Monday, June 27, 2016
It’s time to add more legends to my Mixcloud site: Mario Del Monaco, Raina Kabaivanska, and Tito Gobbi star in this 1962 performance of Otello from Covent Garden led by Georg Solti. Del Monaco, never one for subtlety, enters at full speed with perhaps the most secure “Esultate!” I’ve ever heard. His career spanned the globe, singing often with the greatest divas of his time such as Zinka Milanov, Renata Tebaldi (both were signed to Decca Records, for which they made several recordings), and Maria Callas (he was her Pollione when they opened La Scala in 1955 and at her Met debut). Between 1950 and 1959 he chalked up nearly 150 Met performances in the dramatic tenor repertoire. It is said he sang Otello 457 times in his career, which lasted till 1975. Kabaivanska, unfortunately, made few commercial recordings (there were a few recital discs released on RCA LPs which apparently never made it to the digital domain), but was a regular visitor to the Met from 1964 (debuting as Nedda) till a final Tatiana in Eugene Onegin in 1978. A personal highlight for me was her Lisa in the company’s first Russian-language performances of Pique Dame opposite Nicolai Gedda in 1972. A stunning woman known for her committed acting, she also possesses one of those unique voices, recognizable in a single phrase, of which both aspects are preserved on a DVD of Tosca with Plácido Domingo and Sherrill Milnes from 1976. She specialized in Puccini and verismo works such as Francesca da Rimini. In 2001, at the age of 66, her career took a twist with a new role: Liza Elliott in Kurt Weill’s Lady in the Dark at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo (sung in something resembling English: “Uxley vants to make his buk on me”). Gobbi is likely the most significant Scarpia of the 20th century and claimed to have sung the role nearly 1,000 times, recording it twice with Callas, a close friend and frequent collaborator. It served as his Met debut in 1956 with Milanov and Giuseppe Di Stefano, as well as his farewell to the company as a singer in 1975 with Dorothy Kirsten and John Alexander; he returned in 1978 to restage Otto Schenk’s 1968 production of Tosca. His career actually began in the early 1930s in Italy’s provincial houses. Over the next three decades he would graduate to the world’s main stages in roles as diverse as Don Giovanni, Simon BOccanegra, and Wozzeck (sung in Italian). In addition to Scarpia, his later career focused on Jago and Falstaff. Gobbi appeared in about 25 Italian films in both singing and dramatic roles, and began his third career as a stage director in the 1960s. At the time of this performance, Solti, as music director of the Covent Garden Opera Company, was instrumental in having the company renamed the Royal Opera and gradually did away with the practice of all performances being sung in English. A little-known fact about the maestro is his presence in the Guinness Book of World Records: he holds the record for the most Grammy Awards won (31 out of 74 nominations, plus a special lifetime achievement award). Giuseppe Verdi: Otello Royal Opera, Covent Garden Georg Solti, conductor 30 June 1962 Otello – Mario Del Monaco Desdemona – Raina Kabaivanska Jago – Tito Gobbi Emilia – Josephine Veasey Cassio – John Lanigan Roderigo – John Dobson Lodovico – David Ward Montano – Forbes Robinson Un aroldo – Glynne Thomas If you’re not in the mood for Shakespearean tragedy, you may enjoy a charming, fun performance of L’elisir d’amore from a broadcast last week from Wiener Staatsoper starring Stephen Costello, Valentina Nafortina, and Erwin Schrott as a scenery-chewing Dulcamara. I know Costello has had his detractors at Parterre, but within an hour after I posted the performance, someone left the comment, “It’s so good to hear Stephen Costello back in form as he was at the last Tucker Gala.” As always, click on: https://www.mixcloud.com/Jungfer_Marianne_Leizmetzerin/
By Jacob Stockinger He is 75. He was a superstar tenor for decades, often competing with the late Luciano Pavarotti for top honors in the opera world. Then he became a conductor and now he sings as a baritone since his voice dropped with old age . But does Mexican-born Placido Domingo (below) still have what it takes to be in the top ranks of the opera world? Famed critic Norman Lebrecht , who lives and works in the United Kingdom , recently hear Domingo sing in “Nabucco ” by Giuseppe Verdi at Covent Garden in London . Here is his review and first-hand account from his blog Slipped Disc: http://slippedisc.com/2016/06/domingo-you-pitiful-old-man-a-shadow-of-what-you-were/ Tagged: Arts , baritone , blog , choral music , Classical music , conductor , Covent Garden , England , Jacob Stockinger , London , Luciano Pavarotti , Mexico , Music , Norman Lebrecht , opera , Plácido Domingo , sing , singer , Slipped Disc , Slippedisc , superstar , tenor , United Kingdom , vocal music
