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Amph Not just fat ladies - an opera thread

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

  1. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    Mar 9, 2003
    You can access the stream, with subtitles, through the Met Opera on Demand app for Apple, Amazon, and Roku devices and Samsung Smart TV. The free streams are available on the app without logging in by clicking “Browse and Preview” in the apps for connected TV, and “Explore the App” on tablets and mobile devices.
     
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  2. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    Mar 9, 2003
    Other than the full opera's that @Obi Anne listed, there are other things available for free preview as well. The Met's performance of "Don Giovanni" (Oct. 22, 2016) has chapters 17-21 available for preview. Die Zauberflote (Feb. 09, 1991) has chapter 31 available. The app is pretty cool except if you pause your performance and your phone falls asleep, the subtitles disappear. When watching "Cosi fan tutte" last night, I had to start the show from the beginning and fast forward to the chapter I was on to get them to display.

    Also besides video, there is audio available as well. "Leontyne Price Playlist" (Jun. 26, 2018) has two tracks available: one track from Act III of Antony and Cleopatra and another track from Act I of Aida.
     
  3. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Saw La Fanciulla once, performed live. There was a musical theme that reoccurred, and it was making me crazy, trying to figure out where I'd heard it before. It was a few days before I realized Andrew Lloyd Webber had cribbed it for "Music of the Night" in Phantom.
     
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  4. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    I also can't watch La Fanciulla without thinking about the episode of the Young Indiana Jones chronicles where Puccini and Indy's mum almost have an affair, and when she refuses to leave her husband and son that gives him inspiration to write La Fanciulla.
     
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  5. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    I loved this show as a kid.


    Then I found this later in life and all I hear are the lyrics from the former.
     
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  6. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    I'm going to have to re-watch that series; been years since I've seen it.

    You wonder how much of the new music is accidental and how much is "an homage."
     
  7. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    The thing is the full story was only in the bookends with old Indy, and they are cut from the DVD and newer releases. The only thing that remains is the relation between Puccini and Indy's mum.

    Oh and on April 25 the Met will have a crazy At home-gala, with basically all the big stars of the opera world singing from their homes live - https://www.metopera.org/season/at-home-gala/
     
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  8. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    Yesterday I watched Boris Godunov, and it's been a long time since I was so affected by an opera. I can't remember the music, it's through and through without any big specific arias. Overall it felt more "real" than a lot things that I have seen, and it made me really think that this is how it might have happened for real, and that is big difference with for example Verdi's historical operas where he basically have just slapped some historical names on the characters without much to do with actual events. I can definitely recommend it, but it's not bad if you check up on the history of Russia during the time when it's set, basically everyone is a real person.

    On a lighter note, here is my favorite trio from the Magic Flute - but performed in quarantine.
     
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  9. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    I did take the afternoon and watched der Rosenkavalier - to be honest, I didn't like it. I think it's a question of cultural dissonance, I simply don't think it's so fun when most of the jokes are about a man using his rank to grab women around here, and one of the women is a boy dressed as a girl, played by a women. I guess it was funny back in 1911, but today not so much. Some beautiful music absolutely though. I can also see that it's a scathing satire about Viennese society in the end of the 19th century, but it still didn't make me laugh.

    Anyway here are this weeks program from the Met, and I would say that the theme of the week is big female roles, with some of the most famous roles in soprano repertorie..

    Monday, April 20
    Strauss’s Elektra
    Starring Nina Stemme, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, and Eric Owens, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. From April 30, 2016.

    After Strauss der Rosenkavalier comes Elektra, but this is something totally different. This was a revolutionary piece, so modern, so disharmonic, so tense. It's not a piece that you put on in the background while you do something else. Nina Stemme is one of the finest Wagner sopranos in the world today.

    Tuesday, April 21
    Puccini’s Tosca
    Starring Sonya Yoncheva, Vittorio Grigolo, and Željko Lučić, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. From January 27, 2018.

