Author Topic: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas  (Read 26170 times)

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BMW

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2010, 09:05:40 AM »
What is it about Wagner that attracts such devoted proselytizers?  I cannot ever recall having seen, here or elsewhere, fans of any other composer making such vigorous efforts forcefully convert others to their faith as seems routine with a significant subset of Wagner lovers.  I swear that many of them seem quite willing to use the same tactics Hitler used with Poland if only they could! 

(Whoops.  I momentarily forgot about "E L G A R" and a similarly deranged Schumann fan on another site I used to frequent.)

The typical posts (or blog entries!) go something like this:  Wagner's the greatest ever, period, it's self evident, everyone with any sense knows it, and if you don't agree then you're just stupid--with tin ears!  It's hard to imagine those who greatly admire the music of Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Sibelius, Brahms, Debussy (well, that's a bit iffy!), or Poulenc going on in similar fashion (though, come to think of it, I have encountered two or three fans of the Darmstadt school who seem to be copying the Wagner fans' playbook).

Any ideas why this should be so?  (Note that I don't believe it has anything to do with anti-Semitism among Wagner's devotees.)

Wagner may have the most vehement defenders because he also has the most vehement attackers.  And unfortunately so much of the debate is the result of events he did not even witness.  Yes he was anti-Semitic, as were many others, including other much beloved composers (which is not to serve as an excuse for idea, just to put it in context).  The debate about his music will always be influenced by the fact that it does not seem possible to have it without being influenced by so much extramusical material.  Wagner set himself up for this fate by putting so many of his thoughts down on paper.  This practice could also contribute to the devoted proselytizing you ask about -- Wagner was constantly justifying his work and there are some today who have just taken up the torch.

Or it could simply be because Wagner is in fact the greatest ever.  It is self evident, everyone with any sense knows it, and anyone who does not agree is just stupid -- and has tin ears!  ;)

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2010, 09:20:43 AM »
A belated welcome to the forum, Beemer!  It's wonderfully refreshing to encounter a Wagnerite with a sense of humor!  (Or perhaps you're not really a true devotee, grovelling at the feet of The Master, for they seem to have had their senses of humor excised, at least where Little Dickie is concerned!  Hmmm, makes me wonder which came first:  the surgical removal of the humor sites in the brain, or the Wagner worship? Oh, well, in either case it's what makes them so much fun to play with!)
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Franco

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2010, 09:31:10 AM »
Quote
Yes he was anti-Semitic, as were many others, including other much beloved composers (which is not to serve as an excuse for idea, just to put it in context). 

Like who?  I can't think of any who were as outspoken as Wagner.  My opinion of his music has nothing to do with his anti-Semitism, but everything to do with the actual sound of the music.  But, I will, maybe once a decade, sit down and listen to one of his operas and end up getting something positive out of the experience.  The 2000s were taken care of last year with Das Rhiengold.  I've the next ten years to find time for Siegfried.

His is not an art I have much fondness for, but I can understand the appeal.

BMW

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2010, 10:57:38 AM »
Like who?  I can't think of any who were as outspoken as Wagner. 

Exactly.  Chopin and Liszt have both been accused of being "casual" anti-Semites, but neither of them left behind pages and pages on the subject that others could use to their own ends.

BMW

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2010, 11:01:13 AM »
A belated welcome to the forum, Beemer!  It's wonderfully refreshing to encounter a Wagnerite with a sense of humor!  (Or perhaps you're not really a true devotee, grovelling at the feet of The Master, for they seem to have had their senses of humor excised, at least where Little Dickie is concerned!  Hmmm, makes me wonder which came first:  the surgical removal of the humor sites in the brain, or the Wagner worship? Oh, well, in either case it's what makes them so much fun to play with!)

 :D
I am definitely a fan but cannot deny enjoying a little Anna Russell now and then.

Offline Walther von Stolzing

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2010, 11:19:04 AM »
Like who?  I can't think of any who were as outspoken as Wagner.

Frankly, the history of German literature from the Enlightenment to the fall of the Third Reich is a despicable catalog of anti-Jewish sentiment. Sympathizers were rare. In varying degrees both major and minor figures expressed hostility to or contempt for the Jews: The Grimm Brothers, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, and even Martin Luther who railed against the Jews and proposed the burning of their synagogues. Franz Liszt was another composer who was not inhibited in his expressions of anti-Semitism. In a publication of 1881, The Gypsy in Music, he termed the Jews "sullen, servile, cruel and avaricious."

The reality is that in countless ways he was an entirely characteristic symptom of his age, reflecting it's outlook, its prejudices and its neuroses. This in no way excuses his words, and I do not forgive him for them because of my appreciation of his music. Besides, the person he ended up hurting more than anyone else was himself and his legacy. However, his anti-Semitism is totally unimportant for an understanding and appreciation of his art.