Royal Opera House, London In the title role, Domingo played the ageing king with captivating physicalityAround a decade ago Plácido Domingo was still singing Tristan. Shortly after, his tenor voice fading, he switched down to baritone, choosing his roles carefully, favouring Verdi. Managing the notes is only a starting point to distinguishing a voice type. Timbre, strength and control from top to bottom of the range all contribute. The common complaint has been that Domingo still has the vocal character of a tenor, without the necessary baritonal weight. Some mind, and think he should retire. The rest still revel in the musicality, intelligence and experience of a singer nearing the close of a 45-year career. He returned to Covent Garden last week to reprise the title role in Verdi’s early Nabucco.Domingo sang it when Daniele Abbado’s austere staging, in Alison Chitty’s understated designs, was new in 2013. The production treats the work more as oratorio, letting the chorus hold sway – which they do, singing superbly under the experienced baton of Maurizio Benini. Abigaille (Liudmyla Monastyrska), Ismaele (Jean-François Borras), Fenena (Jamie Barton) and Zaccaria (John Relyea) are all more than reliable, but bring little in the way of characterisation. This played to Domingo’s strengths. Others may produce greater volume (the Greek baritone Dimitri Platanias will sing five performances). Domingo offered dignity, courage and charisma. Now in his mid-70s, he played the ageing king, made insane by a raging god, with compelling physicality. White-haired and grizzled, he had the look of El Greco’s penitent St Peter. The prompt box was in use: Domingo won’t be the first, or the last, to need it occasionally. Less visible devices – various kinds of earpieces used by some actors – are available. He is a man of the theatre, happy to stick with a tradition going back to the Elizabethans. Continue reading...
Plácido Domingo as Nabucco in The Royal Opera's Nabucco © ROH/Catherine Ashmore Free opera in Trafalgar Square. Great atmosphere, everyone clapping. Magnificent. Thanks @RoyalOperaHouse pic.twitter.com/sZlyT9DVCQ — Melanie Ward (@melanie_ward) June 9, 2016 I don't care if she can't hear me. I will damn well Brava that diva and clap till my hands hurt. #ROHnabucco — Simon H (@FreelanceCynic) June 9, 2016 Couldn't tell at all that @PlacidoDomingo just sang #ROHnabucco with a cold - this guy is amazing @TheRoyalOpera — Claire Liu (@theclaireliu) June 9, 2016 Had never heard #JamieBarton and she's an amazing #Fenena but #PlacidoDomingo is hypnotic - thank you #ROHnabucco — omlidia (@omlidia) June 9, 2016 A photo posted by Laura C (@lauracoul) on Jun 9, 2016 at 1:59pm PDT Liudmyla's Abigaille is astounding. Truly well developed Anti-heroine. She literally takes no prisoners with this performance #ROHnabucco — Christopher Arroyo (@TisChris) June 9, 2016 These @RoyalOperaHouse midweek livestreams are a real midweek pick-me-up. Love them. #ROHnabucco — Stuart Melling (@stu_melling) June 9, 2016 In Verdi Heaven watching live on youtube @TheRoyalOpera What a perfect cast! #ROHNabucco Domingo, Monastyrska, Barton and Relyea rule! — Ingrid Haas (@lahaas75) June 9, 2016 Almost religious! @ROHchorus Va pensiero, the star of #ROHnabucco Bravi Bravi Bravi! Spine tinglingly good! pic.twitter.com/lTbjAk7zEs — Achyuta Nori (@AchyutaNori) June 9, 2016 A photo posted by Vanessa (@vcaevans) on Jun 9, 2016 at 11:04am PDT Heavy theme for an atheist, but some brilliant performances and a great chorus. How can Plácido sing so well in that position? #ROHnabucco — Marverde is #IN (@wlate17) June 9, 2016 #ROHnabucco Greatest Maestro, wonderful Cast!!! Thank you ROH for an amazing evening on YouTube! — starry6365 (@starry6365) June 9, 2016 #ROHnabucco thank you for an excellent evening's cultural experience. Pjs, prosecco, Placido. Sofa, singalong superb performance! Bravo xxx — ajogle (@ajogle) June 9, 2016 @RoyalOperaHouse #ROHnabucco fantastic production. Special shout out to Leonardo Capalbo for his ROH debut! — James Hutchings (@HutchingsJames_) June 9, 2016 A photo posted by Debashis Puhan (@debashispuhan) on Jun 9, 2016 at 12:59pm PDT What did you think of Nabucco live on BP Big Screens and YouTube? Let us know via the comments below. The final BP Big Screen of 2015/16 will be Il trovatore on 14 July 2016. Find your nearest screen .
