Monday, January 16, 2017
By Jacob Stockinger This posting is both a news story and a holiday gift guide of classical recordings you might like to give or get. It features the classical music nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards that were just announced this past week. As you can see, several year ago, the recording industry decided that the Grammys should put more emphasis on new music and contemporary composers as well as on less famous performers and smaller labels as well as less well-known artists and works. You don’t see any music by Bach, Beethoven or Brahms this year, although you will find music by Mozart, Handel, Schumann and Dvorak. And clearly this is not a Mahler year The winners will be announced on a live TV broadcast on Sunday night, Feb. 12, on CBS. BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM, CLASSICAL “Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles” — Mark Donahue & Fred Vogler, engineers (James Conlon , Guanqun Yu, Joshua Guerrero, Patricia Racette , Christopher Maltman, Lucy Schaufer, Lucas Meachem, LA Opera Chorus & Orchestra) “Dutilleux: Sur Le Même Accord ; Les Citations; Mystère De L’Instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement” — Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, engineers (Ludovic Morlot, Augustin Hadelich & Seattle Symphony) “Reflections” — Morten Lindberg, engineer (Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene) “Shadow of Sirius” — Silas Brown & David Frost, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Jerry F. Junkin & the University Of Texas Wind Ensemble) “Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow: Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” — Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra) PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, CLASSICAL Blanton Alspaugh David Frost Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin Judith Sherman (pictured below with the Grammy Award she won last year. She came to Madison to record the double set of new commissions for the centennial of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Pro Arte Quartet) Robina G. Young BEST ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE “Bates: Works for Orchestra” — Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony). You can hear excerpts in the YouTube video at the bottom. “Ibert: Orchestral Works” — Neeme Järvi, conductor (Orchestre De La Suisse Romande) “Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 In B-Flat Major, Op. 100” — Mariss Jansons, conductor (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) “Rouse: Odna Zhizn; Symphonies 3 & 4; Prospero’s Rooms” — Alan Gilbert, conductor (New York Philharmonic) “Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” (below) — Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra) BEST OPERA RECORDING “Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles” (below) — James Conlon, conductor; Joshua Guerrero, Christopher Maltman, Lucas Meachem, Patricia Racette, Lucy Schaufer & Guanqun Yu; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (LA Opera Orchestra; LA Opera Chorus) “Handel: Giulio Cesare” — Giovanni Antonini, conductor; Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Andreas Scholl & Anne-Sofie von Otter; Samuel Theis, producer (Il Giardino Armonico) “Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Emily Fons, Nathan Gunn , Isabel Leonard & Jay Hunter Morris; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers) “Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro” — Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Thomas Hampson, Christiane Karg, Luca Pisaroni & Sonya Yoncheva; Daniel Zalay, producer (Chamber Orchestra of Europe; Vocalensemble Rastatt) “Szymanowski: Król Roger ” — Antonio Pappano, conductor; Georgia Jarman, Mariusz Kwiecień & Saimir Pirgu; Jonathan Allen, producer (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House ; Royal Opera Chorus) BEST CHORAL PERFORMANCE “Himmelrand” — Elisabeth Holte, conductor (Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen, Ragnfrid Lie & Matilda Sterby; Inger-Lise Ulsrud; Uranienborg Vokalensemble) “Janáček: Glagolitic Mass” — Edward Gardner, conductor; Håkon Matti Skrede, chorus master (Susan Bickley, Gábor Bretz, Sara Jakubiak & Stuart Skelton; Thomas Trotter; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Bergen Cathedral Choir, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegium Musicum & Edvard Grieg Kor) “Lloyd: Bonhoeffer” — Donald Nally, conductor (Malavika Godbole, John Grecia, Rebecca Harris & Thomas Mesa; the