leonora for sunday

No no, luckily not from Pace… but the other Verdi’s opera with music i like and with M-N Lemieux recalling tossing babies in the fire.. and it’s got a quite impressive Leonora!! with quite a rich voice and very musical, along with Alagna whose voice was my favorite of all the tenors I’ve heard (6 total 😀 ) for the role Manrico. Here’s music for the rest of afternoon in the office, from Orange Festival in France, live performance from 04.aug.2015 (click on ubuntu-desktop screen capture to go to site):


Running commentary
— open air stage!! how do the singers project?
— *very* impressive Leonora!!! vocally that is, in the first aria. Let’s read up the credit: Hui He is our soprano, she’s quite young! and already pushing full force Verdi! with quite a voluminous voice without wild vibrato. and quite rich, full of heft! I’ll have to admit to you after hearing Neb’s take last year it is super refreshing to hear such a wonderful take this time around…
— MNL has this strange gaze in her eyes! i wonder if it’s the open-air staging and they’re all staring into some screen mounted somewhere for prompts.. I quite like her singing this time compared to the other time (w/ AN)
— Scene of interaction between Azucena + Manrico is lacking something.. especially Alagna sounding a bit routine and lacking spontaneity..
— this huge stage is suuuch a contrast to the small+cozy theater in Munich! 🙂
— now i get it, this stage is so huge singers have to stand facing out in order to be heard and seen, hence it affects the dynamics greatly as it gives the image of park+sing , that and the fact you can see all of the singers constantly having to keep eyes toward the pit.. when first saw Leonora i wondered if she’s having trouble seeing the conductor, but now they all seem to do that.
— the Count sings very nicely! gives the impression he’s smitten by Leonora rather than being the super bad guy (my 7 year-old niece’s vocabulary)
— here comes Leonora again, which reminds me, perhaps it’s time to really read up the story.. for example why is she in the convent again? Verdi and putting girl in convent, tsk tsk.
— wow, goosebump clarinet! “Pourquoi ces larmes?”.. very touching, sniff
— a tense showdown, nuns vs the count’s troops! did i mention already i reallllly like her phrasing? strangely Alagna’s singing sounds quite lacking in emotion! Also lacking is a bit of chemistry between Leonora and Manrico… everyone is facing out.. but her voice through the entire chorus: very musical!
— now the real showdown, a` la Capuleti-Montecchi on the stairs!
— intermission piano to Leonora’s last music line! ❤
— hugely applause to Alagna’s singing from the audience, while Manrico and Leonora bear-hug 😀
— i love how the the two of them looking at each other to coordinate their parallel phrasing 🙂
— if i have to guess, she’s got the voice, but not quite the embodiment of Leonora, so the dynamics are a bit off between the two characters. He’s picking things up though! along with the PICCOLO!! (readers familiar with JK’s version will remember this is where he’s barging through the burning cross..)
— goosebumps again! to… bassoon? here she comes, in darkness to the fortress… “Laisse-moi, ne crains rien pour moi”.. Leonora’s going solo…
— sniff
— wow, lovely take up the pianissimo on high notes… you will believe it dear readers, she really reminds me of AH 🙂 , exquisitive (<– is that a word?) phrasing. I've decided to not look and just listen…
— déjà proche départ sans retour…
— this scene always gives me goosebumps.. rhythmic orchestra.. murmuring chorus.. Leonora’s voice rising, Manrico’s fading…
— HUH!! the audience BARGED in clapping at totally wrong time! completely interupting her line! “Au prix de ma vie!”
— BRAVAAAA, i so impressed!
— wow, Leonora on the floor, “j’ai voulu mourir en demeurant tienne”, amazing ascent to soft high notes.. more goosebumps
— and with that, a wrap up. Yes, am partial, i can only hear Leonora.. and she is the reason you listen to this production. simply impressive!!


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

22 Responses to leonora for sunday

  1. stray says:

    Ooh, Spanish Civil War! Down with the evil falangist di Luna!

    • thả diều says:

      oh, that s what it is! i was wondering whats fluffing on fernando’s shoulders (think thats his name.. commando of the count)

      • stray says:

        Now it’s the Anvil Chorus and I’m trying to remember which book has the quote from the gypsy militiaman where he says something like “We play flamenco at the fascists, it scares the shit out of them.”

