2010年1月31日 星期日

大導演Zeffirelli批評女高音Daniela Dessì演《茶花女》太老、太胖了...

但每個女高音都像Anna Netrebko或Angela Gheorghiu般年輕貌美,事實上事不可能的...


In the world of opera, it is rarely frowned upon if sopranos or tenors sport a few extra pounds. But before the curtain could go up in Rome on a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata, the scales appeared to have tipped the other way.

Daniela Dessi, an established Italian soprano, walked out of the production after its director, Franco Zeffirelli, had publicly abused her about her weight and age. She had been due to play the role of Violetta, a lithe courtesan who expires from consumption in the arms of her lover Alfredo.
“A woman of a certain age and plumpness is not credible in the character of Violetta,” the veteran film and opera director told her.
But while many top sopranos have been famously statuesque and long-lasting, Dessi is 52 and says that she weighs 65kg (10st 3lb), well within her operatic sell-by date and about half the size of some of the greats.

“Zeffirelli said these things and other, more offensive things,” said Dessi. “I believe a lot in the physical appearance of the singer. I have always taken care of myself. We should be respected for our voices. To be too thin is not good.”

Dessi, who is to star in Andrea Chenier by Umberto Giordano at the Teatro Real in Madrid next month, said other sopranos such as Monserrat Caballé — a woman of unashamedly generous proportions who had a hit with Freddie Mercury with the song Barcelona — had interpreted the role of Violetta without any comment about their physical appearance.

“You don’t sing with the body but with the voice,” said Dessi in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. The singer, who has performed at some of the world’s most famous opera houses including Milan’s La Scala, has worked with Zeffirelli in the past. She said: “I respect the artistic past of Franco Zeffirelli, but I don’t have any admiration for the way he created this controversy.”

Fabio Armiliato, her husband, was due to sing the part of Alfredo in La traviata but also withdrew. Zeffirelli remained unrepentant yesterday. “I did say she was on the plump side for the part, and she is. She is is not exactly the kind of woman who is likely to die of tuberculosis,” he told The Times, arguing that La traviata was a story of “youth and sensual passion”. He said he had offered Dessi an alternative part as Alice Ford, a “mature woman” in Verdi’s Falstaff, but she had turned it down.

Dessi is consulting her lawyers about possible legal action against Zeffirelli, 86, who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a director of both operas and films, including his 1967 debut The Taming of the Shrew starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Romeo and Juliet in 1968, and Jesus of Nazareth in 1977 which became an ITV television mini-series.
Asked about the threat of legal action, he said: “She can threaten what she likes, but I am entitled to choose my singers and exercise my artistic freedom.”

Gianluigi Gelmetti, the chief conductor of the Rome Opera — who is believed to have hired Dessi for the role — disagreed with Zeffirelli’s assessment of the performer, saying Dessi’s voice was “in excellent form — and I have to say that her appearance pleases me as a man”.

Opera singers are no strangers to gibes about weight. In 2004 the American soprano Deborah Voigt was sacked from the Royal Opera House’s production of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos because she was thought to be too fat. It was said at the time that it was felt she would not suit her costume. Voigt later had gastric bypass surgery to reduce her weight.

Luciano Pavarotti, who died in 2007, was said to have suffered increasingly poor health, partly because of his fluctuating weight. It has often been said that rounder figures make for better voices in the rarefied world of opera. When Maria Callas shed more than 20 kilograms towards the end of her career, critics claimed her voice was never the same again.

Some opera singers also say that if one is out of shape, a night on the stage can be a struggle. The British bass Sir John Tomlinson said: “To get through a long night of Wagner you have to be fit. It’s like running a marathon.”

As for her age, Dessi, while perhaps no dead ringer for Violetta, is well within the average career limit for a recognised opera singer. The Australian soprano Joan Sutherland sang Violetta aged 53 in a classic 1979 Decca recording with Carlo Bergonzi.

