another tancredi i like

i did hear about this Tancredi before i discovered Vesselina Kasarova. back when i just discovered Vivica Genaux, I was scouring the internet for her white shirt recordings. first there was the elusive “i capuleti e i montecchi” which took me 1 year to find (and in the process i discovered this clip with Kasarova and Aliberti from Dresden). Then there’re snippet1 and snippet2 of her role debut of Tancredi in Vienna in 2009 upon which i discover this greaaaat opera. I reallllly like Tancredi, and wouldn’t say that i own all the recordings of it, but at least 3 so far. though i must say since i only listen to them, i vaguely know the story, and can’t even figure out which one is the happy or sad ending… nevertheless, the music alone is sufficient for now.
So, i just recently discovered that if you catch a clip on youtube with great sound, that means there was a radio recording captured somewhere! and voila, here’s the original Tancredi i was looking for.
Gioachino Rossini:
Melodramma eroico in two acts
Libretto: Gaetano Rossi
Tancredi — Vivica Genaux
Argirio — Colin Lee
Amenaide — Aleksandra Kurzak
Obrazzano — Konstantin Wolff
Isaura — Liora Grodnikaite
Roggiero — Ruby Hughes
Arnold Schönberg Chor (leader: Erwin Ortner)
Orchestre des Champs-Élysées
Conductor: René Jacobs
Budapest, 2009-10-26, Franz Liszt Academy of Music
*Hungarian premier of the opera
coproduction with the Theater an der Wien

Rene Jacobs is amazing. i ADORE the orchestra, the tempo. The singers are superb (though i really prefer Melinda Paulsen as Isaura). Here’s the overture and opening chorus.

Onto Aleksandra Kurzak singing Amenaide’s entrance aria

Vivica Genaux sings Tancredi’s entrace aria

Colin Lee

Kurzak & Genaux duet 1 and duet 2:

and act I finale

About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

33 Responses to another tancredi i like

  1. Anik LaChev says:

    beautiful finds, thanks a lot! 🙂

  2. That Rene Jacobs-Theater an der Wien trailer looks amazing! It’s probably the same CD that you uploaded, only recorded later, not live.

    What other versions do you have? I first heard the opera with Marilyn Horne, then Cecilia Bartoli rendition of arias like Di tanti palpiti, but I should really get a newer Tancredi, preferrably on DVD.

    • thả diều says:

      oh, the one i uploaded is a live concert performance via radio recording from Budapest of the same production. Did you see both trailers (video 1 and 2) from Wien? I don’t think they recorded it for video/audio keep. Originally i thought the production was from the staatsoper, but it turns out to be theater an der Wien, which would have been a fantastic place to hear Vivica Genaux’ voice.

      My favorite recording is with Kasarova, Eva Mei, Ramon Vargas, Melinda Paulsen, Veronica Cangemi, and Abbado conducting the Münchner Rundfunkorchester. Another recording i have and really love is with Ewa Podles and Sumi Jo . I like Sumi Jo better than Eva Mei actually. I also have an audio capture of the one with Marilyn Horne from vivalavoce. Somehow I am not as excited about that recording. This live one is really fantastic. the orchestra and tempo is absolutely amazing. i’ve just uploaded also the overture and opening chorus here and act I finale here. soo like Rene Jacobs.

      No i don’t have a dvd recording. there’s 1 i saw on youtube with Daniela Barcelona here. i’m still hoping I’d get to see it live. back in oct 2009, there were 2 productions at the same time, Podles in Boston and Genaux + Jacobs above in Wien . So there’s hope there’ll be more to come within the next couple of years.

      • Snippet1 looks even more exciting, with sequences of Jacobs in action. But why does the soprano look so much like Anna Netrebko? Somebody should have noticed – unless they wanted her to look like a Trebs impersonator.

        Looking forward to listening to the clips in pace, good of you to share them. The UMG keeps blocking my DG uploads, don’t know what they do and how they trawl the YT for their own copyrighted files… but it’s obviously working.

      • PS: What do you mean, Horne left you cold? La Horne set the standard for Tancredi. Tsk, tsk. Young people these days… 🙂

  3. Smorg says:

    Great find, An! 😀 I like it, too!

    Horne’s Tancredi has to be judged by her own time, I think. Back when she was rocking the world as these bel canto trouser roles there weren’t a lot of coloratura mezzos around who could even sing the music adequately. It was basically just her and Berganza.

