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Favorite Opera Recordings/Productions?

What are your favorite opera recordings of all time?

It is generally claimed the 1953 EMI recording of Tosca is the greatest recording of all time. Conducted by Victor de Sabata and starring Maria Callas, Giuseppe De Stefano, and Tito Gobbi.

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by Anonymousreply 281February 22, 2023 3:30 PM

Wagner's Lohengrin (with Wolfgang Windgassen, Brigit Nilsson, Astrid Varnay, Theo Adam, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and the great Hermann Uhde. Conducted by Eugen Jochum. 1954.

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by Anonymousreply 1January 27, 2023 3:47 PM

Without a doubt my favorite Opera recording is the original London cast recording of 'Phantom of the Opera'.

by Anonymousreply 2January 27, 2023 3:54 PM

R2 I don't think that qualifies.

by Anonymousreply 3January 27, 2023 4:01 PM

Probably the LPO’s classic Turandot with the all-star cast of Sutherland, Pavoratti, Caballé and Mehta conducting. It’s incredibly sumptuous.

I’d probably put Solti’s ring cycle right behind, with Die Walkure being the best of the four, then Gott, then Siegfried, and Rhinegold in the back.

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by Anonymousreply 4January 27, 2023 4:16 PM

Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior in Wagner's Tristian und Isolde is divine.

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by Anonymousreply 5January 27, 2023 4:24 PM

Come on. Any others?

by Anonymousreply 6January 27, 2023 5:10 PM

[quote] It is generally claimed the 1953 EMI recording of Tosca is the greatest recording of all time.


by Anonymousreply 7January 27, 2023 5:33 PM

I love the 1976 Deutsche Grammophon Claudio Abbado recording of "Macbeth" with Piero Cappucilli and Shirley Verrett. I don't think anyone ever did a better job singing the sleepwalking scene--she's both creepy and heartbreaking.

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by Anonymousreply 8January 27, 2023 5:44 PM

I love the Zeffirelli Cavalleria Rusticana film with Prête conducting. It’s my imprint recording of the opera, which is also one of my favorites. It’s short of course, but incredibly cohesive. The melodies are incredibly memorable.

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by Anonymousreply 9January 27, 2023 5:44 PM

Some recordings of female Japanese singers singing traditional songs sounds like cats shrieking.

by Anonymousreply 10January 27, 2023 5:55 PM

R7 as far as opera it is.

by Anonymousreply 11January 27, 2023 6:37 PM
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by Anonymousreply 12January 27, 2023 6:54 PM

The 1960 AIDA with Tebaldi, Bergonzi, Simionato, Bastianini, and Siepi, conducted by Von Karajan. Hard to beat that cast.

FALSTAFF, with Gobbi, Schwartzkopf, Panerai, Moffo, also conducted by Von Karajan. Sublime.

As for LOHENGRIN, I prefer the Kempe recording with Jess Thomas and Elisabeth Grummer.

The TURANDOT with Sutherland has a lot of gorgeous voices, but I'd go with the Leinsdorf recording with the incomparable Birgit Nilsson, plus Jussi Bjoerling and Tebaldi as Liu.

by Anonymousreply 13January 27, 2023 7:12 PM

R13 Why do you like the Kempe Lohengrin over the Jochum I like so much?

by Anonymousreply 14January 27, 2023 7:28 PM

R1, they're very close IMO but I prefer Grummer as Elsa to Nilsson.

by Anonymousreply 15January 27, 2023 7:31 PM

Karl Bohm's RING and Charles Mackerras's JENUFA.

by Anonymousreply 16January 27, 2023 7:37 PM

Carlos Kleiber's La Traviata

Karl Bohm's Le Nozze di Figaro

Sir Thomas Beecham's La Boheme

by Anonymousreply 17January 27, 2023 8:02 PM

I would submit this for consideration

Non ha in Cielo - Cleopatra from Julius Caesar - Beverly Sills

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by Anonymousreply 18January 27, 2023 11:31 PM

I love the Turandot with Sutherland and the AIDA with Caballe.

While I'm an uber Leontyne Price fan and love her AIDA's, that Caballe recording is extra special. Caballe couldn't sing it live on stage though.

by Anonymousreply 19January 28, 2023 1:05 AM

This goes against most opera queens tastes but I LOVE the energy in the Nabucco with Scotto. Sure she sounds squally but it's a recording with great drive and passion

by Anonymousreply 20January 28, 2023 1:07 AM

All good things! Let's keep this going. I love fellow opera buffs

by Anonymousreply 21January 28, 2023 3:11 AM

Regarding Callas, I prefer her 2nd NORMA studio recording with Corelli, though her voice is in better shape on the first one where, unfortunately, Stignani is just too old for Adalgisa and Fillipechi is just meh.

Her live LUCIA from Berlin is unsurpassed IMO.

One other favorite is the BARBER OF SEVILLE with Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters, Cesare Valetti (who handles the tough aria near the end of Act 2 with aplomb), and Giorgio Tozzi. Everyone on it sounds like they're having a great time doing the opera.

Though I'm not a huge Sills fan, I do enjoy her MANON partly due to Gedda's excellent Des Grieux.

by Anonymousreply 22January 28, 2023 6:40 PM

I confess I just don’t like Callas’ voice enough to ever listen to her. For me the problem is I’d never seen her live. I usually love those kunstdiva voices by I can’t get used to hers. Scotto, on the other hand, also has a nontraditionally beautiful voice but because I saw her wield it on stage, she make more sense to me on recordings.

by Anonymousreply 23January 28, 2023 8:14 PM

I’m a sucker for Mirella Freni, having had the opportunity to see her, at nearly 60, performing Mimi in Boheme. I was studying abroad, living in Rome. It was Valentines Day and I took myself to the opera (the Sessums of it all!). Zeferelli’s Boheme. Mirella still had it.

There’s a recording of her Mimi, centuries earlier, with Luciano. It’s essential.

That Zeffirelli production, which I saw a year ago at the Met, still delights. The staging still gets applause.

by Anonymousreply 24January 28, 2023 8:40 PM

R24 the one with Pavarotti too right?

by Anonymousreply 25January 28, 2023 9:22 PM

John Culshaw's giant Ring with everyone from Birgit Nilsson to (presumably Ex by then) Nazi Colonels in the orchestra.

by Anonymousreply 26January 28, 2023 9:32 PM

I loved Zeffirelli’s productions for the Met—Turandot, Tosca, La Boheme. I’m a sucker for spectacle on the stage.

by Anonymousreply 27January 28, 2023 9:39 PM

We're seeing the Zeffirelli Met production of La Boheme in April.

by Anonymousreply 28January 28, 2023 9:50 PM

Aida: Price, Gorr, Merrill, Vickers

Carmen: Callas (yeah, I know, I know)

Norma: Sutherland, Horne

Rosenkavalier: Schwarzkopf, Gedda, Ludwig

by Anonymousreply 29January 28, 2023 9:55 PM

Zeffirelli’s grandiose productions are always reliable awe-inspiring.

by Anonymousreply 30January 28, 2023 10:06 PM

I adore the Leontyne Price Carmen. Not the traditional mezzo take of course but she, her co-stars and orchestra under Van Karajan are stunning.

by Anonymousreply 31January 28, 2023 10:07 PM

Speaking of Von Karajan, when he went on his kick of putting lyric singers into dramatic roles (Aida, Turandot), the results were mixed. The singers were lightweight but it was an interesting experiment nonetheless.

Check out the orchestra in that Freni/Carreras/Baltsa Aida. I’ve never heard to so crisp and bright

by Anonymousreply 32January 28, 2023 10:11 PM

I only heard Pavarotti live once at the MET—Andrea Chenier.

Wow, the ping just rang throughout the auditorium.

Domingo was always fantastic too but his presence didn’t have the same electricity in the audience.

by Anonymousreply 33January 28, 2023 10:13 PM

Love the Klemperer Magic Flute recording with Gundula Janowitz, Gedda, Walter Berry, Lucia Popp. And, oh yes, Schwarzkopf as the First Lady, Ludwig as the Second Lady.

by Anonymousreply 34January 29, 2023 12:20 PM

I love this recording of Boheme.

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by Anonymousreply 35January 29, 2023 12:38 PM

R26, I watched a BBC documentary from 1965, part of the Sunday Night series, about the recording sessions for the Solti GOTTERDAMMERUNG, which featured John Culshaw and his producing staff in the control room as well as the singers, orchestra, and Solti.

I got a definite gay vibe from Culshaw and a few of his staff. When I looked him up, it turns out he never married.

The program is available from Netflix using the DVD service, under the title The Golden Ring. Definitely worth watching.

by Anonymousreply 36January 29, 2023 7:33 PM

I like both the Klemperer FLUTE as well as the Bohm recording, which has the gorgeous voice of Fritz Wunderlich as Tamino and Roberta Peters as the Queen of the Night.

