Friday, September 23, 2016
From Giuditta (Judith) by Franz Lehar
I know this song well in a performance by the gorgeous Natalia Ushakova. Ushakova is good but she can't beat the passion Netrebko puts into this performance. The singer is supposed to be half-mad and Netrebko conveys that
Netrebko seems in fact to be particularly associated with that aria. She has certainly recorded it often. And like the great thespian she is, she has done it in a number of ways. With the Proms performance being particularly jolly. But the above performance is truest to the plot of the operetta.
And I know what she likes about that aria. It gives her great opportunity to show what she can do. Grand opera is very boring. People are either dying or about to die. In Carmen he kills his lover and in Aida the lovers get immured. How ghastly! But it is much jollier in operatta. Guiditta is undoubtedly the darkest of the operettas but in the end the reunited lovers just acknowledge one another and go their separate ways. So this aria gives Netrebko scope to show what she can do. It allows all sorts of expression -- which she delivers brilliantly.
When? When and where was the aria recorded? It was recorded on 7 July 2006 in a grand concert with Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon at the Waldbühne ("Forest Stage") near Berlin -- before a huge audience of 20,000. Germans like their music and this aria was after all in German.
Monday, August 15, 2016
I came across a new video of a great favourite -- Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" just recently. It is the best rendition I have heard and I have heard many. See and hear below:
The way the soprano threw herself into it was truly impressive. Never has "pertansivit gladius" been sung with greater passion. Sadly, whoever put the video up gave no information about it. So I had to do a bit of digging to find out all about it. But I did in the end find this:
"Accompanied by the French musical ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, Spanish soprano Sabina Puértolas and American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux perform Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. It is composed in 1736, in the final weeks of Pergolesi’s short life (4 January 1710 – 16 March 1736), and scored for soprano and alto soloists, violin I and II, viola and basso continuo (cello and organ). Conductor: Christophe Rousset"
The performance seems to have been in April this year. In Spain, Ms Puértolas is not Spanish. She is Aragonese (from Aragon, ancient Aragon). There is an artistic history of her here, which shows her as a very busy singer -- so she is obviously widely appreciated. I tried to find out some personal history, even trawling through the notices in Italian, but could not find a thing.
I may have to take more notice of Spanish singers. I was greatly impressed by the performance of Evelyn Ramirez Munoz as the divine voice in the premiere version of Falvetti's "Il Diluvio universale". Munoz is a Spanish surname so I assume Ms Munoz is Spanish but you can never be sure these days. Argentinian? See below:
I note that there is another rendering of the Falvetti just out and she seems to have grabbed her old role in the latest version as well. See below. She is the lady in black.
I guess that by Northern European standards she over-acts but in singing a work from Sicily, what the hell?
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Clickable table of contents for this site
Dr Gordon Lavelle Mangan (1924 - ): A biographical note
Ingeborg Hallstein: Die Fledermaus (excerpt)
Another Ingeborg Hallstein clip: "Ich bin die Christel von der Post". Also the Nightingale song by Grothe
The marriage of Figaro
The Tsar and the Carpenter
Der Opernball by Heuberger
The Duchess of Chicago
Dollarprinzessin (Dollar Princess)
Fledermaus (The bat) at Moerbisch
Simplicius (The simpleton)
Graf von Luxemburg (Count of Luxemburg)
A wonderful Austrian singing lady: Ute Gfrerer
Der Vogelhaendler (The bird merchant)
Zirkusprinzessin (Circus Princess)
Der Rosenkavalier (The rose gentleman)
The New Testament canon
Bach and Psalm 23
Wiener Blut (Vienna spirit)
Das Land des Laechelns ('The land of smiles")
Altemeyer's conceptual confusion
Eine Nacht in Venedig (a night in Venice)
Csardasfuerstin (Gypsy princess)
Bettelstudent (Beggar student)
Zarewitsch (Heir to the throne of Russia)
Zigeunerbaron (Gypsy baron)
Jesus Christ Superstar
Lustige Witwe (merry widow)
Graefin Mariza (Countess Maritza)
Emerich (Imre) Kalman and Graefin Mariza
Fledermaus at Covent Garden
Paganini a psychopath?
