Page 4 of 29 FirstFirst 1234567814 ... LastLast
Results 46 to 60 of 428

Thread: Our own reviews of operas we've attended

  1. #46
    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    1,413
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Thanks for the Mastersinger review, jflatter, I'm looking forward to seeing it tomorrow.

    Itullian, yes that's right. It's certainly in one of the books I've read. It might have been in response to a proposal to having it sung in English.

  2. Likes jflatter liked this post
  3. #47
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    980
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Fantastic review, add my thanks.

    I am "in town" tomorrow and I will try very hard to see this.

  4. Likes sospiro liked this post
  5. #48
    Senior Member jflatter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    626
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    I read that Wagner encouraged translating his operas into other languages.
    Yes I think that he did. I think the key is a good translation. I've heard Parsifal, Hollander and have the Goodall Ring in English and none I've found particularly stirring. With this Meistersinger however it felt a lot more natural. The worse translation of an opera I've heard recently was Otello which is slightly ironic.

  6. Likes sospiro liked this post
  7. #49
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    230
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Have to agree with the review of Mastersinger. Saw it on Saturday and it was fabulous. Meistersinger could be as stodgy as a suet pudding, but this was light, joyous and hilarious. Not only the singing and the conducting were incredible, but the stage direction was a joy to behold. The riot scene where Beckmesser ends up naked with only his lute to cover his modesty, the German line dancing at the beginning of ACT 3, the way crowd sighed when Beckmesser strummed the lute for his prize song and when at the end Hans Sacks turn over his card to reveal a drawing of the real Hans Sachs. All these moments made for a wonderful day (it is nearly six hours long!).

    And the ending gets you so pumped up, the Meistersinger theme is still ringing in my ears.

    I am surprised this production his been mothballed for five years (it was first shown in 2010). I am sure the Met would love to take this one, just like they did with Madame Butterfly. It is a perfect example of how to update and refresh an opera to please traditionalists and radicals alike.
    Last edited by Loge; Feb-24-2015 at 22:12.

  8. Likes sospiro, jflatter, Bellinilover liked this post
  9. #50
    Senior Member papsrus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    361
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Just returned from a Sarasota Opera performance of "The Golden Cockerel," Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

    For those unfamiliar (as I was going in) the story is a fantasy / fairy tale about an aging king faced with encroaching enemies. A wizard offers him a golden cockerel who will warn the king whenever danger is near. King sends sons off to fight as danger approaches. They get killed. King goes to battlefield, discovers sons' bodies and is met by the Queen of Shemakha. She seduces him, they return back to his castle to marry but the wizard suddenly wants the queen for himself as repayment for the cockerel. King kills wizard. Golden cockerel kills king. The end.

    The highlights: The orchestration was beautiful. This was Rimsky-Korsakov's last work, apparently, and it is filled with folk-ish, rich melodies and sumptuous strings. Alexandra Batsios as The Queen of Shemakha was the clear standout voice. Hit a couple of those white-hot, glass-shattering high notes with piercing clarity. She was to my ear head and shoulders above the other singers. The townspeople broke into chorus a few times and delivered with fullness and assurance. Very nice. But while Grigory Soloviov as King Dodon was fine, he was a little underwhelming with his projection at times. The wizard was frankly weak. Others in the cast unremarkable, to my ear.

    According to the program, this opera hasn't been staged by a U.S. company since 1967. The touring St. Petersburg Opera did stage it in the U.S. in 1991. But that was the last time. It has also been performed as a ballet -- in Paris in 1914 -- and I can see how this could work quite well as ballet.

    The stage direction here came off a little clumsy, frankly, with lots of stilted shuffling here and there. By design, perhaps, but didn't really work for me. And while there's certainly a comedic pulse to the whole thing, it came off almost as self-parody at times, with mugging to the audience, etc., at least what I saw of it (I spent long stretches with eyes closed listening, although peeking every now and then. I don't think I missed much visually.)

