Saturday 20 September 2014

Placido Domingo in Giovanna D'Arco

I almost called this post "Placido Domingo as Giovanna d'Arco". He would of course need to use his falsetto voice, and still people would be coming because Placido is Placido.
After Placido Domingo started his new carreer as Baritone I find myself enjoying more his Tenor voice. Placido Domingo is not a real baritone, even when he sings his baritone roles one hears the tenor, but he is an Artist, an Actor who can use himself so that the audience falls for it. The Young Tenor would never had managed it but it is the Old Tenor Voice that becomes Baritone because Placido Domingo has the innate ability to Act and just be. Naturally those Verdi fathers is becoming to the white-haired Placido Domingo, The Opera's Grand Old Man.

I bought the new CD of Giovanna d'Arco in Vienna. With Anna Netrebko as Giovanna d'Arco, Placido Domingo as her father Giacomo and Francesco Meli as King Carlo VII of France it could have been magnificent but it was lacking. Anna Netrebko has been hailed Queen of Opera almost as much as Placido Domingo is the King of Opera. It is not only making it difficult to get tickets to events with her but she is too popular for her own good. She sounded tired, streched out too thin in places. I wish her magnificence back and that I finally will get to see her live. Tickets, please! Placido Domingo is wonderful but one need only to her Sherrill Milnes in the same role to understand that PD is no baritone. But there is still much to love about Placido as Giacomo. Francesco Meli is the tenor, good enough but not exciting as Placido Domingo was when he sang Carlo. Delil was sung by Johannes Dunz, Talbot was Roberto Tagliavini. It was recorded in Salzburg with Philharmonia Chor Wien, Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Paolo Carignani. Deutsche Grammophon.

The EMI recording with Montserrat Caballe as Giovanna, Placido Domingo as Carlo and Sherrill Milnes is the superiour recording. Montserrat Caballe is superb as Giovanna, Placido Domingo is magnificent as the King and Sherrill Milnes give with hos baritone voice Giacomo all the power that is needed. Keith Erwen as Delil and Robert Lloyd as Talbot with Ambrosian Opera Chorus and London Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine.

Last year I saw Giovanna d'Arco in Bilbao, Spain. What I remember best was Claudio Sgura as Giacomo, Giovanna's father. He was so powerful with his strong voice and personality. This opera is really a difficult piece especially for soprano and tenor. It is demanding that from the moment they step on stage they are to sing powerful arias, no chance to ease into the role. Just step out there and be ON. 

Best Giacomo

1. Claudio Sgura
2. Sherrill Milnes
3. Placido Domingo

Sorry, Placido! 

Monday 15 September 2014

And off in a balloon they went (La Fanciulla del West, WienerStaatsoper 2014-09-14)

Mala lingua, indeed!

Why the balloon in the end? Was it not implausable enough in the original, off they went unto the sunset. 

Production aside, it also had some musical problems. It was nothing like the wonders that was Graeme Jenkins conducting Janaceks's Jenufa. The orchestra was frequently too loud and the conductor was too precise to allow the music to flow. Worst was the first act. Not only was it too loud orchestra but it was slow. The singers struggled, even Wagnerian soprano Nina Stemme struggled. Sadly this was neither Wagner nor the more common opera by Puccini. 

La Fanciulla del West is something conpletely different than Tosca or Butterfly. Second act was wonderful. Nina Stemme and Jose Cura together was great. And the second act is the most musical rewarding in this opera. Third act is a long wait for the tenor aria. Jose Cura was just great as Dick Johnson / Ramerrez. I did not care much for the Sheriff Jack Rance even musically speaking.
2014-09-14 La Fanciulla del West (Puccini),Wiener Staatsoper

Minnie = Nina Stemme
Dick Johnson (Ramirez) José Cura
Jack Rance = Tomasz Konieczny
Nick = Carlos Osuna
Ashby = Alexandru Moisiuc
Jake Wallace = Gabriel Bermúdez
Sonora = Boaz Daniel
Bello = Tae-Joong Yang
Happy = Clemens Unterreiner
Joe = Benedikt Kobel
Jim Larkens = Marcus Pelz
Trin = Thomas Ebenstein
Harry = Peter Jelosits
Sid = Mihail Dogotari
José Castro = Gabriel Bermúdez
Wowkle = Ilseyar Khayrullova
Billy Jackrabbit = Il Hong
Postiglione = Jinxu Xiahou

Graeme Jenkins, conductor

Director  & Set design- Marco Arturo Marelli
Costumes - Dagmar Niefind
Lighting design - Marco Arturo Marelli