Sunday, December 29, 2013

Favorites by Year 2013

Outstanding Verdi year

This year was 200 years of both Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner.  The only Wagner of interest was the Met Parsifal.  In sharp contrast I experienced quite a lot of great Verdi.  Kaufmann and Harteros together brought me Il TrovatoreDon Carlo and La Forza del Destino.  The Met brought me Rigoletto and a magnificent Falstaff.  Kaufmann released Wagner albums and a Verdi album, Netrebko released a Verdi album.  This was a truly great year for some other things, too.  Jamie Barton won Cardiff Singer of the World.  I also traveled to Salzburg for Norma.  I reviewed 45 performances, including 2 DVDs, 10 HDs, 22 live, 1 movie, and 10 streams at home.

For another perspective on 2013 see KK Awards.

Favorite Performances



  • (JK) Parsifal in HD  **  I stayed all the way to the end, which is odd for an opera I've always hated.  Everything worked together to create a performance which even I loved.   Met HD

  • Verdi-Neon Rigoletto in HD  **  I adored the flashing neon in the last act that accompanied the storm music, but Gilda in a car trunk?  Maybe not.  It does make it more plausible that Rigoletto mistakes her for the duke. Met HD
  • Ainadamar in San Francisco ** Opera Parallèle brought excitement and joy and a completely coherent production for this complex opera.  Do this opera in your town.  You will love it.   Local


  • American Bach Soloists in Davis **  I discovered this group this year, and they play very close to home over in Davis.  The consistent high quality of their work is encouraging, They aren't just named after Bach, they also play a lot of Bach.  Occasionally they perform a bit of opera in concert format.   Local


  • (CB) Cecilia Bartoli's Norma CD  I was irresistibly drawn to this recording and played it over and over.  I could not be more amazed.  Cecilia recorded the new critical edition, of course, instead of the traditional late romantic orchestration.  CD

  • (CB) Norma in Salzburg **  In fact I was so amazed I traveled to Salzburg to see it for myself.  This modern regie production was very effective and completely right for herself.  It was a revolutionary transformation of a staid favorite, turning straw figures into passionate human beings..  Travel  ##20






Singer of the Year


The singing prize is hard this year.  No offense, Cecilia, but I must award to Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros for so much wonderful Verdi.

Didn't like


This was such a fabulous year I have nothing to disparage and cannot reduce the list to 10.  Since then I have felt an emotional let down.  I want endless thrills.

New to Me Opera


With the addition of streaming my new operas list grows longer:

  1. Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (2013) was live at SFO. **
  2. Barab's A Game of Chance (1957) was live in Sacramento. **
  3. Barber's Antony and Cleopatra (1966) was seen on YouTube.
  4. Barber's A Hand of Bridge (1958) was live in Sacramento. **
  5. Bucci's Sweet Betsy From Pike (1953) was live in Sacramento. **
  6. Donizetti's Maria Stuarda (1834) was HD from the Met. **
  7. Gasser's The Secret Garden (2013)was live in Berkeley. **
  8. Glass' The Perfect American (2013) was a stream. 
  9. Golijov's Ainadamar (2005) was live in San Francisco. KK new to me award. **
  10. Humperdinck's Königskinder (2010) was a DVD with Jonas Kaufmann.
  11. Picker's Dolores Claiborne (2013) was a live world premier from SFO **
  12. Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie (1733) was streamed from Glyndebourne. Regie **
  13. Rossini's La Donna del Lago (1819) was on YouTube from the ROH.
  14. Shostakovich's The Nose, (1929) HD from the Met. **
  15. Spontini's La Vestale (1807) was on YouTube.
  16. Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes (1855) was streamed from London. **

##20 top 20 all time
** live, live stream or live in HD

Things recommended to buy


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