Wunderlich's untimely death after a terrible fall on a stairwell was a terrible loss to the opera world. It happened right before what would be his Met debut as Don Ottavio.

by Anonymousreply 37January 29, 2023 7:38 PM

My favourite is the Charles Mackarres Elisabeth Soderstrom Kata Kabanova. It's a beautiful opera and she had a very well produced voice. The scene with the swallow motif- it's sublime. Janaček had genius.

by Anonymousreply 38January 29, 2023 7:58 PM

I'n not much of an opera fan but I loved this production of Paul Bunyan. I saw it before it was televised and I didn't like how they included all of the backstage activity because it loses a lot of its magic.

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by Anonymousreply 39January 29, 2023 8:25 PM

[quote]I confess I just don’t like Callas’ voice enough to ever listen to her. For me the problem is I’d never seen her live. I usually love those kunstdiva voices by I can’t get used to hers. Scotto, on the other hand, also has a nontraditionally beautiful voice but because I saw her wield it on stage, she make more sense to me on recordings.

I don't understand, what does whether or not you heard a singer live have to do with your acceptance or not of their voice on recordings?

by Anonymousreply 40January 29, 2023 9:01 PM

R40, sometimes the immediacy of the live physical performance can mask any perceived vocal shortcomings, which wouldn't be the case just listening to a recording. That said, I have enjoyed listening to Callas the majority of the time, unlike R23.

by Anonymousreply 41January 29, 2023 10:47 PM

Ben Heppner's "Turandot."

Hearing it done by a tenor whose voice is more known for his baritone is a thrill. He was wonderful. The best.

Because otherwise one can't really stand the piece.

by Anonymousreply 42January 29, 2023 10:56 PM

I can't listen to Callas because I hate hearing vocal suicide.

by Anonymousreply 43January 29, 2023 10:57 PM

Some of the very greatest opera recordings which are must haves in any opera lovers' collections are unfortunately not in stereo. The Toscanini and Furtwangler Otellos. There are simply no words.

The Karajan/ Callas Trovatore and the Toscanini Falstaff. The problem with the DeSabata Tosca is that it's Tosca.

Stereo I'd go for the Bohm Cosi with with Liz and Christa, Solti Magic Flute with Lorengar and Gotterdammerung, and the Davis Clemenza di Tito with Janet Baker. And yes the Sills at her best Giulio Cesare where the Caesar sounds like a Caeser and not a plummy mezzo or castrated capon.

by Anonymousreply 44January 29, 2023 11:07 PM

Fine, R41, but hearing the singers live doesn't make them sound better on recordings. I just don't get it, but whatever.

by Anonymousreply 45January 29, 2023 11:26 PM

Wow. Great recommendations. Let's keep this going

by Anonymousreply 46January 29, 2023 11:54 PM

[quote]The problem with the DeSabata Tosca is that it's Tosca.

You should take some lessons in snark, because aside from being a stupid, nasty comment, that's just not funny.

by Anonymousreply 47January 30, 2023 3:10 AM

If it's your favorite opera that's fine. But it's cheap and lousy. It's not famously called a shabby little shocker for nothing.

by Anonymousreply 48January 30, 2023 3:21 AM

There’s a stunning live Il Trovatore with Corelli and Price, conducted by Von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival. I believe it was just before the two debuted together at the MET in 1962.

Utter perfection.

Leontyne Price is other worldly—not only is her voice velvety gorgeous but the way she handled Verdi’s quick jagged lines and her breath control are stunning. Corelli is simply a stud.

by Anonymousreply 49January 30, 2023 3:21 AM

[Quote] It's not famously called a shabby little shocker for nothing.

It’s a shocker, for sure, but Kerman was wrong. It’s not at all shabby.

by Anonymousreply 50January 30, 2023 3:23 AM

[Quote] I don't understand, what does whether or not you heard a singer live have to do with your acceptance or not of their voice on recordings?

Voices used to convey drama—with sometimes purposely ugly notes—make much more sense live than on records. If you’ve seen a singer sing that way in person, you can understand when you hear the same sounds on records.

by Anonymousreply 51January 30, 2023 3:25 AM

Cheap, lousy and shabby doesn't mean it isn't fun. A great evening for me at the Met was Caballe and Pavarotti who sang gloriously in that glorious Zeffirelli production. Anyone who thought it was overdone had never been to those locations. At the end instead of jumping off the parapet Caballe simply threw her cape over her shoulder and grandly walked off past the soldiers. People complained that it was ridiculous. Like that's a problem in Tosca of all operas?

by Anonymousreply 52January 30, 2023 3:33 AM

A terrific stereo Tosca is the Nilsson/Maazel.

by Anonymousreply 53January 30, 2023 3:42 AM

Y'all are dramatic

by Anonymousreply 54January 30, 2023 11:30 AM

[quote]Voices used to convey drama—with sometimes purposely ugly notes—make much more sense live than on records. If you’ve seen a singer sing that way in person, you can understand when you hear the same sounds on records.

It sound like you're saying that, when you experience an opera live, you experience it as a drama, whereas when you hear a recording, you just experience it as music. I don't agree with that, so I don't agree with the rest of your statement.

by Anonymousreply 55January 30, 2023 2:29 PM

[quote]It's not famously called a shabby little shocker for nothing.

That statement was written almost 70 years ago, and was obviously meant to provoke. Since then, TOSCA has remained one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. The play on which the opera was based is a melodrama, and the adaptation correctly hues to that style.

by Anonymousreply 56January 30, 2023 2:34 PM

Nobody says that it isn't one of the most popular operas in the repertoire. The very definition of a guilty pleasure.

by Anonymousreply 57January 31, 2023 1:00 AM

If you enjoy it that's all that matters. Don't let anybody tell you not to no matter how trashy it is.

by Anonymousreply 58January 31, 2023 1:03 AM

I’ve had to sit through Tosca arguments without alcohol before. A horrible time.

by Anonymousreply 59January 31, 2023 2:23 AM

I’m surprised that Tosca is only 2 hours long without intermissions.

by Anonymousreply 60January 31, 2023 2:37 AM

[Quote] It sound like you're saying that, when you experience an opera live, you experience it as a drama, whereas when you hear a recording, you just experience it as music. I don't agree with that, so I don't agree with the rest of your statement.

That’s actually very astute and it’s very possible that how I distinguish between live opera performance vs a recording. I had honestly never thought about it like that

by Anonymousreply 61January 31, 2023 2:39 AM

I have heard Tosca be thrilling and be a bore.

It’s all about the conductor

by Anonymousreply 62January 31, 2023 2:40 AM

For anyone to object to TOSCA because of its melodramatic nature, especially at this point in time, is just silly. It's like objecting to the musical version of HAIRSPRAY because the music is a pastiche of lightweight, early 1960s pop.

by Anonymousreply 63January 31, 2023 2:54 AM

Scotto's first "Butterfly" recording, with Bergonzi.

The RCA single-disc "Porgy and Bess" highlights with Leontyne Price singing all three female leads and the surprisingly extraordinary conducting by Skitch Henderson.

The live bootleg of the 1959 "Adriana Lecouvreur" with Magda Olivero, Corelli and Bastianini.

by Anonymousreply 64January 31, 2023 5:41 AM

Totally agree about the Porgy, r64. However truncated, it's still my favorite P&B recording.

by Anonymousreply 65January 31, 2023 12:45 PM

What is the most boring opera?

by Anonymousreply 66January 31, 2023 1:53 PM

My favorite production was the one where Gayle and her drive cross-country.

by Anonymousreply 67January 31, 2023 2:04 PM

R66, Parsifal.

by Anonymousreply 68January 31, 2023 7:07 PM

[quote] What is the most boring opera?

Don Giovanni's 90-minute first act seems to go on forever. The individual melodies are gorgeous, of course, but it all starts blending together.

I get bored during The Magic Flute because the plot makes no sense

by Anonymousreply 69January 31, 2023 7:29 PM

Pelleas et Melisande can put me in a coma just by listening to it.

by Anonymousreply 70January 31, 2023 9:13 PM

R68 Why Parsifal?

