Author Topic: Any operetta fans on the board.  (Read 31159 times)

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Harry

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #100 on: June 15, 2007, 05:57:50 AM »
I know, I know... vibrato-less. But are there no vibratos in operettas?  ;D

A coloratura soprano has a vibrato that doesn't bother me at all, o, bloody h***, how am I supposed to explain something that I barely understand myself.
Years ago, when I had a chance to talk to Edo de Waart, a Dutch conductor, we talked about this subject, and he could not offer help, anymore as I can explain, but he at least understood the dilemma. :)

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #101 on: June 15, 2007, 05:58:58 AM »
  I see that I am surrounded by operetta fans here who insist on proving their point..well if you believe that operetta has something special to offer that opera can not offer more power to you. As for me I know what quality is. 

  marvin   

Marvin, I think you are continually missing the point. I doubt anyone is implying that operettas, even the best ones, can be compared to the greatest works of Verdi and Wagner. The fact is they are completely different genres of music. And there are bad operettas, just as there are bad operas. I'd say Die Fledermaus, for instance, is a far greater masterpiece (and I use the word advisedly), than many of the French Grand Operas being written round about the same time, by the likes of Meyerbeer and Halevy. Indeed I would go so far as to suggest that, for the most part, they wrote lesser works than the majority of Offenbach's joyful oeuvre.
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #102 on: June 15, 2007, 06:02:38 AM »
Marvin, I think you are continually missing the point. I doubt anyone is implying that operettas, even the best ones, can be compared to the greatest works of Verdi and Wagner. The fact is they are completely different genres of music. And there are bad operettas, just as there are bad operas. I'd say Die Fledermaus, for instance, is a far greater masterpiece (and I use the word advisedly), than many of the French Grand Operas being written round about the same time, by the likes of Meyerbeer and Halevy. Indeed I would go so far as to suggest that, for the most part, they wrote lesser works than the majority of Offenbach's joyful oeuvre.


  Ok fair enough  :)

  marvin


Offline Florestan

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #103 on: June 15, 2007, 09:19:14 AM »
Marvin, I think you are continually missing the point. I doubt anyone is implying that operettas, even the best ones, can be compared to the greatest works of Verdi and Wagner. The fact is they are completely different genres of music. And there are bad operettas, just as there are bad operas. I'd say Die Fledermaus, for instance, is a far greater masterpiece (and I use the word advisedly), than many of the French Grand Operas being written round about the same time, by the likes of Meyerbeer and Halevy. Indeed I would go so far as to suggest that, for the most part, they wrote lesser works than the majority of Offenbach's joyful oeuvre.

Tsaraslondon, thank you for expressing my thoughts.  :)

Indeed, Marvin, that's the whole point: one can love opera and operetta in the same time, just as one can love Telemann and Pettersson --- Harry's case --- or Boccherini and Bartok --- my case --- without having to choose who's the best.

Actually, the same applies to you: I infer from your posts that you love Verdi and Wagner simultaneously --- and believe me, this is a crime for which the Wagnerites I know personally would hang you!  :)

Now back to operetta's recommendations, otherwise Harry'll ban us forever on this thread...


« Last Edit: June 15, 2007, 10:26:55 AM by Florestan »
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Joan

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #104 on: June 15, 2007, 10:23:06 AM »
Actually no. Otherwise we would be able to call Fidelio and Carmen operettas, which of course they are not. Officially the former is a Singspiel and the latter an Opera-comique. Quite what constitutes an operetta is hard to say. Offenbach's La Belle Helene and Orphee aux Enfers are operettas, but his Les Contes d'Hofmann isn't, though it also has spoken dialogue. Nor is theme a guide. There are operas on light hearted themes, just as there are operettas on serious ones. According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera

Operetta. operette (It, Fr little opera). Originally used in the 17th cent. for a shoprt opera, the term became associated by the 19th cent. with comic opera, to describe a play with an overture, songs, interludes, and dances.

Wikipedia defines it thus;

Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter.

Normally some of the libretto is spoken rather than sung. Instead of moving from one musical number (literally so indicated in the scores) to another, the singers intersperse the musical segments (e.g. aria, recitative, chorus) with periods of dialogue without any singing or musical accompaniment, though sometimes some musical themes are played quietly under the dialogue) - and short passages of recitative are by no means unknown in operetta, especially as an introduction to a song.

