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What the...? Last I checked, today's subject is "scary arias." Why are people naming unscary orchestral passages? Does this thread need moderator intervention, as in:

This thread has gone off-topic.

It isn't tomorrow anywhere in the world.
Heh, sorry about that.

Now that it's today, my vote is still for the Parsifal Transformation music. It's actually a tough call whether I prefer the Transformation from Act 1 over Act 3, but I found the clips more easily on Youtube for Act 1 :)

Honorable mention for Siegfried's Trauermusik.

eta - oops I meant act 3 not act 2 of course.
 

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So, smartest today, right? I considered the Merry Widows in Falstaff or Figaro, especially since he's clever in two great operas. But I guess I'll go with who I figure will probably be the top candidate in Iago, who really does put together a pretty complex plan (much more detailed than, "hey Count, dress up like a soldier to get in this house!"), and is quick to find ways to build on his plan when opportunity arises.
 

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So, classic movies?

Film noir seems like a pretty easy fit--murder, lust, fascinating femmes fatale, satisfying grim endings. They're practically verismo plots in different settings.

I can think of a bunch of movies but Double Indemnity springs to mind as one with a great set of central characters, and you could do interesting things with the framing device of Neff confessing into his dictaphone thing. Or if you wanted to be a little more contemporary, you could do fun things with The Last Seduction.
 

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The problem with westerns is that for the most part, the protagonists are strong but silent archetypes. You can't really imagine Clint Eastwood breaking out into extended song to express how he's feeling about something. It seems like a polar opposite of the role, something that the Simpsons beautifully captured when the family gathered to watch that musical with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood, Paint Your Wagon.

 

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Hmm not sure what "best suicide" means... Brunnhilde's immolation maybe? It's my favorite scene of those scenes that involve the suicide of a character. Or Liu's in Turandot might be the most sympathetic, with her offering herself up to protect Timur from torture.
 

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The "Best" music ever written in opera?- this is kind of a trick question to me.

The Act II love music of Tristan is perfection in my view- and even a low-voltage performance of a masterpiece like Troyens gets me excited and happy (I'm thinking of the code-blue Dutoit performance). . . but then again, a piece of music I don't find particularly great 'per se' like Cherubini's Medea- is one of my all time favorite things to listen to for the absolute power-plant performances Callas that brings to the '58 Rescigno/Dallas, the '53 Bernstein/La Scala, or the '53 Gui/Florence incarnations of the opera.

Sometimes the performing artist is EV-ER-Y-THING.

I can live without Cherubini's (Italian or French versions) of Medea.

I absolutely cannot do without Callas' 'interpretations' of Medea.


*sigh* this is the kind of thing that makes Callas fans so hard to take. It's like that Chris Rock bit about failing a black history class because he always answered every question with "Martin Luther King". Who freed the slaves? "Martin Luther King". What's the capital of Zaire? "Martin Luther King". What woman refused to get up from her bus seat. "Hm, you sure you mean a woman? I know, Martina Luther King".

With Callas fans, every answer is "Maria Callas". Superhero subject for opera? "Maria Callas". Best opera music? "Anything Maria Callas sang in". Best at any role that Maria Callas ever sang? "Maria Callas". Best singer in any role that Maria Callas DIDN'T sing? "Maria Callas would have been, had she done it."
 

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I am probably one of the biggest Callas fans on this site, but you may note that only one of the operas she sang vied for best music in my choices above.

There is no doubt that many of the operas Callas sang were not of the greatest musically. Her genius lay in the way she could bring to life less than great music. In lesser hands Cherubini's "Medea" can come across as rather dull. Callas's performance of the role lifts the music onto an altogether different level, where composer and performer are almost inseparable. It is no doubt that genius that MB was trying to highlight.
I got nothing against your posts GregMitchell. Nothing wrong with fans fanning--I know I do the same with Wagner. It's more the non-sequitur hijacking of totally unrelated topics with Callas gushing that I complain about. Also, unlike many others, your commentary is admirably focused on musicianship and performance.
 

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The things that pop into my head first are when Wotan summons Loge to create a magical fire ring around Brunnhilde at the end of Walkure, the entrance of the Gods into Walhall across the rainbow bridge at the end of Rheingold, and the Transformation scenes in the outer acts of Parsifal, when the forest transforms to the temple, as time becomes space.

That last one might not count as supernatural depending on whether your interpretation of the transformation is primarily a literal one or a metaphorical psychological one though. I guess I'll go with the magic fire music, the most ostentatiously magical of these scenes, although the grandeur of the entrance of the Gods and the beauty of the Transformation scenes are hard to pass up.
 

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Yeah, I'm going to disagree with the position that any unfinished opus "completed" by others is therefore no longer unfinished, and voting for Turandot as well.

Has anyone heard the Hao Weiya version of the ending? It's not exactly good but it might be less bad than the Berio or the Alfano.
 

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I wrote a post in the "operas in movies" thread about my favorite pop cultural use of opera: all the Wagner in John Boorman's Excalibur. He uses Siegfried's funeral music as a motif for both Arthur and Excalibur, the Prelude for Tristan & Isolde as the motif for Guinevere and Lancelot's affair, the Act 1 Prelude from Parsifal for Perceval's search for the Holy Grail.

Boorman didn't just use the music after the fact as just incidental music, it's more like he wanted to make a movie with as much Wagnerian themes as possible and structured the narrative to fit the music.
 

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I didn't see it live, so I can't comment on the noise or to it breaking down. But when it worked properly, in my opinion the results were stunning. I've never seen sequences like Wotan and Loge's descent into Nibelheim, the ascent of the gods to Valhalla on the rainbow bridge, or Siegfried's Rhine journey look so good.
Yeah, count me on the "pro" column too, sort of. I liked a lot of the effects and staging, but thought they sometimes used it badly--for instance the see saw ride of the vakyries. The descent into nibelheim, rainbow bridge, and Gunther washing his hands and polluting the water with blood were all pretty stunning. I liked the combination of projection and the planks to create settings like the woods and the gibich's house.
 

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Alberich's curse on the ring brings the whole world crashing down. Top that.
I'm a lunatic Wagner fan but my favorite opera curse is still Rigoletto. I mean, the last two words of the opera are literally Rigoletto screaming "la maledizione" over his daughter's corpse. That's some good cursin' by that Monterone fella.
 
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