Tuesday, October 25, 2016
(T. Charles Erickson photo for BLO) Waiting for the curtain to rise on Boston Lyric Opera’s season-opening revival of Calixto Bieito’s production of Carmen, I was fully prepared to be shocked, outraged, confused, irritated and/or disgusted. It’s all but impossible to be an opera aficionado in the 21st century without being aware of the Catalan stage director’s notoriety as a provocateur, enfant terrible, bête noire and other continental terms denoting an artistic rebel-without-a-cause. As noted in the Carmen program book, Bieito made his debut in 2004 with a production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail that graphically depicted fellatio, rape and torture; he has been blithely scandalizing the operatic establishment ever since. Though BLO and revival director Joan Anton Rechi carefully defended Bieito against his detractors (see interview with BMInt here ), many of the marketing materials surrounding this revival and its twin production in San Francisco made much of the auteur’s legend in order to ramp up audience interest. It’s an understandable sales tactic—after all, stark depictions of the reliable commodities of sex and violence constitute Bieito’s stock-in-trade. Gratifyingly or disappointingly, depending on one’s perspective, I left the Boston Opera House on Friday night having experienced none of the jarring symptoms of theatrical malaise I’d been warned against and/or promised. In BLO’s hands, the production proved challenging, flawed but coherent, dramatically effective and often exciting, and not just in a titillating sense. In this judiciously abbreviated version of Bizet’s classic (much of the spoken dialogue is cut), and the action takes place in Ceuta, the Spanish autonomous city located at the far end of North African coast. The opening scene reveals an unmistakably masculine environment: a group of military men stand watching a comrade doing punishment laps, clad in nothing but a pair of combat boots and sweat-drenched tighty-whiteys. A large wooden flagpole equipped with thick, noose-worthy rope towers over the ensemble. The set piece provides a neat double-image, recalling both a phallus and a gibbet, helping to illustrate the drunken Lillas Pastia’s opening pronouncement, “L’amour c’est comme la mort.” Throughout the show, Alfons Flores’ set remains spare, yet impressive. A large backdrop of a bull overshadows the scene during the final two acts, until it is dismantled in a simple but startling coup de theâtre—in 2016, it’s nice to hear a gasp from audience members convinced that they can by surprised by nothing. In the second and third acts, a small fleet of Mercedes-Benz cars roll onstage, their headlights glaring straight at the audience for a moment or two as they drive. It’s an assault on the senses, to be sure, though it certainly succeeds in immersing the audience deep into the world of the opera. Mercè Paloma’s costumes seem geared toward flattering the male figure rather than the female; clad in loud, bargain-basement ensembles, the women’s costumes appear to wear the performers rather than the other way around. The men, by contrast, are set-off well in form-fitting military uniforms and suits. The effect privileges the beauty of the male figure over that of the female; in a plot that revolves around the violence of a man maddened by the allure of a woman, the aesthetic choice—intentional or not—seems somewhat counterintuitive, though certainly intriguing. Bieito reveals a cinematic sensibility in his penchant for creating visually striking stage pictures; in a particularly thrilling moment, the 70-strong crowd of bullring spectators charge a just-strung rope line in time with the orchestra as it swells, leading up to the iconic toreador march in “Les voici! Voici la quadrille!” As the spectators cheer, we experience the parade of bullring heroes not as a literal depiction, but rather as reflected in the faces of the bloodthirsty, sport-maddened crowd. Less successful scenes include the “moon-baptism” that opens the third act, during which a young toreador strips naked and exposes himself to a bull as a superstitious ritual before the bullfight. According to the directors, this added sequence has its origins in actual Spanish custom; in the context of the production, however, replete as it is with constant reminders of primal male sexuality, it comes across at best as unnecessary and at worst as baffling. Indeed, to anyone who didn’t pore over the program notes, the sight of a dimly lit nude man slapping his thighs before a giant silhouette of a bull reads more as an allusion to a Spanish version of Equus than anything to do with the story at hand. Bieito takes great pains to depict Ceuta as a realm of unfettered primal instincts; in keeping with his reputation, sometimes he goes too far. In a show in which soldiers rush a phone both in order to trap their sexual prey, then tie and hoist a scantily clad female up the phallus/flagpole, it seems unnecessary that the lieutenant must then thrust his groin repeatedly into the ground or that the troops need to massage their nether-regions as they survey women leaving a cigarette factory. I would imagine than anyone naïve enough to miss the point at that juncture is probably too young to attend the performance in the first place. Jennifer Johnson Cano scrawls on the chest of solider Joseph Yonaitis. (T. Charles Erickson photo) Jennifer Johnson Cano brought a dark, Horne-esque mezzo-soprano and an understated insolence to the title role. Her somewhat emotionally distant Carmen holds something back from her lovers, offering all of her body but only bits and pieces of her heart. It’s an atypical take on this hot-blooded siren, perhaps more in keeping with Franz Wedekind than Prosper Merimée, yet not ineffective in this context. Johnson Cano seemed almost haunted at times; lying on the ground facing away from the desperate Don José in Act II, she seemed determined to live in a world all her own, untouched by and perhaps protected from her lover’s frantic pleas. Roger Honeywell made a nontraditional choice as José, a green young man—a mama’s boy, even—experiencing the throes of uncontrollable passion for the first time. A mature stage presence, Honeywell comes across as the type who would have been too sensible to succumb to Carmen’s charms if it weren’t for the fact that the libretto tells him to act otherwise. Though the tenor boasts an emotionally engaged sound—“La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” particularly touched us—his José made a strikingly pathetic figure onstage. Whether by default or directorial design, the doomed soldier-turned-gypsy reads as perpetually ineffectual, both as a lover and as a member of Ceuta’s toxically masculine culture. To whit: in Bieito’s staging, José mounts Carmen during their Act IV confrontation—seemingly about to commit rape. Overcome by despair and perhaps momentarily stricken by conscience, he gets up and backs away, unable to possess the object of his desire even by force. In this amoral, testosterone-infused landscape, perhaps it makes a kind of oblique sense to José that the only way to save his pride is to end Carmen’s life, thus spoiling her for anyone else. It is a shame that Johnson Cano and Honeywell were not able to muster enough tension for this scene to be truly riveting; to be sure, the bare stage does not help them—Carmen hardly seems trapped in such a wide open space—though the confrontation made for a rather lackluster close to an otherwise high-energy evening. Soprano Chelsea Basler, an admirable Micaëla, boasted a sweet, warm timbre in her middle and low registers and a brilliant, steely top. Basler’s exceptionally well-sung Act III showpiece, “Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante” alas felt somewhat marred by the excess of stage business Bieito, Rechi and associates insist on giving her. (Micaëla’s scene with José in Act I was similarly burdened, including a moment in which the couple got a cheap laugh by taking a selfie—the second time I have seen this superfluous reference to contemporary culture on the operatic stage in the past three months.) Less saintly than in other productions, this Micaëla brought a competitive sensuality of her own, making an “in your face” gesture at Carmen as she leads José from the gypsy camp in Act III. The cartoonishly masculine, granite-jawed Michael Mayes brought a shyster’s swagger and a robust sound as Escamillo. He and Johnson Cano beautifully matched as a musical and theatrical pair so much so that it seemed obvious that Carmen and José had been wasting time on each other from the beginning; Johnson Cano shared chemistry with Mayes to a degree that was never even hinted at in her interactions with Honeywell. The melding of Mayes’ dark chocolate baritone and Johnson Cano’s caramel mezzo only confirmed that the toreador and the gypsy were made for each other. Standouts among the supporting cast included Liam Moran’s Zuniga, whose every action simmered with the promise of imminent violence. Of all the male actors, Moran best embodied the volatile world of unfettered sexual rapacity that Bieito seeks to portray. With the additional power of his vigorous bass sound, Moran’s palpably animalistic stage presence seemed to pose a genuine threat to the physical safety of any female onstage. Actor Yusef Lambert, a colorful addition, embodied anarchic glee as the gypsy Lillas Pastia. Bieito’s choice to add a prepubescent girl (Lily Waters) to the gypsy band was an inspired touch; the wide-eyed young actress served as a kind of apprentice to the trio of Carmen, Mércèdes and Frasquita, with the clear implication that the child’s fate is as cruel and inescapable as anyone’s in this harsh landscape. David Angus led the Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra in a spirited, technically precise reading of the score, though one yearned for a bit more fire here and there throughout their reading of one of Western music’s most unabashedly sensual scores. The superb ensemble, under the direction of chorusmaster Michelle Alexander, acquitted themselves with energy and aplomb, giving strong vocal and dramatic performances despite the abundance of active stage business required by the production. Given Bieito’s track record for Regietheater gone wild it would have been easy to accuse BLO of choosing spectacle for its own sake as a means to generate buzz around its new season; 2016-2017 not only represents the company’s 40th anniversary, but also its debut at the Boston Opera House, a the former vaudeville palace in which opera had such a brief run in Caldwell’s days. It is a move that bodes well for the genre’s future in our city; as Opera News noted in 2013, our city has had a conflicted relationship with opera, achieving the status of a true international hub for limited periods throughout the past century. True to its current name, the former Keith Memorial Theater provides a natural habitat for the genre; though Carmen is its only engagement in the venue this season, one hopes that BLO will eventually be able to return “home” permanently. A nationally recognized company deserves—and indeed, requires—a larger, more acoustically alive space than BLO formerly suffered at the relatively cramped Shubert. Moreover, though my seat in the third row on Friday night all but guaranteed a perfect view of the stage, previous experience of the tall, open Opera House allows me to state that the venue’s sightlines from any vantage point are vastly preferable to those at the Shubert. Michael Mayes and Roger Honeywell (T. Charles Erickson photo) In all, BLO’s choice to marry newly expanded real estate opportunities with artistic daring is a choice that pays off; it would appear that its fifth decade is off to a strong start. Carmen repeats September 25th, 30th and October 2nd at the Boston Opera House. Kate Stringer (MM in musicology from BU) is Research and Public Information Administrator at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. In addition to her scholarly activities, she is a veteran actress, writer and director as well as a versatile mezzo-soprano. The post BLO, Bieito Take Boston by the Horns appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .
10/17/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Wyn Morris 1966 Des Knaben Wunderhorn (J. Baker & G. Evans) (a rip by Leroy V) 10/12/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, Saint-Saens: Violin Sonatas by Kang & Devoyon (2003) 10/11/16 Darmstadt #4 +1CD Carter's Piano & Cello Sonatas + works by Del Tredici, Helps & Persichetti 10/11/16 Brahms Piano & Chamber Gems +1CD Clarinet & String Quintets by D. Shifrin and Chamber Music N-W 10/11/16 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Boulez's Structures for 2 Pianos by the Kontarsky Duo (1965) 10/8/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD set Albeniz's Iberia by Olivier Chauzu (2008) 10/4/16 Strauss #3 +1CD Oboe Concerto by Douglas Boyd & Paavo Berglund (1986) (+ Mozart's K. 314) 10/4/16 Strauss #3 +1CD set Heldenleben & Zarathustra with Zubin Mehta in L.A. (1968) (a rip by Dante B.) 10/3/16 Bartok #5 +1CD The wooden Prince & Hungarian Pictures by Neeme Jarvi in London (1990) 10/3/16 Bartok #5 +1CD The wooden Prince & Dance Suite by Ivan Fischer in Budapest (1996) 10/1/16 Haydn Quartets Op. 9 New links added for the original release from the 1990's. Disc scans and inside cover scans are included in the new scans link. Scroll to the bottom of the comments section for the new links. 9/22/16 Prokofiev #1 +1DVD Romeo & Juliet: Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Alessandra Ferri & Wayne Eagling (1984) 9/21/16 Prokofiev #2 +1CD 1st Symphony, Love for 3 Oranges & Lieutenant Kijé by Lorin Maazel in Paris (1985) 9/21/16 Prokofiev #2 +5CDs 5th Symphony by: Y. Levi, V. Handley, Y. Temirkanov, J. Martinon & G. Noseda 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +3CDs Romeo & Juliet (Excerpts) by Claudio Abbado, Claus Peter Flor & Yoel Levi 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set Cinderella complete ballet by Vladimir Ashkenazy in Cleveland (1983) 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set Romeo & Juliet complete ballet by Valery Gergiev in St. Petersburg (1990) 9/20/16 Prokofiev #1 +2 CDs Alexander Nevsky & Scythian Suite by Valery Gergiev (2002) & Neeme Jarvi (1988) 9/14/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Spanish & Argentine Flamencos played by Paco Peña & Eduardo Falú (1989) 9/14/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Montoya & Ricardo: Flamencos, played by Paco Peña (1987) 9/13/16 Spanish School #3 +1CD Spanish 20th Century Guitar Works by Agustin Maruri (1995) 9/13/16 Spanish School #1 +1CD Guitar Music of Ponce, Piazzolla, Barrios played by Manuel Barrueco (1997) 9/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Borodin's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by the Borodin Quartet (1980) 9/12/16 Rachmaninov #2 +3CDs Piano Concertos & Paganini Rhapsody by T. Vasary & Y. Ahronovitch (a rip by Dante B.) 9/12/16 Bruckner +1CD set Symphony No. 8 by Giulini in Vienna 1985 (a rip by Dante B.) 9/10/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Vivaldi's Le Quattro Stagioni by Gil Shaham & the Orpheus C.O. (1993) 9/10/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Smetana's Ma Vlast by Vaclav Talich in Prague (1954) (a rip by Corrado D.) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 1st Violin Sonata (+ Debussy & Janacek) by V. Mullova & P. Anderszewski (1994) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD The War Sonatas by Vladimir Ashkenazy (1995) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 3rd Concerto & Tchaikovsky's 1st by Noriko Ogawa & Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1989) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1 CD set The 5 Piano Concertos by Vladimir Krainev & Dmitri Kitaenko in Frankfurt (1992) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set 3rd & 5th Concertos (+ Schumann's and Liszt's) by Samson François (1958-1961) 9/10/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD 3rd Concerto & Ravel's left Hand Concerto by John Browning & Erich Leinsdorf (1960) 9/8/16 Schumann +1CD Papillons, Piano Quintet, Fantasiestücke Op. 73 with Jonathan Biss, Jerusalem Q., Martin Fröst 9/8/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Domenico Scarlatti's Keyboard Sonatas by Marcela Roggeri (Piano) (2004) 9/8/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Symphony No. 1 by Mariss Jansons in St. Petersburg (1999) (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/29/16 Schumann +1CD Margaret Price's Frauenlieben und Leben (1981) 8/14/16 The Long Goodbye +1CD Beethoven & Mozart's Wind Quintets by Alfred Brendel & Soloists (1986)8/14/16 The Long Goodbye +1LP Beethoven's 7th Symphony by Karl Böhm (1958) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Pergolesi Stabat Mater by Claudio Abbado (1985)8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Mozart's 3rd & 5th Violin Concertos by Isabelle van Keulen (1989)8/14/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Mozart Piano Sonatas by Daria van den Bercken (2014) 8/5/16 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Mendelssohn's String Quintets at the Marlboro Festival 1990 (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/5/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Mendelssohn's Elias by Wolfgang Sawallisch (a rip by Corrado D.) 8/5/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Mendelssohn's Elias & Paulus Oratorios by Helmut Rilling (a rip by Dante B.) 7/19/16 Mahler 7 +1CD Gianandrea Noseda in Manchester (2010) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/19/16 American Classics +1CD Barber's Sonata (+ Berg's Op. 1 & Beethoven's Op. 126) by Ashley Wass 7/19/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Gubaidulina: The Piano Music by Marcela Roggeri (2007) 7/18/16 Summer Nights #6 +1CD Frederica von Stade's Haydn, Mozart, Rossini solo album (1975) w/ de Waart & Dorati 7/18/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD set J-P. Rameau's Zais by Christophe Rousset (2014) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD set Beethoven's 4th Concerto (+ Chopin's 2nd & Schumann's) by Guiomar Novaes 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1LP Beethoven's Violin Concerto by H. Szeryng & B. Haitink (a transfer by Enrico B.) