Opera Novice wants Suggestions

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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Tue Dec 10, 2002 4:15 pm

<p>[ 12-10-2002: Message edited by: Bones ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Tue Dec 10, 2002 4:16 pm

Geez...I try to edit one word and wind up with a bunch of duplicate posts...sorry<p>[ 12-10-2002: Message edited by: Bones ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby barfle » Tue Dec 10, 2002 5:03 pm

Bones, I agree that Fidelio is a great opera. I'm priveleged to have seen it performed live (Sydney Opera House [bragging again]), and I certainly didn't consider it too "heavy."<P>IMHO, there are a couple of things that drive people away from opera. First, all the shouting that some performers consider "singing," and second the fact that the stories are so downright shallow. Fidelio has one of the better stories, although the opening scenes of mistaken gender identity didn't exactly start off on the right foot.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Tue Dec 10, 2002 6:41 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bones:<BR><STRONG>Geez...I try to edit one word and wind up with a bunch of duplicate posts...sorry<P>[ 12-10-2002: Message edited by: Bones ]</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>happened to me once. you probably pressed qoute instead of edit.<BR>back to Fidelio. Fidelio might be a good opera I can't know because i only have Klemperer's recording and even Mozart sounds "heavy" with him! But It would never be a opera for starters therefore it doesn't belong in this thread. <BR>I think (respectfuly) that you should clean your mind and ears and give Puccini another chance, trying to see what is good about his music and not what isn't so good. I think people think that music that has good melodies (and the melody is its main strength) cannot be a masterpiece. I think that the gift of melody is the the greatest thing that can happen to a composer and Puccini certainly had that. I've noticed before that experienced listeners are "afraid" to like Puccini because his appeal is so immediate to the masses. that is not a reason to dislike music. on the contrary the greatest music is music that can be apreciated on different levels.<BR>how many times have I written "I" in ths post? I don't know.<p>[ 12-10-2002: Message edited by: bignaf ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Tue Dec 10, 2002 6:53 pm

the "plot" of "Fidleio"? UGH! horrible. typical French "quest" opera (or play). that was the popular type of story in post-revolutionary France.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Tue Dec 10, 2002 9:15 pm

"I think (respectfuly) that you should clean your mind and ears and give Puccini another chance, trying to see what is good about his music and not what isn't so good."<P>I hope that wasn't directed toward me, because I adore Puccini. I prefer Puccini to Verdi, and I adore Verdi! I haven't counted, but if I added up all my opera recordings, I probably have more Puccini than any other single composer.<P>The only thing I said about Puccini that could be taken negatively is that he should be avoided if you don't like tearjerkers. Look around an opera house during the last act of a Puccini opera and tell me you don't see grown men wiping their eyes and women blowing their noses!<P>Puccini was a novel composer - his work is in a class all it's own. His operas are accessible, charming, beautiful and human. The stories may be a little hackneyed, but they are interesting and seem never to go out of date.<P>As great as Puccini is, he still doesn't reach the heights achieved by the immortals - Beethoven and Mozart.<P>Just an opinion...everybody's entitled to one.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Tue Dec 10, 2002 9:26 pm

"Fidelio has one of the better stories, although the opening scenes of mistaken gender identity didn't exactly start off on the right foot."<P>I think that Beethoven needed a story like this because he needed a framework to house the expressive music he was creating. The story contains all the qualities that make for noble principles. He couldn't use a "lightweight" story because he was writing music to express the grand ideals of the new romantic era. He needed a story that was "dense" in morality, truth, the triumph of good over evil, etc. <P>Whether it's a good story or not doesn't really matter to me. It's the "right" story for the music.<P>I hope that was coherent.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Wed Dec 11, 2002 12:54 am

"Ottelo" and "Falstaf" are probably the greatrest combination of drama and music. do you think so? there might some opera I'm forgeting. Carmen's story isn't bad.<BR>"Salome" and "Elektra" if you like those types.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Wed Dec 11, 2002 12:56 am

Hi bones,<BR>the comment about Puccini was originally directed towards you but I'll change it to the wold in general. I wouldn't try to compare him to Beethoven or Mozart. they are in two different planes.<p>[ 12-11-2002: Message edited by: bignaf ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby barfle » Wed Dec 11, 2002 8:09 am

Well, bignaf, if you compare the plot of <I>Fidelio</I> with that of <I>Madame Butterfly</I>, <I>Turandot</I>, or <I>La Boheme</I> it starts looking pretty deep. At least someone trying to get their father out of prison is a lot more satisfying than someone being led around by their private parts in a "love at first sight and damn everything else I have to have her" or "sick girl gets sicker, then dies" story. <P>But then, that's my opinion and it's worth what you paid for it. :)
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby Bones » Wed Dec 11, 2002 10:46 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bignaf:<BR><STRONG>"Ottelo" and "Falstaf" are probably the greatrest combination of drama and music. do you think so? there might some opera I'm forgeting. Carmen's story isn't bad.<BR>"Salome" and "Elektra" if you like those types.</STRONG><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Of course, how can you argue with Shakespeare? Carmen's a good story, and Strauss generally selected good librettos (libretti?). <P>Personally, I'm not very concerned about how good an opera story is because, to me, it's about the music. I want to know the story so that I can relate the music to a specific emotion or situation, but the flow or quality of the story is not a big priority to my listening enjoyment.<P>I remember hearing a story of a great opera tenor (I forget which one) who had sung Rigoletto hundreds of times and had no idea of what the story was about. It's reported that Bruckner would go to Wagner operas and not even face the stage because he didn't want any of the action to disrupt his concentration on the sound of the music.<P>On the other hand, throughout the years, there have been those who have run down Cosi fan Tutti because the story is weak (I disagree with that assessment). The truth is that the music in Cosi is as high a quality as Don Giovanni and (I think) better than the Magic Flute.<P>I suspect that there are a number of operas that contain great music but have been kept from the world because they contain poor stories. (Schubert's the Magic Harp is one that comes to mind).<p>[ 12-11-2002: Message edited by: Bones ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Wed Dec 11, 2002 8:08 pm

