Tuesday, December 31, 2013

La Forza del Opera Fans

The Staatsoper copyright police
capture another YT bootlegger.
Thanks to some enterprising opera fans, we have two video clips from Saturday's broadcast of Verdi's La Forza del Destino from the Bayerische Staatsoper, and two audio clips from the radio broadcast of the prima last week. Fingers crossed for full-length recordings (and keeping an eagle-eye out for them, as they will disappear as soon as we discover them!!)

I actually got to watch the broadcast on Saturday! I had trouble with the live-stream feed freezing in full-screen mode, and ultimately gave in to watching it in the small-screen version (better than not seeing it at all) after trying low, high, and HD transmission modes. (Hmmm, the only thing I didn't try was using IE instead of Chrome. I'll file that thought away for future troubleshooting.)  I have opinions, of course, about the production and performances (I liked both a lot), but I'll save those for later. Meanwhile, let's enjoy these clips!

Videos from December 28:

P.S. Sadly, the videos have vanished.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Jonas Merchant and Angelika Cherry Pop (Not About Music)

Thank you, Google Translate, for alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) confusing and amusing me with your oh-so-literal (and frequently inconsistent) translations. Sometimes you automatically translate even when I don't ask you to; these are the most confusing times of all!

Jonas Merchant
Angelika Cherry Pop*

*At least Kaufmann=merchant makes sense...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Christmas in Vienna 2013

Just in time for the First Sunday in Christmastide, this hour-long TV program consists of standard, and mostly traditional, Christmas music, and it's a lovely way to extend our holiday season just a little bit longer. 

The concert features Luca Pisaroni, Angelika Kirchschlager, Ursula Langmayr (filling in for Anna Prohaska), and Joel Prieto, with the Wiener Singakademie, the Wiener Sängerknaben, and the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, all under the direction of Erwin Ortner.

Special thanks to Luca Pisaroni for posting the link on Facebook!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Véronique Gens Chante Berlioz

Every time I see and hear  Véronique Gens perform, I like her even more than before. This is the first time I’ve heard her sing anything in her native language; her presentation of Berlioz's Les Nuite d'ete is just delightful! 

Mme. Gens enters the stage about 14:30 into the video. Click here for texts and translations of these songs. (The rest of the program is lovely, too; but, sadly there's no more singing.)

Lionel Bringuier is a (very) young French conductor who has already served six years as a resident conductor for the Los Angeles Phiharmonic (once filling in, mid-concert, for the"Dude" to conduct the same Tchaikovsky sixth we hear here), as well as conducting the New York Phil and a host of European ensembles.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

La Traviata from La Scala – Final Note (maybe)

Yesterday, the subject of Apropos Musik (Ö1 Radio – available in archive for another six days) was a 1.5-hour program of excerpts from the newest La Scala La Traviata. (The announcer mentions at the end that Beczala, Tcherniakov and Gatti were booed. I didn’t notice Gatti’s boos. I think any boos for Beczala and Gatti were actually meant for Tcherniakov, but slightly off target!) 

I suggested in my review(s) of this production that a radio broadcast would be much more satisfying, and this program confirms my suspicions. I really wanted to appreciate Tcherniakov's concept. But I was unconvinced, especially when watching the singers struggle with the concept themselves, and I was distracted from the primary attraction of opera: the singing. Listening to these excerpts, I found it well-sung; and without the annoying staging, I really enjoyed it a lot more. 

Anyway, all of this is to recommend listening to this edition of Apropos Musik. I also am going out on a limb to suggest that you try simply listening to the online video of this production. (Meanwhile, I am drafting a post about listening/feeling versus thinking at the opera. My current thoughts may be surprising to my readers.) 

Related Posts:

Piotr Peeved with La Scala's Loggionisti

Meanwhile, Back at La Scala with Piotr and Diana...

La Scala La Traviata on La Arte La-ive Web

Boo Who? – Awkward La Scala La Traviata (Part 1)

Boo Who, Part Two

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from RnR!

