Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Cherubini Operas

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dustin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    778
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Cherubini Operas

    Any comments or opinions on your experiences with Cherubini's operas? Medea is the popular one but I was shocked with how many others there are. I'm listening to Les Abencerages right now and enjoying it quite a bit.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    39,996
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I do have a Sony recording of Lodoïska and it's boring, even Riccardo Muti ( conducting) with his special style for opera can't change that.

  3. Likes Couac Addict liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    1,340
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    I do have a Sony recording of Lodoïska and it's boring, even Riccardo Muti ( conducting) with his special style for opera can't change that.
    I'm not a big fan either but I'm not sure how well Lodoïska translates on record anyway - Muti, or otherwise. It probably needs to be seen live. Most people are intrigued by it only because it influenced Beethoven's Fidelio.
    This space for rent.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Dustin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    778
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    So do either of ya'll like Medea or are you just not much on listening to Cherubini at all? I've yet to hear a big chunk of his music but his quartets are really thrilling to me and Medea and the Requiem's stock are both rising fast.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    39,996
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin View Post
    So do either of ya'll like Medea or are you just not much on listening to Cherubini at all? I've yet to hear a big chunk of his music but his quartets are really thrilling to me and Medea and the Requiem's stock are both rising fast.
    To be honest I do like the last act the most.
    I have a L.P of Medea with Eileen Farrel and that is breath taking.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    1,340
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Médée is probably the best starting point for a Cherubini opera. Although, I'd think twice about hiring her as a baby-sitter.
    This space for rent.

  8. Likes Dustin, Woodduck, The Conte and 1 others liked this post
  9. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Ticino - Switzerland
    Posts
    40
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Beethoven liked Cherubini a lot.

  10. Likes Larkenfield, The Conte liked this post
  11. #8
    Senior Member Dr. Shatterhand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,185
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default

    Ask me again in a couple of months!

    He's a composer I want to investigate, but haven't yet.

    Piotr Kaminski (Mille et un opéras, 2003) considers him an important forgotten musical link; an original artist connecting the heritage of Classicism to the élan of Romantism.

    The significant works seem to be:
    Démophoon (1788), his first French opera, coldly received.


    Lodoiska (1791) - Clément and Fétis thought that with it, he founded the French school. Clément: "Dramatic music in France entered a new path. The effects of harmony and orchestration strengthened those of lyrical diction and melody. What Gluck had imagined for passionate expression, what Mozart had constantly practised in his German or Italian operas, Cherubini made a principle, and, by the constancy and perfection of his fine works founded a school knowledgeable, conscientious, distinguished, and favourable to the development and imagination of musicians. It is obvious that in writing Démophoon and Lodoïska, Cherubini opened the way to Méhul, Lesueur, and Spontini." (Modern readers might add Rossini's French operas, Halévy and Meyerbeer, Berlioz, Wagner.)
    David LeMarrec (Carnets sur sol) says the music - sinewy and condensed - anticipates Beethoven, including the martial interlude that far surpasses all the battles and storms of the repertoire until Wagner's Flying Dutchman. "A dizzying qualitative leap towards something modern and already Romantic. Tragédie lyrique is dead, and a freer and more mixed aesthetic is born."

    Médée (1797) - his best-known today

    L'Hôtellerie portugaise (1798)

    La Punition (1799)

    Les Deux journées (1800) - his greatest triumph

    Faniska (1806) - performed in Vienna, admired by Haydn and Beethoven, who called Cherubini the foremost dramatic composer of our time. (French composers - including Méhul himself - agreed.)

    He also wrote a superb Requiem (which I have heard!).

    Otherwise, Halévy's mentor and artistic father-figure; Berlioz's enemy. (Berlioz interrupted the performance of Cherubini's last opera Ali Baba (1833) by leaping to his feet and offering money for an idea, raising the sum each time; in the end: "I give up; I can't afford it!" Berlioz aside, the work was considered cold.)
    Last edited by Dr. Shatterhand; Oct-13-2019 at 10:35.

  12. Likes Revitalized Classics liked this post
  13. #9
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,787
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    And he admired Medea, or more properly, Medée enormously.

    Of course the opera Callas made famous is a hybrid, an Italian translation of a German version with recitatives written by Franz Lachner. The original work was an opéra-comique to a French libretto with spoken dialogue.

    That said, it really needs a Callas to bring it alive and as yet there is no good recording of the original version.

    Callas's studio recording under Serafin is not unfortunately her best (though it's still streets ahead of other studio recordings), but there are three superb live performances in variable sound.

