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Bernd Alois Zimmermann
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Actually, it would help me a lot if I understood the languages (Italian, German, French, etc), perhaps I could find a way for opera to reach me. English opera is good, Gilbert & Sullivan is pleasing to my ear. It's in my English frame of reference. I am not a good judge of operatic emotion, and that is acquired over time.

Simply said, I guess it's all Greek to me! <smiles>
Completely disagree. If you can understand the words then it detracts from the performance for me and turns the human voice from an instrument into a source of ridicule.

I remember many moons ago, my first and only time attending the ENO to hear Wagner. It took me until the middle of A1S1 of Parsifal to realise they were singing in English (oddly enough, they still used surtitles). I could not take the performance seriously after that, and left after the interval. It was like watching a Monty Python sketch…
 

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For me Classical music is MUSIC not singing or song, which I had in my pop days. I want pure music without words or the human voice.
Music is psychological to me in affect, without words to help or guide me. But still the music makes sense ie tonal music.
I have some vocal music, but only from favourite composers, and very little opera.
Pure music has a very powerful affect on me, very different from the great writers and poets I grew up with ie Literature.
I think wordy people like myself may be more moved by pure music than those who are musical themselves and take it for granted.
As for opera itself, it is only music theatre ,and I am not a fan of theatre. I prefer documentaries to fictionalised drama, which is often very improbable or one-sided.
Music for me is just that-MUSIC!
If you want song, choral or opera that is a different world.
The best music I have found is Classical Music, and I speak as an outsider!
I think this is a big misunderstanding of opera. Opera is music first and foremost and theatre second. Beyond stylistic differences in the music, I would argue this is the key factor distinguishing opera from musical theatre. There is, of course, a theatrical component to opera, but even this is developed by the music; the characters and their nuances, the plot and its emotional subtleties, and even, sometimes, the setting, are elaborated upon by the music and the singing and not the other way around.

Maria Callas, possibly the greatest operatic actress we have film of was once asked how to act in opera. Her response was to simply listen to the music.

Someone else I believe mentioned this earlier in the thread, but this is the reason we credit the composer as having written the opera and not the librettist, as in the case of stage dramas, or the director, as in the case of films.
 

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I only started listening to classical music seriously about a year and a half ago, and at first I avoided opera because of its reputation as being “difficult”. After diving into Mozart’s instrumental music I eventually gave his operas a chance, and to my delight I immediately loved them. Then Wagner’s operas, then Handel’s, and I’ve loved it all. I plan to listen to Verdi soon as well.

I enjoy watching operas (with subtitles) for the combination of the music and the drama, and I also enjoy just listening to the music (without a libretto). Since I do not speak German or Italian, listening without a libretto essentially allows the operas to be “pure” music, with the voices basically serving as additional instruments. I love being able to enjoy operas in both ways, so I actually only want to follow the meaning of the words when I’m watching an opera, and I do not want to follow the meaning of the words when I’m just listening.
 

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I've just been listening to Britten's The Turn of The Screw on CD.
What a wonderful and fascinating work that is! And this from someone who doesn't like opera!
The instrumentation is unique and you can hear all the voices clearly, although it helps that they sing in English.It is virtually a chamber opera with only 6 characters and small orchestra.
The version is on Naxos label and features Philip Langridge and Felicity Lott with Stuart Bedford.
Strongly recommended to those who haven't heard it or think they don't like opera! This is exceptional!A masterpiece!
 

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My favourite composers are Mozart and Wagner but I have never seen or listened to an opera. Maybe that says something bad about me.
It actually confuses the hell out of me. How could you be a Wagner fan without having heard his operas? Odd.
 
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I was wondering about the same thing: Siegfried Idyll and bleeding chunks? And this is enough for a favorite?

I am pretty sure I would be much more into opera if I lived in a city like Vienna or Berlin (or even half as good as the opera options are concerned). I did attend opera more often in the past when I had more opportunities but I never had the great opera options of some European large cities. I collected most of the famous operas (and more) on my shelves but I only rarely feel like listening to it nowadays.
 

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Just like with the string quartet, I like some operas despite them being operas. I have attended to a few such magnificent opera performances where it absolutely matters not that I by default do not care for opera. Just like there are some so excellent string quartet compositions performed by so great string quartets that it absolutely matters not that the string quartet is not my favourite genre or ensemble.

Whereas I have attended some really bad symphonic and chamber music concerts although instrumental concert music is my favourite genre in the whole wide world.
 

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Brahms, Schumann
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I've just been listening to Britten's The Turn of The Screw on CD.
What a wonderful and fascinating work that is! And this from someone who doesn't like opera!
...
Strongly recommended to those who haven't heard it or think they don't like opera! This is exceptional!A masterpiece!
I`ll second this. I like other Britten Operas as well but this one is my favourite probably because of the smaller forces.
 

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Only Opera I really listened to all the way through was Akhenaten by Phillip Glass; and that's largely for the Egyptian aesthetic.

Opera has yet to fully grasp me, but tbh I have yet to really get into concertos, solo sonatas, and other types of classical music. :)
 

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I can say that I fell in love with classical music without hearing any operas. When I did start listening to some opera (e.g. arias), I did not enjoy them. For some reason individual voices in classical music did not appeal to me and that included art songs. I'm not sure why things changed, but I spent several years listening to many operas with my daughter and found I loved many of them. Not too long afterwards, I started liking many art songs. So for me, there was something about hearing vocal parts that sounded significantly different than hearing instrumental lines.

I loved Wagner's preludes and overtures, but didn't think of him as a great composer. Eventually I heard his operas and my estimation of him grew enormously to where he's now one of my favorite composers.
 

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When I was a kid growing up, the FM radio would often be tuned to one of the two classical music stations on the weekend. However, when the afternoon opera started, my parents would switch the radio off because they didn't want to listen to the "screaming ladies". I suppose they didn't like the screaming men any better. Recently I've started listening to and enjoying some operas, but only from the Baroque. Who knows, maybe someday I'll like the later operatic style, too.
 

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For me Classical Music is instrumental not vocal, which is song,choral or opera.I have some of these in my CD collection but only by favourite instrumental composers.I think Beethoven's 9th Symphony is ruined by the choral 4th movement! [I expect a lot of criticism here!-good! }
 
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