Proms anyone?

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by Coda II, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

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    Just in case anyone's missed it, or at least missed the chance to ignore it:

    Die Walküre
    Cast includes:
    Siegmund Placido Domingo (tenor)
    Sieglinde Waltraud Meier (soprano)
    Hunding Eric Halfvarson (bass)
    Wotan Bryn Terfel (baritone)

    5pm R3, 7.30pm BBC4 (TV)

    Weekly guide is here: Proms

    Other suggestions for highlights?
     
    Coda II, Jul 18, 2005
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  2. Coda II

    michaelab desafinado

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    Expect a multi-page reply from GrahamN...that is, if he has internet access from his tent inside the Albert Hall :D

    Michael.
     
    michaelab, Jul 18, 2005
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    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    SOS - what not to wear (especially when your Dad is Lord of the Universe)

    Urgent message to Trinny and Susannah.... you are needed at Albert Hall Ladies Dressing rooms quick. :eek:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2005
    alanbeeb, Jul 18, 2005
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  4. Coda II

    GrahamN

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    No multi-page replies, Michael, but if you missed this - you missed something truly special (as djc should be able to corroborate - he was there with his good lady too). Unfortunately they're not broadcasting a repeat, but it's available on demand for the next week. But, again unfortunately, you'll not be able to see the characterisation in all the characters faces that helped to make this one of the best proms ever (one mate of mine who's been doing this for about 20 years put it at around no 4 in his all time list).

    Many of us took the day off to get in the queue before lunchtime, and it was worth every second. I felt both Domingo and Terfel got off to slightly slow starts, but did they make up for it later!!! The last half hour of the first act was positively orgasmic, with some of the most stunning singing from Maier - I don't think I've ever had trouble breathing at the end of the first act of anything before! Domingo was obviously the big draw and he did sing wonderfully (although he seemed to be having a bit of a problem with his throat), but was still out-sung by Maier. From his Act 2 monologue onwards Terfel was also truly fantastic, nuancing every phrase to perfection - and whereas that narration of "the story so far" can sometimes be a bit tedious, his version made it sound like the most wondrous story ever told! And then the orchestra...beyond praise!

    And yes, Alan, there were some truly terrible dresses from the Valkyries, who seemed a more than usually mixed rabble - in particular Rossweisse was far more believeable as Wotan's mum rather than his daughter!

    After that the rest of the season will be a bit of an anticlimax. Despite that...
    - Tuesday (today/tomorrow)'s RVW London Symphony (Original Version) should be excellent (although it's a shame it's not the LSO);
    - Vanska should do a superb Nielsen 4 on Wednesday;
    - Alice Coote and Mark Elder should be perfect in Gerontius on Sunday (she's not cancelled yet, but there's nearly a week left for that to happen ;) ).
    - I'm really looking forward to Nelson Freire (someone I've only heard on disc with Argerich) in Brahms' 2nd pf conc, and I've not heard a bad prom from Volkov yet - 1 Aug;
    - Runnicles does late romantic excellently so I'm looking forward to "Das Klagende Lied" (not a piece I know) on 7 Aug
    - More Nielsen (5th) from Danish NRSO/Dausgaard - I loved their Sib 2 a few years ago - 12 Aug;
    - Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan orch was one of the season's highpoints on their last visit, so looking forward to their Mahler 1 (they should do the "Jewish Wedding" section well?) - 14 Aug
    - Baroque fiends should look out for Glyndebourne's Julius Caesar (23 Aug) - it's an excellent cast;
    - Nikolaj Znaider is a stunning violinist, so his Brahms on 26 Aug should be worth hearing;
    - Jansons + Concertgebouw doing Mahler 6 should be good (1 Sept), although he has been driving almost too hard every time I've seen him lately.
    - can't really ignore the Vienna Phil, although Mehta doesn't seem the obvious man to bring the best out of them in the Rite of Spring, and Eschenbach is a bit hit-or-miss, I've not heard him do anything like Bruckner 8 before (7/8 Sept)

    + many others (I have about 40 on my "must see" list this year)
     
    GrahamN, Jul 19, 2005
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  5. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

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    Waltraud Meier :) :) :) !

    And Bryn now he's got his voice back properly!

    Graham - you lucky man - though being subjected to Rosalind Plowright and Lisa Gasteen that close up I don't envy you.

    Oh, and did anyone miss the ROH sets?
    Thought not.

    So, back to Waltraud Meier, she seems to be able to sing Wagner opera as if it were Strauss liede, completely unforced and effortless. Makes me wonder whether if people associated that kind of delivery (and Bryn's, as said above his story telling is wonderful) with these works rather than the big and shouty, the music might have a wider audience.
     
    Coda II, Jul 19, 2005
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  6. Coda II

    GrahamN

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    I saw in the ROH reviews that Plowright was considered a bit squally, but that's pretty much par for the course for Fricka, and I didn't find it at all problematical. There were many comments that she actually made Fricka into a believable character. It was certainly a commandingly imperious performance and Wotan really had no chance against her. She's an older and more cynical woman than in Rheingold, but it would have been interesting to see what ? (forget now who it was last year - played her very much as a too-often-deserted woman still in love with her hubby) would have made of this part.

