Opera Novice wants Suggestions

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Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby buikemap » Tue Dec 03, 2002 3:09 pm

The more I listen the more I find that I really enjoy Nicole's Four Play. I stay late at work sometimes just to listen. (Maybe I'm just getting old.) However, beyond the absolutely most famous works, I know nothing about opera. Can I get some suggestions as to what I should be buying and seeing if it's available?
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Nicole Marie » Tue Dec 03, 2002 3:37 pm

Glad you like the feature! I'd say start with Puccini. He has composed some of the worlds top opera - Madame Butterfly, Turandot and La Boheme for example. But I'd suggest first starting with some compilation CD's. Pavarotti has some excellent CD's called "Opera Made Easy" on the London label. They are top aria's from top opeara's. The Deutsche Grammophon label also has a set of CD's called Mad About. One of the best is called "Mad About Opera".<P>I hope that helps.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby barfle » Tue Dec 03, 2002 5:55 pm

Welcome aboard! The first thing you have to realize about opera is that it's not enjoyed for the story, but for the way it's told. I'm afraid many of the great operas have stories that wouldn't hold any interest if it weren't for the presentation.<P>It took me a while to get to appreciate opera as an audio only experience. It sounded like a lot of people yelling, albeit at a lot of different pitches! There's nothing like a live performance, but a video comes in second, at least in my book. My favorite video opera is the Royal Opera (London) doing "Prince Igor." That opera has a fantastic scene called "The Polovetsian Dances" although I've seen it spelled differently. The melody is "Stranger in Paradise" so it should be a little familiar, and the opera has a decent story.<P>It's also a good idea to listen (or watch if possible) some of the more commercial operatic performances such as "The Three Tenors" or some Andrea Bocceli (spelling again?). For the most part, I wouldn't jump into opera by buying a bunch of opera CDs, though. I'd stick with the popular stuff, or get videos, or attend a performance if possible.<P>Mostly, though, you should just have fun! It will probably grow on you, just like instrumental classical music.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Tue Dec 03, 2002 11:45 pm

I started with opera with two of the greatest operas with the greatest recordings of them. Karajan's "La Boheme" and Solti's "the Magic Flute". I think they are great opera recordings for beginners (and non-beginners)after preparing your ears with compilation CD's. these operas are very accesible.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Tue Dec 03, 2002 11:48 pm

and Don't forget that Puccini is the greatest of then all. check out: La Boheme, Tosca, Butterfly, the Girl of the Golden West, Il Tritico (il Tabaro!!), and Turandot!!!!. also Manon Lescaut is good (and don't forget Le villi, Edgar and La Rondine).<BR> ;) this list is not for novices.<p>[ 12-03-2002: Message edited by: bignaf ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby treebeau » Wed Dec 04, 2002 8:48 am

Howdy,<P>Don't forget Joe Green, errrr, Giuseppe Verdi. He wrote some great stuff too. I read somewhere that during his time Italians were enamored with Verdi and a leader named Vittorio Emmanuel. They used Verdi's last name as an acronym:<BR>Vittorio<BR>Emmanuel<BR>Re (king)<BR>D' (of)<BR>Italia.<P>Also, I saw that there's a book called "Opera for Dummies". This opera dummy intends to get that one day. Like Mozart, I like opera more the older I get.<P>Regards,<BR>Tim B.<BR> ;)
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Wed Dec 04, 2002 10:56 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by treebeau:<BR><STRONG>Howdy,<P> Like Mozart, I like opera more the older I get.<P>Regards,<BR>Tim B.<BR> ;)</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>so mozart liked opera better as he grew older?
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby el camino piranha » Thu Dec 05, 2002 8:36 am

opera Novice, I am also somewhat of an opera Novice, however, if you are looking for a good introductory CD to at least show you a good sampling of Opera through the ages, I would suggest the 'A to Z of Opera' set on the Naxos label. I'm willing to bet you can order it from the Naxos web site, or at least see it there. Although there are no real 'big names' singing on it, it appears to feature artists from Eastern Europe (I am guessing) who are pretty good. This set should give you a good set of highlights from a good number of operas.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby shostakovich » Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:33 am

I second the motion of Opera A to Z. It's a double CD with many popular excerpts. It comes with a booklet of thumbnail sketches of opera stories from Abu Hassan (14 lines)to Die Zwillingsbruder (7 lines)<BR>Shos.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby treebeau » Thu Dec 05, 2002 7:20 pm

bignaf,<P>Good point. That sentence could be read two ways. I'm sure Mozart liked opera at a much younger age than my own.<P>Referring to a different post in a different thread, I meant to say that as I grow older I like Mozart's music more and more. And as I grow older I like opera more and more.<P>Regards,<BR>Tim B.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:40 pm

