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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Confession Time:

My problem when buying opera is that I'm never quite sure of what I like and what I don't like (even though I own a large number of operas already). Look, I have ''classics'' like Adriana Lecouvreur, Aida, La Boheme, Carmen, Les Pecheures De Perles, Faust, Romeo Et Juliette, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Otello, Falstaff. Other operas I have include Il Trovatore, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Turandot, Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L'Elisir D'Amore, Le Nozze Di Figaro, Cosi, Don Giovanni, Yevgeny Onyegin, Boris Godunov, Prince Igor, Rusalka, Cav & Pag, Die Zauberflote, The Abduction From The Seraglio, Manon, Werther, Thais...the list goes on! What are good and popular ''melody-filled operas'' to explore in addition to these? I gravitate towards 19th and early 20th century Italian and French opera. FYI, I prefer productions that are easy to follow and in the spirit of the composer and librettist. Maybe recommend some recital discs too.

Looking forward to reading your recommendations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Perhaps this is the best place to start?

Thanks. I have seen this before, but I would prefer individual replies on this thread with product images of what people have. There are far too many operas on that thread to know where to continue from my original post. I only want a top 5 or top 10 list, and I'll choose based on my budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
When you say "And the list goes on..." that is kind of off-putting. How do I know that my choices are not already on your list?
Why not consider making an entire list of YOUR choices and then whatever is missing we could add to the list?
Anyway, I suspect you already have these but here goes:
Mefistofele(Boito)
La Fanciulla del West(Puccini)
Norma(Bellini)
La Forza del destino(Verdi)
Here is a (near-complete) list of the operas I own, on DVD and Blu ray.

Mozart

Le Nozze Di Figaro
Cosi Fan Tutte
Don Giovanni
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Die Zauberflote

Beethoven: Fidelio

Bel Canto

Il Barbiere Di Siviglia
La Cenerentola
La Donna Del Lago
Mose In Egitto
Lucia Di Lammermoor
L'Elisir D'amore

Verdi

Tutto Verdi boxed set (as well as separate productions of individual operas - Un Ballo In Maschera and Don Carlo)

Puccini

Tutto Puccini boxed set (as well as separate productions of individual operas)

Verismo

Cavalleria Rusticana
Pagliacci
Adriana Lecouvreur
Andrea Chenier
La Gioconda

French opera

Carmen
Les Pecheurs De Perles
Faust
Romeo Et Juliette
Manon
Werther
Samson Et Dalila
Les Troyens
Pelleas Et Melisande

Russian & other Slavic opera

Ruslan and Lyudmilla
Yevgeny Onyegin
Prince Igor
Boris Godunov
Sadko
The Cunning Little Vixen
Rusalka

Operetta

Die Fledernaus
Eine Nacht In Venedig
Der Zigeunerbaron
Die Lustige Witwe
Das Land Des Lachelns
Die Csardasfurstin

This is all I can think of at the moment. Let's see what you can recommend as a top 10 ''opera basics'' kit based on some of these. If you can, please include product images and/or cast lists, as it helps me know what to search for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlo are worthy to be put into "classics".
Among russian operas there is plenty of names and oeuvres unknown even in Russia. But there are also popular and melody-filled ones like Tzar's bride, Sadko, Tale of Tzar Saltan by Rimski-Kórsakov, both operas by Glinka. In case of Tchaikovsky there are some less famous like Maiden of Orleans and Mazepa. Khovanschina, of course, is staged regularly.
And it's impossible not to mention Donizetti's operas about the Tudors.
I actually have Sadko (but forgot to include it), but haven't watched it yet. It's the Kirov production. I don't really like Mussorgsky operas.

Remind me the names of Donizetti's Tudor operas again, please?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There are many. First, old recordings:
1) Siepi, Cerquetti, Barbieri, Lo Forese, Bastianini.
2) Ghiaurov, Tebaldi, Bumbry, Bergonzi, Fischer-Diskau, Talvela. Conducted by Solti.
3) Siepi, Regal, Bjorling, Barbieri, Merill, Hines. Conducted by Stiedry. All without Fontainebleau act. I don't know which to advise, such a cast is unaffordable nowadays.
On video there are productions from 1970-s from Choregies d'Orange with Caballe, Estes, Bumbry, Aragall, relatively modern from ROH with Furlanetto, Poplavskaya, Villazon, Ganassi, Keenlyside, La Scala - Furlanetto, Cedolins, Zajick, Neal and Salzburg - Salminen, Kaufmann, Harteros, Semenchuk. Last one is longest ever, in five akts. I've seen it live in La Scala with Furlanetto, Stoyanova, Semenchuk and Meli. So, there are shows for every taste.
Thanks for this information. I'd rather start with something shorter and ''lighter'', that moves along swiftly, either because of the conductor's approach/tempo, or the music itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Here are some you should try : Dvorak : The Devil & Kate . Smetana: Dalibor . Janacek : Jenufa . Katya Kabanova. The Makropoulos Case . The Cunning Little Vixen . From the House of the Dead . The Excursions of Mr. Broucek . Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tsar's Bride . The Snow Maiden. May Night . Mlada . Sadko. The Tale of the Tsar Saltan . Kashchei the Immortal . The Tale of the Invisible City of Kitezh . The Golden Cockerel . Tchaikovsky : Mazeppa .The Maid of Orleans . Iolanta . Richard Strauss : Intermezzo . The Egyptian Helena . Daphne . Die Schweigsame frau ( the silent woman ) . Feuersnot . Friedenstag ( day of peace ) . Die Liebe Der Danae ( the love of Danae ).
Hans Pfitzner : Palestrina . Hindemith : Cardillac . Mathis der Maler . Ernest Chausson : Le Roi Arthus ) king Arthur ) . Emmanuel Chabrier : L'Etoile ( the star) . Humperdinck : Konigskinder ( the royal children ) . Gheorghe Enescu : Oedipe ( Oedipus ) . Albert Roussel : Padmavati . Rachmaninov : Aleko. The Miserly Knight . Francesca Da Rimini . Riccardo Zandonai : Francesca Da Rimini . Howard Hanson : Merry Mount . Britten : Gloriana . Karol Szymanowski : King Roger . Stanislaw Moniuszko : Halka . Weber : Oberon . Euryanthe .
Schumann : Genoveva . Johann Strauss Jr : Der Zigeunerbaron ( the Gypsy baron ) . Ralph Vaughan Williams : The Pilgrim's Progress .
Hi. Thanks, but some of these look a little too ''ambitious'' for me at the moment. I'm still missing a lot of the 19th century Italian rep (pre-Verdi), for example, but Halka and Francesca Da Rimini have intrigued me. I'll need a far more basic list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Hi

What are the top 10 operas you would recommend to someone wanting to return to basics and rediscover opera all over again? I'll look through your list and see what I don't own already. Please specify good DVDs and/or Blu rays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Even if this is another period, if you haven't yet, try Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, it's one of my favorite operas and my favorite under 1 hour.
And try Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, another short gem.
OK, thanks. Can you please recommend 5 more popular,(perhaps ''populist" even), operas on DVD and/or Blu ray? Check out my list so that you can create a suitable series of recommendations. You'll notice that I don't really ''go'' for German opera except those included.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Can anyone please recommend DVDs or Blu rays of a top 10 list of popular operas (intermediate level, no Wagner or atonality)? Some of what has been recommended seems a bit too advanced at the moment.

Looking forward to reading your recommendations.

Louis Solomons
 
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