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Amph Not just fat ladies - an opera thread

Discussion in 'Community' started by Obi Anne , Apr 5, 2020.

  1. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    Several years ago there was an opera thread in the original Amph-forum. Now I'm starting one again. The reason is that now is a great time to discover opera, or new operas. There are several opera houses that offer free performances during at the moment. In Europe you can find Operavision which is a collaboration between several opera houses in Europe. The Metropolitan is also having one free performance available to stream every day, and that is where I'm going to start.

    The coming week has many great operas for beginners. I will post the schedule here, together with my comments. The operas are avaiable on the Met's site from 6:30 Easter time, and is available for 24 hours after that.

    Monday, April 6
    Verdi’s Aida

    One of the most famous operas of all time. It has several famous pieces, like the Triumphal march, Celeste Aida and Patria Mia. It's basically a lot of what you think opera is all about, and the music is great.

    Tuesday, April 7
    Puccini's La Fanciulla del West

    When Puccini wote La Fanciulla there was a trend towards more contemporary settings for operas, and this opera is set in the California Gold Rush. I like the story a lot, about a women who basically runs a whole camp but then have to decide if she wants to run off with her outlaw lover. Just don't laugh at the first scene wher Puccini has the miners coming in and randomly shouting "hello", to give it a feeling of the wild west.

    Wednesday, April 8
    Verdi's Falstaff

    If you like Shakepspeare this is based on the Merry Wives of Windsor, and this is a comedy, usually seen as Verdi's master piece. So not all operas are tragic or dramatic, some are simply funny.

    Thursday, April 9
    Wagner's Parsifal
    This should be played on Friday, since a lot of the opera is about the miracle of the Good Friday. This is a really heavy opera, both when it comes to music and content. It has a cult following and is filled with mysticism. I saw this production when it was livecast and I had a fever, and maybe that was a good thing. Don't think too much, just float away on the music.

    Friday, April 10
    Gounod's Roméo et Juliette
    This is the only opera of this week that I haven't seen. I might see it just because of that. French operas are usually lighter, but no less serious, than Italian and German operas.

    Saturday, April 11
    Donizetti's Don Pasquale
    This is probably the performance I would recommend if you want to just try out an opera. It's comedy, it's got great singers, and the staging is very traditional. Traditional in this case means that you don't have to decipher what the director wants to say with the production.

    Sunday, April 12
    Mozart's Cosi fan tutte

    Another comedy and light opera. Mozart is always easy listening. The staging, set in a 1950s Coney Island looks really interesting, but I have a big probelm with the story so I'm not sure that I'm going to actually see..
     
  2. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Not a real big opera fan but I do like Wagner's Ring and The Flying Dutchman - more for the orchestral music than the singing though.
     
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  3. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    I have to admit, I love the schedule juxtaposition of Falstaff the day before ****ing Parsifal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
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  4. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Like many, I loved the opera of The Fifth Element. Many years later Amira Willihaghen tries out for a singing show:



    Along with this in my feeds then came Maria Callas. I will say I like the way Amira sings O Mio Babbino Caro better, but I sampled Callas more and more and just loved her voice.

     
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  5. nilzo antonio

    nilzo antonio Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 31, 2015
    I'm not sure if you know it, but in the internet ( always the internet) there's people who theorize/believe that Amira is actually Maria reincarnated. Serious, no joke. But then again it's the internets.
     
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  6. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    Noone can singe Casta Diva lika Callas, btw tonight Metropolitan gives Norma, I'm planning on watching that one since that is an opera that I haven't seen yet.
    .
     
  7. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    May 27, 1999
    The last opera I saw had Bugs Bunny in it.
     
  8. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

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    May 25, 2002
    What's Opera Doc is one of my favorite Bugs cartoons..
     
  9. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    Isn't that one always voted as one of the best cartoons ever? I had to rewatch it now, and it is soooo good. I'm going to have lunch now, and then I'm turning on Norma to see what the full opera is about. (I'm furloughed on Mondays so I have the day off).
     
  10. Blobofat

    Blobofat Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Apart from the Mozart (which is not one of his best operas), that's a very romantic-era collection. Some of the best operas are from the 20th century, works like Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle, Berg's Wozzeck and Prokofiev's Love of Three Oranges. When I watched the latter at the ENO, they had these scratch-and-sniff cards so you could smell all the things that were supposedly emitted onstage. It was pretty fun.
     
  11. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    I would say that they are doing themed weeks, two weeks ago they had a full Wagner week for example. I would also say the the pattern seems to be 6 mostly well-known and crowd-pleasing operas,and one that is a bit different. Last week it was Nixon in China, but I missed that one.

    I watched Norma, and I must say that it's probably one of the best bel canto-operas that I have seen. Bel canto isn't really my favorite style, but this was beautiful, and I would say that the favorite parts were the duets between the two female leads. I also totally understand why the title role of Norma is seen as one of the most challenging roles for a soprano, she really needs to use the whole register and have perfect technique to pull it off. The male lead (Pollione) is a total idiot though.
     
  12. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2003
    Thanks for the heads up, @Obi Anne. The current links take you to a page that asks you to subscribe. I'm assuming once these go live at 6:30 EST that that page won't pop up?
     
  13. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    Yes, the are free when they go up at 6:30 and for 24 hours after that.
     
