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Discussion Starter · #682 ·
Are you communicating with aliens?
Let's make it about the music.

I've found listening to Liszt this week more enjoyable than I was anticipating and boy can Trifinov play!

Dante Symphony, the third Année de Pèlerinage and Allan's Piano Symphony left for me before I head back up the chronology to catch up on a few pieces I missed earlier in the year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #683 · (Edited)
A second full opera week to take us to the half-way point of our journey. More great opera than you can shake a stick at, and far too much listening for one week, so make your selections wisely. For me, I plan to revisit a couple of favourites, then head to some new-to-me works.

Level 1
Verdi, Giuseppe:
La Traviata
Wagner, Richard: Der Ring des Nimbelungun ii. Die Walküre


Wagner, Richard: Der Ring des Nimbelungun i. Das Rheingold
Wagner, Richard: Tristan und Isolde




Verdi, Giuseppe: Rigoletto



Level 2
Wagner, Richard: Der Ring des Nimbelungun iii. Siegfried
Wagner, Richard: Der Ring des Nimbelungun iv. Götterdämmerung
Verdi, Giuseppe: Aida


Verdi, Giuseppe: Otello

Level 3
Wagner, Richard: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Wagner, Richard; Tannhäuser
Bellini, Vincenzo: Norma
Wagner, Richard: Parsifal
Wagner, Richard: Der Fliegende Hollander
Offenbach, Jacques: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
Verdi, Giuseppe: Il Trovatore
Wagner, Richard: Lohengrin
Verdi, Giuseppe: Falstaff


Level 4
Gounod, Charles: Faust esp. Jewel Song


Verdi, Giuseppe: Don Carlo
Offenbach, Jacques: Orphée aux enfers
Verdi, Giuseppe: La Forza del Destino
Suppé, Franz von: Light Cavalry Overture
Verdi, Giuseppe: Nabucco esp. Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves
Bellini, Vincenzo: I Puritani
Verdi, Giuseppe: Un Ballo in Maschera

Level 5
Gounod, Charles: Romeo et Juliette
Verdi, Giuseppe: Macbeth
Offenbach, Jacques: La Belle Hélène
Flotow, Friederich von: Martha esp. Ach So Fromm

Level 6
Suppé, Franz von: Poet and Peasant Overture
Bellini, VincenzoLe Sonnambula
Verdi, Giuseppe: Simon Boccanegra
Wagner, Richard: Rienzi
Verdi, Giuseppe: Luisa Miller
Verdi, Giuseppe Ernani
Nicolai, Otto: Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor

Level 7
Bellini, Vincenzo: I Capuleti e I Montecchi
Balfe, Michael: The Bohemian Girl
Wagner, Richard: Die Feen


Honourable mentions:
Adam, Adolphe: Le Postillon de Lonjumeau & Si J'Etais Roi
Lortzing, Albert: Zar and Zimmerman
Barnett, John: The Mountain Sylph
Cornelius, Peter: The Barber of Bagdad
Strauss, Johan II: A Night in Venice
 

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The Tales of Hoffman is good fun. I’m not at all interested in those middle period Verdi operas but I can say one thing - I enjoyed Simon Boccanegra. I’d certainly be interested to know what you make of the complex Don Carlos - strange ending, and then there’s the Fontainebleau scene, and the choice of Italian or French. I’m not sure that any of these things can work from an audio recording.

Have I seen Faust? I can’t remember (maybe confusing it with Werther.)
 

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In case anyone is like me, nerdy and obsessed with Der Ring, I have found two very fun supplements to the traditional audio/visual media. And possibly good gifts for millennial and gen z friends and family of yours who are daunted by the prospect of diving into these massive operas. They'll definitely get you hooked!

1) The Ring of the Nibelung by P. Craig Russell: It's an almost line-by-line translation of the libretto, paired with high end modern graphic novel images. It's been really fun to read it while listening to the opera. It's slower than just reading it for sure, but it's almost like watching a well-done animated version of the opera. It also slows me down so that I can appreciate the art work a bit more and immerse myself into the images. It also pairs well with the collection of Arthur Rackham's images for Der Ring.