Zeffirelli is still a dominant force in Italian opera. Last September a decision by New York’s Metropolitan Opera to open its 2009-2010 season with a new production of Tosca directed by Luc Bondy caused a stir after a number of opera fans demanded Zeffirelli’s 25-year-old staging instead. (08/01/2010)

郎朗 揮別環球,投向索尼




Gramophone exclusive: Lang Lang signs to Sony
Chinese pianist moves from DG

Chinese pianist Lang Lang has signed to Sony Music.

The 27-year-old moves from Deutsche Grammophon, the label he joined in 2003. In the years since, his virtuoso talent and media appeal have propelled him to the status of one of classical music’s highest-profile stars, not least in China where he has become a figurehead for the country’s burgeoning enthusiasm for classical music.

The deal with Sony begins this month and their first disc together is due in the autumn, though repertoire details are yet to be announced. According to Lang Lang’s management, part of the reason for the move is the increased opportunities that Sony, a media company with film and technology divisions, can offer. In 2008 the pianist became a brand ambassador for Sony, helping promote its electronics products.

Lang Lang’s most recent recording on DG – Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky chamber works performed with Vadim Repin and Mischa Maisky – was well received in Gramophone’s November 2009 issue.

Earlier this month Sony Classical also announced the signing of Simone Dinnerstein, another high-profile pianist whose previous two discs both topped the US Classical Billboard chart. She moved from Telarc – the label where, incidentally, Lang Lang had begun his recording career prior to joining DG. (26 January 2010)

2010年1月26日 星期二

DG 2010年目錄透露的訊息




另外,古樂指揮家湯瑪士.亨格布洛克(Thomas Hengelbrock)與巴撒沙紐曼古樂團(Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble)即將展開莫札特交響曲錄音計畫,第一彈推出第35號與41號兩部作品,因為有特別標明第一集,因此可以大膽推測很可能又是另一套全集錄音計畫的開始。

2010年1月25日 星期一



奧地利籍Ernst Toch交響曲作品全集(3CDs),Alun Francis指揮Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin。
瑞典作曲家Wilhelm Peterson-Berger交響曲全集(5CDs),Michail Jurowski指揮Norrköping Symphony Orchestra與Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra。

作曲家Allan Pettersson被認為是瑞典20世紀最偉大的作曲家,16首交響曲全集(12CDs)灌錄時間橫跨1984到2004年,演出的指揮有Alun Francis、Thomas Sanderling、Gerd Albrecht、Peter Ruzicka與Manfred Honeck等人,樂團則有Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken、Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra、Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin、與 BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra。
瑞典作曲家Kurt Atterberg交響曲全集(5CDs),由Ari Rasilainen指揮RSO Frankfurt, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR等樂團。

瑞典作曲家Ture Rangström交響曲全集(3CDs),Michail Jurowski指揮Norrköping交響樂團。

奧地利裔英籍作曲家Egon Joseph Wellesz交響曲全集(4CDs) ,Gottfried Rabl指揮Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien。

巴西籍作曲家Villa-Lobos交響曲全集(7CDs),由Carl St. Clair指揮Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart演出。這一套再加上BIS那一套也是7CDs的《啼樂與巴西風巴哈組曲全集》(Complete Choros & Bachianas Brasileiras ),基本上就已經囊括其一生曲藝菁華了!

貝多芬的門生兼好友Ferdinand Ries交響曲全集(4CDs),由Howard Griffiths指揮Zurich Chamber Orchestra演出。

  • 瑞典果然是北歐音樂的老大,在Eduard Tubin與Hugo Alfvén之外,還有很多曲目有待進一步陸續開發。
  • Naxos旗下不缺英國、中歐、北歐與俄國交響樂團,但德國樂團似乎還是其久攻不下的罩門,這麼多年下來固定合作對象仍侷限在Staatskapelle Weimar與Cologne Chamber Orchestra兩團體,CPO在這方面佔了先天地利之便。

2010年1月24日 星期日

Niels Gade交響曲全集(5CDs)

雖然又是個陌生的名字,但是Niels Gade有個非常響亮的稱號~「丹麥音樂之父」,還有個名氣更大的徒弟~尼爾森(Carl Nielsen),5CD囊括8部交響曲、交響詩與小提琴協奏曲等作品,由Neeme Jarvi指揮瑞典Malmo Symphony Orchestra演出。




