New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

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Tore
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New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Tore » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:55 am

MDT is listing a new Wagner Ring with Asher Fisch conducting the Seattle Opera:

http://www.mdt.co.uk/wagner-der-ring-de ... 14cds.html

Anyone familiar with it?

My reason for asking is that I already have one complete Ring with him from The State opera of South Australia on Melba recordings.

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John F
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by John F » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:08 am

The Seattle Opera's Ring cycle is staged by Stephen Wadsworth and from everything I've read, it's something to see - in a good way. The only first-rank singer in the cast is the Fricka, Stephanie Blythe, and the conductor doesn't impress me, but it may still be worth seeing, if not so much hearing.
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:42 pm

John F wrote:The Seattle Opera's Ring cycle is staged by Stephen Wadsworth and from everything I've read, it's something to see - in a good way. The only first-rank singer in the cast is the Fricka, Stephanie Blythe, and the conductor doesn't impress me, but it may still be worth seeing, if not so much hearing.
He's asking about a box of 18 CD's, not a performance of it.

He's not asking about Steven Wadsworth, but Asher Fisch, the Conductor.

Have you heard his Ring, or are you not impressed simply because you have never heard of him and don't know his work?

I have the Melba discs, I can't see the Seattle ones being superior.

Melba makes fabulous vocal Recordings as i'm sure Barney will echo.
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John F
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by John F » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:12 pm

Picking a fight again, Chalkie? I wish you wouldn't do that.

You're right that it's an audio CD set. Nonetheless, on the MDT page for the set, the first blurbs quoted by the record company say, "The Technicolor brilliance and sylvan detail of the production are astounding.” - Opera News, and “The Seattle Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle now stands alone as the only traditional depiction of the epic music drama on the American stage. And tall and proud it stands, indeed...magnificent to look at and imaginatively staged.” - The Associated Press. If that's how they're trying to sell their set, then my comment is relevant - precisely relevant.

About the musical side, the only quotations they provide are: "The venomous Alberich of Richard Paul Fink swaggered with lethal assurance, blustering about in a huge, gritty baritone.” - Opera News, and “Margaret Jane Wray [Sieglinde] is gaining attention these days, consistently singing major roles at the Met … the spreading fame is well-deserved. - Opera Today." No mention of the singers of the major roles or the conductor. The praise is so faint it's almost inaudible, and this is the record company's own publicity.

As for Ascher Fisch, whose highest position so far has been music director of the Vienna Volksoper (not the State Opera) and made his Met debut conducting "The Merry Widow," I've heard some of his work and as I said, it hasn't impressed me. Period. If you have heard any of his conducting and have something positive to say about it, then say it.
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:36 pm

John F wrote:Picking a fight again, Chalkie? I wish you wouldn't do that.
He asked about a Conductor your reply was about a Director.

No, I'm pointing out an inaccuracy, just like you do, irksome isn't it.

Did you bother to read my reply, I said I owned the Fisch Ring on Melba,

If I recommend a recording it's based on actually hearing it, not cutting and pasting reviews to form an analysis based on theory.

A Ring is expensive and I don't want Tord to waste his money.

Especially as Avie don't have any Wagner recordings in their catalog, so they will put out this (probably) second rate Ring as it will sell over time.

It's a good label though, ever listen to their discs?

Melba is an exceptional label, they put out stunning recordings on SACD

Bet you never heard any of those either.
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:52 pm

If you are looking for another Ring, Tore, get the Mehta BluRay set, aurally and visually stunning, and I loathe Wagner.

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Nibelungen ... 8&sr=&qid=
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barney
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by barney » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:28 am

I will indeed endorse Chalkie. Melba do excellent recordings, and they really concentrated on this one, perhaps their best. SACD if I recall, but I don't hjave an SACD set up. Excellent! I really liked the Fisch Ring. Remember, it was done by a provincial opera company without great resources, and not able to afford top-ranked singers in every role, and they had to augment - as is customary - the local orchestra. Walkure had the strongest cast. Some really fine Australians in John Wegner, Stuart Skelton and Lisa Gasteen, all of whom had fine overseas careers. Wegner and Gasteen no longer sing whole operas.

Actually, I haven't listened to it since it came out, and you have inspired me to listen again over the next couple of weeks. But Chalkie, if the 2013 Opera Australia Ring is released, I would rate that quite a bit higher.

I've interviewed Fisch a couple of times. I know this says nothing about his music, but he is really fun, highly intelligent, talkative, generous and interesting. FWIW.

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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by barney » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:32 am

PS, I will say that the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra musicians I have spoken to, ie my friends - admittedly a small selection - rate Fisch quite highly, and they are not easily pleased. He's done quite a few concerts with them over the years. I actually haven't heard any so can't comment, but I can say he is a fine piano accompanist to a singer.

Tore
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Tore » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:04 am

It's been a while since I listened to the Asher Fisch Melba Ring. I have been re-listening to it a little bit the last few days, and I have been enjoying it.

Whenever I hear about new Rings, the "hoarder-gene" in me is activated... I have way to many complete sets, but there are always room for some more.

I got the Mehta Ring on Blu-Ray as soon it was released, and it is one of my favorites. It's different from the others, but it works very well for me. I also like very much the Pierre Boulez Version on DVD.

There is also a piano CD with Fisch performing Liszt-Wagner on Melba:

http://www.amazon.com/Liszt-Wagner-Para ... sher+fisch

Tore F Steenslid
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:19 am

Tore wrote:Whenever I hear about new Rings, the "hoarder-gene" in me is activated... I have way to many complete sets, but there are always room for some more.
Although I am not a big collector myself, I have always maintained that great opera is an area that truly justifies multiple acquisitions. Because of the dominant vocal dimension, the range of possibilities far exceeds that for purely instrumental works. In contrast, I recently made what I intended to be a facetious post about best versions of Eine kleine Nachtmusik and saw many members post seriously about the range of recordings available for a piece that does not actually have that much range of possibilities. So I wouldn't apologize for wanting to own every possible Ring, and certainly not for sharing an interest in the performances.

