Thursday, February 16, 2006

I like Aida

I am not all that big of a Verdi fan. His Requiem (Von Karajan's recording at the Salzburg Festival) is OK, but I prefer Mozart/Süssmayr's score. Il trovatore has three or four big moments, and - beyond that - I am not all that hyped-up over it. I have the Von Karajan/Callas/La Scala EMI recording, if that matters.

However, I like Aida. My recording of choice, as pictured above, is the Muti recording with Caballé and Domingo. As far as grand opera goes, it doesn't get much grander than this. I am not a big fan of Riccardo Muti, largely because of his "tenure" at La Scala. However, his conducting seems spot on, so to speak.

The plot is OK, I guess. However, one doesn't listen to grand opera because it has glorious plotlines. Montserrat Caballé really does make this recording, though. Her rather expansive voice is a good counterpart for Domingo. They sound both heroic and tragic. I don't have quite as much to say as I would for a Wagner opera for two reasons:

1. Verdi doesn't trade in the metaphysical. He trades in those most "interesting" things: emotion and style.

2. I don't moon over singers. Singers are nice, but the real stars of any production are the orchestration and stage design. I could get into why, but I'll just say that I prefer the work of the composer and designer.


At 2:38 AM, Blogger Terry said...

I find it interesting I read your Aida post, the same day I listen to the last 15 minutes of Aida for the live Met broadcasts. Subsequently, I've also come to the conclusion that I like Aida. The duet at the end did it for me.

Paul Griffeths (sp?) argued (to me) that Wagner wasn't as good as Mozart (ok) or Britten (?) because he peddled in human emotions, and worse, manipulated emotionso as to achieve his end result. In one sense, you can't argue with him, since that is what Wagner wanted in some ways, but you could make the arguement that emotion and style are Verdi's big points.

That being said, I shall have to download Aida, or get a job and buy it. It can join the 5 Rings.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

If you want music devoid of emotion, then you had better start liking Pierre Boulez and Arnold Schoenberg. I am listening to Boulez's Pli selon pli (the 1969 BBCSO recording on Sony) as I write this.

Get Riccardo Muti's Aida. It has the best cast, best sound, and best playing. Anything else is gaslight.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Terry said...

Not the Elton John version....

my sins abound lately.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Elton John and Tim Rice deserve nothing except praise for fine musical theater, and they deserve nothing short of fire everlasting for what they did to Aida.

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Henry Holland said...

If you want music devoid of emotion, then you had better start liking Pierre Boulez and Arnold Schoenberg.

Zzzzzzzzzz. BORING! Have you actually listened to Schoenberg's Pelleas, Moses und Aron or espeically The Gurrelieder, just for a start? The Gurreleider "devoid of emotion"? Hahahahaha, yeah, right.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Indeed I have. A/B them with Mahler or Wagner and tell me that they're not devoid of emotion.


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