Cramer: Klavierkonzert Nr. 5
Czerny: Divertissement de concert op. 204
Ries: Klavierkonzert op. 55
Clementi: Klavierkonzert C-Dur
Field: Klavierkonzert Nr. 2
Hummel: Concertino op. 73 fur Klavier & Orchester; Klavierkonzert op. 110 "Les Adieux"
Hiller: Klavierkonzert op. 69;Konzertstuck op. 113
Litolff: Concerto symphonique op. 45 fur Klavier & Orchester
Beach: Klavierkonzert op. 45
Kalkbrenner: Klavierkonzert Nr. 1
Moscheles: Klavierkonzert op. 58
Weber: Klavierkonzerte Nr. 1 & 2; Konzertstuck op. 79
Volkmann: Konzertstuck op. 42 fur Klavier & Orchester
Henselt: Klavierkonzert op. 16
Chopin: Allegro de concert op. 46 fur Klavier & Orchester
Moszkowski: Klavierkonzert op. 59
Scharwenka: Klavierkonzert op. 56
Raff: Klavierkonzert op. 185; Ode an den Fruhling op. 76
Mosonyi: Klavierkonzert e-moll
Stavenhagen: Klavierkonzert op. 4
Schubert / Liszt: Fantasie uber Beethovens "Die Ruinen von Athen"; Wanderer-Fantasie fur Klavier & Orchester
Weber / Liszt: Polonaise brillante op. 72
Liszt: Concerto pathetique e-moll; Fantasie uber ungarische Volksthemen; Malediction; Totentanz
d'Albert: Klavierkonzert Nr. 2
Bronsart: Klavierkonzert op. 10
Berwald: Klavierkonzert Nr. 1
Alkan: Concerto da camera Nr. 2 fur Klavier & Orchester
Schumann: Introduktion & Allegro appassionato op. 92
Mayr: Klavierkonzert Nr. 1
Roussel: Klavierkonzert op. 36
Pierne: Klavierkonzert op. 12
Tschaikowsky: Klavierkonzert Nr. 3; Konzertfantasie op. 56
Sinding: Klavierkonzert op. 6
Goetz: Klavierkonzert op. 18
Reinecke: Klavierkonzert Nr. 1
Mendelssohn: Capriccio brillant op. 22
Rheinberger: Klavierkonzert op. 94
Rubinstein: Klavierkonzert Nr. 4
Thalberg: Klavierkonzert op. 5
Medtner: Klavierkonzert Nr. 3
Balakireff: Klavierkonzert Nr. 2
Liapunov: Rhapsodie uber ukrainische Themen
Lalo: Klavierkonzert f-moll
Glasunow: Klavierkonzert Nr. 2
Gershwin: Klavierkonzert F-Dur
Barber: Klavierkonzert op. 38
MacDowell: Klavierkonzert Nr. 2

2010年1月21日 星期四

Marin Alsop的非Naxos錄音

原本下個標題說:「從獨立唱片公司到主流唱片公司」說明Marin Alsop的錄音事業發展軌跡,但後來想一想,獨立唱片公司與主流唱片公司似乎已經是非常過時的說法,Naxos公司每個月推出新錄音數量幾乎抵得上舊國際五大唱片集團總和,主流與非主流的界定恐怕已經翻轉。

2010年1月19日 星期二


囊括Valery Gergiev指揮的《Love for Three Oranges》、《War And Peace》、《The Fiery Angel 》、《The Gambler》、《Semyon Kotko 》、《Betrothal In A Monastery 》等六部作品。

2010年1月2日 星期六


The decade in classical music

What didn’t happen to classical music in the past decade is almost more significant than what did. Despite dire predictions, orchestras haven’t collapsed because major record companies no longer make many classical CDs. The bands started their own labels instead, and enterprising independent companies also plugged the gap. We may no longer get 90 new recordings of Beethoven symphonies every year. But what’s coming from companies such as Hyperion, Linn, Naxos, ECM and Chandos is far more eclectic and often more enthralling.