    And in those days the audience expected different things. I remember Horne telling the story about how she got into a heated argument with one of those specialist conductors (she didn’t realize who it was then. They happened to be at the same dinner party). I don’t remember who it was… could have been Gardiner or someone else, but he started telling her how she was ornamenting too much and how she shouldn’t interpolate high notes at this and that spots. And she retorted that if she didn’t do those things the audience would boo because they’d think that she had left them out because she couldn’t do them. Nowadays, of course, the convention is coming around toward everything fitting with the drama rather than done just to show off. When I want to hear Tancredi I usually go for the Kasarova (either the RCA CD or the 1998 aircheck from OONY). Though once in a while I still dig up the Horne. It’s a glimpse into a different era at the beginning of the bel canto/baroque revival. 🙂

    Btw, there’s another pretty good DVD of Tancredi with Manca di Nissa in the title role with Maria Bayo as Amenaide. I confess it is a really traditional staging (read VERY static) from Drottningholm Court, but the singing is quite good (and Ildobrando D’Archangelo is great as Orbazzano…. I was almost sad he lost the duel when I first watched the thing :p ).

    Happy 2011!

    • Anik LaChev says:

      @Smorgy: oh that static Drottningholm thing – saw it when it first came out and ended up with a huge crush on Maria Bayo 😉

  4. You make a lot of unsubstantiated claims that I won’t even bother arguing against, they’re so weak:

    – That “in the past” (when was that) mezzo bel canto was all about showing off and ornamenting, and that now it’s all about whatever works for the drama.

    – You also presume that the two are exclusive. They are not.

    – That the legendary singers of previous generations (such as Horne) are only good within parameters of their own time.

    – ‘Audiences’ expect A, B and C. They used to expect X at the “time of Horne” but they don’t anymore. You know that, how? By telepathic polling?

    You also suggest Kasarova as somebody who somehow captures perfectly the ‘new’ standards of singing excellence. There is no consensus about Kasarova, as you well know, and there many strong dissenters about her ability to merge registers, about her acting skill, about her occasionally hooting timbre. To presume that she is somehow the new Rossini bel canto standard is beyond silly. She may be on her way there (or not), but to see her as arrived is blindness. Besides, we don’t love a singer because she’s perfect for every repertoire — we love idiosyncrasies of a singer, their style and peculiarities. So we must admit and adore imperfections, not proclaim perfect everything she does.

    • PS: One of the conductor she had to negotiate with was *most definitely* not Gardiner. And in what way is Gardiner “a specialist”?

    • thả diều says:

      ah, you caught a cold? or it’s the cold weather? 🙂 anywho, i don’t know much about standard, being such a novice in all these. typically i just go with my completely untrained ears. i can say though that I have a recording of Maria Callas singing “Carmen” and after 7 attempts i never managed to finish it…
      the funny thing about Tancredi for me is that it’s not entirely the main mezzo (shocking no?). Rather, first and foremost, it’s the overture and opening chorus (i.e., conductor + orchestra + chor). Then since the 2nd mezzo is the first voice that rises up, i notice her. Then of course the soprano comes next (well, after the sometimes fabulous tenor…), and then finally the main mezzo. So in that order, from the first note to the end of “di tanti palpiti”, I can feel whether i want to continue to listen or somehow lose interest. so in this context, the recording with Marilyn Horne didn’t register on my interest scale as high as the other recordings, whereas this live one here is just simplyamazing (need i say again i ADORE the orchestra?). I uploaded also the opening chorus (last year) from the Abbado/Kasarova/Paulsen here so you can hear and compare Paulsen’s voice with that of Liora Grodnikaite’s, and more importantly the tempo being set by both conductors and the energy from the chor. In both the Horne and Podles recordings, the tempo / singers somehow didn’t make much impression, it’s as if they were just merely background music.

      I won’t enter the debate which singer is better based on whose standards at what time. Having the pleasure listening live to Joyce DiDonato, Vivica Genaux, Kasarova, Hammarström, Ciofi, and Harteros last year, i can only say i wish my 2011 experience will be as beautiful (or even more).

      re specialists, i don’t know much about them either, except to say i’ll always pay attention when rene jacobs, marc minkowski, philippe herreweghe, marcello vioti, among others, conduct :-).