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's Violin Concerto by Anne-Sophie Mutter & Kurt Masur in NYC (2002) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's Quartets Nos. 9 & 14 by the Quartetto Italiano (1969) 7/16/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's 4th Concerto by Lang Lang & Christoph Eschenbach in Paris (2007) 7/13/16 Summer Nights #12 +1CD Guastavino's Songs by Florent Héau (Clarinet) with Marcela Roggeri, Piano (2008) 7/11/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's Il Tabarro & Leoncavallo's Pagliacci by James Levine (1994) 7/11/16 Messiaen +1CD La fauvette passerinette & other piano pieces by Peter Hill (2014) 7/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Lalo's complete Piano Trios by the Trio Parnassus (1992) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD set Bizet's complete Orchestral Music by Enrique Batiz (1988) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/9/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Saint-Saens's Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 by G. Pretre (1991) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/9/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Satie, Piano Music (including most Gnossiennes) by Marcela Roggeri (2005) 7/5/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1CD set, Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri by Claudio Abbado in Vienna (1987) 7/5/16 Opera Favourites #1 +2CD sets, Bellini's Norma (J. Levine 1979) & I Capuleti e i Montecchi (R. Muti 1984) 7/5/16 Bach +1CD Cantatas for Counter-Tenor (BWV 170, 54, 35) by A. Scholl & P. Herreweghe (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/5/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD 'Nocturne' (Selected Lieder) by Rupert Charlesworth & Edwige Herchenroder (2014) 7/4/16 In the Name of Music +1CD set Liszt's Christus oratorio by Helmuth Rilling (1997) (a rip by Dante B.) 7/2/16 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Brahms' Trio Op. 8 & Beethoven's 'Archduke': V. Mullova, H. Schiff & A. Previn (1993) 7/2/16 Summer Nights #7 +1LP Brahms' Violin Concerto by Henryk Szeryng & Bernard Haitink (a transfer by Enrico B.) 7/2/16 Bach 1CD set The well Tempered Clavier by Sergey Schepkin (1998-9) ( a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD The Art of Fugue by the Keller Quartett (1998) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD Cantatas BWV 4, 56, 82 with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1951-2-3) (a rip by Corrado D.) 7/2/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations (Arr. for String Trio by Bruno Giuranna), Trio Broz (2008) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/28/16 Bach +1CD set The well Tempered Clavier by Samuel Feinberg (1959) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Salvatore Accardo (1976) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set The Art of Fugue by Grigory Sokolov (2008) (a rip by Corrado D.)6/28/16 Bach +1CD set Brandenburg Concertos by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (2007) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/27/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Fauré, Chausson, Saint-Saens, Massenet by K. Deshayes & Ensemble Contraste 6/27/16 Musique Française #2 +2CDs Chausson Concert (Accardo) & Symphony (Ansermet) (rips by Corrado D.) 6/26/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD set Songs by Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc etc. by G. Souzay (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Piano Music by Vlado Perlemuter (1955 recordings) 6/26/16 Musique Française #3 +1LP Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suites by Willem van Otterloo in The Hague (1956) 6/26/16 Mahler 3 +1CD set Michael Tilson Thomas and the LSO, 1990 (with Janet Baker + Rückert-Lieder) 6/23/16 Schubert #2 +1CD set the Late String Quartets by the Quartetto Italiano (1965-1976-1977) 6/23/16 Schubert #1 +1CD Impromptus Op. 90 + Bach's Partitas Nos. 1 & 2 by Simone Dinnerstein (2011) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Winterreise by Cristoph Prégardien & Andreas Staier (1998) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Winterreise by Anton & Hilda Dermota (1963) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/23/16 Schubert #3 +1CD Schwanengesang by Wolfgang Holzmair & Imogen Cooper (1994) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD The Musical Offering by the Accademia Bizantina and Carlo Chiarappa (1991) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD set The Cello Suites in Mischa Maisky's first recording (1985) 6/21/16 Bach +1CD The Art of Fugue by Ramin Bahrami (2006) 6/21/16 Bach 2CD sets The well Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2 by Daniel Barenboim (2003-2005) 6/21/16 Schumann +1CD set Kreisleriana by Imogen Cooper + V.A. at the Festival de Valloires 2006 6/19/16 Strauss Operas #2 +1DVD Der Rosenkavalier by John Neschling in Palermo (2004) 6/19/16 Strauss #3 +1CD set Wind Sonatinas, Suite & Serenade by the Royal Academy Wind Ensemble (2006) 6/19/16 Strauss #2 +1CD Music from the Operas by Jeffrey Tate in Rotterdam (1992) 6/19/16 Strauss #1 +1CD Metamorphosen, Don Juan & Lieder by Joan Rodgers & Jan Latham-Koenig (2001) 6/19/16 Strauss #1 +1CD set Lieder by Edita Gruberova & Friedrich Haider (1990) 6/16/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Fauré's 1st Piano Quartet & Trio by the Beaux Arts Trio (1988) (a rip by Dante B.) 6/16/16 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Berlioz's Symphonies fantastique by James Levine (1991) (a rip by Enrico B.) 6/16/16 Bach +1CD set Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin by Stefan Milenkovich (1997) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/16/16 Bach +1CD set Brandenburg Concertos by Giardino Armonico & Giovanni Antonini (1997) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Carmina Burana by Franz Welser-Möst in London (1989) 6/13/16 In the Name of Music +1 CD set Mendelssohn's Paulus by Kurt Masur with Theo Adam (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's classic EMI recordings of the major Lieder sets (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/13/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Frank Martin's Piano Concertos & Ballade by J-F. Antonioli & M. Viotti (1985) 6/10/16 Burgmüller Songs & Sonata Replaced rip which was missing two tracks. The new link is complete. 6/10/16 Bach +1CD set Goldberg Variations & the Partitas by Karl Richter (1958-60) (a rip by Corrado D,) 6/8/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's 2nd Symphony + In the South Ov. with Andrew Davis (1992) 6/8/16 Bach +1CD set The Partitas for Keyboard by Richard Goode (Piano) (2002-2003) (a rip by Corrado D,) 6/8/16 Bach +1CD set The Cello Suites by Mario Brunello (1994) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD A. Caldara's & A. Lingua's Cantate by Recitarcantando Urbino (2009) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD F.M. Stiava's Vespri di Santa Cecilia by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2008) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD G. Carissimi's Historia di Job, Vanitas Vanitatum by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2005) 6/5/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD H. von Bingen's O Orzchis Ecclesia by Federico Bardazzi in Florence (2007) 6/3/16 Gershwin +1CD Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Cuban Ov. by Lorin Maazel in Cleveland (1975) 6/3/16 American Classics +1CD MacDowell's Piano Concertos by Donna Amato & Paul Freeman in London (1985) 6/3/16 Odd Couple #2 +1CD Chopin's 3rd Sonata by Felipe Browne in London (1999) 6/3/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations by Bruno Canino (1993) (a rip by Corrado D.) 6/2/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD set Janáček's Piano Music by Håkon Austbø (2004)6/2/16 Bach +1CD Goldberg Variations by Jörg Demus (1989) 6/1/16 Schumann +1CD set Dichterliebe by M. Padmore & I. Cooper + V.A. at the Festival de Valloires 2007 6/1/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Yehuda - Jewish Music from the Seraglio, L'Orient Imaginaire, V. Ivanoff (1996) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Dvorak's New World Symphony by Riccardo Chailly in Amsterdam (1987) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Franck's Symphony by Tadaaki Otaka (1999) (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/31/16 Summer Nights #9 +1CDs Franck's & Saint-Saens' Symphonies by Antonio de Almeida in Moscow (1993) 5/29/16 Debussy #2 +1CD Mélodies by Barbara Hendricks & Michel Béroff (1985) 5/29/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Cello Sonata (+ Strauss') bt Werner Thomas & Carmen Piazzini (1987) 5/27/16 Rare grooves #2 +1LP Mendelssohn's 4th Sym. 'Italian' by Colin Davis in Boston (1976) (a transfer by Enrico B.) 5/24/16 Medieval Music: New links 5/24/16 Debussy #6 +1CD String Quartet (+ Brahms's Op. 51/1) by the Ceruti Quartet (2008) 5/24/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Images & other piano pieces by Zoltan Kocsis (1988) 5/24/16 Debussy #5 1CD set Préludes & Etudes by Georges Pludermacher (2003) 5/21/16 Debussy #2 +1CD set The complete Mélodies with Ameling, von Stade, Command, Mesplé & Souzay 5/21/16 Debussy #2 +3CDs Mélodies by Christopher Maltman, Véronique Gens and Gérard Souzay 5/19/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Estampes, Pour le piano, Suite bergamasque etc. by Bruno Canino (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/19/16 Debussy #3 +1CD La mer, Préludes & Nocturnes by Jean Martinon in Paris (1974) 5/19/16 Odd Couple #2 +1Bonus, Chopin for Cello & Piano: Piatigorsky, Bonucci & Amfitheatrof (enc. by Corrado D.) 5/18/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Sonatas for Cello + Flute, Viola & Harp by Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society (2007) 5/18/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD set Ravel's Piano Music by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (2003) (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/17/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Ma Mère l'Oye & Prokofiev's Cinderella by piano duo Argerich & Pletnev 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes by Steven Osborne (2006) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes Book 1 & Children's Corner by Nelson Freire (2009) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD set, Préludes etc by Samson François (1970) (includes 5 Etudes) 5/17/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Images, Pour le piano & Suite bergamasque by Cécile Ousset (1986) 5/16/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms' Symphonies by Antal Dorati (a rip by Corrado D.) 5/16/16 Brahms +2CDs Piano Quartets by J. Demus & the Barylli + Richter & the Borodin (2nd) (rips by Corrado D,) 5/15/16 A Weimar Rhapsody +1CD Krenek Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 & 4 + G. Washington's Variations. (M. Korzhev, 2007) 5/15/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Koechlin and Jolivet's Chamber Music with Flute (Philippe Racine, 1989) 5/13/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Jeux, Images, Prélude, Danses with Serge Baudo in Prague (1977) 5/13/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Alice Ader's rare album with Images, Estampes, Martyre de S-S, Masques etc. (1989) 5/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Sacre du printemps (+ Bartok & Boulez) by P. Boulez in Salzburg with the GMJO (1997) 5/5/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Le rossignol by J. Conlon in Paris (Dessay/McLaughlin/Simcic/Urmana/Naouri) (1999) 5/5/16 Bartok #5 +1CD Miraculous Mandarin & Dance Suite by B. Maderna in Monte-Carlo (1968) (a rip by Corrado D.)5/4/16 Massenet Operas: +CD Don Quichotte at Mariinsky theater, Furlanetto/Gergiev 5/4/16 Early Music Collections: New links 5/3/16 Brahms +1CD The Quartets for Voices & Piano by the Kammerchor Stuttgart, A. Rothkopf & F. Bernius (1983)5/3/16 Brahms +1CD The String Quintets by the Hagen SQ & G. Caussé5/3/16 Brahms +1CD set The String Quartets (Italiano SQ) & Clarinet Sonatas (G. Pieterson & H. Menuhin)5/3/16 Brahms +2CDs Piano Sonata No. 3 by Lupu & String Sextets by Carmignola, Brunello etc. (rips by Corrado D.)5/3/16 Brahms +1CD Die schöne Magelone with Andreas Schmidt and Jörg Demus (1988) 5/3/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1DVD Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann by F. Chaslin in Macerata 2004 5/2/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms's Symphonies by B. Haitink in London (2004) 5/2/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms's 2nd Symphony by C. Davis in Munich (1988) 5/2/16 Brahms +1CD Cello Sonatas by du Pré & Barenboim (1968) 5/2/16 Brahms +1CD Late Piano Pieces by Radu Lupu (1970) 5/2/16 Brahms +2CDs Ballades Op. 10 by Gould (1983) & Brendel (+ Weber's Grand Sonata) (1990) 5/2/16 Brahms +3CDs Piano Sonata No. 3 by Barenboim (1996), Perahia (1991), Kissin (2001) 4/27/16 Brahms +1CD/1Bonus Violin C.to: D. Oistrakh & Pedrotti (1961, rip by Corrado D.) + Fischer & Sinopoli (2000) 4/27/16 Brahms +1CD set Piano Concertos by Freire & Chailly (2006) 4/27/16 Brahms +4CDs Piano Concertos by Pollini & Abbado, Ax & Haitink, Donohoe & Svetlanov 4/27/16 Brahms +3CDs Violin Sonatas: Zukerman & Neikrug (1992), Tetzlaff & Vogt (2002), Mutter & Orkis (2010) 4/25/16 Rachmaninov #1 +3CDs the 3 Operas (Aleko, The Miserly Knight, Francesca da Rimini) by N. Järvi (1996) 4/23/16 Wintery Romantics +1Bonus Dvorak Symphony No. 7 by I. Fischer in Rome (2006) 4/23/16 Strauss #1 +1Bonus Le bourgeois gentilhomme by Christopher Hogwood in Milan (2005) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD Symphony No. 1 & Isle of the Dead by M. Pletnev and the RNO (2000) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1Bonus, 3rd Concerto by B. L. Gelber & E. Krivine in Geneva (1988) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD set The Concertos in E. Wild & J. Horenstein's great recording in London (a rip by Odeon) 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #2 +3CDs Ashkenazy/Haitink; Glemser/Wit; Zilberstein/Abbado classic recordings of concertos 4/23/16 Rachmaninov #1 +2CDs Preludes by Weissenberg (1969) & 2nd Symphony by I. Fischer (2003) (rips by Sasha) 4/22/16 Schumann Piano Trio Op. 63 & Ravel's by the Trio di Bolzano (1954) (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/22/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD set 5th Symphony by L. Maazel in Cleveland (1977) (+ Rimsky's orch. works) (a rip by Sasha) 4/22/16 Wagner's Ring +4DVDs The entire Ring des Nibelungen in J. Levine's fundamental Met production for DGG 4/21/16 Wagner's Die Walküre +1DVD the great Boulez 1980 production (Hofmann, Altmeyer, McIntyre, Jones, Schwarz) 4/20/16 Wagner's Tristan und Isolde 2DVDs Z. Mehta in Munich (1998) and J. Levine in NYC (1999) 4/20/16 Wagner's Die Meistersingers +1DVD J. Levine's 2001 release (Morris, Heppner, Mattila, Allen, Pape, Polenzani) 4/20/16 Liszt's Sonata: +1CD Peter Donohoe's 1989 recording (including Berg and Bartok's Sonatas) 4/20/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky and Dvorak: Serenade for Strings by C. Davis in Munich (1987) 4/20/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Clarinet Quintet & String Quartet by Karl Leister and the Vogler Quartett (1999) 4/20/16 Stravinsky #2 Apollon Musagète & Cantata by Esa-Pekka Salonen, new rip and scans available. 4/20/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD set Brahms The Symphonies by Gustav Kuhn in Bolzano (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +2CDs 2nd Symphony by S. Bychkov (1990) & Symphonic Dances by E. Batiz (1991) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD 6 Choruses Op. 15 (+ Scriabin's 1st Symphony) by Valeri Polyansky (2004) 4/19/16 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD set & 1CD Preludes and Etudes-Tableaux by N. Lugansky, M. Petkova & L. McCawley 4/18/16 Wintery Romantics +6 CDs Scriabin Sonatas, Etudes, Piano Concerto, Poème de l'extase, Prometheus 4/18/16 Schubert #2 +1CD Symphony No. 9 'Great' by Daniel Barenboim in Berlin (1985) 4/18/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Symphonies Nos. 5 & 1 by André Previn in Los Angeles (1986) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Piano Trio by Perlman, Harrell, Ashkenazy (1980) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics + 3CDs Tchaikovsky's 5th (Ormandy 1981) & 6th (Gergiev 1995), Ballet Suites by Karajan 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto by V. Mullova and S. Ozawa (+ Sibelius) (1985) 4/17/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD set Tchaikovsky's Symphonies Nos. 4, 5, 6 by Gergiev and the Vienna Philh. (2004) 4/16/15 De Fesch Concerti - Musica ad Rhenum: New links 4/15/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Respighi's Sinfonia Drammatica by Daniel Nazareth in Bratislava (1986) 4/15/16 Stravinsky #1 +1Bonus, Oedipus Rex by Jeffrey Tate in Turin 1999 (Moser, Lipovsek, von Kannen, Kapellmann) 4/15/16 Opera Favourites #3 +1DVD Levine's Trovatore at the Met 1988 (Pavarotti, Marton, Milnes, Zajick, Wells) 4/15/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Erwin Schulhoff's piano works by Ulrich Urban (1993) 4/15/16 Messiaen +1CD Turangalila-Symphonie with R. Chailly (J-Y. Thibaudet, p.; T. Harada, o.M.) (a rip by Cunctator) 4/14/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Sibelius & Nielsen, Violin Concertos, by Maxim Vengerov & Daniel Barenboim (1996) 4/14/16 Summer Nights #12 +1CD B. Walter Violin Sonata & K. Goldmark 1st Suite by P. Graffin & P. Devoyon (2000) 4/14/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Petrushka by D. Zinman in Baltimore & Symphony in 3 Movs. by J. Conlon in Rotterdam 4/14/16 Stravinsky #2 +1DVD Gergiev and the Vienna Philh. in Salzburg for The Firebird (+ Prokofiev & Schnittke) 4/14/16 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1DVD Ariadne auf Naxos by Colin Davis in Dresden (2000) 4/14/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Orff's Catulli Carmina & Trionfo di Afrodite by Franz Welser-Möst (1995)4/14/16 In the Name of Music +3CDs Orff's Carmina Burana by Z. Mehta (1992), A. Previn (1993) & R. Shaw (1980) 4/14/16 Hindemith +2CDs F. Schmidt's 4th Symphony (F. Welser-Moest) and Selected Organ Works (A. Juffinger) 4/14/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Moritz Moszkowski's piano works by Seta Tanyel (1993) 4/14/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 3, 4 by Nikolai Miaskovsky in Lydia Jardon's recording (2007) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie by Riccardo Chailly in Amsterdam (1993) 4/13/16 Darmstadt #2 +1Bonus File: Nono's Il canto sospeso with Mario Venzago in Milan 2000 (+ Berg's Op. 6) 4/13/16 Bartok #1 +1Bonus File: Piano Concerto No. 3 with Roberto Cominati e Juraj Valcuha in Turin (2007) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Esa-Pekka Salonen 1988 recording of The Firebird and Jeu de Cartes in London 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Haitink's Berlin Philh. recordings of The Firebird, Scènes de Ballet & Petrushka (1988/9) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #11 +1CD Joseph Suder's Piano Concerto and piano pieces by Margarita Höhenrieder (1988) 4/13/16 Selig im Glauben (Wagner's Parsifal) +2DVD sets: Levine in NYC (1992) and Nagano in Baden-Baden (2004) 4/13/16 Debussy #6 +1CD String Quartet (+ Zemlinsky's 2nd String Quartet) by the Casals String Quartet (2004) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky, Marx, Schreker: Lieder by Dorothy Dorow & Massimiliano Damerini (1980)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Psalm 23 & Symphony in B-Flat by Riccardo Chailly in Berlin (1987)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Zemlinsky's Lyrische Symphonie by Giuseppe Sinopoli in Vienna (1995)4/13/16 Summer Nights #2 +2CDs Zemlinsky by James Conlon (Eine florentinische Tragödie & Lyrische Symphonie) 4/13/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's La fanciulla del West by Nello Santi in London (1983) 4/13/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1DVD Puccini's La Bohème by Lamberto Gardelli in London (1982) 4/13/16 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Clemens Non Papa's Missa Pastores by the Tallis Scholars under Peter Phillips (1987) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Le sacre du printemps by B. Haitink in Berlin (1995) and M. Alsop in Baltimore (2006) 4/13/16 Stravinsky #1 +2CDs Oedipus Rex: Colin Davis' 1983 and Esa-Pekka Salonen's 1991 recordings. 