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WAO Playlist Series

20th March 2020 |

WAO Playlist I curated by Music Director Chris van Tuinen

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing with you a number of playlists curated by the team from West Australian Opera featuring our favourite arias and compositions. First up is our Music Director, Chris van Tuinen whose playlist features operatic classics like Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Verdi’s Otello, to Broadway smash Hamilton and Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood’s A Moon Shaped Pool. Read the post below to find out more about each song and let us know if any of Chris’ picks have resonated with you. Stay tuned for more updates to Chris’ playlist and additional WAO playlists coming soon.

Maria Stuarda, Gaetano Donizetti

I was given a recording of this opera while still a teenager (a little strange I know) but to hear Sutherland and Pavarotti in their prime, especially in this most dramatic of Bel Canto really got me. Just extraordinary singing in every way. The unutterable joy in the sound is well, beyond description. This opera and the other bel canto masterpieces are never far away from my playlist.

Cosi fan Tutte, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Clearly on my mind at the moment and while preparing a score I generally don’t listen to recordings of it BUT, this one is great. There’s great contrast in lightness, seriousness and dramatic comedy!

Turandot, Giacomo Puccini

I think Act 1 of Turandot is one of the most completely perfect, musically dramatic, moments in opera. I’ve put this recording in for the conducting (although it also has great singing). They way Zubin Mehta paces the finale, the balance and freedom he gives to the singers and yet manages to structure it into a cohesive whole is a lesson to hold onto the big shape while focusing on the details.

Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould

Being a pianist in the beginning I listened to a lot of keyboard music. I could never play like this, I don’t think anyone else can but I remember hearing this recording about 25years ago and it gives me hope in humanity that someone can. People play this music differently now, which is great, but in this recording, I hear great music recorded by a great musician and it’s always worth hearing again

Dichterliebe, Robert Schumann

This recording with the incredible Fritz Wunderlich, tenor and Hubert Giesen, the piano is the most beautiful German lieder recording of this cycle I know. Such incredible expression. My favourite flippancy around this music is what Schumann achieves in 2 minutes takes Wagner 2 hours.

Symphony No. 1, Gustav Mahler

I listen to a lot of symphonic music – the recording of Mahler 1 is incredible.

Also, I suspect this is the recording where he used the score that’s in the NY Phil digital collection – the one that Mahler used to conduct the American premiere and that Bruno Walter also used. What a piece of history to see those markings!! Check out the score – 

Pagliacci, Ruggero Leoncavallo

I often come back to the previous generations of singers to hear progressions in “taste”. Most things (Enrico Caruso)  does here (In Vesti la giubba) would be considered tasteless or sloppy in our modern world but I love the freedom and expression, the portamento, the broken text and sobbing, the rubato!! A constant reminder that as long as there is a clear intention behind it, you can get away with anything!

Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

I’ve spent a lot of time since it came out listening to the music from Hamilton – I love the political commentary, the way it’s cast and the rhythmical structure in the music. Plus they use harpsichord whenever George III is on. Nice touch.

Otello, Giuseppe Verdi

I think this is where he really married his love of Shakespeare and his musical/dramatic structure. Also, FYI, the first 5 minutes of this opera is the most adrenaline-charged thing I’ve ever worked on. You feel like sitting quietly for a good hour afterwards, but then you’ve got the rest of the opera to do so don’t get too carried away.

A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead

There are heaps of new composers, crossing over all over the place, wherever they find interesting things. Which is exactly as it should be. I’m a huge Radiohead fan and Jonny Greenwood’s string writing on A Moon Shaped Pool is as good as anyone’s.


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