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Thread: Underrated or little-know operas that you like.

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    Senior Member OldFashionedGirl's Avatar
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    Default Underrated or little-know operas that you like.

    What operas do you like that are little-know or you considered are underrated? And also what operas do you think deserve to have more recognition?

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    Senior Member Revenant's Avatar
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    Die Tote Stadt by Erich Wolfgang Korngold might fit this category. Aside from the ubiquitous Mariettes Lied, I think the opera itself has been somewhat underrated and deserved more than the one (afaik) recorded version that was available for a long time. I suspect that this might be changing as I've learned that there is a new recording out there.
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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    I think Suor Angelica is a very beautiful, moving opera. Unfortunately my opinion is not shared by many!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
    Die Tote Stadt by Erich Wolfgang Korngold might fit this category. Aside from the ubiquitous Mariettes Lied, I think the opera itself has been somewhat underrated and deserved more than the one (afaik) recorded version that was available for a long time. I suspect that this might be changing as I've learned that there is a new recording out there.
    My favourite CD recording:



    And the DVD that I think might have pushed this gorgeous opera into my current top ten:

    Natalie

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Mariette's lied is not nearly as nice as the big baritone song a bit later on (can't remember the name off the top of my head). Big ups to Suor Angelica also - one of my favs

    Before this thread really kicks off:

    I've recently been impressed by Die Gezeichneten by Franz Schreker which is full of lovely moments
    Abduction from the Seraglio is so delightful - easily as delightful as Cosi and Don G (but probably not quite as amazing as Figaro)
    The fact that list of top operas don't always include Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges means that it's criminally underrated

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    The fact that list of top operas don't always include Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges means that it's criminally underrated
    If this doesn't convince people, they are made of stone:



    Natalie

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    Mariette's lied is not nearly as nice as the big baritone song a bit later on (can't remember the name off the top of my head).
    "Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen" - I think it trumps Mariette's Lied as well.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    I love this opera. And this is a great recording of it.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

    "Man does not live by bread alone......"

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    I was in the audience at Frankfurt at the time of the recording of Vogt's and Weigel's version of Die Tote Stadt. It was a very nice evening, with Vogt at his best in the role of Paul. I rate, however, the classical Leinsdorf's recording and the one of Runnicles at Szalburg just as high in my preferences.

    I also equally love the two songs that are part of the fiction, Marietta's and Pierrot's. The duet "Glück das mir verblieb" is wonderfully inspired, and sickly romantic. This is a great version, by Anton Dermota and Hilde Zadek:



    "Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen" is also a great piece, and one of the staples of baritone's repertory in German. This splendid version is by Karl Hammes in 1930, in my favorite tempo, and with a wonderful effect by the eight sopranos choir in the background (starting at 2:18):



    However, if I were to select only one fragment of the opera, I would probably go for Paul's monologue in the First Act, just after meeting Frank. We can hear the rendition of Torsten Kerl in a recent production:



    We have a thread devoted to Die Tote Stadt here at TC:

    Second thread of the Opera In-Depth Project: Die Tote Stadt

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    I'm disappointed to enter thread about 'little known" operas and read so many familiar titles - Die Tote Stadt? I saw it mentioned so often ever since I started to read opera forums here and elsewhere. It appears to be among sub-favourites for lots of people. And Suor Angelica? Come on, it's Puccini.

    I may complain about that because I'm mean geezer who likes to complain or maybe because it's sad how people have their circle of interest with circumference reaching no further than to operas such as these and yet they think they're really deep into the subject. With such notion they feel no need to dig further and the truely little known and underrated operas remain as they are.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I love Korngold's Die Tote Stadt, Schreker's Die Gezeichneten, Puccini's Suor Angelica, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges... and certainly Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel... which I have three recordings of... but I must agree with Aramis; these are surely not "little-known" operas. I suspect most of Vivaldi's operas and quite a few of Handel's are less well known than almost any of these works.

    Some "less well known" operas that I like include:

    Daniel Catán's Rappaccini's Daughter (based on a tale by Hawthorne re-imagined by Octavio Paz):



    Also by Daniel Catán is the marvelous Florencia en el Amazonas:



    Both are Neo-Romantic in style and suggest elements of Puccini, Debussy, Richard Strauss, Korngold, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Berg.

    Schubert most likely would have eventually become an astonishing operatic composer considering his mastery in composing for the voice, and the strength of his late orchestral works. Unfortunately, as a largely unknown composer, he was forced to work with the most mediocre (and worse) librettos. The resulting efforts are uneven... with brilliant passages... and those that are less than brilliant. Perhaps his strongest effort, outside of his Rosamunde... which is more of a play with music than an opera... is Fierrabras:

    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Another opera worthy of exploration is surely Paer's Leonora... based on the same French libretto that the libretto for Beethoven's Fidelio was based on. There are more than a few marvelous passages... indeed it is quite good... and has been afforded a recording with some rather talented singers:



    Johann Strauss II is known for his overtures almost as much as his waltzes... yet only Die Fledermaus seems to have remained in the regular repertoire. This is a loss considering that both Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron) and Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) have much to recommend them... including brilliant post-War recordings with Erich Kunz, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Otto Ackermann:



    Yet even more obscure is Simplicius based on the darkly comic 17th century German novel Simplicius Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen set during the dark days of the 30 Years War:

    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

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    I only discovered Enescu's Oedipe recently... but it is every bit worthy of hearing:



    Some operas SHOULDN'T be virtually unknown... but they really are. I have rarely ever heard mention of Stravinsky's Le Rossignol:



    ... yet it is truly a marvelous piece.

    Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle is an Expressionist masterpiece worthy of being placed alongside Strauss' Salome and Elektra and Berg's Lulu... but again it is rarely mentioned... in spite of a magnificent recording with the husband and wife team of Ludwig and Berry:

    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

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    Other operas that SHOULDN'T be little known include almost any by Berlioz... who seems sadly underrated by many. I would especially draw attention to his Béatrice et Bénédict:



    With the exception of Orphée et Euridice/Orfeo ed Eurydice and perhaps Alceste, Gluck is another composer whose operas are grossly underrated.

    Philémon & Baucis, Iphigénie en Aulide, Iphigénie en Tauride, Ezio, Armide, and Paride ed Elena...



    ... as well as Orphée et Euridice/Orfeo ed Eurydice and Alceste, are all worth exploring... especially by anyone who admires the operas of Handel and/or Mozart as they represent the transition from Handel and Baroque opera toward Mozart's classicism. Not only are they historically important... but they are actually damn fine operas.



    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

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    A truly delicious, sumptuous French bon-bon is Jacques Ibert's Persée et Andromède which turns the original classical legend upon its head in true French, comic/absurd style:

    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

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