Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Recordings

Richard Strauss: Notturno

Richard Strauss may be most closely associated with the soprano voice but this recording of a selection of the composer’s lieder by baritone Thomas Hampson is a welcome reminder that the rapt lyricism of Strauss’s settings can be rendered with equal beauty and character by the low male voice.

Bernarda Fink Sings Mahler Lieder

Bernarda Fink’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Lieder is an important new release that includes outstanding performances of the composer’s well-known songs, along with compelling readings of some less-familiar ones.

Gergiev’s Das Rheingold

Das Rheingold launches what is perhaps the single most ambitious project in opera, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Hänsel und Gretel

This live performance of Laurent Pelly’s Glyndebourne staging of Humperdinck’s affectionately regarded fairy tale opera, was recorded at Glyndebourne Opera House in July and August 2010, and the handsomely produced disc set — the discs are presented in a hard-backed, glossy-leaved book and supplemented by numerous production photographs and an informative article by Julian Johnson — is certainly stylish and unquestionably recommendable.

Magdalena Kožená: Love and Longing

Recorded at a live performance in 2012, this CD brings together an eclectic selection of turn-of-the-century orchestral songs and affirms the extraordinary versatility, musicianship and technical accomplishment of mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená.

Once I was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon

Once I was: Songs by Ricky Ian Gordon features an assortment of songs by Ricky Ian Gordon interpreted by soprano Stacey Tappan, a longtime friend of the composer since their work on his opera Morning Star at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Amore e Tormento

Alfredo Kraus, one of the most astute artists in operatic history in terms of careful management of technique and vocal resources, once said in an interview that ‘you have to make a choice when you start to sing and decide whether you want to service the music, and be at the top of your art, or if you want to be a very popular tenor.’ 

Rivals—Arias for Farinelli & Co.

In generations past, an important singer’s first recording of Italian arias would almost invariably have included the music of Verdi. 

Verdi at the Old MET

With celebrations of the Verdi Bicentennial in full swing, there have been many grumblings about the precarious state of Verdi singing in the world’s major opera houses today.

Italo Montemezzi: L’amore dei tre re

In the thirty-five years immediately following its American première at the Metropolitan Opera in 1914, Italo Montemezzi’s ‘Tragic Poem in Three Acts’ L’amore dei tre re was performed in New York on sixty-six occasions. 

Così fan tutte from DG

Few operas inspire the kind of competing affection and controversy that have surrounded Mozart’s Così fan tutte almost since its first performance in Vienna in 1790. 

Heart’s Delight: The Songs of Richard Tauber

During his career in film, opera, and operetta, Richard Tauber (1891 - 1948) enjoyed the sort of global fame that eludes all but the tiniest handful of ‘serious’ singers today.

Adriana Lecouvreur from Decca

Known principally for its two concert show-pieces for the leading lady, the success of Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur relies upon finding a soprano willing to take on, and able to pull off, the eponymous role.

Lawrence Brownlee’s Spiritual Sketches

It would be condescending and perhaps even offensive to suggest that singing traditional Spirituals is a rite a passage for artists of color, but the musical heritage of the United States has been greatly enriched by the performances and recordings of Spirituals by important artists such as Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry, Jessye Norman, Barbara Hendricks, Florence Quivar, Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, and Denyce Graves.

Great Wagner Conductors from DG

As a companion to their excellent Great Wagner Singers boxed set compiled and released in celebration of the Wagner Bicentennial, Deutsche Grammophon have also released Great Wagner Conductors, a selection of orchestral music conducted by five of the most iconic Wagnerian conductors of the Twentieth Century, extracted from Deutsche Grammophon’s extensive archives.

Great Wagner Singers from DG

There could be no greater gift to the Wagnerian celebrating the Master’s Bicentennial than this compilation from Deutsche Grammophon, aptly entitled Great Wagner Singers.

