Author Topic: Underrated operas  (Read 3646 times)

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Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Underrated operas
« on: September 15, 2018, 10:19:03 AM »
YMMV what counts as underrated.

German Opera:
Weber: Euryanthe
Schumann: Genoveva
Wagner: Rienzi
R. Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae

Italian opera:
Haydn: Lo speziale
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
Puccini: La fanciulla del West

French opera:
Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini
Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Massenet: Thaïs
Saint-Saëns: Le timbre d'argent
Saint-Saëns: La princesse jaune

Russian opera:
Rachmaninoff: The Miserly Knight
Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (Vakula the smith)
Rimsky-Korsakov: Golden Cockerel
Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko
Rimsky-Korsakov: Snow Maiden
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Invisible City of Kitezh

Hungarian opera:

Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle

Swedish opera:

Sibelius: Jungfrun i tornet
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 11:32:45 AM »
Top 3 otomh:

Haydn - La fedeltà premiata (imho, the first belcanto opera, way ahead of its time)
Rossini - Il viaggio a Reims (gorgeous tune upon gorgeous tune; after TBoS, my favorite Rossini opera)
Bizet - Les pêcheurs de perles (not as good as Carmen but quite close)

Three more otomh:

Federico Ricci - La prigione di Edimburgo
Grétry - La caravane du Caire
Boieldieu - La dame blanche
I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts. --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 05:29:42 PM »
Easy: all of Prokofiev's, which sit at the top of his output, quality-wise. 

Next, of course: Martinu's output.
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Online GioCar

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 10:32:00 PM »
The first one that comes to mind is Enescu's Oedipe.

One of the masterpieces of the 20th century, very seldom performed and recorded.

Offline ritter

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 10:45:16 PM »
The first one that comes to mind is Enescu's Oedipe.

One of the masterpieces of the 20th century, very seldom performed and recorded.
Fully agreed. A noble and beautiful work.

I’d also mention Busoni’s Doktor Faust.
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Offline knight66

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 08:29:33 AM »
YMMV what counts as underrated.

German Opera:
Weber: Euryanthe
Schumann: Genoveva
Wagner: Rienzi
R. Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae

Italian opera:
Haydn: Lo speziale
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
Puccini: La fanciulla del West

French opera:
Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini
Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Massenet: Thaïs
Saint-Saëns: Le timbre d'argent
Saint-Saëns: La princesse jaune

Russian opera:
Rachmaninoff: The Miserly Knight
Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (Vakula the smith)
Rimsky-Korsakov: Golden Cockerel
Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko
Rimsky-Korsakov: Snow Maiden
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Invisible City of Kitezh

Hungarian opera:

Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle

Swedish opera:

Sibelius: Jungfrun i tornet

I ask, underrated by who and where? Some of these seem very well establised indeed. Pelleas, Boccenegra, Bluebeard. Others are very well appreciated in specific places. The Rimsky operas are often performed in Russia. In other parts of the world, I agree, they need more exposure. The Puccini and Cellini also do get regular performances.

Thais for example, has simply gone out of fashion. Having seen it, I am not surprised. The middle act is very good though.

The Sibelius is a Finnish opera, not Swedish. Sibelius was of Western Finnish stock, more dominated by Swedish culture than Eastern Finland. Swedish was his first language, but he considered himself very much a Finn. He was deeply involved with the Finnish Romantic movement, which was engaged in exploring a Finnish identity for its new nation as it emerged from the Swedish influences.

Mike
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Offline North Star

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 12:59:42 PM »
The Sibelius is a Finnish opera, not Swedish. Sibelius was of Western Finnish stock, more dominated by Swedish culture than Eastern Finland. Swedish was his first language, but he considered himself very much a Finn. He was deeply involved with the Finnish Romantic movement, which was engaged in exploring a Finnish identity for its new nation as it emerged from the Swedish influences.

Mike
Jungfrun i tornet has a Swedish libretto, though, so it's a 'Swedish opera' in the same sense that the Haydn is an Italian opera. Which is surely what my compatriot meant. ;)
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Offline knight66

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 02:36:37 PM »
Jungfrun i tornet has a Swedish libretto, though, so it's a 'Swedish opera' in the same sense that the Haydn is an Italian opera. Which is surely what my compatriot meant. ;)

Well, I am sure you should know better than I do. My opinion remains that what I learned about Sibelius and his sense of identity, he regarded himself as a patriotic Finn and although he used Swedish.....but anyway, I already said what I thought.

Mike
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Offline André

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2018, 03:59:39 PM »
Some consider Pelléas one of the most overrated operas in history  :laugh:.

Underrated german operas: all of Hindemith’s works for the stage. He wrote a few big ones, Mathis der MalerCardillac, but also a few short one acters. I have some of those and they are terrific.

