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Thread: Your "alternative" opera season

          
   
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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Your "alternative" opera season

    Opera houses are increasingly under threat these days and tend more and more towards the safe option, which means the same old repertoire gets recycled over and over. (The three offerings from NZ Opera this year are all in the top 10 most performed operas),

    What would be your ideal "off the beaten track" season? Choose up to twenty operas. The only criterion is that they should not appear in this "Top 100 most performed operas of the previous year".

    Here's mine:

    Vivaldi: Motezuma
    Handel: Tamerlano
    Monteverdi: Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria
    Cherubini : Medea
    Mozart: Il re Pastore
    Weber: Oberon
    Chabrier: Le Roi malgré lui
    Thomas: Mignon
    Saint Saens: Henry VIII
    Charpentier: Louise
    Massenet: Le Cid
    Catalani: La Wally
    Puccini: La Fanciulla del West
    Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa
    Prokofiev: War and Peace
    Rimsky Korsakov: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya
    Rubinstein: the Demon
    Britten: Albert Herring
    Glass: Akhnaten
    Benjamin: Written on Skin
    Natalie

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Here is my alternate season, but would like to make an observation about the 'Top 100 most performed operas of the previous year' - many of these operas receive many performances in different countries, but are not so frequently performed here in the U.S. (well, at least outside of New York). I've seen some of those I've included on my list in the last year, but had to travel to do so.

    Korngold: Die Tote Stadt
    Rossini: Semiramide
    Taneyev: Oresteia
    Rossini: Guillaume Tell
    Massenet: Cendrillon
    Bellini: Beatrice di Tenda
    Mozart: Mitridate re di Ponto
    Bellini: Il Pirata
    Wagner: Rienzi
    Puccini: La Fanciulla del West
    Rossini: La Donna del Lago
    Strauss: Capriccio
    Verdi: Attila
    Delibes: Lakme
    Cimarosa: Il Matrimonio Segreto
    Verdi: Giovanna d'Arco
    Hindemith: Mathis der Maler
    Korngold: Violanta
    Verdi: Il Corsaro
    Catalani: La Wally
    Handel: Rinaldo
    Strauss: Daphne
    Puccini: Il Trittico (I realize Trittico's operas are on the list individually, but not performed as a unit)
    Donizetti: Linda di Chamonix
    Meyerbeer: L'Africaine

    Some of the operas that aren't performed all that often in the U.S. include Lohengrin and Tannhäuser. I'm not sure Der Freischütz has been performed in the U.S. at all in decades.

  3. #3
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    OMG. How did I leave out Die tote Stadt? And it sounds as though Violanta is worth a listen to as well.

    After I've been to my season I'm going with you to Oresteia, Guillaume Tell, Cendrillon, Mitridate, Rienzi, Attila, Lakme, Mathis, Violanta, Rinaldo and L'Africaine.
    Natalie

  4. #4
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    OMG. How did I leave out Die tote Stadt? And it sounds as though Violanta is worth a listen to as well.

    After I've been to my season I'm going with you to Oresteia, Guillaume Tell, Cendrillon, Mitridate, Rienzi, Attila, Lakme, Mathis, Violanta, Rinaldo and L'Africaine.
    Deal!

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    There are loads on that Top 100 I've not even heard of, never mind seen! Here's mine, for now, I'm sure I'll think of some more.

    Szymanowski: Król Roger
    Rimsky-Korsakov: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya
    Boito: Mefistofele
    Giordano: Andrea Chénier
    Verdi: Luisa Miller
    Verdi: Un giorno di regno
    Massenet: Thaïs
    Moniuszko: Straszny dwór
    Donizetti: La favourite
    Britten: Curlew River
    Prokofiev: The Gambler
    Puccini: Edgar
    Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    In that list of 100 most performed there are 3 I don't know so I'd start by those: 73, 79, and 97; I do suspect they are in the top 100 mostly because they get regionally performed for tourists.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  7. #7
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    In that list of 100 most performed there are 3 I don't know so I'd start by those: 73, 79, and 97; I do suspect they are in the top 100 mostly because they get regionally performed for tourists.
    I'm assuming you mean 97 - anyway they are operettas so I would tend to given them a miss ( although coincidentally I just got Das Land des Lächelns out of the library).
    Natalie

  8. #8
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    You might recall this, probably the most famous number from Lehar's Das Land des Lächelns, here sung by Mario Lanza (unfortunately, in English), whose version is the one I most identify with the song (just the right schmaltz..):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yyyJy965qo

  9. #9
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    You might recall this, probably the most famous number from Lehar's Das Land des Lächelns, here sung by Mario Lanza (unfortunately, in English), whose version is the one I most identify with the song (just the right schmaltz..):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yyyJy965qo
    What I hadn't realised is that it is set in Thailand and looks like the Mikado meets the King and I.
    Natalie

  10. #10
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    You might recall this, probably the most famous number from Lehar's Das Land des Lächelns, here sung by Mario Lanza (unfortunately, in English), whose version is the one I most identify with the song (just the right schmaltz..):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yyyJy965qo
    Yes, I do know it, but I haven't heard the complete operetta.
    They get to the list because in Vienna they are performed for tourists quite a lot.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I don't suppose the original 1805 version of Fidelio counts . . .

