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Thread: Top 10 All-Time Worst Opera Librettos

  1. #1
    Senior Member NickFuller's Avatar
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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    It makes sense that a number of these are from operas never performed. Euryanthe isn't named, but it's a good example of an opera with some fine music that's generally felt to have a poor libretto which Weber's musical genius couldn't overcome.

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    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    And then there is Iris, which was forgotten for a reason. Apparently Illica was into tentacle porn when he didn't have Giacosa to hold him back.

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    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Librettos and librettists are regularly raked over the coals
    Eh? In the UK, to rake over the coals is to revive a memory/incident best left forgotten. We'd say to 'haul someone over the coals' if we wanted to say that someone was getting a telling off, or subject to fierce criticism.

    Ah well, as GBS is supposed to have said, divided by a common language!
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

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    To this list I would add the unbelievably embarrassing libretto written by some English amateur for an opera by Isaac Albeniz ! called "Merlin ". The famous Spanish composer was commissioned to write a couple of operas set to librettos in English by some English eccentric whose name I can't remember .
    The plot deals with Arthurian legend and the title character is the legendary wizard Merlin .
    The libretto is written in an execrable pseudo archaic English . It's hard to tell whether the libretto embarrassing or hilarious . This opera was recorded some years ago by Decca in Spain with a Spanish cast and conductor , and I doubt it's still available . But the music is still pretty good and it's worth looking for .

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    Merlin is number 5 on the list.


    The article lost me in the first paragraph:

    Even a true Italian opera-lover like me, able to swallow the improbabilities of La sonnambula without batting an eye, may flinch as the huge wet-blanket ending of Don Carlos approaches: The not-really-dead Emperor Charles V conducts his wayward grandson into a monastery cloister. To do what? — watch old episodes of Glee on TiVo?
    I get that a TiVo joke would be more funny in 2012 but this is such an unthinking dismissal that I don't trust his opinion on the ten operas on the list. I also generally don't want to hear people complain about things they don't like; it's just so lazy.

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    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    I also generally don't want to hear people complain about things they don't like.
    I agree: that's one of the things I really don't like.
    Alan

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