Recommend me an introductory opera

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  • Recommend me an introductory opera
  • bainbrge
    Member

    La traviata. Recognisable tunes, melodrama, and easy to follow even without subtitles!

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    La traviata is good, but I’d suggest La Boheme for a good libretto, entertaining story, great characterisation etc.

    Premier Icon beej
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    Carmen? A few popular tunes in that.

    mefty
    Member

    Probably not “The Electrification of the Soviet Union”, the more well known Mozart and Puccini operas are probably the most accessible. Operetta are often also performed by Opera companies and are even more accessible, the Feldermaus, being particularly common.

    I am not very good at processing lyrics as they are sung so the benefit of an English Language version is lost on me, however the ENO is a lot cheaper. At this time of year there are a few opera venues that open up, not all as expensive and exclusive as Glynebourne.

    bubs
    Member

    I have never been to see an opera and I would like to give one a try. I can’t stand West End style musicals though and my wife tends to full asleep at the drop of a hat. What should we look out for as an introduction (definitely not comedy) and would the ENO or the Royal Opera be a better bet?

    zeesaffa
    Member

    Turandot!

    My wife & I watched the BBC release with subtitles before our honeymoon in Italy where we watched it live (and could actually follow the story). Loved it!

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
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    Madame Butterfly.

    But don’t go in expecting a happy ending with smiles and hugs all round…

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN9Dipgqdtw[/video]

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
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    Rigoletto – good story and great tunes.

    Premier Icon manton69
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    Another shout for Carmen, but the Pearl Fishers is another one of Bizet’s operas that is fairly light and accessible. You may want to read the libretto and translation of the words to get more of a feel for music.

    Premier Icon mogrim
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    A word of warning: the operas I’ve been to see have 15 minutes of great songs, and another 2:45 of filler. Get good seats, if you need to fall asleep you’ll be grateful 🙂

    dannyh
    Member

    A word of warning: the operas I’ve been to see have 15 minutes of great songs, and another 2:45 of filler. Get good seats, if you need to fall asleep you’ll be grateful

    This.

    You say ‘opera’ then 90% of people think Pavarotti. The thing is, everyone knows he couldn’t act for toffee and it was his awesome singing that made him. Most of the time through recordings that are totally divorced from the full opera itself, which is 60-80% play and the rest songs. Some of which are often obscure.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
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    Carmen and La Boheme. Nice and short too.

    bubs
    Member

    Right, a touring company is doing La traviata in a fairly local venue with good beer and easy escape routes (should it prove not to be our thing). If we do like it we will follow up with Carmen or La boheme at a “proper” venue. Thanks for the recommendations, comfy seats is a good call.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
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    Doesn’t exactly tick the boxes for a ‘proper’ Opera, but I’ve seen this (and his version of Swan Lake, which is admittedly a ballet), and both were fabulous.

    http://new-adventures.net/the-car-man

    “The familiar 19th Century Spanish cigarette factory becomes a greasy garage-diner in 1960’s America where the dreams and passions of a small-town are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger. Fuelled by heat and desire, the inhabitants are driven into an unstoppable spiral of greed, lust, betrayal and revenge”

    globalti
    Member

    Instead of subjecting Mrs Bubs to three hours of ghastly sopranos warbling away with the occasional recognisable aria thrown in, why not look around for an evening or more accessible mixed stuff performed by an orchestra like the Hallé in Manchester? For example we have taken Gti Junior to evenings of James Bond themes and film scores, which were thoroughly entertaining as we knew most of the music and it was superb to hear it perfomed by a full symphony orchestra, so it was a great non-boring way of introducing his ear to classical music.

    Obviously you’d need to check opera companies but look at the Hallé’s programme:

    http://www.halle.co.uk/2015-16season.aspx

    Edit: seconded the suggestion of a ballet like The Nutcracker, superbly thrilling and the dancers are easy on the eye too for a lecherous old coot like me.

    bubs
    Member

    La traviata is being performed by the Russian ballet and opera which means there should be some men in tights prancing around the stage to keep Mrs Bubs interested.

    bikebouy
    Member

    Faves ^^

    #latrav

    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    Of those currently on at ENO or ROH I would choose Mozart – Don Giovanni.

    If you can find it coming up anywhere then Britten – Peter Grimes. My absolute favourite opera. The best of the 20th century, or very possibly EVER. Just my opinion of course.

    I’m on the lookout for a live performance of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen. I reckon that’s worth a go.

    You could try getting hold of opera DVDs at your library to try out in the safety of your own home.

    Oh and I’m with you on musicals. Normally banal trash with a scattering of good songs. Mind you there is West Side Story!!!!!! Musical? Opera? Who cares, it’s brilliant.

    konagirl
    Member

    We were introduced to opera through Mozart – The Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni. You do need to read up on the story before hand and be prepared to work at understanding what is going on. Dannyh best describes it for me, it is an art form of a certain era, it’s not a case of recognisable aria after aria.

    Students can get heavily discounted tickets at the Royal Opera House. The Royal College of Music puts on performances in their Britten Theatre which are more affordable. Some universities have operatic societies and their performances tend to be much more informal and more fun. The University of Cambridge society has put on some really very good performances recently and the standard of singing is immense.

    more accessible mixed stuff

    Also what Globalti said.

    If we do like it we will follow up with Carmen or La Boheme at a “proper” venue.

    If you go to The Royal Opera House make sure you go early enough to enjoy a glass of wine in the main Amphitheatre Bar.

    Premier Icon prettygreenparrot
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    The love for three oranges. I still savour memories of a scratch and sniff ON presentation.
    Though la Traviata is a good one.

    BillMC
    Member

    Jonathan Miller’s The Mikado, great fun.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    Janacke is a good shout – many of them are off the wall (not Italian, twittering away) but visceral dramas.

    Peter Grimes too. Like Cosi fan Tutti myself, but it can dip in the middle (see also Don Giovanni). Magic Flute for a good night out. Some Handel operas *might* be worths being – depends on the production..

    FWIW I loved the Scottish Opera go Round productions – one piano, 3 to 5 soloists, really was a cracking bit of entertainment. light on costumes though :/

    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    I will say this only once.

    Peter Grimes, performed on Aldeburgh beach in 2013 as part of the Britten Centenary Celebrations is being broadcast on BBC4 this Sunday at 19:00.

    Watch it.

    Premier Icon langylad
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    Madame Butterfly or Carmen would be my recommendations. I would suggest listening to them several times before you go, difficult to ‘get’ it the first listen (don’t get one with Maria Callas singing, she was pretty ordinary and massively over hyped)

    Midnighthour
    Member

    It may have been mentioned before, but in the last couple of years some of the multiplex cinemas and also the small fry have been showing opera etc broadcast live to the cinema screens. Maybe not as much atmosphere, but I have a friend who finds it enjoyable to go and it would be a much cheaper introduction/taster session.

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