      • Gardiner conducted the Mass in C that we all love so much, and I love his Poppea and a bunch of other stuff. He conducts much more than baroque, so it wouldn’t be fair to call him specialist. However I don’t think that he ever did anything with Horne.

        That’s interesting, what you say. Sounds like a very sophisticated listening to me! I still focus on singers first — weird — but then when I compare the recordings I notice the differences in tempo and conducting in general. I keep learning continuously how to listen to the classical music. I think we always know enough to enjoy it (even if we know nothing), and never enough, because there’ always more to learn and enjoy.

        Nifty tab for 2010. (And then you’ll hear Pieczonka live in May, about which I have to email you.) Are you in Boston yet? Settled? One of my favourite shows is Beat the Press on the Boston PBS affiliate, which I watch online every Friday. Speaking of cranky… they’re the media criticism panel that are cranky in the best way possible.

        (Yes, I’ve had a cold which I can’t shake off fifth day now. Bizarre.)

      • thả diều says:

        it’s actually not that sophisticated, my untrained listening. i do looove very much baroque orchestra in general, so that’s always a plus. opera for me is a whole package — team work. so even if my favorite mezzo sings well but everything else drags, i’d still lose interest. and it’s really in the overture and opening scene that I can feel how things will go (in my brain). this explains why i never got far with the Garanca and Brownlee’s Cenerentola MET radio broadcast that i downloaded, or even Kasarova’s barbiere di siviglia dvd…

        boston pbs, i looooove it, they broadcast soo many good shows compared to the pbs in LA. no am still in LA packing and working mad, trying to finish up things. will be in bos in ~2wks walking the freezing weather looking for a place. that’s like a recipe for catching colds… i hope yo cold is retreating. from the radio science link the other day i saw -10°C in Ottawa, ha! here and in boston we only have 3°C and -3°C, pretty mild 🙂

      • It’s in the mid-teens under zero C today in Toronto, but sunny. When it’s *that* cold, you’re entering the exhilaration zone. I am determined to learn how to skate this winter, and make the best of the Chill.

  5. dehggial says:

    been trolling your blog a bit today 😉 indeed what a great rendition of the Tancredi overture (one of the coolest overtures out there to begin with). Jacobs is a smart chap. He single handedly made me like Idomeneo! and would have made me like this had I not loved it ++++ before 😉 my only complaint with him is he’s rather idiosyncratic when choosing his singers.

    • thả diều says:

      i owe a comment on your salzburg tancredi write-up, but now confessed i did first listen to that limited playlist again but got distracted by this overture and ended up listening to this whole list :D. another take i really like is from last year in Paris that i saw live 2x (almost but didn’t make to 3rd..) . that orchestra was also superb and take from conductor veeeeery fresh too, supper nice sitting on top level looking down into to orchestra pit seeing all sorts of *interesting* instruments making absolutely *charming* sound 🙂 . For various reasons i didn’t write up a whole post about it.. but there’s a link on yt somewhere… (eyes posted on my blog i think.. me go look..)
      oh, b4 i go, i really like R.Jacobs’ approach too, but agree i don’t always like his singers.. for example A.Pen… was not my top agrippina (based on clip i heard on yt..)

      • dehggial says:

        Ha, but you liked A-Pen as Vitellia? I have to say I thought that Tito was a bit meh, will have to give it another try on the basis of orchestra (I also thought VK sounded rather laboured – just between you, me and the internet, you don’t often hear me criticising her Sesto – but maybe she/they both took a while to warm up).

        • thả diều says:

          am not a big fan of her voice in general, A-Pen, a bit too sharp for my ears, but i liked her take of Vitellia’s.. 1st aria i think, very edgy (either that or the last aria…), if i remember correctly.. You might have noticed i didn’t write a whole lot about that particular performance.. in fact i almost always stopped right at the end of overture + first duet 😀 , but didn’t notice laboring VK.. the one i also don’t have good recollection of is from london… In fact for Vitellia i really like: DR, ACA, JuliaVarady.. and Sesto: this is now *very* biased… as i like so much VK’s heft and emphasis.. but still got stuck mainly on salzburg version…
          Still, nothing wrong w/ criticising her Sesto :-), not everyday is salzburg2003…, but generally i also listen in the whole context to see if the story fits from the singing (at times it can be singing brilliantly but totally disjointed…, now we’re getting into dangerous water.. as i felt this was the case this past concert at carnegie hall w/ JDD+LC+LB…, in fact i felt the contrast even more after watching the CB’s paris vivaldi concert: that for me paris’s concert was really focusing on music, whereas carnergie was a big show on how brilliantly a singer can hold a note… 🙂 )