I hope you all enjoy this lovely Christmas medley from the 2008 Christmas in Vienna concert. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Watching the Radio – Gösta Winberg (and others) on Ö1 Radio

Apropos Musik on Ö1 Radio remembers Swedish tenor Gösta Winbergh just a week before what would have been his seventieth birthday, in a program called: Not just a Mozart Tenor – Gösta Winbergh.  This may come as a bit of a surprise for those of us who do think of this Swedish tenor primarily as a Mozart singer who dabbled in Wagner (notably Lohengrin). In between, he sang music of Donizetti, Bizet, and Puccini (!), to name a few others. Sadly, he died of a heart attack at the early age of 58, right after a Vienna performance of Fidelio. See! Singing Beethoven is hazardous to your health.

In this hour-long program, we get to hear him in arias from Fidelio, Carmen, Tosca, and of course, Die Zauberflöte. The program also includes duets from Die Entfürhung aus dem Serail* with Edita Gruberova, L'elisir d'amore with Barbara Bonney (BB’s Adina is another pleasant surprise!), and The Pearl Fishers.

La Forza Del Destino from Staatsoper.TV on 12/29

It's not exactly a holiday standard, but it's still wonderful Christmas present from the Bayerische Staatsoper: Their new production (directed Martin Kusejthat should be interesting) of La Forza del Destino, starring my personal Traumpaar: Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann. 

From the looks of the trailer, it's bloody, violent, and sexy-(ish)! Hey, it's opera! That's what it's all about, isn't it? And it's coming to a computer screen near you on Staatsoper.TV – Saturday, December 28, at 18:00 Munich time, which, these days, should be Noon in New York City.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Vesselina Presents Malin with “The Rose”

I just noticed that of my gratuitous idols (at the top of the page), Malin Hartelius is one post behind the others. Well! I just had to do something about that! And Vesselina Kasarova is a great bonus in this clip. This Zurich performance is at least seven years old. I wonder if MH will be taking on the Marschallin soon. Maybe not for a few years…

I love how Octavian has to coax Sophie out of the cupboard! I’ve not seen this entire performance, so I’m not sure who the cadaverous dude is who seems to get so much screen time. Ignore him and enjoy the bliss that is MH’s Sophie.  Himmlische indeed!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gratuitous Friday – Regula Mühlemann Sings Scarlatti

I really liked Regula Mühlemann as Papagena in the Baden Baden production of Die Zauberflöte last spring. But a soprano really doesn't get too much of a chance to shine as Papagena. So I decided to track down some more of RM’s singing. (It’s not easy!) This Scarlatti piece is a wonderful bit of good old-fashioned soprano and trumpet fireworks! RM is very serious during the performance (and she looks a bit scary in the still shot below), but when it’s over, she flashes the most charming smile. Don’t you just wanna hug her? I do! She’s marvelous! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Luca, Lenny, and Tristan – The audiophil Interview

audiphil is a Berlin-based culture magazine that covers all kinds kind of music from pop, to jazz, to opera. They are in print and online, audio and visual, but the best thing about them is they did this great interview with our man Luca—auf Englisch!

Refreshingly, the interviewer is no opera expert, (she sort of stands in for viewers who may have less opera/music knowledge) but she asks good questions that get Luca talking, and that's a good thing. 

Among those questions is the one we've all been wanting to ask: will Lenny and Tristan ever appear onstage with Luca? Set aside a mere 27 minutes to watch, listen, and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Boo Who, Part Two (The Awkwardness of La Traviata at La Scala)

*Speaking of Act 2, Scene 2, DT seems unsure of what to do with the two (generally superfluous—these have got to be tough for any director to make sense of in a modern production) party choruses. In this performance, the chorus is not masked, and their performances are focused mockingly on Alfredo; they chase him around during the Gypsy and Toreador choruses. Then he exits quickly at the end of the second chorus; only to immediately reappear so the chorus can sing, “Alfredo! What are you doing here, and where’s Violetta?” If this was all meant to be symbolic, the symbolism flew right past me. (And I try pretty hard to “get” this stuff.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Boo Who? – Awkward La Scala La Traviata (Part 1)