R69 I like the Magic Flute. What don't you understand about it?

by Anonymousreply 71January 31, 2023 10:52 PM

R71, explain the plot to me

by Anonymousreply 72February 1, 2023 2:23 AM

“Parsifal” is a work of rancour, of revenge, of the most secret concoction of poisons with which to make an end of the first conditions of life, it is a bad work. The preaching of chastity remains an incitement to unnaturalness: I despise anybody who does not regard “Parsifal” as an outrage upon morality.

by Anonymousreply 73February 1, 2023 2:47 AM

If you find certain operas which are considered great to be long and boring get a recording and listen to them in acts so they don't turn into long hauls. I grew to love Parsifal and Tristan but I listen to them in acts. Same with the Ring operas and Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

by Anonymousreply 74February 1, 2023 11:17 AM

I love the Rosenthal Pearl Fishers, especially Vanzo.

by Anonymousreply 75February 1, 2023 12:11 PM

That's an excellent suggestion, R74.

by Anonymousreply 76February 1, 2023 12:20 PM

R74 love that idea!

by Anonymousreply 77February 1, 2023 1:33 PM

And if you follow my advice get an uncut Figaro. Yes you want Figaro intact. That means it will include Don Basilio's and Marcellina's arias. They are always cut in performance and on many recordings due to the length of the opera but they're worth having.

by Anonymousreply 78February 1, 2023 6:00 PM

I like Parsifal, but when I first saw it at the MET, I thought it was campy

by Anonymousreply 79February 1, 2023 6:25 PM

r78, is Bohm's Le Nozze di Figaro cut or uncut?

by Anonymousreply 80February 1, 2023 6:51 PM

R80, Bohm made two studio recordings of Le Nozze, one in the 50s and one in 1968 with Hermann Prey as Figaro. I'm guessing you're referring to the latter, in which case the answer is uncut. It's also a terrific recording.

by Anonymousreply 81February 1, 2023 7:06 PM

Yes, r81. I have the Herman Prey recording in the turquoise-ish box set. I've heard a lot of different versions over the years, but it is my favorite.

It spooks me a little to listen to any version. I was planning to see a performance at Carnegie-Mellon's School of Music the day of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre, and it was canceled, as the two institutions are located adjacent to each other.

by Anonymousreply 82February 1, 2023 7:22 PM

Purcell's "Dildo and Anus" with David Daniels is a classic.

by Anonymousreply 83February 2, 2023 12:44 AM

Is Daniels still in jail?

by Anonymousreply 84February 2, 2023 1:08 AM

Did Daniels get convicted and sent to jail? I lost track of that case.

by Anonymousreply 85February 2, 2023 1:14 AM

The Gabriele Santini (1958) recording of 'Gianni Schicchi', a part of 'Il trittico.'

by Anonymousreply 86February 2, 2023 1:26 AM

Really? I think there are several far better recordings of GIANNI SCHICCHI. The tenor on the one you love is awful.

by Anonymousreply 87February 2, 2023 2:17 AM

I like Suor Angelica better. But the aria Firenze e' come un albero fiorito from Schicchi is one of my favorite tenor arias.

by Anonymousreply 88February 2, 2023 10:48 AM


I'm open - which one do you think is better or best? I'd appreciate any suggestions!


by Anonymousreply 89February 2, 2023 10:54 AM

R89, some of the best SCHICCHI recordings are the ones with (1) Gobbi, Cotrubas, Domingo; (2) Tebaldi and Corena; (3) Freni, Nucci, and Alagna; (4) Van Dam, Gheorghiu, and Alagna

by Anonymousreply 90February 2, 2023 1:09 PM

Don't forget Kiri Te Kanawa singing "o mio babbino caro"

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by Anonymousreply 91February 2, 2023 2:19 PM

Yes, R91, but that's not from a complete recording of GIANNI SCHICCHI.

by Anonymousreply 92February 2, 2023 2:22 PM

R92 no, but it is a great recording of the aria.

by Anonymousreply 93February 2, 2023 2:43 PM

So is this one.

by Anonymousreply 94February 2, 2023 3:15 PM

Here we go.

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by Anonymousreply 95February 2, 2023 3:16 PM

Il Trittico is a long long night. Another opera better listened to act by act. Which are of course 3 separate operas. Sometimes a house will just pair Schicchi with another one acter not necessarily from Trittico to make the night less taxing.

A good recording of Trittico is the Tebaldi conducted by Gardelli. Very much the old Italian style recording if you like that.

by Anonymousreply 96February 2, 2023 3:18 PM

Symphony No.5 - Gustav Mahler

by Anonymousreply 97February 2, 2023 4:06 PM

Thank you all very much for the 'Il Trittico' and 'Gianni Schicchi' recommendations.

by Anonymousreply 98February 2, 2023 5:25 PM

R98, you are very welcome. I think the Santini recording of TRITTICO is fine except for that tenor, who not surprisingly did not have a great career.

by Anonymousreply 99February 2, 2023 5:31 PM

The Suor Angelica with Sutherland and Ludwig was better than I expected when I first heard it.

I'm curious what folks here think of the Von Karajan Ring Cycle. I like the REINGOLD a lot; in fact it may be my favorite of that opera. WALKURE is mostly effective but Crespin as Brunhilde just doesn't work (the more appropriate Helga Dernesch does the role in the next two). SIEGFRIED suffers from past-his-prime Jess Thomas in the title role (fortunately another tenor - Helge Brilioth - does the role in GOTTERDAMMERUNG).

But the BPO is in great form even if the conductor's approach is different from the driving energy of Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic.

by Anonymousreply 100February 2, 2023 7:38 PM

[quote]The Suor Angelica with Sutherland and Ludwig was better than I expected when I first heard it.

But that doesn't mean it's good, and it certainly doesn't mean it's preferable to other recordings. For me, Sutherland's matronly, rather cold voice doesn't work well for a character like Angelica, as it doesn't work well for so many other roles she sang. Also, I'm sure many people would prefer a more Italianate sound in that role in particular.

by Anonymousreply 101February 2, 2023 8:05 PM

I think David Daniels must have had a plea deal or settlement or something. He's been out of jail for some three years now without a peep about the case in the press.

by Anonymousreply 102February 2, 2023 11:08 PM

Il Tabarro gets the short stick when it comes to the Il Trittico operas, but its very atmospheric.

I love the recording of the complete opera with Leontyne Price, Placido Domingo, and Sherill Milnes

by Anonymousreply 103February 3, 2023 1:16 PM

R103, but a lot of critics and others recognize IL TABARRO as a masterpiece of its kind. I definitely agree. That duet between Giorgetta and Luigi about half-way through is gorgeous, also heartbreaking.

by Anonymousreply 104February 3, 2023 2:06 PM

I had completely forgotten there had been a separate recording with Price and Domingo.

The Giullini Don Giovanni is one of the all time great opera recordings if that hasn't been mentioned yet. And the Solti Elektra is completely bonkers as Strauss wanted to be. One of the maybe the most dysfunctional families in all of opera if not the most. Strauss to the orchestra 'Louder! I can still hear the singers!'

And though not an opera there is the operatic Verdi Requiem which for lovers of opera is a must have. There are many excellent choices so I'll leave it to others to list their favorites but being that Leontyne is a DL icon I'll list two of hers the Reiner and Solti.

by Anonymousreply 105February 4, 2023 9:42 AM


by Anonymousreply 106February 4, 2023 9:44 AM

I saw Trittico at the NYC Opera years ago. It was extremely effective because the theatre is smaller than the MET so the effect is more immediate. Gianni Schicchi was actually hilarious.

When I saw it at the MET, the theater is so huge, that comedies don’t register at all. Soprano Maria Guleghina played Giorgetta in Il Tabarro. While Guleghina has a huge voice, it had turned into a foghorn at that part of her career. No nuance whatsoever.

by Anonymousreply 107February 4, 2023 2:34 PM

I thought Guleghina was great when I saw her in TRITTICO. In my opinion, she never lost the nuance in her voice, not even at the end of her career. I'm pretty sure there is a video of her in that production of TABARRO, if anyone wants to check it out.

by Anonymousreply 108February 4, 2023 2:41 PM

Who is your go-to singer for recordings?

Mine are Caballe and Price. They are both great in everything they recorded.

While Callas gets to the drama, it’s often painful to listen to and sometimes I just want to listen to the music, not feel every ounce of angst

by Anonymousreply 109February 4, 2023 2:44 PM

R109. I'm with you on Price, but not Caballe. I think she has some great recordings, for example her AIDA, but some of the others are really not very good because of her vocal mannerisms. Price also had her mannerisms, but to me they were never so intrusive.

by Anonymousreply 110February 4, 2023 2:47 PM

I find a singer’s mannerisms part of the charm that makes them interesting.

by Anonymousreply 111February 4, 2023 4:48 PM

Price has a phenomenal way of driving up the drama in arias. Apparently, it’s a gospel approach. Her Pace, Pace, Mio Dio, for example, is hair-raising at the end because of the thrust she gives the end. Her version of the Edgar aria is another great example of what she can do. Same with the Strauss Egyptian Helen aria.