Offline Jaakko Keskinen

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2018, 09:29:47 PM »
Thais for example, has simply gone out of fashion. Having seen it, I am not surprised. The middle act is very good though.
Mike

Not true. Thais has been performed several times here in Finland during the last few years. That being said, I still consider it underrated and expressing one's own opinion about underrated operas is what I'm seeking here. As I said, YMMV what counts as underrated.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline knight66

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2018, 10:06:18 PM »
Not true. Thais has been performed several times here in Finland during the last few years. That being said, I still consider it underrated and expressing one's own opinion about underrated operas is what I'm seeking here. As I said, YMMV what counts as underrated.

As I wrote, it depends where you are as to what is popular.

http://operabase.com/top.cgi?lang=en&break=0&show=opera&no=500&nat=


Thais comes in at number 233 with 65 performances worldwide in 17/18. That is one third what Manon got. Thais received over 4000 fewer performances than Traviata. And it is on your neglected operas list. It was once popular, but is not much done now. I made that remark because the piece is distinguished from some other neglected operas which have never been popular.

Mike
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2018, 05:21:04 AM »
Weber's Oberon is almost as obscure as Euryanthe. Both are musically wonderful but dramatically problematic (i.e. lame ;)) There is a whole bunch of German and French romantic (often "light" or comique) operas that used to be fairly popular until the 1950s and 60s but have almost vanished into obscurity since then. Sometimes a few numbers survive in recitals.

German
Flotow: "Martha",
Lortzing: "Zar und Zimmermann", "Undine" and "Der Wildschütz",
Nicolai: "Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor",
Cornelius: "Der Barbier von Bagdad"

French:
Auber: Fra Diavolo
Boieldieu: La dame blanche
Adam: Le Postillon de Longjumeau
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.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Cato

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2018, 07:21:14 AM »


Underrated German operas: all of Hindemith’s works for the stage. He wrote a few big ones, Mathis der MalerCardillac, but also a few short one acters. I have some of those and they are terrific.


Murderer, The Hope of Women is Expressionist opera at its best, and today about as politically incorrect as you can get!  8)  Hindemith in the WW I era and afterward is the musical ancestor of Karl Amadeus Hartmann .

Cardillac is amazing!  The old Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau recording is not to be missed!
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Offline André

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 09:56:54 AM »
Murderer, The Hope of Women is Expressionist opera at its best, and today about as politically incorrect as you can get!  8)  Hindemith in the WW I era and afterward is the musical ancestor of Karl Amadeus Hartmann .

Cardillac is amazing!  The old Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau recording is not to be missed!

I had ordered Cardillac a few weeks agos at JPC, but for some reason that item was cancelled. I put it again in my cart today, as it’s still on their web site. Hopefully I’ll receive it in a few weeks !

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 03:12:34 PM »
Nicolai: "Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor",
Also an example of an orchestral overture which has gone from pops staple to definitely not so pops.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2018, 02:54:21 AM »
Fortunately, Carlos Kleiber has a wonderful interpretation of this ouverture in one of his New Year's Day concerts. But you are certainly correct. Another ouverture that used to be a pops staple is Reznicek's "Donna Diana" although unlike the Nicolai I believe that in the latter case the ouverture has outshone the opera since forever.
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.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2018, 10:24:38 PM »
YMMV what counts as underrated.
German Opera:
Weber: Euryanthe

At least the overture gets played often enough, which should prompt some curiosity as to the rest of the opera.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2018, 11:25:15 PM »
At least the overture gets played often enough, which should prompt some curiosity as to the rest of the opera.

But it doesn't necessarily. There are plenty of ouvertures (and occasionally arias) that have remained quite popular despite the opera having fallen into semi-obscurity, e.g. many of Rossini's and almost all of Suppé's operettas.
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.
(Bob Dylan)

Online Biffo

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2018, 12:03:05 AM »
At least the overture gets played often enough, which should prompt some curiosity as to the rest of the opera.

Their is plenty in Euryanthe and Oberon to reward curiosity but both are hamstrung by ridiculous and/or feeble libretti which prevents them being staged. They are ideal for home listening though.

Offline knight66

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Re: Underrated operas
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2018, 10:27:19 AM »
Their is plenty in Euryanthe and Oberon to reward curiosity but both are hamstrung by ridiculous and/or feeble libretti which prevents them being staged. They are ideal for home listening though.

I saw Oberon semi-staged. It was conducted by Ozawa and was all fairly lively, but I doubt I would ever bother to go and see it again. I am happy with the Kubelik CDs sans the tedious narration of the originally issued LPs. So, basically like the Klemperer Magic Flute, all music.

Mike
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