No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by WibbleAgain on May 15, 2015 11:39:25 AM
The Opera Thread II - including all vocal music in the western classical genre

Opera, oratorio/choral, lied/song, even plainsong and chants... Your listening experiences and reckoniers. Even better, your singing/performing experiences.

Yak away.

WibbleAgain - 15 May 2015 11:42:26 (#1 of 1022)

As thread starter, I have to be contrarian and post this link of Alfred Brendel playing Schubert:

A fab 2-hour+ that I can listen to everyday forever: listening to this is like being in love.

RosyLovelady - 15 May 2015 11:43:34 (#2 of 1022)

I'll check that out later. Alfred Brendel is my favourite classical pianist ever.

SlasherBindman - 15 May 2015 11:49:04 (#3 of 1022)

18.50, tomorrow: Szymanowski's Krol Roger.

LippyPongstocking - 15 May 2015 11:52:41 (#4 of 1022)

An absolutely wonderful, ravishing aural treat - it's one of the best opera scores of the 20th century. Happily, I'm going to the last performance at the ROH next Tuesday.

WibbleAgain - 15 May 2015 11:55:00 (#5 of 1022)

Know absolutely nothing about it. Will check it out later. Did anyone catch last Saturday's Rake's Progress from the Met?

Too much good music, far too little time.

I've just received in the post a live recording of a 1957 Tosca with Milanov/Bjorling under Leinsdorf in Rome. However, my laptop speaker outlet seems to be bugger and I have to find a solution before I can listen to opera on it. Piano sonatas are tolerable on the tea caddy tinny in-built speaker, but not opera.

WibbleAgain - 15 May 2015 12:14:33 (#6 of 1022)

Just read the synopsis on the R3 site and a tiny clip of chorus on the ROH site. Looks like my kind of thing. Look forward to it on R3. The world as I like it seems to be going on, amazingly.

Thanks for alert, Slasher.

WibbleAgain - 15 May 2015 12:27:35 (#7 of 1022)

I'm parking these links from Operapedia for later reference:

(a) English translation of libretto of Krol Roger:

(b) this interesting piece from 2008 in the Washington Post, especially the conclusion:

Szymanowski's "King Roger" will probably remain a difficult but tantalizing case of lost art. On one level, it is superficial to suggest that the composer's sexuality explains everything. On another level, it's not clear that the opera is anything more than a magnificently colored cloak cast over the open secret of Szymanowski's sexual desires. The farther we push on from the bad old days of dandified aristocrats diddling young men just under the radar of society's disapproval, the more strangely orphaned works such as "King Roger" may seem.

And yet, there is always the music, which functions more and more like the antiquated music of old-fashioned religious rites or the patriotic musical fantasies of countries lost to history. It is an aural trace, a fossil in sound, a reminder of human feelings no longer particularly relevant to the contemporary situation. But it would be a shame to lose them.

sparafucile - 20 May 2015 14:10:43 (#8 of 1022)


Wibbs, in answer to your questions a few weeks ago on the old thread, we're all fine, ta. Boy now getting pretty close to two. Makes us laugh a lot, not always intentionally.

tasselhoff - 20 May 2015 14:13:29 (#9 of 1022)

Blimey. Long time no see!

LippyPongstocking - 20 May 2015 16:42:35 (#10 of 1022)

Well, the last performance of Szymanowski's King Roger certainly exceeded my high expectations last night. It came off much better in the auditorium than it did on the Radio 3 broadcast, which didn't do justice to the magnificence and glittering opulence of the score, nor the quality of the singing. It was the best live opera performance I've been to, both musically and in terms of the production, which was excellent, so I'm now extremely glad I made the fairly spontaneous decision to fork out for a ticket.

This review hits the nail on the head - and last night was even better as the lead wasn't slightly underpowered due to a cold.

sparafucile - 20 May 2015 18:35:11 (#11 of 1022)

Hiya tass!

WibbleAgain - 20 May 2015 22:29:20 (#12 of 1022)

Hi spara! Good to hear from you.

WibbleAgain - 20 May 2015 22:33:01 (#13 of 1022)

I tuned to Krol Roger about 45 minutes into the show and listened for about half an hour. I could tell it's good stuff but I wasn't in the mood as my mind was still full of my day's activities. Plus it's in Polish(?) and I didn't have the libretto/translation etc. As a first time thing it'd be much better appreciated in the opera house with surtitles.

I am only somewhat jealous of Lippy though, which goes to show just how old I've become...

southwesterly - 21 May 2015 09:28:15 (#14 of 1022)

I remember getting very excited by a radio 3 performance of King Roger when I was a student - so probably early 1990s. It's story is irresistable -- more so than even Death in Venice as you can interpret this as a happy gay ending for once as opposed to the usual subliminated dead ending - even though Kasper Holten seems to be trying to resist doing so. The broadcast sounded great, though I wasn't listening hard.

I have been drowning in La Gioconda, which I uses to think was ridiculous but now increasingly think is one of the greatest of all operas. Callas is sensational in her recordings (1952 and 1959), but Milanov just owns this role. This is just thrilling singing:

Callas is also wonderful in the same famous phrase though:

WibbleAgain - 21 May 2015 11:36:15 (#15 of 1022)

What's happening? All the clever people can't say its..

Ricolas - 21 May 2015 11:37:07 (#16 of 1022)

Now now, Wibble. You know that the Brits aren't taught their own language.

WibbleAgain - 21 May 2015 11:38:29 (#17 of 1022)

Heh Ric dear chap. How's dSM going, and where are you singing? And how do you rate Werner Gura's version?

Ricolas - 21 May 2015 11:39:40 (#18 of 1022)

I am moving between Don Jose and Die Schone Mullein today. The latter I am trying to get as far into the poetry as I can to give some real contrasts to the long strophic songs; they can all too easily fall into blandness. Death to the cycle of course.

Don Jose is for a concert coming up. When playing Remendado a couple of years back I had deeply uncharitable thoughts about the Don Jose thinking (insufferably arrogantly) "I can do better than this." Equally insufferably, I have discovered that I am right. It is a joy to sing though.

Ricolas - 21 May 2015 11:41:42 (#19 of 1022)

I try not to listen to too many versions of the Schubert; I can only really do it like me. However I will listen to the Wunderlich - despite its flaws - as his voice is larger than the average lieder recitalists, but manages it gloriously. Hubert Geisen was just no match for that astonishing vocal talent though. If only he had recorded with Gerald Moore...

WibbleAgain - 21 May 2015 11:47:00 (#20 of 1022)

Please to explain the Don Jose thinking further.

JK has a huge voice - what do you think of his version?

Sometimes dSM is said must be sung by someone young and able to capture the naivety, but the poems are meant to be somewhat ironic and I sometime quite like the versions sung by the old DFD or even Hermann Prey as a kind of nostalgic narrative.

Check Subscriptions
Home » Music