Hi everyone, after starting my previous blog, I realized I should have a special one for opera and maybe throw in a bit of classical in there too. I've considered myself an "advanced beginner" for a long time, knowledge-wise about opera and I don't ever want to stop learning. This blog will be a shameless self-indulgent one, filled with my personal favorites: from song cycles to arias, to classical songs and may throw in a bit of lyrical variety. I
hope you enjoy my choices, if you enjoy opera and feel free to let me know if you have your own favorites. Thanks for indulging me! Take care and hugs to all, sincerely, Sylvie <3

 

 

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Comment by sylvie boisvert on September 14, 2014 at 5:15pm

Hi everyone, today I want to share the marvelous voice of a newly found sopranist counter-tenor. This is to my knowledge a new term, because I’ve only come across the term “sopranist” recently. Anyway, his name is Philippe Jaroussky and was born in France. I just borrowed a double CD called  “La voix des rêves” (The voice of dreams” and it’s exquisite from beginning to end. Here he is with the Händel classic from the opera “Rinaldo, Philippe Jaroussky with Händel’s “Lascia ch’io pianga”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFheoVsUAIc

He sings it just perfectly: it’s like HD listening, or as if you’d be studying every brush stroke of a Van Gogh and reveling in it as if you’d have to duplicate it. However, if you know the opera “Rinaldo” or the repertoire, you know that this is supposed to be a soprano’s aria, although male and female roles are often blurred in operas. Here is a wonderful switch: in “Rinaldo”, Marilyn Horne usually sings the male title role, here she is singing the soprano aria:

Mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne “Lascia ch’io pianga”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxOZHQEux5c

Her version is luscious and more expanded, but still gorgeous. Now, this is how it’s meant to be, sung here by soprano Joyce DiDonato “Lascia ch’io pianga”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJJnhp2CYnk

She sings it perfectly too and the arrangements are splendid. That’s it for today folks, hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on September 6, 2014 at 3:20am

Hi everyone, today I’d like  to share an album that’s 7 years old and I wish I’d discovered earlier.  The album is called “Tales of opera” and the artist is baritone Simon Keenlyside. He has a gorgeous rich  and I’d say elegant tone and perfect  diction and sensibility. On this album, he  does throw in the obligatory baritone standards like “Largo Al factotum” from Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” which he does have fun with, the beautiful aria of Rodrigo’s death from Verdi’s “Don Carlo”, the cute “Di vieni ala finestra” from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and the luscious “O du mein holder abenstern” from Wagner’s “Tannhauser”, which are all favourites of mine, but also lesser known gems from Ambroise Thomas’ “Hamlet” and Jules Massenet’s “Hérodiade”, which are simply delicious. I discovered Mr Keenlyside during the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of “Hamlet” some years ago. Here’s the excerpt he sings on his album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqCqHjHfhzE

It’s an aria called “O vin, dissipe ma tristesse” (Oh wine, dissipate my sadness”. I’m sure I could probably collect a big entry on operatic drinking songs... :D Ah seriously, his French diction is impeccable!  The aria my opera buddy and I were very moved by from the same performance, sung here by another legendary baritone, Sherill Milnes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSfWm1vPH54

The famous « Être ou ne pas être » (To be or not to be”. This is another example of Less is more... He even sings a Russian aria from “Pique Dame” on his album. Obviously, I couldn’t judge him on his Russian, but he is a wonderful artist that I’m very much looking forward to discover further. That’s it  for now, thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on July 20, 2014 at 2:14am

Hi everyone, I know it’s been a while since I posted here and to add transgression to absence, I will post some not too operatic links today. I’m playing YouTube tag with my daughter and found a song I’ve been looking for, for  a long time. First, the operatic version of a lovely Napolitan song, “Mama, by my buddy Luciano:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVSS7UF3mbc

...and here’s the long awaited version, by my first musical love, René Simard, when he was about 10 or 11:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFBHwO0giDY

I know I’m a huge sap, but how can you not be moved by that voice... :D Well anyway, I’m glad I finally found it and hope you enjoy at least one of these. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on May 18, 2014 at 3:47am

Hi everyone, I’m posting only one link today. This was a suggestion from Ben Heppner on his CBC program “Backstage”. This is a surprising find to me, because as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much for piano pieces, because they need to speak to me. I didn’t retain exactly the piece Mr Heppner played, but I noted illustrious pianist Glenn Gould and composer William Byrd and this is what YouTube suggested:

Glenn Gould - William Byrd "First Pavan and Galliard"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiiVK3rMxxg

