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Culture Forum

  1. Subscriber Kewpie
    since 1-Feb-07
    03 Sep '12 10:54
    Not tone-deaf, but hasn't really been exposed to opera, and never seen a live performance. Likes some orchestral music, mostly the lighter classics.

    Off the top of my head, I'd have chosen La Boheme, La Traviata, Tales of Hoffman. Any other suggestions?
  2. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    03 Sep '12 12:05
    Originally posted by Kewpie
    Not tone-deaf, but hasn't really been exposed to opera, and never seen a live performance. Likes some orchestral music, mostly the lighter classics.

    Off the top of my head, I'd have chosen La Boheme, La Traviata, Tales of Hoffman. Any other suggestions?
    Anything by Mozart.
  3. Subscriber Kewpie
    since 1-Feb-07
    03 Sep '12 12:48
    Magic Flute maybe, don't think any of the others would be suitable, do you?
  4. Standard member mikelom
    Ajarn
    03 Sep '12 13:16
    Bizet's Carmen...... don't forget that one. 😉

    -m.
  5. 03 Sep '12 14:20
    Favourite composers: Bizet (Carmen and The Pearl Fishers), Puccini (Tosca) and Rossini.
  6. 03 Sep '12 14:42
    The standard repertoire is full of wonderful opera. The one Kewpie mentions are all standards. Rwingett correctly mentions anything by Mozart. Magic Flute is great, but even greater is Don Giovanni. Le Nozze di Figaro is a close second. Cosi Fan Tutte is wonderful. Beethoven's Fidelio is a must. Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice is wonderful. Weber's Der Freischutze. Meyerbeer's Fra Daviolo. Middle to late Verdi, such as the ones already mentioned above, but also Othello, his masterwork. Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. Puccini's Tosca, madama Butterfly, Turandot and La Boheme. Giordano's Andrea Chenier. Massenet's Manon and Werther. Gounod's Faust. Cilea's L'Arlesiana and Adriana Lecovreur. Wagner's Ring and Parsifal or Tristan und Isolde. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Humperdink's Hansel und Gretel. Bellini's Norma and La Sonnambula. Donizetti's Lucia di Lamermoor. Handel's Julio Cesare. Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Berlioz Les Troyennes. Monteverdi's L'Incoronazzione di Poppea.

    As you can see there is a lifetime's worth of opera to listen to and then some. You might want to try compilations of arias by the greats and prime your ear for what you might like better. However, once you get hooked you will want to listen over and over. Opera is one of history's great art forms and should be enjoyed by all! I am sure I left out great favorites. The above list is off the top of my head. I have seen all the above operas except for Parsifal and Les Troyennes.
  7. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    03 Sep '12 19:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Kewpie
    Magic Flute maybe, don't think any of the others would be suitable, do you?
    After having seen about a half dozen operas, it just seems to me that Mozart is more accessible to the opera novice than some others might be. Anything by him would be good. Whatever happens to be showing by you.
  8. 03 Sep '12 21:49
    I left our Rossini entirely. Oops! One of most accessible of all operas is L'Italiana in Algieri "Italian Girl in Algiers". It is fun, colorful, muscially accessible and wonderful. It will make you laugh so hard your sides will split. Kewpie also mentions Tales of Hoffman. Operetta is always accessible. Strauss' Die Fledermaus is quite entertaining indeed. Orpheus in the Underworld, also by Offenbach is a wonderful operetta. Someone else mentioned Carmen. Next best to actually going to the opera house is watching one of Franco Zefirelli's operas on film. His Carmen is wonderful as is his Tosca, La Boheme and many others. His La Boheme has the gorgeous Anna Netrebko and the very competent Rolando Villazon in it. Zefirelli's operas are available in full length form on youtube.
  9. 13 Sep '12 23:40
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    The standard repertoire is full of wonderful opera. The one Kewpie mentions are all standards. Rwingett correctly mentions anything by Mozart. Magic Flute is great, but even greater is Don Giovanni. Le Nozze di Figaro is a close second. Cosi Fan Tutte is wonderful. Beethoven's Fidelio is a must. Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice is wonderful. Weber's Der Freisc ...[text shortened]... . I have seen all the above operas except for Parsifal and Les Troyennes.
    I saw Les Troyens in London just a couple of months ago. Slightly over-elaborate production, and the ballets drag a little in the central section, but the final act was exquisite (the modulation from Hylas' lyrical aria to the final atmosphere of despair and menace was brought off superbly). And we had a very good Aeneas, equal to both the romantic and martial aspects of his role.

