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OperaNutz, Unite!

 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 41
Registered: Jul-04
To all my new cyber-friends: thank you for rather amazing amounts of information!
And now - I'd like to open up a new chain of info-trading - Opera.
This thread should - Should - limit itself to the music, composers, performances, and personal comments on CDs, etc. involving opera.
My wife and I go to Santa Fe in August - for Don Giovanni, La Sonnambula, and Simon Boccanegra. Would like some feedback from any and all on these operas - or on Santa Fe's opera venue, if you choose.
La Sonnambula will feature the rather incredible coloratura soprano, Natalie Dessay. Do you know about her? If not, may I humbly suggest you audition one of her albums - I believe you can get snippets off Amazon.com?
Hope we can start a spirited and helpful discussion here. I'm certainly not setting myself up as an "expert," only an initiator.
Write on! Respectfully, Larry R.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 279
Registered: Feb-04
OK, I'm jealous. I've been planning a return trip to Santa Fe for years. Beautiful country. I'd be interested to hear of your experience there, especially the Santa Fe Opera. I don't know much about it, but it seems to have a great reputation. I'd also be interested to know if Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mezzo) is in any of the performances. She made a big impression on me in a recent Mahler performance. Her bio gives Santa Fe as her place of residence.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 52
Registered: Jul-04
Two Cents:
Thanks for answering! I just finished a full scan of all the possible performers this season in Santa Fe, but unfortunately, Ms. Lieberson was not on any of the call lists, thus will not be singing this summer.
Yes, SF is a beautiful place - we'd be living there were it not for the very real threat of a major water shortage. They're in a nine-year drought, and everybody wonders how long it will last. All homes have "quotas" for water - but I'm not sure about enforcement.
The opera "house" is an amazing place - get some idea by Googling Santa Fe Opera, and you'll know what I mean. Once you attend a performance there, you will never forget it - especially if, as happened to us, a huge thunderstorm boils up in mid-opera! They try to continue, but often just have to stop. As the sides of the center are all open - well, a LOT of well-dressed folk quickly look like drowned rats! Quite a romp, this!
Back in 1999 Merri and i rented a little "casita" in SF for six weeks. Talk about a time! We had opera, chamber music festival, choral concerts and, uh, chiles EVERYWHERE! Yum!
Needless to say, we are very excited about returning. . .
Unfortunately, this time we only have one week there - and will try to cram three operas, two chamber concerts, meetings with four old friends, and about 549 restaurant meals into seven days. Can I say "burp" here? GRIN
Thanks for answering, Two Cents - and I hope others will find something to say, or ask about, on this thread. Respectfully, LR
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 63
Registered: Jul-04
Two Cents:
I'd like to thank you for setting me onto Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, whom I did not know. Found a wonderful piece about her from the New Yorker Online - and paste the link here for you or any other interested soul to read.

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040105fa_fact

Again - thanks! LR
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 283
Registered: Feb-04
Larry R.,

Well, now I feel very lucky to have had the pleasure of hearing her sing. Although I had never heard of her before the concert, it was obvious she was someone special once she started singing. The New Yorker profile is a wonderful introduction to this unique personality. Thanks so much. I will make a point to see her whenever she performs in the Bay Area. Or maybe I'll have to visit Santa Fe if she ever performs there.

Keep on opera-ing!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 69
Registered: Jul-04
Two Cents:
If, in your earlier post, you referred to the concert/recording of the Mahler 2nd with MTT? Well, you've probably already read the review linked here:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/06/19/DDG7R780FU1.DTL

So - it would seem that, whenever the CD comes out, you can hear "your lady" anytime you wish! Needless to say, I look forward to THAT CD very, very much! Larry R.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1827
Registered: Dec-03
Larry,

This is a nice thread to which I do not have much to contribute, except perhaps Wagner quips, but I shall read it with interest.

There are some opera buffs, Asimo and Rick, on Quad & Spendor Speakers, so I have linked this thread there.

I understand that Wagner's music is not really as bad as it sounds...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 16
Registered: Apr-04
It took me a while to find that all the audiophile nutz and multi channels freaks have moved to the other side of the forum scale and became music enthusiasts.
I liked the enterprise of creating new opera nutz forum but as far as I know the real opera lovers have their forums in rare places on the net where they argue if Maria Callas was in her best on summer 1951 or winter 1952.
As for me, I am in between the pseudo audiophiles and real opera lovers. My opera lover friends think that I am audiophile and consult me with audio technical problem or system upgrading. On the other hand my non musical addicted friends think that I am an opera expert which I am not, at least not yet.
Why pseudo audiophile? Because the real audiophile have some $ 50.000 system and not Arcam --60x B&W or NAD - 78x Mission which I think is just good enough to be well into the music
I belong to a club where we watch every other week a complete opera on DVD. We started with a small group of 5-8 members and now we have more than 30. At the beginning we used members apartments and systems but for thirty participants and more we did find a modest size hall.
We tried to find a good stereo system for the "hall " Each group member was asked to look around in his attic and to find vintage abandoned stereo.
We assembled a reasonable setup from different components and it works fine.
As I told John A I was not an opera enthusiast for long time. I listened to various genres of classical music. A friend of mine introduced me to the opera world and I found it fascinating.
We watch operas from different periods and styles. From Purcell (The fairy Queen) and Monteverdi up to Prokofiev (War and peace) but mostly the classics composer Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti Wagner ect.
Before each opera session we have a lecture about the opera, the composer and the period. Some of our members have PhD or arts degree and they run the preface lecture
I know the advantages of a live opera at an opera hall but a good DVD on big screen and good stereo system is also exciting.
I would like to experience Santa Fe festival or Bayreuth ring but for the time being I watch Joan Dorneman from the Met that runs an opera classroom in my place




 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 80
Registered: Jul-04
Asimo: Welcome to "the club!" You post: ". . .an opera classroom in my place." What a wonderful idea! And how fortunate you are! You seem to be on the right track to full appreciation of the art form - and I wish you and your growing gang the best.
I hope that this site will not bog down in rhetoric, but will be a place where people can freely exchange ideas, reviews, questions, challenges - all involving opera in some form.
Two Cents introduced me to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson - and now I've ordered a couple of her CDs. You mention Purcell, and that reminds me to dip back into some of the earlier operatic experiences - operas I too often overlook in my usual Verdi-Puccini-Bellini round-about.
I hope, sir, that you do not become an opera "expert." Sigh. They tend to be bombastic, boring and bothersome. Give me someone who just loves the art form - and wants to talk about its scores, its stars, and its settings.
I don't claim expertise - but I do claim a passion that makes me want to share it with others. And thus - welcome to OperaNutz, Unite!
Who is your current favorite soprano? And why? Most people would say Renee Fleming - but at this very moment - for me - I'd have to say Natalie Dessay. A "Contrarian?" Nope - don't try to be, just found her on CD - and now will have the priviledge of hearing her in person out in Santa Fe - "La Sonnambula."
And - have you heard the young tenor, Rolando Villazon? A couple of names to throw around your opera group for discussion.
BTW - as you are an "audiophile" - may I get an unbiased opinion of my receiver? It's an Onkyo 701, and is generally considered "mid-fi," from others on this and other forums.
What does this have to do with opera? Well, I get rather tinny, bright sound on my Polk RTi6s - and it cuts into my enjoyment of opera CDs. Am trying to correct this - and your input might help.
Meanwhile - please visit this site often, and urge other opera fans to do likewise. We'd like to avoid the "dark corner" syndrome, and keep opera out in the light - where it belongs.
Respectfully - Larry R.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1853
Registered: Dec-03
Asimo, Larry,