Operettas are often considered less "serious" than operas, although this has more to do with the often comic (or even farcical) plots than with the caliber of the music. Topical satire is a feature common to many operettas, although of course this is also true of some "serious" operas as well. Formerly, opera expressed politics in code in some countries, such as France; e.g., the circumstances of the title character in the opera "Robert le Diable" was a code for the parental conflict and resolution of king of France at its first performance.

Operetta is a precursor of the modern musical comedy. At the same time it has continued to exist alongside the newer form - with each influencing the other. There is a fundamental but subtle distinction between the two forms - and this distinction is quite useful, provided we recognise that nothing here is clear, simple, or unambiguous.

Most operettas can be described as light operas with acting, whereas most musicals are closer to being plays with singing. This can best be seen in the performers chosen in the two forms. An operetta's cast will normally be classically trained opera singers; indeed, there is essentially no difference between the scores for an opera and an operetta, except for the operetta's lightness. A musical uses actors who sing, but usually not in an operatic style. Like most "differential definitions" we could draw between the two forms, however, this distinction is quite often blurred. W.S. Gilbert, for example, said that he preferred to use actors who could sing for his productions, while Ezio Pinza, a great Don Giovanni, appeared on Broadway in South Pacific, and there are features of operetta vocal style both in Kern's Show Boat (1927), Bernstein's Candide, and Walt Disney's animated Snow White (1937) among others.



Confused? I think I still am.
Clear as mud! ;D
Thanks for bringing this point up; I suspected it was more complicated than just a matter of the spoken dialogue. Perhaps all these distinctions were more evident to contemporary audiences and critics, in the days when hundreds of these works were crowding the stage?

Wikipedia has some more explanation of the difference between French opera comique and operette , the two genres which I was erroneously conflating:

French composers eagerly seized upon the Italian model and made it their own, calling it opéra comique. Early proponents included François-Adrien Boïeldieu (1775–1834), Daniel François Auber (1782–1871) and Adolphe Adam (1803–1856). Although originally reserved for less serious works, the term opéra comique came to refer to any opera that included spoken dialogue, including works such as Bizet's Carmen that are not "comic" in any sense of the word.

Florimond Hervé (1825–1892) is credited as the inventor of French opéra bouffe, or opérette. [1]. Working on the same model, Jacques Offenbach (1819–1880 quickly surpassed him, writing over ninety operettas. Whereas earlier French comic operas had a mixture of sentiment and humour, Offenbach's works were intended solely to amuse. Though generally well crafted, plots and characters in his works were often interchangeable. Given the frenetic pace at which he worked, Offenbach sometimes used the same material in more than one opera.


Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #105 on: June 15, 2007, 10:53:24 AM »
Clear as mud! ;D

Operetta is like pornography: we can't define it but we know it when we hear it  ;D

Sarge
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he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #106 on: June 15, 2007, 11:01:05 AM »
Operetta is like pornography: we can't define it but we know it when we hear it  ;D

Sarge

:)

Or like a brothel: you feel good inside but ashamed of going in.  ;D
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

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Harry

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #107 on: June 15, 2007, 11:19:45 AM »
:)

Or like a brothel: you feel good inside but ashamed of going in.  ;D

That's not my definition of operettas bad boys. Go to the Hustler channel for that! ;D
As a sort of punishment another recommendation! $:)

Steve

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #108 on: June 15, 2007, 11:57:42 AM »
Marvin, I think you are continually missing the point. I doubt anyone is implying that operettas, even the best ones, can be compared to the greatest works of Verdi and Wagner. The fact is they are completely different genres of music. And there are bad operettas, just as there are bad operas. I'd say Die Fledermaus, for instance, is a far greater masterpiece (and I use the word advisedly), than many of the French Grand Operas being written round about the same time, by the likes of Meyerbeer and Halevy. Indeed I would go so far as to suggest that, for the most part, they wrote lesser works than the majority of Offenbach's joyful oeuvre.

There are certainly bad operas, but I don't waste much time listening to them. The operatic oeuvre of Wagner, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart, to name a few, more than satisfy my interests. With the exception of Fledermaus, I've never really been seriously impacted by an operetta. I just don't find much merit in them.

