Giacomo Puccini: Manon Lescaut

December 15th, 2021 by admin No comments »

Manon Lescaut, Puccinis first success, has everything which makes an operatic success. The characters are musically well presented, the music is nice, with a flow and nice arias / melodies. It’s some kind of consequent and straight forward in the approach, emphasizing the emotional part of the characters (in difference to Massenets variant).

In some sense, it should be called Des Grieux, as the tenor is very central in this musical proposal, i.e., the tenor is very important in my view here. My favorite recording is Björling live at the Met with Mitropoulos conducting. Electrizing in all senses (even if at the end, if you know the 3 recordings with Björling, you may notice, that the emotional effects were more calculated as you may think at first). For hifi reasons, I would go on the mono studio recording, which is still very good. Bergonzi is surprinsingly a very good Des Grieux either.

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Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier

June 29th, 2020 by admin No comments »

“Der Rosenkavalier” is a nice mix of modernism (not really a modern opera) and classical, with a nonchalance, a comic verve, a finesse, as a lot of irony against the social situation. Even if Capriccio shows that Richard Strauss would continue to evolve to achieve remarkable levels (a little like Verdi with Falstaff), the Rosenkavalier has still something more direct in the approach.

So, which recording I would recommend? In my young years, I loved Schwarzkopf from the Voice point of view. Then I evolved to the studio recording from Erich Kleiber. Reining is not the best, but the complete recording is remarkably consistent. If stereo is a must have, that Karajan for EMI / Warner is probably a reference.

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Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

June 25th, 2020 by admin No comments »

Tristan und Isolde was the first complete Opera from Richard Wagner I aquired a CD (The Böhm Recording on DGG). I know, not the easiest, but I found access to it through it, and since them, I became a real fan of the componist. I’m always amazed by the 4 hours of consistant chromatic music flow, which takes you even if from a dramatic point of view, it’s a very “simple” story.

Which recording I would recommend? Probably the Böhm, as it has the right balance between speed and slowness, the right singers, not to histrionic, but present as they have to be (Nilsson is of course amazing), and it’s more vivid as current with live recordings than others…

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