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Thread: Current watching

  1. #61
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post

    One Elixir DVD that does not work well for me is the "odd couple" of superstars Pavarotti and Battle, best left on CD and your imagination, DVD looks like a mismatch in real life , not really believeable (yes I am cruel)

    I like it ok because the singing is great, but they don't have the chemistry or acting ability of Rolando and Anna, I agree. With all that passionate kissing towards the end (no acting needed there from Villazon, I'm sure ) it's hard to believe that they aren't a couple in real life.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

  2. #62
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    I like it ok because the singing is great, but they don't have the chemistry or acting ability of Rolando and Anna, I agree. With all that passionate kissing towards the end (no acting needed there from Villazón, I'm sure ) it's hard to believe that they aren't a couple in real life.
    I agree with DA - can only really appreciate Pavarotti on CD.

    Rolando/Anna kiss was very convincing but I'm sure they're only really just very good buddies who prolonged the kiss because of the audience reaction. So pleased it was recorded & we have it for posterity.
    Ann

  3. #63
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Wanted to watch the Puritani being discussed on the Opera on DVD thread but Met Player was being capricious so I settled for this.



    Agree with Sospiro that the cast is excellent, but I'm not sure that I'm convinced by a Lucia in the 19th Century, although I suppose women married against their will then too (you just have to read Trollope). But somehow the feuds and plotting and arranged marriage would sit better in the original time setting, and there would be no danger of some contrived photo opportunity disturbing the sextet.

    Anyway I enjoyed it more than the Ernani from the previous night



    really the story is just too silly despite all the eminently hummable tunes and presence of the delicious Placido Domingo.
    Last edited by mamascarlatti; Aug-25-2010 at 21:18.
    Natalie

  4. #64
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    Wanted to watch the Puritani being discussed on the Opera on DVD thread but Met Player was being capricious so I settled for this.



    Agree with Sospiro that the cast is excellent, but I'm not sure that I'm convinced by a Lucia in the 19th Century, although I suppose women married against their will then too (you just have to read Trollope). But somehow the feuds and plotting and arranged marriage would sit better in the original time setting, and there would be no danger of some contrived photo opportunity disturbing the sextet.

    Anyway I enjoyed it more than the Ernani from the previous night



    really the story is just too silly despite all the eminently hummable tunes and presence of the delicious Placido Domingo.
    I like the "Ernani" ok. As you say, many hummable tunes and Domingo is Domingo, and thus very good. And I always enjoy watching/listening to Mirella Freni as well, although I'm not sure if all that coloratura in her big aria is really her forté. But probably one of the better early Verdi operas I think.

    I expect that "Lucia" any day now in my mailbox.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

  5. #65
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Watched Rossini's La Cenerentola with Elina Garanca on Met player. Garanca must be close to ideal for this role I think. Lawrence Browlee as the Prince vocally rivals Juan Diego Florez at his best, which means that he's very good. Unfortunately he isn't much of an actor. I also liked Alessandro Corbelli as Don Magnifico. The production is kinda cartoonish with the two sisters severely over acting (probably not their fault but part of the producer's vision) and the giant scenery - doors up to the ceiling, a wedding cake almost (but not quite ) as big as Martha Argerich's genius, etc.... But I had nevertheless a very good time watching this. I don't rule out the possibility that I might buy this on DVD at some point.....

    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

  6. #66
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Default Carlos Gomes' Il Guarany

    Relatively obscure Brazilian composer, his style is very close to Verdi's (who respected him). I have just finished listening to his most known opera Il Guarany, with Placido Domingo. Here is what I thought:

    Beautiful overture (Sinfonia)

    Nice start with the chorus of the 'cacciatori.' It does sound like Verdi. Quality without originality, I see.

    Wow, this is very beautiful, Cecilia's second aria (after a very brief and tuneful pollaca) is very good, with a very effective choral punctuation. Deh! Riedi... deh riedi!

    Antonio's Ave Maria is beautiful too. Salve, possente Vergine.

    All these arias turn to ensembles and the effect is impressive.

    Now I got to the gorgeous duet Sento una forza indomita. Excellent!

    End of first act. Homogeneously good. A+

    Act II starts with a scena and a nice Pery aria, Vanto io pur superba cuna, majestic. Wow, this is a really good opera!

    It is followed by a rather theatrical scene full of action, then a dramatic duet - Serpe vil. The steady high quality continues. We're getting to a chorus piece now - Udiste? - L'ore è un ente sì giocondo. Verdian again.

    What a nice, tuneful waltz-like rondò follows - Senza tetto, senza cuna, Canzone dell'Avventuriere!

    Now, Cecilia's ballata, Oh, come è bello il ciel! - C'era una volta un principe. Delicate orchestration with guitar sounds, light, with beautiful opportunities for the soprano to work the musical lines and do some coloratura. Very lyric, very romantic. I like it!