Piotr Beczala shouldn’t be cranky about his buuhs; he should be cranky about this whole new La Scala production of La Traviata. For me, this is the kind of show that gives Regieoper a bad name. It’s so freakin’ awkward. Does Tcherniakov have lousy ideas, is he just lousy at Personenregie, or what? I’ve already complained about his handling of the chorus, and presenting Alfredo as impetuous, immature, and petulant has worked in other productions, but it’s not working here. Diana Damrau and Mr. Beczala are not bad actors, and they’re pretty darned good singers! I hate to go over to the “other side,” but I have to say it: This production was a waste of nearly everyone’s time. (Although, a radio broadcast of it would be nice and mostly satisfying.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

La Scala La Traviata on La Arte La-ive Web

Now we can see for ourselves what all that kerfuffle was about at La Scala. (If you want to cut to the chase, Intermezzo posted part of the curtain call, where Mr.Beczala got three—count 'em, three—boos; the rest were reserved for the Regisseur, Mr. Tcherniakov.)

For those of us who want to find out why they were booing the director, we have about three weeks to see the entire opera at Arte Liveweb. So go see and listen for yourself. 

Did Piotr Beczala deserve boos ? I think not, and though it's hard to take rejection, I hope he puts it all aside and moves on. Did Dmitri Tcherniakov deserve boos? Maybe, but probably not. But the loggionisti do so love to hear themselves go "Booooooo!" 

Meanwhile, I think Diana Damrau is a divine Violetta. What do you think about the performance?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Aus der Inbox – Schumann’s Faust on Digital Concert Hall On Sunday – Roschmann, Pisaroni, Gerhaher, et al.

  • Sunday, Dec. 15, 2 PM Eastern US

  • Robert Schumann
    Scenes from Goethe's Faust

    Dorothea Röschmann Soprano (Gretchen, Una Poenitentium),Anna Prohaska Soprano (Marthe, Care, Angel, Soprano solos),Andrew Staples Tenor (Ariel, Pater Exstaticus, Tenor solos),Christian Gerhaher Baritone (Faust, Pater Seraphicus, Dr. Marianus)Luca Pisaroni Bass-Baritone (Mephistopheles)Franz-Josef Selig Bass-Baritone (Pater profundus, Bass solos)Wiebke Lehmkuhl Contralto (Guilt, Mater Gloriosa, Maria Aegyptiaca, Contralto solos)Rundfunkchor BerlinRobin Gritton Chorus MasterBoys of the Staats- und Domchor BerlinKai-Uwe Jirka Chorus Master
Over time how many composers have had a try at Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust – and have failed more or less honourably! Robert Schumann is generally named as one of them. After all, with Scenes from Goethe’s Faust he wrote a work between 1844 and 1853 that until the present has led a shadowy existence in the concert business. But wait! Did Schumann truly shipwreck in compositional terms in grappling with the German tragedy – for that reason alone? Or was his music quite simply not (yet) understood – then or now – by his contemporaries and by ensuing ages?
For the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who originally was to lead the three concerts in the Berlin Philharmonie, Schumann’sFaust Scenes “are among the greatest music that there is.” Unfortunately, the conductor has had to cancel his guest appearance with the Philharmoniker. We are grateful to Daniel Harding, who recently performed Mahler’s Tenth Symphony with the orchestra, who has agreed to stand in for him.
Christian Gerhaher, Dorothea Röschmann and Luca Pisaroni will slip into the roles of Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles. Besides additional high-caliber soloists, the Rundfunkchor Berlin can also be experienced in the performances of Schumann’s composition, which oscillates between incidental music, cantata and secular oratorio. These are optimal prerequisites to (re-)discover – in Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s words – “the enigmatic, transcendental, ambiguous” in Schumann’s Faust music.

Gratuitous Friday - The Wunderlich/Ludwig Non-HIP Edition

Earworm's hankering for another recording of Giulio Cesare made me (for some strange reason) think of this performance from 1966*. So, of course, I needed to track it down. In this clip, Fritz Wunderlich and Christa Ludwig as Sesto and Cornelia, sing "Madre...Son nata a lagrimar." But acutally, in this performance from Munich (with the Münchner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner, conducting) it's in German: "Mutter...Nur weinen lernte ich." 

These performances are not what we'd consider "Historically Informed," though I think they were pretty HIP for the time (pace N. Harnoncourt). Some da capos are cut, but the ones that remain are ornamented. Not ornamented in the way we expect today, (I am not sure what historical period these ornaments would fit into), but I think it's fascinating to hear that they were making an effort to authenticize in a modern setting. 