Being a Purcell buff, if not an opera buff, have the ROH Covent Garden Arthaus DVD of "The Fairy Queen". It is terrific. Perhaps this is my way in. BTW the "PCM stereo" on that disc is miles better than Dolby Digital 5.1, imho.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1855
Registered: Dec-03
BTW I heard Bryn Terfel is signed up as Wotan.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 82
Registered: Jul-04
John A. et al -
Terfel as Wotan - where? And as to your comments re Purcell - I have noted that the sound I get from my DVDs is light-years better than the sound from my CDs - played on the same JVC player. Don't know if it's different technology, or if my player simply "skimped" on the guts of the CD-side, if such is separated.
I'll look into that DVD, as I slowly add to my collection of opera/symphonic performances in that technology. I, unlike many, can sit happily and watch an orchestra play. Opera, of course, DEMANDS the visual aspect to reach its fullest effects. A friend who listens to whole-opera CDs disagrees with my "need," but if it works for him, well. . .
Asimo - I'm looking into opera groups, but the only openly-listed one here in Beautiful Downtown Naples is a rather haughty one. We tried it out, but quickly eschewed it for its cliques and foibles. Still trying - and I don't have enough opera-loving friends in this area to start a "club" of my own. Nearly everyone I know goes for "easy listening" or "Country" sounds (note, please, I list the two as "sounds," not "music." A fault of my own bias)
Thanks for posting(s) - and hope to keep this thread alive! Respectfully - Larry R.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1869
Registered: Dec-03
Larry,

Bayreuth. He said so himself, on "Desert Island Discs". They've been after him for years.

Ever seen/heard the "Last Night of the Proms...? Terfel was the solosit for "Rule Britannia". I think it was in 2000, the last one before it became politically correct (I think Leonard Slatkin was guest conductor in 2001; there was good cause).

Anyway, after the orchestral intro, Terfel-the-voice strode on, in a full Wales kit, with a rugby ball under his arm, and did a skillful drop-kick into the capacity audience at the Royal Albert Hall. All in about three seconds, before starting to sing.

They took it in good part, of course. It was aimed at the English. They knew that. Those were the days.

Yes, I think you could be getting 96 kHz, 24 bit stereo from those discs. Please check! If so, the problem with the CD performance is not with the JVC player. It is with CD. See PCM Stereo
 

Bronze Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 84
Registered: Jul-04
John A.
Sorry - those of us on the other side of The Pond have little knowledge of The Proms, so what you write is of interest, but not part of my personal history. Would love to have seen Terfel and his kick-ball antics! He's one opera star I'm sorry I haven't ever met - just listened to with great appreciation of his skills.
Am still a bit stymied with all of your tech-talk on these forums, so I won't even try to discuss them. Am saving up for a new player this Fall, and hope that it makes a difference. LR
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1872
Registered: Dec-03
Larry,

Terfel (pronounced "tair-vel") is disgracefully young. He is big enough for Wotan, though, no question.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 17
Registered: Apr-04
Larry R

As I suspected there are not many enthusiasts for the opera forum but don't give up.
We had an exciting evening at our club watching "Orphée aux Enferss" from Offenbach. It is a modern oriented production with Natalie Dessay as Auridice.
It is a general opinion at our club that Natalie Dassey is one of the leading singers (and actor as well) in our days. I was very impressed from her performance in Orpheo She is full of energy and fills the stage.
Rolando Villazon also received very high scores from our club expert. He is one of the best younger tenors.
My personal favorite (mezzo) soprano is Cecilia Bartoli. Just watch her in Vivaldi with Il Giardino Armonico and you will understand why.
As for your AV system, I still prefer the stereo set. Many discussions are taking place now in this site about the superiority of the multi channels on stereo but I am not convinced yet. John A and others will not agree but this is a good background for a long term interesting discussions.
On the other hand one of the most and impressive sound we experienced in our club sessions came from an ONKYO 595 AV receiver, B&W 603 speakers and Marantz 4200 DVD player, all connected stereo.
I prefer British designed or manufactured speakers but the good American speakers can have very good sound. I do not like Polk Audio but I have not heard many of them.
I personally think that a good sound depend also on the room acoustic, atmosphere and also on your inside feeling when you are exposed to the music.
Joan Dornemann from the Met leads operas Master classes in Tel-Aviv. That is not exactly my place but nearby. This is the best performance for the opera lovers in our hot summer.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 111
Registered: Jul-04
Asimo, et al
Thanks for the reply! Glad to get affirmation that some of my choices re opera singers are right on. Ms. Dessay is, for me, my current replacement for Kiri te Kanawa as "heartthrob." Sigh. Am so anxious to see/hear her out in Santa Fe later this month!
Speaking (ok, writing) of Dame te Kanawa - have you ever heard her CD of Cantaloube's "Songs of the Auvergne?" Magical - I play it often. And now I understand that Decca will soon bring out a combination DVD/CD package of the songs - her recordings of them are that popular. Add that to my wish-list!! Yum. . .
I agree with you totally on the sound of speakers. Had I been able to afford them, I would have purchased B & W 705 speakers, and put them with a subwoofer. The British speakers lend themselves so well to opera and classical music!
The Polks were a bad choice, I'm afraid. They're too bright, and their mid-range is somehow a bit muffled.
I still envy you your listening club - and wish I could enjoy something akin to that here!
As to the multi-channel vs. stereo listening, I've found that it depends on just how you set up and balance the speakers. Too much "presence" from the rears distracts - too little and you might as well go with pure stereo. And each disc seems to demand a slightly "tweaked" setting. Sigh. Sometimes I think I really want a setup where I just press a big, red button and the music starts - period! GRIN
I have such a hard time, because I go over to my doctor-friend's home many evenings, and play my CDs and DVDs on his super-system: Marantz 8400, Sunfire receiver, Martin Logan speakers. He stays up in PA May through November - and I "babysit" his beautiful home - and beautiful stereo/TV gear! My, how much better my DVDs look on his 48-inch plasma screen than on my 20-inch JVC TV set! Hmmm. . .
And that's just his "living room" setup. In his "real" music room (he prefers I stay out) he has McIntosh amps and a 60-inch screen. He had some hi-end shop build everything in there. Sigh. Money CAN buy happiness!!!
More anon - and thanks again - keep the postings alive, please! Larry R.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1888
Registered: Dec-03
Thank you Larry and Asimo. Even if there are not a lot of posts, there may be many people reading out of interest.

