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Subject: Re: Patti smith's 5 Favorite Operas
From: Dennis Ryan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:06:31 -0500
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Hi, Y'all!  
    Okay, I'll play.  In the order of their  composition:    
    1.  Die Zauberfloete.  I must own at  least 15 recordings of this.  
It's excitement, it's charm, and its beauty  never wear thin.  My favorite 
recording will likely not be a "first  choice" for most listers:  the Fricsay, 
with Stader, Streich,  Haefliger, Fischer-Dieskau, and Greindl.  I have owned 
this performance,  first in LP and then in CD, 59 years.  It's cut to 
shreds, I know, but oh,  how those particular performances move me like no 
others.  
    2.  Anna Bolena.  Of the 10 or so  recordings of this I own, one stands 
out alone in its greatness:  the  Patane broadcast from La Scala in 1962, 
with Caballe and Obratsova.  It was  a miracle that Caballe recovered and 
returned for one final performance of that  run; it was a miracle that that 
performance took fire in blazing splendor; and  it was a miracle that a 
recording of it ever got made and emerged in decent  sound on Myto.  Miracles DO 
happen.  
    3.  Norma.  When I do not watch the  justly legendary 
Caballe/Vickers/Veasy performance from Orange, I listen to the  Votto performance from La 
Scala with Callas and Simionato, which does not  stop me from owning 6 other 
Callas performances of this opera as  well. 
    4.  Tristan und Isolde.  Who can possibly  have a "favorite" recording 
of this opera?  A work of this depth means that  every artist who tackles 
one of these remarkable roles brings something  different to it--a different 
slant, a different glimpse into its boiling  cauldron of wonders.  One must 
simply "own everything," and listen to  "everything" as often as one can.  
    5.  Die Frau ohne Schatten.   Like  Tristan, this work probes to such 
depth that nearly everyone who tackles a role  in it contributes some new 
insight that no one else does.  But as is  the case with many on the list, the 
Bohm performance from the Met in 1966,  with Rysanek, Ludwig, Dalis, King, 
and Berry is one of the crown jewels in my  listening experience. 
    No room, alas, for Verdi's "Otello," which would be  the next thing to 
include on my list.  
    Best, 
    Dennis Ryan 
 

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