4/13/16 Stravinsky #2 +2CDs Esa-Pekka Salonen for Apollo, Cantata, Concerto and Works for Piano & Orchestra (1988-90) 4/12/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Scarlatti Sonatas in Ivo Pogorelich's classic 1991 recording 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Szymanowski's Piano Music by Marc-André Hamelin (2002) & Roland Pöntinen (2008) 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Scharwenka's 2nd Sonata, Romanzero with Seta Tanyel (1992) 4/12/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade with L. Maazel and the Berlin Philh. (1985) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #2 +2CDs Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 and 9 & 10; Piano Sonatinas (P. Donohoe) + Cello Sonata (Wallfisch) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Symphony No. 2 with Valery Gergiev and the USSR TV & Radio Symphony (1988) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Alexander Nevsky with Riccardo Chailly in Cleveland (1983) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CDs set Alexander Nevsky & Ivan the Terrible with Mstislav Rostropovich and the LSO (1991) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Violin Sonatas with Erik Schumann & Henri Sigfridsson (2007) 4/12/16 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Complete works for Cello and Piano with Raphael Wallfisch & John York (1999) 4/8/16 Cello Sonatas New links 4/4/16 Schumann +1CD set The Symphonies by Gustav Kuhn and the Haydn Orchestra (2010) (a rip by Corrado D.) 4/4/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 4 Solo Violin Sonatas by Ulrike-Anima Mathé (1995) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Clarinet Quintet by Wenzel Fuchs & the Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet (1999) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD set Reger's Cello Sonatas by Alban Gerhardt and Markus Becker (2008) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD set Reger's Complete Works for Clarinet & Piano (Ib Hausmann & Nina Tichman, 1998) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 2 Violin Sonatas by H. Schneeberger & J-J. Dünki (1991) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger's Mozart Variations (+Schumann, Weber & Naumann) by Blomstedt in Dresden (1990) 4/3/16 Hindemith +1CD Reger: 3 Solo Violin Sonatas by Ulrike-Anima Mathé (1993) 4/3/16 American Classics +1CD Korngold's Symphonic Serenade + Griffes' Roman Sketches by S. Pittau and the LSO 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni pieces by G. Andaloro & M. Vacatello (+Franck, Handel, Liszt, Chopin) (2005) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CDset Malipiero's complete String Quartets by the Orpheus String Quartet (1991) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni's Turandot Suite + Casella & Martucci's orchestrals works: Riccardo Muti (1992)4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni's Piano Concerto by Garrick Ohlsson & Christoph von Dohnányi (1989) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +2CDs Busoni's 6 Sonatinas both by Roland Pöntinen (1999) and Michele Campanella (1981) 4/3/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1CD Busoni: Elegies and Sonata by Bruce Wolosoff (rare CD 1986) 3/30/16 Schumann +1CD Alicia de Larrocha for Piano Concerto (C. Davis) + Piano Quintet (Tokyo SQ) 3/30/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms' 1st Symphony by Sawallisch in London (1991) (a rip by Corrado) 3/29/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Lieder by Korngold, Schreker, Weigl & Schoenberg by S. Kimbrough & D. Baldwin 3/29/16 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1CD K. Sanderling 1985 recording (with P. Schreier & B. Finnilä) (a rip by Juan F.) 3/28/16 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms' Symphony No. 3 with Carlo Maria Giulini in Vienna 1991 3/28/16 Strauss #2 +1DVD Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Staatskapelle Dresden: Eine Alpensinfonie (+Wagner's Rienzi Ov.) 3/26/16 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1DVD Semyon Bychkov in Cologne (with Torsten Kerl & Waltraud Meier) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (Zinman) and Khachaturian's Ballet Suites (Simonov) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +3CDs Lyapunov, Paderewski, Moszkowski's Piano C.tos; Moszkowski, Karlowicz's Violin C.tos 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Borodin's Symphonies by V. Gergiev (Rotterdam, 1990) and M. Ermler (Moscow, 2000) 3/26/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Borodin's String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 by the Borodin Quartet (1966) 3/25/16 Hindemith +2CDs Bernstein's and Eschenbach's recordings of Orchestral Works (with Midori for the Violin C.to) 3/25/16 Debussy #1 +1CD Montserrat Caballé for La damoiselle élue (and Chausson's Poème), Wyn Morris conducting. 3/25/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +2CD Berg's Violin C.to (van Keulen) + Orchestral Works (M. Venzago, cond.) 3/25/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1CD Berg's Kammerkonzert conducted by Hindemith (1959) 3/24/16 A Weimar Rhapsody +1CD Krenek's Quartets Nos. 1 & 7 by the Petersen String Quartet (2003) 3/24/16 Strauss Operas #2 +2DVDs Abbado's (1989) and Böhm's (1981) Elektra in Vienna 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +4CDs Wolf's Lieder Bär & Fischer-Dieskau + Italienisches Liederbuch (Cotrubas/Allen & Oelze/Blochwitz) 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +1CD Pfitzner's Lieder selection with J. Kaufmann, C. Prégardien & A. Schmidt (1997) 3/24/16 In the Name of Music +2CDs Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 2 'Lobgesang' by Abbado (1985) and Chailly (2005) 3/24/16 Wagner Romantic Masterpieces +1DVD James Levine's celebrated Lohengrin at the Met 1986. 3/24/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Don Quixote in Pierre Fournier's classic Szell/1960 recording in Cleveland (a rip by Sasha) 3/18/16 Schubert #2 +1CD Symphony No. 3 by Ilan Volkov (+ Haydn's Symphony No. 46 & Mendelssohn's Melusine) 3/18/16 Schumann +1CD Brigitte Engerer's late studio recording (2003), including Mendelssohn, Chopin and Liszt. 3/18/16 Schumann +2CDs Concerto (+Grieg's) by Kovacevich & C. Davis (1971); Symphonic Etudes by Brendel (1990) 3/18/16 Schubert #3 +1CD New Rip and original scans of Winterreise by Hampson and Sawallisch (1997) 3/17/16 Poulenc +2CDs Sonatas by Pascal Rogé & Friends & Gloria by Andrew Davis (+ Stravinsky's Psalms Symphony) 3/17/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Pfitzner and Strauss Orchestral music from Operas, with Thielemann at the Berlin Deutschen Oper 3/16/16 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Grieg's Lyric Pieces (Andsnes, 2001) and 3 Violin Sonatas (Amoyal & Chiu, 1999) 3/16/16 The long Goodbye +1CD Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Karajan's classic London recording (1955) (a rip by Sasha) 3/15/16 Liszt +1CD Piano Sonata (+Scriabin's 2nd Sonata) by Ivo Pogorelich (1992) 3/15/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 with Peter Maag and Daniel Chorzempa (1986) 3/15/16 Mahler Lieder +1CD Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Charles Mackerras (with A. Murray and T. Allen) (1990) 3/15/16 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Korngold's Lieder by Steven Kimbrough and Dalton Baldwin (1984) 3/15/16 Mahler 9 +1CD Myung-Whun Chung and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra 3/14/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Dutilleux's Correspondance and 'Tout un monde lontain...' with Salonen (2011) 3/14/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1CD Boulez's rec.of Schoenberg's Suite Op. 29 & Op. 4 in the Sextet version 3/13/16 Strauss #4 +1CD Lieder with Soile Isokoski and Marita Viitasalo (the studio recording on Ondine) 3/12/16 American Classics +1CD Vernon Duke's Violin Concerto and Sonata by Elmira Darvarova and Scott Dunn 3/12/16 Shostakovich #1 +1BONUS Symphony No. 4: Jukka-Pekka Saraste & the Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI (2004) 3/12/16 Strauss Operas #2 +1DVD Der Rosenkavalier: Franz Welser-Möst's production in Zürich (2004) 3/11/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Keith Emerson's Piano Concerto in Emerson's recording from 1977 (J. Mayer, LPO) 3/11/16 Bartok's Voices #5 +1CD Georg Solti's Hungarian Connections, works by Bartok, Weiner, Kodaly, Liszt (1993) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1CD set Kurt Masur's Ariadne auf Naxos in Dresden (1988) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1DVD James Levine's Ariadne auf Naxos in New York (1988) 3/11/16 Strauss Great Operas #1 +1CD set with James Levine's Ariadne auf Naxos in Vienna (1987) 3/11/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Milhaud's orchestral music and Harp Concerto (F. Cambreling) with Kent Nagano 3/11/16 Musique Française #1 +1CD Dukas' complete piano music by Laurent Wagschal (2013) 3/10/16 Remembering Harnoncourt's early recordings: +1CD Music at the Court of Mannheim 3/10/16 Menotti's The Medium +1DVD the 1977 classic video recording with Maureen Forrester as Madame Flora 3/10/16 Gershwin +1DVD Simon Rattle's Porgy & Bess (Glyndebourne 1993) 3/10/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Transcriptions for 2 Pianos of Jeux + Stravinsky's Sacre & Bartok's Portraits by Bavouzet & Guy 3/10/16 Debussy #6 +1CD Violin Sonata (+ Pierné's and Fauré's 1st) by C. Giovaninetti & I. Aoyagi (2013) 3/10/16 Debussy #6 Violin Sonata (+ Brahms' 2nd & Schubert's 1st Sonatina) Simone Bernardini & Vanessa Benelli-Mosell 3/10/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Printemps, La boite à joujoux, Children's Corner with Dutoit in Montréal (1994) 3/10/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #8 +1DVD Berg's Wozzeck in 1987 Claudio Abbado's production in Vienna 3/10/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #8 +1DVD Berg's Lulu in 2002 Franz Welser-Möst's production in Zürich 3/10/16 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #8 +1DVD Berg's Lulu in 1996 Andrew Davis' production in Glyndebourne 3/9/16 Bartok #5 +1CD Concerto for Orchestra with the Purcell School Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend (1997) 3/9/15 Malcolm Arnold Symphonies - new links added 3/9/16 Summer Nights #3 +1CD Wagner scenes with tenor William Lewis and conductor Gabor Ötvös 3/4/16 Weill +1CD set 'Street Scene' in John Mauceri's 1990 classic recording for Decca 3/4/16 Strauss Operas #1 +1DVD Levine's Elektra (1980, B. Nilsson, L. Rysanek, M. Dunn, D. McIntyre, R. Nagy) 3/4/16 Stravinsky #1 +1DVD Ozawa's Oedipus Rex (1993), directed by Julie Taymor (P. Langridge, J. Norman, B. Terfel) 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Catalan keyboardist Miquel Villalba's splendid recording of the Goldberg Variations 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Glenn Gould's must-have 1981 recording of the Goldberg Variations for CBS 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD Angela Hewitt's rare early Canadian recording of Concertos BWV 1052-3-6 with M. Bernardi 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +7CDs Murray Perahia's Concertos, English Suites, Partitas and Goldberg Variations for Sony 3/2/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set: Anner Bylsma's classic recording of the Cello Suites (1991) 2/21/16 Spanish School #2 +1CD Ginastera's Estancia Suite & Harp Concerto (Barrera) under Josep Pons (2003) 2/21/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Magdalena Kozena's recording of Martinu, Dvorak & Janacek's Love Songs (2000) 2/21/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Clifford Curzon and Vienna Philh. Quartet for Dvorak and Franck's Piano Quintets 2/11/16 Contrappunti Italiani +1 Bonus File: Vanessa Benelli Mosell for Busoni's Chopin Variatons (2006) 2/6/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Fischer-Dieskau's historic 1975 recording of Ravel, Poulenc and Fauré's songs 2/6/16 Wintery Romantics +1DDL Sibelius and Goldmark, Violin Concertos by Bell and Salonen (2000) 2/6/16 Wintery Romantics +1DDL Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 by Salonen and the LA Philh. (2007) 2/5/16 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Jansons's recrding of Symphonies Nos. 2 & 12 in Munich (2005) 2/5/16 Shostakovich #1 +2CDs New rips for Jansons's Symphonies Nos. 3 + 14 & 13 on EMI 2/4/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set Goldberg-Variationen in Tessa Uys's rare recording for Claremont (2000) 2/4/16 Intense Bruckner +1DVD Audio Rip: Sinopoli's 4th Symphony in Tokyo with the Philharmonia Orchestra (1988) 2/4/16 Musique Française #2 +1CD Franck & Debussy by Kenneth Weir (+ Rachmaninov's Chopin Variations) (2001) 2/4/16 Debussy #3 +1CD Images and Nocturnes with Dutoit in Montréal (1988) 2/4/16 Debussy #4 +1CD Etudes & Estampes by Véronique Pélisséro (1991) 2/4/16 American Classics +1CD Leroy Anderson's Favourite Orchestral Pieces conducted by Leonard Slatkin (1993) 1/28/16 Recorder music #1 New rips and links 1/27/16 Musique Française #1 +1LP Franck's Piano Quintet and Prélude, Choral et Fugue by J-P. Collard and Muir SQ 1/27/16 Debussy #6 +1LP String Quartet (+ Ravel's), by the Alban Berg Quartett on EMI (1984) 1/27/16 Summer Nights #4 +1LP Roger Woodward's recording of Beethoven's Op. 111 & Op. 57 for RCA (1973) 1/24/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Levine's Manon Lescaut (Decca, 1993) 1/21/16 Opera Favourites #1 +1CD set Karajan's 1982 recording of Carmen for DGG 1/18/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set Johannes-Passion in Harnoncourt's classic recording for Teldec (1993) 1/17/16 Ein Bach... +1CD set The Cello Suites in Rostropovich's classic 1991 EMI recording 1/16/16 Debussy #2 +1DDL Songs (including Chansons de Bilitis) + Ravel and Chausson by DeGaetani & Kalish (1979) 1/15/16 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit (+ Elliott Carter's piano works) by Pierre-Laurent Aimard 1/14/16 Shostakovich #2 +1CD set Preludes and Fugues Op. 87 (+Bach from WTC Book 1) selections: Mustonen 1/14/16 Bartok's Voices #5 Additional links for 5CD-box Dorati conducts Bartok (Mercury Living Presence) 1/13/16 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar & Walton's Violin Sonatas by Daniel Hope & Simon Mulligan (2000) 1/12/16 Summer Nights #2 +1CD Reger's Mozart Variations (Salonen) & Romantic Suite (Zagrosek) in Baden-Baden 1/11/16 Summer Nights #5 +5CDs Vivaldi by Onofri & Antonini, Harnoncourt, Hogwood, Petri, Kermes & Marcon 1/8/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Alice Ader's recording of Préludes 1 & Jeux (2002) (previously posted in Feb. 2012) 1/7/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Puccini's Turandot in Molinari-Pradelli's 1965 recording in Rome 1/7/16 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD set Puccini's Fanciulla del West in Lorin Maazel's 1991 recording in Milan 1/6/16 Debussy #5 +1CD Préludes by Pascal Rogé (2004 recording) 1/5/16 Debussy #4 +1CD set The Piano Music in Daniel Ericourt's rare recording (1962) (a rip by DanseDePuck) 1/5/16 Debussy #5 +1CD set Préludes, Images and Estampes by Claudio Arrau (1981) (a rip by OdeonMusico) 1/5/16 Opera Favourites #2 +2CD sets Puccini: Maazel's Manon Lescaut (1992) & Chailly's La Bohème (1992) 1/5/16 Wintery Romantics +1CD Maazel's Mussorgsky: Pictures and Night in Cleveland for Telarc (1978) 1/3/16 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Beethoven's 9th Symphony by Donald Runnicles in Atlanta (2003) 1/2/16 Strauss Oktoberfest #3 +1CD Vier letzte and Lieder Selection with Soile Isokoski & Marek Janowski (2002) 1/2/16 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD set Der Rosenkavalier by Andrew Davis (1995) 12/31/15 Orlando di Lasso: +1CD Moduli Quinis Vocibus, Herreweghe, with extra links (bzzz) 12/29/15 Opera Favourites #2 +1CD Puccini's Suor Angelica by Bartoletti in Rome (1973) (a rip by Juan) 12/23/15 Hindemith +1CD performs his Piano Duet Sonata, 3rd Violin Sonata, Der Schwanendreher (a rip by bzzz) 12/22/15 Debussy #5 +1CD the Préludes by Philippe Bianconi (2012) 12/22/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Elgar's Cello Concerto & Enigma Vars. by J. Lloyd Webber & Menuhin (1985) 12/22/15 Ein Bach... +1CD Cantatas BWV 140 & 147 with John E. Gardiner (1990) 12/16/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Walton's 2nd Sym., Hindemith Variations and Partita (G. Szell 1959) (a rip by Sasha) 12/16/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Carols from Trinity College, Cambridge, conducted by Richard Marlow (1988) 12/16/15 English Baroque Music: New links 12/14/15 Mahler 2 +1CD V. Neumann's recording for Supraphon Fidelio in 1980 12/14/15 Liszt +1CD Gyula Kiss' recording of the 2 Piano Concertos and Totentanz (1976) 12/13/15 O Tuneful Voice (Bronze Series) Added new link with tracks Nos.20-22 repaired using CueTools. 12/13/15 American Classics +1CD Rozsa, Gould and Menotti Orchestral Music by David Amos and the LSO (1990) 12/13/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD 2nd Concerto by Cécile Ousset & Simon Rattle (+Grieg's Concerto with Marriner) 12/9/15 Debussy #5 +4CDs Préludes Book 1 (or both) by S.D. Lasry, M. Pollini, O. Maisenberg, Y. Egorov. 12/9/15 Debussy #5 +2CDs Selected Works by M. Lympany and R. O'Hora 12/9/15 Musique Française #1 +1HQ DDL Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir with Robert Shaw (1994) 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1HQ DDL Villa-Lobos' Etudes and Preludes for Guitar with Alvaro Pierri 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1HQ DDL S. Isbin with the NYP and J. Serebrier for Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos and Ponce 12/8/15 Spanish School #2 +1CD Falla's Popular Songs by Ann Murray + Ginastera's Estancia (Harth-Bedoya cond.) 12/7/15 Summer Nights #10 +4CDs Holst's The Planets by Yoel Levi, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy, André Previn. 