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Thread: Where to begin?

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    Default Where to begin?

    Hi

    I am mainly an ancient/religious music enthusiast. But listening radio while communting I have recently discovered that opera can also warm my emotions in a way never before have experienced.
    I have absolutely no idea and so I am looking for advice on opera DVD's to initiate myself.
    Think that italian opera would be a good way to begin. Am I correct? Any advice?
    Looking for DVD's beacuse I think that visual is of great importance in opera and I have good home hifi to experience it.

    Thanks a lot
    Vicente Vida

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicente View Post
    Hi

    I am mainly an ancient/religious music enthusiast. But listening radio while communting I have recently discovered that opera can also warm my emotions in a way never before have experienced.
    I have absolutely no idea and so I am looking for advice on opera DVD's to initiate myself.
    Think that italian opera would be a good way to begin. Am I correct? Any advice?
    Looking for DVD's beacuse I think that visual is of great importance in opera and I have good home hifi to experience it.

    Thanks a lot
    Vicente Vida
    Hello Vincente.
    Your fellow member from Spain is doing this,
    Nos 1-20 - 2020 TC Top 100+ Recommended Operas List

    Start reading that, and try following up.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Thanks a lot.
    So, I Will begin with Boulez Ring. Eager to watch it.

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    Senior Member Rogerx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicente View Post
    Thanks a lot.
    So, I Will begin with Boulez Ring. Eager to watch it.
    If you wish,yes, but lots of Italian operas also on the list, little easier on the ear.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerx View Post
    If you wish,yes, but lots of Italian operas also on the list, little easier on the ear.
    That's what I stated in my first post.
    As economist I am little bit square mimded, so I thought it was a good idea to begin with #1.
    Karajan's Madame Butterfly will be a good place to begin with.
    Thanks a lot.
    Vicente Vida

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    You stated you enjoy religious so perhaps you should consider these DVD's :
    1. Poulenc - Dialogues des Carmelites with Patricia Racette
    2. Puccini - Madama Butterfly with Renata Scotto
    3. Verdi - Aida with Leontyne Price
    4. Puccini - Tosca with Magda Olivero
    5. Halevy - La Juive with Neil Shicoff
    Last edited by nina foresti; Feb-20-2020 at 16:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    You stated you enjoy religious so perhaps you should consider these DVD's :
    1. Poulenc - Dialogues des Carmelites with Patricia Racette
    2. Puccini - Madama Butterfly with Renata Scotto
    3. Verdi - Aida with Leontyne Price
    4. Puccini - Tosca with Magda Olivero
    5. Halevy - La Juive with Neil Shicoff
    Thanks a lot. Will begin with Madama Butterfly.
    Scotto version has been released in DVD?

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    So sorry. I got too excited about the CD. But I have seen the Met Racette DVD which was also quite fine.

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    For Butterfly, the older Karajan DVD with Freni and Domingo can't be beat.

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    This is a tough question to answer. I started to explore opera with Verdi and Puccini. I liked their works ok, but it wasn't until I heard Le nozze di Figaro that I went completely nuts for opera. That led to other Mozart operas, which led to other composers, which led back to Puccini and Verdi, which I fell in love with. Mozart turned opera from a mild interest to a full blown passion, and through him I learned to appreciate and fall in love with so many other composers and works. I fell in love with Puccini and Verdi through Mozart. I fell in love with everything through him.

    You should probably explore different languages and different periods. I would explore the following:

    Madama Butterly - great romantic period opera (I'd recommend Karajan's with Pavarotti and Freni), Italian.
    Le nozze di Figaro - classical period opera, and perhaps the greatest opera ever written (I'd recommend Rene Jacobs recording), Italian.
    Carmen - Just full of fun music (I'd recommend the Callas recording, as you should experience her. She is the greatest their ever was), French.
    Boris Godunov - One of my most favorite works. Grand opera at its grandest (I'd recommend Gergiev's recording), Russian.
    Die Zauberflöte - Another Mozart hit (I'd recommend the first Solti recording with Christina Deutekom) German.
    Artaserse - Leonardo Vinci's great baroque period masterpiece and it's a counter-tenor feast (the Diego Fasolis recording with the five countertenors is a revelation), Italian.

    I think these are a good start. All are masterpieces and all will give you a taste of the different periods (baroque, classical, romantic) as well as different languages (french, german, italian and russian).

    We can all state recommendations up and down but you are going to like what you like and not like what you don't like. Had I discovered Mozart before Verdi and Puccini, my passion would have been ignited 5 years earlier than it was.

    I know these aren't DVDs, but wanted to share my perspective.
    Last edited by gellio; Feb-21-2020 at 03:20.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicente View Post
    Thanks a lot.
    So, I Will begin with Boulez Ring. Eager to watch it.
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Ring. It is one of my most favorite works. I am completely and totally obsessed with it. I have over 30 recordings of it on CD and DVD. But, I would not advise starting with The Ring. It's way too big of a pill to swallow. It took me years to fully appreciate it. Years.
    Last edited by gellio; Feb-21-2020 at 03:21.
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    Very many thanks. I Will take into account your recommendations.
    Already have begun with Madama Butterfly ans really enjoying it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gellio View Post
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Ring. It is one of my most favorite works. I am completely and totally obsessed with it. I have over 30 recordings of it on CD and DVD. But, I would not advise starting with The Ring. It's way too big of a pill to swallow. It took me years to fully appreciate it. Years.
    There's absolutely no predicting what will light the opera fire in an individual. I would never advise against beginning with any particular composer or work. I enjoyed a variety of operas as a young person, but the ones that gripped me most were the Ring, Tristan and Parsifal. By contrast, I quickly lost interest in some of the "easy" popular favorites such as Carmen, La Boheme and Aida, and Mozart, except for Die Zauberflote, did nothing for me at all.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Feb-21-2020 at 18:15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    There's absolutely no predicting what will light the opera fire in an individual. I would never advise against beginning with any particular composer or work. I enjoyed a variety of operas as a young person, but the ones that gripped me most were the Ring, Tristan and Parsifal. By contrast, I quickly lost interest in some of the "easy" popular favorites such as Carmen, La Boheme and Aida, and Mozart, except for Die Zauberflote, did nothing for me at all.
    That's fair enough, but the Ring is a massive undertaking. I was overwhelmed by it when I started getting into it, and as I said, it took me years to fully appreciate it, but you are right.

    The Ring journey was interesting for me, because the first thing I went searching for was The Ride of the Valkyries, then I listened to the beginning and end of each of the four, then I started with Siegfried (oddly), then Rheingold, then Gotterdammerung, then Walkure. Talk about all over the place. Siegfried still my favorite of the 4 Ring operas. It took a long time before I could listen from the opening note of Rheingold to the closing bars of Gotterdammerung. It's just so awe-inspiring.

    Anyway, this is an exciting journey to begin for anyone.
    Last edited by gellio; Feb-21-2020 at 21:08.
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    I personally started opera with Verdi's Rigoletto conducted by Solti.

    It is not subtle but it is tremendously exciting and well sung. Excellent introduction to opera. At around the same time I had the good fortune to acquire a side (one sided LP!) of Mozart's Figaro and also excerpts from Carmen. Carmen is of course one of those rarities - a complete masterpiece that everyone can enjoy! Don't let the fact that it is popular put you off - there his often a reason why certain operas are popular!
    If you try Wagner I would suggest first a disc of highlights (as I did) because unless you are going to be a Wagner fan you are liable to be put off by the sheer longueurs of it all.
    Last edited by DavidA; Feb-21-2020 at 21:27.

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