Giuseppe Verdi ’s opera is presented by Dominic Peckham , who will be joining audiences live from Trafalgar Square in London. For specially selected films and articles about the production download our Nabucco digital programme – for free using the promo code FREENABUCCO. The story: Daniele Abbado's production of Nabucco © Rudy Amisano/Teatro alla Scala Nabucco, King of Babylon, is at war with the Israelites – but his daughter Fenena is in love with Ismaele, who is one of them. When he captures Jerusalem, Fenena goes against her father and releases his prisoners, leading her vengeful half-sister Abigaille to plot to take power. Nabucco is struck by lightning and in his weakened state is tricked into signing a death warrant for the Israelites by Abigaille. He prays to the God of Israel for forgiveness. But does his awakening come in time to save the Israelites from death? The production: Daniele Abbado's production of Nabucco © Rudy Amisano/Teatro alla Scala Abbado’s production is set in the second half of the 20th century and explores the reality of conflict, where friend and enemy may become indistinguishable. There are wonderful bass and baritone roles in the figures of Nabucco, the Babylonian King and Zaccaria, the Hebrew prophet – while in Abigaille, Verdi created a memorable anti-heroine, at once terrifying and pitiable. Throughout, the score blends rhythmic vitality and powerful drama, and is on a scale to do justice to the opera’s epic themes. The music: An epic drama in every sense of the word, Nabucco features an enormous chorus that sing iconic choral works including ‘Immenso jehova’ and ‘Va pensiero’, the unofficial national anthem of Italy . Find out more about the true story behind ‘Va pensiero’ . The cast: Domingo sings the title role of Nabucco joined by the Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska as Abigaille, in this first revival of Abbado’s production. In this short film, shot in 2013, the pair discuss the complexities of Verdi’s Biblical epic, a challenge for any singer. Review and competition After the relay, we will publish a roundup of the audience tweets, so share your thoughts with the hashtag #ROHnabucco . Audiences will also have the opportunity to win an ROH prize by sharing their picnic selfies from venues around the UK. Tweet or Instagram your pictures with the hashtag #ROHnabucco for the chance to win. Nabucco runs 6–30 June 2016. Tickets are still available. The performance on 9 June 2016 will be broadcast live to outdoor screens around the UK and to YouTube around the world for free – f ind a BP Big Screen near you . The production is a co-production with La Scala, Milan , Lyric Opera of Chicago and Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona , and is generously supported by Rolex and The Friends of Covent Garden.
Production image for Nabucco Thought @John_Relyea a total star in last night's @TheRoyalOpera #ROHnabucco . His voice shook the world beneath Zaccaria's feet: THRILLING! — Meunier007 (@Meunier007) June 7, 2016 What can one say about Plácido Domingo? The man is 75 and had to sing Verdi on his knees and flat on his belly. What a star! #ROHnabucco — Gary Neil Cairney (@GaryCairney) June 6, 2016 Ambiguous production doesn't help to understand who's who. Monastyrska's powerful Abigaille & @ROHchorus are highlights of #ROHnabucco — Yosh M (@yoshkosh10) June 6, 2016 The Royal Opera Chorus in Nabucco ©ROH/Catherine Ashmore, 2013 Bravi to @ROHchorus for a moving 'Va pensiero' on opening night of #ROHnabucco & the excellent John Relyea. Great to see @PlacidoDomingo too — Rob (@bluewatertory) June 7, 2016 I didn't make it to the end of #ROHnabucco last night. @PlacidoDomingo was superb but it wasn't my thing. I'm learning my opera limits. — Grandpa Chris (@chris_grandpa) June 7, 2016 Not really impressed in characters clothing.. and the rifles, really? Zaccaria was carrying a gun at some point!#ROHnabucco — Chris Demetriad (@chrisdemetriad) June 7, 2016 Plácido Domingo as Nabucco in The Royal Opera's Nabucco © ROH/Catherine Ashmore Monastyrska rocked #ROHAbigaille ! Shame about #rohNabucco . And the worst production. ever. — Fedja Hadrovich (@Hadrovich) June 6, 2016 A performance of quiet dignity and extreme pathos from Domingo in last night's Nabucco @RoyalOperaHouse — Andrew Broadley (@andrewbroadley) June 7, 2016 Anyway, Nabucco @RoyalOperaHouse was terrific. Fantastic singing. Plácido Domingo on great form. — Rhys (@rhysrmann) June 6, 2016 Press reviews: The Guardian ★★★ The Stage ★★★ The Telegraph ★★★ Read the reactions to the 2013 production of Nabucco What did you think of Nabucco? Let us know via the comments below. Nabucco runs 6–30 June 2016. Tickets are still available. The performance on 9 June 2016 will be broadcast live to outdoor screens around the UK for free – f ind a screening near you . The production is a co-production with La Scala, Milan , Lyric Opera of Chicago and Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona , and is generously supported by Rolex and the Friends of Covent Garden .
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