Favorite Opera(s)

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vivahandel123
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Favorite Opera(s)

Post by vivahandel123 » Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:09 am

I cannot narrow this down to one. A few that come to mind... Lohengrin, Rodelinda, Katya Kabanova, Jenufa, Eugene Onegin, Semele, Aida.
How bout everyone else?
Eric
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Post by jserraglio » Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:05 am

favorite from the 20th century . . . . for me it's Poulenc's, Dialogues des Carmélites an operatic tour de force, to say the least.

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Post by DavidRoss » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:03 pm

Cosi
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Post by karlhenning » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:08 pm

Le nozze di Figaro
Les Troyens
Il barbiere di Seviglia
Carmen
The Queen of Spades
Evgeny Onegin
La traviata
Tosca
Mavra
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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:11 pm

jserraglio wrote:favorite from the 20th century . . . . for me it's Poulenc's, Dialogues des Carmélites an operatic tour de force, to say the least.
I can endorse that completely and add that Poulenc is a neglected composer. It was Hindemith who coined the term Gebrauchsmusik, but it is Poulenc who is its master. If we had dozens like him, people would not be wondering whether classical music is in some terminal state.

I am a good person to ask about favorite operas preciesly because I am not an opera buff. I love the operas of composers who were in general great composers, and pay little attention to others. There is not really that much if you narrow it down that way. The five great operas of Mozart and the one of Beethoven would top my list. After that would come Wagner and Debussy. I feel that I have paid insufficient attention to Handel, and I think it hard to appreciate Monteverdi (other than Orfeo) without really knowing Italian at a near-native level. Verdi, as Charles Rosen put it, managed to rescue a trash aesthetic and turn it into true art.

Missing from that list is R. Strauss. I sure want to love him, but have never been able really to manage it.

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Re: Favorite Opera(s)

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:23 pm

vivahandel123 wrote:I cannot narrow this down to one. A few that come to mind... Lohengrin, Rodelinda, Katya Kabanova, Jenufa, Eugene Onegin, Semele, Aida.
How bout everyone else?
Eric
Wonderfully eclectic, Eric. I salute your willingness to explore!
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Post by Bob » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:33 pm

Weber's Der Freischutz

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Re: Favorite Opera(s)

Post by karlhenning » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:35 pm

vivahandel123 wrote:Lohengrin, Rodelinda, Katya Kabanova, Jenufa, Eugene Onegin, Semele, Aida.
A fascinating list, thank you.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:10 pm

Top Tier
Figaro/Poppea/Tito/Idomeneo/Rinaldo/Giulio Cesare/i Capuleti e i Montecchi/ Cendrillon/Werther/Rosenkavalier/Thais

Aida/Tosca/Turandot/Hoffmann/Carmen


Second Tier
Cosi/Flute/Rigoletto/Macbeth/Otello/Carmélites/Norma/Barber/Lakme/Fledermaus/Béatrice et Bénédict/Capriccio/L'elisir/Faust/Lohengrin/Parsifal/Tristan/Butterfly/Medea/Leonore/Traviata
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Post by Ralph » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:33 pm

Carmen
La Boheme
Rigoletto
Stiffelio
Don Carlos
The Flying Dutchman
Rienzi
Parsifal
Katya Kabanova
Jenufa
Werther
The Girl of the Golden West
Prince Igor
The Bartered Bride
Kovanschina
Tosca

and a few more.
Last edited by Ralph on Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Haydnseek » Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:36 pm

Le nozze di Figaro
Die Zauberflöte
Fidelio
La Boheme
Der Rosenkavalier
Ariadne auf Naxos
Die Meistersinger
Sir John in Love

I could add more by Mozart, Wagner and Strauss and Puccini. Aida is growing on me.
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Post by vivahandel123 » Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:49 pm

Corlyss_D and Ralph - Great lists!
But Haydnseek, I am not so sure about Sir John in Love, I had to sing a chorus from it, and well, I am not a big Ralph Vaughan Williams fan!
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Post by Brendan » Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:49 pm

Lucia di Lammermoor, Othello, Falstaff, The Cunning Little Vixen, Parsifal, Norma, Medea, La Giaconda, Manon Lescaut, La Sonnambula, Boris Godunov, The Invisible City of Kitezh, Sadko, Prince Igor, Kayshay the Immortal. . .