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  14. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    Mar 9, 2003
    Thanks. It appears the show are available right now if you have a subscription to their onDemand service but they're making their content available for those who don't have a subscription which is awesome. (HBO and Showtime are doing the same for the month of April with Verizon Fios (not sure about other providers)).
     
  15. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Wagner's Ring Cycle.





    You can watch the actual opera on youtube, just pick your stage effects.
     
  16. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    If you would like to use their onDemands service after this you can also rent single operas, usually its $5.99, and then you can see it for 24 hours, and you don't need to have a monthly subscription. I have used that some times, but I don't watch that many operas that a proper subscription would be worth it. The operavision channel I linked to in the beginning is totally free.
     
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  17. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    May 27, 1999
    Actually, it was the other opera cartoon, "The Rabbit of Seville". Not as ambitious as the classic "What's Opera, Doc", but a great blend of Rossini's music and hilarious comedy.
     
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  18. Kenneth Morgan

    Kenneth Morgan Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    May 27, 1999
    "What's Opera, Doc?", "Duck Amuck" and "One Froggy Evening" are usually listed in the Top Ten cartoons ever made, if not the Top Five.
     
  19. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    The Rabbit of Seville is another good one.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
  20. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    Mar 9, 2003
    Speaking of barbers, The Muppet's Barber Shop Quartet is always good for a laugh

     
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  21. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
  22. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    I watched Tannhäuser yesterday. Oper Unter den Linden do have some regular free streamings at the moment, and they will send Parsifal on Friday. Unfortunately I couldn't find any subtitles, meaning that you either need to know the language or the opera well enough to keep up with what's going on. This was a very modern production, set in a kind of 1950s and with a lot of stylized movement. Some of it was interesting, some of it was strange, I still think I prefer this kind of regietheater compared to the Otto Schenk production from the Met, that I saw two weeks ago, and that basically just looks exactly like Wagner would have staged it. (To me Otto Schenk is a red flag when it comes to productions, but I can't deny that them being very literal usually makes it easy to see the opera for the first time)
     
  23. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    Decades ago, I saw an English-language production of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. It may have been, probably was, the funniest thing I've ever seen on a live stage.
     
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  24. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    There are a lot of really funny operas, which makes it sad that so many people think that it's just about drama and tragedy (ok, there is a lot of it but not always)

    Two things tonight. First I watched the NBC Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert for the first time (and it is considered a rock opera) and was clearly underwhelmed

    Second on Swedish TV we have a show where established musicians compete against each other in different genres. Tonight was opera, so I had to watch it. It's interesting to see talented musicians struggle. One of them even said "I'm used to having help in th studio but with opera you can't cheat in any way". Not surprisingly it was the two singers with a background from musical theatre (and musical performance schools) that did best. What they obviously lacked was the use of the upper register, where they tried to belt and force their voices and that doesn't work with opera. And only one of them dared to actually have a proper opera piece, four of them simply chose songs that have been performed by opera singers.
     
  25. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 4, 1998
    And this is the schedule or the coming week at the Met. If last week felt like a lot of safe bet, this week has some more challenging works. There are several on the list here that I have planned to see, but in the end I have wondered if it's worth paying for a ticket (and the travel and hotel) to go see something that I'm not sure I'm going to like.

    Monday, April 13
    Dvořák’s Rusalka
    Starring Renée Fleming and Piotr Beczała, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. From February 8, 2014.

    Rusalka is mostly known for "The Song to the Moon" which is a standard concert repertoire piece for lyrical sopranos. It's beautiful, and I also like some o Dvorak's orchestral music so I'm curious about the opera, unfortunately I will probably not have time to sit down and watchi on Tuesday, and Operavision.tv also has a performance of this opera up so I think I'm going to choose that one.

    Tuesday, April 14
    Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov
    Starring René Pape, conducted by Valery Gergiev. From October 23, 2010.

    Boris Godunow is one of the big Russian operas and René Pape is my favorite bass-baritone. He definitely has the stage presence to pull it off. I will really try to catch this one, it's been on my "should see"-list for a long time.

    Wednesday, April 15
    Puccini’s La Rondine
    Starring Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Marco Armiliato. From January 10, 2009.

    This is probably Puccini's only try at a comical opera. It's not one of his most famous works, but could be interesting. It was taped while Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna were still a pair, and the love couple of the opera world. Then they split up and she accused him of abuse and all kinds of nasty things. When they were still a couple they usually had a really good chemistry on stage.

    Thursday, April 16
    Rossini’s Le Comte Ory
    Starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, and Juan Diego Flórez, conducted by Maurizio Benini. From April 9, 2011.

    Don't know much about this

    Friday, April 17
    Viewers’ Choice: Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
    Starring Patricia Racette, Marcello Giordani, and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 7, 2009.

    I have a confession - I don't like Madama Butterly. It has some beautiful music, but I get so angry and upset with it, not uncommon since it's a prime example of tragic opera. It is one of the operas that every opera lover should see at least once though (and I have seen it before passing judgement).

    Saturday, April 18
    Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur
    Starring Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelishvili, Piotr Beczała, and Ambrogio Maestri, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. From January 12, 2019.

    Don't know anything about this one

    Sunday, April 19
    Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
    Starring Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Sebastian Weigle. From May 13, 2017.

    This is my "must see"-opera of the week. I have wanted to see Der Rosenkavalier for so long. It is well known, and a staple of many opera houses. It is an early 20th century take on 18th century opera.
     
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