NWR Opera and classical concert notes

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Po-yu Sung, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. There is quite a bit being written about wooden opera houses at the moment...my awareness being prodded by Glyndebourne emails. Of course Glyndebourne is such a place. But I think there are other things which make Bayreuth different to almost any other concert hall (for want of a better two words).
  2. I think the world of Pappano and the light and air his T and I recording and in the opera house brought to Wagner for me .

    Much rather hear Wagner conducted by him than Thielemann .
  3. No, Claude, but I am saying I don’t find Wagner equally compelling throughout a whole opera. Perhaps the same can be said for most composers, but most Wagner opera tends to be longer than others.

    Whatever Wagner created isn’t what always appears on stage, in terms of direction and acting, and I think when he was alive Wagner was very much aware that others would not create what he intended, hence indeed Bayreuth.

    But my feelings are too complicated for me to be able to express them clearly. I do love Wagner’s music, I prefer it live, and I do think sets, costumes and acting convey more than a concert performance. I also like to be entertained by opera as well as stimulated. But I also like to get lost in the music for periods which result in the rest becoming temporarily lost to me.
  4. It certainly is not, and I am always puzzled by the way in which the musical urtext is regarded as sacrosanct(quite rightly)while Wagner's fantastically precise stage directions are completely ignored.
    David Crossley likes this.
  5. Well Das Rheingold was wonderful this evening. I've never sat in the front row (and only once in the stalls) but I will certainly seek to do so again. It really did feel as though it was the best seat in the house. I didn't feel any genuine reduction in the quality of the music or 'blend' of the orchestra with the libretto and of course the view of the staging was quite simply fantastic (and no I am not just talking about the naked Rhinemaidens!). Alberich in particular was a joy to watch. Especially when he appeared to whisk one stage up into the air to reveal his subterranean Kingdom. His expression of wanton power and madness was quite intense. Having normally sat at the front of the amphitheatre and found Wagner's mid-opera points quite dull, being this close meant that the staging really took, well, centre stage at those points. Seeing every expression, every glance, every emotional exchange, did transform the piece into something more complete. It can often seem as though all the characters are quite flat, as even with binoculars you cannot really see peoples facial expressions. Sitting so close I really appreciated (in a hither to unseen way) the immense stoicism of Wotan (at times) in contrast to the turbulence those around him express. I knew this was happening but to see it so vividly added an extra dimension. The most distracting thing was Pappano who although not at all in my eye line to the stage was at times very noisy, expressing every gusto of brass himself. Very odd and for those sat immediately behind him I imagine very distracting. Well that was the longest sit down of the whole thing so roll on Die Walküre!
    Po-yu Sung likes this.
  6. I very much enjoyed this too, a little to my surprise. There were a few other forumites there too. Good to bump into Rupert.

    I am not experienced in opera, but isn't the orchestral pit a little too small to contain the real full sized Wagner orchestra? In particular, is the string section a little reduced? Very fine orchestral playing though especially the lower brass. Amazing tightness of the two timpani players in sync at the end. A shame none of the orchestra got recognition.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    Po-yu Sung likes this.
  7. I just saw the Sep Wagner Society communication last night (I am not a member), your name is in there! Under a photo that perfectly captured the relationship between Jones and admin team....
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    David Crossley likes this.
  8. The pit was much fuller than normal, squeezing in six harps cannot be too easy, though the timpani section in one of the boxes to the side. I think there should be just over 90 in the orchestra whereas normally there might be about 65. I’ll try and count on Sunday.

