Dessay's Lucia

Audio clips from the most recent run are now available, and I thought I'd post them here:
"Regnava del silenzio":

"Verrano a te":

Dessay's Mad Scene:

Calleja's "Tu che a dio"



  1. PART 1 of 2 PARTS:
    from phoenix
    Ivy, read your question on re: Tannhauser videos. Can't help you that much with it, but just a bit. I have never seen the Bayreuth video with Gwyneth Jones as both Venus & Elisabeth, it was apparently filmed during rehearsals and not before a live audienc). Whether that makes any difference or not to you, I don't know. It seems to for me. I find them pretty static, not quite as artificial as studio recordings, but still dull enough to easily put them in the donation pile for the local library book/cd/dvd sale. Besides, having heard both roles (Venus & Elisabeth) sung by the same female singer, I find it unacceptable (the same way I don't like all the female leading roles in Hoffman sung by the same singer).
    -- But unlike you, I do like the Zurich Tannhauser for the musical performance (although I hate the staging, particularly those ridiculous closeups) even though I am almost sure that much of it (but certainly not all of it) wasn't filmed in front of a public live performance. I am partial to videos from Zurich because it is my favorite operahouse in Europe. It is a small stage in a small theater, not a big house with wide open spaces, thus naturally inclines toward nearsighted stagings. Plus, in that DVD Tannhauser, Welser-Most uses the Dresden version, which I prefer over the Paris version (the old Met 1982 DVD uses the Paris version). The ballet in the Paris version is fine, but the extended & musically repetitive Paris Venusburg scene drags on at least 15 minutes too long to hold my interest.

  2. PART 2 of 2 PARTS:
    -- I can't blame you for getting fedup with that old Met Tannhauser DVD with Cassilly & Marton. I saw the original performance in 1982 myself live at the Met. Troyano's voice was too small for the large spaces at the Met, but she was the best thing about that Tannhauser. Marton's vocal delivery was too strident & dramatic for the role of Elisabeth... in just 6 years from the time I first heard her (as Eva) the bloom had already gone off her voice through continual, and by then, necessary forcing. Cassilly I can understand as an ideal choice for Tannhauser in those days. Although only 30 years ago, the singing styles in Wagner's Tannhauser were quite a bit different than they are now. No, I couldn't stand Cassilly's singing (nor McCracken either). Their Tannhausers, however, were in the "mode" of those days ... which demanded harsh barked out sprechstimme style bellowing ... and it was sort of expected (unfortunately) in that role at that time.
    -- The only other Tannhauser I have (besides the audio broadcasts I recorded recently from Wien & London) is an old 1994 Dresden version from Munich Nationaltheater conducted by Zubin Mehta. Now, the Munich Tannhauser DVD on the market now has the same exact cast & conductor and it is from Munich. I assume it is the same performance. Why they waited so long to put it out on DVD I don't know. The sound on the 1994 audio I have is quite clear & it is obviously a live performance with technically superior audio quality, so it was probably was originally a television broadcast. At any rate, even though Rene Kollo as Tannhauser was past his prime years, he was always an elegant singer who rarely resorted to vocal machinations & gimmicks & here he gave a smooth performance. Waltraud Meier was still in her prime as Venus, so it is quite beautifully sung, the voice had no breaks in it like it does now. Nadine Secunde was one of my favorite singers and this is, thanks be, a wonderful example of what she did best. I only saw her live once ... many, many years ago, in Seattle as Strauss' Aridane, but I loved her voice & style of singing, she was the highlight of that trip (alas, upon hearing her in the Amsterdam Ring Cycle a few years back, she too is functioning at half her original frequency).
    -- But be forwarned. Since you apparently are a visual artist appreciator (which I am not), the staging on that Munich DVD has been heavily criticized as early, dark regie.

  3. Thanks Phoenix wow for that detailed review! I think Tannhauser is a hard opera to ever get "right." Of all the Wagner works I find it to be the most dated, the most steeped in this particular kind of morality that religion that I have a hard time identifying with. I'm always on the lookout for a good video though, because the opera *in my mind* is so difficult to digest that a huge hat off to any director who manages to make the work seem more like a stern medieval morality play.


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