Tim.<BR>I know what you were refering to. i was j/k you about your sentence.<BR>the argument about Mozart is in a thread i started so I should know about it. (and I mentioned the fact that people like Mozart more as they grow older before you in that thread :p )
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:43 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by shostakovich:<BR><STRONG>I second the motion of Opera A to Z. It's a double CD with many popular excerpts. It comes with a booklet of thumbnail sketches of opera stories from Abu Hassan (14 lines)to Die Zwillingsbruder (7 lines)<BR>Shos.</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>WOW, Even i ;) don't know those two operas though I think I heard the overture to Abu Hassan and I think it's by C.M.V. Weber.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby ABaffy » Mon Dec 09, 2002 3:23 pm

When I started to be interested in opera someone recommended that I start with Carmen by Bizet. It is exciting and dramatic music which stays in your memory for a long time. I would definitely <B>not</B> recommend starting with Wagner until your ears (and taste) have adjusted. Wagner is a bit long-winded for beginners (his orchestral music is ok). <P>I write this from my local public library, not at home, so I can't check on the accuracy of my following recommendation. I have a CD titled "The Only Opera Album You Need to Own", however I am not sure of the title. This CD contains 100 short excerpts from a large number of operas that are basic to the repertoire. It includes many historic performances, including one by Enrico Caruso. As an added bonus the CD can be placed in your computer if you want to see a veritable encyclopedia of composers and performers. Each track on the disk takes you to an entry in the encyclopedia related to the excerpt that is being performed. The only thing about this disk that may annoy you is the fact that these are excerpts and the entire song or aria is seldom performed. The idea is to give you a taste of what is out there so that you can look further into the works that interest you.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Mon Dec 09, 2002 4:57 pm

How can there be a whole thread on opera and nobody has mentioned "Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni?" At least someone finally mentioned "Carmen." "Fidelio" has also been left out. These are the absolute stars in the opera firmament. "Cosi fan Tutti" and "Magic Flute" also should not be missed. <P>I agree with Nicole Marie, Puccini is a great place to start. His work appeals even to those who don't like opera. It's kind of like opera for the masses - doesn't require a lot of thought or knowledge on the part of the listener. Just fun stuff to listen to. Avoid Puccini if you don't like tearjerkers.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Mon Dec 09, 2002 5:21 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bones:<BR><STRONG>How can there be a whole thread on opera and nobody has mentioned "Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni?" At least someone finally mentioned "Carmen." "Fidelio" has also been left out. These are the absolute stars in the opera firmament. "Cosi fan Tutti" and "Magic Flute" also should not be missed. <P>I agree with Nicole Marie, Puccini is a great place to start. His work appeals even to those who don't like opera. It's kind of like opera for the masses - doesn't require a lot of thought or knowledge on the part of the listener. Just fun stuff to listen to. Avoid Puccini if you don't like tearjerkers.</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>this is not about great operas but about where to begin from that is why no one mentioned "Don" or "Le Nozze di Figaro". they are too long and the receciative might get on the nerves.<BR>FIDELIO??????? that is not a good opera IMHO and is definitely horrible for starters. way too heavy(handed). I wouldn't recommend "Cosi" i don't like it as much as the other Mozart operas.<BR>Puccini is a great place to start but he is also great to continue with. he offers enjoyment also to those who have lots of knowledge and put thought into their listening. "tearjerkers" that is pigeonholing. Pucini's operas are a lot more than that. "Turandot"!!!<BR>i did mention "the magic flute" before.<p>[ 12-09-2002: Message edited by: bignaf ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby DavidEB310 » Tue Dec 10, 2002 8:49 am

My Suggestion:<P>Bring a Walkman.<P><I>just kidding...</I><p>[ 12-10-2002: Message edited by: DavidEB310 ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby treebeau » Tue Dec 10, 2002 9:45 am

Greetings,<P>How about Gilbert and Sullivan operas?<BR>Maybe hearing some in English would be good for a start.<P>Regards,<BR>Tim B.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby buikemap » Tue Dec 10, 2002 9:56 am

Are G&S even considered opera? It's period yes, but if you include them as opera you'd have to include things like "Phantom" too. I just can't see Pavarotti doing "Music of the Night."
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Tue Dec 10, 2002 11:20 am

Gilbert and Sullivan works were called operettas. Most people don't consider them true operas. Still, they shouldn't be missed.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Tue Dec 10, 2002 4:07 pm

"FIDELIO??????? that is not a good opera IMHO and is definitely horrible for starters. way too heavy(handed)."<P>There's that old argument again - Fidelio is great music but a bad opera. Nonsense! Fidelio is full of the expressive and powerful music for which Beethoven is renowned. Great music makes for great opera, and Beethoven's unique music cast into an opera makes it a masterpiece. The emotion, the humanity, the forceful nobility of Beethoven's music make Fidelio nothing less than a work of brilliance from the master's pen. If Puccini ever dreamed he could write anything as great, he would wake up and apologize.<p>[ 12-10-2002: Message edited by: Bones ]
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