On this thread there has been some contention that you have politely ignored, and though I was not a part of it, I regret it on behalf of the board. We don't have so many frequent posters that we can suffer an infrequent one encountering one of our relatively rare moments of pique. I hope you will continue to share your musical thoughts with us on a regular basis.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by lennygoran » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:28 am

John F wrote:The Seattle Opera's Ring cycle is staged by Stephen Wadsworth and from everything I've read, it's something to see - in a good way. The only first-rank singer in the cast is the Fricka, Stephanie Blythe, and the conductor doesn't impress me, but it may still be worth seeing, if not so much hearing.
We were out there for Siegfried and Götterdämmerung --it was quite wonderful imo--we had Jane Eaglen and I have to admit that when Siegfried enters the ring of fire, emerging on Brünnhilde's rock and thinking the armored figure is a man and at the sight of the first woman he has ever seen, Siegfried at last experiences fear I experienced fear too--fear that I would burst out with laughter because for me Eaglen continued to resemble a man! Regards, Len [fleeing] :)

Tore
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Tore » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:45 am

I have several works that I normally will buy automatically: Britten's War Requiem, Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, Elgar's Dream of Gerontius and the symphonies of Vaughan Williams are some + The Ring of cource. Each new recordings brings something new to me, and expands my love for this music.

No singers are the same, and it's always exciting to listen to a new interpretation. On Blu-Ray you also have the staging and the acting.

Some of my favourite Wagner moments are Eva-Marie Westbroek's Sieglinde in the Rattle BD on Bel-Air and Peter Hoffman as Siegmund on the Pierre Boulez. When I see Hofmann, I think: "Yes, that's how Siegmund looks like". The same is for Juha Uusitalo as Wotan/Wanderer on the Mehta-set.

My main Wagner challenge is that my wife starts complaining if I play too much Wagner...

Tore F Steenslid
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by lennygoran » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:21 am

Tore wrote: When I see Hofmann, I think: "Yes, that's how Siegmund looks like".
Tore we saw Hoffman only once--in 1986 he was the Met's Lohengrin--both my wife and myself thought he was just wonderful--then I think he drifted into rock and other popular music. I was sorry to hear about his death in 2010. Regards, Len

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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by Tore » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:37 am

I did an Amazon search for Peter Hofmann, and I found a Karajan Holländer that I didn't have. According to the reviews Hofmann sings the role of Erik. Will arrive in my mail-Box in a week or two for appr. £6. Gotta love second-hand shopping on Amazon.

Anyone know this recording? There were not much info on Amazon, not even a recording date.

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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by bigshot » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:48 pm

The Mehta Ring has spoiled me for CD Ring cycles now. Before with Boulez, Barenboim and the Met, I could put up with a sound only Ring and console myself that the visuals weren't important. But that was because the visuals *weren't* important in those other video Rings. Mehta's Valencia Ring takes the whole thing as a whole and finally presents a completely satisfying video and sound experience.

I've attended a Seattle Ring and seen their traditional staging. It isn't all that great. A low budget Lord of the Rings set is MUCH worse than one that isn't "traditional". The Valencia staging is completely new, but I never forget that it's Wagner's story and characters I'm watching. Everything is in context. To me, that is absolutely perfect. It helps that Mehta is a great Wagnerian and the singers are all solid. The only thing I'm not totally sold on in the Valencia Ring are some of the costumes and make up. But that is a quibble when they get so much right.

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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by John F » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:21 pm

Tore wrote:Anyone know this recording? There were not much info on Amazon, not even a recording date.
The recording sessions for Karajan's "Holländer" were in 1981 (Berlin), 1982 (Salzburg), and 1983 (Berlin). Clearly something serious went wrong, but the Karajan biography doesn't say what it was or even mention the "Holländer" recording at all. My best guess is that one or more of the singers originally cast was ill or had to be replaced for some reason. I haven't heard it, but one reviewer complains about ups and downs in Karajan's conducting (he may never have conducted the opera before, only the overture), a poor Senta, and a bland Dutchman. Maybe it's better than the reviewer says.
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by John F » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:39 pm

lennygoran wrote:
Tore wrote: When I see Hofmann, I think: "Yes, that's how Siegmund looks like".
Tore we saw Hoffman only once--in 1986 he was the Met's Lohengrin--both my wife and myself thought he was just wonderful--then I think he drifted into rock and other popular music. I was sorry to hear about his death in 2010. Regards, Len
Peter Hofmann turned to rock in the first place under the influence of his wife (Deborah Sasson) who was a rock singer; they did concerts together. His voice was deteriorating fast; he was to have been Siegfried in the Met's Ring cycle directed by Otto Schenk, but either during the first rehearsals or before they began, in 1987, he withdrew or was replaced. He kept on singing opera for a few years, mainly Wagner, but after his divorce in 1990, he took the title role in "The Phantom of the Opera" in Germany and never sang real opera again. In 1994 he was found to have Parkinson's Disease and after 2000 he was physically helpless; he was 66 when he died.
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Re: New Seattle Ring from Asher Fisch

Post by lennygoran » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:33 pm

John F wrote:His voice was deteriorating fast; he was to have been Siegfried in the Met's Ring cycle directed by Otto Schenk, but either during the first rehearsals or before they began, in 1987, he withdrew or was replaced.
Thanks for the info--so sad--on Schenk loved most of his productions. Regards, Len

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