Author Topic: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?  (Read 1129 times)

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Online North Star

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2017, 04:02:50 PM »
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.
Interesting that St John is so much higher than St Matthew. 26 & 14 productions of each on the record - considering that they are Easter staples, I can easily accept that there were that many staged productions of each. Same with The Messiah and Christmas. 29 different staged Winterreise productions, not so much.
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2017, 08:02:18 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

Is Norma a "loved" opera and if so, by whom?

After just finishing the "Keeper of the Seal" (title bestowed upon Puccini by Verdi, inheritor of the mantle of Italian song), I got more of a heads-up on what makes an opera popular. It's quite simple, actually, the possibility of identifying with the main characters, which is what you don't really get with gods and goddesses. According to the cited poll, Madame Butterfly is up there in the top ten, and not Norma, probably because of that very reason.

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Online mc ukrneal

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2017, 08:10:03 AM »
Is Norma a "loved" opera and if so, by whom?
Yes. Me.
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.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2017, 08:11:30 AM »
Yes. Me.

Me too, but I rate La Sonnambula higher. It's on my top 5. :)
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Online mc ukrneal

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2017, 08:13:26 AM »
Me too, but I rate La Sonnambula higher. It's on my top 5. :)
It's not my 'most' loved opera, but in general, I have come to love much of Bellini.
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.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2017, 08:19:02 AM »
Yes. Me.


I tend to think that musicians would appreciate Norma more than the general public.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2017, 08:21:05 AM »
It's not my 'most' loved opera, but in general, I have come to love much of Bellini.

One of my favorites opera composers.  8)
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2017, 08:24:00 AM »
It's not my 'most' loved opera, but in general, I have come to love much of Bellini.

Add to the list of composers, Donizetti. Out of his 70 operas, many of them were hits then and never lost their popularity.
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Online Jo498

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2017, 08:24:43 AM »
Interesting that St John is so much higher than St Matthew. 26 & 14 productions of each on the record - considering that they are Easter staples, I can easily accept that there were that many staged productions of each. Same with The Messiah and Christmas. 29 different staged Winterreise productions, not so much.

I doubt that they mean actual stagings. I have heard about stagings of the passions (also balletts) but they are fairly rare. I have never heard about a staging of the Xmas oratorio or Beethoven's 9th. Therefore I believe that they counted also unstaged performances that simply took place in a theater or opera house and therefore appeared on the schedules they used for their statistics.
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Online North Star

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2017, 08:47:08 AM »
I doubt that they mean actual stagings. I have heard about stagings of the passions (also balletts) but they are fairly rare. I have never heard about a staging of the Xmas oratorio or Beethoven's 9th. Therefore I believe that they counted also unstaged performances that simply took place in a theater or opera house and therefore appeared on the schedules they used for their statistics.
Yes, the venue being an opera/theater must be why they're included.
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Online Spineur

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2017, 09:43:01 AM »
It's not my 'most' loved opera, but in general, I have come to love much of Bellini.
Bellini is great.  I Puritani is my favorite.  I am about to get I Cappuletti & Montaigu and I Pirata.  For this latter one, there is Callas version which is cut so bad it feels like chopped meat, the version of Cabbale (with minor cuts) and the opera rara which is complete but isnt artistically in the same league.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 09:45:36 AM by Spineur »
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Offline Rosalba

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2017, 01:32:06 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.

The most-often performed may not be the 'most-loved' - if you live in the provinces in the UK, you get few chances to see opera, and might be forgiven for thinking that there only are those ten operas. If you want to find out about others, you have to buy dvds or emigrate.
Number 3 on the list, 'Carmen', is sometimes despised by true opera buffs, and shows that what makes a performed opera 'most-loved' is the story and its components - character and dramatic structure.

I suppose sales of dvds etc would give a false picture too?
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Online North Star

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2017, 02:49:52 AM »
Number 3 on the list, 'Carmen', is sometimes despised by true opera buffs, and shows that what makes a performed opera 'most-loved' is the story and its components - character and dramatic structure.
I'd say Carmen is also proof heaps of good tunes helping an opera become popular, too.
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Offline Rosalba

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2017, 03:14:21 AM »
I'd say Carmen is also proof heaps of good tunes helping an opera become popular, too.

Well yes - I think so too! :)
(Was perhaps a little daunted by having heard Carmen sneered at...)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 03:16:51 AM by Rosalba »
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Online Jo498

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2017, 04:10:56 AM »
Apart from the fact that the most frequently performed dozen or two as only marginally changed in decades, I think that the selection is not that distorted, i.e. there is no big difference between most performed and most loved (and probably "most-recorded" on CD or DVD neither). Because in Germany and Austria with a lot of opera performances per capita, even in in provincial areas (so their sheer numbers could distort statistics), most of these are also among the most frequently performed, regardless of whether it is a "tourist place" like Dresden or Vienna, an opera in a large but less tourist-centered city like Frankfurt or Stuttgart or a small provincial theater. One can hardly go wrong with those top 10-20 and they are usually also within the means of a smaller theater as far as casting and staging goes.
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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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Just Which Are the “10 Most-Loved Operas”?
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2017, 04:44:36 AM »
The most-often performed may not be the 'most-loved' - if you live in the provinces in the UK, you get few chances to see opera, and might be forgiven for thinking that there only are those ten operas. If you want to find out about others, you have to buy dvds or emigrate.
Number 3 on the list, 'Carmen', is sometimes despised by true opera buffs, and shows that what makes a performed opera 'most-loved' is the story and its components - character and dramatic structure.

I suppose sales of dvds etc would give a false picture too?

Things have probably changed since I lived up north (born in Darlington). I was a student in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but would also go to Sunderland, Leeds and York to catch companies such as Scottish Opera, ENO, Glyndebourne Touring and English Opera Group. This was when I first got into opera, and I remember that I would literally try anything. I would go whatever the opera, and it often threw up a few surprises. Operas I assumed I wouldn't like I often enjoyed more than those I thought I would. During this time I was lucky enough to see productions of

The Turn of the Screw
Elegy for Young Lovers
Tristan und Isolde
Pelléas et Mélisande
Idomeneo
Der Rosenkavalier
Lucia di Lammermoor
Un Ballo in Maschera
La Traviata
La Boheme
Werther
Le Nozze di Figaro
The Catiline Conspiracy (Iain Hamilton)
Die Zauberflöte
Aida
Boris Godunov
Eugene Onegin
Il Pirata
Faust
Die lustige Witwe
Die Federmaus
Les Contes d'Hoffmann
Nabucco
Il Tabarro
Gianni Schicchi
Tosca
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Ariadne auf Naxos
Il Trovatore
Luisa Miller

As you can see, the list includes quite a few operas well outside the mainstream.




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