Zigeunerliebe (gypsy love) and GWF Hegel
Weissen Roessl (White Horse inn)
"The pirates of Penzance" as satire
Salzkammergut and "Im weissen Roessl"
Swan Lake The 2009 performance by the Australian ballet
Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) at Glyndebourne
Disney: a Philip Glass opera
Falvetti and Il diluvio universale (Noah's flood)
Just click to go there
Ian Hills and I both did our first degrees in the Dept. of Psychology at the University of Queensland in the '60s and both of us found Dr. Mangan's lectures interesting and influential. We therefore thought it was a pity that there was very little biographical information about him on the net. I therefore said to Ian that if he gathered all the info he could I would put it up on the net. Ian is in biographical mode at the moment. He is writing a memoir of his own time at Qld University in the sixties. His memoir of Dr. Mangan is below. It is as Ian wrote it with some very minor editing by me
As you will read, Dr Mangan had a big interest in the Soviet psychology of the day and you can see a token of that influence in my graduation photo below. I posed holding a copy of the works of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, printed in Moscow
Ian has not said much about Gordon Mangan's character so I will hazard a few adjectives to describe him as I saw him: Affable, cheerful, enthusiastic and very self-confident -- JR
Dr Gordon Mangan was born in New Zealand in 1924 and completed his schooling there before taking the entrance examination to enter the University of New Zealand. In 1945 he was awarded a Masters degree in Education for his thesis involving a partial norming survey of the Stanford-Binet intelligence test for 15 and 16 year olds in New Zealand.
Subsequently he moved to Melbourne where in 1952 he obtained a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Melbourne. Following this he obtained a place in the PhD program at the University of London and was awarded a PhD in 1954.
After a short stint as a high school teacher in 1954 he obtained a joint appointment as fellow of the Parapsychology Foundation and research associate at Duke University. In the fifties and sixties the Parapsychology Foundation and Duke University were renowned for taking the lead in research in paranormal psychology such as extra sensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK). In the following five years Dr Mangan made a substantial contribution to the parapsychology literature, publishing four experimental studies and three reviews.
In 1956 Dr Mangan joined the department of psychology at Queen's University in Canada and in 1958 he taught at the psychology department of Victoria University in Canada during which time he continued to publish in parapsychology and other areas such as personality and aging.
After that productive five years of parapsychology research, Dr Mangan never published in the area again but he carried his experience in the area with him to the University of Queensland in 1961.
After leaving Queensland University in the mid seventies Dr Mangan joined one of England's elite Universities and taught psychology at Oxford. While at Oxford he continued to explore the similarities between Eastern and Western Psychology and published papers outlining the genetic, personality and nervous system implications.
While at Oxford in 1982 he published his best-known work "The Biology of Human Conduct: East-West Models of Temperament and Personality". He also published in other areas, for example papers on repression and muscle tension and the genetics of the nervous system.
While at Oxford Dr Mangan controversially tapped a rich vein of research funding from the tobacco industry and began a long association with the industry with publications on smoking maintenance, smoking and learning and the psychopharmacology of smoking.
According to Adams (2016) by 1981, some time after arriving at Oxford, Mangan began talking about returning to New Zealand and after a few years he moved to the University of Auckland where he stayed until his retirement.
For around a decade in Auckland at the end of his career Dr Mangan continued to research at a lively pace, publishing papers on personality and conditioning, music and IQ, IQ and reaction time, IQ and Evoked Potential; and smoking and IQ, reaction time and memory. He also revised and published a further edition of "The Biology of Human Conduct".
After a long, productive and interesting career as a researcher and teacher of psychology Dr Mangan continued to publish innovative research until 1995 when he was 72. His most recent publication is a further reprinting of "The Biology of Human Conduct" published in 2013 when Dr Mangan was 89 years old.
In 2016 an Answers.com query "Is Gordon Lavelle Mangan still alive in New Zealand" yielded a response of "He most certainly is": A very Mangan reply. Good to see he has still got his marbles. He is 92 years old this year.
I attended Dr Mangan's classes during his time as Senior lecturer in Psychology at University of Queensland. He gave many of the second and third year lectures in learning theory, social psychology, neurology and psychophysics and conducted many of the practical sessions as well.
At that time Dr. Mangan would have been in his late thirties and I remember him as a tall, dark haired, clean shaven man who dressed well but untidily like an absent-minded professor. He always wore a bow tie, spoke precisely and appeared somewhat eccentric.
A good example of his approach to teaching and research was an experiment conducted as a class exercise, to demonstrate the effect of physiological arousal on visual acuity. For this exercise half the class fasted until the afternoon prac. class. We all then attempted to detect the first glimmer of light from a stimulus box, as it was gradually intensified. The hungry students detected the light before the ones who had eaten.
Dr Mangan's lectures on the nervous system were memorable - although I remember being quite confused with his description of the structure and function of different parts of a rat's brain. It took me a long time to learn what all the bits were called and what function they had. These lectures provided some of the basis for some of my later work in neuropsychology and the diagnosis of brain dysfunction.