    Florence 1953 under Vittorio Gui
    La Scala 1953 under Leonard Bernstein
    Dallas 1958 under Nicola Rescigno

    Any of these will give you a sense of the dramatic power this opera can have.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  14. #10
    Senior Member Dr. Shatterhand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,185
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default

    Démophoon

    Cherubini's first French work. The story is almost tragédie lyrique by numbers: Classical setting (Thrace), human sacrifice, tyrannical kings, heavy fathers, and crossed lovers. Démophoon is king of Thrace; his son Osmide is secretly married to Dircé, daughter of the warrior Astor, but Démophoon wants Osmide to wed Ircile, princess of Phrygia - but she'd rather have Démophoon's other son Néade. (Got that?) Thrace has a nasty custom: every year, a maiden must be sacrificed to Apollo; Démophoon selects Dircé. It takes two whole acts to get to that point. Démophoon relents in the last act, the oracle ends the sacrifices, and the young lovers can marry the partners of their choice. (Metastasio's libretto, on which Marmontel's is based, adds another twist: Dircé is Démophoon's daughter, and Osmide is Astor's son. Don't ask.)

    The opera only lasted eight performances in 1785; critics blamed the ponderous, undramatic libretto ('If words make an opera, then Démophoon's an opera,' one wag said), but even Cherubini's 19th century admirers like Fétis found his score dry and uninspired. Others, like Halévy and Pougin, thought it a transitional work: Cherubini was trying to establish a new style, and hadn't quite got there yet.

    There is only one recording: Rome, 1985, conducted by Gelmetti. I can't recommend it. The cast (which includes Montserrat Caballé and Giuseppe Taddei) can't pronounce French, and can't act either - both vital for tragédie lyrique; and the sound quality is poor. I listened to an audio recording (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrU1iK3cd1g&t=618s) and watched a bootleg nth-generation video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jv5GwJn7RY&t=3666s). Much of the instrumental detail is lost; choruses are blurred; and the orchestra often overshadows the voices. There's also often a buzz or a hum, the track will skip and wobble, and occasional high-pitched bleeping. I had to follow along on a vocal score to get some sense of the musical line.

    For that reason, I can't comment on the opera's musical quality; most of it seems dull, but a better recording might reveal surprising beauties. (MM. Rousset and Niquet...?) The overture is terrific; otherwise the major pieces seem to be a duet in Act II and Dircé's aria in Act III. Osmide's aria at the end of Act II and the chorus in Act III's temple scene might also be effective.
    Last edited by Dr. Shatterhand; Dec-01-2019 at 11:45.

  15. Likes Revitalized Classics liked this post
  16. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    London UK
    Posts
    2,668
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I really like Cherubini, or at least the music I know by him. As someone has pointed out above, Beethoven admired his works and Medea is the type of opera Beethoven might have composed had he been of a theatrical bent.

    I must get off to You Tube and listen to more.

    N.

  17. Likes Revitalized Classics liked this post
  18. #12
    Senior Member Dr. Shatterhand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,185
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    I really like Cherubini, or at least the music I know by him. As someone has pointed out above, Beethoven admired his works and Medea is the type of opera Beethoven might have composed had he been of a theatrical bent.

    I must get off to You Tube and listen to more.

    N.
    Yes, it would be great to hear Cherubini in a clear recording! The overtures and instrumental pieces are excellent - and rather Beethovenish in their intensity and complexity.

  19. Likes The Conte, Revitalized Classics liked this post
  20. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    134
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    And he admired Medea, or more properly, Medée enormously.

    Of course the opera Callas made famous is a hybrid, an Italian translation of a German version with recitatives written by Franz Lachner. The original work was an opéra-comique to a French libretto with spoken dialogue.

    That said, it really needs a Callas to bring it alive and as yet there is no good recording of the original version.

    Callas's studio recording under Serafin is not unfortunately her best (though it's still streets ahead of other studio recordings), but there are three superb live performances in variable sound.

    Florence 1953 under Vittorio Gui
    La Scala 1953 under Leonard Bernstein
    Dallas 1958 under Nicola Rescigno

    Any of these will give you a sense of the dramatic power this opera can have.
    These versions were also my introduction to Medea - Callas was incredible in the part.

    I'm also partial to the 1961 version which is why I've been working on it. The issue there was the tapes running over a semitone slow which can now be fixed. It definitely has its moments plus I enjoyed Vickers, Simionato and Ghiaurov.


    (Nemici senza cor with Callas and Vickers)
    Last edited by Revitalized Classics; Dec-01-2019 at 13:14.

  21. Likes Tsaraslondon, Woodduck liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. Cherubini Symphony in D
    By atmplayspiano in forum Orchestral Music
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Oct-17-2019, 14:41
  2. Cherubini--A Forgotten Master
    By Logos in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 64
    Last Post: Mar-05-2017, 14:00
  3. Cherubini Medea: Only a Vehicle for Callas?
    By Seattleoperafan in forum Opera
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Feb-08-2014, 16:13
  4. Replies: 170
    Last Post: Oct-22-2013, 23:19
  5. Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)
    By millionrainbows in forum Composer Guestbooks
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jan-03-2013, 02:41

Posting Permissions

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