Harry

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #109 on: June 15, 2007, 12:03:12 PM »
There are certainly bad operas, but I don't waste much time listening to them. The operatic oeuvre of Wagner, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart, to name a few, more than satisfy my interests. With the exception of Fledermaus, I've never really been seriously impacted by an operetta. I just don't find much merit in them.

What should the merit be Steve?

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #110 on: June 16, 2007, 08:47:03 PM »
There are certainly bad operas, but I don't waste much time listening to them. The operatic oeuvre of Wagner, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart, to name a few, more than satisfy my interests. With the exception of Fledermaus, I've never really been seriously impacted by an operetta. I just don't find much merit in them.

I think the problem (and solution as well) lies in the light entertainment aspect of operetta. This is also time bound, like vaudeville, after the advent of films and TV, not how people fill in their free evenings. Individual arias, if they are "hits", can be taken out and enjoyed separately. Not only the story lines are hackneyed (like zarzuelas) but the filler, connecting up the dots, in general is weak, and even boring to an educated listener.

That's why Fledermaus and Tales of Hoffman were on a different level from the more popular output of the same composers. And even in American musical theater, this is why Gershwin's Porgy and Bess was different from "Lady be Good" and his other potboilers. Hundreds, if not thousands of musicals were written and performed over the last century but there are a few of real enduring value as whole works.

ZB
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Offline bricon

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #111 on: June 16, 2007, 09:42:15 PM »
Hundreds, if not thousands of musicals were written and performed over the last century but there are a few of real enduring value as whole works.

The definition of an “enduring work” can be quite transient. Cosi fan tutte (for example) was considered something less than worthless for over a century (its US premiere wasn’t until 1922); Handel’s operas were mostly out of the repertoire for nearly 2 centuries, the bel canto boom (largely) had to wait ‘till Callas and Sutherland hit the scene in the 1950s ……….

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #112 on: June 16, 2007, 10:55:39 PM »

 Hundreds, if not thousands of musicals were written and performed over the last century but there are a few of real enduring value as whole works.

ZB

I think that is an over simplification. Many of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musicals are continually revived. The Sound of Music is having a tremendously successful run again in London and South Pacific is about to go out on tour again. English National Opera have just revived Bernstein's On The Town and are about to do Kismet. Sondheim's musicals, though often not successful when originally produced, are now taken seriously, and continually revived, often by opera companies. Even Lloyd Webber's musicals are continually being revived. There has hardly been a time when Jospeh and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat hasn't been playing somewhere in the world and Evita recently had an excellent revival in London, as did Jesus Christ Superstar before it. I can think of loads of musicals that are successfully revived by amateurs and repertory companies. I don't think that the situation is that different in opera. There are also hundreds of operas written, in the nineteenth century in particular, that have disappeared without trace, some of them by composers with huge successes attached to their names.

By the way, one can certainly compare Die Fledermaus to Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne, but not to his les Contes d'Hofmann. This was to have been Offenbach's attempt at opera, though in the end, it became an opera-comique. It is emphatically not an operetta.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline The new erato

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #113 on: June 17, 2007, 01:43:51 AM »
And even in American musical theater, this is why Gershwin's Porgy and Bess was different from "Lady be Good" and his other potboilers.

ZB
How come that when the young Mozart dashes of a mediocre Singspiel in a few weeks it is taken as proof of his genius, when Gershwin writes a musical in some months full of evergreens that are enjoyed by millions and has stood the test of time, it is a potboiler?

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Any operetta fans on the board.
« Reply #114 on: June 17, 2007, 05:28:50 AM »
How come that when the young Mozart dashes of a mediocre Singspiel in a few weeks it is taken as proof of his genius, when Gershwin writes a musical in some months full of evergreens that are enjoyed by millions and has stood the test of time, it is a potboiler?

Personally, I wouldn't call it a potboiler. Lady Be Good is still often revived, despite its rather weak book. Why? George Gershwin's music of course. Incidentally, the original Porgy and Bess was a through -composed opera in 3 acts and it is this version that has received 3 fine recordings (condcucted by Lorin Maazel, John De Main and Simon Rattle respectively). In a revival, shortly after Gershwin's death, it was essentially turned into a musical through rewriting and rescoring.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas