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Thread: Opera trips

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dongiovanni View Post
    Actually I agree with you on Grigolo and Beczela ! If I say Grigolo is already far on his way to stardom doesn't mean I like his singing, it's just a simple fact :-) But stardom can be measured by different standards. I'd say Grigolo gets way more attention.

    I think Piotr was in better form at La Scala last Friday than the broadcast I heard of the Salzburg Boheme. But it's hard to compare a (not so good) broadcast with a live performance.
    Of course Grigolo has spent a lot of time on crossover, which gives you a bigger profile, but I believe adversely affects the delicacy and shading of your singing (like Bocelli, who can only sing loud and too loud.) Grigolo has that whole backstory - Sistine choir, being called 'Il Pavarottino'. And then there is the looks thing - many people find Grigolo handsome, while Beczela is merely pleasant in a rather 50s kind of way.

    Nonetheless I'd go out of my way to hear Beczala, and avoid Grigolo.
    Last edited by mamascarlatti; Oct-25-2012 at 01:43.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    I had only intended to see two performances of Jenůfa while I was in Zurich but as Lucia di Lammermoor is on in between, I've decided to see that as well.

    Not really bothered what sort of production it is but just hope it includes the Wolf's Crag scene.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    I had only intended to see two performances of Jenůfa while I was in Zurich but as Lucia di Lammermoor is on in between, I've decided to see that as well.

    Not really bothered what sort of production it is but just hope it includes the Wolf's Crag scene.
    Isn't Jane Archibald singing Lucia? Loved her Zerbinetta in the Baden Baden Ariadne.

    Have fun!

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    Isn't Jane Archibald singing Lucia?
    Yes!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    Have fun!
    I'll try!

    I wonder what they'll find when the snow melts?

    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Lucia di Lammermoor, Zurich Opera House. 30 October 2012

    Ashton: Alexey Markov
    Lucia: Jane Archibald
    Edgardo: Ismael Jordi
    Arturo: Boiko Zvetanov
    Raimondo: Christof Fischesser
    Alisa: Julia Riley
    Normanno: Boguslaw Bidzinski

    Conductor: Pavel Baleff
    Production: Damiano Michieletto


    Production is updated but follows the story exactly. Not 'regie'. Set in a police state and a bombed out building stage right is used extensively. Edgardo hides in it, the chorus use different floors during their scenes, Lucia & Arturo ascend the stairs on their wedding night, Lucia then descends and appears on different floors during the madness scene.

    Act 1 opens with police in leather trench coats with huge German Shepherd dog searching the building for Edgardo.

    The ghost of the fountain appears and is on stage for much of the action and I thought this worked very well.

    Singers and orchestra were superb & all set pieces were outstanding. The most spectacular part is where Lucia does a death leap from the bombed out building. I contacted Jane Archibald and asked her if it was her or a stunt double or a dummy because it was over so quickly it was difficult to tell! This was her response:
    Probably shouldn't reveal the secret. Let's just say: I hope, if you were to see the jump in slow mo, you'd know the answer…
    I really hope this is released on DVD, it was fabulous & would recommend it to anyone.

    This is my curtain call video; not brilliant but you can just about see (2:30) the spur jutting out from which Lucia jumped.

    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Jenůfa, Zurich Opera House 28 October 2012

    Patrick Lange: Conductor
    Dmitri Tcherniakov: Director

    Kristine Opolais: Jenůfa
    Michaela Martens: Kostelnička
    Hanna Schwarz: Grandmother Buryjovka
    Christopher Ventris: Laca
    Pavol Breslik: Števa Buryja

    -----------------------------------------------

    I actually saw this twice on 28 and 31 October. This isn't a proper review but just a few thoughts and I'm looking forward to reading what member Cavaradossi has to say.

    The story was updated to the present day which worked well. There are still communities today where it is considered shameful for a woman to have a baby outside marriage. And there are women who prefer to live with a violent partner they don't love rather than to be alone.

    There are parts of the production which I didn't like. In this, Jano, the shepherd boy who Jenůfa taught to read is a dippy girlfriend, not a trouser role and Grandmother is depicted as a fool who is taunted and made fun of. I thought as first she had dementia but really she only pretends to be like this so is not respected by anyone.

    But what made me really angry was the fact that the Kostelnička doesn't bury the baby under the ice. Instead she leaves him in a crib in an attic room above Jenůfa's bedroom (ingenious stage which moves up and down & could show three floors of the house simultaneously), returns to the ground floor then leaves the house through French windows (without a baby to bury, I had to ask myself: why does she leave the house?). She stays outside but within sight until Jenůfa has sung the heartbreaking Mamičko, mám těžkou hlavu, mám, mám. Then Kostelnička demands to be let back in and story continues. At the beginning of Act 3 we see Grandmother peer into the crib & then recoil so we know that's where the dead baby is. We don't see the body being discovered, the crowd just say a baby has been found murdered, no mention of where so a chunk of the libretto has been deleted to fit the story.

    This is only my very personal opinion but I was disappointed with this 'regie-theatre' production. The singing and the music was superb and Michaela Martens' Jako by sem smrt načuhovala! will stay in my memory for ever.