12/7/15 Debussy #6 +1LP String Quartet (+ Ravel's) by the Quatuor Parrenin on EMI (1970) 12/7/15 Summer Nights #5 +2CDs Handel's Organ Concertos (A. Frigé) and Selected Secular Cantatas (J. Baird) 12/7/15 Composer Alexandre Guilmant: new links 12/5/15 Debussy #4 +1CD box The Piano Music (including a MUST-HAVE recording of the Etudes) by Albert Ferber 12/5/15 Debussy #4 +4CDs The Etudes recordings by Jean-Pierre Armengaud, Monique Haas, Roland Krüger, Ju-Ying Song 12/5/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD box Edo de Waart's 1976 Der Rosenkavalier in Rotterdam 12/4/15 Summer Nights #10 +3CDs Grainger by Gardiner, Howell's Hymnus paradisi, Elgar by du Pré & Barenboim 12/4/15 Summer Nights #4 +6CDs Beethoven by Rostropovich/Richter, Serkin/Ozawa, Buchbinder, Gieseking, Maazel 12/3/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #4 +1LP Schoenberg's Erwartung by Susan Davenny-Wyner (+ Wolpe's Symphony) 12/2/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Alexander Ardakov's recording of selected Piano works by Glinka, Scriabin, Chopin 12/1/15 Opera Favourites #1 +2CDs Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel recorded by Donald Runnicles in Munich (1994) 12/1/15 Musique Française #3 +1CD Ravel's Gaspard and Tombeau in Charles Rosen 1959 recording for Epic 12/1/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Charles Rosen recording of Boulez 1st Sonata and excerpts from 3rd Sonata (1972) 11/27/15 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Brahms' Deutsches Requiem/Levine (a rip by Juan) + Selected Lieder from original LP 11/24/15 Musique Française #2 +1LP Ravel' for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet with Maria Tipo & Alessandro Specchi (1979) 11/24/15 Prokofiev #2 +1LP Tedd Joselson's rare recording of Sonatas Nos. 2 & 8 (RCA, 1976) 11/23/15 The Odd Couple +3CDs Mozart's Violin Concertos (Kavakos & Camerata S.) + "Gran Partita" by I Fiati di Parma 11/23/15 The Odd Couple +2CDs Mozart's K. 467& 595 (R. Serkin/Abbado) + 488 & 537 (F. Gulda/Harnoncourt) 11/20/15 Summer Nights #6 +1CD Rameau's Grands motets in Hervé Niquet's 1992 recording 11/18/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1LP the rare 1970 J. von Vintschger recording for Turnabout Vox 11/18/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky for Piano Duet with Moneta & Rota Piano Duo (1990) 11/18/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Debussy & Ravel's Music for 2 Pianos and Piano Duet by Collard & Béroff (1982) 11/18/15 Debussy #6 +2CDs Debussy & Ravel's chamber works and Songs with chamber ensemble by the Nash Ens. 11/18/15 Debussy #3 +8CDs Orchestral works with Boulez, Lombard, Salonen, Volkov, Krivine, Rattle, F. de Burgos 11/17/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Couperin's Livre de Clavecin (6th, 8th, 18th Ordres) by Angela Hewitt (2002) 11/17/15 Ein Bach... +3CDs Tureck in St. Petersburg + Anderszewski Partitas 1,3,6 + Baroque music for Oboe and Organ 11/15/15 Summer Nights #7 +2CDs Brahms' Piano Concertos by M. Tirimo and the LPO (K. Sanderling & Y. Levi) 11/15/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #2 +1CD Zarathustra (Skrowaczewski) + Symphonia Domestica (Seaman) (NYO of GB) 11/12/15 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Brahms's Serenades in Haitink's classic Philips recording (1981) 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Gatti's 2011 recording with the ONF: Sacre and Petrushka 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Chamber Orchestra Works by the Endymion Ensemble under J. Whitfield (1987). Rare. 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Boulez's 1975 classic Firebird recording with the New York Philharmonic 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +2CD Sacre, Firebird, Petrushka & Pulcinella by Yakov Kreizberg and the Monte-Carlo Philh. 11/12/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD Rattle and the National Youth Orchestra of GB (Sacre) + Dorati and the RPO (Firebird) 11/11/15 Prokofiev #2 +1CD Peter & the Wolf by M. Harth-Bedoya in Fort Worth + Saint-Saens' Carnaval des animaux 11/10/15 Locatelli - Complete Flute Sonatas: New links 11/10/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Dvorak's Cello Concerto & Tchaikovsky's Rococo with Rostropovich & Karajan 11/10/15 Mahler Lieder +1CD Y. Minton and P. Boulez for Rückert Lieder + Wagner's Wesendonck (1979) 11/10/15 Hindemith +1CD Quartet with Clarinet and Piano with E.Brunner etc. (1999) (a rip by bzzz) 11/10/15 Summer Nights #7 +2LPs Brahms' Ballades Op. 10 by E. Gilels and by W. Kempff 11/9/15 Schumann +1LP Mehta's recording of the 3rd Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic (Decca 1983) 11/9/15 Summer Nights #8 +1LP Mehta's Brahms's 1st Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic (a transfer by Enrico B) 11/9/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Leon McCawley's recording of the 3rd Concerto with Charles Groves conducting (1990) 11/9/15 Intense Bruckner +1CD Muti's 4th with the Berlin Philharmonic (1985) 11/9/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #1 +1 Bonus: Schoenberg's Phantasy Op. 47 by Irvine Arditti & Noriko Kawai 11/8/15 Poulenc +1LP & 1CD L'Histoire de Babar, with R. Gérôme & J. Février and with J. Moreau & J-M. Luisada 11/8/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 + 1LP Schoenberg's Chamber Works by de Leeuw (1986) 11/7/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1Double LP: Schoenberg's Complete Chamber Choir Works by de Leeuw 11/6/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #6 +1CD Dorow & de Leeuw: Webern's complete Soprano and Chamber Orchestra 11/6/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #6 +1LP Dorow & de Leeuw for Webern, Dallapiccola, Schoenberg & Stravinsky 11/4/15 Sgorby Rips #1 +1CD Sammartini's Quintetti e Quartetti by Ensemble Aglàia (2007) (a rip by Davide) 10/29/15 Dutch Organists #Part2: New links 10/27/15 Essential American Classics +1LP Wolpe, Lieberson, Stravinsky: piano works Peter Serkin (1985) 10/27/15 Second Viennese School Ess.ls #3 +1LP Serenade Op. 24, Boulez's classic recording of 1963 for Wergo. 10/27/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1CD Paul Jacobs' legendary Nonesuch recording (1975) (a rip by BZ) 10/27/15 Mendelssohn Chamber Music: New links 10/25/15 Mendelssohn New links 10/24/15 Hindemith +1CD 4 Violin Sonatas with Oleg Kagan & Sviatoslav Richter (1978) (a rip by bzzz) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Domenico Nordio & Giorgia Tomassi (Beethoven & Pärt) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Geza Hosszu-Legocki & Giorgia Tomassi (Franck & Beethoven) 10/23/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Giorgia Tomassi's unreleased recording of Chopin's Préludes (1997) 10/23/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Glemser's recording of 2nd and 3rd Concertos under Wit (1996) (a rip by Lupo2004) 10/22/15 Summer Nights #7 +1CD Brahms's Violin Sonatas by Cristopher White and Melanie Reinhard (1999) 10/21/15 Rare Grooves #1 +3LPs Böhm's Eroica; Argerich's Bach and Muti's Verdi (4 Pezzi Sacri) 10/21/15 Dutch Organists #1 New links 10/20/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Debussy Images, Faune and La mer by Paul Paray and the Detroit SO (1957) 10/19/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1CD Ciani & Gavazzeni for Mozart's K. 466 & K. 491 (1970/1973) 10/19/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD Noriko Ogawa's recording of 2nd and 3rd Concertos in Malmö under Hughes (1997) 10/16/15 Darmstadt #5 +3LPs Xenakis's Choral and Orchestral works with Constant and Tabachnik (a rip by Sotise) 10/16/15 Darmstadt #5 +1LP Rare album with Levinas's Orchestral Works ripped by friend Sotise (Adès MFA 1985) 10/15/15 American Classics +1CD Bernstein's Dybbuk (Complete Ballet), first recording (1974) 10/15/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade by John Mauceri and the LSO (1987) 10/1/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School +1DDL: Tomassi with Accardo for Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' & 'Spring' (2004) 10/1/15 Glories of the Italian Piano School + 1 Bonus: Dino Ciani plays Brahms's 1st Piano Concerto (Turin, 1969) 10/1/15 Messiaen +1LP: Paul Jacobs' rare recording of the Quatre études de rythme + Busoni, Stravinsky, Bartók (1976) 9/29/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +2CD sets: Der Rosenkavalier. Karajan's (1956) and Bernstein's (1971) recordings 9/29/15 Strauss Great Operas #2 +1CD set: Die ägyptische Helena conducted by Gérard Korsten in Cagliari (2001) 9/27/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter etc. with Ernest Ansermet (1958) (a rip by Enrico B) 9/26/15 Mahler 3 +1CD set: V. Neumann's great Prague early digital recording for Supraphon (1981) 9/26/15 Mahler Lieder +1CD Christianne Stotijn's Rückert and Selected Lieder + Brahms Alto Rhapsody (2006) 9/25/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +1CD Berg's Kammerkonzert by the Baton Rouge Chamber Players 9/25/15 Messiaen +1CD Cinq rechant by the BBC Singers/S. Cleobury (+ Choral works by Villette, Poulenc, Caplet) 9/25/15 In the Name of Music +1CD Mendelssohn's 2nd Symphony ('Lobgesang') by Richard Hickox (2002) 9/24/15 Mahler Das Lied von der Erde +1CD, Donald Runnicles (2008) 9/24/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #2 +2CDs The Piano Music by Stefan Vladar & The Piano Trios by Odeon Trio 9/24/15 Strauss Oktoberfest #3 +2CDs Alpensinfonie: Masur & ONF (2007) and M. Jansons & BBC Welsh (1991) 9/22/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +2CDs Roland Pöntinen's & Madalena Soveral's fabulous complete recordings 9/22/15 Schoenberg Piano Music +1CD, Claude Helffer's classic recording for HM (1969) (a rip by John F) 9/22/15 Schoenberg Operas +1CD set, Georg Solti's reference recording of Moses und Aron in Chicago 1985 for Decca 9/21/15 Messiaen +1CD, Cinq Rechants + Stockhausen's Choruses for Doris and Xenakis choral works (Chandos, 1998)9/21/15 Messiaen +1DDL, Fête Des Belles Eaux by the Sextet of Ondes Martenot of Montréal (ATMA 2008) 9/18/15 Summer Nights #1 +1 Bonus: Martinu, Krasa and Schulhoff conducted by Christopher Hogwood (Milan, 2003) 9/18/15 Hindemith +1Bonus: Hindemith in Italy, conducting his music plus Brahms's, Webern's and Blacher's at RAI 9/18/15 Hindemith +1CD Violist A. Tamestit & P. Järvi beautiful CD (also including pianist M. Hadulla) (2012) 9/18/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD set, Lloyd Webber's rock opera masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar (London cast 1996) 9/18/15 Weill +1CD Dessau's Symphony No. 2, In memoriam Brecht, Les voix etc. by Roger Epple on Capriccio (2009) 9/18/15 Rare Grooves +1LP Liszt & Wagner Preludes with Mehta & the WP (1967) (a stunning LP transfer by Enrico B) 9/17/15 Prokofiev #2 +1CD Boris Giltburg's recording of the War Sonatas (6th, 7th and 8th) (2012) 9/16/15 Poulenc +1CD Chamber Music with Woodwinds and Piano Duet Sonata by the Ensemble Petra (1999) 9/16/15 Darmstadt #2 +1CD Carter's Sonata (+ Bartók's and Dutilleux's) by Claire-Marie Le Guay on Accord (2000) 9/15/15 Darmstadt #2 +2CDs Including a new rip of Maderna's Oboe Concertos by Holliger & Bertini (1993) 9/14/15 Darmstadt #2 +2 Bonus: Donatoni's Le ruisseau (Brunello); Maderna Grande Aulodia + Nono's A Carlo Scarpa 9/14/15 American Classics +2CDs Herrmann & Diamond Chamber M. + Donald Fagen's milestone album The Nightfly 9/14/15 Schumann +1CD: Fischer-Dieskau's reference recording of Dichterliebe, Myrten and Liederk. Op. 39 (1979) 9/14/15 American Classics +1CD: Ives's "Concord" Sonata by Aimard and Songs by Graham on Warner (2004) 9/14/15 Darmstadt #2 +1CD Maderna's 3 Oboe Concertos by Fabian Menzel and Michael Stern on Col Legno (1996) 9/13/15 Darmstadt #4 +1CD Carter's one act opera "What Next?" in Péter Eötvös's première recording for ECM 9/11/15 Debussy #1 +1CD Thierry Fischer's recording of Le martyre de Saint Sébastien (BBC MM, 2011) 9/11/15 Debussy #5 +2CDs Benedetti Michelangeli's historic recordings of the Préludes for DG (1978 & 1988) 9/11/15 Debussy #4 +1CD Charles Rosen's reference (and first ever) recording of the Etudes (1955) 9/11/15 Summer Nights #12 +1LP Grumiaux and Haitink for Bruch 1st Violin Concerto (a transfer by Enrico B) 8/4/15 Schubert on Modern Instruments: new links for Oktett in D, by Cherubini Quartett 8/4/15 Schubert on Modern Instruments: new links for Richard Goode 8/3/15 Rare Grooves#1 +6 LPs mostly Enrico B's outstanding transfers of great out-of-print material 8/2/15 Intense Bruckner +9CDs with classic recordings by Solti, Chailly, Abbado, Wand, Karajan, Harnoncourt 7/25/15 Buxtehude & Pachelbel Organ Works - New links 7/18/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Pollini's classic DGG recording of Boulez's 2nd Piano Sonata (1978) 7/17/15 American Classics +1CD (NEW RIP) Lieberson's Neruda Songs with Hunt Lieberson & Levine (BSO) 7/16/15 Tristan und Isolde +1CD box, Georg Solti's classic recording (1960) (a rip by Cecco) 7/16/15 Selig im Glauben (Parsifal) +1CD box, Georg Solti's classic recording (1972) (a rip by Cecco) 7/15/15 Strauss Operas #1 +1CD box, Leinsdorf recording with Caballé, Milnes and the LSO (1968) (a rip by Cecco) 7/14/15 Die Meistersinger +2CD box, Solti 1975 Vienna (a rip by Cecco) and Kempe 1957 Berlin (a rip by A. Zaccaria) 7/13/15 Tristan und Isolde +1CD box, Fritz Reiner's historical London recording (1936) (a rip by Andrea Zaccaria) 7/2/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +2DT Berg's Violin Concerto by Carmignola/Inbal & Kavakos/Harding 7/2/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #2 +1CD Berg's Violin Concerto's & Kammerkonzert, I. Stern (Bernstein/Abbado) 6/30/15 Darmstadt #3 +1CD Boulez's Piano Sonatas and 12 Notations by Pi-Hsien Chen (2004) 6/30/15 Summer Nights #7 +1DT: J. du Pré with R. Goode and T. Schippers, Brahms & Mendelssohn (live in Spoleto) 6/30/15 Bartok #4 +1CD Violin Concertos by Midori & Mehta (1990) previously only on LP rip (courtesy of Cecco) 6/30/15 Bartok #5 +1CD Concerto for Orchestra & 4 Pieces by Leon Botstein and the London Philharmonic (2000) 6/29/15 Summer Nights #9 +2CDs (incomplete) Franck Symphonie with the Berlin Philh. (Mehta 1995 & Giulini 1986) 6/16/15 German Baroque New link: Fischer Musica Sacra 6/6/15 Bruckner +1CD Ozawa's 7th with the Saito Kinen Orchestra (2004) (Courtesy of Cecco) 5/27/15 Summer Nights #8 +2CD Mehta and the IPO, Brahms' 1st Symphony and Mozart Sinfonia Concertante K.364 5/27/15 Musique Française #2 +1CD Milhaud Piano Concertos + Carnaval d'Aix by C. Helffer and D. Robertson (1992) 5/27/15 Rachmaninov #2 +1CD 3rd Concerto by Jorge Luis Prats and Enrique Bátiz (1989) 5/27/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Howell's Music for String & Orchestra, by Richard Hickox (1992) 5/27/15 Wintery Romantics +1LP Tchaikovsky's 2nd Piano Concerto by Magaloff and C. Davis (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/22/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #9 +1CD Chamber Concerto by J-F. Heisser (a rip by Ranapipiens) 5/19/15 Hindemith +1CD Trumpet Sonata by Ole E. Antonsen & Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI, 1996) 5/19/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD "Romeo & Juliet" excerpts with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhaus Orchestra (1987) 5/19/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Wagner Opera Scenes with W. Meier and L. Maazel (1997) 5/19/15 Strauss #1 +1CD Horn Concertos with B. Tuckwell & V.Ashkenazy and the RPO on Decca (1990) 5/19/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky, Dukas, Enescu, Mussorgsky showpieces, E. Mata & the Dallas SO (1988) 5/14/15 Schumann +1CD Piano Concerto by R. Serkin/Ormandy 1965, and same from an outstanding LP rip by Enrico B. 5/14/15 Strauss #3 +1CD Zarathustra and Don Juan with Alan Gilbert and the NYP 5/14/15 Musique Française #1 +2CDs completing Eschenbach's Roussel Symphony cycle in Paris on Ondine 5/5/15 Strauss #2 +2CDs A Cappella Choral Works (Danish Radio Choir 1993) & Alpensinfonie by Michalakis (2000) 5/5/15 Contrappunti italiani +1CD Busoni's Piano Concerto with Peter Donohoe & Mark Elder (1988 on EMI) 5/5/15 Second Viennese School Ess'ls #1 +1CD Verklärte Nacht + Metamorphosen & Siegfried-Idyll by Levine (1991) 5/5/15 Debussy #5 +1CD Images I, II & Oubliées + Estampes & Berceuse Heroique by Fou Ts'Ong (1990) 5/5/15 Schumann +1CD String Quartets Op. 41 with the Eroica Quartet (2001) (a rip by Der Wanderer) 5/4/15 Webern +1LP Chamber Music with P.Serkin and the Tashi Ensemble (1983), + Takemitsu's Piano Works 5/4/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP: Vivaldi Concertos with Ayo and I Musici (1968) (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/4/15 Prokofiev +1LP Violin Concerto No. 2 (+ Sibelius'): Szeryng & Rozhdestvensky 1965 (a rip by Enrico B.) 5/4/15 Bruckner +1DVD: Sinopoli's 4th with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Tokyo 1988 (NHK Classical DVD) 4/29/15 Telemann +1CD Collegium Musicum '90 - Hickox - Donner Ode 4/17/15 Haydn - Complete Baryton Trios - Esterhazy Ensemble Added working link for dsic 16 and cover image for disc 13 4/17/15 Summer Nights #10 +3CDs Elgar Symphonies (C. Davis 2001), 3rd (P. Daniel) & Serenade (Orpheus CO) 4/16/15 Baroque Music in the Netherlands: New links (Koopman, Huggett, Hazelzet, Mathot, vdMeer) 4/16/15 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Mozart's Divertimenti and Serenata notturna with I Musici (a rip by Enrico B.) 4/16/15 Willem de Fesch: New links 4/15/15 Stravinsky #2: +1LP Symphony in C, Symphonies for Wind, 4 Etudes, Suites (Ansermet. A rip by Enrico B.) 4/15/15 Schubert New links Paul Badura-Skoda, playing Sonata D960 & Klavierstücke 4/15/15 Summer Nights #10 +2CDs Walton's Belshazzar's Feast (Terfel & Litton) and the Symphonies (Ashkenazy) 4/15/15 Summer Nights #10 +1CD Holst's The Planets (Y. P. Tortelier in Manchester) 4/13/15 Sibelius +1CD The NZSO & Inkinen: Scènes historiques and King Christian Suite 4/11/15 Entartete Lieder +1CD Dagmar Krause - Supply & Demand 4/11/15 Schubert: +1CD Quintet in C, by the Arcanto Quartett 4/9/15 Liszt +1CD Symphonic Poems (including Les Préludes) with Zubin Mehta and the Berlin Philh. (1994) 4/9/15 American Classics: 1CD Gershwin Porgy & Bess highlights, American in Paris, Cuban Ov. by Mehta & the NYP 4/9/15 Summer Nights #2: +1CD: Rezniček and Korngold's 1st String Quartets by the F. Schubert Quartett of Vienna 4/9/15 Schubert Essentials #1: +2CDs Works for Piano Duet by Anne Queffélec & Imogen Cooper (Erato, 1978) 