taken at a ridiculously slow speed. This is a young woman in love. She is singing passionately and is happy. She's excited. Nearly every single recording the conductor conducts it is if so woeful. So weird to me.

    That live Leonore above - the tempo of the first act is so ridiculously plodding that I just can't listen to it. Act 1 is a singspiel. On that recording it has nothing of a singspiel feel, at least to me.

    Other than that, once I make it through that Act 1 aria I am usually go to go.
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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post


    The Jochum just arrived and listened to it.
    I may have a new number 1 choice.
    This is a great recording in very good sound.
    Wunderlich is extraordinary and Koth and Bohme are great too.
    So right now my top 3 are
    Jochum
    Beecham
    Krips
    Still have the C. Davis to listen to but those 3 will be hard to beat.
    I'm happy with just having one recording of this opera and this one is good enough to keep me happy. It's worth it just for Wunderlich.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Re my post #14585 I have an apology to make. I have now finished listening to this Siegfried and all throughout I had a niggling feeling that there was something wrong. This is an Opera Depot recording from ostensibly 3 March 1973 with Don Garrard as The Wanderer. I therefore listened without listening and really felt that it was extremely well sung and very familiar. I have now come to the conclusion that this is indeed the March 3rd recording. However Garrard did not sing the Wanderer on that date, but he did so a week later on the 10th. My reason is very simple. Wanderer is actually the very excellent and very familiar voiced Norman Bailey. I should trust my ears more because all throughout I kept thinking that Garrard had a very similar voice to Bailey. Not being at all versed in Garrard’s voice I assumed singing in English was what was confusing me. I am now listening to Twilight of the Gods with Bailey as Gunther and it is the same voice as the OD Wanderer.
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    Found this in my CD rip folders. Had forgotten about it. Beautiful singing in this. Can do without the spiel part though.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    Strauss - Guntram (Hungarian State Orchestra, Queler, Sony)

    The first time I listened to his first opera. Better than I expected, but the influence of Wagner is ever present.

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  19. #14606
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    Quote Originally Posted by SixFootScowl View Post
    Found this in my CD rip folders. Had forgotten about it. Beautiful singing in this. Can do without the spiel part though.
    There are quite a few good recordings, this being one, Tomowa-Sintow sings well in everything of hers that I know, but without being particularly distinctive. Gary Lakes had a run, I heard him in a concert Tristan und isolde Act 2 with Barenboim and Behrens, good singing, not the last word.

    I think the singspiel is something to which I'm accustomed, always listen through in this, my favorite piece after Pelleas. I think the real justification for the singspiel is in the theatre, it is the chance for the director to find business for the clowns, and I saw that work in a production in Dresden.

    Still just the most wonderful piece. I'm increasingly fond of the Nagano, a more extended setting with Sumi Jo and Margaret Price, the latter such a cool and gorgeous voice! But the Sinopoli also great and I will never be rid of the 50's HvK, no matter who else sings it, Rita Streich will always be Zerbinetta, a little vulnerability, a lot of beauty and flawless singing. Also a performance where Schwarzkopf's characteristics are all a virtue, which for me is rare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post


    Strauss - Guntram (Hungarian State Orchestra, Queler, Sony)

    The first time I listened to his first opera. Better than I expected, but the influence of Wagner is ever present.
    I do feel like I am listening to Wagner in parts of Ariadne auf Naxos. I need to check out this Guntram opera next.
    “Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!'" Matthew 25:41 (Christian Standard Bible)

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    CH5250_Fotor.jpg

    I've always struggled with Britten, including his own recording of this work. This recording is fantastic. I just may become a Britten fan through it.
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    Last edited by Rogerx; May-15-2021 at 04:14.
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    Der Rosenkavalier - Karajan/Philharmonia, Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Stich-Randall, Edelmann

    Does this famous recording even need commentary? I’m well aware that many find Schwarzkopf’s “artfulness” irritating, but I just love the way she marries speech with singing, and her voice itself is gorgeous here. I can almost understand what she is saying without reading the libretto and only knowing a smattering of German. I do think Karajan’s conducting could “smile” a bit more, though.
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; May-15-2021 at 14:34.
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