Caballe pianissimo, though overused, is a thing of amazing beauty. I love it every time she spins it. She can do forte well too—as evidenced by the legendary MET Don Carlo when she held that final note until the curtain fell to get back at the showy Corelli.

by Anonymousreply 112February 4, 2023 4:53 PM

Sometimes, R111, but not when they infringe too much upon the music. On some of Caballe's recordings, her droopiness, her glottal attacks, and her tendency to vocalize rather than sing the text are more egregious than others. Also she sometimes sings pianissimo when it's not written or desirable.

by Anonymousreply 113February 4, 2023 4:54 PM

Caballe doesn’t do much coloratura even when it’s in the score of the bel canto operas. She sings it her special way, which totally works for her

by Anonymousreply 114February 4, 2023 4:59 PM

I can’t take listening to any of Joan Sutherland ‘s later recordings. Her voice is way too melancholy in everything.

by Anonymousreply 115February 4, 2023 5:00 PM

R115, I sort of agree, but if anything, I think her voice sounds even more melancholy in her earlier recordings, because her enunciation of the text is worse on those. In the later recordings with Bonynge, she did seem to make more of an effort at clearly projecting the text. Of course, her best recording in that regard is TURANDOT.

by Anonymousreply 116February 4, 2023 5:06 PM

Yes, that Turandot is amazing all around. Sutherland sounds fantastic. She records better that Nilsson.

by Anonymousreply 117February 4, 2023 6:16 PM


by Anonymousreply 118February 4, 2023 6:17 PM

Is anyone familiar with the 1978 production of Tosca, starring Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni, and Sherrill Milnes?

I figured it would be great, but have heard mixed things about it.

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by Anonymousreply 119February 7, 2023 1:48 PM

[quote]the adaptation correctly hues to that style.

Oh Dear!

color me shocked

by Anonymousreply 120February 7, 2023 8:17 PM

Sorry, that was my error. Should have been "hews." But I stand by the meaning of my statement about TOSCA.

by Anonymousreply 121February 7, 2023 8:35 PM

I'm bored

by Anonymousreply 122February 7, 2023 10:34 PM

R119, Freni tried hard to go spinto. She was successful with Manson Lescaut and Fedora but not so great with Tosca and Aida

by Anonymousreply 123February 8, 2023 1:36 AM

I saw her ML and Fedora at the Met. They were glorious and I felt they were the end of an era. They were in her entire being simply from the time she grew up and the teachers she had. Today's singers don't have that possibility no matter how good they are.

by Anonymousreply 124February 8, 2023 2:21 PM

Don Carlo (1983) with Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo, Grace Bumbry, Louis Quilico, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Nicolai Ghiaurov

Conducted by James Levine (who I do not like).

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by Anonymousreply 125February 8, 2023 2:46 PM

R1 is one of my favs too. This recording of Purcell's The Fairy Queen (Les Arts Florrisants, Christie with Argenta, Gens, etc.) is a favourite from my twenties. There are many other recordings of course but I love it still.

The "If love's a sweet passion" sung by Veronique Gens is especially close to my heart. The choir part elevates it to a holy moment for me. It's one of my favourite moments in music overall. The second verse "I press her hand gently / look languishing down / and by passionate silence / I make my love known / when in striving to hide / she reveals all her flame / and our eyes tell each other what neither dares name" is one of the most beautiful descriptions of love that dare not speak its name.

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by Anonymousreply 126February 8, 2023 4:17 PM

Another favourite of mine is the Cavalleria Rusticana with De Los Angeles and Corelli, Santini conducting. It also has the most perfect "Ineggiamo, il Signor non è morto" (Let's rejoice, our Lord is not dead) at around 24 min in this clip. De Los Angeles is my favourite Santuzza I think, but this choir passage and in general, the instrumental parts of the recording sell it for me. (Corelli is a bonus.)

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by Anonymousreply 127February 8, 2023 4:23 PM

R127, how many other recordings of CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA have you listened to? There are several others that are generally considered superior to your choice overall, and many people feel de los Angeles was miscast vocally and temperamentally, although Corelli was pretty much perfect as Turridu :-)

by Anonymousreply 128February 8, 2023 5:04 PM

My favorite RUSTICANA recordings are with Callas and DiStefano, conducted by Serafin and with Cossoto and the great Bergonzi, conducted by von Karajan.

The Callas recording is from 1953, so her voice is fresher.

by Anonymousreply 129February 8, 2023 7:04 PM

The Rusticana recording and video with Obraztsova is great too.

by Anonymousreply 130February 8, 2023 7:12 PM

R125, wow, that Live from the MET brings back so many memories.

As a gayling, I would force myself to watch Live From the MET--thinking that, because so many people love opera, there must be something to it. If it's an acquired taste, I was going to acquire it!

So I watched opera after opera. I would fall asleep during some. This was the first time I fell asleep and woke up near the end and regretted it--the beginning of my lifelong passion for the artform. When the announcer was explaining what had transpired, I was pissed that I fell asleep.

I also realize now that I can't focus on opera on TV. Watching live far surpasses it.

by Anonymousreply 131February 8, 2023 7:16 PM

Opera on TV has never done it for me. I prefer recordings. However there is an excellent film of Wozzeck on youtube from about '70 a friend just alerted me to. It is very good but it is an actual film of the opera not a video of a stage production. Wozzeck can be a difficult tough proposition but this is a good movie.

by Anonymousreply 132February 8, 2023 8:06 PM

R132, but one huge thing opera on TV has over filmed operas is that the singing in the former is almost always live, whereas in the latter it's always or almost always pre-recorded. And usually that fact is painfully obvious, because the lip-synching and the mixing of the sound are rarely done well enough.

by Anonymousreply 133February 8, 2023 8:13 PM

I particularly dislike TV recordings from European performances. They tell the audiences not to clap. The applause elevates the energy

by Anonymousreply 134February 8, 2023 8:19 PM

In the Wozzek the lip synching is pretty good but not perfect. I didn't find it enough of a distraction to not enjoy the film.

by Anonymousreply 135February 8, 2023 8:22 PM

[quote] Some of the very greatest opera recordings which are must haves in any opera lovers' collections are unfortunately not in stereo. The Toscanini and Furtwangler Otellos. There are simply no words.

Except for one: [italic]Mary![/italic]

by Anonymousreply 136February 8, 2023 8:28 PM

Any recording of Ljuba Welitsch as Strauss's SALOME. She was a big Bulgarian gal, but she sounded, uniquely, like a totally depraved 16 year-old.

by Anonymousreply 137February 8, 2023 8:48 PM
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by Anonymousreply 138February 8, 2023 8:51 PM

Ah! Du kanst meine ass kussen, R136!

by Anonymousreply 139February 8, 2023 9:14 PM

Thank you for the recommendations! I have decided to only listen to opera for the month of February.

by Anonymousreply 140February 9, 2023 3:02 PM

Honey at r139, if you won't own your Mary!-dom. there is no hope for you.

It's not going away any time soon.

by Anonymousreply 141February 9, 2023 5:01 PM

Why would Domingo want Scotto instead of Price? Scotto had dramatic commitment but I never found her recordings pleasurable. I don't think a lot of people bought tickets or recordings because Scotto was on them. Even the Met subscribers revolted because they couldn't listen to her anymore.

by Anonymousreply 142February 9, 2023 5:12 PM

Maybe Domingo found Scotto a more Italianate singer. Maybe he liked her sense of drama.

This was conducted by Levine, I believe. Maybe she was procuring boys for him

by Anonymousreply 143February 9, 2023 5:34 PM

Yes, that OTELLLO recording was conducted by Levine. And some people have suggested, I don't think jokingly, that Scotto had the goods on him as a perv and that's why he chose her to do ALL those recordings and performances with him.

by Anonymousreply 144February 9, 2023 9:43 PM

The Björling/de los Angeles La boheme and Madame Butterfly are evergreeens. Something about the combination of those two voices is a match made in heaven. And my favorite Traviata is the Mofo/Tucker one. None of these tend to make the top of the list for the best recordings of their respective peices, I don't know why. And everyone (rightly) talks about the Callas/Gobbi/di Stefano Tosca, but the same team's Rigoletto is just as definitive imho. Gobbi is so multifaceted, Callas somehow channels youth and innocence, while di Stefano is priapic. And for live recordings, I agree with the poster above who singled out the Callas Lucia from Berlin.

by Anonymousreply 145February 13, 2023 2:04 PM

I agree with all your assessments, R145 :-)

by Anonymousreply 146February 13, 2023 2:37 PM

I love this recording of Die Walkure with Birgit Nilsson, George London, Jon Vickers, David Ward, Rita Gorr, and Ms. Gré Brouwenstijn


The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf

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by Anonymousreply 147February 13, 2023 3:06 PM

I've seen the Beecham/De Los Angeles/Bjorling BOHEME near or at the top of a number of Best Recordings lists. Not the BUTTERFLY though.

