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Re: Opera

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:55 pm

To follow up on Piq's report, we are at the point where our blocking is done and we rehearse on stage for the first time Friday evening with sets. It's been a blast so far, especially in my case since I've performed this same production, with the same director and conductor before, and I still had the show fairly well memorized from last time(1997). Our Calaf is weak, IMO, like Piq said. I feel his voice lacks richness and warmth, and he'll have a hard time filling our 3,000 seat house. Our Liu is the same one we had before, and her voice is the best suited I've ever heard for the part. Our Turandot also has a well suited voice, but in the case of this character, I'm not sure it's a compliment. Kind of a shrill, ugly vocal quality for a shrill, ugly character. One of the potential show-stealers are our Ping, Pang, and Pong. Ping, the baritone, is the one Piq referred to as especially liking. The three together have this carping around and doing silly things on stage routine, and so far it's been impossible not to laugh at what they're doing in rehearsal. We in the chorus were paid a huge compliment and were applauded by the principals and crew at the end of rehearsal last night, and the conductor(Eduardo Mueller), said we sounded better than ever.
On the whole, the show will be very good, but I'm not so sure it will be truly memorable. Nevertheless, I'm thrilled to be in it! :D

<small>[ 01-15-2004, 04:02 PM: Message edited by: operatenor ]</small>
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Thu Jan 15, 2004 9:51 pm

is your Liu better than Caballe? I think she does the best Liu. (but Hendricks is also very good).
I disagree with you about the Turandot voice type. I always want a good voice. I care more about quality of voice than character. and even in character I think she should have a cold, majestic, Nilsson-like voice.
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Re: Opera

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:08 am

Believe me, I'd much prefer a good voice, I was just going for the cheap laugh.
Our Liu(Ai Lan Zhu) has a very sweet, clear quality to her voice, yet still projects exceptionally well. She sounds like the sweet, devoted servant girl she's supposed to protray.

I just read the bios for the principals from the SDO website, and our Turandot and Calaf have some pretty impressive accomplishments under their belts. Read about them here. Maybe they're saving their true colors for the performances.

<small>[ 01-16-2004, 10:11 AM: Message edited by: operatenor ]</small>
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Fri Jan 16, 2004 3:56 pm

put those smilies in! I can't recognize a joke anymore.
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Re: Opera

Postby dkm32 » Fri Jan 16, 2004 5:02 pm

Originally posted by piqaboo:
The tenor who plays Calaf seems to have a pretty small voice - I dont see (?hear?) how he will sing over the chorus as he has to.
May be he'll catch a cold and be unable to sing. Then, maybe this Tenor-person that I've heard hangs around there could step in and replace him!

<small>[ 01-16-2004, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: dkm32 ]</small>
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Re: Opera

Postby piqaboo » Sun Jan 18, 2004 11:14 am

Donna,
you're cracking me up! :)
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Sun Jan 18, 2004 12:11 pm

maybe someone can "arrange" for him to have a cold?
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Re: Opera

Postby Marye » Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:49 am

OT....

I am seeing the COC's production of Turandot on 1 February. Our Calaf is Richard Margison. Do you know of him? I think he has a magnificent voice, but he is Canadian and maybe I am just want him to be great.

Is Turandot on everyone's opera schedule this year?

Falstaff is coming this Sunday for me, as well.

<small>[ 01-19-2004, 10:00 AM: Message edited by: Marye ]</small>
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Re: Opera

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:29 am

Donna, Big, LOL!, and thanks for the back-handed compliment, Donna! :D

Mary, you're in for a HUGE treat, IMO. Richard Margison was our Calaf back in '97. I think he's magnificent! One thing our current Calaf (Dario Volente) has against him is that I'm comparing him to Richard in my head, and that's a pretty tough standard to measure up to.

Speaking of whom, Saturday night he sang Nessun Dorma through without "marking" for the first time. He hit all the notes, but to me it's not a pretty voice, and lacks goose-bump-inducing presence. All of the other principles, however, do at least admirable jobs. Liu(Ai Lan Zhu) will probably be the show-stealer, followed closely by Ping, Pang, and Pong, collectively. There are moments when I'm wondering if I'll be able to keep from laughing at them on stage in performance. In one instance, at the end of the riddle scene, when Calaf answers the last riddle correctly, they actually start jumping up and down with glee while the chorus is singing "glory to the victor". They're right in fronmt of me when they do that, and it cracks me up every time.

We in the chorus are getting some pretty heavy compliments this time around as well. We've been applauded by the principles and staff two or three times so far, which is unusual.