    The libretto is certainly filled with sarcasm, so I'm sure the comedic tone is all intended, but it somehow didn't dovetail with the lush orchestration. You'd get these gorgeous orchestral passages and the queen would sing, quite beautifully, something like, "I look even better with my clothes off," or "the king's beard is disgusting" and of course the audience would giggle and I'd be locked into the music and it was all just a bit disjointed that way. Not bothersome at all, just ... hm, that libretto and mugging on stage doesn't fit with this gorgeous music.

    Anyways, I will say the costumes were fantastic, and fantastical. There's a procession back into the king's castle with queen in tow that is filled with a cast of colorful, bizarre characters that look as though they stepped straight out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting. Wild. Colorful. Dancing and spinning (ballet-like).

    In the end, the first two acts fell flat, to me. Not until the queen shows up (and dead sons, enemies, war, etc., are abruptly tossed aside and replaced by king falling for the queen) does the music really take off. Acts III and IV were very enjoyable.
    Last edited by papsrus; Feb-25-2015 at 06:32.
    Wired for hound

  10. Likes sospiro, mountmccabe liked this post
  11. #51
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    5,049
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by papsrus View Post
    Just returned from a Sarasota Opera performance of "The Golden Cockerel," Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

    For those unfamiliar (as I was going in) the story is a fantasy / fairy tale about an aging king faced with encroaching enemies. A wizard offers him a golden cockerel who will warn the king whenever danger is near. King sends sons off to fight as danger approaches. They get killed. King goes to battlefield, discovers sons' bodies and is met by the Queen of Shemakha. She seduces him, they return back to his castle to marry but the wizard suddenly wants the queen for himself as repayment for the cockerel. King kills wizard. Golden cockerel kills king. The end.

    The highlights: The orchestration was beautiful. This was Rimsky-Korsakov's last work, apparently, and it is filled with folk-ish, rich melodies and sumptuous strings. Alexandra Batsios as The Queen of Shemakha was the clear standout voice. Hit a couple of those white-hot, glass-shattering high notes with piercing clarity. She was to my ear head and shoulders above the other singers. The townspeople broke into chorus a few times and delivered with fullness and assurance. Very nice. But while Grigory Soloviov as King Dodon was fine, he was a little underwhelming with his projection at times. The wizard was frankly weak. Others in the cast unremarkable, to my ear.

    According to the program, this opera hasn't been staged by a U.S. company since 1967. The touring St. Petersburg Opera did stage it in the U.S. in 1991. But that was the last time. It has also been performed as a ballet -- in Paris in 1914 -- and I can see how this could work quite well as ballet.

    The stage direction here came off a little clumsy, frankly, with lots of stilted shuffling here and there. By design, perhaps, but didn't really work for me. And while there's certainly a comedic pulse to the whole thing, it came off almost as self-parody at times, with mugging to the audience, etc., at least what I saw of it (I spent long stretches with eyes closed listening, although peeking every now and then. I don't think I missed much visually.)

    The libretto is certainly filled with sarcasm, so I'm sure the comedic tone is all intended, but it somehow didn't dovetail with the lush orchestration. You'd get these gorgeous orchestral passages and the queen would sing, quite beautifully, something like, "I look even better with my clothes off," or "the king's beard is disgusting" and of course the audience would giggle and I'd be locked into the music and it was all just a bit disjointed that way. Not bothersome at all, just ... hm, that libretto and mugging on stage doesn't fit with this gorgeous music.

    Anyways, I will say the costumes were fantastic, and fantastical. There's a procession back into the king's castle with queen in tow that is filled with a cast of colorful, bizarre characters that look as though they stepped straight out of a Hieronymous Bosch painting. Wild. Colorful. Dancing and spinning (ballet-like).

    In the end, the first two acts fell flat, to me. Not until the queen shows up (and dead sons, enemies, war, etc., are abruptly tossed aside and replaced by king falling for the queen) does the music really take off. Acts III and IV were very enjoyable.
    A bit of a curate's egg then but a great review. Pleased you enjoyed some of it.
    Ann

  12. #52
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,522
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by papsrus View Post
    Is this a general preference or something specific to this production?
    I have no general problem with stage action during (or even before) the overture/etc. I am not a purist on such matters by any means.