Towards the end of his time at Queensland University Dr Mangan published prodigiously - more than a dozen papers in two years - on topics as diverse as personality variables related to visual sensitivity and the orienting reaction, arousability and distraction, after images and personality, and approach-avoidance conflict. He ran and published a Behaviour Therapy Symposium and began publishing in the area that was to become a major research area for him - the relationship between Pavlovian (Russian) and Eysenckian (Western) personality paradigms.
Soviet psychology generated a lot of interest in the University of Queensland Psychology Department, as in many others in the Western world and Dr Mangan led the enthusiastic discussion of Pavlov's dog experiments and Pavlov's typology.
Strangely, this enthusiasm did not extend to replicating Pavlov's experiments and I don't recall much experimentation along these lines being conducted in Queensland at the time. This might be because some of Pavlov's experiments were considered cruel, or possibly because a publication citing Russian authors might attract the attention of ASIO - Australia's security service. Even in the late sixties it was still a bad career move in Australia to be associated in any way with communism.
Even so, a small but brave contingent from the Queensland University Psychology Department made a scientific visit to Russia in the sixties and presumably had to put up with the attentions of ASIO. I might add that Dr Mangan who led this expedition moved to England shortly thereafter where he could enjoy a more tolerant politico-academic environment.
Dr Mangan continued his interest in Russian psychology and twenty years later wrote an influential book integrating Russian and Western personality theories. Even in the sixties at Queensland University he had developed the basics of his theory and I recall him discussing the similarity between extraversion-introversion (from the Western paradigm) and excitation-inhibition (from the Russian paradigm). Similarly he drew a parallel between the neuroticism dimension (after Cattell and Eysenk) and the strong-weak nervous system dimension of Pavlov.
An overview of his publications might lead to the conclusion that he deliberately chose areas that were neglected and controversial. He devoted half a decade of his early career to parapsychology, publishing innovative research and clearheaded reviews. He devoted the later part of his career to research in smoking - funded by the tobacco industry.
He had a lasting interest in Russian psychology particularly Pavlov and the neo-Pavlovians. A considerable amount of his work is devoted to drawing parallels between Eastern and Western conceptualisations of personality, learning and activation which culminated in an influential book "The Biology of Human Conduct: East-West Models of Temperament and Personality".
As well as these three areas he published over a broad range of topics including intelligence, aging, learning, conflict, behaviour therapy, personality, attention, music and arousal.
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle. "A PK Experiment with Thirty Dice Released for High and Low Face Targets." Journal of Parapsychology(December 1954).
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle "Evidence of Displacement in a Precognitive Test." Journal of Parapsychology(March 1955).
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle. "An ESP Experiment with Dual-Aspect Targets Involving One Trial Day." Journal of Parapsychology(December 1957).
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle, and L. C. Wilbur. "The Relation of PK Object and Throwing Surface in Placement Tests." Journal of Parapsychology20 (1956); 21, (1957).
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle. "Parapsychology: A Science for Psychical Research?" Queen's Quarterly(spring 1958).
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle.A Review of Published Research on the Relationship of Some Personality Variables to ESP Scoring Level. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 1958.
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle. "How Legitimate Are the Claims for ESP?" Australian Journal of Psychology(September 1959).
Personality East and West
Mangan, Gordon L., 1967, Studies Of The Relationship Between Neo-Pavlovian Properties Of Higher Nervous Activity And Western Personality Dimensions: Ii. The Relation Of Mobility To Perceptual Flexibility. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Vol 2(2), 1967, 107-116.
White, K., D., and Mangan, G., L., 1972, Strength of the nervous system as a function of personality type and level of arousal, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 139-146.
Mangan, G., and Paisey, T., 1980, New perspectives in temperament/ personality research: The "Behavioral" model of the Warsaw group, The Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science: Official Journal of the Pavlovian, Volume 15, Issue 4 , pp 159-171
Mangan, G., L., (1982) The Biology of Human Conduct: East-West Models of Temperament and Personality, Pergamon Press, UK. Also on Google books
Mangan, G. L.,&Paisey, T. J., 1983 Current perspectives in neo-pavlovian temperament theory and research: A review, Australian Journal of Psychology Volume 35, Issue 3, 319-347.
Mangan., G., L., and Golding, J., F., 1978, An enhancement model of smoking maintenance. In R. E. Thornton (Ed.). Smoking behaviour: physiological and psychological influences (pp87-114). Churchill Livingstone, Edinburg.