    If you compare Tosca to Elektra it's hard to guess that Tosca is only 9 years older than Electra. Still Tosca is a great example of Puccini's verismo style, where you really get to come close to the character and their actions. Still I can't help from being annoyed in the end, if they stopped singing and actually just walked away the ending would be so different.

    Wednesday, April 22
    Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann
    Starring Anna Netrebko, Kathleen Kim, Ekaterina Gubanova, Joseph Calleja, and Alan Held, conducted by James Levine. From December 19, 2009.

    The story about the poet Hoffman, based on the actual poet E.T.A Hoffman, and his quest for love and inspiration. It's famous for its three female roles, in some operas they are performed by the same singer but this time three different singers portray Hoffman's muses.

    Thursday, April 23
    Lehar’s The Merry Widow
    Starring Renée Fleming, Kelli O’Hara, and Nathan Gunn, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. From January 17, 2015.

    After some tragedy it's time for a sparkling comedy. This is pure fun and lightheartedness, and should be served with a healthy dose of Champagne.

    Friday, April 24
    Verdi’s La Traviata
    Starring Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From April 14, 2012.

    One of the most famous operas in the repertoire, but sorry I think it's boring. The best arias are in the first act, and the final scene. This performance is worth seeing for Dmitri Hvorstovsky, who sadly passed away from a brain tumour way too early. He is also I think one of few opera singers who have been on the list of top 100 most beautiful humans in the world.

    Saturday, April 25
    At-Home Gala
    More than 40 leading artists perform in a live stream from their homes around the world.

    This sounds like a totally spectacular evening, and I'm so looking forward to it!

    Sunday, April 26
    Rossini’s La Cenerentola
    Starring Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez, conducted by Fabio Luisi. From May 10, 2014.

    And the week finished off with Rossini's take on Cinderella, and what is possibly my favorite Rossini opera. It demands extreme vocal gymnastics in its beautiful bel canto pieces, while also being quit cute and funny. Unlike the other operas this week La Cenerentola is a show-piece number for a mezzo-soprano. Here is Elina Garanca in the final aria, showing that vocal fireworks isn't just about hitting the highest notes.

     
  10. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    I'm watching the Met At-home gala. So far I most enjoy watching the homes of the singers and I'm most impressed by the prerecorded piece when they got the orchestra to play together but at home.

    Skickat från min SM-A505FN via Tapatalk
     
  11. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    Ok, I missed a week here, to be honest because the operas of last week I had either seen them or didn't find them interesting. I did watch the stream of Aida, not a favorite opera but that particular performance is legendary as Leontyne Prices goodbye performance and I wanted to see it.

    When it comes to operas I keep a list of all the productions that I have seen, split in live, streaming or live in HD experiences. Going through the list I now have a goal to watch three new operas and 5 new productions during this spring. That would take me to having seen a total of 70 operas, and 100 different streamed productions. (All in all my total of watched operas is at 143, but I don't think I will have the time to reach for 150)

    This coming week would have been the last week of the regular Met season, so I'm not sure if they are going to continue with their free streams after this, anyway here is the coming week:

    Sunday, May 3
    Borodin’s Prince Igor
    Another Russian opera, mostly known for the orchestra piece of the "Povlovtsian dances".

    Monday, May 4

    Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
    Starring Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Susanne Mentzer, Dwayne Croft, and Sir Bryn Terfel, conducted by James Levine. From November 11, 1998. - If you should see one production of Le Nozze di Figaro - this is the one to watch. Renée Fleming, Bryn Terfel and Cecilia Bartoli all had these roles as their signature pieces, but have now moved on to other roles. This is a chance to see them all combined at their very best.

    Tuesday, May 5
    Thomas’s Hamlet
    Starring Marlis Petersen, Jennifer Larmore, Simon Keenlyside, and James Morris, conducted by Louis Langrée. From March 27, 2010.

    Wednesday, May 6
    Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin
    Starring Susanna Phillips, Tamara Mumford, and Eric Owens, conducted by Susanna Mälkki. From December 10, 2016.

    Thursday, May 7
    Strauss’s Capriccio
    Starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. From April 23, 2011.

