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05-28-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,287
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 2455
Reply to: 2455
Stage Music: get clew.

A week or so ago I spoke with a friend of my - he is a perfectly rational and sane person. I send his some music and was asking what was he as thinking about it. He admitted that among the music I sent him he admitted that did not get opera. I was puzzled as some of the thing I sent his were one of the best performances of that given opera. Then I asked if he ever attended a live performance of a good opera production. He replied that he never attended any opera at all.

Well, stage music or even incidental music  (play, film and etc….) require understanding some context, or requires from a listener an ability to extrapolate that context. I us virtually imposable to “like” opera without experience that fantastic transformation that take place with you presented in opera house. The entire definition of drama with you at opera house and you in your listening room is very deferent. It is possible to reconstruct that feeling but to do so it is not necessary to have better speaker or faster spinning turntables but it is necessary to learn about own reaction attaining live opera performances, preferable better performances. “Preferably better performances!” It is easy to say, hard to accomplish. Not a lot of people live near metropolitan centers where the “better performances” have change to show up. In addition “better performances” are rare and mostly exceptions then rules nowadays. Here is where the recordings help but the recording must follow the established self-awareness of own reaction to stage music.

In addition there is a catch with stage music. Stage music: opera, ballet and etc is written for the very specific purpose. Some compositions have more of that “purpose”, some less but that “purpose” always enriches the original musical context. It is fine to listen and to love some Stravinsky ballets but it would be useful to know that Stravinsky sometime wrote music for the redesign dances fitting his music into the slots of 3-5 second appointed for him by his balletmaster. I’m not even mention the music of Leon Minkus whom imposable “to get” without understanding the culture of dancing expressionism.

Some examples: (please, the files are large and do not run it off my server. Download them on your machine and then run them locally)

It is not enough to know the libretto but to see the actions and the acting of the singers. Sometime is helps and in case of great actors it is not only help but also hugely multiply the effect of a performance. February 9 1964, London. An unbelievable event: a live TV transmission from Covent Garden where orchestra of the Royal Opera House lead by Carlo Felice Cillario and a collection of stunning singers perfume specifically for TV cameras “live”.  The second act, Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi. If you do not see it then you did not see it. If you did then you may start to listen the other Tosca….

 http://www.goodsoundclub.com/video/Tosca.avi

Another example with stage music how to “be there” not only “helps” but actually defines the music. Everyone loves Tchaikovsky “Swan Lake”, everyone knows that it is a serious work but why people perform it like it is some kind of whippy, meaningless Broadways musicale?  Actually with Ballet the situation is quite grim. Ballets customary played horribly and danced horribly. The ballets typically abstract into the collections of suits and then the original ballet’s intentions long forgotten. A person can get a complete recording of ballet but without watching a proper production of the peace the ballet music is worthless. It is not to mention that a proper production is imposable to find….  1976, Russia. Guraytis leads Bolshoi Theater Orchestra in their production of the Swan Lake. The ordinal choreography of estimable Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Yuri Grigorovich. On the stage Maya Plisetskaya, Alexander Bogatirev, Boris Efimov and the rest of the Bolshoi of the 1976. You might stop be in any store any buy Plisetskaya in Swan Lake. No one other Swan Lake recording approaches the magic of that 1976 performance. Guraytis reading is phenomenal and he dose exactly what THOSE dancers need. You might run the Tchaikovsky music 24 hours a day but you would not “get” it, as it needed until you experience it as it should be. Pay attention how “different” the Tchaikovsky music sound sand how different sense it makes.

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/video/SwanLake1.mpg

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/video/SwanLake3.mpg

Even the “standard” famous little swans dance that every choreographer afraid to touch since Petipa, if it perfumes properly sounds completely different…

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/video/SwanLake2.mpg

In the end, many people bitch that Tchaikovsky is too Slavic, too light and too playful. Here is a peace that would be absolutely boring and almost suitable for pop- vérité of you hear it in front of your loudspeakers but it have completely different “sound” when it perceived in the ballet.  The “Black Swan” danced by the same Plisetskaya. Quite a transformation for the white swan of the second act…

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/video/SwanLake4.mpg

So, audio freaks, get a clue what the stage music is all about… Now, will anyone teach me Wagner?

Rgs,
Romy the Cat

PS: Sorry for sound on the tape transfers, I really am not familiar how to do it properly




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-31-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
behhl
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Posts 5
Joined on 03-30-2006

Post #: 2
Post ID: 2465
Reply to: 2455
Re: Stage Music: get clew.

In my situation far away from the places of Good Live Opera, we can only listen to the audio or watch the video ... its a poor removed experience to be sure! To date I have a problem to listen to most Opera as music, especially to Stravinsky highly acclaimed ballets, and normally never finish in one listen to sit all the way through, and your proposal makes the most sense to me - that this is not music to be simply listened to but without the stage and the dance or drama one cannot 'get it'.