A "stereo versus surround" discussion, to which Asimo kindly refers, was the original purpose of Teaching an old dog new tricks... and it has not entirely its purpose. I discussing there, it occured to me that opera may be a special case. Stereo may be sufficient to give you the real experience of being in an opera box. See Jul 11 on that thread.

The other point is that many opera DVDiscs have much higher resolution on the stereo tracks that the 5.1 tracks. See thread PCM stereo. Opera is a clear case where higher resolution is always better, and cannot be traded for much else.

As regards speakers, as it happens, my personal "brand loyalty" is with KEF for various reasons (e.g. thread KEF. A short tale of value, service, customer satisfaction). It seems clear from this forum that there are US and, especially, Canadian makers that are amongst the best in the world, too. Given the size, weight, and transport costs of speakers, they are one component where buying from a "local" maker can make special sense in terms of value for money, leaving aside natioanal loyalties. After the recent Geneva WTO conference, also note there are some excellent speakers made in India, too, e.g. Cadence, and you would expect they could offer exceptional value in terms of quality hardwood in construction.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 116
Registered: Jul-04
John A. et al
Right-oh you are, John - stereo is often better than surround for opera - though with some of my DVDs the touch of "live" that 5.1 gives me does remind me a lot of my forays into live performance. I like it both ways, simply stated. Also, I seldom sit in opera boxes - rather, on the main floor or front balcony - thus getting some hall bounce-back factored in, and making surround more akin to my "live" experiences.
Ah, Kef speakers (sob) yes, I had a wonderful pair of them back in 1998, before my wife and I decided to go on our ill-fated sailboat odyssey that cost us our money, our boat, and nearly our lives. Sigh. We'd sold or given away all stereo and TV stuff before moving from Colorado to Florida - thus what I now have is a feeble attempt to recover some semblance of good sound. Yep - I had Kef speakers and Carver amp/preamp and tuner. Yum, as I might describe them.
Now - if I ever get any real money, I think I'd go with B & W - they sound very "real" for opera and classical - though Kef would be a good second choice. Paradigm (Canadian) a third choice. Maybe along with a Sunfire receiver? Ah, yes - dream on. . .
Thanks, John and Asimo - I'm on my own plane at the moment, eagerly awaiting Santa Fe and three operas - next week! Yes!!!! LR
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 180
Registered: Jul-04
So - here we were in a beautiful theater, in beautiful country, hearing beautiful opera-sounds. And worrying about whether we'd have ahome to come home to! Sigh. Turns out our worries were not valid. Sigh again - feel SO sorry for the thousands of homeless persons now.
We saw/heard some opera worthy of praise from international circles - with my favorite being La Sonnamblula, with Natalie Dessay. Sigh. heart-throb, for sure!
The opera, while rather simplistic in form, has in it some soul-stirring and heart-wrenching arias.
the best/worst one for me was when Natalie Dessay came downstage, and walked into a pond of water, about 14-inches deep. Supposed to represent the town "lake." Hmmm. . .
Anyway - she started singing an aria full of pathos and intense emotion, and as she did so, she gradually sank down to her knees in the water, spread her arms, and sang so sweetly that the audience simply fell silent. Completely silent.
As the sides of the Santa Fe opera are open to the elements, Merri and I glanced out to see a full sky of stars - and then, as the aria grew in intensity, a single shooting star arched across the sky and fell to earth.
My soul and body simply stopped at that point. I vaguely remember crying and clapping, and when I came to my senses I realized that the engtire audience was standing, crying, laughing, clapping, and simply overcome with emotion. It was that kind of experience! Never forget it!!!
Simon Boccanegra - our second opera in Santa Fe, was grand and glorious and full of singers who sang on key - but without the intense emtions of La Sonnambla. However, the principal soprane, Patricia Racette, was riveting in her presentation, and marvelous in her interpretations. A 10, for sure!
Mozart's Don Gionvanni should have had an editor. Three hours is two too many!
Heresy, I say? Well - I've got friends on both sides - those who favor "traditional" Mozart, and revisionists who favor cutting. For me, the opera should have ended with Don Giovanni being thrown into Hell.
For the classicists - DG should end after the Hll scene, and with exortations from staffers on how to make our hives better-tuned to God.
Anyway - all the productions were first-class, and I'm super-happy to have seen/listened to them.
Now saving up for a trip to London next Fall - for more opera, etc., of course - if Mer gets a job and we can save shekels. . . Larry R.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 525
Registered: Aug-04
Larry

Glad to see your home is in one piece. Terrible about many plights of others. Pleased your excursion to Santa Fe was worthwhile. While we are not into opera we can appreciate the feeling of experiencing true talent that can stir the soul.

Cheers
M.R.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 181
Registered: Jul-04
Mr - thanx - so tired that I can't even type straight. Sigh. Trip catching up with me. Took a look at your audio setup, and drooled all over my shirt. Sigh. Looks pretty classy to me!
More anon - but for now, G-nite, mate! Larry R.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2002
Registered: Dec-03
That is a great report, Larry. I agree with MR.

If you plan a trip to London next fall you might be interested to take in the 2005 Proms in addition to ROH Covent Garden etc. The 2004 season is on right now. The seasons run from mid July to mid Sept. "The greatest music festival in the World"...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/index.shtml

During the season, they usually do a staged opera or two, at the Royal Albert Hall, but it is mostly music.

I think they usually finalise the programme in about March or April.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 183
Registered: Jul-04
John A. - thank you! Yes, we are looking seriously at taking in as much music as possible during a week or 10 days there. I have heard so much from you and others about the London experiences - and just hope that we can find affordable travel packages.
First, the bills from Santa Fe - then, on to what my good friend and retired CIA spook insists on calling "The Mother Country." He's a hopeless anglophile/audiophile! GRIN
Part of my heritage is English - the Hartley clan - on my father's side, so I guess it owe it to my past relations to have some direct connection with the land of their birth.
Fortunately, the Sarasota Opera House escaped the wrath of Charley - so we will once again enjoy performances there this winter.
We will NOT sit through another "Don Giovanni." Mozart should have had an editor! As in the movie "Amadeus" - TOO MANY NOTES!
However, we have three other operas to plan for and yes - save up for! Hmmm. . .
Anyone out there heard/seen Verdi's "Stiffelio? That's a new one on me - and I'd like any input. We plan to see that, Delibes' "Lakme" and the usually-paired Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. That should do it for the opera budget!
Season in Sarasota starts the end of January, and runs through March - when all the Snowbirds are down here in Florid-Duh!
Some friends just gave us an Amazon gift certificate - and we plan on buying another opera DVD - anybody have any true favorites in both content and performance? All ideas gratefully received!
Respectfully, Larry R.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2010
Registered: Dec-03
Don Giovanni. The Director's Cut. Plus bonus material.