Nevertheless, it is indeed important for an understanding of the man. It was a significant expression of his emotional make-up. And I think the more you learn about the sources of his particular brand of anti-Semitism, the less scary it becomes, and the less connected to the anti-Semitic movement of the 1870s and eventually to the attitudes of the Nazis it appears. Saying he would have been a part of the Nazi movement if he were around 50 years after his death is not only pure unfounded speculation, but doesn't add up with the facts of his life. Wagner's anti-Semitic attitude, writings, and comments did not appear until his late 30s. This was not some deep embedded prejudice from his youth. It seems that to Wagner his connection with the successful Jewish opera composer Giacomo Meyerbeer brought the misfortune that many people, friends included, had received the impression that he had something in common with Meyerbeer artistically. That notion had brought Wagner to despair and caused him to demonstrate publicly his distance from his former patron. His negative opinion of Meyerbeer was formed independently of his being a Jew, but he then used that fact to base his attack and argument against Meyerbeer's art. The artistic inferiority of Meyerbeer was not just an opinion, but a fact, because it was the product of a member of an inferior race. So see, Wagner used the common anti-Semitic outlooks and  speech of the time as the stick to beat Meyerbeer with. But after his infamous essay was published, it had the effect of creating a sort of paranoia in Wagner himself. He used it to explain any setbacks and failures he had in his life, and to explain harsh comments and reviews by members of the press. He started to believe it was their way at getting back at him for publishing his essay. Behind every obstacle, he truly believed was a Jew in hiding. And soon his outlook became that any opponent of his was a Jew.

Yet while he now had complete contempt for Jews as an abstract concept, he never became anything close to a Nazi. When the representatives of the anti-Semitic movement that arose in the 1870s came in hopes that they could claim Wagner as a famous herald of their doctrine, and asked him to sign a petition to the Reichstag protesting the recent grant of full rights of citizenship to Jews, twice he refused explaining that such actions were not really his style, that he preferred to just write, and to leave such mundane things to others. Never did he refuse the help or friendship of anyone because he or she was a Jew, or on any other racial or religious ground. He judged all individuals by their artistic talent and/or their understanding of himself and his aims. He was often surrounded by Jews aiding him in completing and staging his works, much to the consternation of others with a more practical hatred of Jews. That his name was later used as a central symbol of the anti-Jewish movement is no surprise, and a consequence of his writings. Again, his legacy suffers most of all from it. But to burden him with the actions of others is going too far.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 11:22:24 AM by Walther von Stolzing »

Franco

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2010, 11:34:29 AM »
Frankly, the history of German literature from the Enlightenment to the fall of the Third Reich is a despicable catalog of anti-Jewish sentiment.

Splendid. 

I am not blaming Wagner for the actions of others - he has plenty enough to answer for merely for being responsible for his music.  I am acknowledging that whether or not you consider it just, his writings and the esteem surrounding his name offered the Nazis a patina of legitimacy for their noxious ideology.  If Wagner would rather spend his time writing his operas as opposed to joining an anti-Jewish group, the reason you cited was not because he found their mission deplorable, just a distraction from time spent writing his next work of genius - faint praise, IMO.

You can admire Wagner all you want.  I don't have a dog in that hunt, I'm expressing my own view about his reputation - which even if he were a Jew lover his music would still not be to my tastes.

Offline Walther von Stolzing

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2010, 11:53:18 AM »
I am acknowledging that whether or not you consider it just, his writings and the esteem surrounding his name offered the Nazis a patina of legitimacy for their noxious ideology.

Obviously. And for that Wagner should be held accountable, no doubt. Yet is there ultimately any legitimizing the Nazis' ideology and their actions? I think not.

Quote
If Wagner would rather spend his time writing his operas as opposed to joining an anti-Jewish group, the reason you cited was not because he found their mission deplorable, just a distraction from time spent writing his next work of genius - faint praise, IMO.

Faint praise it may be. What I was suggesting is that he way he wrote and spoke was often at odds with the way he lived, and he is hardly the monster many make him out to be.

Bulldog

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2010, 11:56:01 AM »
Splendid. 

I am not blaming Wagner for the actions of others - he has plenty enough to answer for merely for being responsible for his music.  I am acknowledging that whether or not you consider it just, his writings and the esteem surrounding his name offered the Nazis a patina of legitimacy for their noxious ideology.  If Wagner would rather spend his time writing his operas as opposed to joining an anti-Jewish group, the reason you cited was not because he found their mission deplorable, just a distraction from time spent writing his next work of genius - faint praise, IMO.

Come on, Franco.  That was not the reason cited by Walther, not that it matters much.  This going back and forth about Wagner's anti-semetic views is getting very old and always was a waste of time as it has nothing to do with the man's musical artistry.

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2010, 12:00:24 PM »
Come on, Franco.  That was not the reason cited by Walther, not that it matters much.  This going back and forth about Wagner's anti-semetic views is getting very old and always was a waste of time as it has nothing to do with the man's musical artistry.

Very true. If Franco wants to, he can join ME and just say "ya know, I don't get much out of his music so I am not going to waste my time with it any more". Antisemitism be damned anyway, if you don't like something you don't need that sort of reason. There's a bunch of music I don't like and not a hint of anti-anything in sight. :)

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Franco

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #50 on: July 19, 2010, 12:34:06 PM »
I do listen to Wagner some, rarely, but I do listen to him more than Mahler or Bruckner, two composers with no hint of Antisemitism that I am aware of.  I suppose I listen to Wagner more than them because I am a fan of opera.  I get tired of the apologists, is all.

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #51 on: July 19, 2010, 02:53:20 PM »
Just a gentle reminder here that this isn't a thread dedicated to Wagner's anti-semitism, or anti-semitism in general.

(So, as much as I feel inclined to have my say as well, I will abstain.)

Currently listening to Purcell's Fairy Queen, which I don't see on the list, BTW.

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2017, 06:53:46 AM »
I ran again the top 50 most performed operas on opera.com database and this is what it came with

1   1   it (#1)   Verdi (#1)    La traviata    4190   (869)
2   2   at (#1)   Mozart (#1)    Die Zauberflote    3310   (561)
3   3   fr (#1)   Bizet (#1)    Carmen    3280   (691)
4   4   it (#2)   Puccini (#1)    La boheme    3131   (672)
5   5   it (#3)   Puccini (#2)    Tosca    2694   (608)
6   6   it (#4)   Puccini (#3)    Madama Butterfly    2641   (634)
7   7   it (#5)   Rossini (#1)    Il barbiere di Siviglia    2549   (591)
8   8   at (#2)   Mozart (#2)    Le nozze di Figaro    2483   (545)
9   9   at (#3)   Mozart (#3)    Don Giovanni    2299   (473)
10   10   it (#6)   Verdi (#2)    Rigoletto    2285   (523)
11   11   at (#4)   Strauss,J (#1)    Die Fledermaus    2207   (393)
12   12   it (#7)   Verdi (#3)    Aida    1639   (392)
13   13   de (#1)   Humperdinck (#1)    Hansel und Gretel [c]   1629   (299)
14   14   it (#8)   Donizetti (#1)    L'elisir d'amore    1574   (378)
15   15   at (#5)   Mozart (#4)    Cosi fan tutte    1538   (364)
16   16   ru (#1)   Tchaikovsky,P (#1)    Eugene Onegin    1522   (347)
17   17   it (#9)   Verdi (#4)    Nabucco    1280   (314)
18   18   it (#10)   Puccini (#4)    Turandot    1225   (255)
19   19   hu (#1)   Lehar (#1)    Die lustige Witwe    1202   (223)
20   20   it (#11)   Verdi (#5)    Il trovatore    1053   (285)
21   21   it (#12)   Leoncavallo (#1)    Pagliacci    1012   (252)
22   22   hu (#2)   Kalman,E (#1)    Die Csardasfurstin    1007   (177)
23   23   it (#13)   Verdi (#6)    Otello    985   (224)
24   24   de (#2)   Wagner,R (#1)    Der fliegende Hollander    957   (216)
25   25   it (#14)   Verdi (#7)    Un ballo in maschera    931   (210)
26   26   it (#15)   Donizetti (#2)    Lucia di Lammermoor    913   (247)
27   27   at (#6)   Mozart (#5)    Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail    855   (163)
28   28   it (#16)   Rossini (#2)    La cenerentola    854   (176)
29   29   it (#17)   Verdi (#8)    Macbeth    793   (183)
30   30   it (#18)   Verdi (#9)    Falstaff    759   (158)
31   31   fr (#2)   Offenbach (#1)    Les contes d'Hoffmann    730   (145)
32   32   it (#19)   Mascagni (#1)    Cavalleria rusticana    725   (198)
33   33   it (#20)   Donizetti (#3)    Don Pasquale    705   (159)
34   34   cz (#1)   Dvorak,A (#1)    Rusalka    641   (113)
35   35   it (#21)   Verdi (#10)    Don Carlos    635   (136)
36   36   fr (#3)   Gounod (#1)    Faust    567   (126)
37   37   de (#3)   Beethoven (#1)    Fidelio    560   (111)
38   38   de (#4)   Strauss,R (#1)    Der Rosenkavalier    548   (105)
39   39   hu (#3)   Kalman,E (#2)    Grafin Mariza    535   (90)
40   40   de (#5)   Strauss,R (#2)    Salome    512   (110)
41   41   it (#22)   Puccini (#5)    Gianni Schicchi    502   (133)
42   42   it (#23)   Bellini (#1)    Norma    491   (125)
43   43   de (#6)   Wagner,R (#2)    Lohengrin    490   (101)
44   44   de (#7)   Wagner,R (#3)    Tristan und Isolde    489   (132)
45   45   at (#7)   Benatzky (#1)    Im weissen Rossl    488   (63)
46   46   de (#8)   Gluck (#1)    Orfeo ed Euridice    485   (112)
47   47   de (#9)   Weber (#1)    Der Freischutz    453   (72)
48   48   ru (#2)   Tchaikovsky,P (#2)    Pikovaya Dama    438   (119)
49   49   de (#10)   Wagner,R (#4)    Tannhauser    433   (102)
50   50   de (#11)   Strauss,R (#3)    Ariadne auf Naxos    431   (95)
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #53 on: January 29, 2017, 06:56:00 AM »
Has anybody seen