I actually played this video 3 times in a row without getting tired of it. It just spoke to me somehow, because it’s purposeful, it’s leading me on a journey somewhere and it’s not a virtuosic  showcase. I’ll be looking up this William Byrd and hope to find similar pieces: that’s my kind of piano! Thanks all for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on April 30, 2014 at 6:02pm

Hi everyone,  today’s  entry will be mostly for news. Thanks to the CBC program “Saturday afternoon at the opera”, I’ve come to discover great new releases in the world of opera. I had told you about the Marie-Nicole Lemieux “Lettre de Mde Roy às a fille Gabrielle”, which is gorgeous from beginning to end and  I have 2 more today. This past week, the miraculous tenor Juan Diego Florez has released a French album simply called “L’amour”. Of course, it’s filled with songs about love and includes everything Mr Florez is famous for, but also  songs not in the Bel Canto repertoire, but laying in a different “fach”. I’ve ordered this CD as soon as I found out about its existence, but I’m particularly looking forward to hear his “Pourquoi me réveiller”. Which reminds me, here’s the track listings :

1. A Quel Plaisir from La Dame Blanche 

2. A la voix d un amant Fidele from La Jolie Fille de Perth 

3. Un Ange, Un Femme Inconnue from La Favorite 

4. O Blondes Ceres from Les Troyens 

5. de Leuven, Adolphe & Brunswick, Léon-Lévy Mes Amis from Le Postillon de Lonjumeau Chorus 

6. Prendre le Dessin from Lakmé 

7. O Nature, pleine de grâce from Werther 

8. Pourquoi me Reveiller from Werthe 

9. Oui je veux par le monde from Mignon 

10. Viens Gentile Dame from La Dame Blanche 

11. Au Mont Ida, trois déesses from La Belle Helene 

12. L Amour from Romeo et Juliette 

I’ve heard a few of these in various virtual concerts and can not wait to own his beautiful version of “L’amour... Ah, lève-toi soleil” from “Roméo et Juliette” that  I’ve mentioned on this blog before. Here’s the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HZX0INO/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p15_d2_...

All right, my next discovery is a long awaited CD by another Bel Canto tenor, Lawrence Brownlee. He is just as spectacular vocally as my dear Mr Florez, which is saying a lot! It could be because I’ve discovered Mr Florez first, but I feel there’s a sunny quality to his voice which makes it extra special. Back to Mr Brownlee, his new album is called: “Virtuoso Rossini arias”. He has released a couple more Rossini albums, but this is the first one he’s done with orchestra, as opposed to just having piano accompaniment. Nothing wrong with piano accompaniment, but with such a grand voice, you want to hear it  in all its splendour. I wish I’d known about it before though, because it’s already sold out on Amazon and no wonder. Here’s the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lawrence-Brownlee-Virtuoso-Rossini-Arias/dp/B...

I’ve discovered Lawrence Bronlee a couple of years ago in the opera “Armida” with Renee Fleming and couldn’t believe his voice! I mean, it’s one thing to deliver notes like those, but seemingly so effortlessly and so beautifully is another thing. Here is a sample of Mr Brownlee’s voice, from:Armida”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQofra4i90Q

And this one which showcases his sensitivity and beauty of tone, “Je crois entendre encore”, from “Les pêcheurs de perles”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPuEHXD-jsg

Oops, as I was checking Amazon, out of curiosity, I checked if there was anything from this even newer lyric tenor I discovered only a few weeks ago, on the Saturday opera broadcast. His name is Javier Camarena and he’s yet another effortless stratospheric  singer. I know nothing about his CD because I’ve discovered it just now, but it was released last month and here’s the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Tenor-Recitales-Javier-Camarena/dp/B00INVOOSC...

Here’s a sample of the opera I’ve discovered him in, “La sonnambula”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPn3OSFEiHA

I wish the sound was better, but you get the idea. The soprano is pretty good too... Anyway,  that’s enough Bel Canto for one serving. Just so you know, I recommend the first 2 sound/unheard on standing merits and since I’ve bought them, am waiting to be dazzled with. If there are any stand outs, I’ll let you know. Thanks very much for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on March 16, 2014 at 4:04pm

Hi everyone, I had a flashback to my childhood on the radio yesterday, one of those instant, whiplash-giving ones.  It was this piece called “Concerto pour une voix”, (concerto for one voice):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24TaTGljBAE