    For this opera, though, I don't like what was done in Staufenbiel's production at Opera Parallèle, which was very much like what is written in McNally's libretto (the link is to the CD booklet that comes with the 2011 HGO recording of a revival of the original production).

    I think I would prefer a staged prologue with only the two teens, a staged prologue where Anthony kills the teens and Joe stumbles around stoned (the story Joe tells), or skipping the prologue, in that order.

  13. #53
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    980
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Sometimes you can be too hyped up by all you’ve read in advance but last night’s Mastersingers at the ENO was every bit as good as the reviews here and elsewhere suggest. I thought the sound a little unfocussed right at the start but soon I forgot all about preconceptions and just enjoyed a marvellous performance.

    I’m not an Wagner expert but I thought it was a cast with no weak links and would single out Pogner, James Creswell for his excellent diction,. When he was singing the surtitles were a distraction.

    Music and drama were well matched and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.

    I do however have one question about the staging, which was designed by Paul Steinberg and Buki Shiff.

    The set for Act one was a fairly typical ‘modern’ one, bare and impressionistic rather than realistic; various props were moved around to focus the action and the stage had one overall colour. The street act was more naturalistic with fixed houses but they were a little light on detail e.g. the roofs had flower patterns painted on them.

    However when the third act took us inside Sack’s home/library/workshop, I thought haven’t seen such detail on a stage in 20 years! Book’s on shelves and table tops, crumpled clothing, stuffed animals and shoe lasts everywhere. Looked just like my daughter’s bedroom. When David came in early in the act he turned on a light switch to show it off better, which in itself was anachronistic for a production ‘updated’ to the 1840’s. Through the windows we observed the shadows showing us the day passing.
    Finally the set for the singing contest reverted back to the style of the first act with a series of terraces all painted in the same colour as the side walls. Until then all the costumes were attempts to accurately reflect the period but here the Crowd wore highly colorful approximations of medieval dress.
    It was all most attractive and didn’t really detract from the action, but I am struggling to understand why the pronounced shift in style? Thoughts?


    All in all though, if only every night at the ENO was this good they wouldn’t be in trouble at all.
    Last edited by Belowpar; Feb-26-2015 at 16:36.

  14. #54
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    230
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Did you notice that at the beginning of Act 3 that Walther uses the bed/shoe bench as a psychiatrists couch? Here I suppose is a clue. The room was supposed to represent Hans Sachs interior state as compared to the more abstract outside world. Which is why the room was so detailed.

  15. #55
    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    1,413
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Belowpar, you forgot to add that the highlight was meeting me in the intermission Very nice to meet you. Our time chatting in the pub flew by.

    I enjoyed a lot of the performance. including the brilliant clog line dancing.

    A particular highlight for me was the poetic English translation which we could appreciate on the surtitles. As for the diction of the singers, it's actually quite hard to take one's eyes away the surtitles. However, which taking my glasses off for a moment I must say I barely caught of word of the singing. (Perhaps my hearing isn't so great, during our drinks I thought Belowpar said he was going to Tibet to see Carmen when in fact he said The Met).

  16. Likes sospiro liked this post
  17. #56
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    980
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Loge View Post
    Did you notice that at the beginning of Act 3 that Walther uses the bed/shoe bench as a psychiatrists couch? Here I suppose is a clue. The room was supposed to represent Hans Sachs interior state as compared to the more abstract outside world. Which is why the room was so detailed.

    … interesting idea thanks and I do like it.

    I did notice the couch/bench and also that apparently Sacks had slept on it giving up his own bed to Walther, just as he was to give up Eva. However Sacks is analysing Walther’s dreams, and I’m not sure how that fits.

    To my way of thinking the exterior world as seen by the cobbler would be full of material detail and the interior world as seen by the poet, would be full of strong emotion? In your theory it’s like its the other way round.