    Friday, May 8
    Viewers’ Choice: Puccini’s La Bohème
    Starring Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti, conducted by James Levine. From March 15, 1977.

    Saturday, May 9
    The Opera House
    A 2017 feature-length documentary by Susan Froemke about the creation and 1966 opening of the new Met at Lincoln Center

    Sunday, May 10
    Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
    Cavalleria Rusticana: Starring Eva-Maria Westbroek, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze.
    Pagliacci: Starring Patricia Racette, Marcelo Álvarez, and George Gagnidze.
    Conducted by Fabio Luisi. From April 25, 2015.


    Out of this week's repertoire I have only seen Le Nozze di Figaro and La Bohème, so I will try to watch at least two new operas this week. I think I'm mostly interested in Capriccio and L'Amour de loin, but Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci is one of the classics that I "should" see.
     
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  12. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    Thanks to all the available streams I just reached two milestones today. I watched the stream of Bellini's Norma, and with that I have seen 70 different operas, and it was my 100th TV/stream viewing. If I watch two more operas I will have seen 150 different productions. To be honest I don't remember all the operas that I have on my list, but I've kept it for years and it's fun to try and see as many as possible. And with all the available streams right now I feel that I have really widened my range of operas, and seen a lot of those pieces that I've only heard/read about before.
     
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  13. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    Mar 9, 2003
    Just a friendly that each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day.

    Mozart's The Magic Flute played last night and I'm hoping to catch it before 6:30 PM tonight.
     
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  14. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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    Mar 9, 2003
    I was able to catch The Magic Flue - Die Zauberflöte last night. Thankfully they didn't pull it immediately at 6:30 PM. I was still able to access the stream as late as 10 PM EST as I was re-watching some of my favorite parts. This performances was from Oct. 14, 2017 which was the same day I got married so I wasn't able to catch it live or go see it in person. I'm glad I finally got to see this one. It's very weird, but I found it engaging. Kathryn Lewek was a standout. She's blew me away.

    Favorite pieces:
    • Overture
    • Act I: O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn (Kathryn Lewek)
    • Act II: Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Kathryn Lewek)
    • Act II: Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena!
     
  15. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    Now I am a total fanatic when it comes to Die Zauberflöte, it was my first opera and it turned me into an opera lover. The best thing is that I can still watch it over and over and over again, my favorite parts have changed over the years though.
    I think my favorite pieces are
    - Overture
    - O, Zittre nicht
    - Soll ich dich teurer nie mehr seh'n (the terzett)
    - The guardians warnings before Tamino enters the last trial - together with the Pamina entrance in the same scene
    - The walk through fire and water

    I did watch the Royal Opera House's version earlier this month, and it actually made me think about issues of representation in opera, since most productions have a big problem with Monostatos. Would anyone else be interested in a discussion on that?

    I come in here to write though that today I've seen the Met's latest production of La Fanciulla, and I was totally floored. I think La Fanciulla is starting to compete for the top place of my favorite Puccini operas. It's quite musically different, it doesn't have the easily memorable arias, but the story is definitely my favorite. It is after all one of few operas where the female lead is the saviour of the love interest, and it has a happy ending. Also the first half of the second act is probably the hottest thing you can see on an opera stage. They might be singing about a "first kiss" but it's obviously about sex. And when there's Jonas Kaufmann and Eva Maria Westbroek doing the singing and acting, it was wow.

    Here is one of few stand alone pieces, with Jonas as Dick, when he's just about to be hanged, and before Minnie arrives to save the day.
     
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  16. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    Since my last post I've also caught up with Tchaikovskij's "Eugene Onegin". Out of the Russian operas so far I definitely prefer Boris Godunov. Onegin was pretty slow, but then it was a total emotional volcano in the last scene. I'm not sure it would be worth paying a full ticket price just to wait until the end though.

    This week I'm happy that there are two operas that I've actually been angry about having missed. It's Porgy and Bess, that was one of the last performances before corona came, and Nixon in China. Nixon in China is an opera that I have been really curious about. I'm still hoping to find a modern opera that I actually like, and this is at least a very interesting subject for an opera. It's on Wednesday, which means Thursday for me, Porgy and Bess is on Friday/Saturday.
     