Many other favourites don't seem to have been mentioned.

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Post by Haydnseek » Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:33 pm

vivahandel123 wrote:Corlyss_D and Ralph - Great lists!
But Haydnseek, I am not so sure about Sir John in Love, I had to sing a chorus from it, and well, I am not a big Ralph Vaughan Williams fan!
I've only heard it in a recording so I don't know how stage-worthy it is but I really love this music. VW was inspired in his selections and settings of 16th century lyrics from other poets as well as Shakespeare which turn a prose play into something wonderfully lyrical but stay entirely true to its spirit. The warmth and “Englishness” of Shakespeare’s fine comedy were lost in Verdi’s great version and these qualities are essential to The Merry Wives of Windsor. The characterizations are very well drawn in the music. There are a couple of places in the opera where I always get a little teary. I hope I get to see it some day.
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Post by Scott Morrison » Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:01 pm

Haydnseek wrote:Le nozze di Figaro
Die Zauberflöte
Fidelio
La Boheme
Der Rosenkavalier
Ariadne auf Naxos
Die Meistersinger
Sir John in Love

I could add more by Mozart, Wagner and Strauss and Puccini. Aida is growing on me.
Amazingly, this is pretty much my list, too, except for Sir John in Love. I can hear/see each of these repeatedly without tiring. I would add Otello and Falstaff.

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Post by Lance » Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:44 pm

Very, very tough question, But when you ask yourself FAST what operas you think of FIRST, usually they are the closest to your heart. Mine:

Verdi's AÏDA
Giordano's FEDORA
Cilèa's ADRIANA LECOUVREUR

But simultaneously, give me ANY of the BELLINI or DONIZETTI operas, and most of those by VERDI. Wagner is not high on my priority list with the exception of PARSIFAL. Aren't we lucky to live in a time when we can have just about all of this at our fingertips, even several renditions of the same opera! Even the composers couldn't do that. Recordings have revolutioned our quality of living incredibly!
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Post by MahlerSnob » Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:53 pm

Sir John in Love
Didn't expect to see that title in this. I haven't heard the opera, but the set of choruses from it (In Windsor Forrest) is wonderful. I performed it back in March and it was quite fun. Needless to say, after the performance we all went out and had some "jolly good ale."

My top 5 list is as follows (in no particular order):
Peter Grimes
Lohengrin
Walkure
Gotterdammerung
Oedipus Rex (yes, I know it isn't really an opera)
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Post by springrite » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:21 pm

Salome
Wozzeck
Tosca
Lulu
Lady MacBeth
Don Giovanni
La Forza Del Destino
Les Troyens
GodDamnRing
The Vampire
Die Wildschultz
The Fiery Angel
Elektra
I Puritani
Le Fille du Regiment
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Post by Lance » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:22 pm

Did Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf write any operas? :lol:
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:26 pm

springrite wrote:GodDamnRing
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Post by MaestroDJS » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:03 pm

Interesting and understandable choices all around. Not surprisingly, my 2 favorite operas rarely turn up on anyone's list, and I'll add a few comments about them.

One favorite is the deeply-felt Doktor Faust by Ferruccio Busoni. It always reveals new secrets each time I hear it. Busoni based his opera Doktor Faust upon the original legend of Faust, which differs somewhat from the play by Goethe. In a reversal of the other operas, Busoni assigns the role of Faust to a baritone and Mephistopheles to a tenor with a very high range, which adds to his aura of evil. It's also interesting to hear an Italian composer who wrote all of his operas in German (to his own libretti), so his music straddles 2 cultures. Busoni also gave one of the best definitions of music: "Myth, metaphysics and magic."

