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Thread: essential opera collection

  1. #1
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    Default essential opera collection

    hello chaps,

    again, i don't know much about opera and i'm looking to get into it.

    i've seen the following cd:

    http://www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayP...;-1&sku=378059

    no track listing unfortunately. does anybody know if its a good one to get me started? or are there any others to look out for?

    many thanks

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    I can't find details anywhere and don't know this set. But at £7.99 for 4 CDs I can't think you'd go far wrong if you're starting out in opera. You'll get the most popular bits from popular operas and hopefully you'll find something you like...and get primed in what you don't! If you're starting out in opera the set should narrow the field for you.

    EMI have/ have had some good singers (including Callas, who, if you'll excuse my personal view, I don't like but they have plenty of others).

    You'll almost certainly get the famous arias from The Barber, an amount of Verdi, Puccini, probably Cavalliera Rusticana (Mascagni), with luck, Donizetti (Lucia di Lammamoor in my view as beautiful an opera to listen to as see; perhaps some German drama which means Wagner; and hopefully something on the lighter side - J Strauss and/or Offenbach.

    Good luck!

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    Essential:

    Il barbiere di Siviglia - G. Rossini
    L'italiana in Algeri - G. Rossini
    L'elisir d'amore - G. Donizetti
    Don Giovanni - W. A. Mozart
    Le nozze di Figaro - W. A. Mozart
    La bohéme - G. Puccini
    Turandot - G. Puccini
    Fidelio - L. van Beethoven
    Aida - G. Verdi
    La Traviata - G. Verdi

    I suggest you to start with these mentioned here. Leave the germans for the future.

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    Manuel has already listed most of the essential operas to have in any collection.

    However, I don't think any collection is complete without a good bit of Russian Opera in it.

    Now, I will be the first to admit that I am a HUGH Russian opera/music fan, but really, I think you need some Russian opera to be complete.

    Although I could list many, I will list just one, if you can only fit just one in your collection.

    Please add, Prince Igor, by Borodin to your collection.

    It's worth it just to have the opera for the " Polovtsian Dances and Chorus."

    But the entire opera is wonderful, and is one of the best operas ever writen, Russian, or otherwise.

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    However, I don't think any collection is complete without a good bit of Russian Opera in it.
    That's completely true. I must confess that when russian operas is the subject, I'm a complete ignorant... Their only opera I know in detail is Prince Igor.

    Please add, Prince Igor, by Borodin to your collection.
    (...) the entire opera is wonderful, and is one of the best operas ever writen, Russian, or otherwise.
    I second that advise, it's wonderful.

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    No Russian opera in this, but it certainly looks to be a good place for an intro.
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    I would also argue for having Glucks Orfeo ed Euridice - at least one early baroque piece should be represented.
    Also, there is not a single French opera on the list - Bizet's Carmen must surely make the cut? It very likely has the most recognizable tunes to the non-operaphile.

    Um...How is Fidelio not a German opera?
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    How is Fidelio not a German opera?
    My bad. I meant: leave Wagner for the future.

    Also, there is not a single French opera on the list
    Really? But La boheme is listed.

    Carmen is good. I could have listed Lakmé, Le roi malgré lui, Les pecheurs de perles or L'enfant et les sortileges; but it's a 10 item starter kit... with that as a platform the newbie (not so newbie after walking through this operas) can make his own moves (eventually reaching let's say... Geburstag der infantin).

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    For me, the operas that first got me excited were not by Mozart or Rossini and I only got into those via singers I was interested in. You really can't go wrong with Puccini or Cilea when introducing someone to opera cause they have the most hummable melodies. Or something with a ton of fiery passion. I knew I loved opera when I first heard Verrett sing the Lady Macbeth murder scene, I mean, chills! So I dont know, try alot but don't think just because you don't like Don Giovanni (which I hate) that you won't find opera you love.

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    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    I don't know if you've seen my reply to the opera thread started by JANK, but I found the easiest way to get into opera was via composers I already liked. Seemed inevitable, too. Once you've listened to the seven symphonies, the two string quartets, the piano pieces, a handful of cantatas, and the ballets, if you're going to hear any more Prokofiev, you pretty much have to listen to opera.

    Fortunately, The Gambler, Love for Three Oranges, Fiery Angel, Semyon Kotko, Betrothal in a Monastery, and War and Peace are all pretty good. Maddelena is early. I don't know it well. And the only recording of Story of a Real Man is a cut version of a cut version. Regardless, if you like Mozart's symphonies and piano concerti, you're pretty well set to like the operas, too.

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    Member cato's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with some guy about the Mozart comment.

    I happen to love Mozart's symphonies, concertos, chamber works, etc.

    However, I HATE his operas.

    For me, IMHO, Mozart is much too "playful" and "comic" in his operas. It is as if everything in them is a joke. (Perhaps the joke was on the poor chaps who commisioned them. )

    I guess it's a matter of personal taste, but for me, opera, if it is to be meaningful, has to have an "edge" to it, in order to really move me. Raw emotion, not playful jokes and comic humor, gives opera the powerful force behind the singing and music. IMHO.

    To each his own, it's just that liking his other works (symphonies, chamber works, etc.) does not always mean that you will like his operas, as in my case will show.
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    Senior Member zlya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cato View Post
    For me, IMHO, Mozart is much too "playful" and "comic" in his operas.
    I guess it's a matter of personal taste, but for me, opera, if it is to be meaningful, has to have an "edge" to it, in order to really move me. Raw emotion, not playful jokes and comic humor, gives opera the powerful force behind the singing and music. IMHO.
    On the whole I agree that Mozart is quite playful, but there are some significant exceptions. For raw emotion, try the last scene of Don Giovanni. I saw it sung at the proms last year, and when the devil's chorus came in with the hell-damning moralizing bit, I swear the entire audience forgot to breathe.

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