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For sheer joy of singing, I nominate Fritz Wunderlich’s recording of Lara’s Granada. It’s sung in German, but no one has even come close to matching the exuberance and sheer generosity of tone and open throated vocalism. He proves that, even in the wrong language you can communicate the spirit of a song.

If ever a record exuded the sheer joy of singing, this is it. You feel that Wunderlich went into the studio that day feeling on top of the world and his singing reflects that. It's been a favourite of mine for years.
 
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For sheer joy of singing, I nominate Fritz Wunderlich’s recording of Lara’s Granada. It’s sung in German, but no one has even come close to matching the exuberance and sheer generosity of tone and open throated vocalism. He proves that, even in the wrong language you can communicate the spirit of a song.

My car buddy and I listened to this recently and it was a kick. Really wonderful.
 

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Good mention NF (young miss callas) when Corelli gets the green light to go full Franco amazing things happen, I learned very quickly when you see "bel canto society" CDs you buy first and ask questions later.......

Indeed! As in "Adriana Lecouvreur" with four masters of the art - Corelli/Olivero/Bastianini/Simionato
 

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Though I do not like Der Rosenkavalier much beyond the heavenly Presentation of the Rose and the final trio, this 1979 performance at the Bavarian State Opera under Carlos Kleiber is deservedly a classic, not least because of Gwyneth Jones, Lucia Popp and Brigitte Fassbeinder. And Kleiber, of course. Legendary.

 

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Was it at this performance that Olivero deputized for an ailing Tebaldi?
One of the cornerstones of any Magda Olivero collection is a November 28, 1959 ADRIANA LECOUVREUR broadcast from the stage of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The scheduled Adriana, Renata Tebaldi, became ill. Olivero, who was herself recuperating from surgery, stepped in at the very last moment to save the performance. And it is the performance of a lifetime. A mesmerizing account of Adriana’s entrance aria, ‘Io son l’umile ancella’, inspires a prolonged, ecstatic outburst from the Naples audience. And from there Olivero moves from strength to strength, providing a master class in the art of verismo opera performance. Even if the remaining principals were only acceptable, this 1959 Naples ADRIANA LECOUVREUR would be essential listening. But on this occasion, Olivero was joined by three of the greatest performers of the era, all at the height of their powers. Mezzo Giulietta Simionato is a force of nature as Adriana’s rival, the Princess Bouillon. Adriana’s lover, Maurizio, is Franco Corelli in prime voice, which is to say one of the most sumptuous and brilliant tenors documented on recordings. In addition to his bronze vocal quality and ringing high notes, Corelli’s remarkable breath control allowed him to create magical effects with extended crescendos and diminuendos, both in evidence here. And while Corelli was not in Olivero’s league as an actor (few were), he throws himself wholeheartedly into the role of Maurizio. Michonnet, the stage manager who secretly pines for Adriana, is more of a character baritone role than a heroic one. Ettore Bastianini was famous for his assumptions of the latter type of part, but he brings admirable sensitivity to the role, along with his characteristic rich, dark, and vibrant tone. Mario Rossi, a first-rate conductor of Italian operatic repertoire, leads a performance that both crackles with energy and savors Cilea’s rich orchestral palette.
 

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Though I do not like Der Rosenkavalier much beyond the heavenly Presentation of the Rose and the final trio, this 1979 performance at the Bavarian State Opera under Carlos Kleiber is deservedly a classic, not least because of Gwyneth Jones, Lucia Popp and Brigitte Fassbeinder. And Kleiber, of course. Legendary.

This is indeed a wonderful performance.

I actually saw Gwyneth Jones as the Marschallin at Covent Garden back in tthe 1970s with Brigitte Fassbaender as Octavian, but with Edith Mathis as Sophie. It was an excellent performance, but, for me, Jones didn't quite eclipse memories of my first Marschallin, Helga Dernsech. Hard to put my finger on why, but Dernesch was somehow more naturally aristocratic.

I know you don't like her, MAS, but Schwarzkopf also had an aristocratic authority that suited her for roles like the Marschallin, Countess Madeleine and the Countess in Figaro.

 
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One-piece garment Dress Neck Sleeve Day dress

This is indeed a wonderful performance.

I actually saw Gwyneth Jones as the Marschallin at Covent Garden back in tthe 1970s with Brigitte Fassbaender as Octavian, but with Edith Mathis as Sophie. It was an excellent performance, but, for me, Jones didn't quite eclipse memories of my first Marschallin, Helga Dernsech. Hard to put my finger on why, but Dernesch was somehow more naturally aristocratic.

I know you don't like her, MAS, but Schwarzkopf also had an aristocratic authority that suited her for roles like the Marschallin, Countess Madeleine and the Countess in Figaro.

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Schwarzkopf was my first Marschallin, Tsaras, in the Karajan film that you show above, and also my first recorded Contessa in the EMI recording, but I didn’t encounter the Strauss Gräfin in Capriccio until I saw Te Kanawa in the opera in San Francisco (1990), in costumes by Versace!


