Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, John Eliot Gardiner, Hillevi Martinpelto|
Beethoven - Leonore / Martinpelto · Oelze · Begley · M. Best · A. Miles · Hawlata · Shade - Gardiner
Beethoven's only opera underwent three incarnations and a name change. Written in 1804-05, its premiere was a disaster due to Napoleon's invasion of Austria and the aristocracy's flight from Vienna. Revived in 1806, drasti... more »
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Beethoven's only opera underwent three incarnations and a name change. Written in 1804-05, its premiere was a disaster due to Napoleon's invasion of Austria and the aristocracy's flight from Vienna. Revived in 1806, drastically cut and revised, it was more successful, but did not triumph until 1814, considerably rewritten and renamed Fidelio. This is the first, all too rarely heard version, whose neglect can be explained by its slow pace and lack of dramatic thrust and narrative cohesion. In his revisions, Beethoven remedied this not only by sacrificing, or altering, ravishingly beautiful music, but by projecting a more spontaneous emotional response to the story than the opera's final version. This recording uses an excellent orchestra of period instruments, creating remarkable clarity of texture; like the premiere, it opens with the Leonore No. 2 Overture. The singing is wonderful throughout, though Leonore sounds a little tame for the dauntless heroine. Instead of the spoken dialogue, a German actor functions as narrator; unfortunately his text, with quotes from contemporary poetry, is cast in such florid, inflated language that it obscures rather than elucidates the action. --Edith Eisler
Let the buyer beware...
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Though this is a fine performance of the opera Gardiner's liberties with the text make it exemplary of all that is (historically) wrong with contemporary opera reconstruction and performance. First, Gardiner largely utilises the earliest text of the opera adding material from the revised version only if "aesthetics" dictate. Second, Gardiner disses the original dialogue (it doesn't meet the "transcendental" aesthetic criteria he relies on) and replaces it with a version written by a German actor of today...I suppose that if Gardiner got a hold of Huckleberry Finn he would jettison a couple of chapters and re-write Huck's monologues. God save us from such ahistorical reconstruction."
Interesting and pretty good
Mr. Allan K. Steel | Sydney, AUS | 10/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewer makes valid comments.
The narrator is OK, but not sure if it works really well. Strange with the German translation of the Wordsworth at the beginning.
The recording quality and the orchestral playing is superb, so that is certainly a big plus of this set.
The singers are OK; nothing to get excited about. But the Pizzaro (Matthew Best) is pretty awful -- random rough sounds all over the place a lot of the time!"