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Thread: Absolute masterpieces by country - voting thread (closed)

          
   
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  1. #46
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    I'm a bit disappointed with the USA. I'd hope that at least Satyagraha and The Death of Klinghoffer would be easily recognized as masterpieces. The Crucible and The Consul are no doubt masterpieces in my opinion, but they suffer from less exposure so people maybe won't vote for them for not having seen them.
    I would guess that these pieces aren't considered absolute masterpieces, first, because they don't receive much exposure and, second, they haven't received much exposure because they aren't absolute masterpieces. I've seen both and, while The Consul has its moments, it's unrelentingly depressing - so, not breathtaking in its dramatic effect. The Crucible also is unrelentingly depressing and I found - and it was over ten years ago when I saw it - that its modern idiom was neither enjoyable nor particularly accessible.

    I'm really not trying to go over well worn ground about contemporary opera. Aside from the different musical language, modern opera librettos combine stories that are more of our time (i.e., no kings, queens, madness, gods, goddesses, etc) with edgy dissonant partiturs. Granted that traditional opera (for lack of a better reference) is full of depressing stories, but earlier composers showed great skill in their ability to relieve their audiences mood through sending signals of hope and through sweet melody.

    For example, consider The Consul's book. If I remember correctly, and I haven't gone in and reviewed the Wiki synopsis, the opera proceeds with the lead female character trying to fight an oppressive bureaucracy for a passport out of her particular corner of Hell. After lots of dramatic rending of garments, our hero sticks her head in the oven just before she might have learned that her passport was approved. Curtain.

    Yikes. Real? Lots closer than Violetta's gradual and sweetly fading from a vile disease. But audiences wanted relief from their own corners of hell, not a constant reminder - a drumbeat of, as an old friend used to say to me: "So, what have you got not to be depressed about?"

    Peter Grimes? Maybe some great music, but the story is so downright hair-raising that I didn't last long enough to find the great music.

  2. #47
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    What Hoffman said!

    This dichotomy has been around as long as opera has, and much longer, actually. Read what contemporary critics said of Puccini or Verdi. Musical tastes are so inherently subjective that the only thing that gets me a bit frosty is someone telling me that I "must" like something that I do not because it is a "great" book, "great" music or "great" art. But while I will probably never enjoy contemporary opera, I am virtually the last person on the planet who will try to dictate what others should enjoy.

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  4. #48
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    'ang on...

    no dictators here


    Anything I said suggesting people must listen to Paride ed Elena was just a joke (I'm very bad at jokes)

    it's just a different thread idea for us to exchange some thoughts about the different operas


  5. #49
    Senior Member Veteran Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    'ang on...

    no dictators here


    Anything I said suggesting people must listen to Paride ed Elena was just a joke (I'm very bad at jokes)

    it's just a different thread idea for us to exchange some thoughts about the different operas

    Spot on, Clayton. It's why I like this site.

    And I didn't mean to suggest that you were being dictatorial, although I had to resist the urge to salute.

  6. #50
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    Oh good, all good then



    and I don't mind being saluted

    just be careful not to salute during a cricket match... things tend to get quickly overheated in that enviroment

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/201...curtly-ambrose

  7. #51
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    We're missing Annie's and Nat's inputs.
    I'm anticipating that Annie will endorse Simon Boccanegra and I'm hopeful that Nat will give to Written on Skin another asterisk but will certainly endorse Billy Budd, to my dismay, hehe.

    (PS to Annie - Any endorsement of Il Trovatore would have to specify that it is for the opera, not for a certain detestable version of it, LOL)
    Oh eck I'm late to this. Remind me again in words of one syllable what I have to do?

    OK. I get it. I think!

    Do I put a star by the one I recommend? Two stars for Il trovatore DVD?
    "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

  8. #52
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Oh eck I'm late to this. Remind me again in words of one syllable what I have to do?

    OK. I get it. I think!

    Do I put a star by the one I recommend? Two stars for Il trovatore DVD?
    The thing is, you copy and paste the latest list, and you put a star by the ones you recommend (Hint: Simon something) if they are there already, or type them in if they aren't. You can also put a minus sign by the ones you don't think are masterpieces.

    Hmm... and... erm... I don't think you should put any stars for a certain Il Trovatore DVD since I've bought a whole fridge full of wet fish for the occasion.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); April 30th, 2015 at 02:30 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #53
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Jesus, why are words like "dictate" and "dictators" being brought up? I merely said I'm *disappointed* that some American operas don't get more recognition, and that I'd *hope* they'd be considered masterpieces. This is due to my well known love for contemporary music, and I'd assume, then, that there isn't anything wrong with that, right? Aren't we saying that here we respect everybody's taste? Well, I do love contemporary opera. That's my taste. When I advocate for it, it doesn't mean I want to dictate my taste to others, but yes, I'm an advocate. People have causes, and they advocate for them, which doesn't mean they want to *impose* them on others. They may *hope* that people join them, but hopefully not by force, LOL. I believe that to keep opera alive advocacy for contemporary opera is important. It's just my belief. But if people don't think some of them are masterpieces, fine. That's exactly why I proposed the endorsement and the challenge systems.

    So, I take it that Hoffmann's post does indicate that he does not consider The Consul and The Crucible to be masterpieces, which is fine. We should place a negative sign next to them. It's still unclear to me if JohnGerald wants to go this far and second Hoffmann's challenge of these operas being listed, but he should feel free to do so if that's what he thinks/wants. If these operas collect two of those challenges and fail to collect 5 more endorsements besides mine (unlikely that they will, at this point), then they won't be in the final list of masterpieces, which is perfectly fine. Me, I find them to be masterpieces. But it's not my list; it's a collective list.

    ------

    PS - Magda's visa never gets granted, and wouldn't have been granted if she had survived (the opera makes a point of showing that only the rich woman is granted a visa). She commits suicide to prevent her husband from coming back to try and save her, so that he won't be in jeopardy himself (which fails; he comes back anyway and gets arrested). Yes, very depressing opera, sure. But I don't think that being depressing disqualifies something from being a masterpiece. Or else, Dostoyevsky's books such as The Brothers Karamazov (and pretty much every other book he wrote) would never have been considered to be masterpieces.

    Besides, look at operas that were gladly endorsed here as masterpieces, like Il Trovatore. Hm... a baby gets killed. Tossed into a bonfire, no less. Horrible death. A baby! This, by his own mother (is there any worse tragedy?), and in revenge for the woman's mother having been killed too in the same fashion. At the end a brother gets killed by his own brother (and then he's horrified to find out who the man he has just killed was), while the woman they both love poisons herself, and to top it all, she is pretty much called a slut by the man she is sacrificing herself for. Great. That's much less depressing than The Consul, right.

    ---------

    Now, maybe I sounded condescending when I advanced the hypothesis that The Consul and The Crucible do not get more recognition (although in a sense they did; they both won the Pulitzer Prize for Music) because people haven't seen them. I didn't mean it this way. It's just that I'm a bit dismayed that contemporary opera gets so rarely staged - you all saw my rant about the Met next season not having any contemporary works. Again, I'd *hope* that if people had more opportunities to see them, they'd love them more.

    But no, I don't think that contemporary operas don't get staged because they are not masterpieces. I think that the reason is economic more than anything. Opera house directors these days are not willing to take risks. They are afraid seats will not be filled. So, they schedule popular warhorses. With the bills coming, it might be wiser to stage Carmen than The Consul.

    But the thing is, certain operas have had up to 415 years to acquire popularity, while some contemporary operas have had... a few months or years. So by sheer volume of exposition, they are naturally not as exposed. People then don't know them... so they can't get as popular. It's an uphill battle and it's almost unfair competition against operas that have been around for centuries and people were able to get used to them and to learn to love them (although many of them were fiascoes when first shown).

    And think recordings. If an opera is having its true premiere, then necessarily it hasn't been recorded. By comparison, the older operas in some cases have 200 different recordings. So, if you don't live at a viable distance from where the opera is being premiered, you won't have much opportunity to be exposed to it, while you can pick up from Amazon or your local store dozens of different options for the older operas.

    See? Lack of exposure doesn't necessarily mean lack of quality. It's just that it is much harder for contemporary opera to achieve the same degree of exposure of those that have been around for centuries, both in stagings and recordings.

    And also, regarding melody, many of the operas already endorsed here as masterpieces are not exactly melodious in the 19th century, bel canto fashion. Elektra and Salome for example are rather fragmented. While Wagner has impressive orchestration, he is not known for melodious vocal writing. Still, this doesn't stop people from endorsing these operas as masterpieces. Melody is not all.

    Oh, and by the way, take the whole Ring cycle. Pretty much the only main character who survives is the evil dwarf Alberich. Everybody else dies, including all the gods! It's worse than Game of Thrones in terms of killing off all the main characters, LOL. So, Magda's death at the end of The Consul is hardly an operatic novelty.

    --------

    Now, if I *only* loved contemporary opera and kept bugging everybody about it all the time, then maybe I'd have some inappropriate dictatorial traits... but I'd hope I might qualify as fairly beyond suspicion here on the matter of contemporary vs. older opera, because I *also* love ancient opera, and *also* advocate for it. I'm an omnivore opera fan, and I love everything from Monteverdi to George Benjamin, and do frequently advocate for other periods as well. Just in May I'm making a point of fully covering and attending the US premiere of a Vivaldi opera at the Spoleto USA Festival. With a limited budget this year, I ended up picking that over going to Santa Fe for the premiere of Cold Mountain.

    However maybe I advocate *more* for contemporary opera because it is more fragile and *needs* more advocacy.

    There's not much need to advocate for people to go get exposed to... Don Giovanni. Preaching to the choir is not always a good use of someone's time.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); April 30th, 2015 at 02:40 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  10. #54
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    From the USA:

    Porgy and Bess
    The Rake's Progress
    --------
    The Consul
    The Medium
    Amahl and the Night Visitors
    The Crucible
    Satyagraha
    The Death of Klinghoffer
    The Ghosts of Versailles
    Emmeline
    Little Women
    Doctor Atomic

    From the United Kingdom:

    Giulio Cesare
    Dido and Aeneas
    Rodelinda
    Peter Grimes *
    Written on Skin
    Alcina
    Rinaldo
    -------------
    Death in Venice
    The Tempest
    The Minotaur
    The Pirates of Penzance
    The Fairy Queen
    Ariodante
    Serse
    Hercules
    Theodora
    Orlando
    Tolomeo
    Deidamia
    Billy Budd *

    From France

    Les Troyens *
    Dialogues des Carmélites
    Pelléas et Mélisande
    Les Contes d'Hoffmann *
    Carmen *
    Les Indes Galantes
    Atys
    Manon
    Guillaume Tell *
    Benvenuto Cellini
    Faust *
    --------------
    Les Pêcheurs de Perles
    La Damnation de Faust
    Roméo et Juliette
    L'Enfant et les sortilèges
    Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné
    Dardanus
    Médée (Chapentier's)
    Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour
    Pheaton
    Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame
    Dinorah
    La Favorite
    Robert Le Diable *

    From Russia

    Eugene Onegin *
    Boris Godunov *
    The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronya *
    Prince Igor *
    War and Peace
    Iolanta
    ------------
    Kovanschina
    Betrothal in a Monastery
    The Love for Three Oranges *
    A Life for the Tsar
    The Fiery Angel
    The Golden Cockerel
    Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
    The Demon
    The Tale of the Tsar Saltan

    From Austria

    Lulu
    Wozzeck *
    Paride ed Elena
    Orfeo ed Euridice
    Don Giovanni *
    Così fan Tutte
    Le Nozze di Figaro *
    Idomeneo *
    La Clemenza di Tito
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail *
    Die Zauberflöte *
    ----------
    Die Fledermaus
    Die lustige Witwe

    From Germany

    Die Tote Stadt
    Der Rosenkavalier
    Salome
    Elektra
    Die Walküre
    Das Rheingold
    Gotterdämerung
    Lohengrin
    Tristan und Isolde
    Tannhäuser
    Fidelio
    Siegfried
    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
    Parsifal
    ------------
    Die Frau Ohne Schatten
    Die Soldaten
    Der Freischutz
    Euryanthe
    Boulevard Solitude
    Orpheus (Telemann)
    Siroe (Hasse)
    Croesus

    From Italy

    La Traviata
    Rigoletto *
    Il Trovatore *
    Don Carlo *
    Otello (Verdi's) *
    La Bohème *
    Tosca
    Norma
    I Capuleti e I Montecchi
    Lucia di Lammermoor *
    Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini's)
    L'Italiana in Algeri
    Cavalleria Rusticana
    I Paggliaci
    L'Orfeo
    Madama Butterfly
    Falstaff *
    Ernani *
    Roberto Devereux
    Anna Bolena
    Maria Stuarda
    I Puritani *
    L'incoronazione di Poppea
    Armida (Rossini's)
    ------------
    Macbeth *
    Simon Boccanegra *
    Il Tabarro
    Gianni Schichi
    L'elisir d'amore
    Mosè in Egito
    La Cenerentola
    Ermione
    La Didonne
    Luce mie traditrice
    Beatrice di Tenda
    Artaserse (Vinci)
    La Verità in cimento
    La Calisto
    Artemisia (Cavalli)
    L'Ormindo
    Griselda (Scarlatti)

    From the Czech Republic

    The Bartered Bride
    Rusalka
    Jenufa *
    -------------
    Kat'a Kabanova
    From the House of the Dead
    The Cunning Little Vixen

    Others

    Bluebeard's Castle
    Le Grand Macabre
    King Roger *
    L'Amour de Loin
    Ainadamar
    Il Guarany
    Maskarade
    El Retablo de Maese Pedro

    Is this right?
    "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

  11. #55
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Is this right?
    Hm... sorry, but not really. It seems like you deleted the previous markings. So for example if an opera had been already endorsed twice and you wanted to add your own support, then you should have placed an additional asterisk there - it would then have three, so that we keep track of all votes. But don't worry, I can try and restore all the other markings later tonight when I'll have a little more time. Appreciate your input! And I see that you did endorse Simon Boccanegra, hehe! And I gather that you meant all the other Il Trovatore version except a certain one, right?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  12. #56
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    OK, putting the list back with all votes and including Annie's votes:

    From the USA:

    Porgy and Bess **
    The Rake's Progress *
    --------
    Amahl and the Night Visitors
    The Crucible
    Satyagraha
    The Death of Klinghoffer
    The Ghosts of Versailles
    Emmeline
    Little Women
    Doctor Atomic -
    The Consul -
    The Medium -

    From the United Kingdom:

    Giulio Cesare ***
    Dido and Aeneas *
    Rodelinda *
    Peter Grimes ***
    Written on Skin *
    Alcina *
    Rinaldo *
    Billy Budd * -
    -------------
    Death in Venice
    The Tempest
    The Minotaur
    The Pirates of Penzance
    The Fairy Queen
    Ariodante
    Serse
    Hercules
    Theodora
    Orlando
    Tolomeo
    Deidamia

    From France

    Les Troyens **
    Dialogues des Carmélites *
    Pelléas et Mélisande *
    Les Contes d'Hoffmann ***
    Carmen ****
    Les Indes Galantes *
    Atys *
    Manon **
    Guillaume Tell *****
    Benvenuto Cellini *
    Faust **
    Robert Le Diable * -
    --------------
    Les Pêcheurs de Perles
    La Damnation de Faust
    Roméo et Juliette
    L'Enfant et les sortilèges
    Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné
    Dardanus
    Médée (Chapentier's)
    Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour
    Pheaton
    Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame
    Dinorah
    La Favorite

    From Russia

    Eugene Onegin *****
    Boris Godunov ****
    The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronya **
    Prince Igor **
    War and Peace **
    Iolanta *
    The Love for Three Oranges *
    ------------
    Kovanschina
    Betrothal in a Monastery
    A Life for the Tsar
    The Fiery Angel
    The Golden Cockerel
    Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
    The Demon
    The Tale of the Tsar Saltan

    From Austria

    Lulu *
    Wozzeck **
    Paride ed Elena *
    Orfeo ed Euridice **
    Don Giovanni *****
    Così fan Tutte ***
    Le Nozze di Figaro ****
    Idomeneo **
    La Clemenza di Tito ***
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail ***
    Die Zauberflöte ****
    ----------
    Die Fledermaus
    Die lustige Witwe

    From Germany

    Die Tote Stadt **
    Der Rosenkavalier ***
    Salome **
    Elektra **
    Die Walküre ***
    Das Rheingold ***
    Gotterdämerung ***
    Lohengrin ****
    Tristan und Isolde **
    Tannhäuser **
    Fidelio **
    Siegfried ***
    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg ***
    Parsifal **
    ------------
    Die Frau Ohne Schatten
    Die Soldaten
    Der Freischutz
    Euryanthe
    Boulevard Solitude
    Orpheus (Telemann)
    Siroe (Hasse)
    Croesus

    From Italy

    La Traviata ****
    Rigoletto ***
    Il Trovatore **
    Don Carlo ***
    Otello (Verdi's) *****
    La Bohème *
    Tosca ***
    Norma **
    I Capuleti e I Montecchi *
    Lucia di Lammermoor **
    Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini's) **
    L'Italiana in Algeri *
    Cavalleria Rusticana *
    I Paggliaci *
    L'Orfeo *
    Madama Butterfly *
    Falstaff *
    Ernani **
    Roberto Devereux *
    Anna Bolena **
    Maria Stuarda *
    I Puritani ****
    L'incoronazione di Poppea **
    Armida (Rossini's) *
    Macbeth *
    Simon Boccanegra *
    ------------
    Il Tabarro
    Gianni Schichi
    L'elisir d'amore
    Mosè in Egito
    La Cenerentola
    Ermione
    La Didonne
    Luce mie traditrice
    Beatrice di Tenda
    Artaserse (Vinci)
    La Verità in cimento
    La Calisto
    Artemisia (Cavalli)
    L'Ormindo
    Griselda (Scarlatti)

    From the Czech Republic

    The Bartered Bride *
    Rusalka **
    Jenufa **
    -------------
    Kat'a Kabanova
    From the House of the Dead
    The Cunning Little Vixen

    Others

    King Roger *
    ---------
    Bluebeard's Castle
    Le Grand Macabre
    L'Amour de Loin
    Ainadamar
    Il Guarany
    Maskarade
    El Retablo de Maese Pedro
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  13. #57
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Jesus, why are words like "dictate" and "dictators" being brought up? I merely said I'm *disappointed* that some American operas don't get more recognition, and that I'd *hope* they'd be considered masterpieces. This is due to my well known love for contemporary music, and I'd assume, then, that there isn't anything wrong with that, right? Aren't we saying that here we respect everybody's taste? Well, I do love contemporary opera. That's my taste. When I advocate for it, it doesn't mean I want to dictate my taste to others, but yes, I'm an advocate. People have causes, and they advocate for them, which doesn't mean they want to *impose* them on others. They may *hope* that people join them, but hopefully not by force, LOL. I believe that to keep opera alive advocacy for contemporary opera is important. It's just my belief. But if people don't think some of them are masterpieces, fine. That's exactly why I proposed the endorsement and the challenge systems.

    So, I take it that Hoffmann's post does indicate that he does not consider The Consul and The Crucible to be masterpieces, which is fine. We should place a negative sign next to them. It's still unclear to me if JohnGerald wants to go this far and second Hoffmann's challenge of these operas being listed, but he should feel free to do so if that's what he thinks/wants. If these operas collect two of those challenges and fail to collect 5 more endorsements besides mine (unlikely that they will, at this point), then they won't be in the final list of masterpieces, which is perfectly fine. Me, I find them to be masterpieces. But it's not my list; it's a collective list.

    ------

    PS - Magda's visa never gets granted, and wouldn't have been granted if she had survived (the opera makes a point of showing that only the rich woman is granted a visa). She commits suicide to prevent her husband from coming back to try and save her, so that he won't be in jeopardy himself (which fails; he comes back anyway and gets arrested). Yes, very depressing opera, sure. But I don't think that being depressing disqualifies something from being a masterpiece. Or else, Dostoyevsky's books such as The Brothers Karamazov (and pretty much every other book he wrote) would never have been considered to be masterpieces.

    Besides, look at operas that were gladly endorsed here as masterpieces, like Il Trovatore. Hm... a baby gets killed. Tossed into a bonfire, no less. Horrible death. A baby! This, by his own mother (is there any worse tragedy?), and in revenge for the woman's mother having been killed too in the same fashion. At the end a brother gets killed by his own brother (and then he's horrified to find out who the man he has just killed was), while the woman they both love poisons herself, and to top it all, she is pretty much called a slut by the man she is sacrificing herself for. Great. That's much less depressing than The Consul, right.

    ---------

    Now, maybe I sounded condescending when I advanced the hypothesis that The Consul and The Crucible do not get more recognition (although in a sense they did; they both won the Pulitzer Prize for Music) because people haven't seen them. I didn't mean it this way. It's just that I'm a bit dismayed that contemporary opera gets so rarely staged - you all saw my rant about the Met next season not having any contemporary works. Again, I'd *hope* that if people had more opportunities to see them, they'd love them more.

    But no, I don't think that contemporary operas don't get staged because they are not masterpieces. I think that the reason is economic more than anything. Opera house directors these days are not willing to take risks. They are afraid seats will not be filled. So, they schedule popular warhorses. With the bills coming, it might be wiser to stage Carmen than The Consul.

    But the thing is, certain operas have had up to 415 years to acquire popularity, while some contemporary operas have had... a few months or years. So by sheer volume of exposition, they are naturally not as exposed. People then don't know them... so they can't get as popular. It's an uphill battle and it's almost unfair competition against operas that have been around for centuries and people were able to get used to them and to learn to love them (although many of them were fiascoes when first shown).

    And think recordings. If an opera is having its true premiere, then necessarily it hasn't been recorded. By comparison, the older operas in some cases have 200 different recordings. So, if you don't live at a viable distance from where the opera is being premiered, you won't have much opportunity to be exposed to it, while you can pick up from Amazon or your local store dozens of different options for the older operas.

    See? Lack of exposure doesn't necessarily mean lack of quality. It's just that it is much harder for contemporary opera to achieve the same degree of exposure of those that have been around for centuries, both in stagings and recordings.

    And also, regarding melody, many of the operas already endorsed here as masterpieces are not exactly melodious in the 19th century, bel canto fashion. Elektra and Salome for example are rather fragmented. While Wagner has impressive orchestration, he is not known for melodious vocal writing. Still, this doesn't stop people from endorsing these operas as masterpieces. Melody is not all.

    Oh, and by the way, take the whole Ring cycle. Pretty much the only main character who survives is the evil dwarf Alberich. Everybody else dies, including all the gods! It's worse than Game of Thrones in terms of killing off all the main characters, LOL. So, Magda's death at the end of The Consul is hardly an operatic novelty.

    --------

    Now, if I *only* loved contemporary opera and kept bugging everybody about it all the time, then maybe I'd have some inappropriate dictatorial traits... but I'd hope I might qualify as fairly beyond suspicion here on the matter of contemporary vs. older opera, because I *also* love ancient opera, and *also* advocate for it. I'm an omnivore opera fan, and I love everything from Monteverdi to George Benjamin, and do frequently advocate for other periods as well. Just in May I'm making a point of fully covering and attending the US premiere of a Vivaldi opera at the Spoleto USA Festival. With a limited budget this year, I ended up picking that over going to Santa Fe for the premiere of Cold Mountain.

    However maybe I advocate *more* for contemporary opera because it is more fragile and *needs* more advocacy.

    There's not much need to advocate for people to go get exposed to... Don Giovanni. Preaching to the choir is not always a good use of someone's time.

    I have to say, Luiz, that I think your enthusiasm for contemporary opera is just one of your charms. Your points always have merit and are equally worth a vigorous debate!

    I also would add that opera companies increasingly seem to think their future success might be tied to contemporary and commissioned works. While it's true that the Met has let you down with their schedule for 2015 - 16 (and, I agree that 5 Puccini operas is way over the top), other companies have loaded their schedules with contemporary works. See: Washington National Opera (2 modern/contemporary works, 1 warhorse and the Ring) and Dallas Opera (2 contemporary works, 2 warhorses and a musical, jeez).

    The Berliner Staatsoper is even getting into the ethos. I sat and went through their recently announced schedule trying to figure out next year's (spring, 2016) opera outing and came up empty handed.

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  15. #58
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    It's interesting to see that from Austria, all the ones I had initially proposed made it as masterpieces, except the two operettas. People don't seem to have much love for operettas. I wouldn't say that as a genre operetta can fully compete with opera (and I far prefer the latter), but the best operettas in my opinion are indeed - within the parameters of their genre - masterpieces.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    It's interesting to see that from Austria, all the ones I had initially proposed made it as masterpieces, except the two operettas. People don't seem to have much love for operettas. I wouldn't say that as a genre operetta can fully compete with opera (and I far prefer the latter), but the best operettas in my opinion are indeed - within the parameters of their genre - masterpieces.
    Being a fan of good operettas. I concur ... sort of. While I really dig all the schmaltz, even the best performed operettas cannot compete with well performed operas (composed in Italy during the first 75 years of the 19th century ... )

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    From the USA:

    Porgy and Bess ***
    The Rake's Progress **
    --------
    Amahl and the Night Visitors
    The Crucible
    Satyagraha
    Akhnaten
    The Death of Klinghoffer Good but not a masterpiece, libretto is a bit awkward, and really an oratorio
    The Ghosts of Versailles
    Emmeline
    Little Women
    Doctor Atomic -
    The Consul -
    The Medium -

    From the United Kingdom:

    Giulio Cesare ****
    Dido and Aeneas **
    Rodelinda **
    Peter Grimes ****
    Written on Skin **
    Alcina **
    Rinaldo **
    Billy Budd **
    -------------
    Death in Venice*
    The Tempest
    The Minotaur*
    The Pirates of Penzance
    The Fairy Queen*
    Ariodante*
    Serse*
    Hercules*
    Theodora
    Orlando
    Tolomeo
    Deidamia

    From France

    Les Troyens ***
    Dialogues des Carmélites **
    Pelléas et Mélisande **
    Les Contes d'Hoffmann ****
    Carmen *****
    Les Indes Galantes **
    Atys *
    Manon ***
    Guillaume Tell ******
    Benvenuto Cellini *
    Faust **
    Robert Le Diable * - I challenge this too, even though I'm a sucker for zombie nuns.
    --------------
    Les Pêcheurs de Perles
    La Damnation de Faust
    Roméo et Juliette
    L'Enfant et les sortilèges*
    Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné
    Dardanus
    Médée (Chapentier's)*
    Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour
    Pheaton
    Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame
    Dinorah
    La Favorite I challenge this, the music is fine but the plot is awful

    From Russia

    Eugene Onegin ******
    Boris Godunov *****
    The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronya ***
    Prince Igor ***
    War and Peace ***
    Iolanta **
    The Love for Three Oranges **
    ------------
    Kovanschina
    Betrothal in a Monastery
    A Life for the Tsar
    The Fiery Angel
    The Golden Cockerel
    Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District*
    The Demon*
    The Tale of the Tsar Saltan

    From Austria

    Lulu *
    Wozzeck ***
    Paride ed Elena *
    Orfeo ed Euridice ***
    Don Giovanni ******
    Così fan Tutte ****
    Le Nozze di Figaro *****
    Idomeneo ***
    La Clemenza di Tito ****
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail ****
    Die Zauberflöte *****
    ----------
    Die Fledermaus*
    Die lustige Witwe

    From Germany

    Die Tote Stadt ***
    Der Rosenkavalier ***
    Salome ***
    Elektra **
    Die Walküre ****
    Das Rheingold ****
    Gotterdämerung ****
    Lohengrin *****
    Tristan und Isolde ***
    Tannhäuser **
    Fidelio **
    Siegfried ***
    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg ***
    Parsifal **
    ------------
    Die Frau Ohne Schatten
    Die Soldaten
    Der Freischutz*
    Euryanthe
    Boulevard Solitude
    Orpheus (Telemann)
    Siroe (Hasse)
    Croesus

    From Italy

    La Traviata *****
    Rigoletto ****
    Il Trovatore **
    Don Carlo ****
    Otello (Verdi's) ******
    La Bohème *
    Tosca ****
    La fanciulla del West Many critics see this as Puccini's best, and I agree.
    Norma **
    I Capuleti e I Montecchi *
    Lucia di Lammermoor **
    Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini's) ***
    L'Italiana in Algeri *
    Cavalleria Rusticana *
    I Paggliaci *
    L'Orfeo **
    Il ritorno' d'Ulisse in Patria
    Madama Butterfly *
    Falstaff *
    Ernani **
    Roberto Devereux *
    Anna Bolena **
    Maria Stuarda *
    I Puritani ****
    L'incoronazione di Poppea ***
    Armida (Rossini's) *
    Macbeth **
    Simon Boccanegra **
    ------------
    Il Tabarro
    Gianni Schichi
    L'elisir d'amore*
    Mosè in Egito
    La Cenerentola*
    Ermione
    La Didone*
    Luce mie traditrice
    Beatrice di Tenda
    Artaserse (Vinci)*
    La Verità in cimento*
    La Calisto
    Artemisia (Cavalli)
    L'Ormindo
    Griselda (Scarlatti)

    From the Czech Republic

    The Bartered Bride **
    Rusalka ***
    Jenufa ***
    -------------
    Kat'a Kabanova
    From the House of the Dead
    The Cunning Little Vixen

    Others

    King Roger *
    ---------
    Bluebeard's Castle*
    Le Grand Macabre
    L'Amour de Loin*
    Ainadamar
    Il Guarany
    Maskarade
    El Retablo de Maese Pedro
    Natalie

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