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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I notice that it seems like whenver I look at the main Forum page, there are consistently 3-4 times as many members in the Classical Music Discussion threads as in the Opera forum. I'd like to hear from many members speaking up as to whether they do or do not like opera? When you think of "classical music," do you usually exclude opera from that?

For me, I would say that it was opera that drew me into classical music (and here I mean, "classical music without singing") rather than the other way around -- but perhaps my experience is atypical

How about you?

:tiphat:

Kind regards,

George
 

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I think you will find all kind of possibilities here.

If you are interested in the numbers, you can open a poll in the general forum, or convince Artmusic to open it for you.

Personally, I love opera (is my favorite genre), but also instrumental music, or indeed also vocal music outside of opera.
 

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I would say that the original post is a good assumption to make.

I see how basically one group of people on TC (the same posting names) hang around the opera threads, rarely posting on the mainstream classical threads and vice versa.

It seems TC is divided into two segregated (by choice) camps: classical music lovers vs. opera lovers.

The two camps should get together for tea and scones once in a while.
 

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I've tried to get into opera. I had a friend who said if you just take six months exploring it, you'll be hooked. I spend two years with the specific intent of getting into it, and as a result, I have a stack of dust-covered opera recordings.

There are a few that I do like and actually listen to, but as a rule, there's something about that genre that doesn't click with me. Maybe it's having to spend the length of the opera with my head buried in a libretto cross-referencing the text with the English version or else staring at subtitles on a screen. It's too much work.

I will listen to sacred music and oratorios, because the subject matter means something to me. But opera plots don't generally speak to me in a way that would make the effort involved worth my time.

Of course, I always hold out the hope that one day I'll see the light.
 

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As a teen I listened mostly to rock music. I was exposed to classical to some degree too. Later I wanted to pursue classical but did not have the patience for classical instrumental music, so I thought to attend operas as there would be music, singing and acting, and a story. That way I felt I would not get bored. Then I was away from most any music for many years. I came back to classical in the instrumental and religious choral works, but Beethoven's Fidelio was the gateway for me into opera. Once I got a DVD of it, I was hooked. That was about three years ago and now I have about 90 opera DVDs and probably 70 or more opera on CD. I spend most of my time listening to opera, with some excursions into instrumental, mainly symphony, and oratorio, mainly Messiah.
 
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I've tried to get into opera. I had a friend who said if you just take six months exploring it, you'll be hooked. I spend two years with the specific intent of getting into it, and as a result, I have a stack of dust-covered opera recordings.

There are a few that I do like and actually listen to, but as a rule, there's something about that genre that doesn't click with me. Maybe it's having to spend the length of the opera with my head buried in a libretto cross-referencing the text with the English version or else staring at subtitles on a screen. It's too much work.

I will listen to sacred music and oratorios, because the subject matter means something to me. But opera plots don't generally speak to me in a way that would make the effort involved worth my time.

Of course, I always hold out the hope that one day I'll see the light.
Pretty much what I also happen to think. There is something fundamental in this, because I've always though human voice just as an instrument, nothing more, nothing less. I've never really listened to the words in songs, not even in my own language! So opera.... of course can be fine music, but if you cut the words and the whole story out of it, what's left?

Some vocal music, like masses I really like, but again.. I don't really care what that latin chanting really means. Well I kinda know, not exactly, but still. It just sounds wonderful (Bruckner's Te Deum just started to play in my head while typing this..)
 

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It is useful to get really familiar with an opera by watching on DVD. I have 12 DVD performances of Barber of Seville (4 still to be watched) and am so familiar with that opera, and the parts are so distinct, that when I listen to one of my 13 sets on CD I pretty much have the scene in my head and know exactly where I am in it. It produces immense enjoyment that way, but I do not have that kind of a handle on most of my opera recordings.
 
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It is useful to get really familiar with an opera by watching on DVD. I have 12 DVD performances of Barber of Seville (4 still to be watched) and am so familiar with that opera, and the parts are so distinct, that when I listen to one of my 13 sets on CD I pretty much have the scene in my head and know exactly where I am in it. It produces immense enjoyment that way, but I do not have that kind of a handle on most of my opera recordings.
I feel the same way. I love seeing operas, both on DVD and by attending live performances. Listening to opera on CD is not nearly as enjoyable as watching it, unless I've seen the opera many times and can visualize the onstage action.
 

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First of all, I'm not sure that classical music and opera are two different things. The latter is part of the former, is it not?
While I definitely appreciate opera and find many wonderful things in it, I can't really get into it. I find it rather obnoxious to listen to and can't help but feel a bit snobbish when I see one. I've had the pleasure of attending two world-class opera productions- I saw La Boheme and A Streetcar Named Desire at the Chicago Lyric Opera (the Streetcar production featured Renee Fleming as Blanche!) and I enjoyed them, but I felt like it wasn't my cup of tea. I like watching opera on television even less. Cameras and microphones do zero justice to the power and expressiveness of a singer's voice live in the flesh, which is to me the primary reason I would actually attend an opera.
 

