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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions thus far. However, I'm finding it a bit difficult to follow. Please refer to my original post and just choose one out of each category, with a product image as a recommended recording. I am looking to buy 4 or 5 operas.
 

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Queen of spades was recorded in 2015 in Germany by Maris Janssons, with Tatiana Serjan as Lisa. I know that historic recording of Life for the Tzar with Christoff exists. Many of the main russian operas were recorded in Soviet Union, lately and rarely in Russia and also in Europe, especially in Germany (including remastered old recordings). For example, there is Kitezh of the 1990-s with soloists of the time and Khovanschina and Maiden of Orleans with Preobrazhenskaya. Another question is what is available at Amazon or discogs. I think there must be offers of vinyl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Queen of spades was recorded in 2015 in Germany by Maris Janssons, with Tatiana Serjan as Lisa. I know that historic recording of Life for the Tzar with Christoff exists. Many of the main russian operas were recorded in Soviet Union, lately and rarely in Russia and also in Europe, especially in Germany (including remastered old recordings). For example, there is Kitezh of the 1990-s with soloists of the time and Khovanschina and Maiden of Orleans with Preobrazhenskaya. Another question is what is available at Amazon or discogs. I think there must be offers of vinyl.
OK. Are there any ''lighter'' Russian operas than Queen Of Spades? I don't think I'm quite ready for it yet. Maybe some fairy tale ones by Rimsky-Korsakov? What French, nautical, and operetta work would you recommend to go with it?
 

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I am not aware of specifics but I do know that there are videos available of R-K's Le Coq D'Or which would definitely fit into the lighter, fairy tale style
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Just saw the trailer for the Naxos DVD of Gounod's ''Mirelle''. The music is so beautiful and sensuous and it may just turn me on again to French opera. Anyone else know the work? How long is it?

Or is Offenbach more tuneful and engaging?
 

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Well. The fairy tales or relatively light russian operas are:
The golden cockerel (but it's political satyr under the guise of a fairy tale) .
The tale of Tzar Saltan.
Sadko and Ruslan and Liudmila, mentioned above.
Kaschey the Immortal (defined by Rimski-Kórsakov as springtime fairy tale).
The night before Christmas by Rimski-Kórsakov and Tcherevichki (Boots) by Tchaikovsky, based on the same story (a true buffa, but it's useful to know the original story by Gogol).
Rusalka by Dargomyzhsky.
Of course, how could I forget about Tzar's bride. It's a tragedy in its best and has one of the most logical and distinct plots in opera. There are enough productions, also recording with Vishnevskaya and Siniavskaya.
 

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French opera[/B]

he lacks drama). Am I watching the ''wrong kind'' of French opera? All the above seem too long and heavy. Where next?
There are lots of lighter/comic operas but they are not very popular anymore (and I don't know about recordings, DVDs). The most famous is Offenbach who wrote one great (postmodern) opera "Les contes d'Hoffmann) and many lighter ones. Others that used to be famous within living memory: Adam: Postillon de Longjumeau, Auber: Fra Diavolo, Boieldieu: La dame blanche. It's probably best to check excerpts on youtube first if you like that general style.

You could also try Gluck: Iphigenie en Tauride (1780s, begins with a storm, so some nautical aspect, too...)

Operetta[/B]

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?
You got the most famous Austrian operettas well covered and while there is more (especially Kalman) it has become mostly niche today. Gilbert and Sullivan is a somewhat different style (and I cannot give any help here) but probably worth trying.
You might also consider French operetta/opera comique by Offenbach or one of the German comic operas that used to be rather popular (similar to operettas) until a few decades ago, such as Nicolai: "The merry wives of Windsor" or Lortzing: Zar und Zimmermann (Peter the Great incognito in Holland Another one that is between operetta and comic opera is Millöcker: "Der Bettelstudent" (incognito nobleman as poor student)
 

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Nautical
  • Billy Budd (Britten). Here's the classic BBC film.
  • Cristoforo Colombo (Franchetti) – written for the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. Here's the Act II finale, rightly described as "amazing".
  • Vasco de Gama (Meyerbeer) – partly set aboard a sailing ship. Here are some highlights.

