Author Topic: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?  (Read 1414 times)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« on: July 21, 2017, 04:52:21 AM »
nodogen’s post set my thoughts to wondering . . . just which 10 would these be?  I was going to ask, Well, what about [name of opera]?, and I second-guessed myself—is (e.g.) The Magic Flute really as well-loved as I was supposing?

Here are my guesses:

  • Aïda
  • Rigoletto
  • Il trovatore
  • Carmen
  • Norma
  • La traviata
  • La Bohème
  • Le nozze di Figaro
  • Tosca
  • Die Fledermaus
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 05:01:55 AM »
Some which I did not cast up there:

Die Zauberflöte, Così fan tutte | However well regarded Mozart maybe among musicians, I had to yield to the nagging feeling that general affection for these does not rise to the level of the Top 10.

Wagner | He enjoys a loyal fanbase, yes.  But whether considered politically/socially, or as a matter of the stamina demanded of the listener, does Wagner somehow remain too polarizing a figure, to be genuine a Top 10 most-loved opera writer?

Les Troyens | I love it, but Berlioz is arguably a more cult figure (in the opera world) than even Wagner  8)

Anything Russian | As I consider the matter of popular operas, I just do not see any Russian opera (in the non-Russophone world) vying with the Italian or French literature in the matter of general popularity.

Or anything in English, for that matter.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 05:04:11 AM »
The 10 most often performed operas in 2015/16: (from http://operabase.com/top.cgi?lang=en)

La traviata
Die Zauberflöte
Carmen
La Bohème
Tosca
Madama Butterfly
Il barbiere di Siviglia
Le nozze di Figaro
Don Giovanni
Rigoletto



Cosi fan tutte is no. 15, followed by Eugene Onegin.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2017, 05:06:45 AM »
The 10 most often performed operas in 2015/16: (from http://operabase.com/top.cgi?lang=en)

La traviata
Die Zauberflöte
Carmen
La Bohème
Tosca
Madama Butterfly
Il barbiere di Siviglia
Le nozze di Figaro
Don Giovanni
Rigoletto



Cosi fan tutte is no. 15, followed by Eugene Onegin.

Thanks, Karlo!  You both made it an easier, statistical question, and gainsaid my misdoubt viz. the K.620  :)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2017, 05:09:09 AM »
In the composer rankings, I am glad to see Janáček at 17 (and Britten at 16) - but Berlioz is way behind at 36, followed by Prokofiev, and behind Stravinsky!
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 06:38:33 AM »
I've known about this sort of data for opera performances before, but that site is more detailed, I think.

What interests me is the colossal number of performances in Germany, and indeed the German-speaking countries taking into account relative size.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2017, 06:53:21 AM »
I've known about this sort of data for opera performances before, but that site is more detailed, I think.

What interests me is the colossal number of performances in Germany, and indeed the German-speaking countries taking into account relative size.

What is utterly alien to the US is, that any German town of a certain size, they've got a Post Office, a Police Station, and an Opera House.  It's absolutely part of the cultural fabric.
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2017, 06:58:33 AM »
What is utterly alien to the US is, that any German town of a certain size, they've got a Post Office, a Police Station, and an Opera House.  It's absolutely part of the cultural fabric.

It being alien to the US doesn't surprise me. What surprises me far more is that somewhere like Italy doesn't come close to matching.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 06:58:48 AM »
What is utterly alien to the US is, that any German town of a certain size, they've got a Post Office, a Police Station, and an Opera House.  It's absolutely part of the cultural fabric.


What would be even greater is, if the Opera House doubled as the Police Station . . . .
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2017, 06:59:29 AM »
It being alien to the US doesn't surprise me. What surprises me far more is that somewhere like Italy doesn't come close to matching.

Aye, that is of interest.
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Offline nodogen

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2017, 07:04:17 AM »

Here are my guesses:

  • Aïda
  • Rigoletto
  • Il trovatore
  • Carmen
  • Norma
  • La traviata
  • La Bohème
  • Le nozze di Figaro
  • Tosca
  • Die Fledermaus

Spot on sir! 🤗
this just as this

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2017, 07:07:06 AM »
There are some things in those statistics, when you dig into them, that are questionable (Bach St John's Passion?) and some that are downright bad (Beethoven's 9th symphony, Schubert's Winterreise?!?!).

