I am an opera buff, and I've just found this list which ranks the 100 greatest operas. Now even if I like opera, I'e just seen about 20 of these as whole performances, but I hope that we can have discussions of them. Many of these operas have at least one piece of music that is well known, even if the full opera isn't. ***************************************** 100. Martha - Friedrich von Flotow Martha, oder Der Markt zu Richmond (Martha, or The Market at Richmond) is a 'romantic comic' opera in four acts by Friedrich von Flotow, set to a German libretto by Friedrich Wilhelm Riese and based on a story by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges. Synopsis Time: 1710. Place: Richmond, England. Act 1 Scene 1 Lady Harriet is bored with the life of high society, and especially bored with her suitor Sir Tristan. She and her maid disguise themselves as the country girls 'Martha' and 'Julia' and follow a group of girls to the fair. They convince Sir Tristan to come also, as Farmer Bob.... Scene 2 Traditionally, there is an auction of country girls at the fair. Farmers bid for the fairest girls. The winners take the girls back to their farms, where the girls are hired as workers for the following year. Plunkett (or Plumkett) and Lyonel have come to look for a girl. Their mother has recently died, and they need someone to help with the farm work. The sheriff oversees the auction. The brothers win 'Martha' and 'Julia', while Farmer Bob ineptly tries to win them back. Act 2 'Martha' and 'Julia' know nothing of farm work. They refuse to hang up clothes and cannot use a spinning wheel. 'Martha' rejects Lyonel's marriage proposal. After night falls, Tristan arrives to rescue the women. Act 3 A group of hunters, including Plunkett, accompany the queen. Lady Harriet misses Lyonel, but when he arrives, she ignores him. When Lyonel demands that his contract be honored, Tristan has him arrested. Lyonel tries to explain what has happened to the courtiers. He gives the ring he inherited from his father to the queen as she is leaving. Act 4 Lady Harriet's behavior has enfuriated Lyonel, but she seeks forgiveness. The queen orders that Lyonel be installed as the Earl of Derby, his father's former title. Nancy accepts Plunkett's marriage proposal. The courtiers re-create the country fair, and when Lyonel sees his Martha again, he forgives her. Noted arias, duets, ensembles * "Ach! so fromm, ach! so traut (M?apparÃ¬ tutt?amor)" (Lyonel) * "Blickt sein Aug" * "Lasst mich euch fragen (Porter-Lied)" Drinking Song (Plunkett) * "Letzte Rose (Last Rose)" (Martha, later with Lyonel) * "Mag der Himmel Euch vergeben (Lyonel's Prayer)" * "Schlafe wohl! Und mag Dich reuen (Good Night Quartet)" * "Was soll ich dazu sagen? (Spinning-Wheel Quartet)" Roles Lady Harriet Durham, maid of honor to Queen Anne ('Martha') - soprano Nancy, her servant ('Julia') - mezzo-soprano Plunkett, a young farmer - bass Lyonel, his foster brother - tenor Sir Tristan Mickleford, Lady Harriet's cousin (Farmer Bob)- bass Sheriff - bass Queen Anne - mute Chorus: Courtiers, pages, ladies, hunters, farmers **************************** I haven't seen the opera myself, but M?apparÃ¬ tutt?amor is a pretty standard piece in tenor repertoire, so I have it on quite a few album collections. I'm actually surprised that the opera seems to have been written in German, since I thought it was an Italian opera. To make it even more confusing it's often described as very French in tone and character. I like happy endings, even to operas. Here's a link to Placido Domingo singing M'apparÃ and Leontyne Price singing Last Rose of the Summer (Letzte Rose). This piece is actually an Irish ballad that was included in act 2, simply because it was a popular tune at the time.