Mangan, G., L., 1982, The effects of Cigarette Smoking on Vigilance Performance, The Journal of General PsychologyVolume 106, Issue 1, 77-83
Golding, J. F., & Mangan, G. L., 1982, Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Measures of Arousal, Response Suppression, and Excitation/Inhibition Balance, International Journal of the Addictions,17, 5, 793-804.
Mangan,G., L., &Golding, J., F., 1983, The Effects of Smoking on Memory Consolidation, The Journal of Psychology, Volume 115, 65-77.
Mangan, G., L., 1983, The Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Verbal Learning and Retention, The Journal of General Psychology, Volume 108, Issue 2, 203-210.
Mangan., G., L., and Golding, J., F., 1984, The psychopharmacology of smoking, Cambridge University Press
Mangan, G., and Colrain, I., 1991, Relationships Between Photic Driving, Nicotine and Memory, in Effects of Nicotine on Biological Systems, Birkhauser Basel
Stough, C,, Mangan, G., Bates,T., Pellett, O., 1994, Smoking and Raven IQ, Psychopharmacology, vol. 116, no. 3, pp. 382-384.
Bates, T., Pellett, O.L., Stough, C.K., & Mangan, G.L. (1994). The effects of smoking on simple and choice reaction time. Psychopharmacology, 114, 365-368.
Mangan, G., 1945, A Survey of the Revised Stanford-Binet Scale with New Zealand I5 and I6 Year Olds: A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of Master of Arts in Education, University of New Zealand
Mangan. G., L., 1958, Method-Of-Approach Factors in the Testing of Middle-Aged Subjects, Journal of Gerontology, 13,4.
Mangan, G., L., and Clark, J., W., 1958, Rigidity Factors In The Testing Of Middle-Aged Subjects,
Quartermain, D., And Mangan, G., 1959, Role Of Relevance In Incidental Learning Of Verbal Material, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 9, 255-258.
David T. Siddle and Gordon L. Mangan, 1968, Behaviour at the point of maximum approach-avoidance conflict(pages 27-33) Australian Journal of Psychology
G. L. Mangan and L. D. Bainbridge Eds 1969 Behaviour therapy : proccedings of a symposium held by the Queensland branch of the Australian Psychological Society, 1967
Siddle, David A.; Morrish, Robert B.; White, Kenneth D.; Mangan, Gordon L. 1969, Relation of visual sensitivity to extraversion. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Vol 3(4), 264-267.
Mangan, Gordon L., and O'Gorman, John G., 1969, Initial amplitude and rate of habituation of orienting reaction in relation to extraversion and neuroticism. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Vol 3(4), 275-282.
White, Kenneth D.; Mangan, Gordon L.; Morrish, Robert B.; Siddle, David A., 1969, The relation of visual after-images to extraversion and neuroticism. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Vol 3(4), 268-274.
Mangan, Gordon L.; O'Gorman, John G. 1969, Initial amplitude and rate of habituation of orienting reaction in relation to extraversion and neuroticism. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Vol 3(4), 1969, 275-282.
Adcock, N., & Mangan, G., L., 1970 Attention and Perceptual Learning,The Journal of General Psychology, Volume 83, Issue 2, 247-254
Siddle, David A.; Mangan, Gordon L., 1971, Arousability and individual differences in resistance to distraction. Journal of Experimental Research in Personality, Vol 5(4), Dec 1971, 295-303.
Foggitt,R. H., Mangan, G. L., &Law, H., 1972, Cognitive Performance and Linguistic Codeability, International Journal of Psychology, Volume 7, Issue 3, 155-161
Mangan, G., L., The Relationship of Mobility of Inhibition to Rate of Inhibitory Growth and Measures of Flexibility, Extraversion, and Neuroticism, The Journal of General Psychology, Volume 99, Issue 2, 271-279.
Mangan, G., Murphy, G., Farmer, R., 1980, The role of muscle tension in "repression", Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, Vol. 15, No. 4. pp. 172-176.
Paisey, T., H., and Mangan, G., L., 1988, Personality and conditioning with appetitive and aversive stimuli, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 69-78
Stough, C., Kerkin, B.,Bates, T., Mangan. G., 1994, Music and spatial IQ, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 17, Issue 5,
Bates, T., Stough, C., Mangan, G., Pellett, O., 1995, Intelligence and complexity of the averaged evoked potential: An attentional theory, Intelligence, Volume: 20 Issue: 1, Page: 27-39
References and links
Adams, P., J., 2016 Moral Jeopardy: Risks of Accepting Money from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Gambling industries Cambridge University Press.