Larry, try to get in touch re London, nearer the time. Maybe we can get one or two other Old Dogs along and break up the town, after we've finished with Dallas. Goodness knows where the As will be. Probably living in a cardboard box, or commuting from Birmingham, or something.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 184
Registered: Jul-04
John A. - sorta like "complete history of the world - abridged." Yep, as friend Kegger would so logically say.
Indeed, will post any or all progress toward next year's "adventure." Hoping to have the requisite pounds/dollars - and will probably go either September or early October.
And speaking of Dallas - will post our "how to barely get back" story - abridged (grin) - a bit later today or tomorrow ayem. Big tension, fer shore! More anon - Larry R.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ojophile

Toronto, ON

Post Number: 32
Registered: Jun-04
Larry R.,
Glad to know that you were spared from Mother Nature's havoc. However, any devastation any place on earth is always disheartening. Anyway, back to this thread...

I'm not exactly an opera buff, but Dame Kiri Te Kanawa always makes me stop and listen. I love the timbre of her voice and admire her charm and grace. I also like Ben Heppner
All the best on your operatic adventures!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 24
Registered: Apr-04
Larry R. John A.

I am happy you returned to the OperaNutz massage board because it looked deserted while you were watching Santa Fe operas. I think it is not a simple task to collect the OperaNutz from an audio affiliated forum. May be you need some more publication for the operaNutz massage board on Ecoustics.
I did not joke about the hurricane at "Porgy and Bess" I happened to watch the new opera DVD (not the movie) and the hurricane takes a major impact in the opera scene including some dead heart participants .
The operas repertoire that you watched at Santa Fe " La Sonnambla", "Simon Boccanegra" and "Don Gionvanni" are quite common and much played but I think the theater, director and the atmosphere have much to say. We sometime watch a new DVD edition opera that is completely different from what we remember of the same opera.
During your Santa Fe experience we watched at our club three rarely played operas: the first is "Orpheus in the Underworld" of Offenbach, the second "Le Cok d'Or " of Rimski Korsakov and the third Wagner " The Flying Dutchman" all on new DVD's editions.
All the three were an exhilarating experience because the direction, singers and production were all first rate from the last 10 years. You can read some information about these operas in Amazon DVD operas site.
In the near future we are planning Verdi " Il Trovatore", Janacek " The Cunning Little Vixen", and Handel "Julius Ceasar". We decided to add more 20th century and baroque operas to our schedule.
Now, I have some question also for John A. I am looking for a low cost DVD Player that has a good sound for our club. Most of the low cost DVD Players are for movies.
I know about Toshiba SD -330 or Pioneer DV-464 DV-565.Does the NAD T533 sounds much better ?
Larry, do not save Shekels because you may find that no US bank is willing to exchange them or ask for 20% 30% discount. On the other hand the Shekel is quite stable now and Inflation rate is only 1% - 3% annually in the last 5 years, not bad for a country with problems like ours
And finally, are you really intend to arrange a meeting in London 2005 for the proms or Covent Gardens. In the meantime watch our vocal festival program near Jerusalem at http://www.agfestival.co.il/



 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2022
Registered: Dec-03
Asimo,

I will come back to other points. re players, I have a "NAD T533 user's review..." under Home Video > DVD players on this forum.

For now, if you can give more specific info on "the new opera DVD" of Porgy and Bess I would be grateful; I have been saying this is an obvious choice. If anything can get me into opera it could well be that. All the best.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 188
Registered: Jul-04
Asimo, Ojo, et al - OK, no Shekel-saving! GRIN Hard to come by in this section of Florida, anyway - shekels are mostly exchanged on the east coast, around Miami!
Yes, Ojo, Dame Kiri is a personal favorite of mine - especially after a couple of interviews with her years back, while she was still in her prime. The last time I spent time with her was about 1987, when she was in Chicago, along with her then-young son, Thomas. We three had a grand time during a long break in rehearsals, and I was overcome by her graciousness. Too bad her life is so full of sadness. I guess she has hung up her professional cards? Last time I heard of her performing in the States was 2001. She is in her early 60s now (we all get there, don't we???)
If you have not heard her CD(s) of the Songs of the Auvergne - please make time to audition them. They will break your heart and buoy your spirits. Promise.
Lastly, the Coq d'Or is a favorite of mine - and I haven't heard the others you mention in many years. Concert and opera halls are having such a hard time keeping customers that they tend toward the familiar - the old "bottom line" coming in, as always.
Please all - keep ideas and comments coming - it is a worthy art form, this "opera" stuff!
Respectfully, Larry R.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 25
Registered: Apr-04
John A.

The DVD opera "Porgy and Bess" session was one of the most successful evening at our opera club.
The DVD is not the movie but the real opera in full scale that Gershwin wrote.
Gershwin spent few months with the black people to learn about their life and behavior and tried to be realistic in the story and characters.
There are a lot of jazz motives, Gospels and folk songs involved with the opera music.
Although the "Porgy and Bess" movie was very successful Gershwin family successors did not like it and prohibited its distribution because they said it does not represent Gershwin intention to write a real opera, not operetta or musical. The movie version is not in the market.
Only in the late 80TH real version of Gershwin opera "Porgy and Bess" came to stages in the leading opera houses.
The related DVD performance is from Glyndebourne opera house with the Simon Rattle conducting.
You can read more in the 106 Customers Reviews at Amazon site
Hope you will enjoy this wonderful opera. It may be my modest contribution to attract you to the exciting opera world.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005LIN0
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2034
Registered: Dec-03
Asimo,

Thank you so much. I have the Glyndebourne/Rattle EMI CD set. It is great, but hard to listen all through, despite the wonderful music and songs. I did not know they made a DVD. it is some time ago. I so much admire Rattle: that performance was a revolution, taking the best of the New World to one of the most conservative and stuffy parts of the Old. All the critics thought there would be dissent. Rattle and his extraordinary cast wowed them all, won them all over. Willard White is Porgy on the CD. What a man. What a voice.

OK checked the link. Thank you. 1993. Great. I have never seen it in the shops around here. A must-have. I am convinced!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ojophile

Toronto, ON

Post Number: 36
Registered: Jun-04
Larry R.

Thanks for the "Songs of the Auvergne" recommendation. Just to confirm that this is what you're referring to? (click below)

Kiri Te Kanawa - Canteloube: Chants d'Auvergne, Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras
 

Silver Member
Username: Wryter

Naples, FL US

Post Number: 199
Registered: Jul-04
Yes, indeed, my friend. You May be able to audition snippets of it on Amazon.com? I personally think she's done the best job on these songs - though there is an old recording of Anna Moffo with Stokowski doing about 7 of the songs, and that CD is just as wonderful.
I understand that Decca is bringing out a combo pack of te Kanawa's Songs - both DVD and CD, so I guess there's a concert version involved? Not sure yet, but will Have to Buy those, fer shore!
For opera tyros - yep (thanks, Kegger) Borgy and Bess might be a good intro. As I've posted before, opera is best enjoyed in combination sound and sight. Start "lite" such as P & B or The Marriage of Figaro, or Carmen - read about the opera, then watch/view, either in person or on DVD.
Opera is like dissonant composition - some people love it - most people eschew it. Mention the French composer Messiaen and I automatically cringe. Yet I have a friend who listens to his work with great pleasure.
To all I say: give opera a chance. There are great arias, really nutzy stories, and amazing costumes and sets. And yes, guyz, the "modern" sopranos are size 8, not size 80!! REally!
And Ojo - if you listen to and like Dame Kiri, try out a CD (Amazon again) of Natalie Dessay singing French arias. Sigh. If chills don't crawl up your spine, I'll be surprised. Both Dessay and Te Kanawa are very special talents.
Asimo - I start salivating when you post your latest opera-group experiences. Can I fly there for the performances? (grin) Wishful thinking.
And again - anyone - Verdi's "Stiffelio." Anybody heard/seen it? Will be seeing it this winter at Sarasota Opera - and always like as much advance information as possible.
Respectfully, Larry R.
 

