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Subject: Re: Perfection in opera (was Re[2]: 2008 film of la boheme - question)
From: Tom Frey <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 9 Aug 2018 15:21:37 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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To me, Turandot is a scream fest. Aida is triumphant through out. I've sung in Aida and it was a thrill beyond words. Plus it has a credible plot. You can't say that about a lot of other operas Oh, and yes, I also sang in Turandot.
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thu, 09 Aug 2018 14:52:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Perfection in opera (was Re[2]: 2008 film of la boheme - question)

What I hear in Puccini is music that is unfailingly effective theatrically. For me, none of the verismo group register as “great” music.

I find Verdi to be both: great music, great theater.

What I can say of “Carmen” is what I also can say of “Nozze di Figaro:” no matter how often I hear it, hear it used in commercials, hear it performed in a mediocre way, however, I never tire of it.

I do tire of “Bohème.” I feel that companies should only do “Madama Butterfly” when a truly great interpreter of the title role emerges. I don’t think the music of “Turandot” approaches the quality of the music of “Aida” but I think both operas have in common the rarity of a really satisfying performance in which all of the massive musical, orchestral, dramatic and scenic challenges are satisfactorily met.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Aug 9, 2018, at 15:57, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I hate to admit it, but even Wagner, who died still "owing the world
> a TANNHAUSER", and whose output occupies a plane above the level
> of ordinary "perfection" might be said never to have achieved such a
> state, according to his own standards.  Actually, it's Puccini who, starting
> with MANON LESCAUT, earns a Bingo! every time.  No composer comes
> close to perfection as often as Verdi, but for my taste, not once could he
> nail it the way Giordano did with ANDREA CHENIER..  This is not meant
> as a rating of musical quality: you can't beat Bizet for inventive melody
> and orchestration; I don't think a French symphony exists that is more
> perfect than his, in C.  As an opera, can the same be said of CARMEN?
> 
> dtmk
> 
> On Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 9:32 PM, Katalin Mitchell <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
>> I consider Lohengrin, Othello , and Andrea Chenier as close to perfection
>> as one can get.... and how could one forget that nasty little shocker,
>> Tosca!
>> 
>>> On Aug 8, 2018, at 7:04 PM, Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> I am curious to hear what listers mean when they say an opera is
>> "perfect." I think Nozze is one of the best constructed operas, with
>> terrific characters and an ingenious plot, and would agree that Mozart's
>> score is "perfect" (but then it seems hubris to criticize Mozart)--but if
>> the opera is performed uncut, the fourth act drags with the various star
>> turns one suspects Mozart only reluctantly composed. My favorite opera is
>> Elektra, but it too is rarely performed uncut, and realistically, the
>> complete opera is probably too taxing for any but the most valkyrish of
>> singers. I love Meistersinger, but do grow weary during a performance, and
>> agree that despite its tremendous score, as a drama Puritani is lacking. I
>> think one of the best matches of music and drama is Jenufa, but acknowledge
>> that in performance, it too can benefit from cuts, and that some might find
>> the drama overwrought...
>>> 
>>> I am probably too critical, but I'm not sure I know of an opera in which
>> every note and moment is sacred and could not be removed without marring
>> the work's perfection. For that matter, I'm not sure I know of a film,
>> novel or symphony I would call "perfect" (although some do come awfully
>> close).
>>> 
>>> There are many works where I would not change a thing--but that's not
>> the same as perfect. I wouldn't change anything in Die Frau ohne Schatten,
>> but realistically cannot claim it is a perfect work, only that I love it so
>> much.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ------ Original Message ------
>>> From: "Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Sent: 8/8/2018 5:44:42 PM
>>> Subject: Re: 2008 film of la boheme - question
>>> 
>>>> But this is where Mr. Kane has a really important point on "perfect"
>> vs. "favorite," Much as
>>>> I love the score to Puritani, I could never consider it anywhere close
>> to a perfect opera,
>>>> because *dramatically* it not only makes very little sense, but it's so
>> very dramatically
>>>> inert. But it's glorious music, yes. (And very difficult music to sing,
>> which thrills us even
>>>> more when it's sung well.) Which, I suppose could make it a candidate
>> for a "perfect"
>>>> concert piece. ;-)
>>>> 
>>>> The other operas Mr. Frey mentions, "perfect" or not, have plenty to
>> offer both in terms of
>>>> music AND drama. I do think that any candidate for a "perfect" opera
>> needs a lot of both.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> On Wed, 8 Aug 2018 16:44:22 -0400, Tom Frey <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>>>> 
>>>>> My list of perfect operas begins with: Magic Flute, Masked Ball, I
>> Puritani, Ariadne auf
>>>> Naxos, and La Boheme. There are many others that one could add.
>> Although I've sung in
>>>> the chorus at Parsifal, Lohengrin and Tristan and appreciate the
>> grandeur of Wagner, I am
>>>> drawn mostly to Bel Canto
>>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>>> From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Sent: Wed, 08 Aug 2018 13:21:23 -0400 (EDT)
>>>>> Subject: Re: 2008 film of la boheme - question
>>>>> 
>>>>> I think this sets the bar too high; there are dozens of operas as
>>>>> good as those two, and some, by Verdi himself, are going to be
>>>>> considered superior by many people: DON CARLO, AIDA, LA
>>>>> TRAVIATA, or LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, for example.. It is
>>>>> my opinion that ANDREA CHENIER is as "perfect" as an opera
>>>>> can be, and that it is almost impossible to single out just one or
>>>>> two out of the twenty masterpieces by Wagner and Puccini. The
>>>>> whole thing becomes yet another list of "favorites"
>>>>> 
>>>>> dtmk
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 1:03 AM, Isaac Alan <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I am right with you, but for me, Rigoletto and Otello would also be
>>>>>> included
>>>>>> ________________________________
>>>>>> From: Discussion of opera and related issues <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> on behalf of James Bodge <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, 7 August 2018 9:25:56 PM
>>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>> Subject: Re: 2008 film of la boheme - question
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> On 8/7/2018 4:27 PM, Bob Rideout wrote:
>>>>>>> I'm with you 100%. There are three, arguably four, operas whose
>>>>>>> every note and every word approach perfection - Boheme, Nozze di
>>>>>>> Figaro and Falstaff. The fourth is Meistrsinger, though when
>> performed
>>>>>>> complete, especially David's role, I find unnecessary, to put it
>> nicely.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> In any case, those two notes strike me as a perfect accent within a
>>>>>>> perfect act, within a pretty perect opera. I cannot imagine why
>> anyone
>>>>>>> woukd omit that moment.
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> But then, I'm sure there are those who can't get enough of David in
>>>>>>> Meistersinger. ;-)
>>>>>>> 
>>> 
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