Friday, January 31, 2014

Gratuitous Friday – Angelika Kirchschlager Sings Bach

The other day I found a recording of Bach’s B-Minor Mass conducted by Seji Ozawa. I almost just kept moving, because Ozawa is not one of the first 30 conductors of whom I would think, “Wow, I bet his Bach is awesome!” 

However, I noticed who was singing the Alto solos, so I hesitated, and listened. Here is what I heard. 

Amazon says this recording is from 2011, but it was originally released in 2002 (and that Philips logo on the cover is a clue that it’s not brand new.) 

Frau Kirchschalger also released a solo album of Bach Arias that same year for Sony, which includes my new favorite Bach aria, “Schlummert ein” and this gem from the St. Matthew Passsion: “Erbarme dich.” 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Digital Concert Hall's (Free) Tribute to Claudio Abbado

The good folks at the Berliner Philharmoniker's Digital Concert Hall have complied a series of 17 concerts in tribute to Claudio Abbado's years with the orchestra (1991 – 2002).  And for a limited time only, you can view these programs free of charge! The Berliners don’t often give anything away, so take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts.

Mozart Monday – Remy Mathieu Sings Arbace

While watching the production of Thomas’ Hamlet from La Monnaie a few weeks ago, my attention was drawn to the tenor singing the role of Laertes, and I thought to myself, "This is someone to keep an eye on."

Apparently, I’ve thought that before, since I mentioned Remy Mathieu's performance last year in my review of the world premiere of Thierry Escaich’s Claude at Lyon. M. Mathieu also was one of the young discoveries of 2013 in révélation classique de l'Adami 2013

I think he has a lot of promise, and I try never to be negative, particularly about a relative newcomer. However, this is not the performance I would have chosen to highlight him. It’s not exactly a forgiving aria. In fact, who even thinks of singing this aria in recital? Half the time it’s cut from "full-length" performances of Idomeneo

Another Brokeback Promo

I realize the story line/subject matter are of high interest. However, I wish the promo videos posted by Teatro Real shared more of the actual music of this new opera. That being said, it is nice to have this little preview. Video of the full opera will be available starting Friday, February 7, 2014 on Arte LiveWeb.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Popular Demand? Wagner and Schubert from Ö1

Two of my more obscurer posts seem to have attracted a lot of attention, most likely due to some spamming a few weeks ago. But attention breeds attention, so these two posts have jumped to the top of my "most viewed" list. See over there to your right?

Well, those Ö1 posts are pretty time-sensitive. They're only held in archive for a week. But sometimes, some enterprising music fan captures these broadcasts. Just sayin'..., in order of popularity, are those two broadcasts:

Happy Listening!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In Memoriam Claudio Abaddo – Mahler Symphony #4

Mahler was just one of the composers whose music was touched by Claudio Abaddo's magic. This entire performance is wonderful! If you don't have time to listen to the whole symphony right now, jump to 47:33, where Magdalena Kožená joins in for the fourth movement. 

Mahler Symphony No 4 in G major
Claudio Abbado, the Lucerne Festival Orchesta

1.Bedächtig, nicht eilen (Moderately, not rushed)
2.In gemächlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast (Leisurely moving, without haste) 16:34
3.Ruhevoll, poco adagio (Peacefully, somewhat slowly) 26:07
4.Sehr behaglich (Very comfortably) 47:33

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch – Matthias Goerne Sings Bach

I always think of Matthias Goerne as brooding, intense, and borderline psychotic (similar to, but not to be confused with Christian Gerhaher: brooding, intense, and borderline depressive.) 

It’s partly his über-intense eyes; and, in fact, Matthias Goerne plays brooding, intense, and borderline psychotic very very well (his Wozzeck is a good example.) But he has a softer side, too, as heard here. 

Recently, I was looking for something online (I don’t remember what anymore) and, as so often happens on the interwebz, I more or less randomly came across this circa 2000 disc of Matthias Goerne singing Bach CantatasAll eleven Amazon reader reviews gave this recording five stars! Now I know why, and so will you, when you hear him sing the second aria from Bach’s ubiquitous solo cantata, Ich habe genug (BWV 82). 

I’ve been trying to find words to describe his singing here. First of all, Bach's genius shines brightly in his setting of this text—it's a lullaby, and yet it's so much more

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Watching the Radio – Domingo This Week; Veracini Next Week on Ö1

Saturday night (tonight), Domingo explores more of the baritone repertoire in a live broadcast from the Theater an der Wien of Verdi’s I due Foscari.
Placido Domingo (Francesco Foscari)
Arturo Chacón-Cruz (Jacopo Foscari)
Davinia Rodriguez (Lucrezia Contarini)
Roberto Tagliavini (Jacopo Loredano)
Andrew Owens (Barbarigo)
Gaia Petrone (Pisana); 
Arnold Schoenberg Chor
ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester
Conducted by James Conlon

PD as uno Foscari

Friday, January 17, 2014

Gratuitous Friday – Malin Hartelius is Eurydice

Sometimes we may forget that Gluck's opera is called Orfeo et Eurydice. In spite of being dead for most of the opera, Orfeo's wife does get some nice stuff to sing, including this scena, which she sings right before she dies–for the second time.