NMOperaFan
Unregistered guest
hello...I found this site by accident, by I love to discuss opera. By way of introduction, I am from Albuquerque, NM, and a season subscriber to the Santa Fe Opera. I have enjoyed all the comments on here about the season this year..would like to add a few of my own.

First off...sorry you missed Beatrice and Benedict...what I thought was the best of the season and kind of a sleeper. Great cast (William Burden, yum), great simple scenery, humorous, incredible voices, and the kind of thing that happens in the movies: the principal soprano (Viltoria Vizin) had to cancel because of altitude problems with her voice and one of the apprentice understudies stepped in and did a bang up job.

As for La Sonnabula...most enjoyable vocally. But what was with the set? Where was the water-wheel? What was with the baroque cottage? In rural Switzerland? Why was Amina always reading a book or asleep? Why did she seemed dazed at the end and then collapse? A very confused production. I read that Natalie Dessay has become bored with all the productions she's been in...but this one made no sense. But the singing was glorious!

I have comments on Lorraine-Hunt-Lieberman too, but lets see if I get any response from this impromptu posting.

I'm Gene

 

LR Writer
Unregistered guest
Ah, how wonderful! to hear from a fellow travelor, yet! Yes, I totally agree with you about the rather insane set designs and stage action for LS. Merri (wife) and I still discuss that, and wonder what the H happened to good sense here?
I'm totally enraptured by Natalie - so nobody can say anything bad about her - I just don't even hear it! (grin)
But - Santa Fe really did me in this year - with the LS set - and with the "minimalist" set for Simon B. Sigh and double sigh here.
I've quit the eCoustics forum, for various reasons, but I hope to keep in touch with various opera-lovers across the country.
I guess we missed some recitals by both Patricia Racette and Lorraine Lieberson by just a few days in SF. Too, too bad! Sigh. We flew all the way from Naples, FL, and were a week too late. Oh, well, at least we heard some great opera while we were there!
If you wish, please continue opera-talk with Merri and me on wryte4u@comcast.net. We have several good friends across-country with whom we share "opera moments."
PS - you probably won't get much response from this forum - Asimo aside. Most of the folk tend toward more "pop" style music.
And yeah - I had "altitude problems," as well. Talk about coming from 11 feet to 7,000 feet!
Anyway - glad I happened to catch your posting. Mer and I moved from Sedona to Naples two years ago - and we both miss, miss, miss the West!
Respectfully - Larry R.
PSS - Can't wait for the next Tony Hillerman!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 256
Registered: Oct-04
G-day, Opera Nutz! I'm going to try this again, and see if a bunch of us can keep the ball rolling?
Since my last post - well, let's see. I've got a new Yamaha CD player - wonderful! And the Kiri Te Kanawa Songs of Auvergne combo pack with both DVD and CD - very nice, but somehow disappointing because the sound quality is not any better than the earlier releases. As the originals were digital masters, can't expand the quality much.
The new Tony Hillerman book "Skeleton Man" is out and I just bought it, so can't give a review yet.

NMOperaFan - hope you're still "on line" after all these months. Mer is sorta "pushing" me towards Santa Fe again next summer - Turandot is on the menu - and Mer knows full well that it is my favorite opera! Sly fox, she!!! (grin)

Asimo - hope you're reading this! Please give us a rundown on what's happening with your opera group. Any and all postings welcome.

Two Cents - hope you're with us, as well. I hear that Rollando Villazon may be bringing out a second CD? Have you heard anything about this? I bought his first one, and am blown away by his singing. I hope that he's handled well, because he surely could become the next "super tenor."

Will post more in the near future - and hope to hear from anyone out there who either loves, or even "can barely stand" opera!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 351
Registered: Feb-04
Finally got to watch all 185 minutes of "Le Nozze di Figaro" on dvd this weekend. Here are some impressions.

I picked up the 1973 Glyndebourne production swith the following cast:

Figaro - Knut Skram
Susanna - Ileana Cotrubas
Countess - Kiri Te Kanawa
Count - Benjamin Luxon
Cherubino - Frederica von Stade

John Pritchard conducting the London Phil. O. (Arthaus Musik dvd)

The dvd is of a television production. The sound format is PCM stereo. Before I bought the dvd I was concerned about the audio and picture quality. After watching it, I can say the technical qualities of the dvd do not detract from the enjoyment of the performance. The sound and picture are perfectly adequate, if not state-of-the-art.

The cast is wonderful, especially all the female singers. Each singer is matched brilliantly to each role. Ileana Cotrubas's performance as Susanna really stands out, both for her singing and acting.

As a relative newbie to opera, I can't really compare this performance to other productions, but I can't imagine that there could be a significantly better one, except on technical qualities (true surround sound, etc.)

The opera itself is fun from start to finish, with plenty of comedic turns and heartfelt moments. And Mozart packs more beautiful arias, group singing, and music into this opera than you can shake a stick at. For others starting to explore opera, this dvd would be a good place to start. For $20, this dvd is one great bargain.
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 265
Registered: Oct-04
Two Cents: a "bravo" to you, sir, for that review! When you said you'd be curling up with the DVD, I thought: "well, I hope that he doesn't expect THX surround with enhanced color, etc.
Obviously, you were able to see through the technical limitations and enjoy the performance for itself, not the electronic "environment."
Yes, Ms. Cotrubas is hardly a household word, but has, over the years, given some rather exceptional performances. I agree that she was perfectly matched to Susanna!
Now, Two Cents - you've got to go out and find a Donizetti "Elixir of Love" performance. This, too, is full of song and merrymaking and, if done well, a lot of good, wry-and-sly humor. I don't currently have a copy, but will look about on the I-net to see what pops up.
OK - need some react from Gene out in New Mexico, and from our far-off friend Asimo. Hope this thread comes alive again - and I'll do my best to post somethiing interesting (?) on a semi-continuing basis!

Thanks, Two Cents - and I hope your week is a productive one!

Oh, BTW - for you and Don both - I've been researching the Paradigm studio 20 loudspeakers, as possible alternatives to my "first love" the B & W 705s. Sounds like the Paradigms are great, but a couple of reviews have said that they are "bright" on the top end. Oh, no! That's one of my problems with the Polks! Sigh. I'll post when I've auditioned some.

