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Thread: Offenbach Opera on CD - Les Contes d'Hoffmann

  1. #16
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    I don't think there really is an outright winner.

    I have the Sutherland/Domingo recording, but the edition doesn't really bear scrutiny, and I tend to prefer one with sung recitatives (even if Offenbach didn't ultimately write them), as that is definitely what he was aiming at. Still the singing is pretty spectacular on this one, though Sutherland doesn't completely overcome the problems of casting the same singer in all three roles. Not surprisingly, her Olympia is fantastic, her Antonia a tad moony and she doesn't altogether convince as Giulietta. Wonderful singing, nonetheless.

    I feel I should re-visit the Cluytens. It's never really worked for me. I always like Gedda's work in French opera, but I remember having a problem with the ladies. D'Angelo is a bit dull (certainly nowhere near as spectacular as Sutherland), De Los Angeles, whom I normally love, sounds out of sorts, just not in her best voice and Schwarzkopf miscast, and you all know how much I love Schwarzkopf usually.

    I don't really know the later, textually more accurate ones, but none of them really appeal.

    There is a terrific DVD out there of a Covent Garden performance with Domingo as Hoffmann, Luciana Serra, Ileana Cotrubas and Agnes Baltsa as his three loves.It was produced by John Schlesinger.

    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Mar-10-2015 at 07:50.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  2. #17
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    picky picky picky Mr GM
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  4. #18
    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
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    I agree that the Bonynge/Suisse Romande recording is great.
    An interesting alternative is this one where Nagano does really nice job.

    This space for rent.

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  6. #19
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    I agree that the Bonynge/Suisse Romande recording is great.
    An interesting alternative is this one where Nagano does really nice job.

    I think I'm right in saying this is quite different from the others, particularly in the Giulietta act which is longer and has a big coloratura showpiece for her, which is why the role is sung by Sumi Jo. It's one I'm interested to hear.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    I agree that the Bonynge/Suisse Romande recording is great.
    An interesting alternative is this one where Nagano does really nice job.

    Yeah I need to pick up this version as well.
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    アルバート セブン

  9. #21
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell;838533
    There is a terrific DVD out there of a Covent Garden performance with Domingo as Hoffmann, Luciana Serra, Ileana Cotrubas and Agnes Baltsa as his three loves.It was produced by John Schlesinger.

    [IMG
    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y7zJo8NqL.jpg[/IMG]
    I find it amusing that the cover of that set lists the location, the 4 principals, the producer but NOT the conductor!!

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  11. #22
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    This is one of the most complex cases in the history of opera, indeed.

    From a musicological point of view, I agree the Kaye-Keck (Integral) version is the one I would follow. In fact, it was performed recently at Barcelona's Liceu:



    However, about my favorite recordings, and somewhat incongruously, I'll go with the older Cluytens from the 1940s with Raoul Jobin and Géori Boué. I also fondly remember watching Alfredo Kraus singing Hoffmann live on the stage;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNe9KkQZoik

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  13. #23
    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    I like the spoken dialogue version of the opera but realize that it probably only comes across well in a small opera house. I have both the Bonynge recording (spoken dialogue) and a video with Domingo at Covent Garden (through-sung). The problem with the edition Bonynge uses, though, is that in it the septet is relegated to the last act and its words altered. IMO, this is a disappointment as I love that number and prefer it where it's usually heard (in the "Giulietta" act). My preferred order for the acts is Olympia, then Antonia, then Giulietta. The Domingo video observes this but the Bonynge recording does not.

    Edited to add: Sorry, I meant to say that the Septet is relegated to the epilogue, not to the "last act."
    Last edited by Bellinilover; Mar-10-2015 at 19:09.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    And, to me, Bonynge rushes the drinking song, Cluytens doesn't.

    I just love Gedda in this too. He puts me over the edge for Cluytens
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  17. #25
    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    And, to me, Bonynge rushes the drinking song, Cluytens doesn't.

    I just love Gedda in this too. He puts me over the edge for Cluytens
    For me the drawbacks of the Bonynge are the textual choices I mentioned and Gabriel Bacquier as the villains. To my ears his acting is way over the top. I'm probably one of the only people who feels this way, though, because I've never seen his performance criticized. What do you think of him?

  18. #26
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellinilover View Post
    For me the drawbacks of the Bonynge are the textual choices I mentioned and Gabriel Bacquier as the villains. To my ears his acting is way over the top. I'm probably one of the only people who feels this way, though, because I've never seen his performance criticized. What do you think of him?
    I'd have to go back and listen again, which I cant do right now, but I don't remember any problem with him.
    What do u think of the Cluytens set?
    Seems i'm the only one that prefers it.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  19. #27
    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    I'd have to go back and listen again, which I cant do right now, but I don't remember any problem with him.
    What do u think of the Cluytens set?
    Seems i'm the only one that prefers it.
    This is going to sound silly, but I've always avoided the Cluytens because I heard it has a baritone Niklausse!

  20. #28
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellinilover View Post
    This is going to sound silly, but I've always avoided the Cluytens because I heard it has a baritone Niklausse!
    Not silly. but Benoit is good.
    But Gedda is so amazing, i'd have it just for that.
    And I think Cluytens makes magic out of the score.
    Much better than Bonynge imo.
    Last edited by Itullian; Mar-10-2015 at 19:37.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  21. #29
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    I find it amusing that the cover of that set lists the location, the 4 principals, the producer but NOT the conductor!!
    I hadn't noticed that! I believe it was Pretre. I'm sure he wasn't that self-effacing!
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  22. #30
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellinilover View Post
    This is going to sound silly, but I've always avoided the Cluytens because I heard it has a baritone Niklausse!
    The baritone Nikausse bothers me too, I'm afraid
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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