    For a good insight into the opera go here.

    My curtain call video.

    Ann

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    Senior Member Dongiovanni's Avatar
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    Thanks Annie for your reports, always nice to read your posts with such detail and passion. I checked your youtube curtain call movies :-) You have been very active this year ! You went to Figaro in february at the ROH, when I planned for my trip to London this year I also wanted to go to Figaro, but I couldn't make it. I recently got the DVD of this production with Finley/Persson/Roschmann, what a delight. Very impressed by Persson. Roschmann impressed me earlier with her countess in the Salzburg Figaro with Harnoncourt.
    Last edited by Dongiovanni; Nov-03-2012 at 23:01.

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dongiovanni View Post
    Thanks Annie for your reports, always nice to read your posts with such detail and passion. I checked your youtube curtain call movies :-) You have been very active this year!
    Thank you! I'm very lucky to be able to see such great opera.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dongiovanni View Post
    You went to Figaro in february at the ROH, when I planned for my trip to London this year I also wanted to go to Figaro, but I couldn't make it. I recently got the DVD of this production with Finley/Persson/Roschmann, what a delight. Very impressed by Persson. Roschmann impressed me earlier with her countess in the Salzburg Figaro with Harnoncourt.
    I didn't realise you had planned to come, what a shame. I have the DVD & love this production.
    Ann

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    Is anyone else planning on catching the Seattle Ring in August 2013?

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    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Lucia di Lammermoor, Zurich Opera House. 30 October 2012

    Ashton: Alexey Markov
    Lucia: Jane Archibald
    Edgardo: Ismael Jordi
    Arturo: Boiko Zvetanov
    Raimondo: Christof Fischesser
    Alisa: Julia Riley
    Normanno: Boguslaw Bidzinski

    Conductor: Pavel Baleff
    Production: Damiano Michieletto


    Production is updated but follows the story exactly. Not 'regie'. Set in a police state and a bombed out building stage right is used extensively. Edgardo hides in it, the chorus use different floors during their scenes, Lucia & Arturo ascend the stairs on their wedding night, Lucia then descends and appears on different floors during the madness scene.

    Act 1 opens with police in leather trench coats with huge German Shepherd dog searching the building for Edgardo.

    The ghost of the fountain appears and is on stage for much of the action and I thought this worked very well.

    Singers and orchestra were superb & all set pieces were outstanding. The most spectacular part is where Lucia does a death leap from the bombed out building. I contacted Jane Archibald and asked her if it was her or a stunt double or a dummy because it was over so quickly it was difficult to tell! This was her response:


    I really hope this is released on DVD, it was fabulous & would recommend it to anyone.

    This is my curtain call video; not brilliant but you can just about see (2:30) the spur jutting out from which Lucia jumped.

    OMG Annie! I should have checked in once more before I left, I didn't realize we would be attending on the same nights! We could have rendezvous-ed at intermission or something. I was up in a box on a second level on Oct 30. I'm so glad you recorded and posted the curtain calls, such a treat to see.

    I enjoyed the production at well. Although there were some weak points in the update - most egregiously using a plain galvanized steel bucket to represent the well where the ghost supposedly drowned. And I found that ledge incongruously sticking out of the structure the whole time distracting. I do agree that having the ghost re-appear at key moments was very effective.

    The big revelations of the night for me were the Edgardo of Spanish tenor Ismael Jordi (high, light, and fluid -shades of JDF I thought) and the piercing Ashton of Georgian(?) bass-baritone Alexey Markov. I liked Jane Archibold too, but there were one or two admittedly very, very high notes where her voice seemed to get thin. The Arturo sounded off pitch to me. I wondered if he was hired more for his short, squat stature which did make a for tragi-comic image when paired with the tall and lanky Jane Archibald. The relative intimacy of the house meant all the voices were heard clear and strong even in the third row second level box seat where I was sitting.

    As far as the house itself, the main auditorium was spectacular but I was surprised how downright plain the rest of the interior was. I thought the Zurich audience was quite stingy with applause (none at all for the Act 1 duet or the quartet) until the final curtain. Though even then, no one stood and the few bravos I heard got glaring looks from others.

    Well, I've got three more operas to report back on, but that's a start.
    Last edited by Cavaradossi; Nov-08-2012 at 20:06.

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  18. #101
    Senior Member Dongiovanni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavaradossi View Post
    I thought the Zurich audience was quite stingy with applause (none at all for the Act 1 duet or the quartet) until the final curtain. Though even then, no one stood and the few bravos I heard got glaring looks from others.
    Tough crowd ! I also had this experience in London, very tame clapping, no one standing, no bravos, for a very good performance. The plus side: no early clapping.

  19. #102
    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Jenůfa, Zurich Opera House 28 October 2012

    Patrick Lange: Conductor
    Dmitri Tcherniakov: Director

    Kristine Opolais: Jenůfa
    Michaela Martens: Kostelnička
    Hanna Schwarz: Grandmother Buryjovka
    Christopher Ventris: Laca
    Pavol Breslik: Števa Buryja

    -----------------------------------------------

    I actually saw this twice on 28 and 31 October. This isn't a proper review but just a few thoughts and I'm looking forward to reading what member Cavaradossi has to say.

