Mystery score

Mystery score

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nixon in San Francisco

The reviews are going up, and I'll be accumulating links here.

[Earlier: Note that mine is filed but not yet on line; it may not be up until tomorrow. I'll spoil it by saying that when Joshua and Rich use words like "dazzling," well, I'm right there with them.] My review is up now:
Seriously, get yourself a ticket. Go twice. It's a wonderful piece and you don't get to hear it every day.

12 comments:

Axel Feldheim said...

When I appear the people hang upon my words!

Henry Holland said...

But listen you must, because Nixon is as musically compelling as anything to reach the operatic stage in the last century

Oh, c'mon Lisa, really? Even with that third act? Let's be generous and say the last 110 years to accomodate Debussy's opera, you're going to make that claim when these operas still are performed?

Pelleas et Melisande
Salome
Elektra
The Cunning Little Vixen
Bluebeard's Castle
Wozzeck
Dialogues des Carmelites
Kata Kabanova
Peter Grimes
Lulu

That's just off the top of my head, I didn't even mention my usual suspects!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, I find it a lot more compelling than Pelleas. ;-)

And note my wording: as musically compelling, not MORE musically compelling. And yes, that's what I believe.

You know that I hate Dialogs, right? Not a big Grimes fan either.

The Wistful Pelleastrian said...

"Oh, I find [Nixon in China] a lot more compelling than Pelleas.

Seriously?

I don't think any opera lover would ever mention Debussy and Adams in the same sentence.

The Wistful Pelleastrian said...

Henry,

Pelleas et Melisande
Salome
Elektra
The Cunning Little Vixen
Bluebeard's Castle
Wozzeck
Dialogues des Carmelites
Kata Kabanova
Peter Grimes
Lulu


A fine 10 list but there are 2 superior operas that belong there: Palestrina and Mathis der Maler. Without hesitation I'd remove Lulu and Bluebeard's Castle to make room for them.

Lisa Hirsch said...

If you're saying I'm not an opera lover, you're wrong.

If you're saying no opera lover would ever mention Debussy and Adams in the same sentence, you're wrong, because I have.

Rolling on the floor laughing over your suggested swap.

The Wistful Pelleastrian said...

Of course you're an opera lover. I just find it weird to see someone make qualitative comparisons between Pelleas et Melisande and Nixon in China. The former is one of the great masterpieces of Western music and a landmark in opera history while the latter is a fine but second tier opera (at best).

"Rolling on the floor laughing over your suggested swap"

Do you intimately know Palestrina and Mathis der Maler?

How can one not feel that the final 40 minutes from Act 1 of Palestrina (the apparition/composition scene) is one of the great scenes in all opera? And what about the 3 amazing preludes? And the wonderful, all male 70 minute Council of Trent (Act 2) -- a very special favorite of mine.

As for Mathis der Maler try the second and third scenes from the Fifth tableaux - beginning at 'Tiefste Scham steigt in mir auf' all the way to the end (about 12 minutes). This is great opera, folks.

Those are just 2 of the more famous passages. With the exception of Regina's inane little folk song ('Es wollt ein Maidlen') in the first tableaux I find all 3 hours of Hindemith's masterpiece to be riveting. For me it is more than worthy to stand with Berg, Strauss, Britten or Janacek.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Nixon is a late 20th c. masterpiece. Do you know it?

As for Palestrina and Mathis, I do not know them to speak of, but I've read enough about them - and know how rarely they are performed - that I'm willing to accept received knowledge on them: they're rarities for a reason.

The Wistful Pelleastrian said...

Nixon is a late 20th c. masterpiece. Do you know it?

Yes I got to know it through the Edo de Waart recording.

As for Palestrina and Mathis, I do not know them to speak of, but I've read enough about them - and know how rarely they are performed - that I'm willing to accept received knowledge on them: they're rarities for a reason.

But why would anyone willingly accept ‘received knowledge’ about an aesthetic object? I always must do my own close, detailed and personal study of an opera and then form my own judgment. Also, I would never care too much what any prominent critic says because we all have our tastes and predilections, and not every art work can move us all equally.

Sorry but in the case of Palestrina and Mathis der Maler most opera critics are simply wrong. Very wrong. Again, these 2 works with their noble and beautiful music are unjustly neglected.

Genevieve Castle Room said...

Lisa,

One more point:

"Oh, I find it a lot more compelling than Pelleas"

Are you aware of the fact that Pelleas et Melisande is probably the most musically sophisticated opera of the last 400years?

I suggest you read this entry on my blog to get a perspective on the deepest and purest form of opera love.

http://genevievecastleroom.blogspot.com/

Lisa Hirsch said...

Uh....presumably "Genevieve Castle Room" is another pseudonym for the Pelleastrian?

Genevieve Castle Room said...

Yes.