(This "death" photo of Malin Hartelius is from Cosi fan Tutte. Thanks to Earworm, from whom I nicked the screen cap. 

Of course, Fiordiligi isn’t supposed to die in that opera, not even once. And we can’t be entirely sure she is dead, since in a later revival, Alfonso is the one who gets the pellet with the poison.)

But I digress. Here is MH along with Laurence Equilbey and her Insula Orchestra, recorded in Paris in November 2013

P.S. Dear Blog Buddies: I'm sorry, but I had to reactivate the word verification feature for comments. As soon as I lifted it, two posts got slammed with spam (see the outliers in the "What's Everyone Reading?" column over there on the right.) I mean, that Schubert post was nice, but can I seriously believe that it was legitimately viewed 430 times in the past seven days?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Mozart – Speaking of Richard Croft

Richard Croft, a Mezzo in Pants (and from Mezzo TV), and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir! 

This November 2013 performance from Theater an der Wien is on Yoo Toob in four segments. Here's the first section of Act 1:

Idomeneo: Richard Croft
Idamante: Gaëlle Arquez
Ilia: Sophie Karthäuser
Elettra: Marlis Petersen
Arbace: Julien Behr
Gran Sacerdote di Nettuno: Mirko Guadagnini
Orchestra Freiburger Barockorchester
Chorus Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Conductor: René Jacobs
Director: Damiano Michieletto

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Where in the World is Malin Hartelius?

She is at her computer, updating her Facebook cover photo,

hanging out with her ridiculously photogenic children:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gratuitous Friday – The god-like Voice of Richard Croft

The subject of the god-like voice of Richard Croft came up in Twitterville this week, and of course that sent me searching for more of his golden tones. He recorded a complete Orphée with Marc Minkowski. I'm not sure the audio is of this live performance, or if the performance was in conjunction with the recording. Who cares? It's a great listen! Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Watching the Radio – Vocal Treasure from Ö1 Radio

Among the vocal fun on Austria's  Ö1 Radio this week:

Weber’s Oberon, in a recording from 1996, featuring youthful performances by a few familiar singers:
Vesselina Kasarova (Fatime)
Peter Seiffert (Hüon von Bordeaux)
Bo Skovhus (Scherasmin)
Deon van der Walt (Oberon)
Inga Nielsen (Rezia)
Conducted by Marek Janowski

And Monday’s episode of Apropos Musik is 50 minutes of operetta, Broadway, and film music sung by your favorite opera stars. Slumming? No, not at all! It's kind of fun to hear lighter tunes (particularly the operetta) sung by such wonderful voices. The program features: Diana Damrau, Piotr Beczala, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Elina Garanca, Renée Fleming, and others. (Well, perhaps AN's voice is not quite so operetta-friendly any more; but still, it's a nice little program)

P.S. "Lied der Eliza aus dem Musical "My fair Lady" is Ich hat getanzt heut' Nacht (gesungen auf Englisch– and DD pulls it off rather well, except for a little odd back-phrasing.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

Two Py, Not Square (Dialogues des Carmélites and Hamlet)

Stage director Olivier Py is busy all over Europe these days. Videos of two of his latest productions can be viewed online (and they're not on YT, so they won't magically disappear without warning.) On a post over at the Parterre Box*,  redbear commented:
...his Theatre des Champs-Elysees “Dialogues” [is] a “perfection rarement atteintes” and the “Hamlet” in Brussels last month “brillante.”
At Arte Live Web, where you can watch a video of Dialogues des Carmélites (featuring French divas Véronique Gens, Sophie Koch, and Patricia Petibon as Blanche) for about six more months, we learn:
Francis Poulenc's composition is based on the eponymous drama by Georges Bernanos and is an outstanding masterpiece of French opera of the 20th Century. The historical setting and the extraordinary protagonists make "Dialogues of the Carmelites" as an impressive allegory on human existence, death and the relationship of people to each other and to God.

Then check out Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at La Monnaie; and not just because there's a nude barihunk (thank you, It also is an opera we don't get to hear that often, and it's an impressive production. Marc Minkowski conducts, and Stéphane Degout is the wonderful Hamlet (he was a super Pelleas last season, too); Degout's brief nakedness adds a special creepiness to a mother giving her grown son a bath. Mathieu Rémy as Laertes is a tenor to watch out for, too. You can see the full opera on France's Culturebox until June 2014. 

My fluency in French is slightly below survival level, so even though I know the basic plot of each opera, I found these synopses from the Metropolitan Opera very helpful:

*A rather interesting (and impressively civil) discussion regarding pros and cons of Regieoper.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

May the Forza be with You

Thanks to Intermezzo for finding us the virtually (and probably wisely) unsearchable capture of Saturday's broadcast. I saw most of it live, but experienced some live stream issues. I also missed the plot setup during the prelude, so I am glad to have a chance to catch up. 

Although there are some incongruities in the staging, and Martin Kušej definitely sees the world through a “glass-half-empty” (or the toast landing on the floor, butter-side down) lens, I thought it was quite good overall. Of course, there’s some (really, really) wonderful singing, too! Get it before the toast gets cold!

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