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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my quest to rediscover opera all over again, I need some DVD recommendations for a good selection of operas that aren't too heavy, but nevertheless will make a good (re) starting point. If you come up with a top 10 list of "basic to intermediate level" operas from I'd be grateful. I gravitate towards Italian, French and a bit of Russian opera. No Wagner or Karajan please!
 

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As I write in a different thread, my opera passion was renewed after several years of ignoring this genre. The triger was a videotaped version of Il Pirata by Bellini by Javier Camarena and Sonya Yoncheva from Madrid. Maybe it will work for your rediscoveries as well. They do not sell it at many places, because it had been streamed once and you can find it on internet for free. However, here is the DVD offer, if you insist.


It is a bel canto piece, which is easy to like immediately.

(I recommended this opera before, but did not know you want a DVD to actually watch it. The recommendation in the other thread was sound only).
 

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My first childhood opera at 7 yo, so you bet it is as easy as it gets:

Bartered Bride by Smetana
A comic opera, good ending, a lot of dancing in the rhythm of polka or furiant.
A DVD with 2 very good singers, the MET level, Peter Dvorsky and Gabriela Benackova. They are technically Slovak, but our language is so similar to Czech, that you can consider them native speakers. The chorus and instrumentation are Czech, from Prague.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My first childhood opera at 7 yo, so you bet it is as easy as it gets:

Bartered Bride by Smetana
A comic opera, good ending, a lot of dancing in the rhythm of polka or furiant.
A DVD with 2 very good singers, the MET level, Peter Dvorsky and Gabriela Benackova. They are technically Slovak, but our language is so similar to Czech, that you can consider them native speakers. The chorus and instrumentation are Czech, from Prague.

I understand that this is a film rather than a staged production. Since "opera on film" is new to me, should I start out with something more familiar like La Boheme?
 

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I understand that this is a film rather than a staged production. Since "opera on film" is new to me, should I start out with something more familiar like La Boheme?
To me, there is no substantial difference between a film and a staged production. Only the film is a little more watchable.

Sure, You know what type of opera you need.
I am biased by the region I come from, so Smetana is not exotic for me.
 

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Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Myaskovsky, Rachmaninoff, Bruckner, Massenet, Schumann, Wagner, Strauss, Bax.
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Try:
  • Verdi: Rigoletto
  • Verdi: Otello
  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly
  • Ponchelli: La Gioconda
  • Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla
  • Dargomyzhsky: Rusalka
  • Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (The Little Slippers)
  • Lalo: Le Roi d'Ys
  • Chausson: Le roi Arthus (King Arthur)
  • Massenet: Esclarmonde
Also well worth considering:
  • Merikanto: Juha
  • Pylkkanen: Mare & Her Son
  • Nielsen: Maskarade
  • Poulenc: La voix humaine (The Human Voice)
  • Ravel: L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells)
  • Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: The Golden Cockerel
  • Rubinstein: The Demon
  • Lysenko: Taras Bulba
  • Hanson: Merry Mount
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Try:
  • Verdi: Rigoletto
  • Verdi: Otello
  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly
  • Ponchelli: La Gioconda
  • Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla
  • Dargomyzhsky: Rusalka
  • Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (The Little Slippers)
  • Lalo: Le Roi d'Ys
  • Chausson: Le roi Arthus (King Arthur)
  • Massenet: Esclarmonde
Also well worth considering:
  • Merikanto: Juha
  • Pylkkanen: Mare & Her Son
  • Nielsen: Maskarade
  • Poulenc: La voix humaine (The Human Voice)
  • Ravel: L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells)
  • Janacek: The Cunning Little Vixen
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: The Golden Cockerel
  • Rubinstein: The Demon
  • Lysenko: Taras Bulba
  • Hanson: Merry Mount
Thank you for this list. In the first group, I already own the first five operas listed, and was initially considering adding Tchaikovsky's Cherevichki to the mix. I think there's a DVD of the Lalo opera, and I'll try and locate the other two, or else stream recordings. (I have ''The Rough Guide To Opera'' to help with CD recommendations). In the second list, the only opera I own is Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen. Thank you for your help.
 

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Thank you for this list. In the first group, I already own the first five operas listed, and was initially considering adding Tchaikovsky's Cherevichki to the mix. I think there's a DVD of the Lalo opera, and I'll try and locate the other two, or else stream recordings. (I have ''The Rough Guide To Opera'' to help with CD recommendations). In the second list, the only opera I own is Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen. Thank you for your help.
You're welcome.
(y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Any ideas for the best Rigoletto on DVD/Bluray that stays away from nudity, and has someone other than Leo Nucci in the title role? I find that he shouts too much at times. NOTE: I already have the Metropolitan Opera peoduction from 1977 with Cornell MacNeil in the title role, and Placido Domingo as the Duke.
 

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Any ideas for the best Rigoletto on DVD/Bluray that stays away from nudity, and has someone other than Leo Nucci in the title role? I find that he shouts too much at times. NOTE: I already have the Metropolitan Opera peoduction from 1977 with Cornell MacNeil in the title role, and Placido Domingo as the Duke.
How about this one?
Poster Music Font Entertainment Performing arts
 

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Thanks. I'm also considering a new Otello and have chosen the Royal Opera House one with Placido Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and Sergei Leiferkus in the principal roles. Sir Georg Solti conducts in the pit.
That should suffice. The only recording I have is the Decca one with Karajan.
 