Kalman,E (#1)    Die Csardasfurstin    1007   (177)
Kalman,E (#2)    Grafin Mariza    535   (90)
Benatzky (#1)    Im weissen Rossl    488   (63)

I havent even heard of them...
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline knight66

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2017, 08:01:06 AM »
Has anybody seen

Kalman,E (#1)    Die Csardasfurstin    1007   (177)
Kalman,E (#2)    Grafin Mariza    535   (90)
Benatzky (#1)    Im weissen Rossl    488   (63)

I havent even heard of them...

I was taken aback at these. Perhaps these are the total repertoire of a German light misic theatre which is performing twice daily 365 days a year. I was surprised at how high up the list Nabucco is, I have hardly ever seen it listed for performance in the UK and I have seen it only once.

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Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #55 on: January 29, 2017, 09:50:11 AM »
Can't possibly be correct...I would think there would be more Wagner...like Walkure or Tristan.

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #56 on: January 29, 2017, 10:55:19 AM »
What biases the statistics are indeed the very large number of small opera houses performing operas in germany.  There is something like 6700 performances in Germany, roughly 40% of worldwide performances.  So you see what there are showing: Hansel and Gretel around christmas time, Die Fledermaus etc.  Is Wagner so popular in today Germany ?  These statistics seem to say not so much anymore.

I dont know if there is a way to substract Germany from the statistics.  I give it a try when I have time (need to prepare for next week work).
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline knight66

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2017, 11:01:19 AM »
Wagner is a hugh investment for an opera company and Tristan is there. Getting the singers is a real problem and my guess is that, as Spineur has indicated, the operetta will be from German/Austrian Folkopera houses.

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2017, 11:13:44 AM »
Can't possibly be correct...I would think there would be more Wagner...like Walkure or Tristan.
Well, I would not expect to see Wagner's Ring high on the list (or any of its components). Think about how the Ring is performed- Often four days (sometimes in a row, sometimes spaced out), each opera on one night and maybe 1-3 runs of the cycle. And that is it. So to get any of the Ring operas on the list would require it to be performed separately, and they rarely are. And they require an enormous number of singers, so not something smaller houses can logistically (or monetarily) support easily.

I have both Kalman operettas on disc - wonderful stuff...
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

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Re: The Top 55 Most Performed Operas
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2017, 02:00:34 PM »

Kalman,E (#1)    Die Csardasfurstin    1007   (177)
Kalman,E (#2)    Grafin Mariza    535   (90)
Benatzky (#1)    Im weissen Rossl    488   (63)

I was taken aback at these. Perhaps these are the total repertoire of a German light misic theatre which is performing twice daily 365 days a year. I was surprised at how high up the list Nabucco is, I have hardly ever seen it listed for performance in the UK and I have seen it only once.

It is more like dozens of (often smallish) theatres in Germany and Austria (and maybe occasionally also Hungary, Czech republic, Switzerland?) having one of them every few years I'd say. Same for Fledermaus and Lustige Witwe (I think these two are by far the most popular operettas) and Hänsel and Gretel (although for this one one needs a fairly big orchestra, so the smaller theatres are not going do to it).

This could be seen as skewed but if Spineur's numbers are correct, it would also give a very skewed perspective to leave out the many performances in Germany.

FWIW I have not seen any of these three but "Im weissen Rössl" (a silly, somewhat ironic piece that contains several "hit tunes" that became very popular) is given in the current season at the theatre closest to where I live and Konwitschny created a big scandal in Dresden in 1999 with a controversial staging of The Csardasfürstin)

And of course the reason for relatively few Wagner stagings/performances is that the small provincial theatres do not have the means for his works, not lack of popularity. (Although there is certainly a section of the audience who is happy to see Kalman or Strauss operetta (or Zauberflöte or Barbiere) but finds Wagner too heavy; they are probably dying out but they are still there.)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 02:08:28 PM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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