French opera
  • If you want French opera that isn’t long and heavy: OFFENBACH. La grande duchesse de Gérolstein, Les brigands (there used to be a delightful production on YouTube, but it's been taken down - see highlights), La belle Hélène (highlights), Orphée aux enfers (highlights), La vie parisienne, La Périchole; one-act works like Ba-ta-clan (which is silly, but enormous fun - like this), M. Choufleuri restera chez lui le… (with a trio in made-up Italian), Les bavards (with a brilliant patter song).
  • You might also want to explore the opéra-comique repertoire (as Kreisler jr suggested): Boieldieu’s Dame blanche (overture), Auber’s Fra Diavolo (overture) and Domino noir (maybe La Sirène, too), Herold’s Pré-aux-clercs (with its earworm trio), Chabrier’s Roi malgré lui and L'étoile, Rabaud’s Mârouf, savetier du Caire, as well as Rossini’s Comte Ory and Donizetti’s Fille du régiment, possibly earlier works like Monsigny’s Roi et fermier (light, but delightful) or Grétry’s Richard Cœur-de-Lion ("O Richard, ô mon roi!") , zanier stuff like Hervé (e.g. V'lan dans l'oeil)
  • Look, Manon and Werther are Massenet’s most famous operas, but they’re not his best, by any means. Try Cendrillon (done by the Met), Grisélidis (highlights), Le jongleur de Notre-Dame, Thérèse, Don Quichotte… (I’d suggest Ariane if you can read French, and Roma if you can find the St-Etienne recording!) I wrote up Massenet for Music Web International a few years ago.
  • I’d suggest Meyerbeer’s Huguenots (highlights) and Prophète (highlights; complete version) and Halévy’s Juive (complete version), but you might find them long and heavy! For a lighter version of grand opéra, try Auber’s Muette de Portici (highlights) or Herold’s Zampa.
  • Don’t give up on Berlioz. Les Troyens is a patchy work of genius; Les Troyens à Carthage has wonderful music, but does lack drama. Have you heard Benvenuto Cellini (highlights)?
  • There’s some terrific stuff in the late 18th century, too. GLUCK’s Iphigénie en Aulide (highlights) and the sublime en Tauride, Salieri’s Danaïdes (with its finale in hell) and Tarare (1988 production), Grétry’s Andromaque (highlights), Sacchini’s Œdipe à Colone (Act I finale), Cherubini’s Lodoïska (where Romantic opera begins) and Médée (which hisses like a basketful of snakes, and which, hourra!, the Met will do).
  • A friend loves Lili Boulanger’s Faust et Hélène.

Russian and other opera
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone. This is what I'm thinking of, but note the questions in bold type and feel free to suggest appropriate alternatives.

Nautical: Britten: Billy Budd. Is it too atonal and heavy for now?
Slavic:
Rimsky-Korsakov: May Night/The Tzar's Bride/Smetana: The Bartered Bride.
French: Gounod: Mireille. Just curious as to what this is. Watched the trailer on YouTube for the Naxos release and quite liked it.
BONUS:
An opera or operetta gala. You choose! (I have Baden Baden, Metropolitan Opera, and James Levine 25th Anniversary already though).

Feel free to choose one from each category and include product images too. Thanks.


Louis Solomons
 

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What other opera film would you recommend as a good starting point?
I'm not sure if there are many. First thing that comes to the mind is Zeffirelli's La Traviata with Stratas and Domingo. The were other Traviatas shoot for TV too, with Moffo, for example.
There are also several staging of Ponelle, shoot as films, I might mention Cosi and Rigoletto.
Of course, there is magnificent Katerina Izmailova with Vishnevskaya, not sure if there are english subtitles.
 
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