barfle,<BR>firstly it is a women masquerading as a man trying to get her husband out of prison. secondly, that's the whole problem with "Fidelio" they are trying to make a "deep" "serious" story and it comes out shallow and dumb. in Puccini it is not supposed to be deep, it supposed to provide Puccini with great dramatic "situations" and with strong emotions to convey.<BR>bones, <BR>I also don't care about stories very much in opera. I'm a music person. I like the Bruckner anecdote :)
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Dec 12, 2002 1:36 am

Getting back to the original inquiry, I stumbled across what I htink is a great compilation CD for the beginning opera listener. It's call "The #1 Opera Album", and is a two disc set with a well-performed selection of the best known overtures and arias. Most are performed by Pavorotti and Joan Sutherland. I feel it would get you aquainted with the flavor of a lot of operas.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Dec 12, 2002 1:58 am

Pardon my previous typo. As they say, "Dyslexia is K.O.", right? <P>I was reading down this thread, it was very interesting to read some of the thoughts concerning various operas. I am entering my seventh season singing in the San Diego Opera Chorus, and this year we are performing Fidelio and Otello, as well as Norma and Madama Butterfly. My heart is with Puccini, especially since my first show was Turandot. I was thrilled to the point of bawling onstage by the time we got to the finale of the third act opening night! My first Verdi opera was Falstaff, and I must say I don't know what the rest of you see in that opera. It bored me to tears performing it! Unfortunately, I feel that experience has prejudiced me as far as Verdi is concerned, and there aren't many of his works that I warm up to very much. <P>I don't feel an easily interpretated melody lessens the quality of the composition. After all, isn't a main function of music the conveyance of emotion? For that matter, I admire Puccini all the more because it seems to me he tells the story primarily through the music, and to me that takes genius.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby OperaTenor » Thu Dec 12, 2002 2:53 am

Wow, I need to proof better. "Inetrpretated"?!! :confused:
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby barfle » Thu Dec 12, 2002 7:58 am

bignaf, that's what I get for starting my keyboard before my mind is in gear. <P>Again, it's just my opinion, but one of the things that makes opera so inaccessible to the masses is the lack of depth in the stories. The novice (at least in my case) tends to want some drama, some plot twists, some STORY to be told by the music. There's no penalty for not doing that, other than alienating your audience. And since the music is an acquired taste (again, at least in my case), if you don't get a story and you don't understand all the hollering, why go back? :( <P>As far as Puccini is concerned, I suppose simple evil and horniness make for dramatic situations, but they sure don't make you care about the characters. However, as I noted in a few earlier posts, you don't attend opera for the story, but for the way it's told. Again, that is an acquired taste, so it's a little tough to get interested in it.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Thu Dec 12, 2002 11:32 am

what do you mean a novice like you? you never sounded to me like a novice. :)
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby barfle » Thu Dec 12, 2002 4:42 pm

We all start off as novices, bignaf.
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby ABaffy » Thu Dec 12, 2002 5:06 pm

The toughest part for me in learning to like opera was getting used to the style of singing. Occasionally I hear a singer who seems to think that they are quoting scripture every time they sing. Perhaps it is because they are trying to be melodramatic, something the plots of many operas suggest. I like singing that is transparent rather than dramatic. Why? Because, like others here in this discussion, it is the music that matters the most to me - not the story or the acting. By the way, I hate singing that has an excess of vibrato. I am amazed at how often professional singers fall back on vibrato to hide their lack of pitch control. That is a trick that is usually used only by amateurs.<P>BTW: I dislike some of Joan Sutherland's singing because she sounds whiny. She probably can't help it - it's a characteristic of her voice - but sometimes she reminds me of a whining poodle when she sings. It gets on my nerves. Nevertheless, one of the best performances of La Traviata that I have heard was with her and Pavarotti.<p>[ 12-12-2002: Message edited by: Al Baffy ]
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Re: Opera Novice wants Suggestions

Postby bignaf » Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:23 pm

OperaTenor wrote:Getting back to the original inquiry, I stumbled across what I htink is a great compilation CD for the beginning opera listener. It's call "The #1 Opera Album", and is a two disc set with a well-performed selection of the best known overtures and arias. Most are performed by Pavorotti and Joan Sutherland. I feel it would get you aquainted with the flavor of a lot of operas.


the first post in the great (or notorious, depends whom you ask) saga of OT. of course includes a typo, just to make it even more classic.

from such humble beginings, great blah blah blah are born.
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