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Thread: Experiencing Verdi

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Question Experiencing Verdi

    I have just bought ''Experiencing Verdi'' by Donald Sanders, in which he explores twelve of the composer's operas. They are Oberto, Nabucco, Ernani, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Un Ballo In Maschera, Don Carlo, Aida, Otello, and Falstaff. (The author also analyses the Messa Da Requiem). I intend on watching each opera after I've read about it in order to enhance my enjoyment of the experience. Can anyone provide an order in which to watch the other operas after the twelve mentioned above (and which of the early ones to miss out if they're really weak)? Thanks in advance.

    Looking forward to reading your suggestions.

    Louis Solomons

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisMasterMusic View Post
    I have just bought ''Experiencing Verdi'' by Donald Sanders, in which he explores twelve of the composer's operas. They are Oberto, Nabucco, Ernani, Macbeth, Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Un Ballo In Maschera, Don Carlo, Aida, Otello, and Falstaff. (The author also analyses the Messa Da Requiem). I intend on watching each opera after I've read about it in order to enhance my enjoyment of the experience. Can anyone provide an order in which to watch the other operas after the twelve mentioned above (and which of the early ones to miss out if they're really weak)? Thanks in advance.

    Looking forward to reading your suggestions.

    Louis Solomons
    I would certainly seek out Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino - they contain some great music. After those, I'd suggest Luisa Miller and I Vespri Sicliani. I'm sure others may disagree, but I think that you can safely pass on the rest.

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I would certainly seek out Simon Boccanegra and La Forza del Destino - they contain some great music. After those, I'd suggest Luisa Miller and I Vespri Sicliani. I'm sure others may disagree, but I think that you can safely pass on the rest.
    OK. For Simon Boccanegra, I only have the ''Tutto Verdi'' one. There's one with Chernov and one with Milnes (both from the Met. Are either of these good? For La Forza Del Destino, I have the Met 1984 production with Leontyne Price (which, despite great singing, is static for acting purposes). Any alternatives?

    As far as Luisa Miller, I have the Met 1979 production with Domingo, Scotto, & Milnes, as well as the production in the ''Tutto Verdi'' set (with Cedolins, Alvarez, and Nucci). The Met one seems to be the classic recommendation. Regarding I Vespri Sicliani, what can you recommend? Isn't there a performance from La Scala; correct me if I'm wrong.

    I'll start with the twelve operas listed in my book though.
    Last edited by LouisMasterMusic; Oct-15-2021 at 14:10.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisMasterMusic View Post
    OK. For Simon Boccanegra, I only have the ''Tutto Verdi'' one. There's one with Chernov and one with Milnes (both from the Met. Are either of these good? For La Forza Del Destino, I have the Met 1984 production with Leontyne Price (which, despite great singing, is static for acting purposes). Any alternatives?

    As far as Luisa Miller, I have the Met 1979 production with Domingo, Scotto, & Milnes, as well as the production in the ''Tutto Verdi'' set (with Cedolins, Alvarez, and Nucci). The Met one seems to be the classic recommendation. Regarding I Vespri Sicliani, what can you recommend? Isn't there a performance from La Scala; correct me if I'm wrong.

    I'll start with the twelve operas listed in my book though.
    I have to confess that I'm a "prima la musica" type. When I can't go to a live performance, I stick to audio only recordings, and rarely watch opera on video. I prefer the visuals that I create in my own mind based on the libretto and composer's stage directions.

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I have to confess that I'm a "prima la musica" type. When I can't go to a live performance, I stick to audio only recordings, and rarely watch opera on video. I prefer the visuals that I create in my own mind based on the libretto and composer's stage directions.
    OK. Thanks for your thoughts though.

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    Senior Member Azol's Avatar
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    Simon Boccanegra is not the best starting point for someone new to Verdi operas.

    I'd say go for

    1) Nabucco
    2) Rigoletto
    3) La Traviata
    4) Don Carlo
    5) Aida
    6) Otello

    from your list, as these are essential. Then you are basically free to explore. If you enjoy Nabucco then go for Attila and Lombardi etc. At some point you would want to hear Forza del destino and Il Trovatore (and Simon Boccanerga of course).
    Last edited by Azol; Oct-15-2021 at 16:38.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azol View Post
    Simon Boccanegra is not the best starting point for someone new to Verdi operas.
    I would agree with this 1,000%. I also agree on Nabucco being a top choice to listen to first, but I would follow it with Traviata, Trovatore and Rigoletto, then Aida, Don Carlo and Otello. Don Carlo is BY FAR my favorite Verdi opera.
    Last edited by gellio; Oct-31-2021 at 20:41.
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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azol View Post
    Simon Boccanegra is not the best starting point for someone new to Verdi operas.

    I'd say go for

    1) Nabucco
    2) Rigoletto
    3) La Traviata
    4) Don Carlo
    5) Aida
    6) Otello

    from your list, as these are essential. Then you are basically free to explore. If you enjoy Nabucco then go for Attila and Lombardi etc. At some point you would want to hear Forza del destino and Il Trovatore (and Simon Boccanerga of course).
    It’s a list in the order of composition?

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    If you are going to watch rather than just have an audio experience start with Falstaff.
    Last edited by JTS; Oct-31-2021 at 22:00.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    1983 Met performance of Ernani features a lot of great singing. It's on YT.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpB0V9QVWuE

    The other earlier operas I enjoy on CD are Luisa Miller w/ Moffo and Bergonzi, and La Battaglia di Legnano conducted by Gardelli. Another good video on YT is Il Trovatore w/ JOSÉ CURA, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaHyOu3dedY&t=1508s
    In Mahler I usually prefer the Solti approach -caveman having a seisure whips orchestra into a frenzy!! - Radames, TC member

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    I would agree with this 1,000%. I also agree on Nabucco being a top choice to listen to first, but I would follow it with Traviata, Trovatore and Rigoletto, then Aida, Don Carlo and Otello. Don Carlo is BY FAR my favorite Verdi opera.
    Thanks. Could you please advise on DVDs/Blurays of Trovatore, Rigoletto, Don Carlo (Italian version though; I'm thinking of the one from the Met with Domingo), and Otello (non Domingo, as I have him already). Maybe Kaufmann or Botha, let me know. (I have sufficient Traviata and Aida performances in my collection).

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    Senior Member LouisMasterMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    I would agree with this 1,000%. I also agree on Nabucco being a top choice to listen to first, but I would follow it with Traviata, Trovatore and Rigoletto
    Would you honestly recommend watching Traviata, Trovatore, and Rigoletto in reverse order, and not the other way around?

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    If you're just starting off with Verdi, it's best to start with some tuneful toe tappers like the middle three.
    Rigoletto, Traviata and Trovatore.
    Then move on to Aida. More rousing tunes and some bombast coming into play.
    You could listen to some very early Verdi which has a tuneful Donizetti flavour to them.
    Only after that should you start into the likes of Don Carlo, Otello & Falstaff.

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