Crossing; below) “Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1” — Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, choir director (Nikolay Didenko, Agnieszka Rehlis & Johanna Rusanen; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir) “Steinberg: Passion Week” — Steven Fox, conductor (The Clarion Choir) BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE “Fitelberg: Chamber Works” — ARC Ensemble “Reflections” — Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene “Serious Business” — Spektral Quartet “Steve Reich ” — Third Coast Percussion (below) “Trios From Our Homelands” — Lincoln Trio BEST CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL SOLO “Adams, J.: Scheherazade.2” — Leila Josefowicz; David Robertson, conductor (Chester Englander; St. Louis Symphony) “Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway” — Zuill Bailey; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Nashville Symphony) “Dvořák: Violin Concerto & Romance; Suk: Fantasy” — Christian Tetzlaff; John Storgårds, conductor (Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra) “Mozart: Keyboard Music, Vols. 8 & 9” – Kristian Bezuidenhout “1930’s Violin Concertos, Vol. 2” – Gil Shaham; Stéphane Denève, conductor (The Knights & Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra) BEST CLASSICAL SOLO VOCAL ALBUM “Monteverdi” — Magdalena Kožená; Andrea Marcon, conductor (David Feldman, Michael Feyfar, Jakob Pilgram & Luca Tittoto; La Cetra Barockorchester Basel) “Mozart: The Weber Sisters” — Sabine Devieilhe; Raphaël Pichon, conductor (Pygmalion) “Schumann & Berg” — Dorothea Röschmann; Mitsuko Uchida, accompanist “Shakespeare Songs” — Ian Bostridge; Antonio Pappano, accompanist (Michael Collins, Elizabeth Kenny, Lawrence Power & Adam Walker) “Verismo” — Anna Netrebko; Antonio Pappano, conductor (Yusif Eyvazov; Coro Dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia; Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia) BEST CLASSICAL COMPENDIUM “Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway; American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle” — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer “Gesualdo” — Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor; Manfred Eicher, producer “Vaughan Williams: Discoveries” — Martyn Brabbins, conductor; Andrew Walton, producer “Wolfgang: Passing Through” — Judith Farmer & Gernot Wolfgang, producers; (Various Artists) “Zappa: 200 Motels – The Suites” — Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Frank Filipetti & Gail Zappa, producers BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION “Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” — Mason Bates, composer (Riccardo Muti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra) “Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway” — Michael Daugherty, composer (Zuill Bailey, Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony) “Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Jennifer Higdon, composer; Gene Scheer, librettist (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jay Hunter Morris, Emily Fons, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn & the Santa Fe Opera) “Theofanidis: Bassoon Concerto” — Christopher Theofanidis, composer (Martin Kuuskmann, Barry Jekowsky & Northwest Sinfonia) “Winger: Conversations With Nijinsky” — C. F. Kip Winger, composer (Martin West & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra) Tagged: 59th Annual Grammy Awards , Andreas Scholl , Andris Nelsons , Anna Netrebko , Anne-Sofie von Otter , Antonín Dvořák , Antonio Pappano , Arts , Bach , ballet , Baroque , Bassoon , Berg , Bonhoeffer , Bonhoffer , Boston Symphony , CBS , CBS-TV , Cecilia Bartoli , Cello , Chamber music , choral music , Christian Tetzlaff , Christopher Rouse , Christopher Theofanidis , Classical music , Cold Mountain , Compact Disc , concerto , David Frost , David Robertson , Early music , Frank Zappa , George Frideric Handel , Gesualdo , Gil Shaham , Grammy , Grammy Award , Grammy Award for Album of the Year , Grammy Award for Record of the Year , Handel , Hemingway , Henri Dutilleux , Ian Bostridge , Ibert , Jacob Stockinger , Janacek , Jennifer Higdon , Johann Sebastian Bach , John Adams , John Corigliano , Josef Suk , Judith Sherman , Karol Szymanowski , Keyboard , Leila Josefowicz , Los Angeles , Ludwig van Beethoven , Madison , Mahler , Manfred Eicher , Mason Bates , mass , Michael Daugherty , Michael Tilson Thomas , Mitsuko Uchida , Monteverdi , motel , Mozart , Nashville , Nathan Gunn , New York Philharmonic , Nijinsky , opera , Orchestra , Patricia Racette , Penderecki , percussion , Piano , Pro Arte Quartet , Prokofiev , Romance , Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra , San Francisco Symphony , Santa Fe Opera , Schumann , Seattle Symphony , Shakespeare , Shostakovich , singer , Sonata , songs , St. Louis Symphony , Stalin , Suite , symphony , tenor , The Ghosts of Versailles , The Knights , The Recording Academy , Thomas Hampson , trio , TV , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , vaughan williams , Verismo , Violin , Violin concerto , vocal music , Warsaw , Wisconsin , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Yannick Nézet-Séguin , YouTube , Zuill Bailey
Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942) Lieder op. 2 (selection), 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, 22, 27; o. op. Barbara Bonney, Anne Sofie von Otter, Hans Peter Blochwitz, Andreas Schmidt Cord Garben piano Deutsche Grammophon 427 348-2 (1989) [flac, cue, log, scans]
That tragic, distressing D Minor which opens this immortal masterpiece projects us towards its most poignant scene, the hair-raising entrance of the Convitato di pietra, with its Wagnerian foreshadowing, and unsettling dramatic novelty. Mozart's most compelling operatic effort is here offered in many favourite recordings of mine, followed by a handful of great releases of other popular titles, including my absolute favourite Clemenza di Tito - the composer's final accomplishment for the theatre... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Simon Keenlyside, Bryn Terfel, Uwe Heilmann, Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, Matti Salminen, Carmela Remigio, Soile Isokosky, Patrizia Pace Coro di Ferrara Musica & Chamber Orchestra of Europe Claudio Abbado DGG 457 601-2 (1997) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ezio Flagello, Peter Schreier, Alfredo Mariotti, Martti Talvela, Birgit Nilsson, Martina Arroyo, Reri Grist Chorus & Orchestra of the Prague National Theatre Karl Böhm DGG 429 870-2 (1967) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Sherrill Milnes, Walter Berry, Peter Schreier, Dale Duesing, John Macurdy, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Edith Mathis Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Karl Böhm DGG 477 5655 (1977) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Ingvar Wixell, Wladimiro Ganzarolli, Stuart Burrows, Richard Van Allan, Luigi Roni, Martina Arroyo, Kiri te Kanawa, Mirella Freni Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Colin Davis Philips 422 817-2 (1973) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Rodney Gilfry, Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, Christoph Prégardien, Julian Clarkson, Andrea Silvestrelli, Luba Orgonasova, Charlotte Margiono, Eirian James The Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists John-Eliot Gardiner Archiv 445 870-2 (1994) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Eberhard Wächter, Giuseppe Taddei, Luigi Alva, Piero Cappuccilli, Gottlob Frick,Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Graziella SciuttiPhilharmonia Orchestra & Chorus Carlo Maria Giulini EMI 5 56232 2 (1959) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Nicolai Ghiaurov, Sesto Bruscantini, Alfredo Kraus, Walter Monachesi, Dimiter Petkov, Gundula Janowitz, Sena Jurinac, Olivera Miliakovic Orchestra e Coro della RAI di Roma Carlo Maria Giulini Frequenz 051 053 (1970) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Thomas Allen, Richard Van Allan, Keith Lewis, John Rawnsley, Dimitri Kavrakos, Carol Vaness, Maria Ewing, Elizabeth Gale Glyndebourne Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra Bernard Haitink EMI 7 47037 8 (1984) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Thomas Hampson, László Polgár, Hans Peter Blochwitz,Anton Scharinger, Robert Holl, Edita Gruberova, Roberta Alexander, Barbara Bonney Netherlands Opera Chorus & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Nikolaus Harnoncourt Teldec 244 184-2 (1988) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Eberhard Wächter, Walter Berry, Fritz Wunderlich, Rolando Panerai, Walter Kreppel,Leontyne Price, Hilde Gueden, Graziella Sciutti Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Herbert von Karajan Gala 100.608 (1963) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Nicolai Ghiaurov, Geraint Evans, Stuart Burrows, Rolando Panerai, Victor von Halem,Gundula Janowitz, Teresa Zylis-Gara, Olivera Miliakovic Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Herbert von Karajan Orfeo C 615 033 D (1970) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Samuel Ramey, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Gösta Winbergh, Alexander Malta, Paata Burchuladze,Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, Kathleen Battle Chor