I love that BOHEME, but I love the Serafin/Tebaldi/Bergonzi one just as much (I'm a huge Bergonzi fan, so I'm biased). My favorite BUTTERFLY is the Von Karajan/Callas/Gedda. HVK has better tempos in this one vs. the one he did with Freni and Pavarotti.

The Moffo/Tucker TRAVIATA is nice, but I've always found Moffo rather "generic lovely" as a singer, at least during her best years. I do like her LUISA MILLER mostly because Bergonzi and MacNeil are in it, and I haven't heard any better recordings of that opera.

by Anonymousreply 148February 13, 2023 8:28 PM

Great recording of Madama Butterfly

Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Christa Ludwig, and Robert Kerns

Herbert von Karajan conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Freni was a great Butterfly. One of the best

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by Anonymousreply 149February 14, 2023 1:39 AM

Shoot me, but I’ve always loved Sills’s TRAVIATA.

by Anonymousreply 150February 14, 2023 1:55 AM

R150, it's a wonderful recording, not only for Sills but also for Gedda, Panerai, and the conductor.

by Anonymousreply 151February 14, 2023 3:59 AM

I love the Moffo & Valetti Butterfly under Liensdorf.

Speeds are brisk and don't drag like most recordings and both sound vibrant and youthful.

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by Anonymousreply 152February 14, 2023 4:57 AM

Surprisingly, I very much like the recording of Butterfly from the film.

The complete opera of the film is available on disc.

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by Anonymousreply 153February 14, 2023 5:05 AM

R152, [quote]Speeds are brisk and don't drag like most recordings and both sound vibrant and youthful.

I think that's a quality I like in a lot of my favorites, the de los Angeles/Björling Boheme and Butterfly espcially. It keeps things fresh while minimizing any potential for winsomeness or schmalz that can be strong in those two warhorses especially.

by Anonymousreply 154February 14, 2023 6:56 AM

R154, I adore the de los Angeles/Björling Boheme, but the tempi on that recording are not known for being "brisk" overall.

by Anonymousreply 155February 14, 2023 3:00 PM

Ileana Cotrubas

Placido Domingo

Sherrill Milnes

in Verdi's LA TRAVIATA

Carlos Kleiber Conducts the Bayerisches Staatsballett

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by Anonymousreply 156February 14, 2023 3:23 PM

The Price/Leinsdorf Butterfly is wonderful too although I don't always love his conducting. Price is surprisingly strong as Butterfly.

One wouldn't think her sumptuous voice would be a good fit, but Price does a stunning job showing the emotional evolution of the character.

by Anonymousreply 157February 14, 2023 3:38 PM

Neither Boheme nor Butterfly are among my favorite operas but I know of a couple of broadcast performances that are pretty great and that I enjoy. But it is undeniable that the Callas DiStefano Boheme and the Scotto Bergonzi Barbirolli Butterfly are classics of the studio catalogue. Scotto is not a soprano I enjoy but in the role of Butterfly she is incomparable even when at the end her voice was shot.

by Anonymousreply 158February 14, 2023 5:54 PM

For the person who above mentioned the Callas Rigoletto yes it is one of the great recordings and the new Warner remastering though people may disagree with me is a big improvement in sound quality. The same with the Puritani. Gone is the boxy flat mono sound. They did a nice job giving the recordings a bit more space, depth and life without resorting to that old fake stereo. And her stereo Carmen and Norma as well sound so much better. I never had the Carmen before but people say so and I think it is spectacular. I did have the Norma and this sounds so much better.

Anybody else hear these Warner remasterings and agree or disagree?

by Anonymousreply 159February 14, 2023 6:03 PM

[quote]But it is undeniable that the Callas DiStefano Boheme and the Scotto Bergonzi Barbirolli Butterfly are classics of the studio catalogue.

Interesting. I think that BOHEME is a fine recording, but I don't believe it's generally considered one of he classics of the discography, whereas many people do swear by that BUTTERFLY.

by Anonymousreply 160February 14, 2023 7:22 PM

Favorite CARMEN: Solti's, with Troyanos, Domingo, Te Kanawa, and VanDam. Very "Hollywood Technicolor Widescreen."

by Anonymousreply 161February 14, 2023 9:54 PM

Can the Callas crazies PLEASE stay away.

Yes, we know every opera recording of hers in the greatest ever in the history of recorded music... blah... blah... blah.

Let's move on now to other stuff.

No diva wars please!

by Anonymousreply 162February 14, 2023 10:55 PM

I like the Scotto Butterfly but I'm not blown away by it. It is a superlative example of drama expressed in music but I love hearing more luxurious voices.

by Anonymousreply 163February 14, 2023 11:16 PM

Here's the thing.

If you look at Opera as a fusion of music, singing, libretto & acting, you can ask yourself which aspects are indispensable if you have to rank them in order of what they cant do without.

Obviously music and singing are what opera is when you come down to it. The libretto and acting quality are an added bonus, but they wont make or break it in the end.

Therefore, I think both the music, the singing, and the sonority of that on disc is what is most important to me in deciding what is best.

The greatest acting of a role is of not much use if the singing is lousy, the orchestra is off and the recording conditions are poor.

In the end, you can do without the acting, but you cannot do without the singing and music.

by Anonymousreply 164February 14, 2023 11:51 PM

Another vote for the HVK/Schwartzkopf Rosenkavalier, which I suppose is not particularly recherché of me. And also love for Freni, both for her voice and for her darling personality (once was an urchin in Bohème with Pavarotti and Freni in their prime which was thrilling, and she was always super sweet with us kids).

by Anonymousreply 165February 15, 2023 12:49 AM

To my de los Angeles/Björling Boheme and Butterfly nominations, I'd add the Böhm Cosi fan Tutte with Lisa Della Casa, Emmy Loose, Christa Ludwig, Anton Dermota, Paul Schoeffler, etc. Not only as truly beautiful music-making but also as a refined comedy of manners almost like a radio play, it's perfect. And not too much mugging from Loose as Despina, which is vanishingly rare in this piece.

by Anonymousreply 166February 15, 2023 11:49 AM

Callas made some of the best and most important opera recordings in the catalogue. There are those who are unbalanced and when they are confronted with this fact become hysterical and need to be sodomized I mean sedated.

by Anonymousreply 167February 15, 2023 6:26 PM

R167 Epitome of a Callas crazy.

She made one important recording in the scheme of things. Tosca. That's it.

Other recordings-and I am talking about recordings- have far surpassed her recordings which showed a lot of vocal decline, poor acoustics and a drunk tenor also in decline.

Deal with it, Callas crazy.

by Anonymousreply 168February 15, 2023 9:01 PM

I’ve been waiting for a good Callas argument 😂

by Anonymousreply 169February 15, 2023 9:11 PM

Who are you dictating that to R168 while you're in your straight jacket?

by Anonymousreply 170February 16, 2023 1:32 AM

[quote] Can the Callas crazies PLEASE stay away.

Up until this post, the thread was devoid of "Callas crazies". Posts were referencing Callas recordings rather than Callas an individual singer. In fact, there have been more negative posts about Callas as a singer (not focused on her recordings) - eg R23, R43, R109.

R162 is the one trying to start a diva war. Or perhaps is upset that earlier attempts to start a diva war were unsuccessful?

by Anonymousreply 171February 16, 2023 2:49 AM

Oh so Callas recordings don't have a relation to Callas as an individual singer. Who knew!

What does she do on them, then? Chew gum?

by Anonymousreply 172February 16, 2023 3:34 AM

[quote]Epitome of a Callas crazy. She made one important recording in the scheme of things. Tosca. That's it.

She has many fine recordings, including several that are considered classics other than the TOSCA -- for example, her first LUCIA and both of her GIOCONDAs, also two live recordings of TRAVIATA that are both considered great.

by Anonymousreply 173February 16, 2023 3:46 AM

[quote]Oh so Callas recordings don't have a relation to Callas as an individual singer. Who knew!

Most posts reference recordings in which Callas is a member of the cast - how do you know those posts didn't also consider the rest of the cast, the orchestra or the conductor? None of the posts preference a recording by saying Callas is the only reason for its recommendation - you're the one making that inference.

As I said, the posts up until you attempted to start a diva war depicted precisely zero "crazy".

by Anonymousreply 174February 16, 2023 4:06 AM

Callas nutters don't consider other cast, orchestra or sonics. Just her and her ludicrous I'm so tormented persona.

No wonder Bing fired her sorry ass from The Met.

by Anonymousreply 175February 16, 2023 5:10 AM

"Once one heard and saw Maria Callas—one can't really distinguish it—in a part, it was very hard to enjoy any other artist, no matter how great, afterwards, because she imbued every part she sang and acted with such incredible personality and life. One move of her hand was more than another artist could do in a whole act."