The singer’s name is Danielle  Licari and the composer is Olivire de Saint-Preux, mostly known as Saint-Preux. I remember actually seeing this lady on some talk show in the early 70’s. Back then, I couldn’t understand how someone could make a career of singing lyricless songs, but she was apparently very successful. She did have a gorgeous voice and it does bring back the arguement of the opera “Capriccio”, about which is the most important: lyrics or music. I will leave you with that pondering thought, or as Arsenio used to say: things that make you go Hmmm... :D Thank you for reading, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on March 9, 2014 at 2:30am

Hi everyone, only 1 link today, but concentrated in beauty. I am told that Gustav Mahler composed this piece for his wife, which was simply a symbol of their love: his symphony#5 and here is the adagietto:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjz2TvC2TT4

I’m slowly collecting all of Mahler’s symphonies and I own a lot of beautiful music that all have different stories, right in the music in one’s mind’s eye, but this one, to me, sounds like the contemplation of bliss and just sheer beauty, hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on February 25, 2014 at 4:57pm

Hi again everyone, now here’s a completely different short playlist. The following excerpts come from a brand new release of the Canadian classical ensemble Angèle Dubeau et La Piéta. Angèle apparently picked these pieces as comfort during her battle with breast cancer. I only picked 3 I wasn’t familiar with and I haven’t posted yet... :D She also picked Marjan Mozetitch’s “Unfolding sky” from “Postcards from the sky”, good choice! Here are the 3 excerpts, played by other musicians though:

Adrian Munsey - The Distance Between 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o08N9RsEXXE

? Joe Hisaishi - The Rain
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmg8xinUO-M

Addio Monti (Ennio Morricone)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR0-ge-aErE

I’m only familiar with Ennio Morricone, but I’m guessing that these pieces are all from contemporary composers. Angèle Dubeau et La Piéta’s CD is called “Blanc” and it’s out today, February 25. Thank you for reading, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on February 25, 2014 at 4:45pm

Hi everyone, I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while. I’ve rewatched the movie “Amadeus” recently and decided to research papa Leopold Mozart this time. I did find a few CD’s at my local library and the one I borrowed was simply called “Symphonies”. It was gorgeous from beginning to end and here were the contents: Symphony in C major, C1, Symphony in D major, D17, Symphony in D major, D1,  Symphony in G major, G 14, Symphony (Partia) in C major, C4 and Symphony in D major, D25. I admittedly am not educated enough in classical music to sort out specific pieces if they’re given a name instead of a number etc, but this is the only exact excerpt I could find on YouTube:

Leopold Mozart - Symphony in D major, D25 - I. :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsK7Ktao-pw 

I find it sounds similar and just as vivacious as little Wolfie’s music. What I like about it is the positive energy of the major key, the forward flow, beauty and elegance of it. In some passages, the music is like polite conversation in a tea salon or something… :D I love the softness with the muted harpsichord. I looked up papa Mozart on Wikipedia and found that he was also a  violin teacher, though he seemed to have composed quite a few pieces for wind instruments and his most famous composition is the “Toy symphony”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK7z5PnbIKE

...all complete with various percussion and unusual wind instruments, really cute. Well hope you enjoy and if you can, have a listen to the other titles I’ve mentioned and make sure you include them as background music for your next tea party! :D Thanks for reading, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on February 13, 2014 at 6:01pm

Hi all, I’m suddenly seemingly turning into the prolific playlist provider and here comes another one with a theme. Starting off, from Canadian composer Marjan Mozetitch, from the album “Lament in the trampled garden”, part 2 and 3 of  a piece called  “ Scales of joy and sorrow”, my favourite being the second one called “Arabesque”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAIDTMJEjTc

Now moving into an upward  progression on the theme, Jules Massenet’s instrumental interlude “Meditation” from the gorgeous opera “Thaïs”, played here by Yo-Yo Ma:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtiIpIJ5J2Q

From the wonderful cello, we  move to the harp and a piece my daughter discovered and shared a few years ago, “Metamorphosis” by contemporary composer Phillip Glass. This is part 2 of 5, which are usually played on the piano, which certainly stays true to its title:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqahTDZ26yE

Well as long as we’re on the metamorphosis theme, I will transgress to a little instrumental score that fits with my  playlist theme. With the help of a movie clip I’ll have to watch again, the beginning of the last scene of the movie “The Neverending story”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bzYc7FASoM

:D I’ll get back  in touch with my sleeping moonchild today and hope to come back soon with another fun playlist. Thanks for reading, sincerely, Sylvie <3

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