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Thread: Marriage of Figaro recommendations, in English if possible

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    Default Marriage of Figaro recommendations, in English if possible

    Hello. I'm pretty new to Opera, most of what I've heard from it has been excerpts that you run across listening to classical music more generally. I have been in the process of trying to introduce my kids (10 and 12) to classical music, and they are really enjoying that. I discovered, through conversation, that my son had no idea what Opera actually was ("I thought it was just people in black suits standing around singing"), and so I decided I needed to *show* him what it was. Trying to follow operatic action, in Italian, is likely too much of a stretch for this age. College students don't even like to read sub-titles. Learning the whole story beforehand so that you can follow it seems like a commitment that you only make if you already want to enjoy opera.

    I want a low bar.

    Research suggests that Mozart, especially Marriage of Figaro is about the right bar. I'd like it to be sung in English. (Google fails me because just including English brings up everything with English subtitles, putting "sung in English" may narrow the search too much--at least it didn't give me anything.) I can see that the English National Opera performed Figaro back in 2014, but as far as I can tell, hasn't released a DVD of that. So, experts and obsessed fans, what options do I have, if any?

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    Why don't you start with a DVD, they have English subtitles, they can see the acting also.
    Recording in English, this is the only one as far as I know:

    http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Chandos/CHAN3113

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Why don't you start with a DVD, they have English subtitles, they can see the acting also.
    Recording in English, this is the only one as far as I know:

    http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Chandos/CHAN3113
    I would agree with Pugg and get a DVD with subs. The Magic Flute is the only Mozart that really works well in English and would be the best opera for beginners. Please also note that the ENO hardly release DVD's now due to financial constraints and I think that the Met did an abridged version in English a few years ago. That may also be on Presto.

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    Agree with others - it's best in Italian, but Chandos has a recording in English. Two of the 4th Act arias are cut. It's an ok performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    Agree with others - it's best in Italian, but Chandos has a recording in English. Two of the 4th Act arias are cut. It's an ok performance.
    I do think that two teenagers from 10 and 12 can handle two cuts.

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    I would agree with those posting above that a DVD in the original language with English subtitles may be the best way to introduce your children to opera. They may not understand the plot (and there are elements of the plot you may not wish them to understand, depending on what you consider age-appropriate) but that is not necessary to start to get an idea of what opera is like, or to begin to appreciate opera.

    It also may make sense to start smaller than a full opera, by showing them a selected scene or act from an opera. Or even just individual arias or ensembles. Here's an solo aria, which is where a character sings about how they are feeling, or what they want. You can show recitative sections, duets and larger ensembles.


    That being said, if you want a full production of Le nozze di Figaro sung in English, Vanderbilt University has posted video from 2009 on YouTube:



    This is a student production, and the video/sound is also not that great. [It would not be an issue for those used to watching/listening to historical recordings, but may be an issue for children].

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    Another possible option is going with a different Mozart opera, Die Zauberflöte. I don't particularly understand it, but various parties have decided that this is a children's opera (perhaps due to the fantasy elements?)

    There are at least two DVDs of this opera available sung in English translation as The Magic Flute: from the Metropolitan Opera and in a recent film version directed by Kenneth Branagh. The latter is available to rent or buy digitally from Amazon; the former is available via the Met Player (with a subscription or during a free 7-day trial).

    Both versions are significantly cut, but, again, this may be a positive.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    The best Figaro is the DVD from ROH conducted by Pappano. It has subtitles so you can easily follow what is going on. Really good performance too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    I do think that two teenagers from 10 and 12 can handle two cuts.
    Of course, but this isn't just for the O.Pl.'s teenagers. It's for the O.P. too, and I hate when those arias are cut

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    What sort of kid is your son? What does he enjoy? Is he a scientist, an artist, an athlete? Does he have intellectual pursuits? Literary preferences? Did he like fairy tales or mythology as a child? Does he read novels? Poetry? Sci-fi? Fantasy? Horror? Westerns? Comic books? Nonfiction? Is he religious? What kind of music does he prefer?

    People always suggest Mozart or Puccini or Carmen or Aida as introductions to opera, but opera is diverse and different people respond to different kinds of music and drama. If you're going to start with Mozart, I'd bypass the social comedies for the moment and go right to Ingmar Bergman's film of The Magic Flute. It's less of a period piece, and so enchanting that it would hardly matter whether opera as such proved appealing or not. I might also suggest Beethoven's Fidelio, a compact opera about love, courage, freedom and justice - things the world could use more of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    Of course, but this isn't just for the O.Pl.'s teenagers. It's for the O.P. too, and I hate when those arias are cut
    I wondering if O.P remember the questions asked at all......
    Last edited by Pugg; Apr-03-2017 at 08:10.

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    Default Look out for current tour of the English Touring Opera

    Quote Originally Posted by harrism View Post
    Hello. I'm pretty new to Opera, most of what I've heard from it has been excerpts that you run across listening to classical music more generally. I have been in the process of trying to introduce my kids (10 and 12) to classical music, and they are really enjoying that. I discovered, through conversation, that my son had no idea what Opera actually was ("I thought it was just people in black suits standing around singing"), and so I decided I needed to *show* him what it was. Trying to follow operatic action, in Italian, is likely too much of a stretch for this age. College students don't even like to read sub-titles. Learning the whole story beforehand so that you can follow it seems like a commitment that you only make if you already want to enjoy opera.

    I want a low bar.

    Research suggests that Mozart, especially Marriage of Figaro is about the right bar. I'd like it to be sung in English. (Google fails me because just including English brings up everything with English subtitles, putting "sung in English" may narrow the search too much--at least it didn't give me anything.) I can see that the English National Opera performed Figaro back in 2014, but as far as I can tell, hasn't released a DVD of that. So, experts and obsessed fans, what options do I have, if any?
    They began a tour of Marriage of Figaro yesterday. In English and excellent. Funny too.Check the dates here www.englishtouringopera.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert T View Post
    They began a tour of Marriage of Figaro yesterday. In English and excellent. Funny too.Check the dates here www.englishtouringopera.org.uk
    I do hope O.P. is living in the UK.

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