- Rudolf Bing

by Anonymousreply 176February 16, 2023 5:55 AM

...and he fired her sorry self entitled ass.

by Anonymousreply 177February 16, 2023 6:27 AM

Then go do a play instead Maria, and you can wave your hands around all you want to Mr Bing's pleasure.

Spare the rest of us then from your ugly shrill high notes in Opera if you please.

by Anonymousreply 178February 16, 2023 6:31 AM

[quote] Spare the rest of us then from your ugly shrill high notes in Opera if you please.

Evidence that "it takes one to know one" when it comes to opera crazies, I suspect.

by Anonymousreply 179February 16, 2023 7:04 AM

P.D.Q. Bach is charming, though extremely niche.

"The Abduction of Figaro" is a Looney Tunes style satire of opera.

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by Anonymousreply 180February 16, 2023 12:22 PM

Thanks for the valiant effort, R174, but I fear it's useless to argue or try to reason with insane trolls.

by Anonymousreply 181February 16, 2023 1:21 PM

Lord knows, I’ve tried—but callas just doesn’t excite me.

The voice grates

by Anonymousreply 182February 16, 2023 4:28 PM

This is an unpopular opinion but I don't like Domingo even at his best. He bores me. It's too bad Leontyne did so many major recordings with him. When I was very young I kept hearing how great he was so I was looking forward to hearing him. I tried and tried but for me there was nothing there.

by Anonymousreply 183February 16, 2023 5:19 PM

R183, can you attempt to explain what you find "boring" about Domingo's singing?

by Anonymousreply 184February 16, 2023 5:44 PM

The thing with Domingo was he was always reliable. I knew I could count on him not stuffing up any recording I bought.

Didn't mean he was the best at a role, but at least I knew he wouldn't spoil a recording like other singers can do to a whole set.

Carlo Bergonzi was another tenor who you could count on not to ruin any set.

Carrerras , on the other hand, I avoid like the plague. His high notes always sounded like someone dropped a giant anvil on his foot.

by Anonymousreply 185February 16, 2023 10:57 PM

I understand the complaint that Domingo was boring. He didn’t produce vocal thrills and squillo like Corelli and Pavarotti.

When I saw Domingo live, he always have a great performance—but he never produced the electricity that, say, Pavarotti did

by Anonymousreply 186February 17, 2023 1:43 AM

I really like the Callas Sonnambula.

by Anonymousreply 187February 17, 2023 3:00 AM

Good points, R185. I think Carreras's high notes were fine very early in his career, but only then.

by Anonymousreply 188February 17, 2023 1:41 PM

R187 Another Callas crazy!!

by Anonymousreply 189February 18, 2023 4:03 AM

Maria's top notes sounded like a cat being strangled a lot of the time.

by Anonymousreply 190February 18, 2023 5:41 AM

I was looking through the thread. I think it is amazing all the big names have been mentioned:

Kirsten Flagstad

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

Birgit Nilsson

Maria Callas

Joan Sutherland

Leontyne Price

Mirella Freni

Montserrat Caballe

Victoria de los Angeles

Renata Tebaldi

Grace Bumbry was briefly mentioned

Surprisingly, there is no mention of Renee Fleming, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Rosa Ponselle, or Cathy Malfitano

by Anonymousreply 191February 18, 2023 2:06 PM

Kathleen Battle was batshit crazy with a nothing voice. Another gift from James Levine.

by Anonymousreply 192February 18, 2023 3:51 PM

[quote] Get an uncut Figaro. Yes you want Figaro intact. That means it will include Don Basilio's and Marcellina's arias. They are always cut in performance and on many recordings due to the length of the opera but they're worth having.

R78 what is it particularly about those arias that you find to be crucial and arresting?

by Anonymousreply 193February 18, 2023 6:38 PM

Where do you see the words crucial and arresting? I said they are worth having. Because they are enjoyable. And if you are listening on a recording if you don't like them on a cd you can easily skip over them. Or as I recommended above you don't have to listen to the entire opera in one sitting. And all of Figaro is wonderful. Just not all at once. Like Gotterdammerung.

by Anonymousreply 194February 18, 2023 7:12 PM

Surprisingly, there is no mention of Renee Fleming, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Rosa Ponselle, or Cathy Malfitano.

There are two great singers in your list. Norman and Ponselle. Ponselle never recorded a complete opera and though Norman made many great recordings I guess none of her completes are among the must haves for the majority of opera lovers. Though I guess you can make an argument for Ariadne and Dido. Her 4 Last Songs of Strauss is certainly a favorite recording among many people.

by Anonymousreply 195February 18, 2023 7:38 PM

We should also mention the great Shirley Verrett—stellar in whatever she touched

by Anonymousreply 196February 18, 2023 9:21 PM

Although I usually love lush voices, for some odd reason, Fleming’s singing leaves me cold

by Anonymousreply 197February 18, 2023 9:22 PM

[R24] I also saw Mirella Freni sing Mimi at the age of 60 and I felt bad for her as her voice cracked during the 2nd act and it was very obvious. Also her Rodolpho could have been her son. The age difference was really hard to ignore. But I give her credit for trying. The Callas Tosca (1st one) and the Callas Butterfly are my favorites.

by Anonymousreply 198February 18, 2023 9:36 PM

Will be watching the current ROH production of Barber (conducted by Christopher Willis and directed by Moshe Leiser) tomorrow. Anyone seen it already? Curious to hear thoughts, impressions, whether you think this take works etc. It seems rather a traditional and straightforward interpretation from the trailer and the preview stills I've seen.

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by Anonymousreply 199February 18, 2023 10:45 PM

One of the best nights I ever had at the opera was a Sunday night Met orchestra pension fund gala. The soloists were Freni and Pavarotti in splendid voice singing the chestnut arias and duets from Boheme, Tosca and L'Amico Fritz. God I will never forget it.

by Anonymousreply 200February 18, 2023 10:59 PM

We live in very good times for old opera recordings brought back to life by the latest strides in hi-tech sound restoration, especially with pitch correction software.

The 1949 Toscanini AIDA just out from Pristine (an outfit run by a Brit in France) is now wonderful to listen to, and everyone's voice is improved by having the dead NBC Studio 8H acoustic opened up.

by Anonymousreply 201February 19, 2023 12:05 PM

Malfitano recorded very little. She was one of those singers best seen and heard, not just the latter. Norman’s greatest successes were on the concert stage.

by Anonymousreply 202February 19, 2023 12:16 PM

Norman pretty much just stood on stage, didn't she? I quite like her voice. I also like Battle's voice, though don't tend towards her kind of repertoire. It's a shame she was so crazy.

It's more of a shame that Ponselle retired before recording equipment improved - she sounds phenomenal even on the scratchy recordings.

by Anonymousreply 203February 19, 2023 12:28 PM

For any of you interested in older voices and enjoy the style of Ponselle I would highly recommend another of the greatest singers of the past Claudia Muzio. Unfortunately what I've heard of her on cd does not capture the richness and passion of her voice the way Keith Hardwicks EMI lp transfers did. They knocked me out. He was an EMI 78rpm to lp transfer specialist and while cds carry his name I understand they were fiddled with by other engineers. That explained what was missing to me.

by Anonymousreply 204February 19, 2023 12:54 PM

Battle’s voice was magical live. Recordings only capture some of it

by Anonymousreply 205February 19, 2023 1:26 PM

R204, it’s hard for me to enjoy the old singer because the recording techniques were so primitive. They all sound the same

by Anonymousreply 206February 19, 2023 1:26 PM

I love the old Italian Cetra recordings. They go all out—intense singing and drama, the way kept should be

by Anonymousreply 207February 19, 2023 1:27 PM

By the 30s electronic recordings improved enough that you can hear differences. The men though are more distinguishable than the women with such voices as Beniamino Gigli and Schipa. Some of the emi and pearl cds capture them very well and you can get them cheap used. The Gigli emi Andrea Chenier complete recording really captures that only style Italian intensity and fire. Whether you're willing to put up with the old mono sound is an individual thing. He does give a great performance.

by Anonymousreply 208February 19, 2023 2:28 PM

Speaking of old recordings, I have a 30s recording of WERTHER with the great Georges Thill. The quality is quite good given the time. Thill could sing roles like this and make it seem effortless.

by Anonymousreply 209February 19, 2023 2:46 PM

Can anyone recommend a first class recording of Romeo and Juliet? I can't stand the Freni/Corelli recording because he is just awful, with that blaring sound steamrolling over the score.