          (how’s this for a super long ramble of a reply :D)

          • dehggial says:

            Ok, I took the time to check Deh, se piacer – big momma Vitellia! eheheh, she has a thicker sound than VK but she did a couple of interesting things; Parto – definitelly the battle of Mordor with the coloratura regardless of the applause, Non piu di fiori was actually rather good, you’re right. I still think her voice is way too heavy, sort of like marmalade and since VK is thick honey here the whole thing is rather sticky 😉

            I like the London one. It’s not Salzburg (but what is?) still it’s neat – all about Sesto and Tito (I said before, Bruce Ford is one of my fave Titos).

            I think in situations like that Carnegie concert, where you have 2-3 stars together there is a danger of getting into a contest, and as much as I appreciate JDD, I’ve noticed a tendency towards showing off and exaggerating to the point of shrillness (this last one mostly in boys’ roles (Romeo included) hence why I’d rather have her sing girls). The other day I listened to her 2008 Romeo (just Romeo’s entrance) in parallel, phrase by phrase, with VK’s 1996 one. It really was illuminating!

          • thả diều says:

            sticky 😉
            oh? can you discuss a bit that comparison 2008 vs 1996?

          • dehggial says:

            (btw, I went back to the Madrid Deh, per questo and I ended up loving it! 😀 so it looks like things got a lot better. And you’re right about the orchestra, the strings were extremely expressive in Deh per questo).

            The idea of listening that closely to Romeo’s entrance came because I thought there was something funny with JDD’s entrance but I couldn’t tell what (I mean aside from the fact that she shouts it to compensate for her girlier colour – it’s funny, she was talking exactly about this here, how in boy roles mezzos need to channel their sound in a more angular manner and in girl roles they need to sound curvier; that’s it: she sounds curvy here whereas VK sounds angular).

            It turns out what was different in the entrance: JDD is going very straight forward through the recit, whereas VK gets very melodic (the big difference is in this bit – doesn’t help that JDD’s Capellio isn’t very threatening).

            Their takes are really different too. JDD sounds very pleading (please, please listen, Mr. Capellio! – listen from here to here), VK is more like Romeo is very sorry about this and he would like you to accept his offer but if you don’t want to listen to reason then so be it.

          • thả diều says:

            oh cool, we can talk for *hours* about phrasing of romeo, i *really* listen lots and lots even down to individual phrase 😉 , let me listen.. (after S.Mingardo finished this section of Ottone.. after 1 wk of not listening to her (mingardo) on yt i had a dream last night of attending her master class!! but she was very harsh to the young singer! telling him in harsh tone to not waste the music–in term of hurrying past the phrasing!! , so i thought i reconnected back 😀

          • dehggial says:

            opera geeks unite!

          • thả diều says:

            ps- “the big difference is in ” <— the this bit was missing the link!
            ps2- quick detour back to sesto b4 i engaged fully in romeo: after that accidental romeo in munich i finally really learned how to listen to a performance w/in its own instead of wishing it to sound like the only one i stuck on… and for that reason i always find vk's sesto very moving…
            ps3- but now that you mention "curvy" vs "angular".. it got me thinking.. since i just finished the section on S.Mingardo singing Ottone.. do you think it has more also to do with the "weight" of the tone? for me Mingardo and VK have lots of heft, and that alone "gives" the impression of "round shoulder" (and angular?) … anyway, will come back to investigate this point further 😉 , onto link (but still waiting for missing link above)

          • dehggial says:


            I think it’s always hard to listen without prejudice (thanks, George Michael!) when you already like an interpretation. That’s why older opera lovers always go on and on about how singers were much better then 😉

            Yes, I think there’s the weight in the tone as well. Which is why though even though in that performance JDD was very good in the trills and the floated notes and whatnot, she just doesn’t have a hefty enough voice to be equally as “tough” sounding. I sometimes thought her voice wavered in comparison to VK’s, which I don’t think was technically true, but if you listen to them head to head you will see what I mean. I also think JDD’s voice sounds fruity (when she acts tough it sounds like biting into an apple).