der Deutschen Oper & Berliner Philharmoniker Herbert von Karajan DGG 419 179-2 (1985) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Samuel Ramey, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Gösta Winbergh, Alexander Malta, Paata Burchuladze,Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Julia Varady, Kathleen Battle Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Herbert von Karajan DVD Video Rip - Sony 46383 (1987) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Nicolai Ghiaurov, Walter Berry, Nicolai Gedda, Paolo Montarsolo, Franz Crass,Claire Watson, Christa Ludwig, Mirella Freni New Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus Otto Klemperer EMI 7 63841 2 (1966) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Cesare Siepi, Fernando Corena, Anton Dermota, Walter Berry, Kurt Böhme,Suzanne Danco, Lisa della Casa, Hilde Gueden Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Josef Krips Decca 478 1389 (1955) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Alan Titus, Rolando Panerai, Thomas Moser, Rainer Scholze, Jan-Hendrik Rootering,Julia Varady, Arleen Augér, Edith Mathis Chor & Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks Rafael Kubelik RCA 74321 25284 2 (1985) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Ruggero Raimondi, José van Dam, Kenneth Riegel, Malcolm King, John Macurdy,Edda Moser, Kiri te Kanawa, Teresa Berganza Choeur et Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris Lorin Maazel CBS M3K 35192 (1979) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni William Shimell, Samuel Ramey, Frank Lopardo, Natale De Carolis, Jan-Hendrik Rootering,Cheryl Studer, Carol Vaness, Susanne Mentzer Wiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Riccardo Muti EMI re-released as Amadeus AML 9501-3 (1987) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Thomas Allen, Claudio Desderi, Francisco Araiza, Natale De Carolis, Sergej Koptchak,Edita Gruberova, Ann Murray, Susanne Mentzer Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala Riccardo Muti DVD Video Rip - Rai Trade (1987) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Antonio Campo, Marcello Cortis, Nicolai Gedda, André Vessières, Raffaele Arié,Teresa Stich-Randall, Suzanne Danco, Anna Moffo Choeur du Festival d'Aix-en-Provence Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire Hans Rosbaud EMI 5 72195 2 (1956) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Bernd Weikl, Gabriel Bacquier, Stuart Burrows, Alfred Sramek, Kurt Moll,Margaret Price, Sylvia Sass, Lucia Popp London Opera Chorus & London Philharmonic Orchestra Georg Solti Decca 470 427-2 (1978) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni Bryn Terfel, Michele Pertusi, Herbert Lippert, Roberto Scaltriti, Mario Luperi,Renée Fleming, Ann Murray, Monica Groop London Voices & London Philharmonic Orchestra Georg Solti Decca 455 500-2 re-released by LGM l'Espresso (1996) - Courtesy of Cecco Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Così fan tutte Renée Fleming, Anne Sofie von Otter, Adelina Scarabelli, Frank Lopardo, Olaf Bär, Michele Pertusi London Voices & London Philharmonic Orchestra Georg Solti Decca 444 174-2 (1994) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart La clemenza di Tito Philip Langridge, Lucia Popp. Ruth Ziesak, Ann Murray, Delores Ziegler, László Polgár Chor und Orchester der Oper Zürich Nikolaus Harnoncourt Teldec 4509-90857-2 (1993)Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart La clemenza di Tito Gösta Winbergh, Carol Vaness, Christine Barbaux, Delores Ziegler, Martha Senn, László PolgárWiener Staatsopernchor & Wiener Philharmoniker Riccardo Muti EMI 5 55489 2 (1988) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Andreas Schmidt, Lella Cuberli, Joan Rodgers, John Tomlinson, Cecilia Bartoli, Phyllis Pancella, Richard Brunner, Peter Rose, Graham Clark, Günter von Kannen, Hilde Leidland RIAS Kammerchor & Berliner Philharmoniker Daniel Barenboim Erato 2292-45501-2 (1990)Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Le nozze di Figaro Thomas Hampson, Charlotte Margiono, Barbara Bonney, Anton Scharinger, Petra Lang, Ann Murray, Christoph Späth, Kevin Langan, Philip Langridge, Kurt Moll, Isabel Rey Netherlands Opera Chorus & Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Nikolaus Harnoncourt Teldec 4509-90861-2 (1993) Flacs & Scans