Bottom line, it's gonna be a great show. :cool:
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:33 am

the chorus is the main character in Turandot.
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Re: Opera

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:36 am

You said it, I didn't. ;)
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:37 pm

i think also Richard Osbourne says it... I did a high school graduation piece on Puccini...
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Re: Opera

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Jan 19, 2004 5:48 pm

Hi Mary, I checked out the COC's website concerning your upcoming Turandot. I don't recognize any of the other principals in the show, but I get the impression they all did this together back in 1997(which was the same year Richard Margison did it with ths SDO). One bit of good fortune, IMO, is you'll be hearing the Alfano ending, as opposed to the Beria ending. I hope you enjoy it immensely.

One thing I believe the COC website got wrong, however: They stated Turandot premiered in 1919. I believe it was actually 1926, especially since Puccini didn't die until 1926. Just thought I'd try to set the record straight.

<small>[ 01-19-2004, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: operatenor ]</small>
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:26 pm

Beria=Berio. I don't see how Alfano's ending is superior.
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Re: Opera

Postby piqaboo » Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:56 pm

bignaf,
I'm curious. Which Turandot ending do you think is better, and why?
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Opera

Postby bignaf » Mon Jan 19, 2004 9:41 pm

neither. because no one can compare to the master. frankly, I think the master himself had no clue what to do with that ending. he was agonizing over it for a year. it's just to hard to evoke the transfomation of Turandot. it makes no sense and we don't emphatize with the lovers. we love Liu! and obviously so did Puccini. Puccini ha d a thing with those little helpless women. and he has more than one opera in which the little woman dies at the end. I think in his subconcious the opera ended when Liu died and he couldn't really continue. he tried to write a love duet, but his love duets only flowed when he "was" the lover. and the woman was his beloved little woman. in this case he couldn't fall in love with Turandot. I'm sure if he lived longer he would make an ending that would be satisfying musically (if not dramaticaly). both endings lack his particular way of developing motives and the texture is very muddy compared to his transparent texture.
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Re: Opera

Postby dai bread » Tue Jan 20, 2004 1:11 am

I have never found the love scene ending for "Turandot" convincing. Not coming from someone who chops prospective suitors' heads off.
Not from someone who's so afraid of actually getting a suitor that when Calaf actually answers the riddle, she tries to wriggle out of her promise.

The script I would like to see has Turandot declaring that no man will touch her (cue ringing impassioned aria rather like the Queen of the Night's piece). She then commits suicide (cue another impassioned aria). Calaf enters, finds her dying (this is opera, after all, and you die slowly in opera). He declares his love, and if he can't have Turandot in life he'll have her in death. (another impassioned aria!) Dies.

Goodness knows who would write the music for it though. At least Alfano had the sense to rely on "Nessun Dorma" for his music.

Yes, Liu is the sympathetic character. If Calaf had half the brains he was born with he'd have married her.
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Re: Opera

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:23 am

This is what the COC had tosay about it on their site. I found it to be succint:

"Puccini worked on Turandot for the rest of his days, but remained unsatisfied with the final duet of Act III between Calaf and Turandot. This final duet was intended to convey a transformation in Turandot from an icy cold Princess into a loving human being. Puccini struggled to find a way to portray this musically, and thus never managed to complete the opera. For the premiere in 1919, Toscanini commissioned Alfano to complete the opera, including the final duet. However, to this day, many audiences and scholars feel that Alfano's ending is an inadequate treatment of Turandot's character, making her feelings seem insincere and shallow."
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Re: Opera

Postby Marye » Tue Jan 20, 2004 10:08 am

Originally posted by operatenor:
One thing I believe the COC website got wrong, however: They stated Turandot premiered in 1919. I believe it was actually 1926, especially since Puccini didn't die until 1926. Just thought I'd try to set the record straight.
Did you send them an email? If not I shall... can't be having this sort of slopping reporting, I'll say.... did you see on that website about the new Opera Ballet House being built here? Dead exciting for the likes of me... 2006 for its completion and its first production Wagner's Ring.

Sent an email, OT, to Richard Bradshaw, Director of the COC ... like he will read his email...(as if) :D ;)

<small>[ 01-20-2004, 10:55 AM: Message edited by: Marye ]</small>
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Re: Opera

Postby piqaboo » Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:27 am

dai,
your ending works much the best imo. I keep envisioning Turandot leaping from her balcony in frustration that she cant beat Calaf, particularly in light of her given reason for her nasty little game (the rape of her distant ancestor).

The "happiest" potentially convincing ending I could come up with was - the emperor forces Turandot to marry Calaf : she gets a great "I only make this sacrifice for my country" aria, and he gets a great victory aria, and perhaps because he's a "love at first sight"-er, he could fit in a few words about love. Makes no sense coming from the lady.
Although the third riddle sets the stage for a possible transformation, it would take a bit of time to lead her thru it (even tho "this is opera".).

Ah well, as GC said somewhere, when they are singing, I have no idea what they are saying so the story really doesnt matter much to me. :D
Altoid - curiously strong.
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