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#7551 - 10/28/13 09:58 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Jon]
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
So, that makes one vote for and four against. But we haven't heard from Andrew.

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#7552 - 10/29/13 07:45 AM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Barbara]
Andrew Offline


Registered: 09/27/11
Posts: 425
Loc: York, England
Yes you have, up above - I've seen it twice. Now I'm off to Wexford to see four more obscure operas:

Massenet double-bill of Thérèse and La Navarraise
Nino Rota's Il capello di paglia di Firenze
and Jacopo Foroni's Cristina, regina di Svezia.

Back next Sunday.

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#7553 - 10/29/13 12:56 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Barbara]
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Have fun at Wexford! They do put on interesting repertory.

I'm quite fond of La Navarraise, an atypically loud and veristic hour of Massenet. Thérèse, quite different in character but equally short, will make an interesting pairing with it. (Does nobody do his Griséldis? That was in all the opera-story books when I was little.)

I remember Rota's "Italian Straw Hat" (as it gets titled in English) was produced in London in the 1950s -- I recall the review in Opera magazine, Harold Rostenthal at his sniffiest and loftiest about what a waste of everyone's time this trifle was.

I've never heard of Foroni or Cristina. Enjoy!

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#7554 - 10/29/13 04:05 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Jon]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Originally Posted By: Jon
Bellini and Donizetti. I can accept that the occasional aria is pretty or exciting, but it still feels like a long time to wait for them. And a lot to give up, compared to more eventful music. I miss non-stereotypical accompaniment patterns. And counterpoint. And harmonic motion. And inventive textures and orchestration.

With the exception of the "Casta diva", I frequently marvel at singers who are able to remember Bellini's music long enough to sing it. Jon, it sounds as if what you don't like is bel canto opera in general, with its diminishing of the orchestration -- well, of everything, actually, that might distract from the singing. You must love Gluck. grin

Didn't Foroni's Cristina pop up in a Musical Jeopardy question once? Sounds familiar.

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#7556 - 10/29/13 07:48 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Barbara]
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
No, actually I don't love Gluck. smile I sort of admire him, but it's a cold kind of admiration.

Yes, I don't love the bel canto era in general, I guess. I can enjoy a Rossini comic opera if done superlatively well (e.g. with Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Florez on hand), though even there as we near the finale I feel, like Mr Bennet, that "I have been delighted long enough." And it disconcerts me to hear the same vivacious, hilarious style applied to grand noble dramas like Semiramide. On the other hand, he was beginning to transcend that in his last operas, like Count Ory and William Tell. He was really going interesting places then, and I thoroughly enjoy those. (And then he stopped, of course.)

That style is where Verdi began, of course, but he too was pushing at the boundaries, almost immediately, and moved into his own thing. Or so I feel, anyway.

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#7573 - 11/02/13 02:03 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Jon]
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
One word in defense of Donizetti. Just think what those early, clunky, black and white animated cartoons would be like without the Lucia sextet accompanying the action. Unimaginable!

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#7574 - 11/02/13 03:27 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Rita]
Christopher Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/02
Posts: 3558
Ha! What better validation could you ask? grin

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#7592 - 11/09/13 07:53 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Christopher]
Austin
Unregistered


WOW WOW WOW! Today's Tosca was the most dynamic I've ever seen! Well, all right, I've only seen three, but...WOW!

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#7594 - 11/10/13 03:37 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: ]
Lorna Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Oh, yes, it was very WOW! I still don't like those sets, but the singing and the directing were great. Patricia Racette and Roberto Alagna sounded terrific, both separately and together. George Gagnidze, whom I'd never heard before, was a wonderfully sleazy Scarpia. I am soooooo glad I went to this performance.

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#7595 - 11/11/13 02:57 PM Re: Opera 7 [Re: Lorna]
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
I'll add my WOW to the others. I almost didn't go, because I disliked that production so much, especially that bland, boring set. But some improvements were made. The Act I walls were given some texture (bricks) with more angles and set decoration. The biggest change was the placement of the portrait Cavaradossi was painting. In the original production, it was far upstage, stage right, in shadow. So the painter walked from the light into the shadow to work on his painting? Dumb. This time it was downstage left, fully visible. Some improvements were made to Scarpia's headquarters as well, but it still looked like a bus station.

There was a lot more vigor in the action this time, including the most realistic operatic murder I've ever seen. This was no ladylike mini-thrust which just happens to prove lethal. Racette stabbed Gagzidne twice, enough to make him fall to the ground, but he was still alive. So she straddled him, held the knife above her head with both hands, and plunged it down as hard as she could. Muori, Muori! Then she got up and wiped the blood off her hands on a sofa cushion. Very verismo for an opera that's supposed to be not-quite verismo. But all three acts had scenes of great intensity like that. The first act, it was Scarpia's singing of his own lust against a background of church music -- sex and religion and death all mixed up together. It was chilling. The last act, the mock execution, of course.

It seemed to me Alagna was singing more loudly than everyone else on the stage -- not to the point of drowning anyone out, but with a lot more volume. He sounds good loud. smile All the singers sounded good, and there was none of that "Oh, I've done this so often I don't even have to think about it" that sometimes creeps into a performance. And no draggy parts; it all moved along lickety-split.

Incidentally, Gagnidze bears some physical resemblance to Edward Arnold -- does anyone remember Edward Arnold?

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