Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 20 of 174 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
678 Posts
Die Tote Stadt by Erich Wolfgang Korngold might fit this category. Aside from the ubiquitous Mariettes Lied, I think the opera itself has been somewhat underrated and deserved more than the one (afaik) recorded version that was available for a long time. I suspect that this might be changing as I've learned that there is a new recording out there.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
5,821 Posts
Die Tote Stadt by Erich Wolfgang Korngold might fit this category. Aside from the ubiquitous Mariettes Lied, I think the opera itself has been somewhat underrated and deserved more than the one (afaik) recorded version that was available for a long time. I suspect that this might be changing as I've learned that there is a new recording out there.
My favourite CD recording:



And the DVD that I think might have pushed this gorgeous opera into my current top ten:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,915 Posts
Mariette's lied is not nearly as nice as the big baritone song a bit later on (can't remember the name off the top of my head). Big ups to Suor Angelica also - one of my favs

Before this thread really kicks off:

I've recently been impressed by Die Gezeichneten by Franz Schreker which is full of lovely moments
Abduction from the Seraglio is so delightful - easily as delightful as Cosi and Don G (but probably not quite as amazing as Figaro)
The fact that list of top operas don't always include Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges means that it's criminally underrated
 

·
Premium Member
Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Wagner
Joined
·
13,592 Posts


I love this opera. And this is a great recording of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sonata

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,446 Posts
I was in the audience at Frankfurt at the time of the recording of Vogt's and Weigel's version of Die Tote Stadt. It was a very nice evening, with Vogt at his best in the role of Paul. I rate, however, the classical Leinsdorf's recording and the one of Runnicles at Szalburg just as high in my preferences.

I also equally love the two songs that are part of the fiction, Marietta's and Pierrot's. The duet "Glück das mir verblieb" is wonderfully inspired, and sickly romantic. This is a great version, by Anton Dermota and Hilde Zadek:


"Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen" is also a great piece, and one of the staples of baritone's repertory in German. This splendid version is by Karl Hammes in 1930, in my favorite tempo, and with a wonderful effect by the eight sopranos choir in the background (starting at 2:18):


However, if I were to select only one fragment of the opera, I would probably go for Paul's monologue in the First Act, just after meeting Frank. We can hear the rendition of Torsten Kerl in a recent production:


We have a thread devoted to Die Tote Stadt here at TC:

http://www.talkclassical.com/15606-second-thread-opera-depth.html
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,481 Posts
I'm disappointed to enter thread about 'little known" operas and read so many familiar titles - Die Tote Stadt? I saw it mentioned so often ever since I started to read opera forums here and elsewhere. It appears to be among sub-favourites for lots of people. And Suor Angelica? Come on, it's Puccini.

I may complain about that because I'm mean geezer who likes to complain or maybe because it's sad how people have their circle of interest with circumference reaching no further than to operas such as these and yet they think they're really deep into the subject. With such notion they feel no need to dig further and the truely little known and underrated operas remain as they are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,517 Posts
I love Korngold's Die Tote Stadt, Schreker's Die Gezeichneten, Puccini's Suor Angelica, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges... and certainly Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel... which I have three recordings of... but I must agree with Aramis; these are surely not "little-known" operas. I suspect most of Vivaldi's operas and quite a few of Handel's are less well known than almost any of these works.

Some "less well known" operas that I like include:

Daniel Catán's Rappaccini's Daughter (based on a tale by Hawthorne re-imagined by Octavio Paz):



Also by Daniel Catán is the marvelous Florencia en el Amazonas:



Both are Neo-Romantic in style and suggest elements of Puccini, Debussy, Richard Strauss, Korngold, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Berg.

Schubert most likely would have eventually become an astonishing operatic composer considering his mastery in composing for the voice, and the strength of his late orchestral works. Unfortunately, as a largely unknown composer, he was forced to work with the most mediocre (and worse) librettos. The resulting efforts are uneven... with brilliant passages... and those that are less than brilliant. Perhaps his strongest effort, outside of his Rosamunde... which is more of a play with music than an opera... is Fierrabras:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,517 Posts
Another opera worthy of exploration is surely Paer's Leonora... based on the same French libretto that the libretto for Beethoven's Fidelio was based on. There are more than a few marvelous passages... indeed it is quite good... and has been afforded a recording with some rather talented singers:



Johann Strauss II is known for his overtures almost as much as his waltzes... yet only Die Fledermaus seems to have remained in the regular repertoire. This is a loss considering that both Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron) and Eine Nacht in Venedig (A Night in Venice) have much to recommend them... including brilliant post-War recordings with Erich Kunz, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Otto Ackermann:



Yet even more obscure is Simplicius based on the darkly comic 17th century German novel Simplicius Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen set during the dark days of the 30 Years War:

 
  • Like
Reactions: superhorn and MAuer

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,517 Posts
I only discovered Enescu's Oedipe recently... but it is every bit worthy of hearing:



Some operas SHOULDN'T be virtually unknown... but they really are. I have rarely ever heard mention of Stravinsky's Le Rossignol:



... yet it is truly a marvelous piece.

Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle is an Expressionist masterpiece worthy of being placed alongside Strauss' Salome and Elektra and Berg's Lulu... but again it is rarely mentioned... in spite of a magnificent recording with the husband and wife team of Ludwig and Berry:

 
  • Like
Reactions: Mahlerian

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,517 Posts
Other operas that SHOULDN'T be little known include almost any by Berlioz... who seems sadly underrated by many. I would especially draw attention to his Béatrice et Bénédict:



With the exception of Orphée et Euridice/Orfeo ed Eurydice and perhaps Alceste, Gluck is another composer whose operas are grossly underrated.

Philémon & Baucis, Iphigénie en Aulide, Iphigénie en Tauride, Ezio, Armide, and Paride ed Elena...



... as well as Orphée et Euridice/Orfeo ed Eurydice and Alceste, are all worth exploring... especially by anyone who admires the operas of Handel and/or Mozart as they represent the transition from Handel and Baroque opera toward Mozart's classicism. Not only are they historically important... but they are actually damn fine operas.


 
  • Like
Reactions: Meyerbeer Smith

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,517 Posts
A truly delicious, sumptuous French bon-bon is Jacques Ibert's Persée et Andromède which turns the original classical legend upon its head in true French, comic/absurd style:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
481 Posts
I actually really enjoyed Schubert's Fierrabras. He isn't really known as an opera composer and his operas never got much recognition. It may not be as polished as some others, but it still has some decent music and a good story!
 

·
Registered
Mahler
Joined
·
3,907 Posts
The last savage

Back in 2011 my wife and I attended the Sante Fe Opera. They staged a performance of the Last Savage, a little known rarely performed opera buffa by Menotti. It was fantastic and one of the funniest operas we had ever seen. :lol:
 
  • Like
Reactions: schigolch

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
I absolutely love Bellini's I PURITANI. While I'm aware that it's marginally in the standard repertoire and that most people consider it musically sublime, I also think it's underrated as drama. But I remember reading once that the trouble with it (and with Bellini's operas in general) is that the drama is more "internal" than "external." Unlike, say, LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, I PURITANI doesn't quite have an equal balance of "public" and "private" scenes. Most of it is about the characters' feelings, and this can be hard to "put across" for an audience.
 
1 - 20 of 174 Posts
Top