Thanks to the generosity of a parterre reader, “Trove Thursday” presents a rare recording from the famed Carnegie Hall series curated by Matthew Epstein to commemorate Handel’s tercentenary: Tatiana Troyanos and June Anderson in Ariodante conducted by Raymond Leppard. For more than 60 years, New York City has been fortunate to host organizations dedicated to showcasing prominent singers performing less-often heard operas in concert. From 1950 to 1970, there was the American Opera Society, and right after its demise Eve Queler founded Opera Orchestra of New York. Each season both groups would feature two or three operas, most often chosen according to the availability (and whim) of its featured stars. However, in the mid-1980s Epstein and Carnegie, partnering with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, attempted something different—an annual series of operas-in-concert focused on a single singer or composer—or both. The first season featured Marilyn Horne in three serious Rossini operas: a “pirate” recording of the 1982 opening night La Donna del Lago is still available from its posting here last fall. French operas by Offenbach, Thomas and Massenet starring Frederica von Stade followed, while the fourth and final season spotlighted rarely mounted operas by Richard Strauss. Handel’s 300th birthday fell during 1984-1985, and its three programmed masterpieces (with a bonus of Alessandro imported from Stephen Simon’s Handel Festival in Washington, DC) became among the most eagerly awaited events of the season. Horne’s first-ever Orlando opened the series and a recording of it can be found in a “Trove Thursday” posting from February. The legendary Semele with Kathleen Battle, Horne, Rockwell Blake and Samuel Ramey, presented on February 23rd, the actual birthday, was broadcast live on NPR, so recordings of it have always been easy to find. But this stirring Ariodante seemed to disappear, and until I listened to today’s superb-sounding recording I hadn’t heard it since the concert I attended over 31 years ago. Troyanos first sang the demanding title role written for the great castrato Carestini in 1971, replacing Shirley Verrett during the opening weeks of the Kennedy Center. Her wonderfully fresh and eager portrayal opposite a high-flying Beverly Sills was captured by a “pirate” and has long been easily available. Unfortunately, its much-cut and transposed musical edition makes the entire performance an unsatisfactory representation of this great opera. I recall two jarring aspects of that evening at Carnegie in January 1985, both attributable to Troyanos. Ordinarily when a female singer performs a male role in concert, she appears in a chic pants-suit, but Troyanos grandly entered instead in an elaborate concert gown. And while the rest of the cast sang from memory, she often had her head stuck in the score placed on the music stand in front of her. Even with this aid, she still got lost during one of her duets with Anderson madly flipping through the music to find her place! Ariodante remained in her repertoire for several more years; she sang it in Geneva and then at Santa Fe in 1987. Beginning in the early 1980s Troyanos also took on the title role of Handel’s Giulio Cesare (she had already recorded Cleopatra in that immensely lugubrious Karl Richter set years earlier). She performed Cesare in San Francisco, Geneva and in an ill-starred run at the Met opposite Battle. The last time I heard Troyanos in person was in another trouser role: a concert of Mozart’s Mitridate, Re di Ponto at Alice Tully Hall in the summer of 1992, about a year before her tragically premature death. That sadly off-form Farnace is not how I want to remember her. However, this absolutely note-complete Ariodante is a particularly gratifying souvenir of a fascinating artist. This opera’s rewarding title role, recorded by Janet Baker (also with Leppard), Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Anne-Sofie von Otter, retains its allure for star mezzos. Alice Coote sings it this fall in Toronto in Richard Jones’s Aix production, while Joyce DiDonato who recorded the work in 2010 with the late Alan Curtis returns to it next year for an extended world tour with The English Concert which visits Carnegie Hall in April. And Cecilia Bartoli who has never before sung a Handel hero appears as Ariodante at next June’s Salzburg Pfingsten Festival in a new staging by Christoph Loy. Handel: Ariodante Carnegie Hall 27 January 1985 In-house recording Ginevra: June Anderson Dalinda: Erie Mills Ariodante: Tatiana Troyanos Polinesso: James Bowman Lurcanio: Neil Rosenshein King of Scotland: Dmitri Kavrakos Odoardo: Frank Lopardo Orpheon Chorale Orchestra of St. Luke’s Conductor: Raymond Leppard “Trove Thursday” offerings can be downloaded via the audio-player above. Just click on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory. In addition, this Ariodante, last week’s Leonora and all previous fare remain available from iTunes or via any RSS reader.
