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Thread: L. Beethoven

  1. #586
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosefinaHW View Post
    I watched part of Fidelio for the first time last night and I am curious to know if anyone else thinks it is a terrible opera. I absolutely did not expect to hear speaking; in German that isn't even called an operetta, much less an opera is it? Even if the performance I chose is part of the problem, I only heard one piece of music that I liked in the first part of the opera--an early quartet, I don't know the name because I have no libretto.

    I chose the following performance because I love the singing of Laszlo Polgar; he plays Rocco. Of course I will watch the entire opera, but I want to know if there is something wrong going on here.
    I think Beethoven wrote his operas more symphonically than other composers did. Though that should not be the issue for you.

    I felt that Kaufmann/Nulund Fidileo you watched was pretty good, but the one I like best and the one that got me into opera in the first place is this magnificent production (YouTube of entire opera with English subtitles here):


    I have watched every commercial Fidelio video I am aware of being in existence and have most of them, but have not watched the one where Leonore bares her breasts at the dungeon scene.

    Anyway, if the spoken dialogue bothers you you could try this unusual performance (which I liked a lot and also with Kaufmann). Instead of the spoken dialog it has weird noises like music being played extremely slow (only at the dialog parts). It also has a lot of weird stuff going on, so it not a traditional performance, but wonderfully sung (Clip on YT):
    Last edited by Fritz Kobus; May-16-2018 at 02:17.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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  3. #587
    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    Thank you for your response, Fritz. The speaking doesn't bother me at all--I love the sound of German. It just shocked me, especially since it is Beethoven. It's the music of the first part, apart from the quartet, that I just did not like. My initial dislike of some operas that I later like seems to be a pattern. ?

    I'm going to watch your favorite now. (Thank you, again.)

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  5. #588
    Senior Member Star's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosefinaHW View Post
    I watched part of Fidelio for the first time last night and I am curious to know if anyone else thinks it is a terrible opera. I absolutely did not expect to hear speaking; in German that isn't even called an operetta, much less an opera is it? Even if the performance I chose is part of the problem, I only heard one piece of music that I liked in the first part of the opera--an early quartet, I don't know the name because I have no libretto.

    I chose the following performance because I love the singing of Laszlo Polgar; he plays Rocco. Of course I will watch the entire opera, but I want to know if there is something wrong going on here.

    It's probably not a great 'opera' as it is a singspeil but Beethoven's genius makes sure it is a great work. I can never fail to be moved by the prisoners chorus and the final duet. I would make sure you watch a decent straight production not some regiethreatre nonsense which does disservice to Beethoven's intentions.
    Last edited by Star; May-16-2018 at 06:12.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    My wife is playing the Missa Solemnis now. She says it's better than the Choral. Is it? Any thoughts?


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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    My wife is playing the Missa Solemnis now. She says it's better than the Choral. Is it? Any thoughts?
    I agree, but then again, honestly I like neither (Beethoven and voices - does not work for me).
    #I♥CD

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    My wife is playing the Missa Solemnis now. She says it's better than the Choral. Is it? Any thoughts?
    Not in my book but plenty will disagree with me. As far a Fidelio is concerned, btw, I can't stand it but I'm not an opera fan either.

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  12. #592
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    My wife is playing the Missa Solemnis now. She says it's better than the Choral. Is it? Any thoughts?
    I find it hard to compare the two for a ranking. They are both great!
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    My Fidelio recommendations are Karajan with the BPO and Klemperer with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Wonderful music and sound!

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    "I absolutely did not expect to hear speaking"

    Was speaking in German opera during Beethoven's day such an anomaly? Have you seen Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and "The Abduction from the Seraglio"? Both were Singspiels, as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JosefinaHW View Post
    I watched part of Fidelio for the first time last night and I am curious to know if anyone else thinks it is a terrible opera. I absolutely did not expect to hear speaking; in German that isn't even called an operetta, much less an opera is it? Even if the performance I chose is part of the problem, I only heard one piece of music that I liked in the first part of the opera--an early quartet, I don't know the name because I have no libretto.

    I chose the following performance because I love the singing of Laszlo Polgar; he plays Rocco. Of course I will watch the entire opera, but I want to know if there is something wrong going on here.


    It has some wonderful things in it, the Leonora 3 overture hopefully played when you come back from the bar for Act 2, Florestan's recitative and aria (like something out of Handel's Samson I think), and the big chorus of prisoners at the end. It's a perfectly agreeable night out and I wouldn't object to seeing it again in an imaginative production. On record there have been some magical interpretations - Klemperer, Karajan . . .
    Last edited by Mandryka; May-16-2018 at 22:21.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    My wife is playing the Missa Solemnis now. She says it's better than the Choral. Is it? Any thoughts?
    Is your wife very seriously into Christianity by any chance?

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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    "I absolutely did not expect to hear speaking"

    Was speaking in German opera during Beethoven's day such an anomaly? Have you seen Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and "The Abduction from the Seraglio"? Both were Singspiels, as well.
    Maybe my understanding of singspiel and zarzuela are too limited. Yes, I knew that The Magic Flute was a singspiel, but I have thought that two important characteristic of singspiel are a catchy, quick action and a element of comedy. Before watching Fidelio I had heard the various overtures (although I didn't know that the Leonore was for Fidelio) and they don't sound light, humorous or catchy to me. Is my understanding incorrect?

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    Senior Member JosefinaHW's Avatar
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    To All: Thank you for the recommendations and your input. I watched an hour of Fritz' favorite last night and it was much better than the Zurich Opera production, but I'm still not enjoying it. I don't want to insult or offend anyone here: I'm going to put it aside for a week and approach it again with a new frame of mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    I agree, but then again, honestly I like neither (Beethoven and voices - does not work for me).
    I've said this a million times, so I'm sorry if you've read this a million times, but I think the Agnus Dei is one of the most honest pieces of music I've ever heard, I just wish he had made it longer.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Is your wife very seriously into Christianity by any chance?
    My wife is a partially lapsed village Buddhist. By "village" Buddhist I mean somebody whose experience of Buddhism is as actually practiced in rural Asia, not our Western bourgeois intellectual bloodless Buddhism. A very different thing, and not necessarily preferable from our rather different viewpoint (or from hers!)
    Last edited by KenOC; May-17-2018 at 06:31.


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