Amph The music! The drama! The 100 Greatest Operas (number 1 revealed inside!)

Discussion in 'Community' started by Obi Anne, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Welcome to my shop, let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop... daaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiintily. Daaaaaaaaiiiiiintly. Hey you! Don't look so perplexed, why must you be vexed, can't you see you're next? Yes, you're next. Yooooouuuuuuu're so next.




    But seriously, I love The Barber of Seville to death. While I listen to a lot of operas (Well, "a lot" in a relative sense of like 10-15 rather than another guy's nil), I've never actually watched one all the way through. This is one I'd really like to sometime, if only because I really want to see the context of the lyric "Un momento un momento un momento un momento!"
  2. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    I think What's opera doc is a lot better, but the Rabbit of Seville is quite ok.

    Now opera should be experienced as a live action, but if you want to try the Barber of Seville Metropolitan has it up on their Metplayer, so that you can rent it for a lot less than what a "real" ticket would cost.
  3. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    I must respectfully disagree: "The Rabbit of Seville" rules.

    (Though I like "What's Opera, Doc"..."Oh, Brunhilda, you are so ruvely"..."Yes I know it, I can't help it...")
  4. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    18 - Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi

    Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo

    Synopsis
    Place: Mantua
    Time: the Sixteenth century

    Act 1

    Scene 1: A room in the palace

    At a ball in his palace,the Duke sings of a life of pleasure with as many women as possible. He has seen an unknown beauty in church and desires to possess her, but he also wishes to seduce the Countess of Ceprano. Rigoletto, the Duke's hunchbacked court jester, mocks the husbands of the ladies to whom the Duke is paying attention, and advises the Duke to get rid of them by prison or death. Marullo informs the noblemen that Rigoletto has a "lover", and the noblemen cannot believe it. The noblemen resolve to take vengeance on Rigoletto. Subsequently Rigoletto mocks Count Monterone, whose daughter the Duke had seduced. Count Monterone is arrested at the Duke's order and curses the Duke and Rigoletto. The curse genuinely terrifies Rigoletto.

    Scene 2: A street, with the courtyard of Rigoletto's house

    Thinking of the curse, Rigoletto approaches his house and is accosted by the assassin Sparafucile, who offers his services. Rigoletto contemplates the similarities between the two of them; Sparafucile kills men with his sword, and Rigoletto uses "a tongue of malice" to stab his victims. Rigoletto opens a door in the wall and returns home to his daughter Gilda. They greet each other warmly. Rigoletto has been concealing his daughter from the Duke and the rest of the city, and she does not know her father's occupation. Since he has forbidden her to appear in public, she has been nowhere except to church and does not even know her own father's name.

    When Rigoletto has gone, the Duke appears and overhears Gilda confess to her nurse Giovanna that she feels guilty for not having told her father about a young man she had met at the church, but that she would love him even more if he were a student and poor. As she declares her love, the Duke enters, overjoyed. Gilda, alarmed, calls for Giovanna, unaware that the Duke had sent her away. Pretending to be a student, the Duke convinces Gilda of his love. When she asks for his name, he hesitantly calls himself Gualtier Maldè. Hearing sounds and fearing that her father has returned, Gilda sends the Duke away after they quickly trade vows of love. Alone, Gilda meditates on her love for the Duke, whom she believes is a student.

    Later, the hostile noblemen outside the walled garden (believing Gilda to be the jester's mistress) get ready to abduct the helpless girl. Convincing Rigoletto that they are actually abducting the Countess Ceprano, they blindfold him and use him to help with the abduction. He assists them, and Gilda is carried away by the noblemen. Upon realizing that it was in fact Gilda who was carried away, Rigoletto collapses, remembering the curse.

    Act 2

    The Duke's Palace

    The Duke is concerned that Gilda has disappeared. The noblemen then enter and inform him that they have captured Rigoletto's mistress. By their description, he recognizes it to be Gilda, and he rushes off to the room where she is held. Pleased by the Duke's strange excitement, the courtiers now make sport with Rigoletto, who enters singing. He tries to find Gilda by pretending to be uncaring, as he fears she may fall into the hands of the Duke. Finally, he admits that he is in fact seeking his daughter and asks the courtiers to return her to him. The men beat up Rigoletto after his attempt to run into the room in which Gilda is being held. Gilda rushes in and begs her father to send the people away. The men leave the room believing Rigoletto has gone mad. Gilda describes to her father what has happened to her in the palace. Rigoletto demands vengeance against the Duke, while Gilda pleads for him

