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Thread: Opera with the largest orchestra?

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Default Opera with the largest orchestra?

    What opera (either standard repertoire or obscure) has the largest orchestra?

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Verdi, Wagner and Strauss (Richard): big, bigger, biggest.

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    Did you mean "opera" or "composer"?
    And when you say "orchestra" does this include the choruses as well?

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nina foresti View Post
    Did you mean "opera" or "composer"?
    And when you say "orchestra" does this include the choruses as well?
    I mean which single opera has the most players in just the orchestra.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    I’d guess Die Frau Ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss

    Supposedly Messiaen’s Saint François dAssise has a huge orchestra, but I’m not sure - do the birds count?
    Last edited by MAS; Sep-25-2020 at 04:30.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post

    Supposedly Messiaen’s Saint François dAssise has a huge orchestra, but I’m not sure - do the birds count?
    It has a massive percussion section and three ondes martenots! 110 musicians in all, according to Wikipediea.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    It has a massive percussion section and three ondes martenots! 110 musicians in all, according to Wikipediea.
    According to Wikipedia, Die Frau ohne Schatten has 164 players in the orchestra, making it the biggest one mentioned yet. Wikipedia also says that Elektra has approximately 110 players in the orchestra, so that's huge as well.

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    Senior Member MAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    According to Wikipedia, Die Frau ohne Schatten has 164 players in the orchestra, making it the biggest one mentioned yet. Wikipedia also says that Elektra has approximately 110 players in the orchestra, so that's huge as well.
    I was going to mention Elektra as well, as it is a huge sound when seeing it live.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    I was going to mention Elektra as well, as it is a huge sound when seeing it live.
    Maybe that's why I find so much of both Elektra and FROSCH just too loud. I don't really like either opera for that reason.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    If you count Der Ring as one opera, does that beat FROSCH?

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    If you count Der Ring as one opera, does that beat FROSCH?

    N.
    It depends on how many instruments it has in the orchestra. It's hard to top 164 instruments, or fit them all in the orchestra pit.
    Last edited by adriesba; Sep-25-2020 at 12:47.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    It depends on how many instruments it has in the orchestra. It's hard to top 164 instruments, or fit them all in the orchestra pit.
    But you wouldn't have to fit them all in the pit on the same night.

    N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    But you wouldn't have to fit them all in the pit on the same night.

    N.
    The instrumentation for each opera is similar though. So either way, the bulk of the orchestra has to be there each night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    Maybe that's why I find so much of both Elektra and FROSCH just too loud. I don't really like either opera for that reason.
    I found Elektra mesmerizing when I first saw it. I don’t think I breathed for the entire length of it. I love the ancient myths and stories of Ancient Greece, and this one fits the bill, not to mention the music matching the tragic story. It’s an assault on the senses and yet, beautiful in its cacophonous way.

    I hate the noise of the uncouth Baron in Der Rosenkavalier more than that of Elektra.
    Last edited by MAS; Sep-25-2020 at 13:38.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAS View Post
    I found Elektra mesmerizing when I first saw it. I don’t think I breathed for the entire length of it. I love the ancient myths and stories of Ancient Greece, and this one fits the bill, not to mention the music matching the tragic story. It’s an assault on the senses and yet, beautiful in its cacophonous way.

    I hate the noise of the uncouth Baron in Der Rosenkavalier more than that of Elektra.
    Elektra and Rosenkavalier remind me somewhat of Dante's Inferno and Paradiso. The former are horrendous in their barbarity and cruelty and in many ways the ethereal beauty of the latter are to be preferred. Light over darkness. However, most people find Inferno's extremes of human suffering more interesting than Paradiso's eternal comfort. I feel similarly about the two Strauss operas. Elektra holds my interest in a way that Rosenkavalier doesn't. (It helps that Elektra is over in less than two hours, though.)

    N.

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