    Here, in a Brazilian production (nice soprano!):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=GRXK...eature=related

    The duet between Cecilia and her assailant Gonzales is very dramatic, with a good dose of pathos.Donna, tu forse l'unica

    Some more good theatrical action, and we get to the finale of Act II. Majestic and impressive ensemble, in two parts, the second one start with the attack of the Aimorès and is appropriately solemn with a moment of frozen fear, then everybody jumps to the arms and prepares for the fight. Good Verdian orchestration.

    Poor Carlos Gomes, if only Verdi hadn't done it before him! I mean, if only he had Verdi's creativity as well and weren't just a copycat...
    Regardless, even if it's a copy, it's a pretty good copy and Act II earns from me another A+.

    Act III now. Opens with a ballet - which unfortunately I can't see. But I can look at it on YouTube later.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=8L0Q...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=aHEt...eature=related

    Chorus piece, Aspra, crudel, terribil, pretty good, finishing by a rather effective line, Ferro e fuoco (steel - or rather, iron, and fire).

    Next, the chief Aimorè indian sings a bone-chilling aria, it does feel salvage and evocative of the fierce tribe's warring ways (the Aimorès historically were very bellicose indians). He turns more mellow and romantic as he sees the beautiful face of his prisoner and falls in love with her, addressing her more gently. The change in tone is striking. Well done, Gomes!

    Then, we get to a big gaffe from the Italian librettists, I don't know why a genuine Brazilian like Carlos Gomes didn't correct it. The Cacico calls Pery 'the desert tiger.' What desert, and what tiger??? LOL, the Rio de Janeiro surroundings at the time in 1560 were a luxurious subtropical forest, no desert in sight for thousands of miles, and tigers were not part of the Brazilian fauna. A metaphor, sure, but how would the chief Aimorè even know about these things to be able to formulate such metaphor??? [laugh]

    Another quite dramatic and theatrically rich scene, when the Cacico is calling for Pery to be killed and eaten, Cecilia pleads for him, etc. Pery's line is exquisite and plaintiff, Ah! tu me vedrai morir! (Ah! You'll see me die!).

    The theme of the overture comes back briefly to a beautiful effect. The Cacico grants to Pery and Cecilia a moment alone to express their love for each other before Pery is killed.

    Then, a duet between the two protagonists, pungent and tearful. Superb! Ebben, che fu - Perché di meste lagrime. A+ quality material.

    All right. Pery drinks poison. Why does opera like poison so much?[laugh]

    Now a chorus with the Cacico and his tribe. The overture theme comes back in full force while the indians kneel and pray to their gods. The effect is very solemn and the orchestration is very beautiful. The choral piece is gorgeous, followed by a short finale to ACT III when the Portuguese come to the rescue.

    Did I mention that it all deserves an A+? LOL

    Act IV

    Very beautiful orchestration again with elements from the overture (different ones) into which the voices of the coro di avventurieri melt; wavy music, again it starts well.

    Another gaffe from the libretto - Pery is alive - what happened to that poison?!? Ah, OK, it is explained later that he got antidotes from forest herbs, how convenient.[eyes]

    Beautiful aria for Gonzales, In quest'ora suprema.

    Good dramatic scenes continue, there is the baptism scene, this is turning more into theater than music, Act IV seems dramatic enough but less musical so far, they're having to pack too much action into a short span and there is no space for good arias. A pity, it's the first downside so far of his entire opera.

    OK, Pery's soaring aria (although short - can't really call it an aria, it's more like a short arioso) when he converts *is* beautiful, so, never mind.Al Dio che in me regenera.

    Beautiful display by Cecilia.Che sento? Ed io dividermi

    Now, for the Gran scena e terzetto finale ultimo. Spectacular! Don Antonio gets to be a suicide bomber 450 years before they became fashionable[laugh] and it literally ends with a bang, with the overture theme returning for a - er... - bombastic finale. Goosebumps!

    A+ all around. Excellent opera. I wonder why in the hell this is not part of the repertoire. Not very demanding, not too long, full of dramatic potential, beautiful orchestration, some outstanding arias, duets, and ensembles... A winner from beginning to the end.

    The only way to explain its failure to endure is the fact that it is, note by note, done in the exact style of Giuseppe Verdi, and it was composed by an obscure South American composer.

    But while not matching a Don Carlo or Aida in terms of majestic impact, or Il Trovatore which is stylistically closer, if only we got Verdi out of our mind and just listened to this opera, we'd easily see that it is extremely good, and certainly much better than I Lombardi which gets staged fairly often.

    I'd like to know its history of performances.

    Folks, if there is anybody reading this long post about an obscure opera composer's least obscure work, get this one.
    Last edited by Almaviva; Aug-30-2010 at 04:31.