There are times when a reviewer has to deal with a controversial artistic experience upon which colleagues can have very different opinions. Such a case is undoubtedly the version presented by Sasha Waltz of Purcell´s "Dido and Aeneas" at the Colón. The famous fault ("grieta") also applies to culture. Some background first. "Dido and Aeneas" was written by Henry Purcell in 1682 and is recognised as the initial English opera. Other famous scores of the greatest Baroque composer of his time and place are considered semi-operas and have been seen here, such as "The Fairy Queen" and "King Arthur", in very good historicist versions. Here "Dido..." was premièred in 1953 with first-rate local singers and the knowledgeable conducting of Felix Prohaska, organized by that admirable institution, Amigos de la Música. The Colón gave a notable presentation in 1978, with the talents of Steuart Bedford (conductor), Michael Geliot (producer), Roberto Oswald (stage design) and Aníbal Lápiz (costumes) and good Argentine singers. The 2002 revival was much less stylish. At the Colón the 50-minute "Dido..." was coupled with another short opera; I liked the choice in 1978, the première of Busoni´s "Arlecchino". And this year, after 24 years, the most adequate historicist coupling would have been John Blow´s "Venus and Adonis" (1681), although it´s a masque (a semiopera). Of course, "Dido..." has been profusely recorded (at least 25 times), and with such varied Didos as sopranos Flagstad, De los Ángeles, Kirkby, and mezzos Veasey, Von Otter, Baker. And almost all the Baroque specialist conductors. It certainly isn´t the only time that Dido was an opera heroine: there are about fifty operas on her, starting from Cavalli´s in 1641. But only Purcell´s and "Les Troyens à Carthage" (second part of "Les Troyens") by Berlioz have survived. (A reminder that we urgently need the première of "Les Troyens"). The text is by Nahum Tate and is based on Virgil´s "Aeneid", and the opera was premièred not at a theatre but at the School for young girls of Josiah Priest at Chelsea. In three short acts it tells of Aeneas´ arrival to Carthage fleeing from Troy, the love of Carthage´s Queen Dido and Aeneas, his departure called by Jupiter to found Italy (but in Tate´s libretto it´s a farce for Jupiter is an apparition manipulated by witches bent on mischief), and Dido´s death from grief. The music alternates recitatives with arias, dances and choruses, and the characters include Belinda (Dido´s sister), a Sorceress, two Witches, a Sailor, a Lady and the Apparition, plus the chorus (courtisans, witches and sailors). Time passes quickly with such beautiful sounds. The most famous piece is Dido´s lament on a ground, "When I am laid in earth". But Purcell´s "Dido..." got what is now called an intervention, when choreographer Sasha Waltz in 2005 decided that she would wrap around Purcell´s opera a fantasy of her own. And so the 50 minutes became 95, the extra 45 veering between more Purcell extracted from various sources, read poetry or utter silence (only dancing). The hand programme specifies "Revision by Attilio Cremonesi". ¿Does that include a change for the worse, converting the "sisters" into men? It´s a blot on the otherwise historicist version of the score. Waltz introduces a Prologue in which Phoebus, the Sun God, in the company of Nereids, extols the arrival of Venus (spoken scene, poorly read). Then they dive into the "sea", a rectangular water tank; for quite a while we see rather beautiful aquatic choreography, that however has nothing to do with the plot. The exhibition of naked behinds as they climb out of the tank is quite superfluous. And then the opera starts, though it will be interrupted several times by extraneous matter. Waltz´s main idea is to duplicate each soloist singer with a dancer or two, so that theoretically the story is simultaneously told in two means of expression. It might have worked if the narrative had been intelligible, but it isn´t: the story is continuously veiled by groups that often make it hard to distinguish who is singing (especially in the case of Aeneas, I spotted him aurally, for Reuben Willcox has a powerful voice, but he was always lost in surrounding people). I found particularly galling a silly dance lesson in French and English (untranslated) and with no connection whatsoever with