Nor did classical concerts cease because the Grim Reaper claimed its remaining devotees — another common jeremiad in the late 20th century. In London, at least, there’s evidence that serious contemporary music is attracting far bigger and younger audiences than for decades. A Xenakis festival was an unexpected box-office hit. And while audiences in the regions may still need rejuvenating, one can reasonably hope that the exceptional charisma of the conductors now working outside London — notably Mark Elder in Manchester, Andris Nelsons in Birmingham, Vasily Petrenko in Liverpool, Stéphane Denève in Scotland — will trigger a renaissance.

本誌短評:以上提到的四位深耕地方的指揮家中,一位是英國籍(Mark Elder)、一位是法國籍(Stéphane Denève,39歲)、兩位來自東歐(32歲的Andris Nelsons來自拉脫維亞,俄羅斯的Vasily Petrenko現年34歲),其中Vasily Petrenko與Stéphane Denève都是Naxos倚重的主力指揮!

The other potential disaster ten years ago was the disappearance of music in state schools. That, too, has been averted, though only narrowly. Music still exists at the precarious margins of the curriculum, but at least the government-funded Sing Up campaign has given a long overdue boost to choral singing in primary schools, and the lottery-funded charity Youth Music has ensured that far more musical opportunities now exist in poor communities. But compared with the superb musical education on offer to all children in Finland or Venezuela we still have a mountain to climb.

本誌短評:這裡談的都是英國國內的音樂教育。為了挽救日漸式微的中小學音樂課程,英國政府於2009年2月宣布,在2009到2011三年間將投入四千萬英鎊來推行「高聲歌唱」(Sing Up)方案,在英國各小學大力推廣歌唱課程,而Youth Music則是一項涵蓋面更廣泛的長期「孵夢」計畫,鼓勵兒童與青少年勇敢追求自己的音樂夢想,無論是組搖滾樂團或學習小提琴...

It was those Venezuelans — the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra — who provided the defining classical-music moment of the decade, when they gate-crashed Europe’s sedate halls with their gloriously exuberant performances and riotous samba routines. I think they made the entire profession — orchestras, soloists, conductors, impresarios, even composers — ask themselves: “Why can’t we enthuse audiences like that?” Expect a lot more informality in concert halls in the next decade, and a lot more classical music breaking out into unexpected venues. And expect to hear young composers and performers following the example of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road project and cheerfully genre-hopping between jazz, rock, world and contemporary classical styles. After all, the target audience is already doing exactly that.


Face of the decade: Gustavo Dudamel.

The brilliant young Venezuelan conductor has come from nowhere to transform notions of what symphonic concerts can be like. His ebullient Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra has dazzled audiences around the world, and reminded us that classical music needn’t be an artform reserved for wrinklies.

本誌短評:Gustavo Dudamel是過去10年古典音樂界崛起的一個代表性面孔,也將繼續引領未來10年、20年乃至於30年的全球古典音樂界。

摘自:2009年12月22日英國《泰晤士》報(The Times)
執筆:Richard Morrison

Budget Operas' Pick-- 伯恩斯坦版《玫瑰騎士》(Sony)


Those who like Der Rosenkavalier languid and sugary will have a feast with this CD transfer of Bernstein's 1971 Vienna performance. John Culshaw's account, reprinted in the booklet, of the series of accidents and mishaps which beset the recording schedule makes alarming reading and I can't help feeling that they affected the result. Gwyneth Jones was ill over one weekend and she is far from her best as Octavian, the tone thin and fragile at times. Placido Domingo was singing Cavaradossi at the Vienna Opera and was unhappy about fitting in with Culshaw's requirements to sing the Italian Tenor's aria—and his is certainly not the sensational performance it should have been.

Bernstein is not well served by another article in which we are told, approvingly, that he departed from the score because of his "extraordinary knowledge of Hofmannsthal's text". The writer says that the "best example" is in the second "Heut'oder Morgen" of the Marschallin in Act I "where Bernstein creates the musical climax with a crescendo that is not indicated in the score". Oh Isn't it?—it is in my copy. Then, he adjusts the balance in the Act 1 Trio for the Marschallin, Octavian and Ochs, where "lousy composing by Strauss" is apparently held to blame for the inaudibility in some performances of the Marschallin's "und wir, Herr Gott! Wir leiden den Schaden".