2) Siegfried by Alex Alice: a three-part re-telling/adaptation of the cycle, originally French but available in English. A more modern graphic novel. Beautiful and exciting and a lot of fun. Not quite something you can read along with the opera as the story order is quite different.




PS: Apparently P. Craig Russell, when not illustrating massive superhero or Neil Gaiman graphic novels, writes and illustrates graphic novels based on operas as his passion projects. I'm definitely going to look up his other works -- fun to see someone taking opera into a surprising new medium! He has a Pelleas & Melisande, Salome, The Magic Flute, Parsifal, Ariane & Bluebeard, I Pagliacci. And it looks like he's worked with Arizona Opera to make a Carmen graphic novel that's coming out soon. Going to scrounge around my public library to look for copies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #687 · (Edited)
The Tales of Hoffman is good fun. I’m not at all interested in those middle period Verdi operas but I can say one thing - I enjoyed Simon Boccanegra. I’d certainly be interested to know what you make of the complex Don Carlos - strange ending, and then there’s the Fontainebleau scene, and the choice of Italian or French. I’m not sure that any of these things can work from an audio recording.

Have I seen Faust? I can’t remember (maybe confusing it with Werther.)
My approach to opera is to listen and/or watch all operas nominated in the top two levels, often plus the top recommended opera of other composers, such as Gounod's Faust this week, and listen to only highlights of the rest, usually about 30-45-minutes including the overture and top-rated arias. If I really enjoy the highlights, then I'll look to download the rest of the opera. I have some highlights of Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlos that I'm hoping to have time to listen to later in the week.

I'm alternating composers each day, Verdi's La Traviata on Saturday and Wagner's Die Wauküre yesterday - Solti's cd and the Met's Levine/Terfel/Kaufmann dvd in the evening - so have Aida 'on-deck' today. Barenboim's Tristan und Isolde cd up tomorrow and the dvd in the evening. Verdi's Rigoletto - Sierra/Hvorostovsky cd & Damrau/Flores dvd - for Wednesday. Gounod's Faust and the highlights of others on Thursday and Friday. Opera weeks are always a challenge to spend enough time appreciating the piece. In a normal week, I'd get down the list to the equivalent of Rienzi. I doubt I'll get to the bottom of Level 3 this week, although I'm dipping down to sample just a few below that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #688 ·
(It's a bit late to post this now), but there is also this
Die Geisterinsel
I'll confess I'm still struggling to understand what pieces are singspiel and what aren't.

I listen to and very much enjoyed Jacob's Leonore. It seemed to me to fit the broad description of singspiel - a form of German-language music drama, now regarded as a genre of opera ... characterized by spoken dialogue, which is alternated with ensembles, songs etc. - yet it isn't 'labeled' as such as far as I can tell.
 

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My approach to opera is to listen and/or watch all operas nominated in the top two levels, often plus the top recommended opera of other composers, such as Gounod's Faust this week, and listen to only highlights of the rest, usually about 30-45-minutes including the overture and top-rated arias. If I really enjoy the highlights, then I'll look to download the rest of the opera. I have some highlights of Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlos that I'm hoping to have time to listen to later in the week.

I'm alternating composers each day, Verdi's La Traviata on Saturday and Wagner's Die Wauküre yesterday - Solti's cd and the Met's Levine/Terfel/Kaufmann dvd in the evening - so have Aida 'on-deck' today. Barenboim's Tristan und Isolde cd up tomorrow and the dvd in the evening. Verdi's Rigoletto - Sierra/Hvorostovsky cd & Damrau/Flores dvd - for Wednesday. Gounod's Faust and the highlights of others on Thursday and Friday. Opera weeks are always a challenge to spend enough time appreciating the piece. In a normal week, I'd get down the list to the equivalent of Rienzi. I doubt I'll get to the bottom of Level 3 this week, although I'm dipping down to sample just a few below that.
Bon courage
 
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