More anon. . .
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 355
Registered: Feb-04
Larry, thanks for your kind words. I did have a productive week. On the musical front, I picked up and listened to two SACDs: MTT/SFSO's Mahler 2 and Nickolaus Harnoncourt's Mozart Requiem. I also decided to get a CD version of Figaro. After reading that Grammophon named Rene Jacobs' version "Album of the Year" and hearing a sample (an electrifying account of the finale), I ordered it on Amazon. I also ordered Magdelana Kozena's recital of French opera arias. Woo hoo!

On a different thread, Don RX-1 posted a link to your Amazon reviews. It seems you're a big admirer of Mozart's clarinet concerto. It's also one of my favorite Mozart pieces. The slow movement is one of the most beautiful things ever created by man.

Donizetti's "Elixir of Love" has been placed on my list of operas to explore. You led me well the Figaro dvd and I welcome all your recommendations. I don't expect that "Elixir" will match the greatness of "Figaro" (What can?) but look forward to experiencing it all the same.

Let us know how your speaker search is going. I too am thinking of upgrading my old pair of Klipsch speakers soon.

Peace and happy listening!
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 284
Registered: Oct-04
Two Cents: Whoa! 'fore yah goes any furder. . .
What did you think of the Mahler 2? Gotta know, after you heard it "live" then recorded!
Yep - (blush) - I try to keep the Amazon reviews short and cogent, and not try to impress anybody with any musical knowledge I might have. Just try to say whether the performances and sound qualities are good or lacking.
As to the Kozena CD - uh-huh - pretty good, until you hear EMI Classics "French Opera Arias" with (be still my beating heart) Natalie Dessay. If you don't sit back and say "amazing!" I'll be very, very surprised. My opinion, natch!
Ah, the Mozart. Way, way back in 1957 I soloed with the Mozart with a Midwest orchestra. Was my first and last performance, as the next year I pretty much changed from music major to journalism major and got on with my life. Still know the piece by heart - and it's played in our house probably too often! And yes, I shed more than a few tears with each playing of the second movement.
What you will hear (should hear) in "L'elisir" is a good story line and a coupl-ah very good arias. It's just good fun and should be listened to with that in mind. Not in the same league as Meistersinger or Turandot or Aida - was never meant to be such. Each opera has to be taken as a unique whole - with every hearing different than the last and every set different than the last, etc. etc. - unlike reading a book, opera sorta "reinvents itself" with every mounting. that's why it remains fresh - there are endless "renditions" of a single story.
I have posted in the past that some of my most wonderful opera-memories come from the little opera house up in the mountains west of Denver - Central City. Summer opera for some 700 people, with a small stage and limited flywell capabilities. But they have, for decades, put on some of the most exciting performances I've ever heard.
Hope they're still in business. Haven't been back for six years now. Sigh. Maybe next summer. Can that repertory company compete with SanFran, or Chi or the Met? Nope - not in standard comparison terms. But if you were ever to go there, you would know what I mean.
OK - will let you know speaker progress, if any. The store here in Swampville suddenly decided it did NOT have Paradigm studio 20s in stock, and so I await arrival - or make the 2-hour drive north to Sarasota/Bradenton, where two shops DO have Paradigms. As to the B & Ws - Merri says if I manage to save enough our of my food budget to buy them, fine. Hmmm. . . Let's see - dinner Tuesday, Franks and peas, Wednesday, macaroni and cheese, Thursday, Franks and beans. . . OK - in a year I'll be ready!! (grin)

More anon . . .
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 311
Registered: Oct-04
UPDATE: As many of you know, Natalie Dessay (be still my heart!) underwent (gulp) vocal cord surgery last month. Last word from Reuters news agency is she's doing very well. Here's an AP snipped from Nov. 30th.

- - - - -

PARIS - Natalie Dessay hopes to completely regain her voice following an operation on one of her vocal cords.

The renowned French soprano underwent microsurgery on Nov. 17 to remove a polyp from her right vocal cord.

In July 2002, she had microsurgery to remove a nodule from her left vocal cord.

"It's been two and a half years now that I haven't completely regained my voice," Dessay said in a phone interview Tuesday. "I kept working, but I said to myself, `I can't keep going like this' because I had completely lost the pleasure of singing."

This year, Dessay canceled her October appearances as Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" at the Bastille Opera House in Paris. Then she canceled two planned December concerts at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, also in Paris.

Dessay knew something was wrong, she said, because she hadn't regained complete comfort when singing.

"After the first surgery, that comfort should have come back after four or five months on its own and, in fact, it never really came back," Dessay said.

She said the operation went very well but she's unsure how long her recovery will take. She intends to start retraining her voice in January and hopes to be back on stage by the end of spring.

Faced with these medical setbacks, Dessay said she has occasionally considered giving it all up but decided to persevere.

"It's like when an athlete is injured," she said. "He's not going to end his career because he's injured. He's going to wait until he's back in good shape again and then decide if he still wants to do it. And, apparently, I still want to sing."
- - - - -
Whew! - obviously I'm holding what breath I have left that she will heal - and sing again!

More anon. . .
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 37
Registered: Apr-04
Hi Larry R Two Cents and other OperaNutz
I was not aware for renew of the thread OperaNutz. This massage board is complicated with all the crossing threads.
I congratulate Larry R for his enterprise to continue this interesting thread both from technical and musical aspects.
I posted some reports about our opera club in other threads. I assume some of the operas enthusiast read it.
Our opera club is gaining momentum. We are having about 50 members. We found a special hall to perform the opera sessions. The operas sessions take place in a hall at a school which one of the club members is managing.
Every session is opened with a lecture about the opera, the period of the opera, the composer, conductor, singers and more.
We also try to do long breaks for social meeting and introduction. It is a rare opportunity to meet other OperaNutz and to establish social connections.
We also have an internet forum where we discuss the last opera session, future programs and other related topics like ecoustics massage board.
Beside the main session at the hall we have meetings at private houses of small groups. During these meeting we do some equipment tests and audio performance DVD or CD compares.
Last session was for a rare opera of Janacek, "the cunning little vixen" not a great opera but interesting that deals with the relations between animals and people.
Next time we shall watch Julius Ceasar by Handel and tomorrow in a smaller group we shall see Les Trojans of Berlioz. New performance from 2004.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002TTTHO
I will report my impressions after watching.
I hope other members will join this forum it can be a great thread
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 376
Registered: Feb-04
Asimo, I look forward to your posts as another course in my opera education.
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 313
Registered: Oct-04
FYI - did my long-awaited "speaker audition" with B & W and Paradigm today. See "Old Dogs" thread.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 41
Registered: Apr-04
Larry R Two Cents

Les Troyens

Opera by Berlioz

Lesson No 1

This new performance of the opera, released Oct 2004, in my opinion is the best performance of Les Troyens.
Berlioz from his childhood time wished to compose a big opera about Troya fall and Rome establishment as describe in the ancient author Virgilius books.
Berlioz completed the opera in the year 1858 but the Troyens was hardly performed during his life. People of his time did not realize the genuine of Berlioz and preferred other composers.
The opera Les Troyens was considered as an unachievable opera. This grand opera needs 1000 singers, ballet dancers, acrobats and lasts about five long hours.
Only at the year 1957 Kubelik decided to perform the long opera at the Covent Garden with a great success.
After the successful performance the Troyens was declared as the best opera of Berlioz and one of the best French operas.

