Monday, June 30, 2014

Mozart Monday – Dorothee Mields sings Et incarnatus

I came across this performance of Mozart's Great C-minor Mass on YT. It was labeled "Best performance"). While the overall performance is certainly not the best I've ever heard, I was charmed by the soprano soloist: Dorothee Mields (who specializes primarily in Baroque music). 

OK,  there are a couple super-high notes that are a little off-center (the danger/thrill of live performance), but I love her pure tone and her expressive use (and non-use) of vibrato. Here is her performance of "Et incarnatus est." (Unfortunately the person who made this excerpt cut off the instrumental coda. But you can hear the whole mass at the link above.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Come on Manon, let's go!

I used to think (in my young childhood*) the opera was called Manon, Let's Go. And it's not totally nonsensical. I mean, when you think about it, that's basically what Des Grieux and Lescaut say to her in Act 2 while she's busy scooping up her jewelry instead of running from the police. 

Anyway, the reason for this post is to highlight the bounty of "making of" videos the ROH has posted for their new production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut. (This was Puccini's first big hit. Apparently, he could easily have retired and lived off his profits from Edgar and Manon. But fortunately, he didn't rest on his laurels, or he never would have written La Boheme, and a few other big hits!)

Blogger eyesometric provides us with a bunch of other links about this production, and also reminds us that the BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting a live performance of this new production from the ROH featuring Kristine Opolais, Jonas Kaufmann, and Christopher Maltman with Anthony Pappano waving the stick. 

Meanwhile, here are those videos:

*Yes, I was already listening to opera as a young child. I used to record the Met broadcasts on my reel-to-reel for frequent playback. One that I listened to over and over was an Ariadne with Tatiana Troyanos and…well, I didn’t care about who else was in it at that point. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday – Two Tenors on Ö1 Radio

The German language is awesome. Who else has a specific word for the day someone dies: "Todestag" is the opposite of Geburtstag (birthday). So they don't observe the anniversary of someone's death, they observe the Deathday. (How very Addams Family!) Why am I even writing about this? Well, Ö1 Radio in Austria is celebrating two celebrated tenors this week. So: 

Alles gute zum Geburtstag, Heldentenor Wolfgang Windgassen *

Glücklich Todestag, lyric tenor Anton Dermota** 

*This program is all Wagner. As I am writing this, the program hasn’t been broadcast yet. It’s on tonight at 19:30 CET.

**For most of his career, Herr Dermota was known for singing Mozart, Lieder, and operetta, but he occasionally ventured into heldentenor territory; there's an excerpt from Fidelio in this program.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guillaume Tell Online this Weekend from the Bayerische Staatsoper

Tune in to STAATSOPER.TV on Saturday afternoon for the next live webcast from the Bayerische Staatsoper: 

Rossini's Guillaume Tell 

with Michael Volle, Bryan Hymel, Günther Groissböck, and Marina Rebeka among the cast.

Guillaume Tell Michael Volle
Arnold Melcthal 
Bryan Hymel
Walter Furst 
Goran Jurić 
Christoph Stephinger
Evgeniya Sotnikova
Günther Groissböck
Kevin Conners
Enea Scala
Christian Rieger
Marina Rebeka
Jennifer Johnston

Musikalische Leitung Dan Ettinger
Antú Romero Nunes
Mitarbeit Inszenierung 
Johannes Hofmann
Florian Lösche
Annabelle Witt
Michael Bauer
Rainer Karlitschek
Sören Eckhoff

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Random Thoughts While Listening to Lirico Spinto on France Musique

I wish I understood French. I don't even understand most of the singers' names in French. Even the French singers. 

Most of the time, I really dislike Maria Callas' voice (Sorry, everyone. I know that's a special kind of operatic heresy.) She made some truly dreadful sounds. (Gluck  see below)

Sometimes, I really like Maria Callas' voice. She made some absolutely lovely sounds (now and then)! (Bellini  see below)

Speaking of Bellini, almost everything he wrote sounds the same to me – even the bits that I already know. 

Almost everything Gluck wrote also sounds the same to me – even the bits from Orfeo/Orphee; although I definitely like Gluck better than Bellini.

Anna Moffo had a pretty spectacular voice (I know, that's not really news.) At least Bellini is really pretty when she sings it.

Véronique Gens also has a spectacular voice, especially when she’s singing in French.

James King sounded pretty darned good back in the early 60s  even singing Gluck in German.

Vesselina Kasarova has at least three voices, and she uses them all to great effect, especially in this Orphee excerpt in the Gluck program. (It's credited to an RCA CD, but I think it's the same performance as on this DVD.)

Richard Croft's voice is still god-like. (Also not news, but...oh my!)

Google Chrome continues to aggravate by automatically translating (or trying to translate) any page that's not in English. OTOH, it does provide a hearty giggle now and then. For example, this aria from I Capuleti e i Montecchi  entitled "O, fifty flip" (O, quante volte).  