    Otherwise, I have many of the same choices other members have listed:
    Puccini: La Fanciulla del West
    Verdi: Luisa Miller
    Rossini: La Donna del Lago
    Korngold: Die tote Stadt
    Paër: Leonora
    Puts: Silent Night
    Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
    Saint-Saëns: Henry VIII
    Verdi: Attila
    Weinberger: Schwanda the Bagpiper
    Handel: Serse (of course, I’d infuriate many folks by casting a tenor in the title role)
    Weber: Oberon
    Donizetti: La Favorite
    Marschner: Der Vampyr
    Korngold: Violanta
    Puccini: Le Villi
    Verdi: Alzira
    Goldmark: Die Königin von Saba
    Floyd: Susannah
    Schubert: Fierrabras

  12. #12
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I don't suppose the original 1805 version of Fidelio counts . . .
    I think that sort of passion/mania/.... should be a perfectly acceptable proposition

    My list would of course start with

    Rimsky Korsakov: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya

    but I could be a bit nervous seeing a production of this; I have quite an image developed for paradise now...

    and then to complete a list of twenty

    Cavalli: La Calisto
    Handel: Rodelinda
    Handel: Alcina
    Handel: Tolomeo
    Gluck: Paride ed Elena
    Rossini: Matilde di Shabran
    Bellini: Il Pirata
    Bellini: Beatrice di Tenda (Okay, maybe this is my number one)
    Donizetti: Belisario
    Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia (No, this is my number one)
    Donizetti: Anna Bolena (Actually, this is my number one)
    Donizetti: Dom Sébastien, roi de Portugal (challenging for stage production but would be big impact if half as good as my mental production)
    Donizetti: Maria di Rohan (trying to restrict number of Donizetti to fit in others)
    Verdi: Giovanna D'Arco
    Rimsky Korsakov: Snegurochka
    Humperdink: Königskinder
    Strauss: Arabella (not just to prove I still suffer from I-like-most-the-last-thing-I-heard-itis)
    Britten: Billy Budd (I like big old ships)
    Benjamin: Written on skin (I would probably first have to try to accept that people other than Hannigan/Mehta/Purves can sing these roles)

    ...

    Naturally, if I had posted an answer a week ago when this thread was started, my selection would have been very different...
    Last edited by Clayton; July 18th, 2014 at 06:58 PM. Reason: Removed double entry Belisario; it's good but not that good.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    My local opera company (Victorian Opera) is pretty alternative anyway....

    But I would love to see these performed:
    The Nose
    El Retablo de Maese Pedro/What Next? (Double bill, they actually did this in 2011 and it was the best opera performance I've EVER seen!)
    Something by Vivaldi
    Les Boréades
    The Death of Klinghoffer
    Akhnaten
    The Tempest (Adès)
    Bliss (by Brett Dean)
    Le Grand Macabre
    Facing Goya
    Written on Skin
    La Finta Semplice
    The Devils of Loudon

  14. #14
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    My local opera company (Victorian Opera) is pretty alternative anyway....
    While I was in Sydney last week the Australian Opera 2015 season was published, and I was shocked how boring and predictable it was - like NZ Opera's season except just a bit more of it. (I was also shocked at the appalling acoustics of Sydney Opera House, but that's another matter).
    Natalie

  15. #15
    Senior Member Involved Member Nekrotzar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    While I was in Sydney last week the Australian Opera 2015 season was published, and I was shocked how boring and predictable it was - like NZ Opera's season except just a bit more of it. (I was also shocked at the appalling acoustics of Sydney Opera House, but that's another matter).
    Hahahaha, well OA is just out there to make money anyway. They seem to function primarily as a business, with money making being a greater importance than really exploring the operatic repertoire and what can be done. My dad used to work in the restaurant and also behind the bar before the performance started and, because of the age demographic (grey hairs abound, possibly prone to falling asleep according to his thoughts) he would make sure every coffee he made was particularly strong.

    VO is more of an eclectic mix in terms of their programming and the audience they attract. They often perform in smaller theatres and concert halls (you'd be pleased to hear that the Melbourne Recital Centre has one of the best, if not the best acoustics in the country) due to budget constraints, but they focus on presenting local opera (local singers, designers and even each year they premiere a new opera by a local composer) and they give great importance to artistry, exploration of repertoire and acting. The kind of repertoire they perform often includes 20th/21st century chamber operas (and also slightly bigger operas when they use a bigger theatre), early and classical operas on period instruments, and also things that almost breach the whole idea of what opera is (such as Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires, musicals by Sondheim etc.) but it's very rarely anything which is really standard stuff. Once they put on a very typical performance of L'elisir D'amour and from positive reaction of the audience that initially begged them to be more like Opera Australia right from the conception of the company, the artistic director (Richard Gill at the time) knew never to do anything like that ever again!

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