4/9/15 Debussy #4: +4CDs The Complete Piano Music by Paul Crossley with one of the finest accounts of the Etudes 4/8/15 Musique Française #1: +1LP Frank Martin's Der Cornet (Rilke), Lipovšek & Zagrosek (1984) 4/8/15 Rare Grooves +1LP Grofé's Grand Canyon and Alfvén's Swedish Rhapsody by Ormandy in Philly (CBS, 1958) 4/8/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP Vivaldi, Capuzzi & Paisiello: Concertos with I Musici (Philips 1964. A rip by Enrico B.) 4/7/15 Rare Grooves #2 +1LP: Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony by Jesús López-Cobos (1981) 4/7/15 Rare Grooves #2 +2 LPs: Mendelssohn 3rd (A. Davis), Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht & Suite in G (Scimone) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #3: +1CD Mendelssohn's 3rd ("Scottish") Symphony + Beethoven's 1st by Osmo Vänskä 4/7/15 Summer Nights #4: +1CD Mozart's 'Jeunhomme' Piano Concerto with McCawley and Leaper (1996) 4/7/15 Wintery Romantics: +1CD Silvestrov's 5th Symphony and Postludium with Lubimov and Roberston (Sony, 1995) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #1: +1CD Glière's 'Ilya Muromets' Symphony by Edward Downes in Manchester (1991) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #1: +1CD Borodin's 3 Symphonies by José Serebrier in Rome (1989) 4/7/15 Second Viennese School Essentials #7: +2CDs Schoenberg's Moses und Aron by Sylvain Cambreling (2012) 4/7/15 Wintery Romantics: +1CD Tchaikovsky Suites (Nutcracker & Swan Lake), Mehta & the Israel Philh. (Decca, 1979) 4/7/15 Summer Nights #7: +1CD Brahms Hungarian Dances, 5 Studies and 2 Rhapsodies by Louis D. Alvanis (1994) 4/7/15 Ein Bach...: +1LP: Daniel Varsano's recording of the Goldberg Variations (CBS, 1980) 4/7/15 Debussy #2 +1LP: Mélodies (including Baudelaire & Mallarmé sets) by Hugues Cuenod (1979) 4/7/15 Musique Française #2 +2CDs Wagschal for Fauré's Nocturnes (2009) + Satie by Ciccolini (and Tacchino) (1986) 4/7/15 Easter Passion Music: New links 3/22/15 German Baroque chamber Music New links in the comments 3/21/15 London Baroque - Trio Sonatas: new links in the comments 3/21/15 Vivaldi - Musica ad Rhenum : new link in the comments 3/19/15 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Bernstein's 5th (NYP, Tokyo 1979) & Cello Concerto with Ma & Ormandy in Philly 1982 3/19/15 Mahler 1 +1CD Solti's recording with the LSO (Decca, 1964), a new rip by Sgorby 3/19/15 Darmstadt #3: +1CD rip by Sgorby of already posted Ligeti by Cerha (Wergo) 1971 (previously on LP rip) 3/16/15 Debussy #4 The Complete Solo Piano Music by Aldo Ciccolini on EMI (1991) (a rip by Sgorby) 3/16/15 Strauss #3 +2CDs 4 last Songs Schwarzkopf & Szell (1966) and Harper & Del Mar (1981) 3/15/15 Strauss #3 +1CD Ein Heldenleben by Haitink and the CSO (2009) 3/15/15 Stravinsky #2 +1CD The Firebird (complete) & Chant du rossignol by Kitajenko and the Danish Radio SO 1991 3/14/15 Summer Nights #1 +1CD Respighi's Belfagor, Belkis and Church Windows (Ashkenazy, Netherlands Radio Philh.) 3/14/15 Shostakovich #1 +1CD Hypothetically Murdered Suite + Pushkin Romances (Kharitonov & Elder) 1992 3/14/15 Shostakovich #2 +1CD 1st Violin Concerto (+ Glazunov Violin C.to) with Perlman & Mehta on EMI 1988 3/12/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Li & Ozawa's for the 2nd Piano Concerto (+ Ravel's G Major Concerto) (DGG, 2007) 3/12/15 Mahler 8 +2CDs Leif Segerstam's recording in Copenhagen for Chandos (1994) + 10th Adagio 3/12/15 Summer Nights #8 +1CD Andrew Davis recording of Brahms's 4th + the Zigeunerlieder (BBC 1996) 3/12/15 Musique Française #1 +3CDs: Boulanger's Faust et Hélène; Franck by Firkušný & Flor; Debussy & Takemitsu 3/12/15 Debussy #4 +1CD Livia Rev's recording of the Etudes (+ Suite Bergamasque, D'un cahier, Berceuse) (Saga 1980) 3/5/15 Mahler 5 +2CDs Frank Shipway and the RPO (1996) (Symphony + No. 1 by Yuri Simonov) 3/5/15 Spanish School #3 +2CDs Ginastera by Santiago Rodriguez (1984) & Mompou by Ester Pineda (1992) 3/4/15 Bartok #4 +1LP 2nd Piano Concerto and 4 Pieces for Orchestra, Weissenberg and Ormandy (1970) 3/3/15 Musique Française #2 +1CD Debussy for Piano Duet & 2 Pianos by Pascal & Ami Rogé (2011) 3/3/15 Gershwin +1CD Rhapsody in Blue (Daniel Adni in Bournemouth), Addinsell's Warsaw C.to & Rózsa's Spellbound 3/3/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Nielsen's 2nd Symphony (A. Davis) and Sibelius's 5th (Bamert) with the BBC SO 3/3/15 Prokofiev #1 +1CD Salonen and the Berlin Philharmonic: Romeo & Juliet (Excerpts) (CBS 1986) 3/1/15 Spanish School #3 +2CDs Albeniz & Granados selection by J.M. Pinzolas + "My Piazzolla" by Cecilia Pillado 3/1/15 Debussy #1 +1CD Jeux (Eötvös), Prélude (Robertson), Satie's Parade (Porcelijn), Roussel's BeA's 2nd Suite (Weller) 2/28/15 Debussy #4 +3CDs: Anne Queffélec's 12 Etudes, Ravel's Concertos & Miroirs, Fauré's Violin Sonatas (with P. Amoyal) 2/28/15 American Classics +2CDs: Copland The Populist by Tilson Thomas & MacDowell Symphonic Poems by Krueger 2/28/15 Debussy #2 +1CD Claudette Leblanc's album of Mélodies (with Valerie Tryon) (1989) 2/28/15 Summer Nights #5 +1CD Mackerras' recording of Berlioz Symphonie fantastique (with the RPO, 1994) 2/28/15 Summer Nights #4 +1CD Mackerras' recording of Beethoven 9th for EMI (Liverpool 1991) 2/27/15 Des Horizons #2 +1LP Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis & Satie's Socrate cond. by Friedrich Cerha (1969) 2/27/15 Des Horizons #2 +1CD Debussy and Ravel Music for 2 Pianos, by Pascal & Ami Rogé 2/27/15 Debussy #4 (Etudes) +1DDL: Nelson Goerner's recording of Etudes Livre II, plus Images Livre I & Estampes 2/27/15 Des Horizons #1 +1LP, Munch's last recordings in Paris, Ravel Concerto in G (w. Henriot-Schweitzer) & Honegger 2/26/15 Wintery Romantics +1LP: Maazel early recording of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony in Vienna for Decca (1965) 2/26/15 Des Horizons #1 +1CD Canteloube's complete Chants d'Auvergne by von Stade and De Almeida (CBS 1985) 2/26/15 Strauss Operas #2 +1CD set: Die Frau ohne Schatten, the complete Sawallisch recording for EMI (1987) 2/22/15 Des horizons de la musique française #2 +1CD Chabrier's Piano Music by Hewitt (2004) (a rip by Alan) 2/22/15 Rachmaninov #1 +1CD 2nd Symphony by Farberman & the RPO (1978) (a rip by Sgorby) 2/22/15 Summer Nights #9 +1CD Respighi Antiche Danze e Arie per Liuto by Ozawa (DGG 1979) (a rip by Sgorby) 2/22/15 Wintery Romantics +1CD Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker by Gergiev (Philips 1998) (a rip by Alan) 2/21/15 Wintery Romantics +6CDs Tchaikovsky Complete Symphonies: Temirkanov and the RPO (BMG) (a rip by Sgorby) 2/21/15 Wintery Romantics +2CDs Tchaikovsky Swan Lake (Complete) with Sawallisch (EMI 1994) 2/13/15 The World of Debussy #5 +1LP Rip, Tedd
Pity poor Georges Bizet. After winning the Prix de Rome at 19 years old he worked on, in part or completed, 10 operas. The last of them, Carmen, he was convinced was a failure. He succumbed to a heart attack three months after its premiere at 37. His widow, having no concept of the musical legacy she had inherited, gave away or lost many of her husband’s autographed manuscripts. But what of those other efforts of Bizet? Other than La jolie fille de Perth, which is almost akin to spotting a unicorn, only his Les pêcheurs de perles has managed to be fished from the sea of obscurity and plated on the rare occasion. The Met made a big deal about presenting it for the first time in a hundred years recently but failed to mention that 1916 only saw three performances with the renowned Caruso, Giuseppe de Luca and Frieda Hempel. It’s a curate’s egg, as the expression goes. Some of the music is truly divine: the showcase entrance for the soprano, the Act I finale with mountains of chorus, and the justly immortal tenor/baritone duet. But then a plot so feeble that in the recounting it threatens to vaporize into the air like perfume. Suffice to say it’s a very bad idea to get sweet on the same girl as your best bud and double that if she happens to wear a veil for work. We have our friends at Unitel to thank for the fact that this opera now has a second DVD in the catalogue. This performance is actually from October 2012 and was perhaps taken off the shelf due to the popularity of the Met broadcasts. The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples is a pearl itself and this presentation proffers some of the best that company has to offer. You’re still reminded frequently that you’re in Naples, not Paris. What it is with conductors and their aversion to the hairbrush? Gabrielle Ferro emerges into the pit looking like he just came straight from the bottom of the Mariana Trench for the engagement. All I can say is that it’s a good thing that the musicians have their music to hold their attention. The man can conduct however and although he’s spent the better part of his career as a Rossini specialist he’s very adept with Bizet’s tricky rhythms and Franco-tinged orientalisms. If his Italian orchestra lacks the requisite transparency for the French style they certainly make up for it in feeling. Also, no one could ever accuse him of letting the big tunes go for nothing. He double clutches so hard on the first appearance of “Oh Dieu Brahma” I was afraid the man playing the crash cymbals was going to do himself an injury. A smple set of sparkly sand dunes covers the stage courtesy of set designer Giorgio Richelli, with the occasional piece of decaying statuary scattered about for variation at each act change. We get off to a dangerously wobbly start in the opening chorus as the ensemble seems unsure of not only their music but also what they should be doing. Bizet wrote a lot of voix-mixte for the tenor section in this opera and the Neapolitans, being the good Italian tenors they are, really aren’t comfortable on anything other than forte towards the top of the staff. So for quite a bit of their parts they sound troublingly weak. There’s also some pretty choreography from the corpo di ballo randomly executed on curtain up that may have needed a few more run-throughs. What’s the French word for scattershot? I was not familiar with the Uruguayan baritone Dario Solari but as Zurga, the leader of the fisherman, he gave the most consistent pleasure both vocally and dramatically all evening. A good thing too, since the staging makes his character the centerpiece of the story. He has a bright, forward sound with a good buzz and a nearly effortless legato line. His easy projection of voice and character make him a model in this cast. Once he’s got his stage legs under him he displayed a strong tenor-tinged top that was doubly surprising. A voice to watch. Our hapless hero Nadir (and never was an operatic character more aptly named) is played by Operalia prizewinner Dmitry Korchak. It’s a tricky role that calls on the full technical resources of that special breed of tenor who has an easy, and hopefully sweet, top. He sadly pushes his full lyric voice out of focus on his entrance. Hints of clumsiness of phrasing and driving the voice a hard above the staff sadly mar the big duet with the baritone (“Au fond du temple saint)” but not completely. Perhaps he’s trying too hard to prove himself. Once he manages to get his sea legs under him, he offers a solid but reedy rendering of his big aria. Yet even there he throws himself at the penultimate high note on a wobbly forte, decrescendos with all the security of a pubescent teen, and finishes in, not so pure, head voice. The faulty mechanics of this were obviously less apparent to those in the theatre than on the home screen because during the semi-rapturous applause that follows someone called out for a “bis” twice. I don’t think there’s a tenor alive who would take that bait. But first the object of all this torment and affection enters (amongst a phalanx of minions) in the form of Leila, vestal virgin, embodied by Patrizia Ciofi. She is draped in one of the most magnificent wraps I’ve ever seen, yet renders little but straight-tone to the gods, which is unseemly for a woman of her years. After her brief interview with Zurga she returns to croon the “Oh Dieu Brahma!” with a modicum of sinewy meticulousness and a touch of vinegar. By the time we get to the Act II duet both tenor and soprano are firing on all cylinders. Nice to have a little magic going on! Sadly, the blue “moonlight” is not her friend, and neither is her Act I costume, sans veil, with silent movie face paint which makes her resemble Little Eva in the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ ballet from The King and I. For the final two acts she changes into something more flattering. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQBxE7tq4nA The Act II finale is justly famous for being wildly impassioned and difficult for even the best musicians and conductors to count as evidenced by a few recordings. Ferro is in his element and keeps everyone on point. Since they’re all good and warmed up it turns into the highlight of the evening. Still the corps de ballet dancers carry out some controlled silliness and the ladies of the chorus throw themselves to the ground en masse not once but twice in abject, and well rehearsed, terror. Act III is more contemplative and doesn’t find Bizet nearly as inspired as the previous two. Ciofi and Solari do give a beautifully impassioned reading of their duet with some very Gallic word-pointing on the part of our soprano that is most impressive. Still, since it’s filled with musical reminiscences from just an hour ago, it has its longueurs. For me that only works in operas like Don Carlos where the music from the love duet comes back after five hours. Director Fabio Sparvoli can’t be credited with much more than keeping people from not bumping into each other in what is a very traditional staging. In the second act the tenor and soprano take turns climbing up to the top of the giant stone head on stage to sing their showcase moments—hardly inventive—and the chorus behaves like a flock of geese with a hive mind. The costumes of Alessandra Torella show a real eye for both color and texture for the men and women. The narrow range of silhouettes, though, suggests there’s only one sari seamstress in town. The standard Choudens edition of the score is used in spite of some not so recent discoveries regarding the transposition and ending of the tenor/baritone duet. We also get the spurious trio towards the close of the last act, not written by Bizet, that the Met didn’t even detain us with. Picture and sound are crisp with only the miking of the chorus a little on the muddy side. Sound options are standard PCM and DTS 5.1 which is certainly preferred. Subtitles in six languages will allow you to sing along in Japanese to your heart’s content.
On Monday, the Met kicks off its 132nd season with a new production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde by Mariusz Trelinski, with Sir Simon Rattle leading a premiere cast of Nina Stemme, Ekaterina Gubanova, Stuart Skelton, Evgeny Nikitin and René Pape (not pictured). Tristan has been the season-launching opera three times before now, but good luck finding someone to provide a firsthand account of the last time. Stemme and Skelton will follow in the footsteps of Flagstad and Melchior (1937), who followed Ternina and Van Dyck (1901), who followed Lehmann and Niemann (1887). Of these three illustrious pairings, that of Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior is most familiar to us listeners of the 21st century. While Stemme and Skelton will be singing their roles at the Met for the first time, the Scandinavian Connection headlined 67 Met Tristans between 1935 and 1941, both at 39th and Broadway and on tour. The 1937 opening night was the 26th of these. Artur Bodanzky‘s cast also included Kerstin Thorborg, Julius Huehn and Emanuel List. How “ordinary” was a Flagstad/Melchior Tristan in those days? Reviewing one Saturday matinee of the late 1930s with all five of the above singers and the same conductor, the Herald Tribune took a cautioning note: The frequenters of out foremost opera house are perhaps beginning to regard the accomplishments of Mme. Flagstad a bit too complacently, for while there was no want of enthusiasm in the reception accorded her, there were numerous vacant seats and the number of standees was considerably smaller that it has been in past seasons at Tristan performances in which she has participated. […] Such artistry is rare in any time, and in our day, when good singing–not to speak of great singing—is all too rarely encountered, it should not be too lightly appraised. Here are Flagstad, Melchior and Bodanzky in the last performance of the 1937-38 season. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J6iCfEokqw A review of the historical archive illuminates how the different regimes of different times had differing ideas about what an opening night should be. The incumbent general manager has favored new productions of familiar, popular works, and in one case the Met premiere of an opera many considered overdue (Anna Bolena, 2011). Only once has there been a gala, the 2008 Renée Fleming showcase. Those productions have covered the spectrum from triumphant (Madama Butterfly) to dismal (Tosca) to just “there” (…actually, all of the others), but they have brought to opening night some excitement that had ebbed away in the Crawford/Southern/Volpe years. In that era, it usually seemed as though the previous season were picking up where it had left off, with a business-as-usual Aïda, Bohème or Carmen slapped onto the stage in an existing production that had worked or had not worked, plus one big star. “But opera is about the singing!” you say. Yes, yes. In more distant times, opening night was often a time of important musical debuts. This is something of which we have not seen much in recent decades. In the Gelb era, there have been the slim pickings of Stephen Costello (2007) and Amanda Majeski (2014)… the former in a comprimario role, the latter as an emergency replacement. New faces to begin the season were few and far between in the 20 years prior to Gelb’s time too. José Cura had been highly touted in advance in 1999, but he was an anomaly. As you will see below, in the Met’s first century, many significant artists were initially heard on opening night. There were so many such examples that I had to leave many out of my survey in the interests of brevity and balance: Geraldine Farrar, Emmy Destinn, Tullio Serafin, Fritz Busch, Erna Berger, George London, Giulietta Simionato, Bonaldo Giaiotti, Florence Quivar, Kurt Moll. In first-night casting, at least, the most recent regimes have been in agreement, sticking with the tried and true. Here is just some of what you could have seen, and perhaps did see, on opening night through the years at the Met. 1890: The seven-year-old company dared to open the season with a work little known at the time and even less well known today. Franchetti’s Asrarel, a mystical mash-up of Meyerbeerian, Wagnerian and Italian influences, was said to have had some overseas success. An anonymous New York Times reviewer handled it cautiously: The opera was received with no small favor, but it will have to grow into deep public affection. It is not the kind of work to carry an audience by storm. There is too much thought in it. This brain food may have proved indigestible to New Yorkers of the Gilded Age; the work did not grow into deep public affection. After five performances, it was not heard again at the Met. Of the cast members, several of them debuting artists, only tenor Andreas Dippel lasted past the 1890-91 season. He proved valuable in a wide range of repertoire over the following 18 years. 