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Subject: Re: Esclarmonde and Werther
From: John Greiner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 30 Jan 2017 22:50:58 -0500
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 Two things for the list - 

There was actually a more recent performance of Esclarmonde in the U.S.  It was done with Washington Concert Opera in 2005 with Celena Shafer in the title role, and yes, she hit the Gs.  It was a bit of a silly libretto (nothing new in opera) but I think it could be done at least as an occasional piece on stage.  It would take a traditional and lavish production to pull off, which isn't going to happen in the current environment and that, along with the difficulty of simply finding a soprano who can sing the title role, means its unlikely we're going to see it any time soon.

Switching gears slightly though, I am a fan of Werther.  I think it is a lovely opera, and, when well staged can be very effective.  The problem for me is the idiot director's (idiot directors not being new to opera either, the current stupidity level is outstandingly high) who have Werther staggering around when he is bleeding to death.  The last production of this I saw in D.C. was terrible in that regard (in a production that had many other problems as well) but when competently directed I find Massenet's opera quite effective.  

Best,

John Greiner

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: gordon young <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Mon, Jan 30, 2017 6:53 pm
Subject: Re: Esclarmonde (was Carreras and his rep)

Here's my favorite Esclarmonde ... I try to visualize how it worked for
late 19th century audience.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBQEiL3m_XY
Gorodn

On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 6:24 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 4:41 PM
> Subject: Re: Esclarmonde (was Carreras and his rep)
> To: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
>
>
> Goethe's novel on which the opera was based, is considered a
> German literary classic and enjoyed widespread popularity in its day,
> so who's to blame for Massenet's dismal work - he and his librettist?
> Or could it be that best-selling fiction doesn't necessarily transfer to
> the operatic stage?  PRIDE AND PREJUDICE anyone?  GWTW?
> HUCKLEBERRY FINN?          . . . REBECCA?
>
> dtmk
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 9:59 AM, Max D. Winter <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> > Unfortunately, I missed "Esclarmonde" when the Met did it in 1976
> (although I could have
> > made it in from Princeton, don't know why I didn't).  A college opera
> friend of mine saw it and
> > thought that it was a wretched opera.  He said the "O divin Esclarmonde"
> episode at the
> > beginning reminded him, musically and dramatically, of the Miss America
> pageant.
> >
> > At least as performed and sumptuously sung on the Bonynge/Sutherland
> recording, I rather
> > like the opera, especially the "Esprits de l'air" episode at the end of
> Act I, which is thrilling.  I
> > find the orchestration lush and the vocal lines beautiful.  But the plot
> is beyond stupid and the
> > characters are all ciphers.  I do agree that, when you come right down
> to it, other than as a
> > star vehicle for Sutherland, it is a pretty empty piece.
> >
> > BTW, I do like "Esclarmonde" better than "Werther," an opera I loathe.
> Mike Leone and I are
> > in agreement about the Whining Whinger.
> >
> > MDW
> >
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