It may sound stupid but perhaps someone can tell me (in their Opinion) the better ones of Swan Lake DVDs, or Stravinsky Ballet DVDs. For us in the land of No Opera it is still a good watch on a large screen with a reasonable sound system!

It was interesting for me that you mentioned Wagner, as I recently acquired rather by chance a BBC recording of highlights from his Operas. I am also waiting for a clue ... I do not have any whole works of his as it does not fascinate me enough, but simply to listen to highlights and extracts I am ok for now with Wagner. Anyway I am a novice with classical and I do not hope to 'teach' you anything least of all Wagner!  but the one word that comes to my mind when Wagner is summoned is "Whole Rhetoric" (when referred to The Music of Wagner, for me it easy to simply say 'Wagner' as representation).

It is incredible what a legend Wagner becomes! I am told by my German friends that to obtain a ticket to Bayreuth is to wait for years on a waiting list unless you are 'somebody'.

regards bhl
06-05-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
clarkjohnsen
Boston, MA, US
Posts 289
Joined on 06-02-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 2484
Reply to: 2455
Another misunderstood opera
Porgy and Bess!

The popular aria Summertime ("...and the livin' is easy...") is most often taken as a straight statement, but the fact was, the living was very, very difficult. The song is ironic! But sung out of context, you'd never know.

clark
03-29-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,287
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 4105
Reply to: 2455
Stage Music: get more clew.
Here is another one. The celebrated “Si vendetta, tremenda vendetta” from the end if the Rigoletto’s second act. There is not a lot going on the stage and look what the sensational Tito Gobbi turned the duet into? Gilda sung by Lina Pagliughi and it is conducted by Tulio Serafin. The performance took place in 1949, Rome.




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-26-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,287
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 17433
Reply to: 2455
Taking about Tchaikovsky Swan Lake…
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Here I would like to pitch an interesting thing. It was revealed to me yesterday that VAI released the 1976 Bolshoi production of Swan Lake with Plisetskaya and Bogatirev. Well it was not Bolshoi season production but the Bolshoi troops do what they do in Kremlin Union Palace. This is Grigorovich choreography that might be considered “original”.  This consent is unique. Plisetskaya was 51 and it was one of the last her appearances in Swan Lake . Each single remember of the production did their absolutely best including the orchestra but it all was done with no visible efforts and in very friendly atmosphere, sort of like you kids are dancing around home Christmas tree – VERY rare event. Do not fooled however, the performance of the dancers is not just great but in my view the best ever committed to recording media for this ballet. The Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra lead by Algis  Zhuraitis and what the play they show!!! It is not Ballet Suite music and for most who are accustom to suites it might feel almost like Ludwig Minkus tempos. You will get over it very soon watching the performance.

The uniqueness of the 1976 Kremlin production is not only in the fact that you most likely will trash any other Swan Lake videos that you might have. It was simply no available before. I had it as a bootleg on VSH tape, in horrifying quality. In beginning of 90s I gave it to videographer to convert it to DVD but his studio was robbed and with all my luck the thefts took his doubling machine with my tape inside. I was looking to replace and I think I paid $120 for another bootleg dub. In 2001 or so, some kind of German company (I do not remember the name) released the performance on DVD. Sure I got it and how much was my disappointment when I realized that the idiots made video to be approximately seconds delayed from sound (that works particularly great for baled.)  How not to wish to have the hands cut off of the cretins who did it? So, yesterday I learned that VAI released this own premastering. I did not receive it yet but I feel that at VAI there are no Morons and the DVD will be fine.

A few words about quality of the recording.  I feel it is excellent even remarkable. Many people would disagree and find it very far from today Bleu Ray quality. Well, the recording has very defused image but it works phenomenally well for ballet, hiding the unnecessary details and highlighting general metaphors, sort of use of monocle in photography instead of high quality lenses.  The most important is the camera work. You will not see what you see in today MET production when camera is panoraming across sopranos breasts. The camera work is here is very conservative and simply let you to watch and to listen the ballet… and THIS Swan Lake is VERY worth it. 

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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   Target    Threads for related reading   Most recent post in related threads   Forum  Replies   Views   Started 
  »  New  Classic Artc Showcase Streaming..  The American Nutcracker – the “The Hard Hut”...  Musical Discussions  Forum     12  46487  03-06-2007
  »  New  The best audio system: my secrets are partially out...  Kin-Dza-Dza's review.......  Playback Listening  Forum     1  16253  07-06-2007
  »  New  Maria Callas’s Glory Days: Available in Europe..  Here you are...  Musical Discussions  Forum     3  25236  08-26-2007
  »  New  Richard Wagner. Something has changed..  The Russian’s "Ring"...  Musical Discussions  Forum     2  16570  09-27-2008
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