1893: For its tenth anniversary, the Met returned to the opera with which it had all begun, Gounod’s Faust. The entire previous season had been wiped out by an August 1892 fire, allegedly caused by a workman’s casually discarded cigarette. Recorded the Times: There is scarcely a reminder of the old Metropolitan Opera House in the magnificent new building[,] a marvel of brightness in color and grace in all its outlines. The severe decorations of the auditorium, which was destroyed by the big fire, have given place to brighter ornamentation, and, while the seating capacity of the house has been materially increased, the comfort of its patrons has been steadily kept in view in the arrangement of the changes. Surely, all thought of ornamentation and outlines was put to the side when Emma Eames and brothers Jean and Edouard de Reszke got their Goethe on. 1903: “Not that he is the greatest tenor ever heard in New York,” the Sun hastened to assure its readers about a new singer who was no Jean de Reszke or Francesco Tamagno. “He pretends to be such a singer in his part as [Marcella] Sembrich is in hers.” Such remarks were typical within the press’s generally complimentary notices for Enrico Caruso. The 30-year-old Neapolitan, acclaimed elsewhere in the world, debuted as Rigoletto‘s Duke alongside Sembrich and Antonio Scotti. 1907: Cilea’s seemingly unkillable Adriana Lecouvreur got its first Met hearing, showcasing a star tenor and a soprano considered one of the world’s most beautiful women. “How poor a vehicle the opera is for the exhibition of Mr. Caruso’s extraordinary gifts and powers,” clucked the formidable Henry Krehbiel in the Herald Tribune. “Adriana is not for such as this; rather it is for such as Mme. [Lina] Cavalieri, who has neither beauty of voice nor excellence of song to recommend, but who can make pictures, and act as opera people act.” 1916: “Pearls of song by all-star anglers were never cast before a more brilliant assemblage […] The old Metropolitan put its best foot forward as it hasn’t done in years,” raved the Evening Sun‘s W. H. Chase at the company’s first complete performance of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles, starring Frieda Hempel, Caruso and Giuseppe De Luca. Despite this enthusiasm, the opera received only two more Met performances, sank to the depths for nearly a century, and resurfaced looking very different. 1921: Curiously, the American‘s Max Smith suggested that Verdi’s La traviata may have been too slight an offering for this occasion. [T]he work has none of the spectacular glories usually associated with the opening night. […] Traviata, as all of us know, affords no opportunity for big ensembles, for massed effects, for the combined assault of cumulative sonority and gorgeous pageantry upon eye and ear.” One suspects this gifted writer would never have foreseen Meyerbeer’s fall from fashion. Still, Smith found excitement in the debut of soprano Amelita Galli-Curci. [H]ow fascinating is Amelita’s impersonation of Violetta, already made familiar during her association with the visiting Chicago Opera Company! How imaginatively vivacious in the first act; how pathetic in the second; how tragic in the last. It was fitting, indeed, that [general manager] Giulio Gatti-Casazza should bring forward his latest “star” in Traviata. For surely no other role reveals her own peculiar powers, histrionic as well as vocal, to greater advantage; none permits her to disclose more affectingly the characteristic delicacy of her art, the essentially feminine charm of her persuasions. Beniamino Gigli and De Luca supplied the masculine charm. 1926: Another work not long for the Met’s repertory inaugurated the 43rd season, as a 34-year-old bass made his company debut in Spontini’s admired La vestale. “Ezio Pinza, a newcomer, orated the bass pronouncement of the Pontifex Maximus and gave promise of being a useful addition to the company. There is little else to be said. The audience was large, but the familiar excitement of an opening night was absent,” wrote W. J. Henderson in the Sun. Maestro Serafin’s cast included Rosa Ponselle, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi and De Luca. Vestale would receive only two more Met performances, but Pinza would settle in until 1948. 1938: As Smith had in 1920, the Herald Tribune’s Lawrence Gilman mused on what constituted appropriate opening-night fare: From a strictly realistic standpoint, it does not matter very much […] [T]he inaugural work could be almost any choice at all from the Metropolitan’s extensive repertoire, active or inactive. It might be Tristan or Mignon, Madama Butterfly or Dinorah–perhaps only Parsifal or In the Pasha’s Garden would not serve. On this occasion, it was Otello. Giovanni Martinelli and Lawrence Tibbett returned to roles in which they were building legends, and Verdi’s score was in the hands of one of its great conductors, Ettore Panizza. Debuting soprano Maria Caniglia would not remain with the company for long, but her Desdemona made a strong impression: [T]he Neapolitan soprano […] is a singing-actress of exceptional feeling and sincerity, a gracious and gentle personality, equipped with a sense of the theater and a voice which often serves her responsively as a vehicle of dramatic utterance and lyric speech. She was vocally ill at ease in the first two acts, but later she sang with greater freedom and security, and often with affecting beauty and communicative eloquence. 1950: The season and the eventful tenure of GM Rudolf Bing began with Verdi’s Don Carlo, featuring six notable debuts: sopranos Delia Rigal and Lucine Amara, mezzo Fedora Barbieri, bass Cesare Siepi, director Margaret Webster and designer Rolf Gérard. Jussi Björling, Robert Merrill and Jerome Hines completed the principal cast; Fritz Stiedry conducted. At this time, the opera itself could still be described as “Verdi’s gloomy and seldom-heard Don Carlo” (Max de Schauensee, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin). But Virgil Thomson was happy to see it back after a 27-year absence: [T]his ever-so-grand grand opera is perfectly suited to the space and paraphernalia possibilities of New York’s historic music theater. It is also a fine vehicle for musical display, and last night’s performance was not wanting in grandeurs from the auditory wing. He praised the sophisticated work of the director and designer. 1956: The heavily hyped Met debut of Maria Callas (Bellini’s Norma) was, like so much else about this singer, controversial. Bing, Callas herself and many attendees claimed she had not been at her best. The Saturday Review‘s oft-dyspeptic Irving Kolodin left a judicious assessment that stands the test of time, not only as regards this performance but Callas’s art: The kind of voice, basically, requires some consideration. It is what every great artist’s means of communication becomes: an extension of her own personality. That personality is dynamic, highly charged, tigerish, and utterly under discipline. So, too, the voice is dynamically dramatic, produced as though it might be torn from the singer’s insides, and presided over with an almost visible concern for every word and note she sings. Nothing is thoughtless, left to chance, or without total purpose. Factually, Miss Callas cannot afford to perform otherwise, for were she dependent on the pure physical beauty of the sound she produces she would be sung out of sight by many people presently inconspicuous.” Barbieri, Siepi and Mario del Monaco were this fabled Norma’s colleagues and competitors. 1966: The Met’s state-of-the-art Lincoln Center home flung open its doors for the world premiere of Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra with Leontyne Price and Justino Diaz. The story of that inauspicious beginning is a familiar one. Franco Zeffirelli‘s elaborate production was critically savaged, and the Christian Science Monitor adjudged the opera inferior to the composer’s Vanessa (“At times tedium was definitely on hand”). Reviews for the venue were considerably better. Inez Robb (under her nom de plume, Nancy Randolph), covering for the Daily News, beseeched: “New Yorkers at all levels have been talking, day and night, about quitting this city. It’s ‘so tired,’ ‘so sooty,’ ‘so traffic-choked,’ this ‘irritating island’ with its ‘horrid sights and sounds.’ Now, won’t these dear people please stay? There are new wonders here in New York and they’ve been wrought while the complainers were busy with pale martinis and dark moods.” 1970: What the New Yorker‘s Winthrop Sargeant found “an unusually sedate and refined” opening night may impress us as more special 46 years later: Verdi’s Ernani conducted by Thomas Schippers, starring Martina Arroyo, Carlo Bergonzi, Sherrill Milnes and debuting bass Ruggero Raimondi. Sargeant felt that baritone Milnes, already a local favorite, had won the evening, but he praised the new kid too: “[A] young Bolognese named Ruggero Raimondi […] sang with fine quality and style, making an impression that will entitle him to many a future role at the Metropolitan Opera. He is not a deep bass, but he is one with plenty of velvet and a commanding stage presence.” Indeed, Raimondi frequently returned, most recently in 2008. 1981: Andrew Porter found little to cheer in a Norma remembered as a lowlight of Renata Scotto‘s distinguished Met career. No one seemed very much interested in anyone else, and the drama dragged. If Miss Scotto’s technical execution was faulty, the others [Tatiana Troyanos, Plácido Domingo and Bonaldo Giaiotti] lacked delicacy, refinement—the individual touches, vocal and dramatic, by which imaginative singers bring Bellini’s opera to life. The approach of the conductor, James Levine, did not encourage them to finesse. He laid out foursquare metronomic rhythms. He was energetic and assured, […] but he showed almost no feeling for sensitive, flexible shaping of Bellini’s melodies. 1983: The Met marked 100 years of flush times and lean times, the forgettable and the unforgettable, with a work close to the heart of music director Levine: Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens. The large cast included Troyanos, Domingo and Jessye Norman, making her house debut as Cassandre (“She delivered her pronouncements with magnificent tone and searing authority, and while her figure is of the same Wagnerian proportions as her voice, she moved with as much grace as grandeur,” per the Daily News). The tenor had had second thoughts about his role’s tessitura and even had asked to be relieved of the assignment. Although his reviews in the main were good, four performances of Enée in this run would be the only ones of his career. 1986: In a decade that saw several innovative Rings around the world, the Met put its technical and monetary resources in the service of pictorial conservatism. The Times‘s Donal Henahan assessed the first completed entry, Die Walküre: Feasible, but on the whole so far from being satisfactory in both large and small matters that the success of the cycle may already be in jeopardy. Otto Schenk‘s staging is a schizoid affair, with naturalistic, 19th-century scenery bumping up against naturalistic acting in a 20th-century style. […] Günther Schneider-Siemssen‘s sets, which look as if they were copied from one of the historical dioramas in the Wagner museum at Bayreuth, are not individual in any way, but they please the eye and would serve well in a performance better directed and better sung. Levine’s premiere cast included Jeannine Altmeyer, Hildegard Behrens, Brigitte Fassbaender, Peter Hofmann and Simon Estes. 1994: General manager Joseph Volpe scored a coup when two of the famous Three Tenors agreed to share opening night in a pairing of Puccini’s Il tabarro (Domingo) and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Luciano Pavarotti). Perhaps the bigger news was the 35th Met anniversary of Teresa Stratas. The elusive and mercurial Canadian performed adulterous double duty as Giorgetta and Nedda. Veteran mezzo Florence Quivar made much of relatively little, stealing a scene as Tabarro‘s Frugola. Levine conducted. 2006: New GM Peter Gelb‘s tenure began with a hit, a fresh take on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly by esteemed film director Anthony Minghella in collaboration with his wife, choreographer Carolyn Choa. “We are first-time opera makers; it’s not for us to revolutionize opera,” the director said at the time. “It’s for us to understand it and to bring to bear whatever it is that we can bring to the work.” Opera News‘s F. Paul Driscoll described the result as a clean-lined, luxuriously spare Butterfly that borrows liberally from the traditions of Asian theater. Minghella is not the first director to try this, but no other director has accomplished his unaffected fusion of East and West with such sumptuous flair—abetted here by the sleek settings of Michael Levine and the elegant costumes by Han Feng—or his highly individual musicality. Levine led Cristina Gallardo-Domas, Marcello Giordani, Maria Zifchak and Dwayne Croft. Sadly, this instant classic was both Minghella’s first opera production and his last. He died in 2008.
What would Georges think? Boston Lyric Opera’s season of peripateticism begins, surprisingly, with its first-ever visit to—also the first opera production in decades in—Boston’s so-called Opera House. There BLO mounts a production freighted with the hopes and dreams of the company to be both relevant and lively. Calixto Bieito’s stripped-down, actor-driven version of Carmen recently marched and swaggered into San Francisco, where it garnered reviews ecstatic [LA Times here ] and disappointed alike [BMInt’s is here ], running from “tawdry and tactless” to “ A Carmen for Our Times.” Joan Anton Rechi, who is directing revivals of the production, said we can expect even more stage energy and energized singing than we might have heard in the Bay City. Set in the arid earthiness of 1970s post-Franco Spanish North Africa, this revisionist and decidedly non-folkloric (though perhaps inadvertently kitchy and quaint in its own ritualized violence and simulated sex conventions) co-production with the San Francisco Opera runs September 23rd through October 2nd at the Boston Opera House. Jennifer Johnson Cano returns to Boston in the title role, alongside a Don José played by Roger Honeywell. Michael Mayes and Chelsea Basler also revisit BLO, and conductor David Angus leads. Before BMInt’s extensive interviews with Angus and Rechi, we had some questions for BLO artistic director Esther Nelson. FLE: Bieito’s productions are infamous for their shock value and often accused of privileging theatrical gimmickry over dramatic coherence and depth. As a company that has chosen to open its season with a Bieito production, how would BLO answer that? David Angus, for one, finds this Carmen compelling. EN: I am not sure I agree with that assertion about Bieito. I believe he challenges audiences and when he chooses to be provocative and push comfort levels, his point of view is based on understanding the work in depth. One may not enjoy or agree with some of his stagings, but they are not vanity productions or the result of gimmicks. This Carmen, one of the earlier productions of his career, is actually not so shocking. It does reflect honest conflict situation and does not shy away from violent situations that are, after all, inherent in the opera, and particularly in the novel. While it is not a postcard version of an imagined ideal, as is often portrayed with this opera, it really just tells the story in a petty traditional way but with real strong emotions. These are real people! There is also a scene of a torero dancer performing the “moon baptism,” that is entirely based on a practiced Spanish bullfighter ritual, which includes brief nudity. I find it one of the most spiritual moments in the opera, when man and “beast” confront each other alone, without the noisy bullfight arena festivities. Everyone will make their own decision about this production, of course, but I also think it is a wonderful opportunity for our Boston audience to experience what has become one the most iconic Carmen productions of our time. We have no plans for a future Calixto Bieito production at this time but we are certainly not ruling it out. And now questions for the stage director Joan Anton Rechi. You’re here for four weeks. How often is it that an opera company gives you that long for rehearsal? JAR: Not so often—three is the normal timing that we have to do a pro production. But with this Carmen, you need time if you want it to work really well in terms of acting. And if you want build real energy onstage, you need even more time. It’s not just to do the blocking! I think four weeks is a perfect period of time—two to rehearse all the staging and then two more to put it together with the orchestra, to put it onstage, to do the lighting, to do costumes … you know, it’s a long process. Especially in a show like this Carmen, the big chorus and the supernumeraries are characters in themselves, and they need to move and act like individuals. In some opera choruses, everyone’s very stiff. I just saw the video of Philipp Stölzl’s Cavalleria Rusticana in Salzburg, where every character in the chorus seems like an individual. Is this something that you are able to do in four weeks? How many people are you going to have onstage? We have 60 including the chorus. And if we include the principals, 70. For that we need a little more time than normally, because if you want to play with the energy, you have to see individual characters, not only in the principals. You also have to see this in the supers, and also in the chorus. Do you give individual coaching, like “So, I want you like this,” and “You, I want to do that?” I had individual sessions with the supers, and then with the chorus all together. And then I tried to use the time to, yes, to create these small characters with some of the people. In this production we try to create an atmosphere of freedom to let them have the sensation that they can drive things; and then they propose a lot of things. Finally, I’m the one saying, “Okay, this is good. This is good. Keep it, continue, okay, right.” To treat them individually and not simply to declare “the chorus is entering, or now, the