And of course, here, Sesto is a tenor, but what a tenor!! The main point here is the marvelous singing from both mother and son, and the opportunity to hear these two great artists singing in duet. It will never supplant the most wonderful performances of mezzos, sopranos, or counter tenors singing Sesto, but it's not meant to. 

And for a bonus, here are Walter Berry as Caesar and Lucia Popp as Cleopatra (she's off- or above-stage, which is why she sounds more distant and echo-y).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Speaking of Werner Güra and Laurence Equilbey...

I guess we weren't, but while I was browsing the Toob, looking for performances by LE, I came across these three orchestrated versions of Schubert songs. I personally am not that convinced by these (and other orchestrations) in spite of hearing Anne Sofie von Otter sing a handful of them live. They somehow don't allow the flexibility I listen for in a voice and piano setting. 

LE is quite an interpreter (I've decided after watching the concert I posted yesterday, that I want to sing under her. She gets a bit overwrought perhaps, but she is so expressive, and she communicates effectively with her musicians) and Werner Güra is no slouch in the Lieder department. Somewhere out there lurks a complete concert with some more Schubert, and who knows what else!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Nifty Noel Concert from Laurence Equilbey and her Merry Band

Here's a classical antidote to "[somebody's] favorite pop starts trash your favorite Christmas songs" programs that are so hard to avoid this time of year. Actually, a lot of this music is not specifically Christmas music, but it's all lovely and lovingly performed. I've posted one of the Pavol Breslik solos before, not realizing it's from this concert. Nathalie Stutzman and Sandrine Piau are also featured in this concert.

If you've never heard of Laurence Equilbey or her chamber choir, Accentus, take an hour to treat yourself to some beautiful music: solos, duets, orchestral, and choral (with and without orchestra) selections make for a nice variety of calm seasonal cheer. 

Special thanks go out to Defintely the Opera for reminding me of Ms. Equilbey and her recordings, and for pointing out that she is also at the helm of my new favorite Orfeo ed Eurydice (which is still available for listening till Boxing Day)!  Not to mention a beautiful performance of Mozart's Mass in C Minor.

Edit 12/25/2017: This little gem of a Christmas concert has disappeared from the Tube of You in it's full-concert form, although individual bits of it are still there. In fact there are many videos of Maestra Equilby's performances. As a holiday consolation, here is a video of a more recent performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meanwhile, Back at La Scala with Piotr and Diana...

Things are looking pretty good to me! It seems that Mr. Beczala surely didn't deserve his buuhs!  And neither did Mr. Tcherniakov. I think the loggionisti just like to hear their own voices. Diana Damrau not only sings the heck out of Violetta, she deserves kudos for the way she rocks that cigar! Here's La Scala's official La Traviata trailer:

And here are a handful of captures from the live broadcast:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Manic Monday Mozart – Anja Harteros is Elettrafyin'

I love the expression on Elettra's face as she discovers/remembers her power to call down lightning on her foes. The first expression is like "oh cool!" Anja Harteros' Elettra is pretty crazed, but it's not like she doesn't have a good reason to be angry. Things don't usually go well for this "third wheel" in Idomeno. When you watch her Act 3 aria, you know this poor woman has gone completely over the edge. 

In this performance from the Salzburg M22 Festival in 2006, AH hints at her exciting Verdi performances to come. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Brunch – Joyce DiDonato Sings Puccini

Adventskonzert aus der Frauenkirche Dresden:

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-sopraan ~ Julia Lezhneva, sopraan ~ Klaus Florian Vogt, tenor. Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden - Musikalische Leitung Markus Poschner. Kammerchor der Frauenkirche Leitung Matthias Grünert - Sächsischer Staatsopernchor. 

There are a few other clips from this concert on the TOOB. Where's the full program? Can't wait to hear it. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Piotr Peeved with La Scala's Loggionisti

He's not smiling tonight!
Posted by Piotr Beczala on Facebook about 2 hours ago:
"My last production in La Scala... I think They should engage only Italian singers ... Why I spend my time for this" schmarrn" ... Arrivederci ..."
I hear he and Diana Damrau both were booed at their La Scala Traviata this evening. I'd be annoyed too. But don't the loggionisti boo pretty much everyone?