    Are you there for the full cycle Paul? Po-Yu and I were going to meet up for a drink and some food at the intervals and you’re welcome to join us.
  9. I bought Being Wagner by Simon Callow (William Collins, p/b 2017) but haven’t got round to reading it (brought it up here to Whitby but too much to do to read). Anyone read it?
  10. I haven't no. But do say if it's very good. I'm re-reading "Wagner's Ring' and its Symbols: The Music and the Myth" by Donington. A pretty thorough-going Jungian analysis of each opera. Very well written and approachable for the lay person as well.
    David Crossley likes this.
  11. Po-yu Sung likes this.
  12. Unbelievably, I am down for the series.
    I believe my hosts have booked dinner for the next three outings ... but there should be ample opportunity for a drink.
    Gareth Powell likes this.
  13. Anyone looking for a good probing read this is the book :)

    Colin Wills likes this.
  14. Rather unfortunate title, Alex :eek::eek::eek:
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  15. Try reading some of the reviews on Amazon!
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  16. On the topic of Wagner I found a 1973 Decca "The World of Wagner" LP on my travels (only 99p in a northern Oxfam). Side 1 is all Tannhauser plus Birgit Nilsson's Liebestod, side 2 being Walkure and Gotterdammerung...all Solti and the Vienna Phil, which I'm listening to now (specifically Hans Hotter as Wotan singing the Magic Fire Music from Walkure). 99p well spent, I think.
  17. All puns intended!

    Cracks me up every time.
  18. This one could be another bottomless pit, but I don’t wish to become the butt of all your jokes.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  19. Amazingly enjoyable very-high-quality production of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the Bastille tonight. Lisette Oropesa, who was so fabulous as Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots a few weeks ago, sang Adina. She's a star already, but clearly is headed still higher. Vittorio Grigolo, the Nemorino, may not be as big a star as Oropesa, but he did a bang-up job, and if this is typical, he's got lots of upside, too. The production dates to 2006, but still looks fresh and provided some insights I hadn't seen in other productions. Eight more performances until it closes on 25 November, should anyone be heading down to Paris.
    David Crossley likes this.
  20. I think I have this LP somewhere!
    David Crossley likes this.
  21. I've now read some of the reviews of that book Alex. Did you write some of them, with different pseudonyms?;)
  22. I didn't know Lohengrin outside the famous bits until recently when finding the VPO/Kempe recording in a charity shop for a few quid. I have enjoyed listening it to a lot - great singing and conducting .

    Outside of Tristan I think I enjoy Wagner's earlier works more than the Ring which I struggle with and I find Meistersinger just too long.
    Po-yu Sung likes this.
  23. Last night at the ROH was a wonderful display Dame de Pique by Tchaikovsky... I don't know whether I was in the mood for love but I was literally enchanted by the whole display. Polyakov had to take over the Gherman role at the last minute but except for a slow start, he was up to the job. I was surprised by the music as it is very different from his piano music and this piece does include quite some parts of a la maniere de Brahms or de Mozart revisiting many periods of classical music. The mise en scene was also quite something and it was a real event ... with so many nice arias... Do not hesitate if you get the opportunity.
  24. The current production of La Traviata at ROH with Ermonela Jaho that I saw last week was, without any doubt , the most intensely emotional operatic experience I have ever experienced. For so much of the evening I was fighting to hold back the tears. The evening just flew by and at the end, I looked at Ermonela through my superb (Leica) opera glasses. I really don't know who was more drained, Ermonela or me! Absolutely magnificent and totally unforgettable !!!
    Antoine Singer likes this.
  25. Sir Simon Rattle, LSO, Bruckner symphony #6, Barbican

    (I am not very familiar with Bartok, so can't say much)

    Bruckner 6th is a slightly odd, or say troublesome piece among his later works. I feel it slightly like Brahms third symphony, it's not very balanced structure-wise, but it's somehow a bit experimental compared to previous works, almost like getting ready to the incoming masterpiece. I think Rattle's approach was very successful; he squeezed all the water and fat out, let the music revealed its own skeletons. The second mv. was still very beautifully played, and the third and fourth mv. became much easier to understand. The leading oboe, Olivier Stankiewicz, again gave wonderful performance. For the orchestra, LSO is not Berliner Phil, but it's getting there.

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