I've also heard recordings by Domingo/Swenson (meh), the live Met Bjoerling/Sayao (he's wonderful; she takes a bit before she's warmed up), and Alagna/Gheorghiu (he's fine; I don't love her voice).

by Anonymousreply 210February 19, 2023 2:55 PM

You’d think that Marilyn Horne with that creamy mezzo would be the best Carmen. Nope, Leontyne takes this one too.

by Anonymousreply 211February 19, 2023 5:15 PM

R211, the Leontyne Carmen is stunning, not only because of her lush voice but because of the great orchestra.

Always my Go-to

by Anonymousreply 212February 19, 2023 5:17 PM

I saw Horne sing Carmen at the MET. One could barely hear her

by Anonymousreply 213February 19, 2023 5:17 PM

I saw the Horne Carmen. But I went to hear the Micaela of Freni.

by Anonymousreply 214February 19, 2023 6:51 PM

The Met app has an old Live from Lincoln Center video of The Bartered Bride with Teresa Stratas that is wonderful. She’s another one who had frenzied fans for her live performances but whose magic did not generally come across in recordings.

by Anonymousreply 215February 19, 2023 7:01 PM

When I went to Ghosts of Versailles at the intermission I got a seat down front in the orchestra. Her performance as Marie Antoinette was one of the greatest performances I've seen on stage. I also saw her as Liu but she sadly cancelled the Trittico I was going to because of her.

by Anonymousreply 216February 19, 2023 7:14 PM

I do have Hermann Uhde as The Flying Dutchman. To me, he was THE Flying Dutchman. Such a deep, demonic, and sonorous voice.

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by Anonymousreply 217February 19, 2023 9:35 PM

Just saw the current ROH Barbiere, directed by Leiser/Caurier and conducted by Rafael Payare in his ROH debut. It was...eh.

Aigul Akhmetshina is a lovely, bright, springy and resonant Rosina, but it seemed everyone else was swallowing their notes and struggled to be heard over the pit (not an uncommon issue in productions. Fabio Capitanucci has lost his voice due to some bug, so he walked the role, but it didn't really notice. I also forgot Bryn Terfel was even there.

There was also a conspicuous amount of poor blocking and hiding behind props. I did appreciate Andrzej Filończyk's Figaro coming through the crowd like a pro-wrestler--normally I hate that in opera, but it works for him and for this character/show. The chorus were the funniest and most switched-on.

The orchestra gave a spine-tingling Overture, and raced and darted with quicksilver fun through the score, but again beyond the opening minutes I wasn't blown away. It was just alright, the vibe was pretty top-notch if nothing else. Fine if you just want a giggle or a relax in front of an easy, slapdash show.

by Anonymousreply 218February 19, 2023 11:10 PM

[quote]Battle’s voice was magical live. Recordings only capture some of it

In my opinion, almost the opposite is true. Heard live at the Met, her voice was lovely but always sounded a little too small for the house, whereas that's not an issue on recordings.

by Anonymousreply 219February 19, 2023 11:40 PM

I never had any problem whatsoever hearing Marilyn Horne at the Met. That is a very weird comment above.

by Anonymousreply 220February 19, 2023 11:41 PM

[Quote] In my opinion, almost the opposite is true. Heard live at the Met, her voice was lovely but always sounded a little too small for the house, whereas that's not an issue on recordings.

I never had any problem hearing Battle at the MET because her voice was so focused. It would hit the ear with a ping, no matter where you sat. It was even better in a concert hall

by Anonymousreply 221February 19, 2023 11:46 PM

[Quote] I never had any problem whatsoever hearing Marilyn Horne at the Met. That is a very weird comment above.

I saw what was likely her last Carmens at the MET— somewhere around 1989. Her voice didn’t project much at all

by Anonymousreply 222February 19, 2023 11:48 PM

Marilyn herself has said she didn't have a big enough voice for Carmen. She moved fairly quickly into "coloratura" mezzo roles, for lighter voices and airier orchestras.

by Anonymousreply 223February 20, 2023 2:04 AM

Renee Fleming has a beautiful technique, and a beautiful face and figure. But she is just about the dullest famous soprano. Dull on stage, dull in life.

by Anonymousreply 224February 20, 2023 2:07 AM

R224, happy to see I’m not the only one who found her dull.

I have tried so much to love hers. I do like her Verismo CD but that’s about it

by Anonymousreply 225February 20, 2023 2:31 AM

Compare Fleming to Joan Sutherland. Another dull person, with a big horsey face, who couldn't act, but her voice! The music she made was often electrifying.

Poor Renee, can't hold a candle to Joan.

by Anonymousreply 226February 20, 2023 2:36 AM

I've found Fleming so boring on recordings I've only seen her twice. In Rodelinda and Capriccio. She was even duller in the house.

by Anonymousreply 227February 20, 2023 2:49 AM

Better to compare Renee with Kiri, very similar types. Renee is more adventurous in her repertoire, but dull in execution. Kiri played it safe (but smart) and could also be dull but had a voice whose beauty was unmatched, and whose tone was distinctive.

They are both at their dullest in crossover music but just listen to how GAWJUS Kiri’s voice is in this clip:

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by Anonymousreply 228February 20, 2023 2:54 AM

I saw Renee Fleming live in THAÏS and RUSALKA at the Met and loved her both times.

by Anonymousreply 229February 20, 2023 2:59 AM

[quote]Marilyn herself has said she didn't have a big enough voice for Carmen. She moved fairly quickly into "coloratura" mezzo roles, for lighter voices and airier orchestras.

CARMEN is not very heavily or thickly orchestrated, certain not in the vocal sections, and the title role does not require an especially big voice. Marilyn sounded great and her voice was definitely big enough for the role when I heard her sing at the Met in 1972 and again many years later.

by Anonymousreply 230February 20, 2023 4:03 AM

[Quote] I saw Renee Fleming live in THAÏS and RUSALKA at the Met and loved her both times.

I saw her too in those roles. What a snore-fest

by Anonymousreply 231February 20, 2023 11:24 AM

I have no ideas why but I found Kiri was interesting than Fleming.

by Anonymousreply 232February 20, 2023 11:24 AM

Fleming has no bite in her voice.

by Anonymousreply 233February 20, 2023 11:25 AM

Horne's voice dubbing Dandridge's Carmen (when she was all of 20 years old), sounds more like Dandridge would than the gutsy Carmen we know. It's a fascinating listen, even though Preminger's movie is pretty godawful.

by Anonymousreply 234February 20, 2023 12:36 PM

The somewhat recent off Bway revival of Carmen Jones (with Anika Noni Rose) was fantastic. Glad it has replaced the movie in my mind

by Anonymousreply 235February 20, 2023 12:43 PM

I love Kiri’s Manon Lescaut. Act II is gorgeous and the rest is solid. Although Chailly conducted a more gut-wrenching Act III Intermezzo in his earlier standalone release of Puccini orchestral music.

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by Anonymousreply 236February 20, 2023 4:05 PM

I always liked Cathy Malfitano as Salome.

Recorded here with Bryn Terfel

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by Anonymousreply 237February 20, 2023 9:19 PM

Can anyone direct me to the best recordings of Stephanie D'Oustrac? She's my lesbian dream wife, I need her.

by Anonymousreply 238February 20, 2023 9:37 PM

R238 try Google

by Anonymousreply 239February 20, 2023 11:51 PM

[quote]Compare Fleming to Joan Sutherland. Another dull person, with a big horsey face, who couldn't act, but her voice! The music she made was often electrifying.

Joan Sutherland is an interesting one. If it weren't for Richard Bonynge she most likely wouldn't have developed into the bel canto singer she was acclaimed for, but at the same time, Bonynge's focus on "sounding nice" and being an uninspired conductor really held her back.

Then again, she managed to thrill crowds for three decades, and opera is a form of entertainment as well as an art form, so that's something. Still, her Turandot showed how much promise she could have had without her closeted husband holding the reins so tightly.

by Anonymousreply 240February 21, 2023 12:11 PM

Her husband wasn’t so closeted. He would often bring men to their home in Brooklyn and sleep with them. Joan would make him and his hookups breakfast in the morning. True story

by Anonymousreply 241February 21, 2023 1:41 PM

A young Joan Sutherland sounded so fresh on records. Later her voice sounded too mournful all the time

by Anonymousreply 242February 21, 2023 1:42 PM

Listen to her live Elettra from I believe Sidney. It shows you all the passion she was capable of.

by Anonymousreply 243February 21, 2023 1:55 PM

Her first Lucia is great as is her Alcina and French recital recording and L'Elisir with Luciano is pretty wonderful.

Another vote for the Thill Werther from the 30s.

by Anonymousreply 244February 21, 2023 3:13 PM

I'm going to listen to the Thill Werther now - those Naxos vintage French opera recordings are treasures. Of all the "opera languages", French seems to be the one to benefit most from being sung by a "native" cast. Something about the use of language being quite specific and sounding less interesting when sung by someone who isn't francophone. In fact, I didn't really like French opera at all until I heard a few classic French recordings, most seemingly from the Opera Comique in the 30s/40s/50s.

by Anonymousreply 245February 21, 2023 3:23 PM

R245 Rameau was actually my gateway into liking opera at all.