    Monteverdi's greatest opera is Orfeo. His central aria, sung to Charon as he appeals to be carried across the Styx, is one of the most moving musical experiences I know.
  10. 14 Sep '12 11:23
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    I saw Les Troyens in London just a couple of months ago. Slightly over-elaborate production, and the ballets drag a little in the central section, but the final act was exquisite (the modulation from Hylas' lyrical aria to the final atmosphere of despair and menace was brought off superbly). And we had a very good Aeneas, equal to both the romantic and mar ...[text shortened]... e appeals to be carried across the Styx, is one of the most moving musical experiences I know.
    I love Monteverdi, but have never heard Orfeo before. Les Troyens can be a bit overdone because Berlioz was indeed a proto-Wagner, grandiose, garrulous at times, overwrought and bombastic. However, he was a genius of his trade and the opera contains wonderful music. Have you listened to his Harold in Italy? It is amazing indeed and evidences a depth of feeling unlike his other works for he wrote it as a commission by Paganini and Berlioz' second symphony.

    I made a huge mistake in my operas list. Did you detect it? I am not referring to the spelling mistake in Les Troyens.

    We have a reduced opera season this coming one because of budget issues/finances. We will get Aida, Turandot and Aspern Papers. Nver been a fan of Argento so I'll skip that one.
  11. 15 Sep '12 06:12
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    I left our Rossini entirely. Oops! One of most accessible of all operas is L'Italiana in Algieri "Italian Girl in Algiers". It is fun, colorful, muscially accessible and wonderful. It will make you laugh so hard your sides will split. Kewpie also mentions Tales of Hoffman. Operetta is always accessible. Strauss' Die Fledermaus is quite entertaining inde ...[text shortened]... t Rolando Villazon in it. Zefirelli's operas are available in full length form on youtube.
    I love Carmen and Tosca - strong women, strong emotions - and they refuse to compromise.
  12. 15 Sep '12 23:20
    Originally posted by lolof
    I love Carmen and Tosca - strong women, strong emotions - and they refuse to compromise.
    Opera is full of strong women. Strong men as well. None stronger than Andrea Chenier. Simmone Bocanegra is one of the strongest. Cleopatra certainly much stronger than Carmen, but indeed not as heroic as Floria Tosca. One thing making opera compelling is that the characters seem real and seldom caricatured except through casting fat divas playing women dying of tuberculosis like in Traviata.
  13. 16 Sep '12 01:38
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    I love Monteverdi, but have never heard Orfeo before. Les Troyens can be a bit overdone because Berlioz was indeed a proto-Wagner, grandiose, garrulous at times, overwrought and bombastic. However, he was a genius of his trade and the opera contains wonderful music. Have you listened to his Harold in Italy? It is amazing indeed and evidences a depth of ...[text shortened]... e will get Aida, Turandot and Aspern Papers. Nver been a fan of Argento so I'll skip that one.
    The mistake is that Fra Diavolo is by Auber, not Meyerbeer.

    I don't know Harold in Italy - I'm less devoted to orchestral music than the opera. But I'll look into it!

    I've got a Magic Flute and a Cosi fan Tutte coming up in London and Oxford over the next few weeks - and the rarer chance to see Martinu's Julietta too. Then we have a real Meyerbeer, Robert le Diable, towards Christmas.

    Orfeo is sublime - I've loved it since I saw a student production as an undergraduate at Cambridge in the late 1990s. I've listened to Adrian Rogers' recording many times. Monteverdi's other two extant operas I know only from recordings. One of the opera houses in Berlin is staging all three of them next year - I am seriously thinking about flying over for them!
  14. 16 Sep '12 02:42
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    The mistake is that Fra Diavolo is by Auber, not Meyerbeer.

    I don't know Harold in Italy - I'm less devoted to orchestral music than the opera. But I'll look into it!

    I've got a Magic Flute and a Cosi fan Tutte coming up in London and Oxford over the next few weeks - and the rarer chance to see Martinu's Julietta too. Then we have a real Meyerbeer, R ...[text shortened]... aging all three of them next year - I am seriously thinking about flying over for them!
    And you are correct. I always twist the two operas in my mind! I love Auber, but also Meyerbeer.

    I saw La Incoronazzione di Poppea in the early nineties. It was a wonderful production despite it depicting a tall, muscular, brawny Nero when in reality he was pudgy, redheaded and squatty. Poppea was as beautiful as billed!

    You would enjoy Harold in Italy, a most unusual and remarkable work. Me, I like all sorts of classical ranging from piano sonatas, small ensembles like duets, trios, quartets, lieder, chamber music, choral music. I am especially fond of oratorios and sacred music like masses, Stabat Mater, Te Deum, motets, Requiems, Allegri's Miserere. Some of Verdi's best is contained within his massive requiem for Manzoni. Haydn's Creation contains some of the most gorgeous and imaginative arias one could ever hear. Bach's Mass in B Minor is quite possibly one of history's greatest works.
  15. 17 Sep '12 04:52
    Do you like comedy? If so check out The Marriage of Figaro