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  17. Princess_Tina

    Princess_Tina Chosen One star 7

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    May 10, 2001
    Just out of curiosity, did you ever watch the 1959 film version? If you have, I would be curious how good/bad an adaptation you think it was and what's missing from it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
  18. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    No, I haven't seen it all, that's why I really want to see it now
     
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  19. Kiki Jinn

    Kiki Jinn Jedi Knight star 2

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    Aug 21, 2020
    Great thread, I’ve actually been thinking about forcing my kids to watch some streaming opera at home with me during lockdown. Not that I’m an opera buff, I’m not, but have enjoyed the very few I’ve seen live and/or on TV (PBS).
     
  20. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    If you want some recommendation for kid friendly operas my suggestions would be The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, the Marriage of Figaro and La Cenerentola. All have great melodies and a plot that is pretty funny, at least at first glance. On September 10th the Met will stream "Cendrillon" by Massenet, I haven't heard the opera myself but is a version of Cinderella.

    Operavision.tv have both a Rigoletto for children and The Marriage of Figaro up, they also have a Don Giovanni which I also think is a good beginner's opera. One thing I noticed with their productions though is that they can be quite modern and are not always as easy to understand as the one at the Met,which are usually more traditional. I like seeing new takes on old operas, but it might be a bit trickier if it's the first time you see the opera.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
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  21. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 9, 2000
    For kid-friendly, you could go light and do operetta... Student Prince, Gilbert & Sullivan... get their feet wet on the idea and then you can go on to the "serious" stuff. Sort of like The Nutcracker teaches you to appreciate other ballet.
     
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  22. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    For operettas there is also Die Fledermaus, which is hilarious and has great and fun music.
     
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  23. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony JCC Game Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

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  24. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    I managed to catch the stream of Adam's Nixon in China yesterday, and I must say it's the first modern opera that I've really enjoyed. It definitely has some pieces that are going into my mixed opera playlist.

    Even if Nixon in China is definitely an opera, it in some ways feels closer to a musical. I think it is because even if it's a minmalist music score, it is harmonic and built up around distinct pieces instead of being an uninterrupted flow of random notes, which I unfortunately think is very usual in modern operas. It also helps that it incorporates references to the 1930's music of Nixon's youth, and there are also call backs to Wagner and Verdi that are quite recognizable. It is an interesting subject for an opera, and it's fascinating to see the real life persons of the event turned into operatic characters. It looses a bit of steam in the third act, which is a deeper look into the characters, but it doesn't have much happening. The second act is definitely the best, both with the scene where Pat Nixon is taken on a propaganda tour and the ballet within an opera that takes up much of the act. I defnitely understand that this is considered a modern classic of American opera, and I much prefer to it Adam's "Dr. Atomic", which I never really understood at all.

    These are the two pieces that I will probably put on my playlist

     
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  25. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

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    Nov 4, 1998
    This week has been Wagner week, and it was the first week where I had actually seen all the operas they offered ahead of this week. Still I took the chance to rewatch the old Ring Cycle, since it's great background music while handsewing. I reall don't like this production, or really any of Otto Schenk's productions. He simply tries to show the operas according to what they would have looked like when Wagner wrote them, and to me that's just boring. No interpretations or new points of view. It's really hard to thing that this production is 15 years younger than the 1976 Centennial Ring from Bayreuth, that put everything in the time of industrialisation, or the same age as the Barenboim/Kupfer Ring that have everyone dressed in black leather and plastics, and builds up the scenery with the help of lasers. In comparison the Schenk Ring feels like comparing Flash Gordon to Star Wars, including the fact that the costumes in the Schenk Ring looks like bad 1980's fantasy costumes, complete with shoulder pads.

    Still the singing is great, and even if I don't like the production, I always get totally overwhelmed at the end scene, when Brünnhilde sets the whole world on fire.

     
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