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I'm not sure about this. Yes, there are some people who love orchestral and chamber music etc, but who don't like opera , but I'm not sure what percentage . But on the whole, classical music fans who aren't really into opera usually like at least several ones .
I enjoy all genres of classical music, period . Of course, I'm very big on opera , but my tastes are Catholic, or maybe Protestant LOL !
 

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I do not think classical lovers and opera lovers are 2 mutually exclusive groups. In fact the human voice could be addictive, especially Sopranos and Baritones. I think watching opera are more enjoyable than just listening to it. For me, opera is a subset of classical music with a story line, acting and character development etc. The challenge to me is that my default is listening rather than watching at home. If you give me a choice between a Mozart PC or a Mozart opera, I would pick the Mozart PC to listen.

However, for those opera lovers, can you identify the score on my profile picture?
 

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Opera is dominated by plot and dialogue. The music is subservient to that. That's why I'm not into it.
 

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There are two groups of people in the world, those who divide everything into two groups and those who don't.

The problem is that there is no absolute line between 'classical' and opera with a lot of works that sit in the hazy middle ground between them, the most obvious being orchestral excerpts from operas that are often performed on their own. There are some Berlioz works which usually are done in the concert hall but have also been staged (e.g. Damnation of Faust). There is Verdi's Requiem which is often considered to be his best opera! And then how about various cantatas and oratorios?
 

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First of all, I'm not sure that classical music and opera are two different things.
I have no doubt that opera is classical music. Concerning my own listening habits, I do listen to quite a lot of operas. However, I do it for the music. I'm not going to miss out on some of the most wonderful music around just because it has an opera umbrella hovering over it.
 

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My own love of classical music started with opera. I learned to appreciate music plus voice plus storyline before I learned to love "pure" music. My journey has been somewhat in the opposite direction from that of Florestan: from opera to instrumental music to other vocal music, and most of my very recent listening has been both opera and non-operatic vocal works. So I am both a classical music lover AND an opera lover.
 

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I only care for Puccini. I have not delved deeply into why this is so, but perhaps opera lovers far more knowledgeable than I (which will be a really big number) can explain why this might be. I do certainly love the big Puccini arias. The morbidezza perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
First of all, I'm not sure that classical music and opera are two different things. The latter is part of the former, is it not?
While I definitely appreciate opera and find many wonderful things in it, I can't really get into it. I find it rather obnoxious to listen to and can't help but feel a bit snobbish when I see one. I've had the pleasure of attending two world-class opera productions- I saw La Boheme and A Streetcar Named Desire at the Chicago Lyric Opera (the Streetcar production featured Renee Fleming as Blanche!) and I enjoyed them, but I felt like it wasn't my cup of tea. I like watching opera on television even less. Cameras and microphones do zero justice to the power and expressiveness of a singer's voice live in the flesh, which is to me the primary reason I would actually attend an opera.
Of course one is a subset of the other, I was merely wondering how many people prefer largely/exclusively instrumental works to those with sung music in addition to instrumental music (and of course I know there is unaccompanied vocal music as well).

It does seem like there is a pretty clear divide among some here, as well as considerable numbers of people who like opera as well as instrumental/orchestral music without singing.

For me my "discovery" of classical music, as I said, came first through (mostly) opera, as well as another route of which I will write perhaps tomorrow. It was none other than Joan Sutherland (before she was Dame Joan) and the Art of the Prima Donna (the original set, in which she cracks a high F on the Queen of the Night aria; but the most memorable then and now was "Let the Bright Seraphim") that made me think, "Wow! This woman sings like a musical instrument--a very large and powerful one. I wonder if I could sing in some manner like that?" I had joined the Columbia Record Club, back when LPs were just coming into vogue. I remember my first six like they were yesterday: Ravel's Bolero, Pavane pour une Infante Defunte, Ibert's España; Jan Peerce singing Viennese operetta songs in translation; Joanie; the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and a Handel Messiah greatest hits LP. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. (I note that there was no "pure" non-programmatic instrumental classical music in that first group; that would come later.)

:tiphat:

Kind regards,

George

I've enjoyed your comments, please continue them!

Kind regards,

George
 

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Opera is dominated by plot and dialogue. The music is subservient to that. That's why I'm not into it.
Exactly what I would have said.

I do like parts of operas like overtures and some arias but overall operas bore me and the visuals and non-musical plots do nothing for me.

(Too bad Wagner wrote so much opera instead of focusing his musical talent on symphonies)
 
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