Kiwi, Annual Magazine Of The Students' Association, Auckland University College 1945
Mangan, Gordon Lavelle (1924-). Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 200; Retrieved July 18, 2016
Mangan Publication timeline
University of Melbourne Degrees Conferred 1952
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Monday, April 4, 2016
I have just come across her singing "Ich bin die Christel von der Post", from 1973. I am used to the version sung by Ute Gfrerer but they are both very good. The operetta was "Der Vogelhandler" by Zeller
She once again uses heavy eye makeup. I think that was characteristic of the time.
Below is another clip, with her singing the famous Nightingale song by Grothe. She has just the voice for that
Monday, December 14, 2015
Austro/Hungarian operetta is light-hearted opera written around a hundred years ago principally for the entertainment of the inhabitants of Wien (Vienna) which was at that time the capital of an ancient and major European state, the Austro/Hungarian empire.
Before the 19th century, opera was fairly cheerful. And among his 22 operas, Mozart in particular wrote a lot of Opera buffa, comic opera. Comic or not, just the brilliant overtures of some of Mozart's operas reduce me to tears of joy. There is something unearthly in Mozart, for those who can hear it. But even Handel operas had a lot of joy in them. At the finale of Giulio Cesare, for instance, we find in the finale everybody lined up and singing lustily a triumphant song.
But in the more famous 19th century, French and Italian opera became much more morbid. They are romantic but everybody seems to die at the end of them. In "Carmen", for instance, Carmen gets stabbed to death by her jealous lover and in "Aida" the lovers end up immured. So I enjoy the wonderful arias from 19th century French and Italian opera but I have never been inclined to watch much of the operas concerned: Too bleak for me. So for a long time, my liking for opera stopped at Mozart.
I have long been familiar with the more famous arias from operetta but grand opera had long put me off wanting to watch anything even vaguely recent. About 6 months ago, however, I somehow got motivated to have a look at the more famous operettas, starting, of course, with Im weissen Roessl, "The white horse inn" -- in the Moerbisch performance. I was immediately enraptured: good music, great jokes, attractive singers, joyous dancing, total romance and a gloriously happy ending. What more could one ask? Realistic it was not but great fun it was. I must have watched the show somewhere between 30 and 50 times by now but I still laugh at the jokes every time. They are that good.
Operettas and indeed most operas are romantic -- even though the outcome differs. I am inclined to think that the most romantic of all is Zarewitsch by Lehar. And in true operetta style, advancing the romance by getting the heir to the throne of all the Russias drunk on champagne is a definite classic. Vienna was never a place for teetotalling. There must have been trainloads of champagne going from the vineyards of France to Vienna.
Although it is easy to enjoy, I would like to make the case that it is actually very sophisticated entertainment. For a start, the artistic requirements of both grand opera and operetta are quite high. The vocal feats required of the singers are maximal in both genres and good acting is, if anything, even more important in operetta. Putting a joke across requires some very good timing and expression. And it is broadly the same singers who sing in both.
Secondly, Austro/Hungarian operetta was written for people who had it all. They lived at the heart of an enormously rich civilization. Vienna before WWI was not only a great and rich imperial capital with many nations under its rule but it was also at the cutting edge culturally and intellectually.
It was, for instance, the time and place of the immensely influential Sigmund Freud, by far the leading psychologist of the time. He was a great observer and I quote him occasionally still. And the immense distinction of Vienna in analytical philosophy cannot be gainsaid -- Schlick, Wittgenstein etc. And in economics the luminaries of the prewar Austrian school (Carl Menger; Eugen Böhm Ritter von Bawerk etc.) are honoured to this day -- though not among Leftists. Vienna had a very good claim at that time to be the intellectual capital of the world.
And, musically, it started out on top -- with the enormous heritage of the great Austrian composers -- Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert etc -- so any new compositions had a lot to live up to. And the wonder is that some composers stood out even in that environment -- with Strauss II being merely the best known of many. And there were vast numbers of innovative Viennese artists too, led by Klimt in particular
So the Viennese had it all. And what you want when you have it all is entertainment. And to be entertaining to such an indulged and sophisticated audience you had to be pretty good. So I see the lightness and frivolity of operetta not as trivial but as a major cultural achievement.
As far as I can tell, waltzing seems to have a rather staid reputation in the Anglosphere but it is not at all staid in Austro/Hungarian operetta. The joyous climax to a waltz can be where the lady throws her arms out wide while the man spins her around with his hands on her waist only. That is very exciting. Feminists would hate it. Let me close with a famous line from Im weissen Roessl: "Ein Liebeslied muss ein Walzer sein" (A song of love has to be a waltz).
Feminists would hate the scene above but I'm betting that the lady concerned was pleased to be there.