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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi

Looking for 5 DVD/Bluray ''guilty-pleasure''' recommendations as a Bank Holiday purchase. Please specify follow-ups from each category, but avoid atonal operas which emphasize declamatory vocal writing. (Obviously, I don't mind a bit!). I don't like Wagner. I'm staying off Italian opera at the moment as I have a lot of it already and want to experience the different languages of opera, both musically and just to listen to another language being sung per se. Include product covers and some highlights to listen out for. Please avoid productions with nudity, although I'm open to modern productions if it helps bring the story over clearer. I am a slow learner and get a lot of insight from this forum, but don't know where to continue from where I already am on my journey of discovery.

Nautical

I already own Bizet's Les Pecheures De Perles (Met in HD), Britten's Peter Grimes (ROH), and Dvorak's Rusalka (Met in HD, Glyndebourne, ENO, Teatro Real, Polish National Opera). Where next?

French opera


I already own Bizet's Carmen and Les Pecheures De Perles (see above regarding the latter), Berlioz's Les Troyens (way too long for me), Gounod's Faust (ROH) and Romeo Et Juliette (ROH; a bit too long for me) Saint-Saens's Samson Et Dalila (ROH and Met), and Debussy's Pelleas Et Melisande (WNO; quite boring and static). I also own Massenet's Manon (DG, with Villazon and Netrebko), and Werther (Decca, with Kaufmann. For some reason, I've always felt that Massenet is more suited to CD than DVD; he lacks drama). Am I watching the ''wrong kind'' of French opera? All the above seem too long and heavy. Where next?

Russian and other Slavic opera


I already own Glinka's Ruslan & Lyudmilla (Kirov; should I get the more recent Bolshoi one with Jurowski), Tchaikovsky's Yevgeny Onyegin (Met in HD with Fleming), Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov (a bit too declamatory and long) and Rimsky Korsakov's Sadko (which I haven't watched yet); Kirov). I also have Dvorak's Rusalka (see above), and Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen (Glyndebourne; a bit declamatory, but otherwise very beautiful to watch with all the animals and nature with which the opera concerns itself). Where next? I like a balance of epic and fairy tale Slavic operas.

Operetta


I already own Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus (ROH, Bavarian State Opera, Morbisch Festival), Eine Nacht In Venedig (Morbisch) and Der Zigeunerbaron (Morbisch). I also have Lehar's The Merry Widow (Met in HD, sung in English) and Das Land Des Lachelns (Opernhaus Zurich). Where next? Maybe G & S?

Looking forward to reading your recommendations.

Louis Solomons
 

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Berlioz has written two short compared to Les Troyens gems: Benvenuto Cellini and La Damnacion de Faust. Both exist in interesting productions by Terry Gilliam. There is also DVD of Faust from Salzburg with Kazarova :love:, Groves and White. Again in Salzburg there was a production of Cellini, where Ascanio (Aldrich) was a robot.
 

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As for "nautical", Der Fliegende Hollander and first act of Tristan und Isolde are both connected to ships and sea.
Another nautical opera is of course Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. I can remember at least spanish production with Christine Rice as Penelope and swiss with Kazarova and young Kaufman.
Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko and The tale of Tzar Saltan are nautical.
 

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Blurays don't exist for any of my favorite singers but I envy people who can enjoy their singers with that technology. Good luck in your purchases. What about the Valencia Die Walkure. It was FUN:
 

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Onegin is very popular among opera directors. From one such a production Yury Temirkanov left after he had seen what they had been going to produce. As I know, there is a DVD of Kirov production with Leyferkus as Onegin. I'm not sure if any performances with best current Mariinsky Onegin - Markov were shot (I wish there were Stikhina as Tatiana). Stoyanova sang in dutch production, which was at least broadcasted. The production itself was so pretty awful that you can't stop watching it.
Most of modern Queens of spades if don't take place in brothels, than show different hints on sex.
 

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Recent Ruslan from Bolshoi is not only conducted by Yurovsky and sung by splendid Shagimuratova, but also directed by Tcherniakov. Don't say you were not warned.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Recent Ruslan from Bolshoi is not only conducted by Yurovsky and sung by splendid Shagimuratova, but also directed by Tcherniakov. Don't say you were not warned.
I know, but would you recommend it as a next step in Russian opera? Glinka's other opera A Life For The Tsar isn't available in the UK, nor on YouTube with English subtitles.
 

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American opera is an exciting field to explore:

Carlisle Floyd - Susannah


Samuel Barber - Vanessa


Douglas Moore - The Ballad of Baby Doe

 

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Discussion Starter #10
American opera is an exciting field to explore:

Carlisle Floyd - Susannah


Samuel Barber - Vanessa


Douglas Moore - The Ballad of Baby Doe

Thanks. This would be a new field for me, and I come from Italian and French opera of the 19th century mainly. Where should I start and why? Are any DVDs available?
 

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I know, but would you recommend it as a next step in Russian opera? Glinka's other opera A Life For The Tsar isn't available in the UK, nor on YouTube with English subtitles.
If you are not afraid of contemporary productions, you certainly should watch it. The cast is uneven but the whole performance is better than staging and wardrobe. And Glinka is extremely rare on DVD. The only Life for the Tzar I know is a production from Mariinsky. They rarely shoot anything. Soviet productions are of edited opera, called Ivan Susanin.
 

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Thanks. This would be a new field for me, and I come from Italian and French opera of the 19th century mainly. Where should I start and why? Are any DVDs available?
Those three American operas are my suggestions on where to start (assuming you've heard Porgy & Bess). Why? I suppose because they have entered the repertory of major opera companies and are generally considered "masterpieces."

I would guess that there are DVDs available. A search on Amazon ought to provide you with the ones available. You can also find some YouTube complete performances.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you are not afraid of contemporary productions, you certainly should watch it. The cast is uneven but the whole performance is better than staging and wardrobe. And Glinka is extremely rare on DVD. The only Life for the Tzar I know is a production from Mariinsky. They rarely shoot anything. Soviet productions are of edited opera, called Ivan Susanin.
I'm open to contemporary productions if they help bring out the story in a way that is easier to understand and enjoy. I didn't mind the TV screen in the pictures I saw online and have read positive reviews so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Those three American operas are my suggestions on where to start (assuming you've heard Porgy & Bess). Why? I suppose because they have entered the repertory of major opera companies and are generally considered "masterpieces."

I would guess that there are DVDs available. A search on Amazon ought to provide you with the ones available. You can also find some YouTube complete performances.
Thanks. I own the SFO production of Gershwin's ''Porgy and Bess''. What recital album would you recommend I listen to in order to get to more American opera, before I embark on DVDs?
 

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Returning to russian opera, do you consider XX century? Prokofiev has Fiery Angel and Love to three oranges. And Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Rake's progress. But these are not russian, the former is in Latin, the latter is in English.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Returning to russian opera, do you consider XX century? Prokofiev has Fiery Angel and Love to three oranges. And Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Rake's progress. But these are not russian, the former is in Latin, the latter is in English.
I prefer the 19th century for Russian opera. I've just seen the trailer for the Ruslan and kind of liked it. Can you recommend any recital discs of Russian opera that I should listen to in order to experience it more in general?
 

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Rimsky-Korsakov, of course, shouldn't be avoided. Especially The tale of the invisible city of Kitezh. But its duration could scare away.
 
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