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Subject: Re: Aida from Salzburg Today
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:06:18 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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Rows of Pharaonic priests with long grey beards?  A Triumphal Scene that
could easily be mistaken for a funeral?  As the saying goes, maybe you had
to be there.

With Fast Forward help, I watched as much of the Salzburg version of
Verdi's masterpiece as I could tolerate. I have no quarrel with the
opinions of such estimable Verdians as Vesna Danilovic and Donald Levine
concerning
the way in which it was sung, but strongly disagree with any promotion of
Riccardo Muti to pre-eminence as its conductor.  His ATTILA landed with many
a resounding thud on the Met stage when I attended, and he has succeeded,
with the help of Salzburg's design, in making a stately oratorio out of
what I
otherwise regard as the grandest of operas.  My favorite conductor of Verdi,
Arturo Toscanini, was meticulous too, but under his control. the sparks
still
flew.

dtmk

On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 10:42 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Hi Don and list,
>
> I thought that the first kudos have to go to Riccardo Muti, VPO and the
> chorus. He is among the last from the old guard and still holds the mantle
> of the premier Verdi conductor among so many talented from the current
> generation. I honestly believe that we live in a golden age of opera
> conducting.
>
> Though your reaction is certainly positive to Netrebko's Aida with some
> reservations, I hardly have any reservations. Her "O patria mia" is
> especially imprinted on me. She sounded effortless while floating those
> gorgeous high notes on a long breath. She also observed dynamics to great
> effect, even in the most challenging parts. Given her inconsistency in that
> respect, I think at least in part it has to do with her work with Muti.
> From what I understand, she also worked with him on her Lady Macbeth prior
> to her Met performance. She clearly reacts well to his approach and advice.
>
> I was even more impressed with Semenchuk's Amneris and her judgment scene
> was deservedly applauded with the longest and loudest ovations from the
> Salzburg audience. I had guarded expectations from Francesco Meli, a bel
> canto lyric tenor in the role that was memorably portrayed by the likes of
> Jon Vickers. Well, his voice doesn't have the size of a dramatic heroic
> tenor, but he was admirably spotless, showing the musicianship of the
> highest order and the beauty of his voice never failed him. I don't have
> much positive to say about the lower-voice male singers, ranging from
> wobbly to respectable, not even close to the outstanding level of the three
> leading protagonists.
>
> This was touted as the main opera event at this year's Salzburg and, in my
> view, it surely lived to its expectations. I watched only the first act
> while the rest listened in audio and can't comment on the production until
> I see it in full.
>
> Best, Vesna
>
> On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 6:41 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> >  I originally sent this on the 12th.  I am amazed there was no other
> > posting on this Aida broadcast.  I would have assumed that Anna
> Netrebko's
> > first Aida under Riccado Muti no less, at Salzburg, would elicited some
> > response on this list.  In the old days the postings would have been
> > endless.  Nobody listened?  Nobody cared?  It was all over Facebook.
> >
> > Donald
> >
> > On Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 6:12 PM, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I just completed listening to the Aida broadcast from Salzburg that
> > > included the much anticipated debut of Anna Netrebko as Aida.  It was a
> > > good performance but for me a bit of a mixed bag.  Of course with
> Maestro
> > > Muti and the Wiener Philharmoniker,  you are going to get an
> orchestrally
> > > gorgeous performance with superbly judged tempi and gorgeous textures
> > from
> > > the orchestra and that we had in abundance.  It was beautifully
> conducted
> > > as only Muti can.
> > >
> > > Now, the big question - how as Anna Netrebko's first Aida?  To my ears,
> > > very good, very, very good.  I am sure with more performances it will
> get
> > > even better.  Vocally she was secure and did many felicitous things.
> > The C
> > > in O patria mia was well taken, not the best I have heard but fairly
> easy
> > > and held just long enough.  The rising lines at the end of the aria
> were
> > > gorgeously taken on one breath,, just the way I like it.  Elsewhere she
> > had
> > > plenty of power, the voice was even and the tone beautiful.  Was she
> the
> > > best Aida I have heard?  Who knows,  I would rather hear her live in
> the
> > > role before I make that statement, but I was pleased.  My Aida's
> include
> > > Leontyne Price, the other Price (Dame Maggie), Nilsson (a fabulous Aida
> > > BTW), Arroyo (the best - as well sung as L Price but with a much bigger
> > > voice and that incredible powerful upper register that  Price lacked),
> > > Tomowa-Sintow (belissima) and Varady (also belissima), just to name the
> > > best in my experience (live).  Ekaterina Semenchuk was a fine Amneris.
> > The
> > > voice rich and powerful with the requisite authority and an easy top
> and
> > > solid lower tones.  The voice was even throughout the range and she had
> > > full measure of the imperious Amneris.  The judgement scene was as good
> > as
> > > it gets today.
> > >
> > > Now, for the rest.  I have always liked Francesco Meli.  It is a
> > beautiful
> > > voice and I have seen him live a few times, he is also very easy on the
> > > eyes, something that didn't matter today as it was an audio only
> > > broadcast.  That's the problem. Without the visuals, he was really not
> my
> > > idea of a Radames.  What should have been one of the best parts of the
> > > opera for him, Celeste Aida, showed him in uneven, unsteady voice.  He
> > got
> > > better as the opera progressed even though he doesn't have the power
> for
> > > the Triumphal Scene.  The third act and final acts were better.  It is
> > not
> > > really a Radames voice.  He is a beautiful lyric tenor and why he is
> > doing
> > > this I do not know.  Perhaps my problem is that my first Radames' were
> > > Corelli. Tucker and Bergonzi (not a honker of a voice) but he had
> Radames
> > > down pat and of course, was the great Verdi stylist of his time.  He
> knew
> > > how to sing this music with a less than clarion voice.  Meli does
> not.\.
> > > The role is just a few sizes beyond his fine lyric tenor.  Luca Salsi
> was
> > > OK as Amonasro.  The voice a bit dry and lacking the power at the top a
> > > real Verdi baritone needs.  Belosselskiy and Tagliavini were good as
> > Ramfis
> > > and the King.  Good, nothing special.
> > >
> > > This emerged as one of the better Aida's I have heard over the past
> > decade
> > > (not really saying much LOL), not perfect but with many satisfactions,
> > > particularly in the pit and on the female side.  So there it is, my
> take.
> > >
> > > Donald
> > >
> >
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