The music
Berlioz was inspired by Gluck music but added to the opera many of his own special effects: three groups of orchestra players located at a different distance from the stage, ancient trumpets, a special ancient harp, a derbucka an old Egyptian instrument and more old instruments beside new ones.
Berlioz also gave instructions for all special stage effects.

Basic description of the opera
The Greek that were boycotting Troya for years left the battle site and seem to sail back. They left behind a huge wooden horse.
The Trojans celebrate in the city center. Only one prophet woman, Casandra predicts disaster and in a magnificent aria tries to warn Troya citizens but in vain.
At the city center a dispute is emerging whether to let the wooden horse inside or not. Aneas a Troyan leader think that the wooden horse should let in to calm the gods wrath.
No horse arriving to the stage only a big fascinating image of horse head as Berlioz instructed.
The end of the story is well known and the Greek conquer the city but the opera continues.
Trojans women in the leadership of the prophet Casandra decide to commit suicide and not to be slaves of the Greeks while calling Italy a hint for the future .A very Impressive scene.
Aneas with some soldiers succeed to leave Troya on few ships.

The opera continues in Cartago, north Africa, where Aneas ships landed and found the charming Cartago queen, Dido and friendly Cartago's girls. Aneas and his soldiers are resting and celebrating.
Dido, Cartago queen falls in love with Aneas to the accords of a nice love duet better than Wagner Tristan and Isolda
Now the opera change direction to ballet dancing, acrobats playing, charming music of celebrations and feasts .Another not well known Berlioz music, this is a spectacular section with wonderful blue as background.
Unfortunately Aneas hears the gods call him to complete his duty and to establish a new city in Italy, Rome. He must leave Dido his love and sail to Italy. He tries to argue with gods but in vain. Aneas must obey the almighty gods.
Dido is broken. In a wonderful aria she mourns and curses her fate, Aneas and gods.
Then in the sight of the descending Aneas ships leaving Cartago she put an end to her life calling Hanibaal for future revenge.

I rated this opera performance in the 10 best of my list

You can also read about the opera and critics as well in the Amazon site

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002TTTHO

Larry R

Hope you will soon have a nice system for opera and music listening and enjoying.

Two Cents

Next opera lesson is next month. In the mean time do some home work and listen to some of my grand performances DVD --V recommendations.

Porgy and Bess - Gershwin

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002TTTHO

War and Peace - Prokofiev

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000TWMSE

Beethoven symphonies - Abbado

http://www.amazon.com/s/?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=abaddo+beethoven

Mahler symphonies - Abbado

http://www.amazon.com/s/?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mahler
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 382
Registered: Feb-04
Asimo,

Thanks for the recommendations. The Berlioz and Prokofiev seem like outstanding videos. I will seek them out.

One of the most memorable classical performances I've experienced was Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic performing Beethoven's 2nd and 7th symphonies. The 7th especially was an on-the-edge-of-your seat performance. The playing of the Vienna PO was as close to perfection as I have ever heard--100 players truly playing as one. The lush, unified sound of the strings was especially memorable. There was electricity in the concert hall that night.

As far as Abbado conducting Mahler, I'm a little skeptical that I would like it. You may have read about Rattle's DVD of Mahler 5, which is highly recommended. Rattle is tuned into Mahler and the Berliners play superbly. I'm not convinced about Abbado's interpretation of Mahler, but maybe someday that'll change.
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 341
Registered: Oct-04
Asimo: thanks so much for the "lesson," and the fine recommendations. Sorry, but I can't agree with your Abbado/Mahler pairings. After hearing Rattle and Tilson Thomas and Zander - well, I'm afraid Maestro Abbado comes in sorta third-place. Nothing "against" him, mind you - but if you were to do some A-B comparisons, you might hear what I mean. Or not. After all, this wacky world of music in which we all exist is filled with subjectivity to the max!

Two Cents - please - where and when did you hear the VPO "live?" I've never heard them in person, and would love to do so. Maybe someday???
Working my way up to another amplifier-trial soon, and will let all know about the changes in sound here. After reading Stereophile's review of the Polk RTi4 - slightly smaller than my 6s - well, maybe it's the amp, not the speakers, that is giving me my aural angst. Hmm. . .
Just finished listening - again - to Magdalena Kozena in Mozart arias. I like her performanc a lot, but sometimes her very tight vibrato hits me the wrong way. A voice that's a lot "fuller" than Ms. Dessay's - more like Gheorghiu - and with a lot of expression. I'll be interested to follow her career. So many singers - so little time!!!

More anon. . .
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 383
Registered: Feb-04
Larry R,

"So many singers - so little time!!!"

It's an embarrassment of riches! We're fortunate to be able to hear so much great music. Imagine where'd we be over a century ago, having to scrounge to buy tickets to the opera or the symphony just to get a taste of classical music.

Still recorded music is only a substitute for the real thing. I saw Abbado and the VPO when I lived in Ann Arbor many years ago. Their American tour included NY, LA, and AA (sorry, Chicago just wasn't an important enough town). That was just another example of what a wonderful town Ann Arbor is for music.

Have you taken your speakers into the dealer to hear how they sound with one of their amps? From everything you've described, it sounds like a problem with the electronics. But I'm no expert so can't help you in that regard. I just hope you can resolve this issue soon so that you can enjoy what matters--the music.

Tally ho!
 

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 343
Registered: Oct-04
Two Cents - as a matter of fact, yes, I DID take the Polks into the House of HiFi - and listened to them with first a B & K then a large NAD they had just put out in the listening room.
In their room, the Polks held up very well - and I was amazed at how much better they sounded there! In other words - I think my amp, not the speakers, are the main problem.
I'll soon be auditioning another amplifier here at home - will post results.
Mer had gone to the dentist, and was back home resting after a large shot and some small pills. I just grabbed the Polks and "went for a ride."
Therapy, I guess! (grin)

More anon. . .
 

Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 43
Registered: Apr-04
Larry R

Sorry for the family complications. Hope all will recover and feel good soon.
I also wish you good luck with the amplifier speaker complex. Just don't let wires interconnects and cables join the ceremony.

Larry R Two Cents

I did not see the Mahler 5 of Rattle and I thought it is a CD or DVD-A. Now I am trying to find it for watching. Anyhow Abbado has Mahler sym No 2 and No 9 on DVD-Video so one completes the others.