The arias in 'Les Paladins' just emotional made sense to me, where the music of a dozen other shows hadn't.

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by Anonymousreply 246February 21, 2023 3:29 PM

R245, there is an abridged recording of Charpentier's LOUISE with Thill and Ninon Vallin that's worth a listen too.

Have you heard the 1948 recording of Les Contes D'Hoffman conducted by Cluytens with the all- French cast? It's quite wonderful.

by Anonymousreply 247February 21, 2023 6:42 PM

I also enjoy non natives Jessye Norman and Janet Baker singing in French. Not being a French native I have no idea how really good their French is but for me it is a pleasure to hear more so than their Italian.

by Anonymousreply 248February 21, 2023 7:29 PM

I should add they are two of my favorite singers.

by Anonymousreply 249February 21, 2023 7:34 PM

Norman sings French well but she over enunciates everything like it’s a linguistics class

by Anonymousreply 250February 21, 2023 9:27 PM

I prefer Sutherland's earlier recordings even though there may not have been a consonant in sight.

Her voice was young, fresh, agile and thrilling. Her top notes were without peer.

Since most of us haven't a clue about Italian pronunciation let alone the language, we aint gonna miss all that much.

Even with perfection diction, most predominantly English speaking folk still aint gonna have a clue what she is saying anyway.

Prefer her to the Callas screech.

by Anonymousreply 251February 21, 2023 9:54 PM

I can tell when someone says any language with an American accent—even when, in the movie, it’s supposed to be some alien language. We are lazy with our vowels and that’s easy to hear.

So I can tell when the Italian is not really Italian. Most opera lovers can.

by Anonymousreply 252February 21, 2023 10:57 PM

R251, I don't think it has much to do with how much the listener knows about Italian pronunciation or the language in general. When a singer sings with not enough emphasis on consonants, the music just doesn't sound right.

by Anonymousreply 253February 21, 2023 11:32 PM

French when spoken by French people to each other in casual rapid conversation has no consonants to foreigners. As opposed to Italian.

by Anonymousreply 254February 21, 2023 11:39 PM

R254, interestingly, in sung French, the consonants are oddly emphasized

by Anonymousreply 255February 22, 2023 12:48 AM

[quote]French when spoken by French people to each other in casual rapid conversation has no consonants to foreigners.

Did you pull that comment out of your ass? Because it's not true.

[quote]Interestingly, in sung French, the consonants are oddly emphasized

Also not true. Who are you people?

by Anonymousreply 256February 22, 2023 1:14 AM

R256, look at any opera score in French. The consonants at the ends of words, which are usually silent in spoken French are included to make the traction from word to word more clear when singing

by Anonymousreply 257February 22, 2023 1:47 AM

^traction = transition

by Anonymousreply 258February 22, 2023 1:47 AM

In Carmen, for example, Don Jose always goes on and on about his dear mother. Instead of “Ma mere,” it’s “ma mer-re”

by Anonymousreply 259February 22, 2023 1:49 AM

Who the hell are you R256 and what the hell do you know?

by Anonymousreply 260February 22, 2023 1:49 AM

Carmen, in the final scene sings “Lais-se moi pas-se”

Consonants, not heard in spoken French, are emphasized in sing French

by Anonymousreply 261February 22, 2023 1:57 AM

[quote]:Look at any opera score in French. The consonants at the ends of words, which are usually silent in spoken French are included to make the traction from word to word more clear when singing

I'm well aware of that, R247, but first of all, that's not the same as stating that consonants are "oddly emphasized" in sung French, which is what you had written. And also, that thing about pronouncing consonants at the ends of words when singing as opposed to speaking does not occur very often in sung French, only when necessary to maintain the line.

[quote]In Carmen, for example, Don Jose always goes on and on about his dear mother. Instead of “Ma mere,” it’s “ma mer-re”

The letter "e" is not a consonant. Also, even when one is speaking rather than singing French, "mere" is correctly pronounced with an unstressed, light vocalization of the "schwa" sound at the end. If you think it's meant to be pronounced exactly like the English word "mare," you're wrong..

by Anonymousreply 262February 22, 2023 2:00 AM

Joan Sutherland (and Callas) had huge voices. Joan started her career singing Wagner. But when she moved into bel canto roles, she made a very loud sound for those roles, which is why they sounded so electrifying.

by Anonymousreply 263February 22, 2023 2:04 AM

I've never cared for the Schwarzkopf recording of Rosenkavalier, which other people love so much.

She overacts, and gurgles on some of her lines more than even a Gabor sister would.

by Anonymousreply 264February 22, 2023 2:08 AM

[Quote] The letter "e" is not a consonant

It’s not the “e” being pronounced in “mer-re”

by Anonymousreply 265February 22, 2023 2:10 AM

Now we've got the language coaches taking the fun out of the thread.

by Anonymousreply 266February 22, 2023 2:13 AM

June Anderson was another big-voiced coloratura in the Sutherland mold. She’s another one who never had a recording career but could be electrifying in the house.

by Anonymousreply 267February 22, 2023 2:21 AM

Anderson felt too much pressure to be the new Sutherland but never lived up to the hype

by Anonymousreply 268February 22, 2023 2:23 AM

There’s a two CD set of excerpts of Verrett’s live Verdi and Bellini performances. It’s thrilling!

by Anonymousreply 269February 22, 2023 2:26 AM

I went to see Verrett at the end of her career in Samson and Delilah. Her voice was shot but I love her recordings so I wanted to see her live once.

by Anonymousreply 270February 22, 2023 2:40 AM

Anderson is great on her recording of CANDIDE. Leonard Bernstein said she was his all-time favorite in the part of Cunegonde, and I have yet to ever hear anyone else sing or say the line "If I'm not real, at least my jewels are!" in "Glitter and Be Gay" quite as brilliantly as she does.

Unfortunately she's not very good in dramatic roles. When she did NIXON IN CHINA in Paris, she played Pat Nixon like she played Cunegonde--as loopy and shallow rather than as tragic and insightful (which makes no sense given how the character is written).

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by Anonymousreply 271February 22, 2023 2:59 AM

I really can't stand June Anderson's voice. All "white," no color, in it. And apparently, she was a certified lunatic. Her "Take Care of This House" was lovely, though.

Barbara Cook continues to own "Glitter and Be Gay."

by Anonymousreply 272February 22, 2023 3:43 AM

Italian is all about vowels mostly. You can go light on the consonants and not worry too much.

by Anonymousreply 273February 22, 2023 4:31 AM

Hey, let's trash today's Opera Darling, Jonas Kaufmann.

Good in German repertoire, but his Italian is......blah.

That early stage Mozart of his on YT is quite interesting to hear as it showcases what he was before he distorted his voice to the woolly gruff that it now is.

by Anonymousreply 274February 22, 2023 4:37 AM

Thanks, R247 I'll search for the Louise, I work I don't know at all. The Cluytens Hoffman I know and love, and perfectly illustrates what I mean when music I previously found meh is brought to vivid 3D life by a French cast. But my favorite might be Manon from 1929 with Feraldy.

I've loved Manon since seeing it a couple of years ago the Opera Comique with Marc Minkowski conducting: not only does the late 19thC music look back at pastiche 18th century, but to my ears Minkowski somehow brought out previews of chanson, Brel, Piaf... it was a revelation (could be something to do with the mdma I took the night before).

by Anonymousreply 275February 22, 2023 8:54 AM

Jonas K. is the king of cancelled performances.

He's the hausfraus' delight.

by Anonymousreply 276February 22, 2023 11:50 AM

Jonas Kaufman’s Christmas album is an unintentional delight. You can practically hear the flop sweat.

by Anonymousreply 277February 22, 2023 12:03 PM

I like Jonas Kaufman

by Anonymousreply 278February 22, 2023 1:30 PM

kaufman does have a nice voice but the days of superstar tenors, known outside of the opera house, are gone

by Anonymousreply 279February 22, 2023 3:15 PM

[quote]The letter "e" is not a consonant

[quote]It’s not the “e” being pronounced in “mer-re”

You are wrong, plus you're not explaining yourself correctly. The "r" in "mere" is pronounced the same way whether the word is spoken or sung. The difference is that, when the word is sung, the final vowel sound, which should be unstressed when the word is spoken, is stressed more because it's sung and therefore sustained longer.

by Anonymousreply 280February 22, 2023 3:15 PM

Anderson was the boring Sutherland. Kaufman is good but so what?

by Anonymousreply 281February 22, 2023 3:30 PM
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