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  #1  
Old 27-04-12, 09:15 PM
Anna Anna is offline
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Default Favourite opera

What's your favourite opera?
Do you like more italian and lighter sounds or maybe something "heavier" like Wagner, which is difficult not only for singers but also for the audience
Or maybe something totally different?
Well - I'm courious bout your opinions, I'll be gratefull if you could maybe choose your top 3 of the opera


Anna
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Old 28-04-12, 10:45 AM
ReinerTorheit ReinerTorheit is offline
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Hard to choose just three

I wouldn't only divide operas into Italian and German There's a rich French tradition that runs from Lully & Rameau onwards, with operas like MANON LESCAUT and CARMEN in there too. Then there are English operas, from DIDO & AENEAS through to PETER GRIMES and THE MINOTAUR America has produced some excellent operas in the C20th and later. And of course we shouldn't forget the Russian school - from Glinka to Shostakovich

Some of my favourite operas, not in any special order, include
  • THE MEDIUM (Menotti)
  • LA FORZA DEL DESTINO (Verdi)
  • RIENZI (Wagner)
  • DER FLIEGENDER HOLLAENDER (Wagner)
  • LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK (Shostakovich)
  • STORY OF A REAL MAN (Prokofiev)
  • IL RITORNO DI ULISSE IN PATRIA (Monteverdi)
  • DON GIOVANNI (Mozart)
  • SERAGLIO (Mozart)
  • LEONORE/FIDELIO (Beethoven)
  • ROBERT LE DIABLE (Meyerbeer)
  • A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Britten)
  • NIXON IN CHINA (Adams)
  • AKHNATEN (Glass)
  • THE MASK OF ORPHEUS (Birtwistle)
  • THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD (Sullivan)















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Old 28-04-12, 11:26 AM
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Well I didn't meant to divide them official, there was just examples You're right about the French, English and Russian operas shouldn't be forgotten (excuse my ignorance) But thank you for your answer and list of your favourite operas.
I wanted also to ask, what do you think about Othello ? I personally like it very much - the tenor part is also quite difficult ( as I assume after watching it live lately )
I'm not really experienced in the matter of american opera - would you maybe recommend something ?
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Old 28-04-12, 01:10 PM
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Verdi's OTELLO, you mean? (BTW there is also one by Rossini)

It's a magnificent work, written when Verdi was at the height of his powers, with a whole career of experience behind him. I was lucky enough to see the interactive production stated by Graham Vick of Birmingham Opera - it's an entirely different way of staging operas

American opera? Well, probably there are better experts than I! But as a shortlist I would recommend

# Robert Ward's THE CRUCIBLE (you can find the whole opera on YouTube)
# Menotti's THE MEDIUM and THE CONSUL
# Barber's VANESSA and ANTONY & CLEOPATRA
# Glass's AKHNATEN (his earlier operas aren't successful IMHO, because he worked with poor librettists who had no experience in the theatre)

I heard that Jake Heggie's MOBY DICK is very good, but I have not had a chance to hear anything except short extracts. He's a talented composer, so I hope that it's been a success?

John Adams is a very controversial figure, but I like a lot of what he does. I went to see DR ATOMIC with Philidor & Florestan from this forum - I think they were less enthusiastic than I was Where I think Adams has achieved something exceptional is in his word-setting of conversational contemporary English - it's really outstanding, and almost never sounds "false" to me. Of course, working with great librettists always helps!
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Old 29-04-12, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna View Post
Well - I'm curious bout your opinions, I'll be gratefull if you could maybe choose your top 3 of the opera:
I can manage an unordered 5...

Tristan und Isolde
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Die Walküre
Götterdämmerung
Parsifal
.

So how do I talk about favorite operas without citing Wagner? By imposing categorical restraint--

Favorite German-language opera not written by someone named Wagner: Die Zauberflöte
Favorite Italian opera: it varies-- sometimes La Traviata, sometimes La Bohème, sometimes Aïda.
Favorite 20th century opera: Der Rosenkavalier
Favorite French-language opera: Carmen
Favorite non-German, non-Romance language opera: Prodaná Nevěsta (Smetana)
Favorite underrated opera: Mignon (Ambroise Thomas)
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Old 29-04-12, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ReinerTorheit View Post
  • THE MEDIUM (Menotti)
  • LA FORZA DEL DESTINO (Verdi)
  • RIENZI (Wagner)
  • DER FLIEGENDER HOLLAENDER (Wagner)
  • LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK (Shostakovich)
  • STORY OF A REAL MAN (Prokofiev)
  • IL RITORNO DI ULISSE IN PATRIA (Monteverdi)
  • DON GIOVANNI (Mozart)
  • SERAGLIO (Mozart)
  • LEONORE/FIDELIO (Beethoven)
  • ROBERT LE DIABLE (Meyerbeer)
  • A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Britten)
  • NIXON IN CHINA (Adams)
  • AKHNATEN (Glass)
  • THE MASK OF ORPHEUS (Birtwistle)
  • THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD (Sullivan)
  • I've already noticed I've missed Handel operas off the list So quickly add Giulio Cesare, Xerxes, Radamisto, Rinaldo, etc.

    Also French opera is horribly under-represented... I should add DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES (which I saw again yesterday), CARMEN, FAUST and TALES OF HOFFMAN.

    Plus most of the Janacek operas!!















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Old 29-04-12, 08:44 PM
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(They stoke up the wind machine halfway through... producing a massive eighteenth century Gallic fart. )
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Old 30-04-12, 01:43 PM
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Lovely music, apart from the 'wind in the willows' effect.

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Old 01-05-12, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReinerTorheit View Post
Verdi's OTELLO, you mean? (BTW there is also one by Rossini)
I know - I mean't the one by Verdi
Thank you for the list of american operas you recommend - I will surely look forward to see some of these.
The 'massive eighteenth century Gallic fart' wasn't really necessary but nevertheless - as Sonatina said - lovely music
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Old 01-05-12, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ReinerTorheit View Post
So quickly add Giulio Cesare
I really enjoyed the version of Giulio Cesare that came out on CD a couple of years ago. It might not be to some people's taste but I thought it very entertaining.















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