Having said that, all the biggest numbers do seem to be legitimate.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2017, 07:10:45 AM »
I've known about this sort of data for opera performances before, but that site is more detailed, I think.

What interests me is the colossal number of performances in Germany, and indeed the German-speaking countries taking into account relative size.

I recall a quite wonderful performance of Janacek's Jenufa some years ago - during the summer! - in Aachen!

Small American towns often used to have an "opera house,"  e.g. a restored one can still be visited outside of Dayton in the village of Clifton:

https://www.facebook.com/village.of.clifton.opera.house/

Whether actual operas were in fact staged there, I don't know.  Concerts with arias were probably given.
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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2017, 08:56:16 AM »
There are some things in those statistics, when you dig into them, that are questionable (Bach St John's Passion?) and some that are downright bad (Beethoven's 9th symphony, Schubert's Winterreise?!?!).
Which statistics are you referring to here?

I don't think that the top 10-15 opera statistics are badly skewed by far more opera per capita in Germany, Austria and some other countries because the top contenders (Carmen, Bohème, Traviata etc.) are also very popular in German-speaking countries and The Magic Flute is the most popular German language opera abroad.
There are a few pieces that are far more popular in Germany/Austria than abroad, mainly Haensel und Gretel and Freischuetz but they don't skew the whole picture too badly.

As for opera houses, smaller/middle sized German towns usually have a theater that plays both opera and drama, sometimes ballett as well. They are not big operas like Dresden or Berlin, of course, and they often could not do the big Wagner and Strauss pieces. But they will do Mozart, Verdi, some Puccini or other stuff that does not necessarily need a huge orchestra.
And bigger cities (say 200-300k inhabitants) will usually have opera houses that play Wagner and other big pieces. Of course it depends on several factors, e.g. in the Ruhrgebiet there are so many large cities that they will not all have a big focus on opera but the next decent opera house will not be far away.

Historically the cause seems mainly to be that there were several centuries of many smallish states and residences and after Germany became one political entity a lot of this cultural infrastructure was kept alive because people were really fond of music and opera, I guess. This is also true of Italy but maybe another reason is that Germany is and was more wealthy than Italy and also not as narrowly focussed on opera.
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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2017, 09:02:35 AM »
Which statistics are you referring to here?

??? The ones on that site. If you go far enough into them you see they are counting performances of works that are not operas.
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2017, 09:11:19 AM »
??? The ones on that site. If you go far enough into them you see they are counting performances of works that are not operas.

They might be staged as operas, perhaps?  I know that this has been done with the St Matthew Passion (also Schoenberg's Gurrelieder) and I suppose it could be done with Winterreise, but I really struggle to see how you could stage Beethoven's Ninth.

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2017, 09:16:50 AM »
What is utterly alien to the US is, that any German town of a certain size, they've got a Post Office, a Police Station, and an Opera House.  It's absolutely part of the cultural fabric.
Not sure about the police station.
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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2017, 09:17:33 AM »

This is also true of Italy but maybe another reason is that Germany is and was more wealthy than Italy and also not as narrowly focussed on opera.
Berlusconi cut most of the subsidies to culture and to opera houses in particular.  And those monies havnt come back.  A swiss opera lover who sees 80 operas/year in all european countries says that it also did impact the quality of italian productions.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 09:22:06 AM by Spineur »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2017, 09:20:57 AM »
They might be staged as operas, perhaps?  I know that this has been done with the St Matthew Passion (also Schoenberg's Gurrelieder) and I suppose it could be done with Winterreise, but I really struggle to see how you could stage Beethoven's Ninth.

You just need people on stage being joyful!  ;)
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2017, 01:08:57 PM »
I think this is somehow messed up. It has Messiah at 210. Now there might be an occasional staging of Messiah (although I cannot really imagine it, unlike Hercules at 286) but not that many. And it cannot be just any performance of Messiah because there would be far more.
It is probably performances of pieces like Messiah/Creation/9th symphony that take place in an opera house or theater without any staging that are counted there.
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