My other favorite opera is The Rake's Progress by Igor Stravinsky. Apart from the fact that it's in English, this contains some of the most delightful music Stravinsky ever wrote. During a series of lectures at Harvard in 1939-40, Stravinsky criticized operas which were based on what he considered an artificial, meaningless system of leitmotives. In The Rake's Progress, Stravinsky modernized the concept of old-fashioned "numbers" opera with arias, duets, choruses and even recitatives. It's great fun, and also quite lyrical and moving in his hands.

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Post by springrite » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:16 pm

MaestroDJS wrote:It's also interesting to hear an Italian composer who wrote all of his operas in German (to his own libretti)
Biographically, Busoni is half German. Culturally he is probably more than 50% German. German is also his preferred language.

I should listen to Dr. Faust again. But this nomination reminds me that I have another favorite: Palestrina by Pfizner.
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Post by karlhenning » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:03 am

MahlerSnob wrote:Oedipus Rex (yes, I know it isn't really an opera)
Well, if we're including the category (yes, I know it isn't really an opera) ...

La damnation de Faust
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Post by david54706 » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:44 am

There's not much controversy about my favorite operas. All have been mentioned by others, with the exception of "Porgy and Bess". I've always been a Gershwin fan and feel his venture into opera was probably his best truly classical work. Can't help lovin' "Rhapsody in Blue" but it doesn't compare with Porgy. My favorites: :wink:

La Boheme
Madama Butterfly
Carmen
La Traviata
Porgy and Bess
Don Giovanni
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Otello
Aida
The Marriage of Figaro

But then again, how can I forget:

Il Trovatore
Lucia di Lammermoor
Rigoletto
Pagliacci
Tosca
Turandot
et al

Obviously, I have fallen in love with the most popular Operas of all time, and that list hasn't changed - much - for nearly 100 years. "Porgy and Bess" is the exception from my list. These are popular for a very good reason: they are some of the greatest music of this or any time. But we all have our favorites, and they are mostly different from other's favorites. Viva la difference!!! :lol:

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Post by operafan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:28 am

Don Carlo(s)
Simone Boccanegra
Saint Francois d'Assis
Peter Grimes
Lucrezia Borgia
I Puritani
and Brahams' German Requiem, because whenever I hear it, I can't help but mentally adding visuals.

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:48 am

operafan wrote:... Brahams' German Requiem, because whenever I hear it, I can't help but mentally adding visuals.
Oh dear ....
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Post by Haydnseek » Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:16 pm

Lance wrote:Did Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf write any operas? :lol:
Like a hen lays eggs:

http://www.operone.de/komponist/dittersdorf.html

At least one of them, "Doktor und Apotheker," is available on a CPO recording.
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Post by operafan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:50 pm

karlhenning wrote:
operafan wrote:... Brahams' German Requiem, because whenever I hear it, I can't help but mentally adding visuals.
Oh dear ....
Yep. Full Day of the (Germanic) Dead costumes, with choreography. The horns and drums that make it some of the spookiest music ever written (IMO).

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:15 pm

Spooky? But ... Brahms is always safe as milk ....
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jun 28, 2005 2:22 pm

operafan wrote:
karlhenning wrote:
operafan wrote:... Brahams' German Requiem, because whenever I hear it, I can't help but mentally adding visuals.
Oh dear ....
Yep. Full Day of the (Germanic) Dead costumes, with choreography. The horns and drums that make it some of the spookiest music ever written (IMO).
Do you mean the horns on the heads of the demons you envision while the choir is singing "Denn alles Fleisch"?

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Post by operafan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:03 pm

karlhenning wrote:Spooky? But ... Brahms is always safe as milk ....
I have not usual taste - probably most people think of Danse Macabre, or Strauss's gallows music for Till Eulenspiegel spooky, where I find Brahms in places evocative of the quiet sadness that is grief, death, loss and remorse... spooky.