There could, of course, be a case for blaming lousy; conducting and singing. The score is explicit.

Anyway, there is no disputing that Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic established a good relationship in this music. The orchestra are the outstanding feature of the recording, the players providing all the lusciousness the conductor required and also giving him an exceptionally lively and rhythmically precise response in the quicker passages.

The obvious comparison is with Solti's 1969 Vienna set on Decca, as hard-driven as Bernstein's is relaxed. Several singers of subsidiary roles are common to both, Murray Dickie's excellent Valzacchi, for example, and Emmy Loose's Duenna, in better voice for Solti. On the whole Iprefer Solti, though neither performance would be my first choice (on CD it would be the Dresden performance with Hans Vonk on Denon. Karajan's latest Vienna/DG set is disappointingly bland though many would put his EMI recording—the most recent CD transfer—at the head of the list). Bernstein's has the advantage, very considerable, of Christa Ludwig's dignified and gloriously sung Marschallin. On the other hand, Manfred Jungwirth is a better Ochs than the soft-grained Walter Berry. Not much to choose between Lucia Popp and Helen Donath as Sophie, the former projecting a stronger character, the latter sounding more secure in her floated high notes. The recording throughout shows all Culshaw's famed attention to detail and concern for clarity. M.K.

美國《紐約時報嚴選--100張值得收藏的歌劇專輯》(Anthony Tommasini著)推薦。
此版本現列入低價位Sony歌劇殿堂(Opera House)系列。

2010年1月1日 星期五

Budget Operas' Pick -- Muti史卡拉版《茶花女》(Sony)


An exciting and eloquent reading on all sides, this version must now be rated with the established frontrunners—but, as with some of those, most notably any of Callas's versions and Muti's previous recording with Scotto, it is not for the fainthearted, or for those who like their Violettas to have full, equally, produced voices—they should look to Sutherland (Decca, 1/84) or, of more recent vintage, Studer (DG, 1/93). Fabriccini is evidently not an Act 1 Violetta. She has problems with the Brindisi and to an extent with "Un di felice". One is just about to write her off as technically too flawed, when in "Ah, fors'e lui" she suddenly alerts the mind and senses to her quality with her inflexions of the single word "palpito' , and in the second verse (we have here an utterly complete and accurate La traviata) she again and again phrases with distinction or colours words significantly— listen to the infinite tenderness of "0 amore". So, after all, this is a Violetta, even without assured coloratura and with problems at the passagio, who is going to hold our attention and move us.

Once confronted by father Germont in the Second Act she makes us aware that we are in the presence of a notable and individual artist, with a tear in the voice and what the Italians term morbidezza. My notes of praise hereabouts are copious. The urgency of "pin non esiste" as if this Violetta is aware that a blow is about to hit her, the weight of sorrow on "L'uomo giovane", these and so much else bespeak not only complete identification with Violetta's predicament but also vocal acumen of an exceptional kind, often based on the seemingly lost art of portamento. Because this is a live performance we are conscious that the singer's acting is part of the secret of the reading's success, that and the obvious youth of a soprano who is not yet a preening prima donna. Maybe the power and security are not there for "Amami, Alfredo", yet the passion is very much present, as is the Italianate rightness of sound and accent.

英國《Gramophone Classical Good CD Guide》推薦
此版本現列入低價位Sony歌劇殿堂(Opera House)系列。

Budget Operas' Pick-- Levine大都會歌劇院版《Luisa Miller》(Sony)


I first encountered Levine conducting this work, one he particularly loves, at the Metropolitan in 1971, and was mightily impressed with his Verdian credentials. A youthful tenor called Domingo was the Rodolfo. Here they are, many years later, tackling their parts again, Domingo for the second time on disc: he is the Rodolfo on the Maazel/DG set. Energy and internal combustion were the special features of Levine reading in the theatre; they are again in evidence here—as recorded by Sony, almost to excess. You only have to listen to the second section of the Overture to realize Levine is to give a no-holds-barred reading. Exciting as that can be, too often the fire in the belly degenerates into an unwelcome blatancy, particularly when the recording of the orchestra is so close and aggressive, given a deal more prominence than the voices. In that same prelude one notices, with some surprise, a few moments of untidy string playing, the attack not so neat as it is on the Maag/Decca set. By contrast, Levine is inclined, as is his wont, to indulge in some unduly slow tempos—"Quando Ic sere al placido", the elegiac tenor aria, and the start of the closing trio are cases in point. These suggest a flaccid sense of rhythm that his rivals quite avoid.