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For Russian opera on DVD have a look at the following:

Glinka
Ruslan and Lyudmila - (Gergiev) See a young Anna Netrebko in her finest moments.

Borodin
Prince Igor - (Gergiev) Another classic Mariinsky production.

Tchaikovsky
Eugene Onegin - (Gergiev) A superb cast in a stunning production from the Met all in the best possible sound.
Queen of Spades - (Gergiev) Just get all of Gergiev's Russian opera DVDs. Most of them are excellent.
Mazeppa - (Gergiev) Not as well known as the two main Tchaikovsky operas, but worth sampling.

Rimsky-Korsakov
Sadko - (Gergiev)
The Golden Cockerel - (Gergiev)
(Two gorgeously Russian fairy tale operas)

Prokofiev
War and Peace - (Gergiev) A great adaptation of Tolstoy's classic epic.
Betrothal in a Monsatery - (Gergiev) Another chance to see young Netrebko in action.

That's more than enough for you to start with, but there's loads of jewels out there, especially among Rimsky-Korsakov's and Tchaikovsky's lesser known works.

N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For Russian opera on DVD have a look at the following:

Glinka
Ruslan and Lyudmila - (Gergiev) See a young Anna Netrebko in her finest moments.

Borodin
Prince Igor - (Gergiev) Another classic Mariinsky production.

Tchaikovsky
Eugene Onegin - (Gergiev) A superb cast in a stunning production from the Met all in the best possible sound.
Queen of Spades - (Gergiev) Just get all of Gergiev's Russian opera DVDs. Most of them are excellent.
Mazeppa - (Gergiev) Not as well known as the two main Tchaikovsky operas, but worth sampling.

Rimsky-Korsakov
Sadko - (Gergiev)
The Golden Cockerel - (Gergiev)
(Two gorgeously Russian fairy tale operas)

Prokofiev
War and Peace - (Gergiev) A great adaptation of Tolstoy's classic epic.
Betrothal in a Monsatery - (Gergiev) Another chance to see young Netrebko in action.

That's more than enough for you to start with, but there's loads of jewels out there, especially among Rimsky-Korsakov's and Tchaikovsky's lesser known works.

N.
Thank you for these recommendations. I already own the Glinka, Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onyegin, Borodin's Prince Igor, and Rimsky Korsakov's Sadko, all conducted by Valery Gergiev. I might now try out Rimsky Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, in the 1983 Bolshoi Opera production (rather than the 2014 Tcherniakov one from Berlin with Daniel Barenboim conducting). I may consider listening or watching some of the others on another occasion, as I also want to buy some more Italian opera, and specifically the lighter Bel Canto repertory (e.g. L'Elisir, Barbiere, etc).

Would you be interested in meeting me and maybe we could watch something together?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This afternoon, I watched the production of Verdi's Otello from Covent Garden with Placido Domingo in the title role and Sir Georg Solti in the pit. Extremely moving! I now need a recommendation for a "high jinks" comic opera (or operetta) in a good production (not too outlandish though) that greatly contrasts it. Any Ideas?
 

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Most of these are film adaptations of opera; that way, you get the immediacy of cinema, as well as the opera. These are good films as well as good opera productions! I've linked to YouTube videos, so you can get a taste.

MOZART
Don Giovanni (1979 Joseph Losey, w. Ruggero Raimondi, José van Dam, Kiri Te Kanawa, Teresa Berganza) - Filmed on location in Italy.
Trailer: Losey's Don Giovanni (1979)-- Trailer - YouTube

MUSSORGSKY
Boris Godunov (1989 Andrzej Zulwaski, w. Ruggero Raimondi)
Coronation scene: Boris Godunov - Mussorgsky (Coronation Scene) - YouTube

PUCCINI
Tosca (1976 Gianfranco de Bosio, w. Raina Kabaivanska, Plácido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes)
Filmed on location in Rome - a classic.
Tosca (full movie), Kabaivanska, Domingo, Milnes. Director Gianfranco De Bosio 1976. - YouTube

Madama Butterfly (1995 Frédéric Mitterrand, w. Ying Huang, Richard Toxell, Ning Liang)
Puccini: Madama Butterfly - YouTube

STRAUSS
Salome (1975 Götz Friedrich, w. Teresa Stratas, Astrid Varnay, Bernd Weikl)
Strauss Salome Teresa Stratas 1975 ln 5 lang. Cc by Etcohod - YouTube

VERDI
Rigoletto (1979 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, w. Ingvar Wixell, Edita Gruberová, Luciano Pavarotti)
Giuseppe Verdi - Rigoletto - Pavarotti, Gruberova, Wixell - Chailly - YouTube

La Traviata (1983 Franco Zeffirelli, w. Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo)
Verdi: La traviata (excerpt) - YouTube

Otello (1986 Franco Zeffirelli, w.. Plácido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, Justino Diaz)
Official Trailer - OTELLO (1986, Placido Domingo, Franco Zeffirelli) - YouTube

ERKEL
Bánk Bán (2002 Csaba Káel, w. Éva Marton)
Hungarian grand opera, with a mad scene and a killer of a confrontation scene.
Erkel Ferenc - Bank Ban - with English Subtitles - YouTube

SOMETHING LIGHTER
Rossini: L'italiana in Algeri (1987 Schwetzingen Festival)
L'Italiana in Algeri Finale Act 1 - YouTube

Gilbert & Sullivan: Patience (1995 Opera Australia)


If a local cinema shows opera broadcasts (from the Met or elsewhere), I'd recommend going to those, too.
 
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