  7. #67
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Act III now. Opens with a ballet - which unfortunately I can't see. But I can look at it on YouTube later.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=8L0Q...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=aHEt...eature=related
    It harkens back to french opera style by Lully and Rameau with the ballet pieces integrated into the opera, it becomes multi-discipline work of art letting everyone get some stage time

  8. #68
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    Watched Rossini's La Cenerentola with Elina Garanca on Met player. Garanca must be close to ideal for this role I think. Lawrence Browlee as the Prince vocally rivals Juan Diego Florez at his best, which means that he's very good. Unfortunately he isn't much of an actor. I also liked Alessandro Corbelli as Don Magnifico. The production is kinda cartoonish with the two sisters severely over acting (probably not their fault but part of the producer's vision) and the giant scenery - doors up to the ceiling, a wedding cake almost (but not quite ) as big as Martha Argerich's genius, etc.... But I had nevertheless a very good time watching this. I don't rule out the possibility that I might buy this on DVD at some point.....

    I did just recently buy this after watching youtube samples, in my to watch pile!
    I looked for Blu ray version but Amazon had none to be found
    Already have the older DVD with Von Stade that seems to be the previous standard.

    Also in my Amazon basket is Garanca's Bizet waiting for release date......

  9. #69
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Default ballet in opera

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    It harkens back to french opera style by Lully and Rameau with the ballet pieces integrated into the opera, it becomes multi-discipline work of art letting everyone get some stage time
    I usually don't care too much for ballet in opera, since the best dancers and choreographers are with the prestigious dance companies rather than with the opera companies, so, we usually get some mediocre ballet that halts the action. This ballet in Il Guarany was a bit too long, but the ballet music is beautiful.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  10. #70
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    I usually don't care too much for ballet in opera, since the best dancers and choreographers are with the prestigious dance companies rather than with the opera companies, so, we usually get some mediocre ballet that halts the action. This ballet in Il Guarany was a bit too long, but the ballet music is beautiful.
    Watch this if you haven't already:



    It's a collaboration between an opera and dance company so the dancing is wonderful.
    Natalie

  11. #71
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Great recommendation, thanks! I'll look into it. So Danielle de Niese is doing another fine Handel. While I don't care a lot for her voice, she looks good and can act, and I think she's a pleasure to watch, I loved her in the touted (and controversial) Glyndebourne production of Giulio Cesare.

    Edit - I looked it up on YouTube, looks great. I purchased the blu-ray version, thanks again.
    Last edited by Almaviva; Aug-30-2010 at 04:46.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  12. #72
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Great recommendation, thanks! I'll look into it. So Danielle de Niese is doing another fine Handel. While I don't care a lot for her voice, she looks good and can act, and I think she's a pleasure to watch, I loved her in the touted (and controversial) Glyndebourne production of Giulio Cesare.

    Edit - I looked it up on YouTube, looks great. I purchased the blu-ray version, thanks again.
    I love that Giulio Cesare too although I agree about de Niese's voice, but she is very engaging as a performer. Let us know what you think of the Acis and Galatea.
    Natalie

  13. #73
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    If you love Anna you won't be disappointed. The other singers do ok vocally. It's just that you hardly notice them, and not only because Anna is so pretty. Netrebko totally dominates the stage while everyone else seems almost nailed to the floor.
    Just finished watching this on Met Player. Anna was wonderful, especially considering what a flaky character she is playing. Love that John Relyea too. But oh dear someone give Eric Cutler some intensive Italian lessons before letting him loose on a bel canto part again.
    Natalie

  14. #74
    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post




    Just finished watching this on Met Player. Anna was wonderful, especially considering what a flaky character she is playing. Love that John Relyea too. But oh dear someone give Eric Cutler some intensive Italian lessons before letting him loose on a bel canto part again.
    I paid a few dollars more for blu ray version and was very impressed with picture quality. When Netrebko has the wedding gown on for mad scence etc it has very fine intricate brocading patterns, on close-ups you could see the most minute details of the beautiful dimensional brocade patterns......very impressive on big screen!

    I will always buy blu ray if cost is only 10-20% more than DVD version........1080p native resolution is a wonderful thing!

    Sometimes blu ray is actually cheaper if 2 DVDs can fit on 1 blu ray disc.......
    Last edited by DarkAngel; Aug-31-2010 at 20:35.

  15. #75
    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    I paid a few dollars more for blu ray version and was very impressed with picture quality. When Netrebko has the wedding gown on for mad scence etc it has very fine intricate brocading patterns, on close-ups you could see the most minute details of the beautiful dimensional brocade patterns......very impressive on big screen!

    I will always buy blu ray if cost is only 10-20% more than DVD version........1080p native resolution is a wonderful thing!


    I need an HD TV & player before I can do this.
    Ann

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