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I love both but I'm not a trained singer, so I'm less knowledgeable about the human voice than a lot of the folks that spend most time in the opera forum. Recently I've been taking a bit of a break from opera, as well (not a complete break, but a lot less than I used to consume) which probably affects my perception at this moment. I'm a bit unusual, I think, in that I came to opera somewhat knowledgeable about the orchestra but not very knowledgeable about the voice. I've been trying to learn what basics I can but it's still somewhat of a handicap. That said, I'm a novice when compared to the people who frequent that forum, but I still know a decent amount. And I'm always trying to learn more. That's what life is for. I don't see opera and classical music as distinctly "different" things, but they are slightly different art forms, I concede. There's enough overlap that I don't really think about them as different in my own mind.
 

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I don’t really know how I should get into it. It’s just so extremely long, I never have time or crave to listen to something lasting 3 hours
Start with a short one like Mascgani's Cavalleria Rusticana, Leoncavallo's Pagliaccii, or one of Puccini's three operas that together are known as Il Trittico. All of these are well-known operas that fit on a CD each.
 

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So I know various overtures and famous aria’s, mainly from Mozart opera’s. For some reason I felt like listening to Stravinsky the rite of spring for the first time ever, so that’s what I’m doing right now (enjoying it a lot) but later I will listen to the operas that Art rock mentioned, do you have any recommended recordings for those operas as well?
 

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I don’t really know how I should get into it. It’s just so extremely long, I never have time or crave to listen to something lasting 3 hours
Another great, short opera is Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle. I recently had good luck introducing a complete opera (and classical music) neophyte to the film version of that and he loved it. There's also Purcell's Dido & Aeneas for older, baroque opera if you prefer that style.
 

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I love opera, but I do approach it as a different art form distinct from instrumental (or even choral-based) classical music. Opera is the fusion of music and drama, just as fiction films are the fusion of photography, drama, and temporal editing. Such genre fusions innately create their own artistic potential and rewards for those who care to understand and reap them. One can, of course, just listen to opera arias and appreciate the music and singing as one would most songs, but there's a lot of expressive musical-dramatic possibilities inherent in what can be done over the course of several hours, from the ways in which music can ironize or provide insight into psychological states, to its subtle expression of themes created by forging connections between the music and characters/events, to something as grandiose as Wagner's musical leitmotifs telling an immense story-within-a-story over the course of multiple operas.
 

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Even though I've loved CM orchestral music since my introduction, I have been resisting opera for many years. From hanging out here at the forum, I've been reflecting on that. It is multi-causal, Culture plays into it, family plays into it, peers play into it, and selective perception is a big factor. My intro and only exposure to opera was on The Ed Sullivan Show & although Ed had great intentions, I was never educated to understand it, appreciate it, and savor it. Beverly Sills was being presented to a 7 year old out of context. My family didn't understand it, & I became a 'sheepling' like everybody else. Ed was selling Elvis Presley at the same time. Then Ed would present some comedy, some circus acts, and some drama. All in the same hour, it was incongruous.

I know that it is my perception that Europeans on the whole love opera more than us in the USA, though I could be wrong about that. I don't speak Italian, German, or French, so I don't grasp it. I simply do not compute opera because of a language/cultural barrier. Then I recently started here the forum, in order to grow. I have never cared for coconut for 71 years, but my wife bought some excellent coconut/chocolate/walnut/spice cookies. I have been wrong all my life. Perhaps opera is like that. I hope I find out. 🌞
 

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You must enjoy the human voice in order to enjoy opera. For me, opera provides many of the things about music, that I love: drama , great orchestral writing, stage acting, and of course singing, so I am a huge fan. I am generally a huge fan of vocal music of any kind, but I am also a huge fan of instrumental Classical music.

So ....

I don't understand a connection that this thread seems to be implying, i.e. one who likes orchestral music, in general, will not enjoy opera. Or that these two kinds of Classical music are mutually exclusive and cannot appeal to the same audiences.

I don't agree.
 

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You must enjoy the human voice in order to enjoy opera.
That's spot on... some vocalists reach me, others do not. It must be my subconscious. I've found tears of happiness in a number of female singers, English, Italian, French, and Japanese and in different genres. The vocal music in the soundtrack Amadeus reached out and clubbed me on the head. It was a surprise attack that choked me up, but I don't know why. :cry:

So that means there is always hope? I believe so. 🌞
 

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I started my journey in classical music with mostly disdain for opera and refused to listen to it for years. Playing in a pit for an opera soothed by stance against opera but it still took a while before I went into it. I believe my curiosity began to grow for opera as I noticed that a lot of repertoire for French horn comes from opera. Take for instance Siegfried's horn call, Wagner opera overtures like Tannhauser, and various solos such as in Carmen or in Cosi Fan Tutte. As this list of pieces grew, especially for Wagner, I eventually caved in and decided to listen to the Ring Cycle; I haven't been the same since lol.

From that point on, my tastes shifted from primarily classical (Baroque and Romantic in particular) to almost exclusively opera. That is still largely my tastes to this day, but there are certain times of the year that I come back to other forms of music like in the Spring and Summer. For instance, after doing a Rossini binge in March through the end of April, this month I have been revisiting the symphonies of Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart. I have even been building up my playlists of classical era music to expand my knowledge. Last year, I was listening to a lot of Mahler on the side. The only exception to the rule is Bach, which I always have an ear for.

In my casual participation in this forum, I have seen that there is a little divide between the classical listeners and the opera listeners; however, I think there is a good amount of us opera listeners that still participate from time to time on the rest of the site.
 

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It certainly helps to think of the human voice as just another instrument. Though I think one barrier to appreciating opera is loudness. Seems to me that voices in recordings are loud enough that the instrumentation becomes less audible.
 
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