    Act 3

    A street outside Sparafucile's house

    A portion of Sparafucile's house is seen, with two rooms open to the view of the audience. Rigoletto and Gilda, who still loves the Duke, arrive outside. The Duke's voice can be heard layi
  5. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    This is the opera that made me a fan of Pavarotti. So that's kind of fun, I guess.:p
  6. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    Pavarotti couldn't recognize acting if it hit him with a stick, but there's no denying that he was a master of Italian tenor roles.
  7. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Very convaluted plot, innit?
  8. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    Verdi is one of those composer who just couldn't pick up a good libretto. I would have been nice to know what he would have made with better stories.
  9. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    I like listening to Pavarotti, but he is prosciutto-y in person.
  10. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    17 - Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi

    Falstaff is an operatic commedia lirica in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare's plays The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Henry IV. It was Verdi's last opera, written in the composer's ninth decade, and only the second of his 26 operas to be a comedy.

    Synopsis

    Time: The reign of Henry IV, 1399 to 1413[8]

    Place: Windsor, England

    Act 1

    A room at the Garter Inn

    Falstaff is surrounded by his servants Bardolfo, Pistola, and the innkeeper. Dr. Caius arrives and accuses him of robbery, but the excited doctor is soon ejected. Falstaff hands two letters to each of his servants for delivery to Mistress Ford and to Mistress Page, two wealthy married women. In these two identical letters, Falstaff professes his love for each of them, although it is really their husbands? money that he covets. His servants Bardolfo and Pistola refuse, claiming that 'honour' prevents them from obeying him. Falstaff sends the letters by a page instead. Falstaff then responds ironically by confronting his honourable servants and shouts ?Honor! You rogues! You are bound by your honor??) and chases them out of his sight.

    Ford's garden

    Alice and Meg have received Falstaff's identical letters. They exchange them, and in conjunction with Mistress Quickly, resolve to punish the knight. Meanwhile, Ford has been warned of the letters by Bardolfo and Pistola. All three are thirsty for revenge. Finding themselves alone for once, a brief love duet between Fenton (an employee of Ford) and Nannetta follows. The women return home and Mistress Quickly is requested to invite Falstaff to a rendez-vous with Alice. The men also arrive at the scene, and Bardolfo and Pistola are persuaded to introduce Ford to Falstaff, but under an assumed name.

    Act 2
    A room at the Garter Inn

    Bardolfo and Pistola (now in the pay of Ford), pretending to beg for forgiveness for past transgressions, announce to their master the arrival of Mistress Quickly, who delivers the invitation to go to Alice's house that very day between the hours of two and three. She also delivers an answer by Mistress Page and assures Falstaff that neither is aware of the other's invitaton. Falstaff celebrates his potential success ("Va, vecchio John" / "Go, old Jack, go your own way?). Ford is now introduced as Signor Fontana; he offers money to the fat knight to intercede for him with Mistress Ford. Falstaff is puzzled at the request, "Fontana" says that if Mistress Ford falls for him, it will be easier that she will fall for him too. Falstaff agrees with pleasure and reveals that he has already succeeded, because he has a rendez-vous with her at two; while he dresses in his most splendid array, Ford is consumed with jealousy (È sogno o realtà? / "Is it a dream or reality?").

    A room in Ford's house

    The three women plot their strategy. Nanetta also learns that her father plans to marry her with Dr. Caius, but all the women declare that that will not happen. Mistress Quickly announces Falstaff's arrival, Mistress Ford has a large hamper placed in readiness. Falstaff's attempts to seduce Alice with tales of his past glory are cut short, as Mistress Quickly reports the arrival of Master Ford. When the angry Ford and his friends appear with the aim of catching Falstaff red handed; he hides first behind a screen and then the ladies hide the knight in the hamper. In the meantime, Fenton and Nannetta have hidden behind the screen. Upon returning from their search for Falstaff, the men hear the sound of a kiss behind the screen. They think that they will at last grab Falstaff, but instead find Fenton, who is ordered by Ford to leave, in the meantime Falstaff has been complaining that he is sweating too much inside the hamper. When the men again proceed with the search, the women order the hamper to be thrown into the ditch through the window, where Falstaff is compelled to endure the jeers of the crowd.