I love Dernesch and read about her sojourn in England early in her career, which explains why she has such good English. I had never heard such a rich middle register until I heard hers (in Fledermaus!).
 

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Bernd Alois Zimmermann
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This is indeed a wonderful performance.

I actually saw Gwyneth Jones as the Marschallin at Covent Garden back in tthe 1970s with Brigitte Fassbaender as Octavian, but with Edith Mathis as Sophie. It was an excellent performance, but, for me, Jones didn't quite eclipse memories of my first Marschallin, Helga Dernsech. Hard to put my finger on why, but Dernesch was somehow more naturally aristocratic.

I know you don't like her, MAS, but Schwarzkopf also had an aristocratic authority that suited her for roles like the Marschallin, Countess Madeleine and the Countess in Figaro.

My God, that is awful rubbish.

There are foxes and cats in my back garden who make a better racket in their midnight face-offs than those three wenches. Trash…
 

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Bernd Alois Zimmermann
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You certainly have a way of demeaning people with your opinions. Are you sure that you aren't Hurwitz?
I’m sorry, it just sounded terrible. I actually thought it was out of sync at first, and then realised it wasn’t. Just awful.

I absolutely love Richard Strauss, but my God…

It actually reminds me of that Dog Pound scene in Lady & the Tramp…
 

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In 1975, the San Francisco Opera audience fell in love with Monteverdi’s L’incorinazione di Poppea and with Tatyana Troyanos as Poppea. This was a Raymond Leppard edition in which Nero is played by a tenor, Eric Tappy (we did not know it was usually performed by a mezzo or soprano en travesti), who was as handsome in voice and physique as his Poppea.
Fortunately, YouTube has a snippet available to remind us.

Please note this was before the days of super authentic performance practice, but it was a good approximation. Here’s the final Nero-Poppea duet and forgive the dated sound:

 

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Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa Lobos, originally composed for violin and cellos, was adapted for voice and cellos by the composer at the request of Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayao and recorded in 1945. I don’t think this recording has been surpassed - in the section a la bouche fermee, Sayao sounds like a violin, and the octave leap to the pianissimo high A is accomplished in one breath and that note is, well, breathtaking! It was recorded as an experiment, and was so good that it was published by Columbia (now Sony). As this was the age of the 78 rpm, it occupied 2 sides and each side was recorded in a single take.
 

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While I don’t think Stratas would be a viable Salome on stage, this is stunning on film, especially given Teresa Stratas’s physical acting abilities. The rest of the cast is hardly deficient and the conductor is also a legend. Götz Friederic‘s direction is justly famous and here we have Hans Beirer again. Astrid Varnay‘s Herodias is too grotesque. The lip synching is not the best, but it‘s part of this kind of film.

I’m wondering, though if this can be considered “live!”
 

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While I don’t think Stratas would be a viable Salome on stage, this is stunning on film, especially given Teresa Stratas’s physical acting abilities. The rest of the cast is hardly deficient and the conductor is also a legend. Götz Friederic‘s direction is justly famous and here we have Hans Beirer again. Astrid Varnay‘s Herodias is too grotesque. The lip synching is not the best, but it‘s part of this kind of film.

I’m wondering, though if this can be considered “live!”

Nobody does operatic camp like Strauss. All that voluptuous rolling on the floor, and the crazy poetry everyone talks in... "The moon is like the egg of an amorous dove, your forehead is like the slopes of Ararat, I love the marks of your teeth in my fruit, I want to kiss your whatever." The better it's performed - quite brilliantly here - the more wonderfully kitchy it is. I got quite a few chuckles out of it. Isn't this fundamentally comic? Oscar Wilde may have thought of it that way. It certainly isn't a study in the sacred and the profane, since Jokanaan is part of the fun.

Why would you consider this live?
 

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Nobody does operatic camp like Strauss. All that voluptuous rolling on the floor, and the crazy poetry everyone talks in... "The moon is like the egg of an amorous dove, your forehead is like the slopes of Ararat, I love the marks of your teeth in my fruit, I want to kiss your whatever." The better it's performed - quite brilliantly here - the more wonderfully kitchy it is. I got quite a few chuckles out of it. Isn't this fundamentally comic? Oscar Wilde may have thought of it that way. It certainly isn't a study in the sacred and the profane, since Jokanaan is part of the fun.

Why would you consider this live?
I couldn't disagree more. Firstly, the crazy poetry everyone talks in is Wilde in German translation. Of course, Strauss obviously appreciated the text or he wouldn't have agreed to write the opera. I like Wilde's overly decadent text and there's nothing I know of that suggests Wilde wrote it as a campy comedy. I'm not sure he intended it to be a "study in the sacred and the profane" and I've always thought it to be a metaphor for unspoken desire. Salome is a Prometheus figure. Every age needs people who push boundries, but does Salome push too far? Do you need to push to extremes in order to move even one step forward?

The play isn't as consistent or as powerful as Elektra (Sophocles?) and the same is true of the respective operas. However, Salome is a fine work of art and its highly poetic text is a feature rather than a bug.

N.
 
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