Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Favorites by Year 2014

There were some interesting new operas including Death and the PowersThe End of the Affair27Anya17, and Brokeback Mountain.  This was the Strauss year, but you will see no Strauss below at all.  Renée Fleming sang at the Superbowl, and her dress went into the Smithsonian.  I traveled to Saint Louis to see 27, an opera about Gertrude Stein.  Toward the end of the year I traveled to Italy and visited La Fenice and the new opera house in Florence.  This year I became aware of the existence of Barbara Hannigan who specializes in modern opera.  This year I reviewed 51 performances, including 6 DVDs, 10 HDs, 19 live, 2 movies, 12 streams and 2 old films.

For another view on 2014 see KK Awards.

Favorite Performances

  • (JK) Kaufmann's Winterreise CD  This is now my favorite Jonas Kaufmann CD.  It's a masterpiece.  On the internet people complain that it doesn't sound like what they're used to but seem to forget that one singer isn't supposed to sound like another.  Nothing is achieved by imitating someone else's performance.  CD

  • (JK) Werther in HD  **  With the same cast as Paris, the effect was often quite different.  In Paris all was clean and spare.  At the Met every detail of the story was played out on our large screens.  The very charismatic Lisette Oropesa as Sophie was the biggest improvement over Paris.  Met HD
  • (CB) Cecilia Bartoli's DVD of Le Comte Ory  God is love, therefore messing around is the path to salvation.  I found this whole production and cast, which included Javier Camarena as the Count, much funnier than the Met version.  DVD

  • Dialogues of the Carmelites in Saint Louis ** It is a very long time since I have seen this opera, and it is hard to understand why.  It is a great work which is always performed in the vernacular of the country where it is performed in translations approved by the composer.Travel

  • Glyndebourne Der Rosenkavalier streamed ** A huge scandal surrounded this performance so it was especially fun to get to see it on live stream.  There's some misunderstanding.  Women aren't cast as men because they look like men.  Women are cast as men because they don't look like men.  If they looked like men, what would be the point?   Are we clear about that?  I especially liked Tara Erraught.  Live Stream.

  • (AN) Verdi's Il Trovatore from Salzburg **  This is the production where we are visitors in an art museum and the characters hang in pictures on the walls.  Anna Netrebko was Leonora, Placido Domingo was the count and Francesco Meli was the troubadour.  Her name tag says A Netrebko.  Live Stream.

  • (AN) Netrebko's Macbeth in HD  **  Great Netrebko with guns and gangsters.  I hoped she would part company with this opera because everyone seems to oversing, but she only does it occasionally.    Met HD
  • Partenope at SFO ** A Eurotrash production is often the thing that makes a Handel opera tolerable.  This one was exciting and just plain fun from beginning to end.  We have two picture posts here and here.   Local

Singer of the Year

With 2 home runs I must award the singing prize to Anna Netrebko.

Didn't like

The Minotaur was ruled not an opera because we are 50 minutes in before there is any singing. One was entertained by silliness this year.  Kaufmann and Netrebko saved the day.  I'm considering this 10 items because one is a song cycle.

New to Me Opera

  1. Birtwhistle's The Minotaur (2998) was on DVD,
  2. Borodin's Prince Igor (1890) was HD from the Met **
  3. Cavalli's Ercole Amante (1662) was on DVD
  4. Donizetti's Rita  (1841) was live in San Francisco **
  5. Floyd's Susanah (1956) was live at SFO. **
  6. Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox (1990) live in Berkeley, **
  7. Gorb's Anya17 (2012) was live in San Francisco **
  8. Gordon's 27  (2014) live in Saint Louis. **
  9. Handel's Partenope (1730) was live at SFO. **
  10. Heggie's The End of the Affair (2007) live in Berkeley **
  11. Machover's Death and the Powers (2011) simulcast from Dallas KK new opera award. **
  12. Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias (1947) live in San Francisco, **
  13. Rossini's Matilde di Shabran (1821) on DVD,
  14. Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau (1935) streamed from Munich. **
  15. Verdi's I due Foscari (1844) streamed from ROH,
  16. Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain (2014) streamed.

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

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