The production was staged by Dmitri Tcherniakov. Maybe that had something to do with the audience reaction! Meanwhile Mr. Beczala's fans are reacting with sympathy.

Finally! The Mutts Opera

Two of my favorite things in one place. Thank you, Patrick McConnell, for bringing Mooch to the opera (or vice versa)!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Falstaff Prima Streama from the Met Tonight

Listen to selected Met performances streamed liveTonight at 7:55 Eastern time is the premiere of Falstaff

Here's the whole schedule for December:

12/6      Fri        7:55      Verdi: Falstaff (P)
12/7      Sat       12:30    Verdi: Rigoletto
12/10    Tues     6:55      R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
12/14    Sat       1:00      Verdi: Falstaff
12/16    Mon      7:25      Mozart: The Magic Flute (P)
12/21    Sat       1:00      TAPED BROADCAST PRESENTATION
                                     Britten: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
12/23    Mon      7:25      Puccini: Tosca 
12/28    Sat       12:30    Puccini: Tosca 
12/31    Tue       6:25      J. Strauss: Die Fledermaus (P)
These are one-time-only streaming events, so get 'em while they're live!

Gratuitous Gerhaher Friday - Die Zwei Blaue Augen

Gerhaher Hair*
After posting the ASvO recording of this song from Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer the other day, I thought about how Christian Gerhaher moves me to tears in this song. Of course, he's recorded it in three different versions: piano, Mahler's orchestral version, and Schoenberg's chamber ensemble version.

So I've been listening to all three, back to back to back. It's wonderful and wonderfully depressing. I decided that, for now, the chamber version is my favorite, both at the "Ade, Ade" (farewell) section (so mournful) and the Lindenbaum bit. And then the song trails off into silence. Ach, Mahler. Not a cheerful man, but his music can be so moving!

*Not to be confused with Haim Hair (it's similar, but not quite the same thing!)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why I still love print media...

 …because treats like this show up unexpectedly in my mailbox: 

And, it's a great interview—not just the same old same old rehashed. Unfortunately they misidentify a photo from Don Carlos with Anja Harteros as being an Adriana Lecouvreur production with Angela Gheorghiu...Philistines 

The Orfeo/Orphee Comparo Edition (Part 1)

Franco Fagioli
So I keep listening to the new Orfeo broadcast, and I keep trying to figure out who Franco Fagioli reminds me of. While I was thinking, I decided to post the Act 3 duet, so we can all hear how well his voice blends with Malin Hartelius. What a lovely combo!

After a few listens, I realized that Fagioli kind of reminds me of Marilyn Horne. Wait, I know that sounds weird, but when he goes into his awesome chest voice...well, here is MH with Pilar Lorengar for comparison:

And just for good measure and because I was listening to all the different recordings I have, here are Richard Croft and Mireille Delunsch singing the French version. Have I mentioned that I think Richard Croft is a musical god?

And finally, Berlioz must have his say, too. So here are Anne Sofie von Otter and Barbara Hendricks:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Mahler, Otterphile Style - Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz

ASvO sings Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz, the fourth song from Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. An outstanding and sensitive performance from 1997-ish, with surprisingly (to me) John Eliot Gardiner at the helm! (Sadly, audio-only)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann's Drinking Song (Mahler)

I lost my U-toob account for posting this same performance! 

Just sayin'...

...at the same time, I am not sorry it's back! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Mozart – David Bižić is Figaro: Aprite un po' quegli occhi

Our favorite Serbian Barihunk David Bižić as Figaro in a live recording from Grand Théâtre de Genève 2013 (audio only). Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Die Frau Ohne Schatten in Munich – Follow Up

Since I postponed my weekend travel till tomorrow (Monday), I was able to catch some of Richard Strauss' Die Frau Ohne Schatten from Munich on Staatsopertv.de. 

Unfortunately the sound and video were out of sync for most of Act 2, and I could never get Act 3 to start (I made the mistake of pausing during the intermission feature!) 

What I heard was very good, and what I saw was very interesting (I did manage to see the toy-boy (and falcon-toy-boy) scenes.) I also thought the use of projections was really effective. I am sure it will show up somewhere soon for re-viewing. Meanwhile, what did you all think?

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