Adding Movie Magic to The Magic Flute

What better way for Masonic brothers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Emmanuel Shikaneder to disseminate Masonic virtues, than through the most popular musical entertainment of their age, a happy ending folktale that features a dragon, enchanting flutes and bells, mixed-up parentage, and a beautiful young princess in distress?

L’Incoronazione di Poppea from Virgin Classics

Since its first performance at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo during Venice’s 1643 Carnevale, Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea has been one of the most important milestones in the genesis of modern opera despite its 250 years of unmerited obscurity. 

Saverio Mercadante: I due Figaro

Though 2013 is the bicentennial of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, the releases of Cecilia Bartoli’s recording of Bellini’s Norma on DECCA, a new studio recording of Donizetti’s Caterina Cornaro from Opera Rara, and this première recording of Saverio Mercadante’s forgotten I due Figaro, suggest that this is the start of a summer of bel canto.

Christian Thielemann’s Der Ring des Nibelungen

Recording Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is for a record label equivalent to a climber reaching the summit of Mount Everest: it is the zenith from which a label surveys its position among its rivals and appreciates an achievement that can define its reputation for a generation. 

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Recordings

Vicente Martin y Soler: La Madrilena
21 Jan 2007

MARTIN Y SOLER: La Madrilena

Although the name of Vicente Martin y Soler is no longer obscure, most opera lovers still know him best due to Mozart quoting his opera ‘Una cosa rara’ during the Don’s last meal in Don Giovanni.

Vicente Martin y Soler: La Madrilena

Olga Pitarch (Violante), Miquel Ramon (Pipo), Antoni Aragon (Caballero), Patricia Lorens (Menica), Santiago Santana (Fabricio),Ricardo Sanjuan (Anselmo), Capella de ministrers conducted by Carles Magraner

Dahiz Productions CDM 0410 [CD]

$17.99  Click to buy

Martin y Soler was a Valencian who as a child heard the exciting news that this magnificent city once more had a theatre thanks to the king. Some years before his birth the archbishop had pulled the theatre down, believing that the immorality of some plays was responsible for earthquakes sent by god as punishment. As a young man the future composer experienced the visit to the theatre by such luminaries as Piccinni, Gallupi an Boccherini. Martin y Soler started composing operas at an early age. Up to now nothing has been found of his first opera ‘I due avari’, but the score of his first three-act opera ‘Il tuttore burlato’ still can be found in the Bibliotheca Historica of Madrid. The composer was only twenty at the time of its première in the capital. The libretto as was usual is in Italian and so were the singers. Three years later an impresario reworked the score, had the Italian text changed into Spanish and replaced the recitatives by spoken dialogue. The new title became ‘La Madrilena’ and the opera was transformed into a zarzuela. (Vice versa was possible too: Emilio Arrieta’s most successful zarzuela ‘Marina’ was changed into an opera). Lovers of the genre should pay a little attention however and look at the dates. There is nothing in the music resembling the romantic scores of Chapi, Chueca, Barbieri, Valverde and other masters of the well known romantic zarzuelas of the 19th century.

This is still a rococo score and as can be expected the music by such an inexperienced maestro is pleasing though not very original. One is somewhat reminded of the not very scintillating works of very young Mozart like ‘La finta semplice’ or ‘Mitridate’; one aria following another one with a few ensembles thrown in for good measure. The singers of this recording too are probably adapt in singing young Mozart as the modern custom requires white, small and even sexless voices. Olga Pitarch is a charming though impersonal Violante. Antoni Aragon employs the same small sound. Tenor (?) Ricardo Sanjuan is almost voiceless and would never be acceptable in roles like Ruiz or Gastone. Only baritone Miquel Ramon in the important role of Pipo shows natural vocal talent. Carlos Magraner and the ‘Capella de ministrers’ are the best of the lot thanks to his lively though not hurrying conducting that avoids boredom in this immature work.

Jan Neckers

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):