chorus goes”…. Because that’s so boring. Yeah. And I’m repeating all the time to them the importance of the chorus and the importance of the supers in this production. They are going to give, really, all this atmosphere. It’s important. When the inanimate scenery is so limited, you need to have human scenery. Yes. The day I made the presentation to BLO I said, “This is a very minimalistic set and costumes. You will see there is nothing—only one floor and one cyclorama, and then different elements for each act, but very simple. The telephone box, the flag, and then the bull and the cars: there’s nothing about that typical big Grand Opera set, it’s about energy. And I have to say so far that this production will be fantastic. They are playing so well; the chorus, for example, yesterday did a fantastic rehearsal. Some people were sitting when we did “Les voici, les voici, voici la quadrille!” You saw the show, it’s the rogue number, when they’re watching the torero parade, and some of the singers who were sitting, they were really touched by it all because they are playing their roles really, really, really well and were really happy with the work that they did. But especially to create these individual characters, you must give them a sensation of more freedom; they have to feel free to try everything onstage. And I’m really happy with the work they’re doing. I think it will be really great. This is a production where that is more important. You’re in our gorgeous movie/vaudeville palace with gold leaf and then the curtain opens … and you feel like you’re in a plain blackbox establishment. Absolutely. Punishment laps opening (BLO image) And so the eye needs something to compete with all the gold filigree, but as soon as the show opens, there’s movement. The initial male sadism feels shocking and angry, though. You have this fellow in Jockey shorts doing punishment laps around the soldiers, which is not in Carmen normally, but it certainly wakes you up; you realize the minute the curtain opens, “This is not a regular night at the opera.” No. I think the first thing is that it’s theater. The conception was to do theater. And for that, it’s important to work really well on the acting of everybody. You cannot just go onstage and sing to do the job right. You have to act—not just Carmen, but everybody must be in that direction. This is one thing. The second one is that we wanted to do something very, very Spanish without being folkloristic, you know. When you say “we”, you mean— It’s Calixto Bieito, the original director’s staging; Mercè Paloma, the costume designer; Alfons Flores, the set designer; and me. We were the team preparing the conception and the production. And we wanted to do something very, very Spanish, but without falling in the folkloristic element. No kitsch! Because we were speaking about that, when we were watching Carmen in other productions, and I saw many, because it’s an opera that I like. It’s almost always done as in Disneyland, you know. When you see all these flamenco dresses, this is not authentically Spanish! This is not realistic for us, as you know, because people don’t go around dressed like that, even in medieval times, except for particular weeks, for parties. You know it’s not everyday dress. This is 19th-century exoticism. Yes. We have to remember that librettist Prosper Mérimée wasn’t actually in Spain, and that Bizet wasn’t in Spain … then it’s a fantasy about Spain. It’s similar to a “Turkish” march such as Mozart would write. Yes, it’s this kind of sensation. One thing that bothered me, by the way—well, there were several things—but one that this brings up is that in the production of this opera in San Francisco, Carmen didn’t play her own castanets! Somebody in the orchestra did. Now that is something that I’ve never observed before. Was that staging decision your idea or hers? No, not hers. It’s a production idea. So this Carmen is not going to do it? I have to say that in San Francisco, Irene Roberts, who played Carmen, knows how to play castanets really well. No, our intention was to take that coloristic element out of the production, to go more for the soul of the piece. Do you mean the novel, the opera, or both? The first thing is that Bizet wanted to be really close to the novel because he was a big fan of the novel, and the novel, it’s much, much stronger and much more heartfelt. The relations are much harder, and Carmen is a much more negative character. And Bizet was a big fan of the novel, and he wanted to do something very strong, but he was not able to do it because of the conventions of the time, no? It wasn’t a grand opera, really, at first. It was an opéra comique. An opéra comique, right. But even for an opéra comique it was too much, it caused a big scandal at the premier. Some years earlier, when Rossini did Cenerentola, he changed the shoe for two bracelets because it was forbidden to show the foot of a woman onstage. We wanted to bring back that sensation of something forbidden—to show a new approach to the piece, because we think that this goes back to the origin of the piece. You know, it was a big scandal at Carmen’s premiere. People were throwing stones against the theater because the people were thinking that it’s impossible to see a woman like that onstage. Is anything forbidden now onstage? There are still things that are forbidden. Normally, we are used today to see much, much harder-core things on television. Even in theater, but not in opera. The problem is always with getting reality into the opera. Even in Europe people sometimes think, “No, this is too much,” but if you go to the cinema you see much racier things. But compared with other performances of Carmen, this certainly is angry. But it’s because the piece is like that. To me, the production with some of the men topless and nude, and Carmen fully clothed was almost more about bonding among the soldiers than it was about Carmen. Is this a gay Carmen? No, no … it’s a combination. I think it’s a combination between the soldiers who are a very important element in the [Prosper Mérimée] novel [from almost 30 years earlier], and also in the opera. It was a way to show the brutality of this male universe surrounding Carmen. It’s something that we used to approach the brutality of the piece through the novel. In the novel, for example, when Carmen starts the relationship with Don José, she’s married to another smuggler, and then at a certain point she says to Don José, “I think the best thing you can do is to kill my husband, because now I’m with him.” Don José kills Carmen’s husband—that’s the first killing he does in the novel, because she convinces him. That means that it’s a brutal story. You know, sometimes we forgot the real plots. For example, when the people tell me about Don Giovanni, I say, “Don Giovanni starts with rape and a murder. That means it starts with sex and violence.” Well, sex and violence, yes, but I don’t think that it’s a murder. It was a legitimate duel—he says, “Don’t make me do this—” Yes. So that’s not murder. That’s sex and violence. With sex and violence, I think you can do it in a traditional way with all period costumes, or you can do it modern, but it’s still a story of sex and violence at the beginning. Throughout the whole thing. Carmen is a story of violence. It’s a very violent story, and in the news— Just this week, there was a story about a Marine in basic training allegedly being forced to commit suicide because he was brutalized by his drill sergeant, and that immediately made me think of the opening scene in Carmen, where you have this soldier running punishment laps in his underwear until he falls … so it’s brutal from the beginning. Yeah, it’s brutal from the beginning, a story that happens in this brutal universe. And for that, the idea to present an image that give clues to the audience of the kind of universe this opera is set in. They are living these roles, you know. With that poor runner at the beginning, you think, “Oh, okay, it’s a universe where life and death are really close.” And this makes the characters live their love and their passion in a very strong way, because they know that they, you know, they can die tomorrow. That it’s very easy to die, and for that reason, everything is so passionate and so real. These are real soldiers, not opera chorus soldier. Is a flagpole just a flagpole? (BLO image) In Freudian terms, is the conspicuous stage flagpole just a flagpole? Because you see a woman hoisted on hoisted on it and someone’s mounting her…is the flagpole just a flagpole? I like that question because it’s more in the way you are reading things as a spectator. It’s just a flagpole, but it’s also the center of the male universe. So it’s male. It’s male. You can read it also as a totem or as the male sex. So it isn’t just a flagpole? No, it’s a symbol. When you’re talking about how Bizet wanted to follow the Mérimèe novel and was interested in having more violence and realism than he could get away with, why did he create the character of Micaëla, who is so gentle and soft, and why have you made her vulgar? Why does she give the chin-thumbing gesture? This is not vulgar. It is vulgar. All of the characters are poor people, you know, without learning. Micaëla was not in the novel. Bizet created Micaëla to have the contrast, mezzo and soprano. But it’s also purity and wantonness, isn’t it? Purity? I think, in the way we want to read the character, the first thing is that we have a lot of information about Micaëla in the dialogue scenes. You know that in the complete version, there is a lot of dialogue. But you’re not having much dialog. No, we’re not having the dialogues, but reading that piece, you can have more information, and they said about Micaëla that she was an orphan, and that Don José’s mother adopted her, but they treat her a little bit as a servant. Imagine: if she’s a woman in love with Don José, being part of the family but not treated as well as the rest of the family.… You know, she travels alone from the Basque country to Seville. To see Don José, alone in that time, in a place surrounded by smugglers—a maelstrom, you know—she must be a strong character. So she can’t be a delicate little thing. No she can’t. It’s really impossible. And we have some clues to give the sensation that she’s in reality trying to manipulate Don José, because she’s in love and she wants him desperately, and for that, she will do everything. For example, if Don José’s mother is dying for real, why is this not the first thing she says in the first act? Why is it the last thing she says in the third act: “José, your mother’s dying?” The reason is that she tries to make Don José go back to their small town because of her, but finally, when she’s not able to do that, she says, “Okay, you will come with me. If it’s not for me, it will be for your mother. It’s a kind of confrontation, you know, between them, and I think this makes a more interesting characterization, because it’s more interesting, always, onstage when no one is entirely good and no one is entirely bad. But it’s still beautiful and pure-sounding musically. Yes, because she wants to show to everybody that she is so nice. So you think she’s lying? Yes. And there is something that hints about that even in the music. I was speaking about that with David Angus, the musical director, and he agreed completely. During Micaela’s aria, she says, “Vous me donnerez du courage, / vous me protégerez, Seigneur!” “You will protect me, Lord.” When she speaks to God, it’s sweet, but she tells God “You have to do this. You’re going to give me this.” It’s strong, even in the music! Who was responsible for the translations and the surtitles? Instead of saying coquette it says bitch at one point now. The theater, I imagine, in San Francisco. Do you know whose surtitles were used? No. So that’s not part of the package that you provide when directing. No—no, no, no, no no. The theaters have the translation. We use the French original version for singing. So they’re singing the actual words in the opera, but in San Francisco they had a very contemporary sort of modernization, because coquette and bitch aren’t the same thing. No, no, no, no, no, no. So I’ll have to ask management what they’re saying in the surtitles here. To the ending: I don’t want to give away anything, but in the end, Don José drags Carmen off the stage. Typically he just waits for the officers to come and arrest him, and there he was acting like a caveman, and I found that a little jarring. Why did that happen? There are two things in the finale. The first one is that he carries her, like if she was the bull. If you see the corridas, you will see this in the plaza de toros. When the bull is dead, they carry him like that, and that’s the idea. To have Don José carrying Carmen, like a bull at the end of a corridas. But the most important thing in all of the production, especially in the finale, was that we didn’t want to treat it in a romantic way. We wanted to treat it as domestic violence. Or bullring violence. She’s the bull and he’s the torero. When I was a kid and, in Spain, a man was killing his wife, the newspaper called it a “passion crime” – crime passionale. It’s “domestic violence” today, you know, because we have changed our mind about that. We tried to change that as well in this staging … not to see Don José as a romantic hero but as a domestic-violence perpetrator. But now you need a sequel, because Don José isn’t arrested before the opera ends. No, he will be arrested. He will be arrested. Promise? Yes. No, no, no, you don’t have to wait. For example, in the recordings you listen to from the ’60s, all the last-act recordings, Carmen is provoking him to kill her. It’s “Cette bague autrefois” (This ring that you gave to me, I give it back to you), and normally it’s “Cette bague autrefois, / tu me l’avais donnée, / tiens!” And this, all this, goes as a provocation to Don José. As a spectator, you understand why he kills her. In this production, we try to do it so it’s Don José’s decision. There’s no provocation coming from Carmen. He’s not a hero, he’s a jealous man saying to her, “Oh, you will be mine – or death!” and “No one else anymore will have you – only mine” and “No? You don’t want to continue with me? Then death to you.” Ginger Costa-Jackson and Brian Jagde contrast footwear in SF show. (Cory Weaver photo) Tell about how the chemistry with the three main characters in the Boston version, because in the San Francisco production I didn’t think there was great chemistry between the Carmen I saw on that night and Don José or Escamillo. Here we have a fantastic chemistry, I have to say. Here they are all working in the same level. With Jennifer Johnson Cano and Roger Honeywell, they have fantastic chemistry in reality, whereas Carmen and Don José don’t have too many moments to show their chemistry in the story. There’s no conventional bedroom scene in your production. There is a sex scene with a blanket the floor in the end of the second act. When she drops her underwear? Yes, her underwear. But it’s not in a bedroom. By the way, I said in my review that a Carmen who lived in a warm climate wouldn’t be wearing underwear. It’s true, that’s a possibility…. Carmen never never said “I love you”, in the present tense—she said, “I think I was loving you” or “I think I can love you.” In the first act, she says, “I will love you. If you let me escape, I will love you,” and in second, she says, “I thought I loved you” in past tense, but never in present tense. Never. So you don’t think there needs to be romantic moments between the two. But with Escamillo it needs to be very romantic. Because she says, “Yes, I love you” immediately. In the fourth act, she says, “I love you, Escamillo, and I never loved no one the way I loved you.” Then I think the good chemistry must be between Carmen and Escamillo, not between Carmen and Don José. Is that happening in this production? A lot. You will see. What about chemistry between Escamillo and Don José? This must be more macho: alpha male fighting with both. Yes, I think everyone in the company here has fantastic chemistry. And Carmen, with Escamillo, with Don José … I think you will love the way we do it. Another thing that I missed was that the women typically—maybe you regard this as kitsch—but typically the fight scenes with the cigar ladies are titillating. In this production, there wasn’t as much violence in the fight scene between Carmen and Manuelita as I have seen in some productions. Because normally you see the fight between Carmen and Manuelita, and here you don’t see the fight—they’re telling about the fight. I missed that and I missed women rolling the cigars on their thighs. But that’s because it’s what you don’t want … Yes, that’s some kitsch element of the sort I wouldn’t want to show, really. But there is in many productions a lot of violence among the women, and it’s meant to be titillating. I think here you will see much more violence in the fighting among the women. Here, the chorus is doing really well in the fight. More than in San Francisco? You will see more violence than in San Francisco. I think you will love this more here. And then what about the nude matador/toreador? This is something that happens for real. It’s a kind of superstition between the toreadors. The real matadors, before they debut in the plaza, the first time they get into the plaza, with the last full moon, they go to the fields where the toros are and they do the movements with the toros. They commune with the full moon to have a good luck. It’s a kind of superstition, and it’s called “moon baptism.” It’s something realistic that we wanted to put in the show. If you had had a perfect production, would you have wanted Escamillo to do that himself? If you had everything as you wanted it, rather than some dancer? Hmm, I don’t know. It sort of would make sense, because Escamillo was going to be fighting the bull soon thereafter. Yeah, it’s a possibility, you know … but normally when they do that, they are very young toreros. It’s before the first time they fight a bull. And Escamillo represents an already famous torero. It shows something like the wish of a young torero to become Escamillo. There’s a Spanish film with Javier Bardem, with this image called “Moon Baptism.” So how dim is the lighting going to be? Very dim, yeah. I don’t know the details yet, we have to start rehearsing in the theater first. I wrote in my review, as a joke, that you couldn’t see the best parts. [chuckle] It’s true. I mean, if you’re going to have a nude scene, you don’t need to be coy about it. Especially in Boston or San Francisco … it’s not forbidden here anymore. You see so much more in films and the television, you don’t have to be surprised to see a naked man. I’m sure you are not shocked as a spectator. There’s nothing that’s really extremely shocking. It’s just a feeling overall of anger and male violence that is unusual in this. But this the