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Subject: Re: Perfection in opera (was Re[2]: 2008 film of la boheme - question)
From: tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:tom ponti <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 9 Aug 2018 20:50:49 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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Speaking of Aida, last night I found the 1963 performance with: Price, Bergonzi, Gorr and Sereni. IF ever there was a near perfect performance of that near perfect great opera, that was IT! The Callas, Del Monaco, Dominguez, is as exciting, but IMO, not  quite as well sung by the soprano and tenor. Another fine performance of Aida I heard recently was a 1973 performance with: Bergonzi and Cruz-Romo. She is excellent, he nearly as great as he was in the 63 performance. Get rid of the dancing in the Aida-Amneris and Triumphal Scene, then Aida would be perfect.


________________________________
From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 9, 2018 4:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [OPERA-L] Perfection in opera (was Re[2]: 2008 film of la boheme - question)

I think “Aida” is sublime, but I think it’s the most popular opera that you’ll almost never hear done without serious compromise.

It’s not just that notorious “O patria mia” high C, it’s everything. The tenor part, the mezzo, the baritone, the basses, the orchestral playing, choral singing: the tomb scene that asks soprano and tenor to deal with difficult chromaticism with high pianissimi after a long evening of singing: they’re all f’ing hard to do as written.

Then find a way of staging and directing it that is credible and not cliché or ludicrous.

Rare.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPhone

> On Aug 9, 2018, at 20:21, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>
> 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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