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Thread: A Discussion of Opera since 1975

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    Senior Member 20centrfuge's Avatar
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    Default A Discussion of Opera since 1975

    I dabble in opera but try to listen periodically to newer operas. Also, in our 1980-2000 Listening Group we’re talking about selecting an opera to explore. I know and love Nixon in China. I’m wondering which operas you opera buffs feel are worthwhile since 1975? What are your thoughts on the contemporary opera scene?
    Last edited by 20centrfuge; Jun-16-2020 at 22:29.

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    I am listening to Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise at the moment (composed from 1975 to 1983). Quite an experience! Minus the excessive use of "bird songs", I think it is a beautiful score, especially for the choral writing.



    Last edited by silentio; Jun-16-2020 at 19:21.

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    Some that I have enjoyed:

    L. Andriessen: Writing to Vermeer (1997-98)
    Aldridge: Elmer Gantry (2007)
    Benjamin: Written on Skin (2012)
    Barry: The Importance of Being Earnest (2010)
    Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles (1997)
    Carlson: Anna Karenina (2007)
    Desyatnikov: The Children of Rosenthal (2005)
    Galijov: Ainadamar (2003-05)
    Heggie: Moby Dick (2010)
    Kokkonen: The Last Temptations(1972-75)
    Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre(1975-77)
    Maw: Sophie's Choice(2002)
    Sallinen: Kullervo(1986-88)
    Saariaho: L'amour de Loin(1999-2000)

    If I had to pick one it would be the Sallinen.

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    I think you can find some more suggestions here:

    Contemporary opera

    If you love "Nixon in China", an easy recommendation is "Doctor Atomic":


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    I'm not a fan of John Adams, but he has written a few operas, so I would explore those if you liked Nixon in China. Philip Glass is worth looking into as well. His most famous operas are the trilogy of historical figures. Akhanaten, Satyagraha (about Gandhi) and Einstein on the Beach.

    My personal favourites would be:

    Thomas Ades
    Powder her Face
    The Tempest
    The Exterminating Angel

    George Benjamin
    Lessons in Love and Violence

    Harrison Birtwistle
    The Minotaur

    John Corigliano
    The Ghosts of Versailles

    Luigi Nono
    Prometeo

    Luciano Berio
    Outis

    N.

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    A while ago I looked at my favorite operas from every year since I was born. This is the list I came up with:

    1975 Luigi Nono Al gran sole carico d'amore
    1976 Philip Glass Einstein on the Beach
    1977 Thea Musgrave Mary, Queen of Scots
    1978 Aribert Reimann Lear
    1979 Wolfgang Rihm Jakob Lenz
    1980 Philip Glass Satyagraha
    1981 Karlheinz Stockhausen Donnerstag aus Licht
    1982 Stephen Paulus The Postman Always Rings Twice
    1983 Olivier Messiaen Saint François d'Assise
    1984 Aribert Reimann Die Gespenstersonate
    1985 Dorothy Rudd Moore Frederick Douglass
    1986 Richard Meale Voss
    1987 John Adams Nixon in China
    1988 Mark-Anthony Turnage Greek
    1989 Dmitri N. Smirnov Thel
    1990 Judith Weir The Vanishing Bridegroom
    1991 John Adams The Death of Klinghoffer
    1992 Wolfgang Rihm Die Eroberung von Mexico
    1993 Philippe Boesmans Reigen
    1994 Steve Reich The Cave
    1995 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face
    1996 Tobias Picker Emmeline
    1997 Bright Sheng The Silver River
    1998 Jonathan Dove Flight
    1999 Hans Werner Henze Wintermärchen
    2000 Kaija Saariaho L'Amour de Loin
    2001 Tobias Picker Thérèse Raquin
    2002 Philip Glass Galileo Galilei
    2003 Osvaldo Golijov Ainadamar
    2004 Thomas Adès The Tempest
    2005 John Adams Doctor Atomic
    2006 Kaija Saariaho Adriana Mater
    2007 Hans Werner Henze Phaedra
    2008 Harrison Birtwistle The Minotaur
    2009 Rufus Wainwright Prima Donna
    2010 Jake Heggie Moby-Dick
    2011 Kevin Puts Silent Night
    2012 David T. Little Dog Days
    2013 Philip Glass The Perfect American
    2014 Laura Kaminsky As One
    2015 Jennifer Higdon Cold Mountain
    2016 Thomas Adès The Exterminating Angel
    2017 Mohammed Fairouz The New Prince
    2018 George Benjamin Lessons in Love and Violence

    I added one for 2018, but I don't have any answers for 2019 (or 2020). And, of course, I can't claim to have seen all operas from these years (and in some cases, haven't even managed to see my pick).

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    But, in short, I like a lot of contemporary opera. I work to seek it out. I find it amazing to watch an opera without knowing what is going to happen.

    One opera that didn't quite make my list is The Lighthouse, by Peter Maxwell Davies, from 1980. There was a production by Opera Parallèle that I missed for some reason I can't remember (I lived in the Bay Area when they had this run). They have put video of their production up on YouTube; it's just over an hour long.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    A while ago I looked at my favorite operas from every year since I was born. This is the list I came up with:

    1975 Luigi Nono Al gran sole carico d'amore
    1976 Philip Glass Einstein on the Beach
    1977 Thea Musgrave Mary, Queen of Scots
    1978 Aribert Reimann Lear
    1979 Wolfgang Rihm Jakob Lenz
    1980 Philip Glass Satyagraha
    1981 Karlheinz Stockhausen Donnerstag aus Licht
    1982 Stephen Paulus The Postman Always Rings Twice
    1983 Olivier Messiaen Saint François d'Assise
    1984 Aribert Reimann Die Gespenstersonate
    1985 Dorothy Rudd Moore Frederick Douglass
    1986 Richard Meale Voss
    1987 John Adams Nixon in China
    1988 Mark-Anthony Turnage Greek
    1989 Dmitri N. Smirnov Thel
    1990 Judith Weir The Vanishing Bridegroom
    1991 John Adams The Death of Klinghoffer
    1992 Wolfgang Rihm Die Eroberung von Mexico
    1993 Philippe Boesmans Reigen
    1994 Steve Reich The Cave
    1995 Thomas Adès Powder Her Face
    1996 Tobias Picker Emmeline
    1997 Bright Sheng The Silver River
    1998 Jonathan Dove Flight
    1999 Hans Werner Henze Wintermärchen
    2000 Kaija Saariaho L'Amour de Loin
    2001 Tobias Picker Thérèse Raquin
    2002 Philip Glass Galileo Galilei
    2003 Osvaldo Golijov Ainadamar
    2004 Thomas Adès The Tempest
    2005 John Adams Doctor Atomic
    2006 Kaija Saariaho Adriana Mater
    2007 Hans Werner Henze Phaedra
    2008 Harrison Birtwistle The Minotaur
    2009 Rufus Wainwright Prima Donna
    2010 Jake Heggie Moby-Dick
    2011 Kevin Puts Silent Night
    2012 David T. Little Dog Days
    2013 Philip Glass The Perfect American
    2014 Laura Kaminsky As One
    2015 Jennifer Higdon Cold Mountain
    2016 Thomas Adès The Exterminating Angel
    2017 Mohammed Fairouz The New Prince
    2018 George Benjamin Lessons in Love and Violence

    I added one for 2018, but I don't have any answers for 2019 (or 2020). And, of course, I can't claim to have seen all operas from these years (and in some cases, haven't even managed to see my pick).
    This list is very helpful!

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