    The story was updated to the present day which worked well. There are still communities today where it is considered shameful for a woman to have a baby outside marriage. And there are women who prefer to live with a violent partner they don't love rather than to be alone.

    There are parts of the production which I didn't like. In this, Jano, the shepherd boy who Jenůfa taught to read is a dippy girlfriend, not a trouser role and Grandmother is depicted as a fool who is taunted and made fun of. I thought as first she had dementia but really she only pretends to be like this so is not respected by anyone.

    But what made me really angry was the fact that the Kostelnička doesn't bury the baby under the ice. Instead she leaves him in a crib in an attic room above Jenůfa's bedroom (ingenious stage which moves up and down & could show three floors of the house simultaneously), returns to the ground floor then leaves the house through French windows (without a baby to bury, I had to ask myself: why does she leave the house?). She stays outside but within sight until Jenůfa has sung the heartbreaking Mamičko, mám těžkou hlavu, mám, mám. Then Kostelnička demands to be let back in and story continues. At the beginning of Act 3 we see Grandmother peer into the crib & then recoil so we know that's where the dead baby is. We don't see the body being discovered, the crowd just say a baby has been found murdered, no mention of where so a chunk of the libretto has been deleted to fit the story.

    This is only my very personal opinion but I was disappointed with this 'regie-theatre' production. The singing and the music was superb and Michaela Martens' Jako by sem smrt načuhovala! will stay in my memory for ever.
    I must admit I only glanced at a plot synopsis before I left, so I didn't realize how far they strayed. What I got out of it is that (in the Zurich production) the Kostelnička merely hid the child in the attic room and leaves him there alive, then the eccentric grandmother comes up and nudges the cradle towards and out the open attic window into the snow. But that doesn't explain why the Kostelnička assumes the guilt immediately when the dead child is discovered. In any case, yes that aspect was all very confusing. On top of that the Kostelnička is not trundled off to jail, but remains at home at the end and she is clearly not forgiven by Jenufa. And to add to the confusion, Michaela Martens who played the Kostelnička has a very youthful appearance and they made little or no attempt to age her with wardrobe or makeup. As you can see in the video, she looked more like Jenufa's older sister than her mother.

    I agree that other than the toying with the plot and muddle at the end, the update worked well - Steva's antics and apparel in particular. I enjoyed the grandmother's antics as well. I thought it came off very well as an ensemble dramatic piece.
    Last edited by Cavaradossi; Nov-09-2012 at 21:31.

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  21. #103
    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dongiovanni View Post
    Tough crowd ! I also had this experience in London, very tame clapping, no one standing, no bravos, for a very good performance. The plus side: no early clapping.
    Good point. And, to their credit, absolutely zero coughing or page shuffling.

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  23. #104
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavaradossi View Post
    OMG Annie! I should have checked in once more before I left, I didn't realize we would be attending on the same nights! We could have rendezvous-ed at intermission or something. I was up in a box on a second level on Oct 30. I'm so glad you recorded and posted the curtain calls, such a treat to see.

    I enjoyed the production at well. Although there were some weak points in the update - most egregiously using a plain galvanized steel bucket to represent the well where the ghost supposedly drowned. And I found that ledge incongruously sticking out of the structure the whole time distracting. I do agree that having the ghost re-appear at key moments was very effective.
    I very nearly laughed at the bucket. It reminded me a bit in the Laurent Pelly L'amour des trois oranged when just as the third princess is about to die of thirst someone puts a plastic bottle of water on the stage for her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavaradossi View Post
    The big revelations of the night for me were the Edgardo of Spanish tenor Ismael Jordi (high, light, and fluid -shades of JDF I thought) and the piercing Ashton of Georgian(?) bass-baritone Alexey Markov. I liked Jane Archibold too, but there were one or two admittedly very, very high notes where her voice seemed to get thin. The Arturo sounded off pitch to me. I wondered if he was hired more for his short, squat stature which did make a for tragi-comic image when paired with the tall and lanky Jane Archibald. The relative intimacy of the house meant all the voices were heard clear and strong even in the third row second level box seat where I was sitting.
    I thought Alexey Markov was fabulous and also Christof Fischesser as Raimondo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavaradossi View Post
    As far as the house itself, the main auditorium was spectacular but I was surprised how downright plain the rest of the interior was. I thought the Zurich audience was quite stingy with applause (none at all for the Act 1 duet or the quartet) until the final curtain. Though even then, no one stood and the few bravos I heard got glaring looks from others.
    I was puzzled by the slow hand clapping by the guy next to me at the end of Jenůfa. In UK it indicates disapproval, it's sarcastic. But he started slowly & then his clapping picked up speed! I asked if he'd enjoyed the opera & he said he thought it was wonderful.
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavaradossi View Post

    Well, I've got three more operas to report back on, but that's a start.
    I'm really looking forward to reading your reviews.
    Ann

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