          • thả diều says:

            i have a go from beginning to end of JDD’s entrance aria (backed up from your link to when the whole clan came in…), and independent of your description in previous comment (curvy vs ..), this is the image i have in head the WHOLE time (orchestra + tempo + bass included, but particularly of JDD b/c she’s singing the entire aria) . What i mean is that the musical phrases were dragged out instead of being jagged and sharp as it “should be” in this situation–perhaps having to do with my own impression of what the situation should be. <– this of course is a biiig caveat because if it's my impression then only certain way of phrasing would fit. Which is why i kept questioning the first 2 times i heard VK live in Munich.. and only by the 3rd performance that i felt she expressed more what i was "expecting" from the situation. As example, the phrase "Deh! ti placa, e un altro figlio" points to what you mentioned regarding "begging" vs "really being sorry", and particularly "e tal sarà" , this is a biig turn here, and JDD's version is dragged out a bit so it becomes not as a defining moment.. where as a SHARP stop at "à" and CHOANG in the music (from Desden) signal BRING IT ON! 🙂

            So, in a way, i wonder if it's mainly the singer's interpretation that already makes it "rolling" instead of "sharp ending" in the phrasing, which is different than whether a singer is capable of phrasing it how she sees it (i.e., if she thinks sharp, can she do it..) .. but i always imagining hand slamming on table and swords flying out 😀 . oh right, related to this, the way breathing + attack through this whole phases "La tremenda ultrice spada a brandir Romeo si appresta: come folgore funesta, mille morti apporterà" also really give the impression of "BRING IT ON" or "may be we're gonna fight if you catch my warning here" tone… and for this, i particular feel more of this sort of take (same jagged image) , a bit fast in tempo instead of “dragging”.

            Lastly, to give one last impression of the implication of threat is this phrase “alla patria costera” (the blaming game), and again, it sounded also dragging to me (i blame a lot on the conductor in this case, as well as in munich, because if conductor drags orchestra limps the singer can not do a whole lot even with her own sharp ending of the phrase!)

          • dehggial says:

            funny you should mention the conductor, because I compared the two knowing it was the same conductor and the same production. I imagine the conductor knows the singer’s strengths and I don’t think JDD’s can do that kind of “e tal sarà” so she/they went for the long note. Interestingly, though, I’ve always complained that Marilyn Horne dragged her notes in the important moments and she definitely could stop short on that “sarà!” if she wanted to. Maybe it’s a style thing.

            I totally agree with you about the hand slamming on the table. Romeo is definitely not a begger. In fact he’s very rash and easily goes off the handle. The way I see the entrance is he’s well intentioned (because he wants Giulietta) but as soon as things don’t go the way he wants them to he’s ready to chop up a few Capuleti 😉 so yea, jagged line all the way. But like I said, JDD is fruity, VK’s sound is more wood-like, La tremenda ultrice spada is not a fruity aria.

            Though I don’t think it needs to be very fast – it’s all cocky, check it out, I’m so badass type of thing (I especially like how VK says e su voi ricada il sangue! all dark and broody = yes!!! fist pumping moment, though I think there’s an even better recording of hers than the 1996 one in regards to that sangue), the singer either has the right kind of voice (more dense) or doesn’t and there really isn’t much she can do. Which is why there are like 3 good Romeos as far as I’m concerned, even a worse record than Sesto.

            Anyway, it’s really late to get into La tremenda ultrice spada, there’s so much to talk about that bit as well (the ornaments! what works and what doesn’t. I hate the Rossini ones). To be continued.

    • thả diều says:

      hmm, i can’t find anymore.. not on tube either, may be channel was taken down.. i have radio broadcast in case u want to check out yet another line up. M.N.Lemieux was great, i really like her take. Ciofi i had some reservation only b/c it was a bit too much with ornamentation 🙂 . but orchestra + tempo + conducting was superb, ended up being my go-to music the entire trip last may/jun

      • dehggial says:

        Yes, I would like it! I’m always on the lookout for a good Tancredi, would like to see it live at some point (London isn’t very Rossini friendly beside the obvious). Also would like to hear more from Lemieux in general and I like Ciofi a lot.

  6. dehggial says:

    I forgot this convo! but it seems I have listened a bit to this Tancredi and then got distracted by shiny things. I’m really enjoying it this time.

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