    From all this I think we might agree that the change of style represents Sack's seeing things in intensely sharp focus at that time.
    Last edited by Belowpar; Feb-26-2015 at 17:43.

  18. #57
    Senior Member Belowpar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    980
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    [QUOTE=Alexander;828081]Belowpar, you forgot to add that the highlight was meeting me in the intermission Very nice to meet you. Our time chatting in the pub flew by.

    QUOTE]

    I was saving that bit. Nice to meet you too!

    PS it was a VERY noisy bar
    Last edited by Belowpar; Feb-26-2015 at 17:04.

  19. Likes sospiro liked this post
  20. #58
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Staffordshire, UK
    Posts
    5,049
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
    (Perhaps my hearing isn't so great, during our drinks I thought Belowpar said he was going to Tibet to see Carmen when in fact he said The Met).


    Now that would be an opera trip to top all opera trips!!
    Ann

  21. Likes MAuer liked this post
  22. #59
    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,622
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    13

    Default

    On Feb. 15 I saw SALOME at Virginia Opera. It was my very first experience with SALOME, apart from knowing the original Bible story and hearing the final scene sung by Deborah Voigt on a CD. In short, it was stunning, one of the very best productions I've seen at Virginia Opera (and I've seen between 15 and 20 operas there). Kelli Cae Hogan was Salome and a bass-baritone named Michael Chioldi was John the Baptist. All the voices were more than up to the task and the music itself was just overwhelming. The updated staging was brilliant, not at all distracting like many updatings can be. One thing I liked was that the director (Stephen Lawless, who has directed at the Met) didn't have Salome take lid off the platter in the final scene until she absolutely had to (the last few minutes of the scene); it built suspense and was much more effective, in my opinion, than the potentially silly/gruesome spectacle of her singing directly to a disembodied head for minutes on end. Since seeing the performance I've been listening to the Giuseppe Sinopoli CD of SALOME (Cheryl Studer and Bryn Terfel), but even that can't quite convey the sheer power of the score when heard live, the percussion especially. I'm very glad I got tickets to the performance and am looking forward to Virginia Opera's DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER next season.
    Last edited by Bellinilover; Mar-01-2015 at 00:48.

  23. Likes papsrus, sospiro, MAuer and 3 others liked this post
  24. #60
    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    York (ex-Glasgow)
    Posts
    4,167
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    March 3rd, we went to our first performance of La Traviata at Lowestoft Marina. I had seen the YouTube trailer and realised that the sets would be a little cramped as the Marina has a small stage. The production was by Ellen Kent using the Chisinau National Opera and Chisinau National Philharmonic Orchestra. We have seen several of her productions and they are good even on a small stage. The set may have been cramped but the singing was good. Violetta was sung by Maria Tonina who gave an excellent and moving performance. The tenor playing Alfredo, Ruslan Zinevych, was a little unsure and sometimes came across as somewhat "shouty" but still gave quite a good performance especially at the end. Perhaps his voice warmed up? Alfredo's father, Vladimir Dragos was much better and gave a fine performance. Despite some complaints about some of the singing, the music was excellently played and the ensemble produced an moving and emotional performance mainly driven by an excellent Violetta. A very nice evening out.
    Last edited by Taggart; Mar-04-2015 at 11:52.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

  25. Likes Ingélou, sospiro, MAuer liked this post
Page 4 of 29 FirstFirst 1234567814 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The best classical music event you've attended
    By kingtim in forum News, Concerts and Events
    Replies: 43
    Last Post: Jan-11-2019, 17:49
  2. Operas that you have attended
    By Bgroovy2 in forum Opera
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: Aug-17-2016, 05:50
  3. First opera you've ever attended
    By TudorMihai in forum Opera
    Replies: 66
    Last Post: May-20-2013, 12:47
  4. Attended my first baroque concert!!
    By hawk in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Jun-25-2012, 03:19
  5. Just attended a nice music camp :)
    By trojan-rabbit in forum Community Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Jun-30-2008, 00:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •