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View Full Version : The Opera Lively List of Operatic Masterpieces By Country



Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
June 14th, 2015, 05:26 PM
Opera Lively members have voted for what operas can be considered true masterpieces. The results are below, organized by country. Operas are considered to belong to a country when they were significantly inserted into that country's musical environment even if the composer was born somewhere else. This is for example why Rossini's Guillaume Tell is considered to hail from France rather than from Rossini's Italian homeland. He composed this opera when he was already living permanently in Paris, and did it for the French stages. Maybe in establishing these national belongings, we made some mistakes (we didn't look up the compositional history and circumstances of every single opera listed here), and if some historian or musicologist points out to us that some of the operas listed here might be moved to a different country, we'll be happy to do so, if we're told about it by using the Contact Us form.

Opera Lively has other lists, such as our "recommended" or "favorite" operas. These lists differ because someone might like very much an opera but not consider it a true masterpiece due to some sort of flaw in one of its elements (e.g., an opera has great music but a catastrophic libretto, etc.). One can, on the other hand, respect an opera as a masterpiece even if that opera isn't among that person's favorites. So, this list refers to masterpieces, not to favorite operas.

Some operas were nominated for this contest but weren't sufficiently endorsed by other members to make the final list of "true masterpieces." We list these nominees that didn't make it, below the list of those that did.

All lists are controversial. This one just aims at collecting what the Opera Lively community believes to be true operatic masterpieces. Other communities of opera lovers and/or opera professionals might think differently, and that's just fine.

The order of listing is not important.

If you are curious about the process of voting, the voting thread (now closed) can be consulted by clicking [here (http://operalively.com/forums/showthread.php/2450-Absolute-masterpieces-by-country-voting-thread-%28closed%29)]

Operas endorsed by the Opera Lively Community as True Masterpieces, by Country:

From the United States:

Porgy and Bess
The Rake's Progress
Satyagraha
Akhnaten

From the United Kingdom:

Giulio Cesare
Dido and Aeneas
Rodelinda
Peter Grimes
Written on Skin
Alcina
Rinaldo
Billy Budd
Death in Venice
The Minotaur
The Fairy Queen
Ariodante
Serse
Hercules

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
L'Enfant et les sortilèges
Médée (Chapentier's)

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
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
The Demon
Khovanshchina

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

From Germany:

Die Tote Stadt
Der Rosenkavalier
Salome
Elektra
Die Walküre
Das Rheingold
Götterdämerung
Lohengrin
Tristan und Isolde
Tannhäuser
Fidelio
Siegfried
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Parsifal
Der Freischutz

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 Pagliacci
L'Orfeo
Madama Butterfly
Falstaff
Ernani
Roberto Devereux
Anna Bolena
Maria Stuarda
I Puritani
L'incoronazione di Poppea
Armida (Rossini's)
Macbeth
Simon Boccanegra
L'Elisir d'Amore
La Cenerentola
La Didone
Artaserse (Vinci)
La Verità in cimento
Ermione
Gianni Schichi
Il ritorno' d'Ulisse in Patria

From the Czech Republic:

The Bartered Bride
Rusalka
Jenufa

From other miscellaneous countries:

King Roger (Poland)
L'Amour de Loin (Finland)
Bluebeard's Castle (Hungary)

Operas That Were Nominated but Didn't Make the Final List, by country

From the United States:

Amahl and the Night Visitors
The Crucible
The Ghosts of Versailles
Emmeline
Little Women
Doctor Atomic
The Consul
The Medium
The Death of Klinghoffer

From the United Kingdom:

The Turn of the Screw
The Tempest
The Pirates of Penzance
Theodora
Orlando
Tolomeo
Deidamia

From France:

Les Pêcheurs de Perles
La Damnation de Faust
Roméo et Juliette
Le Dernier Jour d'un Condamné
Dardanus
Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour
Phaéton
Amadis
Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame
Dinorah
La Favorite
Robert Le Diable

From Germany:

Die Frau Ohne Schatten
Die Soldaten
Euryanthe
Boulevard Solitude
Orpheus (Telemann)
Siroe (Hasse)
Croesus

From Italy:

La fanciulla del West
Il Tabarro
Mosè in Egito
Luce mie traditrice
Beatrice di Tenda
La Calisto
Artemisia (Cavalli)
L'Ormindo
Griselda (Scarlatti)
Turandot
Orlando Furioso (Vivaldi)

From Russia:

Betrothal in a Monastery
A Life for the Tsar
The Fiery Angel
The Golden Cockerel
The Tale of the Tsar Saltan

From Austria:

Die lustige Witwe

From the Czech Republic:

Kat'a Kabanova
From the House of the Dead
The Cunning Little Vixen

From other miscellaneous countries:

Le Grand Macabre (Hungary)
Ainadamar (Argentina)
Il Guarany (Brazil)
Maskarade (Denmark)
El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Spain)

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STATS

108 operas made the list of Masterpieces. 60 others were nominated but didn't make it.

Italy came first with 34 masterpieces, Germany second with 15, the UK third with 14. Then France contributed with 13, Austria with 12, and Russia with 10. The United States had 4, and the Czech Republic had 3. Polland, Finland, and Hungary had 1 each.

As far as composers go, the top ones were, unsurprisingly, Verdi with 9, Wagner with 9, Handel with 7, Mozart with 7, Rossini with 5, Donizetti with 5, and Puccini with 4.

The most ancient opera to make it was L'Orfeo by Monteverdi, from 1607. The most recent one was Written on Skin by George Benjamin, from 2012.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
June 14th, 2015, 06:03 PM
The list above refers to a voting process that has been closed, and can no longer be modified.

Comments (agrees and disagrees, omissions, etc.) however can be posted here after this post.

Clayton
June 28th, 2015, 12:52 PM
Omissions

L'Incoronazione di Dario by Vivaldi, Italy

Soave_Fanciulla
June 28th, 2015, 07:12 PM
Omissions

L'Incoronazione di Dario by Vivaldi, Italy

I'll second that.