I think I’ve listened to most of the recordings over the years, but I still prefer this one. However, it may be because I’d just seen Domingo perform Carmen at the ROH in 1993 or 94, when I was training to be an opera singer myself, and bought this, so there’s an emotional attachment there. I think the Abbado set captures the tone of the piece beautifully, Domingo is a superb José and I have a huge soft spot for Cotrubas, so her Micaela is a delight for me!
I appreciate your comments about the view/treatment of opera. It is one of the few remaining genres of music that I have not fallen in love with. I am somewhat familiar with some of the storylines and what they represent historically (which is by no means insignificant).
I rotate in and out of “cycles” with a wide range of musical genres, especially classical music (I am currently in yet another one that I am enjoying a lot). Many of my favorite composers wrote opera and many of my favorite conductors have performed it – this “should” make me more curious about it.
I love their instrumental works and agree with your comment about larger systems making it easier to get “addicted.” For me, multi-channel recordings have opened a whole new experience – one that is especially evident in orchestral or symphonic music.
I am starting to “fall into” a Baroque cycle – this is very new to me. There is a lot of immense beauty and feeling in this music. As much as I have shunned or ridiculed it in the past, I am now deeply grateful for those who loved it before me and the high quality recordings that are readily available to me. There are definitely a lot more composers and styles than I ever imagined.
I have not found opera yet (or, maybe, it has not found me). I like knowing that the ability to enjoy it as much as possible, on my home system, is waiting for me. I support your efforts in making this possible with opera.
Given what has happened so far, it is probably less a question of if but of when. Thank you for your efforts with Roon to make it an outstanding experience whenever I “get there.”
And also Carl, thanks for the tip. And to acknowledge it is doable but one needs time… That is why something more bundled and ready to use would be so nice.
Robert you are right, opera is less accessible, less easy to fully embrace, than other categories of classical music, with the addition of a full text sung by multiple interprets, not often in your mother tongue. So it is not so easy to get into it. I am almost in the same situation as you, a genre that I neglected for a long time. It took progress in audio, the interest for some masterpieces, and some luck with a new friend, all-times fan of opera, who has been advising and guiding me.
So I am convinced Roon has all it takes for opera audio: outstanding quality, not limited to stereo (at least in theory), and this rolling text mode that sits here, used for Karaoke but that could be used for librettos. And that if we would have that, it would really help open opera music to a larger audience - perhaps much larger actually !
So how to start ?
Why not have a contributive mode from users that have done this effort on a given version for them, to allow Roon to link the document automatically for anyone interested ? It would have to be a version free of rights, or the rights should be authorized by the editors for Roon usage.
But why not ? Music is about sharing, and a libretto without the music is of little use.
Then some commitment and some effort from music distributors, to systematise the availability of librettos under a digestible standard form, would be of direct help. It would be a win-win.
This isn’t Roon’s fault, but the opera genre is polluted by all kinds of random stuff. Opera stars crossover albums (like Kiri sings Kern or Pavarotti’s albums with Henry Mancini) are listed as opera because of who the artist is rather than the music for example. This is a feature of the external metadata suppliers and some over-enthusiastic tagging. I’ve just gone through my collection and created a new genre of “opera complete” to make it easier to filter the library (don’t know how this would go with streamed content as I don’t use Tidal or Qobuz). An alternative would be to create an Opera tag in Roon which would don’t be same job.
A goodly number of operas from Qobuz do have the libretto available as part of the cd booklet. This will typically have translations into three languages. These translations, if not the original libretto, may have copywright restrictions. There are many variant performances of operas, so one standard libretto will often not be useful - it needs to be particular to the performance, Mozart, for example, added arias to favour singers he liked. Expecting Roon to solve these issues is a bit much. They could make a start by recognizing full operas as opposed to excerpts - right now if you search for Così Fan Tutte you get 1047 versions, most of which are not the opera at all, just the odd aria. Start there!