story, I think. You know, the story goes in that direction, really. This kind of playing in the first act …. Zuniga (the officer) wants to bring Don José to the prison because of the fighting, right. Then, in the second act, Carmen is dancing for him … it’s this kind of relation between law and outlaw all living together. Everything is very mixed in this universe where the men think that they can do everything they want with a woman, like to kill a woman because she doesn’t want to continue with him. Right. For example, Dancaire or Remendado in the quintet says, “No, you have to come with us.” “No way, Carmen, you come with us.” Okay, it’s a very brutal male universe, really where this is like that. Do you think that there are any examples where your staging or Bieito’s staging is fighting the music? No. I asked David Angus about that and he said there were times when you were working together with him a lot, and where you said, “I’d like this a little faster,” and he agreed with you. So how much say do you have about the musical parts of the production? It’s a very successful production because everything goes, really, in the same direction. It goes really well with the music, it goes really well with the dialogue, with everything. Everything goes to the soul of the piece. Everything is really working together. Calixto Bieito is a very famous director in Europe because of the scandal generated by his works. Some new singers, when they arrive to do this Carmen, are scared about how it will work … but all the singers, all at the end, they are really, really convinced, because they see that it goes really well with the piece; it goes. There is nothing that they find difficult to do, because everything is so logical, and the story goes so well, what we’re telling. But of course, you’re going to have only singers who are actors and stage animals who are comfortable in their skin. You’re not going to invite 400-lb divas, are you? Sometimes it doesn’t have to be the sexy cliché of Carmen. The sexiness of Carmen is in the way she lives her life, because she’s free, following her impulse. She’s not lying to anyone. This is the sexiness of Carmen. Doing the habanera, I say to the ladies of the choir, “You are looking at her with envy, because she does what she wants.” She’s not following any convention; when she loves a man, she follows him, and when she doesn’t love him? Out! Like men, yes, most of the time. When you go to see a famous opera like Carmen or Traviata and you are surprised, I think this is great. It is absolutely great to be surprised by something you really know know really well. Carmen is an opera that you can see in so many different concepts. Many have never heard, for instance, of the Burlesque on Carmen that Charlie Chaplin did in 1919. That was basically a satire of the Geraldine Farrar production by Cecile B. DeMille, which was very, very stiff, conventional and very, very Hollywood … and clearly shot on the seashore of California. But Chaplin’s parody is very funny, true comique stuff and perhaps the greatest send-up of the genre (along with the Marx Bros.). And then there’s Carmen Jones, exotic and gritty at the same time— I love Carmen Jones. U–Carmen eKhayelitsha is available on DVD. It’s a recent version from South Africa that had some of the same elements of police brutality that you feature in your soldiers. You know, soldiers are soldiers. If you see this in cinemas, in the movies, they are much more realistic. But the reality with soldiers, it’s closer to Full Metal Jacket. But you’re not an angry man– No, no, no, no. –and Bieito’s not an angry man. No, no, no, no, no. You’re just seeing this story this way. Bieito’s very nice and he has two kids. He’s a very light. We are trying to go to the intentions of Mérimée and Bizet. Maybe not Bizet’s librettist Ludovic Halévy. No, maybe not—he was more conventional, as we can see in several librettos by him. A propos of Halévy, the other Halévy, Fromental, —I was just reading a review of La Juive, which Bieito did for the Munich Staatsoper. Yeah, with Roberto Alagna. Have you seen that? No. What was interesting to me was that it was a modern setting and the reviewer said that you would have had no idea that Éléazar was a Jew. And that seemed to me a bit strange if that’s true, because that’s quite central to the story. I don’t know. I didn’t see the show. Apparently Alagna’s singing was beautiful. And his singing and the music are clearly Hebraic, but typically in productions you have some idea who this person is and why the cardinal hates him. I saw some pictures but not really too much. But the idea of a La Juive without a Jew … if that’s true, it’s kind of strange. Sounds strange, I don’t know. Maybe he wanted to do something about religion more generally? About intolerance and … Intolerance, yeah. Always he tries to speak in more universal themes. But sometimes it’s good to keep sight of specificity… So are there directors you love and directors you hate? Not hate, because I think hate is a negative. I don’t want to lose my time hating. I prefer to use my time loving. I love Calixto, of course, and the way he works the energy. And he always puts the singers in limited situations, and I think this is very interesting as a spectator. But I love, for example, Robert Carsen productions as well. He always gives a very interesting approach. He did Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera, for example. Obviously the character of what he did in Traviata at the Metropolitan is worth mentioning as well. He’s German; I think always he puts always a nice point of view in the production. For me, it’s important to be surprised when you go to the opera. And I think, “Why did he do it so in that story, in that way…?” It’s always fantastic for me. Some productions can be museum productions and other productions shatter tradition. I think it’s important that people have some accesses to the canon as it was presented originally, because in Boston, many share a historically informed performance ideal. But in a piece like Carmen, there are so many different possibilities and everybody knows it well, it’s not as if anyone is going to forget what it would have looked like during the time of Bizet. I don’t think we should be allowed to forget what the composer expected to see. Of course. This is something Alban Berg said once: that we don’t have to forget that all the music and all the operas were contemporary music at some point. Carmen was modern music in its time, something really, really, really modern, you know. Except it sold a lot of tickets. Modern music today doesn’t. Yes, that’s true. But the opera was selling out all the tickets. It was very popular, and not only for rich people, it was for everybody, everyone. And Carmen was really, really successful … not so much in Paris at the beginning, but especially in Vienna. I think it’s one of the most popular operas in the whole of history, and. I think this production goes really well to the original intentions of Bizet and Mérimée. And now conductor David Angus speaks. Mercedes motorcars in Danish Nation Opera Production (Erik Berg photo) FLE: Did you have to reinforce the stage floor to carry the Mercedes—the cars, I mean, not the svelte singer. DA: I’ve no idea. …as they did at the Met. [laughs] Well, that’s something else—that’s a vastly heavier machine. When I mention things like the Mercedes cars, I’ve had friends say “What’s that got to do with Carmen?” and I just say to everybody, opera isn’t about period at all, it’s about the people onstage. If you can make it so the people are real, you’ve got a real drama. For me, that’s what it’s always about. I remember looking at Glyndebourne for years, where we would do the shows in picturebook sets—everything for real—and then we’d go to the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms and we’d do a concert performance with a 10-foot-square stage and no real costumes or set, but because they got all the motivation right, all of the relationships were totally clear in the audiences’ heads. They could play without any of the peripherals, and you got a sense of what was going on in the drama that was almost more intense than if it had been staged. So sometimes the magic happens in the unconventional production in the unconventional space. It’s a means to an end. If the people playing the opera really believe it and understand the interplay of the characters and can convince you with their acting and their vocal acting.… The vocal acting’s the big thing. If they’re so busy singing that they forget the vocal acting, then it doesn’t work. But if they really commit themselves, then you get the emotion … the change in emotion, the relationships in the voice … then I think the rest doesn’t get in the way. Did you have a hand in deciding to mount the Calixto Bieito production for Boston Lyric Opera? No, it was a decision that was made in something of a hurry because we were changing venues and we had to find something, and then, suddenly, we realized that this was an option and everybody was very excited because it’s been such a hit, such a success. It’s been appreciated, even though it has also offended some people. Sp no, it happened very suddenly. We had to find a rental and a suitable one to bring in, and suddenly realized that one of the most famous—infamous—productions around was a possibility. To be honest, we were all pretty excited about the option. So have you had anything to do with the stage director in terms of music? There are substantial cuts. A great deal. Carmen doesn’t exist in a pure form; there are so many versions. Even if you buy the so-called urtext, they list five different versions because there’s the Opèra-Comique version, then the grand opera version, and different places with different things. You buy one urtext and it says, “This is what it should be and here are the options,” then you buy another and it’s completely different. There is no definitive version at all. In some way that gives you carte blanche. The Bieito show runs about 30 or 40 minutes shorter than the so-called full version. Yes. It’s an argument every time. Do you take the composer’s initial thoughts, which are sometimes the purest, cleanest, most inspirational, or do you think the composer knew what he was doing when he changed it. Did he change it himself, or did other people make him? If it’s Bruckner, you probably take the first version, because other people made him change it. But in this case it’s the director who is deciding which music gets to stay. No. They presented what they did the first time and they said, “We used this version; we did this,” and then I looked through and compared it with our orchestral material and in one or two places, I said, “We don’t have this material, and we can’t do this unless we rent urtext material, which costs many, many thousands of dollars.” So we said, “We mustn’t do those things then, but we’ve got the full range of the traditional options.” And we went through all that and worked out what to do, and I asked the adapter, Joan Anton Rechi, “Do you want the long version or short version of that?” For instance, there’s a scene when two men fight. They declare their opponents and then there’s a section where they sing before they fight, and I’ve always found that rather strange. So I said, “Do you want that?” And he said, “Well, actually, in our staging, we make that work … let’s see.” We tried it, and in fact how it turns out is that they chase each other around over the top of the cars while they’re singing, and it’s very exciting. You need that bit of music—without that, the fight is gone. Does the director have any say on musical interpretation? Well, we’re a team. I don’t say, “This is how my Carmen goes. I’m totally involved in all the rehearsals. I see how the director does it and I try to make the music build in the same direction. If the music’s saying something that’s different to what’s going onstage, I go and talk to the director about it. I say, “You know, you’re doing this, but the music changes direction here. I need something to happen that changes the emotional temperature or something.” Or “There’s obviously a shock in the music and there’s no shock onstage, and I need you to make a shock that fits the music.” But that’s how I work with all directors. They come with a rough plan, I come with a rough plan, and then we try and make them enhance each other. Opera takes off when music and stage directing really work together. Have you ever conducted in the pit at our so-called Opera House, the B.F. Keith Memorial Theater, and have you listened to shows there yet? I’ve been to the ballet about two, three times, and I’ve also been in close contact with the music director there, and he’s given us advice. Boston Ballet does subtle amplification, as I understand it. They do, and we’re not going to, because we need to control the sound. I don’t want to let an engineer be sorting out the balance of things. We’re going to rehearse very carefully with lots of ears. Actually, you know, that is an example of a good sound engineer at work. When we heard the Mahler Third Symphony ballet there, we were not acutely aware of the amplification. It was very well-handled. Yeah, I heard that was very good. The problem is that we’re doing a completely different thing with the orchestra in the pit and the singers on the stage. And you will all fit in the pit? Will you need to spread the orchestra into the boxes as the Ballet did for the Mahler? No, the pit’s bigger than the one we’re used to. We’ll be at about 50 or something. Broadway crowds demand it to be loud, but they don’t give their ears a chance to adjust. Having heard Sarah Caldwell in the Opera House, you know, it is enough sound. It’s probably as loud as the Met, maybe not as loud as the War Memorial Auditorium and some of the smaller opera houses, but it’s loud enough. I don’t think that audible volume’s a problem. To see if there was a balance problem, we had somebody sing onstage, moving around. All the balcony’s good, all the front seats downstairs are good. It’s just under the overhang that presents a problem. The difficulty about that is that it’s very different from the stage and the pit. And there are sweet spots in all these old movie houses where the dome reflects the sound into some places in the balcony beautifully. We had somebody onstage and we walked all around. We found we could hear it perfectly well. The problem is that once you start messing with it and you’ve got a speaker here and a speaker here, anybody near the speaker is going to get a very different sound from somebody sitting a bit farther from it, and then you start picking up stuff onstage that wouldn’t normally be heard. We decided in the end, “We’re an acoustic company. We will make it work. During rehearsals, I’m going to have a team of people moving around telling me about balance, making sure that it’s all working okay, and we will do our damnedest to make it work.” It wasn’t a happy thing, you know – sometimes things don’t mesh properly and he was uncomfortable, but he seems to be very happy with this. He’s going for it and it sounds great and—I’m not being politically correct about this—you will hear a very different sound. I was worried and I’m not worried anymore. Without citing any specific examples, I know you like to work with directors, but there have to be moments in your career in the pit when you pay as little attention to the stage as possible and just make wonderful music. There are times when the director just isn’t interested in the music. If they are interested in music, then I can always talk to them and we can find a middle way. But when they just don’t think the music has anything to do with them and they just come with a CD booklet and say, “It says this and you move here,” then I just don’t care. I switch off, I give up. I’ve had a few times where they just don’t care about the music and I just think, “Why are you here? Why are you doing opera?” I have to say that there are some symphony conductors that I feel like that about as well. They breeze in, they say, “Do it like this!” and then they go away through the rehearsal process, and they come back when the orchestra’s on. That’s quite the common thing and I just think, “Why are they doing it?” How do you feel when people are laughing inappropriately at your beautiful music? Disappointed, of course. They shouldn’t need to or be provoked into it. But sometimes they are provoked by something stupid. Well, if there’s something stupid onstage, you get laughter when you don’t expect it because something is misunderstood and it’s nearly always because of surtitles; I hate what surtitles do. I totally understand that the general public don’t speak fluent Italian or whatever, but I think you communicate what’s happening onstage. I think you can sing it in English and they won’t get any of it because if there’s no vocal acting and you don’t enunciate well, they won’t understand anyway. And if you sing it in Swahili, but you sing it with total conviction, people get it. I’m against surtitles because we do all this work, build up something onstage which is very visual and physical, and then they’re glued the surtitles instead. I do it myself! It’s very hard to stop following the surtitles, and consequently miss the action. And some surtitles have nothing to do with the original text. That can be common. You might see a modern racy translation of what is actually old-fashioned text, and this can produce a tone that is so wrong. (I don’t mean at BLO in particular, just in general.) I find surtitles a horrible distraction. Well, the Met solved that problem with individual surtitle screens on the back of chairs. You can turn it on and turn it off, and it’s typically a literal translation … but that’s expensive. Yeah, and you end up in prison if you pay for it. This production isn’t the last word or the first word on Carmen. Are you happy so far? The revival director, Joan Anton Rechi, is great. He was the assistant at Bieito’s original. He’s very smart, he really understands music. We’ve got no barriers. I just said to him, “You know, we changed some bits of music this afternoon.” I said, “Does this give you the energy you need, because you seem to want it to move faster?” And he said, “It would be good if it went faster,” and I said, “Okay, I’ll go faster” and I tried it and it seemed to be better. You know, we’re both open, every single performance. From English National Opera version of Bieito staging. That is great news that you’re collaborating like that. That’s why I do opera, and the people who don’t play a team game are a waste. That’s why I do opera, and the people who don’t play a team game are a waste. BLO’s Carmen runs September 23 to October 1. More information at the company’s website here The post Mercedes Car-Men Rumble appeared first on The Boston Musical Intelligencer .
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