The Bellini Program

 The Gluck Program

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gratuitous Friday – Matthias Goerne Sings Wotan's Farewell

In my never-ending search for more recordings of Matthias Goerne, I came across this (audio only) excerpt from a 2013 concert with the San Francisco Symphony. While I'm not sure Christoph Eschenbach is my Wagner conductor of choice, I have no complaints about Herr Goerne’ gorgeous singing!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Alexander's Feast – Röschmann, Schade, Finley, and Harnoncourt

Unfortunately, Nikolaus Harnoncourt was not well enough to conduct a performance of Haydn's Seasons for this year's Internationale Barocktage Stift Melk (Michael Schade, Artistic Director)The upside is, in its place, Ö1 re-broacast this 2001 Festival performance (the first year Herr Schade participated in the festival):

Dorothea Röschmann, Soprano
Michael Schade, Tenor
Gerald Finley, Bass
Arnold Schoenberg Chor
Concentus Musicus Wien
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Recorded December 7, 2001 in the Stiftskirche Melk

Bonus: If you'd rather watch and listen, I just came across this: 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Richard Strauss (from Ö1 Radio)

It's hard to find a picture of him smiling!
Here is an edition of the Ö1 program Apropos Musik in celebration of Richard Strauss' 150th birthday. There are some interviews—with Strauss, and with singers who worked with him. Obviously these conversations are a lot more meaningful if one has a good grasp of German. 

What’s most interesting, however, are the Rosenkavalier excerpts conducted by the dude himself and recordings of him at the keyboard (accompanying Anton Dermota and Maria Reining, and playing two Lied arrangements via piano roll.) I highly recommend spending this hour with Strauss and friends. Happy Birthday, Herr Doktor Strauss!

Anja Harteros – Soprano au Sommet

Lirico Spinto on France Musique pays tribute to "a great singer of our time."  A great singer of our time? Um, Yeah!! Anja Harteros sings scenes and arias from operas by Mozart, Handel, Verdi, and Wagner—with a little help from her friends, including Jonas Kaufmann, Piotr Beczala, and Matti Salminen, to name a few. This 90-minute program is available on the France Musique site for a few years, and you can also download it from iTunes as a podcast.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nina Stemme and Anna Larsson in Recital

Nina Stemme and AnnaLarsson sing Mahler, Strauss, Brahms, and some brand new Swedish songs in this recital recorded on April 23, 2014 (The actual singing starts about four minutes into the program.)

Nina Stemme sopran
Anna Larsson alt
Matti Hirvonen piano

Programme below:

Monday, June 9, 2014

One More Thing About Der Glyndenkavalier...

You can view it on Arte, too, but with no subtitles and (at least on my system) the picture isn't as good. I'm not sure how long it will be available there. 

See it on the Glyndebourne site while it's still online. 

Die Frau Ohne Schatten from London via Ö1 Radio

Oh, and speaking of Richard Strauss: 

In case you missed it last time around, here is the March 2014 Die Frau Ohne Schatten broadcast from the Royal Opera House, with Emily Magee, Johan Botha, Michaela Schuster, Johan Reuter, and Elena Pankratova, under the baton of Symyon Bychkov, courtesy of Austria's Ö1 Radio. Available for about 5 days. 

Three Rs: Rosenkavalier, Röschmann, and aRiodante (not together)

Der infamous Rosenkavalier from Glyndebourne (Video available for about 6 days.)

Dorothea Röschmann singing Faure, Liszt (somewhat surprisingly), Strauss, and Wolf (less surprising) in recital from Wigmore on Radio BBC 3 (For about 7 more days.)

Handel’s Ariodante in a 1997 performance from the Concertgebouw on Radio 4 Concerthuis (for about 16 more days) with Anne Sofie von Otter, Richard Croft, Marc Minkowski, and others.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Brunch – Dorottya Láng Sings Duparc, Wolf, and Barber

Hungarian mezzo Dorottya Láng (Octavian in the 2014 Der Rosenkavalier at Malmö) took 3rd Prize at the 2011 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition. Here she is in the finals, singing Duparc, Wolf, and Barber.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Rosenkavalier and Boheme from Sweden

Check out these 2014 videos from Malmö Opera in Sweden!

[Update 06/29/2014: I was clicking back through these links and found that whoever posted them has made them "private" videos. So we can't look at them again. However, I am sure if we keep an eye out, we'll find them again somewhere.]

Der Rosenkavalier
Act 1*
Act 2
Act 3

I am not sure what I think of this overall production, but I am particularly impressed with both the singing and acting of Dorottya Láng as Octavian (just one of the guys) and Sofie Asplund as Sofie.

La Boheme

Ditto about the production, but the guys do a nice job, especially Vladislav Sulimsky as Marcello, Daniel Hällström as Schaunard, and Joachim Bäckström (also heard recently with Dorothea 

Röschmann in Haydn's Seasons) as Rodolpho.

*The posts at YT cannot be embedded, so I am providing links only this time around.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Spring and Summer with Dorothea Röschmann

From Sveriges Radio:

Haydn: The Seasons (Spring and Summer)

Dorothea Röschmann, soprano
Joachim Bäckström, tenor
Andrew Foster-Williams, baritone
Swedish Radio Chorus and Orchestra
Philipp von Steinaecker, conductor

The first half of the program contains Haydn’s Symphony 94 (which contains that famous "Papa Haydn" theme that the baritone also sings in the Seasons.) The intermission feature includes:
  • 59 minutes: English Interview about the Seasons with Andrew Foster-Williams and Joachim Bäckström (sadly, DR does not participate)
  • 1 hour, 10 minutes:  DR singing a (Handel?) aria
The Seasons starts at about 1 hour, 23 minutes.
Everyone is in great voice, and the chorus sounds particularly spring-like, too!

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