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Post by operafan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
operafan wrote:
karlhenning wrote:
operafan wrote:... Brahams' German Requiem, because whenever I hear it, I can't help but mentally adding visuals.
Oh dear ....
Yep. Full Day of the (Germanic) Dead costumes, with choreography. The horns and drums that make it some of the spookiest music ever written (IMO).
Do you mean the horns on the heads of the demons you envision while the choir is singing "Denn alles Fleisch"?
:) Actually, just then I was thinking of Brahms' orchestration, I envy his ability to get the brass section right (IMO). From my childhood reading of my Barvarian Luthern minister great grandfather's picture Bibles, I still get the chills and the images that cross my mind with the Requiem. The Gustave Dore plates probably made me a better little girl than I would have been otherwise.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:56 pm

MahlerSnob wrote:Oedipus Rex
Here is another fine opera on the same subject: Oedipe by George Enescu. Yehudi Menuhin wrote: "As long as I knew my beloved and great teacher, the score of this overwhelming opera was by his side. Night and day, instead of sleeping after and between concerts, he would work at this monumental opus ... of which it can truly be said ‘Here lies the very heart and heartblood of George Enescu’."

The libretto by Edmond Fleg generally follows Sophocles, but takes some liberties in the scene with the Sphinx. Enescu took over a quarter-century to complete his score, from its first sketches to its triumphant premiere at the Paris Opera in 1936. Composer Aram Khatchaturian wrote: "Not to know Oedipe is to ignore a huge and specific stage in Enescu’s creation. It is an outstanding event in the history of opera." Conductor Piero Coppola wrote: "Oedipe is one of the most astounding works of contemporary composition."

The score makes huge demands, but the vocal lines are rich and lyrical, the orchestra (including a musical saw in one brief passage at the end of the Sphinx scene!) and chorus are expertly handled, and the opera has a considerable dramatic momentum. The final scene -- in which Oedipus bids farewell to his daughter Antigone and goes out literally in a blaze of glory -- is profoundly moving.

Dave

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Post by Febnyc » Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:42 am

For me Tosca sits on its own level, above the rest.

Why?

We immediately are vaulted into the story line. There are no ruffles and flourishes beforehand - just chords and then Angelotti appears and we at once are introduced to the man upon whom the whole tale spins but who, oddly, appears only once and then disappears (well, dies in a well - but that is only a detail).

The action is concise, with no side issues. There are no masquerades, no fantastic scenes - it all is human and possible.

There essentially are only three characters and each is a powerful person in his/her own right. We come to know each one intimately in a very short time. And they also are real, not carboard facades.

Each scene takes place in a dramatic site - the first act in a church, the second in the headquarters of the secret police and the third, an outdoor scene for the most part, but still a dark and ominous one, is on the roof and in the dungeons of the dreaded prison of the Castel Sant'Angelo. And what's more - these places really exist: one can visit them and feel the presence of Floria Tosca, Mario Cavaradossi and Baron Scarpia.

The action leads directly from one act to the other and, in the course of less than a day we are rendered breathless at the destruction of three (actually four, counting Angelotti) lives in so short a time. One day our painter is happily working in the church, the heroine is getting ready for a singing engagement that night and, perhaps, a tryst with her lover afterwards, and the evilly-doomed Chief of Police is plotting his next conquest. Then, before the next sunrise, all are dead. Whew!!!

But we don't walk away and say, "that's opera." This is a story the likes of which we might read in tomorrow's edition of our newspaper. We can feel the anger and passion of Cavaradossi. We feel the shock, revulsion, surrender and, finally, the revenge of Tosca. We feel the venality, lust and treachery of Scarpia and, perhaps, revel in his comeuppance - even though we know things are gonna get tough for our hero and heroine as a result.

I think neither a note nor a word was wasted in this opera. It carries us along, on a single track, as the action accelerates and darkens - right up to the cataclysmic ending. And then we, along with Scarpia's henchmen, are left looking over the parapets into the void as all are lost therein.

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