The watching of Abbado Mahler and Beethoven on DVD's (sure there are more) opened a new dimension in my music listening experience. The stage manager, camera men, sound engineers, editors and the conductor made a wonderful work for intensifying the pleasure of listening.
For example an oboe solo playing is discovered to be a duet between two oboes.
The cameras men following the music notes took exactly the right instrument in the right moment. Concert hall and audience played also part in the symphony performance. On top of that the editor adds few slight visualization gimmicks.

DVD Video for non operas is new field to me. I do not have many. Almost all my music is on CD's. I have seen the Abbado Mahler at a friend house and was conquered. Now I have to rearrange my listening room and to start buying these DVD's orchestral and chamber music.

I am lucky to have now a private music room in my apartment but I have to add a TV better a plasma or LCD. The 36"- 30"plasma or LCD are still expensive.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2669
Registered: Dec-03
Asimo,

I have finally got my player fixed to deal with DVD-A copy protection, so can state the Rattle Mahler 5 on EMI is an exceptionally good and interesting recording from every point of view.

It is Berlin Philharmonic/Simon Rattle playing Mahler 5th Symphony and Ades' "Aslya" on the EMI 7243 4 90325 9 0.

There is a DVD-V disc in the package with the full concert on video, plus Dolby€-3 and DTS 5.1, plus LPCM stereo. Plus an interview with Rattle which is worth seeing. Then there is the DVD-A disc with 5.1 and DVD-A MLP stereo. The DVD-A 5.1 is really an outstanding recording, in every way. HiFi does not get better than that. If you prefer stereo, both the DVD-V and DVD-A versions are high resolution all right. Excellent.

In the third movement, the obligato horn is played at the front of the stage, which Mahler apparently recommended in a letter. In the 5.1 DVD-A, you can hear that is where it is. The pizzicato string passage after the main horn entry is a total delight, too. I am fairly sure Rattle split the violas. Will check.

This is off-topic, but you asked about that recording.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3984
Registered: Dec-03
I bought "The Mikado" on DVD-V today.

Do G&S count, or is this off-topic?
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1152
Registered: Oct-04
John A. - Naw, it isn't off-topic, by any means. Remember that the two men really wanted to pen "serious" opera - but their fans and their publishers wouldn't let them! Maybe for the best?

Mikado is a classic in its own right - and if you want to further your fun-listening, try to find some Anna Russell albums - her cantankerous "it's very, very funny if you'vve lots and lots of money, to be captain of a F r i g a t e (she rolls it out beautifully) in the Queen's naveeeeeee."

They don't make them like Russell or Borge anymore, I'm afraid. Though "Dame Edna" begins to make up for the comedy-lack - while nowhere in the league of Anna Russell.

We'll be going to Barber of Seville at Sarasota Opera this November - but won't be season ticketers. They'll close the Opera House in very early spring for a 30-million dollar renovation! That sounds exciting. We plan to use our 2006-7 ticket money for summer 2007 and opera out at the wonderful Santa Fe house. Which we miss. . .

Hope the thread comes back to life?

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3988
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Larry.

I'd never heard of Anna Russell until a few weeks ago; there was an extract on the radio, I think from her Das Rheingold (sp?). Hilarious.
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1156
Registered: Oct-04
John A. - yes, indeed she was. I've ordered a couple of her CDs from Amazon - and will review them when they arrive. Haven't heard the woman in years - back when I had a couple of LPs of her performances.

And how sad to hear on the Saturday Met opera broadcast that Anna Moffo had died in New York last week - age 73. She had a marvelous, warm voice that cut through legions of lesser talent. Her "Songs of the Auvergne" is a record/CD not to miss.

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1171
Registered: Oct-04
Met Opera turmoil - by now you've probably heard that N Y Met Op priincipal conductor James Levine is out for the season. He fell on stage during a Boston Symphony concert - and tore up one shoulder. He's to go in for surgery - and will sit out the season.

This leaves the Met scrambling for fill-in conductors, and the Boston Symphony without leadership, as well.

Levine suffers from many health problems, including a very bad back and a tremor in one arm - as well as his ballooning weight, which only makes his back even worse.

We wish him well. . .

LR
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1192
Registered: Oct-04
To all: new Rolando Villazon CD is out - appropriately titled: "Opera Recital." . . .and it's another stunning performance by the man I consider the probable "heir apparent" to Placido Domingo. If Villazon keeps up his pace, he surely will beat out the very large pack of "new" tenors making the opera-rounds. IMHO, anyway. . .
Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1741
Registered: Dec-04
Larry, I would never make jest at some poor souls ill's, but...
Now we have the ace out with a soulder injury, out for the season.
As well, first bassist Cello is on the 60 day with a ham string injury.
Worse yet, the out fiddler is on the 30 day with a neck injury.
As well, the percussion has suffered a rash of skin afflictions, and the strings are all up tight about it.
Yup tough season for the Mets.

All apologies, I couldn't resist.

Now about the Boston pops...
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4040
Registered: Dec-03
Really good, Nuck!

The more you think about it, the more they have in common.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1805
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks John.
If I knew more about Cricket, other than how to spell it, I would have tried that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1204
Registered: Oct-04
John: had some friends over for luncheon - and conversation came around to opera, as it often does in our household. I mentioned Anna Russell, and my new CDs of the lady - and naturally everybody wanted to hear some of her performance.

Well, sir - in about ten minutes everybody was crying, they were laughing so hard! The sound quality on the discs leaves something to be desired, but her sense of humor was simply devastating! I highly recommend her discs to anybody who fears the dragon called "opera!"

Is there anybody today who takes opera to task in a humorous way? If so, please tell me. . .

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1852
Registered: Dec-04
What's opera, doc?
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1860
Registered: Dec-04
Or, 'Caaaaant you se that I'm much sweeter, I'iiiiiiiim your little senyereeter. snip snip'

Enter Vivaldi.
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1217
Registered: Oct-04
All Nutz: Was sitting here polishing some CDs, and listening to a CD of Placido Domingo and Leontyne Price singing Verdi and Puccini duets. My, such voices! And such attractive people - (an older album, when both were young and supple!)

Got to wondering about the state of Black opera singers, and decided that there are several now who are just breaking in - but few superstars left on stage.

There would be one - Kathleen Battle - had she not become such an utter birch and alientated virtually everybody. The Met finally declared her persona non gratta - and fired her. She's never been in a major opera since. How awful - with her looks and absolutely stunning voice. She ruined herself. . .

Ms. Price, on the other hand, has always been welcome everywhere she goes. At least in her later years. At first, the "girl from Mississippi" was denied stage time and had the usual discrimination that was so rife in the 50s and early 60s. But she made it from Laurel to Juilliard, and the Met - and is certainly equal in talent to Ms. Battle. When she retired in 1985 her nationwide telecast was seen by millions, including this ole scribe. Eighteen Grammys, I believe, and loved by all.

Wonder how Ms. Battle will end her singing life? Just plain too bad. . .sigh.

Respectfully. . .LarryR

 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1506
Registered: Oct-04
Anybody know ANYTHING about Opera Carolina? My wife and I are thinking seriously of moving to Charlotte, NC - and need info on the opera scene there.

Many thanx!
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