the plot. On the other hand, whilst there is a brief change of scene a boy or a girl executes a charming dance seen against the light. The crucial scene of the witches is badly mauled by the transformation into men and inadequate singers. To accentuate the positive: Christopher Moulds conducting the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (Academy for Old Music) got excellent historicist playing with authentic phrasing and speeds. And the Vocalconsort Berlin not only is a fine chamber choir but it moves with agility whenever it is needed (probably the best part of Waltz´s producing work). Aurore Ugolin was a correct Dido (much more can be expressed), whilst Debora York showed her affinity with the Baroque style. As intimated, Willcox was the best of the cast for he sings expressively. The dancers do well what they are asked, but the choreography rarely attracted me. An ugly wall was the scenery for the Palace and for the hunting scene...And the costumes gave us men in beige underpants or women in lurid colors. For Buenos Aires Herald
Willard W. White as Trinity Moses, Anne Sofie Von Otter as Leocadia Begbick and Peter Hoare as Fatty in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny © ROH 2015. Photograph by Clive Barda Each year on 25 May, the internet celebrates Geek Pride Day - 24 hours of tribute to those who revel in the minutiae of a hobby or intellectual pursuit. Opera, ballet and the Royal Opera House all have their own super-fans, so in tribute to them, here are some of our favourite in-depth facts and nuggets of trivia about the theatre and its art forms: The world's most dangerous instrument Angela Gheorghiu in Tosca © Catherine Ashmore/ROH 2010 During the 18th century, regular players of the glass harmonica reported tinnitus, disorientation and hysteria, leading it to be dubbed as the world’s most dangerous instrument . One early player, Marianne Kirchgessner , died at the untimely age of 39, with the instrument blamed for her demise. Curtain calls Royal Opera House auditorium © ROH / Ruairi Watson 2012 The iconic Royal Opera House velvet curtain weighs more than two tonnes. That's the weight of a family car or an elephant. Blitz spirit Daily Programme and Diary for Royal Opera House dances 1943 - front of card During the World War II, the Royal Opera House was used as a dance hall . Organizers hoped the evenings would boost morale for Londoners coping with the Blitz. The stalls floor was raised to the level of the stage and parquet flooring was installed. The theatre's use as a dance hall followed a short-lived stint as an ice-skating rink . A design revolution Costume designs by Attilio Comelli for the Smugglers in Act III of Carmen, 1903 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden © 2015 Royal Opera House Opera singers were once required to bring their own costumes to performances. That all changed when Attilio Comelli became the Artist-in-Chief at the Royal Opera House during the 1890s and revolutionized in-house design – before him, designer wouldn't even be credited in the production. The first global ballet superstar Anna Pavlova Early 20th century dancer Anna Pavlova was the world's first truly global ballet superstar and performed regularly at the Royal Opera House. It's estimated that between 1910 and 1925, she gave more than 3,500 performances and notched up more than 300,000 miles on tour (that's further than the distance from the earth to the moon). Speedy switch-overs Backstage at the Royal Opera House © Rob Moore/ROH 2007 Sets at the Royal Opera House are stored and switched using a huge automated wagon system. This system — which works in a similar way to a child's sliding puzzle — means that sets weighing up to ten tonnes can be switched in just 40 seconds . Clock-watching Karlheinz Stockhausen in the Electronic Music Studio of the WDR, October 1994. The world’s longest operatic work is Karlheinz Stockhausen ’s Licht cycle, which lasts 29 hours. The German composer spent 27 years composing the cycle, completing the work in 2003. The longest single opera in The Royal Opera's repertory is Die Meistersinger von Nürnburg , which lasts for five and a half hours. Do you have any opera or ballet facts you'd like to share for Geek Pride Day? Share them via the comments below.
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