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Thread: New to Opera

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    Default New to Opera

    Lately I've been taking interest in or at least curiousity in Opera though I have yet to actually see or a hear an Opera as a whole. I kinda don't know where to start, and I'm afraid that I will be bored listening to or watching an entire Opera. My musical taste is always changing so style may or may not be relevant (I am a composer myself). I'm not a huge fan of theatre or acting but I may take interest in Opera from the standpoint of appreciating the composition. Can someone suggest where to start and why? Thanks.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    You want "The Magic Flute" by Mozart. It's opera at it's best - theatrical and musically exelent. Some parts are absolutely hillarious - like Papagena! Papagena! Papagena!, wheras other parts - like Der Holle Rache are some of the most holy and awe-inspiring works ever. Yes - listen to "The Magic Flute" and hear the voice of God - Two thumbs up!
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Definately the Magic Flute, but some of Mozart's other operas are good, too such as Don Giovanni, Cossi Fan Tutte, Marriage of Figrao, The Abduction From Serailia (sp) and Idomeneo. The Rossini and Verdi operas are great, too, but there's too much to name there, go take a look yourself!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar
    You want "The Magic Flute" by Mozart. It's opera at it's best - theatrical and musically exelent. Some parts are absolutely hillarious - like Papagena! Papagena! Papagena!, wheras other parts - like Der Holle Rache are some of the most holy and awe-inspiring works ever. Yes - listen to "The Magic Flute" and hear the voice of God - Two thumbs up!
    Yes, Die Zauberflöte fantastic opera, one of my favourites.
    Don Giovanni is another good opera, you might like that...
    hm, hm, hm, hm - pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa...

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Great suggestions so far. Maybe Rossini`s 'Barber of Seville'?

    I don`t think a person could get bored listening to Puccini`s 'Tosca'; at least, I don`t. Plenty of drama there.

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    Member vivaciouswagnerian's Avatar
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    I think your best bet, especially if your new to opera, is not to listen to one opera fully. Get one of the "opera great" cd's and listen to some of the famous arias, duets, trios, ect so you can fall in the love with the highlights, then take your own inspriations from the music that inspires you the most. Get one of the good ones though. You can usually tell if its bad if it has titiles like, "Best Opera music to listen to before sleeping" "Opera music for people who dont like opera" "Opera for the proffessional on the go", ect. (those arn't actual titles, but you know what I mean). Good luck!
    "Don't bother to look; I've composed all this already"
    -Gustav Mahler to Bruno Walter, who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria

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    I would suggest trying Madame Butterfly (Puccini) and /or Don Giovanni (Mozart). one Romantic and one classical. Also, if you like a rather antique style, try Rameau's music. I think you should think what styles you like best now and find an opera to maatch that style, more or less! THe Avant-Garde operas are just cute technical aberrations, such as minimalism,etc. probably not very rewarding. Actually, Wagner's Rheingold begins with a minimal idea, the E Flat Chord which goes on and on for many pages in the opening! But what wonders he does with it, since he is a great, not cute, composer. Bye, Del Hudson

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    Member vivaciouswagnerian's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but I have to disagree.

    "THe Avant-Garde operas are just cute technical aberrations, such as minimalism,etc."

    modern operas, in my opinion, are anything BUT cute technical abberations. Opera, and music in general, has been rooted in expressing the world around us. I think we all agree that Puccini's time, Mozart's time, etc. are not the same as ours. Therefore we can not express ourselves the same way. New styles of music, minimalism, atonality, hyperinstrumentaion, are just composers using new words to express the world. We can learn so much about ourselves through modern opera, as well as the classics. But they are quite rewarding, you just have to take the time to appreciate them.
    "Don't bother to look; I've composed all this already"
    -Gustav Mahler to Bruno Walter, who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria

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    Senior Member Celloman's Avatar
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    You might want to start with Puccini's La Boheme. It's not terribly long (about 2 hours, short for an opera) and it's quite easy to follow(except in Act II, where all the citizens sing). Best of all, the music is fantastic. In fact, La Boheme is what got me in love with opera. I was sitting in a person's car one night, and I heard it in the CD player...I've never been the same since.

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    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    Default pagliacci

    Leoncavallo's Pagliacci has prehaps the most famous aria in Italian opera which pretty much sums up the dissapiontment of finding out that your lover is cheating on you. The whole one act opera can be found on one cd. (But as a starting point you should stick to The Magic Flute by Mozart.)

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    Junior Member DanielFullard's Avatar
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    Carmen is a nice, easy introudction to opera, even if not fully representative of what you will come to hear in time

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    The only Opera that has ever really interested me is Wagner's Ring Cycle.

    However, I have to study Dido and Aeneas this year, so I'm going to have to enjoy it soon, or its going to be a miserable and long year.

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    Mozart is the best place to start in my view.

    Take your pick of Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute. All about as good in my view, although it's generally reckoned DG is the best. All this music is very easy to listen to, absolutely nothing heavy about it. You won't be bored.

    My first ever Opera was Marriage Of Figaro at age 11. I was mesmerised, and fell in love with Susannna. They couldn't drag me away. It was "E Susanna non vien! Dove Sono" that did it. One of the loveliest pieces in the whole of opera.

    If you are brave and fancy trying something a bit more demanding musically try Wagner Tristan und Isolde. But it's much heavier. Excellent though. Perhaps later.


    Topaz
    Last edited by Topaz; Dec-07-2006 at 21:31.

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    Senior Member Kurkikohtaus's Avatar
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    JANK, once you've gotten through all this Mozart, Verdi and Puccini and want to try something a little more involved, that you can appreciate from the compositional point of view, as you yourself said...

    Try Wozzeck by Alban Berg.

    This is certainly the most structurally unified and, well, composed opera ever. Each scene adheres very strictly to a structural principle, and the progression of these various structural principles create a unified whole that is unmatched by any opera.

    Furthermore, the emphasis on drama an expression is staggering and almost overwhelming on first, second, third and any subsequent hearing.

    All of this said, the question that remains about this opera for every listener: do you like this music? That's a tough call, because the music is not meant to be pleasant, quite the contrary, it is meant to express the deep psychological turmoil of the protagonists that never resolves but rather leads further and further into madness and a tragic end.

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    Senior Member 4/4player's Avatar
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    Have you listen to Rossini's "Barber Of Seville"? Has a great oveture piece, and some hilarious moments in the plot. Be sure to listen to that for a start=)
    " 'Penitence!'
    'No!'
    'Penitence!'
    'No!'
    'Penitence!'
    'No!'
    'Yes!'
    'Nooooooooooo!' [Dragged down into Hell]
    - Act two: Finale of Mozart's "Don Giovanni"

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