    I was a bit concerned when Gasteen opened with a very wide wobble on her opening Hoijohos, but she then settled down to some pretty nice singing. Her top was maybe a bit screechy, but she has a wonderful chest register. Talking of which....when she squared up to Plowright at Fricka's first entry it definitely came over as The Battle of the Busts! Her dress was however showing a disturbing amount of leg, of which Ms Gasteen has a shapely but undeniably sturdy pair - I just thanked my lucky stars it wasn't Christine Brewer!

    Yes, one of the hallmarks of last night's signing was that we got genuine vibrato (oscillations in volume) rather than wobble (in pitch) on the voices pretty much throughout - quite glorious. The interesting thing with Maier's singing was that, as you said, it seemed quite effortless, and wonderfully lyrical when required. Quite different from what I was slightly worried about before the concert, given that she's often been criticised for her tone hardening when under stress - and that was when she was in her prime 10 years ago.

    There was a general feeling in the hall (from those who were at both) that Act I may have been even better at the ROH, but Acts II and III were better last night.
     
    GrahamN, Jul 19, 2005
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    djc

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    Wow!

    Good to see you again Graham.
     
    djc, Jul 20, 2005
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    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    What not to wear part II

    You'd think soloists would be careful to choose clothes that are not louder than the instruments they play? :D
    That shirt was even louder than a piano playing Rachmainov's 1st concerto?!

    Where's Trinnny and Susannah?
     
    alanbeeb, Jul 20, 2005
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    PeteH Natural Blue

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    From what I've heard on Radio 3 the Proms seem to be especially good this year so far. I tuned in for the last act of Die Walkure and was actually sorry I'd missed the rest - I might almost be turning into a Wagner convert on the strength of it... Hickox's award-winning original-version VW London symphony recording has somehow managed to pass me by, so I was especially interested to listen in to the performance of that, and I wasn't disappointed. And MacMillan's Scotch Bestiary was riotous good fun too.
     
    PeteH, Jul 21, 2005
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  10. Coda II

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    The Nightingale

    Gosh... nice birds can sing. ;)

    I'll get my coat.
     
    alanbeeb, Jul 22, 2005
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  11. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

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    Absolutely nothing to do with Mr beeb...^

    ...but:

    Prom 30, Anne Sofie von Otter - Mahler/Rückert-Lieder etc.

    Prom 44, Christine Schäfer - Berg/Lulu Suite, Mahler/Symphony No.4

    :)

    I think people here will know Anne Sofie von Otter, but if Christine Schäfer is new to you she deserves your attention!
     
    Coda II, Jul 22, 2005
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  12. Coda II

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    Mahler's fifth

    Well... its my 3rd least favourite Mahler symphony but that was a jolly good performance. Enjoyed it a lot. :)
    Its been performed 18 times at the proms since 1968... that's nearly once every 2 years, which is maybe a bit too often. I'll bet not all of them were as good as this.
     
    alanbeeb, Jul 22, 2005
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  13. Coda II

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    A statement like that really needs an accompanying chart of some sort :)
     
    PeteH, Jul 22, 2005
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    wolfgang

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    Shostakovish 10 just started on BBC4.
     
    wolfgang, Jul 25, 2005
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  15. Coda II

    PeteH Natural Blue

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    Must say I was very impressed with the BBC NOW strings in the Shostakovich (missed the Tippett in the first half :( ) - lovely rich, weighty tone, very appropriate under the circumstances.

    I wish someone would have the guts to do the Scherzo fast enough though :D
     
    PeteH, Jul 25, 2005
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    wolfgang

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    Agree it was quite good indeed. Listening and watching it with BBCi notes that came on intermittently was a first for me. Initially it appears distracting but after some time it does add a new experience. Tonight programmes just started. All these are new stuffs for me.
     
    wolfgang, Jul 26, 2005
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    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    Dutilleux - Correspondence

    WOW! That was good. Especially for an 87 yr-old. One of the few living composers who can strike a chord and and challenge ordinary listeners without losing them. And it was so good to see the man himself get onto the stage to thank the orchestra.
     
    alanbeeb, Jul 27, 2005
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    HiFiWigWam Number 6

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    As a VERY average listner (and a classical dullard) I have to agree. I found it engrossing and a revelation to hear Modern Classical (excuse the oxymoron) compelling.

    If only my Sky box didn't SPPPWWEEK every now and again. I'm sure it does my speakers no good. No FM in this deep Valley BTW.
     
    HiFiWigWam, Jul 27, 2005
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  19. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

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    That's the same chap as the cello concerto right?

    Was still at work so only half listening but it did sound good. Repeat is 2nd Aug - will try again.
     
    Coda II, Jul 28, 2005
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    NickM

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    Well, despite the fact that I haven't been to a live concert in years and generally much prefer CDs, I've booked tickets for next Thursday purely because the programme includes Lilburn's 3rd Symphony.

    So good on the Proms programme choosers (whoever they are) for putting on a piece I have wanted to hear "in the flesh" for some time. I'm not keen on all the kerfuffle that surrounds the Proms, but they do at least offer some interesting music :)

    And the souvenir recording will be sitting on the computer when I get home :cool:
     
    NickM, Aug 11, 2005
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