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Subject: Re: Great but unglamorous conductors
From: Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 1 May 2017 19:59:23 -0400
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Hi Max and list,

I already wrote about Milanov a few times in the past and will pass on it
this time, but would like to add a few thoughts (and names) to this
interesting post. I couldn’t say it better than you did about how much
conducting in operas matters.

As for Mackerras and Davis, I love them both. I have a sense that the Czech
opera would not have been as highly appreciated and a part of the
mainstream opera canon in the world today had it not been for Mackerras’
devotion to this music and land. I wish every country with some degree of
its own opera tradition has their Mackerras. Who knows how many opera gems
are out there that we never heard because of their unfamiliar language and
similar reasons.

My favorite conductors whom I would rank along the greatest ones of the
past, even though they didn’t share their “glamour” status: Panizza,
Markevitch, and Mitropoulos. Great, great conductors. There’s not a single
recording, including orchestral in case of Markevitch and Mitropoulos, that
disappoint, always bringing interpretive insights and style like no other.

Panizza somehow went into oblivion in the West after his successful Met
tenure in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Both he and Markevitch also
composed and Panizza's opera "Aurora" has an aria that is to this day
considered an unofficial anthem of his native Argentina. The 1940 UN BALLO
broadcast from the Met is still my all-time favorite, not least for his
conducting from the first to the last note. He magnificently captured the
lightness of gaity and the dark tragedy, both flawlessly interwoven in this
great score. The same could be said for his magisterial conducting in SIMON
BOCCANEGRA and OTELLO from the same period.

Some of our listers who heard Mitropoulos live reminisced fondly about him
on this forum and we occasionally mention him. Markevitch, however, is
hardly mentioned these days, but I wouldn't be without his DAMNATION OF
FAUST (the live recording finds Gedda and Crespin in even better voice than
in studio, though Markevitch is consistently inspired in them both),
Glinka's A LIFE FOR THE TSAR, all Tchaikovsky symphonies, Haydn's CREATION
(with Seefried and Borg in their prime), Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring",
and so much more...

Vesna

On Mon, May 1, 2017 at 12:07 AM, Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Much as I’m devoted to the human voice, both in opera and in popular music
> and jazz, for me the conductor is the foundation of a great operatic
> performance. The shape and color he gives, at least for the way I listen,
> creates the template that makes the statement of the work and serves as a
> platform for the expressive capabilities of the soloists. A great conductor
> doesn’t just “accompany” but he has to allow space for the artists to make
> their own statements about the role and music. <snip for space>

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