Domingo's Rodolfo is more or less as it was for Maazel—generous in tone and phrase, a little short on subtlety. This is the satisfying but generalized performance we are accustomed to from this ever-willing tenor. Many will not complain when the involvement is so obvious even if he Sometimes seems in another acoustic from the orchestra (tracking on?). Maybe it is unkind to say that a tenor of the Schipa variety without Otello overtones is more suitable for Schiller's and Verdi's heart-broken hero. And that's what we have in the Pavarotti of 1975 for Maag, then at his most sweetly and engagingly lyrical.

ably as the work progresses rising finely to the sad, doomed girl of Act 3. "Ah! l'ultima preghiera" is delivered in that plangent, piano tone of which we know she is mistress. A little earlier in the act, she and Vladimir Chernov draw all the tenderness and plaintive beauty Out of "Andro, raminghi e poveri": this is Verdi singing of the highest class in both tone and feeling. But then Caballé (Maag) and Ricciarelli (Maazel) are just as appealing, Caballé more even of tone, Ricciarelli even more affecting than Mille. Choice between the three will very much depend on which prima donna's voice and style you prefer. All are appreciable Luisas.

此版本現列入低價位Sony歌劇殿堂(Opera House)系列。

Budget Operas' Pick--Caballe版《莎樂美》(Sony)

以下摘自1969年11月號英國《留聲機》雜誌評鑑Caballe版《莎樂美》首發RCA盤LPs(Erich Leinsdorf指揮London Symphony Orchestra):

Seven years is a reasonable period for one recording of an opera to hold its own unchallenged in the catalogue. The Sold/ Decca set of Salome didn't by any means go unchallanged on its appearance; there was much grumbling about distorted balance and artificial effect. The "Sonicstage" technique, used to help Georg Solti bring out all the detail in Strauss's score, has certainly helped me, during those seven years, to learn more about it than all the performances I've seen, only less than actual study of the full score. So I for one am glad to have it—it still sounds splendid—yet ready to welcome a strong competitor.

The new RCA version might be regarded as a vehicle for Montserrat Caballe, the popular and gifted Spanish soprano who has specialized in Italian bet canto but who also spent some time in Vienna and made her debut here as the Feldmarschallin in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. Well, her interpretation of the same composer's "16-yearold princess with the voice of an Isolde" (this is Strauss's description) is one of the prime merits of the set. Patriots may like to regard it as a feather in the cap of British musicianship—the orchestra and most of the singers are British (Narraboth, Jokanaan and Herodias are American, the Page is Hungarian). Erich Leinsdorf is American too, though trained in his native Vienna to the authentic Strauss tradition—not, of course, forgetting that the composer came from Munich, wrote Salome in Berlin and gave the premiere to Dresden ; Leinsdorf was 7 when Strauss took over the Vienna State Opera.

I haven't always admired Leinsdorf as a Strauss conductor, but there's no question that he knows all about Salome—its spirit as well as its contents. The RCA recording, spacious and lively in presence, allows him to bring out a good quantity of meaningful detail in this elaborate score, not quite as much as in the Solti but more than one usually hears. I would instance Jokanaan's exit, the temptation of Salome by Herod, the removal of Herod's ring, Salome's conjectures about the feasting of dogs and and birds on the Prophet's head. He gets the best out of the LSO, as a whole and from each department ; their string playing compares well with that of the legendary Vienna Philharmonic on the Decca set, less melting in sweetness but marvellously lustrous and intense, and the horns and trumpets soar with thrilling confidence, especially in the Closing Scene.

此版本現列入低價位Sony歌劇殿堂(Opera House)系列。