        • thả diều says:

          there’s a chorus? 😉 . i only noticed Leonora.. was sort of ok w/ MNL, have to say Verdi is indeed, and dehggi said, (am i remembering correctly?) shit when it comes to music for mezzo 😀 .

          • stray says:

            I beg to differ, but to each their own 😛

            Ooh, Republicans to the rescue! No nunnery for Leonora then! Isn’t there something else I’m supposed to be doing instead of watching this?

          • thả diều says:

            let me rephrase: if he pair mezzo more with the soprano i might have paid much more attention 😉 you could also try the aix (not-so) hetero alcina, quite nice! (bradamante could really do without the cleopatre’s hairdo + redness though)

          • dehggial says:

            Ernani (a bandit!) was supposed to be sung by a mezzo :-((( but he gave us a tenor instead. Meh. I still like the music to Ernani. But just think about it: a bandit! Hell yea.

          • thả diều says:

            you can drape a dress over a contralto, but you can’t take the swag out of her

          • stray says:

            Haha! I am waiting for some director to do something interesting with Don Carlos in that regard. Some day…

            Alagna’s in surprisingly decent voice for this, but by Di quella pira he’s definitely strolling through this performance :-/

          • thả diều says:

            i really like his voice for this role! he was very good a few years ago in another production also from orange . but yes, this one he’s mailing it in for some reason! except for 1 bit before the super extensive run by Leonora (end of act 3?) he picked up the energy..

          • stray says:

            Given what happens to Ernani? No mezzo would be that dumb. (And I bet that’s what Piave told him.)

          • thả diều says:

            oh? another reason i didn’t know about this opera! (but i just heard about it recently.. some staging somewhere famous? with someone famous?)

            What’s the back story why mezzo was weeded out?

            man, this alsina is getting too straight for my tolerance.. might have to skip this scene with Morgana + Oronte…

          • dehggial says:

            I can’t remember why it was weeded it out but at the time I just thought Verdi/audiences of the time didn’t like anything that wasn’t man + woman. I do know for sure that before Verdi Bellini had Ernani in the works WITH mezzo but for whatever reason he didn’t finish it.

          • dehggial says:

            some staging somewhere famous? with someone famous?

            what are the odds?! 😉 A while ago I saw the Met production with Meade and some dude. Maybe you mean how recently Domingo dropped out of it?

          • dehggial says:

            yes but still: bandit.

          • stray says:

            Okay, according to Budden, the only reason a woman was proposed for the role of Ernani was that La Fenice had a contralto under contract who needed a gig, and Verdi had a bargaining position problem and had to agree. Then the situation changed, much horse-trading ensued, and we ended up with a tenor.

            At least as I understand it. This is all very confusing, as legal/contractual things around Verdi tended to be.

            I stick by my point, though, about a mezzo not being believable in that role.

          • stray says:

            That is, bandit mezzo yes, dumb bandit mezzo no.

      • stray says:

        Epaulettes. Fascists like bling.

  2. stray says:

    Okay that was fun, haven’t done that one in a while. Needs a better di Luna, but that’s the perpetual state of affairs. (Also they need to go back to the original ending, it makes way more sense.) But I like how Azucena is deliberately influencing Manrico to stick around so he’ll be sure to get the axe. Nice!

    Now to brush up on Macbeth, next on the Glimmerglass agenda.

  3. stray says:

    Hey while you’re building your supercomputer from old thinkpads, don’t forget to reinstall that spiffy sound editing software you had, we need to fix this 2005 Montreal Alcina I still owe you the rest of.

    • thả diều says:

      oh it’s the simple and free thingy audacity, view and chop. that, and ffmpeg. all is almost set i think!
      One of the things i find most irritating about mac is that they are working super hard it seems to modify very basic functions, sort of like decorating a stool so fancy until we discover for all its fanciness we can’t sit on it anymore; all for the looks… i have never updated any of their stuff since 2011 and now it’s a huge shock. Equivalently surprising is the mac-store people calling my 2011 OS “vintage”!! clearly they haven’t seen the thinkpad 😉 .
      Ok, i done ranting. send them clips, i will demonstrate my chop + patch skills (something i expert at since childhood, patching up holes in both clothes and water buckets 😀 )

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