    Act 3

    Before the inn

    In a gloomy mood, Falstaff curses the sorry state of the world. However, some mulled wine soon improves
  11. Thrawn1786 Force Ghost

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    I saw a production of this back in 2004. While it was fun to see a Verdi piece, the opera itself was not that great compared to some of his earlier works. The ending fugue is supposedly the most famous song, and honestly, I didn't even find that all that memorable. Falstaff is one of those where, if you're a Verdi fan, it's good to hear once so you can say you did, but otherwise it's not that spectacular.
  12. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Perhaps comedy isn't Verdi's best mode.
  13. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

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    Oh, indeedy so. Verdi's first attempt at comedic opera, UN GIORNO DI REGNO, was a nightmare.
    His first wife and two children died while he was writing it; one could say their decomposition led
    to its composition:oops:. On its opening night at Teatro alla Scala, 1840, Verdi sat in the orchestra
    pit so he could listen to the audience respone first hand... big mistake. The negative uproar traumatized
    poor Verdi to such a level that he wouldn't write another comedic opera (FALSTAFF) for fifty years.
    Even Teatro alla Scala wouldn't revive UN GIORNO DI REGNO until 2001.


    Tutto nel mundo e burla...Tutti gabbati!


  14. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    17 - Tosca by Giacomo Puccini

    Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa.

    Synopsis

    Act 1

    Scene: Inside the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in Rome, 1800

    Cesare Angelotti, former consul of the Roman Republic and then a political prisoner, runs into the church and hides in the Attavanti private chapel?his sister is the Marchesa Attavanti. The painter Mario Cavaradossi arrives to continue work on his picture of Mary Magdalene. He exchanges banter with an elderly sacristan, before singing of the "hidden harmony" in the contrast between the blonde beauty of his painting and that of his dark-haired lover, the singer Floria Tosca. The sacristan mumbles his disapproval before leaving.

    Angelotti emerges and tells Cavaradossi, an old friend who has republican sympathies, that he is being pursued by the royalist police chief Scarpia. Cavaradossi promises to assist him, before Angelotti hurriedly returns to his hiding place as Tosca arrives. After enquiring suspiciously of the painter what he has been doing, Tosca sings of her desire for a night of mutual passion. She then expresses jealousy over the woman in the painting whom she recognises as the Marchesa. Cavaradossi explains the likeness; he has merely observed the Marchesa at prayer in the church. He reassures Tosca of his fidelity before she leaves. Angelotti reappears, and discusses with the painter his plan to flee disguised as a woman, using clothes left in the chapel by his sister.

    The sound of a cannon signals that Angelotti's escape has been discovered. As he and Cavaradossi rapidly leave the church the sacristan re-enters with groups of choristers, celebrating the news that Napoleon has apparently been defeated at Marengo. The celebrations cease abruptly with the entry of Scarpia, who is searching for Angelotti. He questions the sacristan, and his suspicions are aroused when he learns that Cavaradossi has been in the church; Scarpia mistrusts the painter, and believes him complicit in Angelotti's escape. When Tosca arrives looking for her lover, Scarpia artfully arouses her jealous instincts by implying a relationship between the painter and the Marchesa. He draws Tosca's attention to a woman's fan, found in the chapel, and suggests that someone must have surprised the lovers there. Tosca falls for his deceit; enraged, she rushes off to confront Cavaradossi. Scarpia orders his agents to follow her, assuming she will lead them to Cavaradossi and Angelotti, and privately gloats as he reveals his intentions to ravish Tosca and hang Cavaradossi. A procession enters the church singing the Te Deum; finally Scarpia's reverie is broken and he joins the chorus in the prayer.

    Act 2

    Scene: Scarpia's apartment in the Palazzo Farnese, that evening

    Scarpia, at supper, sends a note to Tosca asking her to join him. His henchman Spoletta announces the arrest of Cavaradossi, who is brought in to be questioned about the location of Angelotti. As the painter is questioned, the voice of Tosca, singing in a celebratory cantata offstage, can be heard. Cavaradossi denies knowing anything about the escape, and, after Tosca arrives, is taken to an antechamber to be tortured. He is able to speak briefly with her, telling her to say nothing. Tosca is told by Scarpia that she can save her lover from indescribable pain if she reveals Angelotti's hiding place. She resists, but hearing Cavaradossi's cries, eventually yields the secret.

    Cavaradossi is brought back to the apartment where he recovers consciousness and, learning of Tosca's betrayal, is initially furious with her. Then news arrives of Napoleon's victory at Marengo; Cavaradossi gives a defiant "victory" shout before being taken away. Scarpia, left with Tosca, proposes a bargain: if she gives herself to him, Cavaradossi will be freed. She is revolted, and repeatedly rejects his advances. Outside she hears the drums which announce an execution; as Scarpia awaits her decision, she sings a fervent prayer. Scarpia remains adamant despite her pleas. When Spol
  15. Thrawn1786 Force Ghost

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    Tosca is a great opera. When it first premiered, it was dubbed "the shabby little shocker." :p But then, these are the same people that thought Madama Butterfly sounded like La Boheme. Still, it's highly melodramatic and the music is fantastic. The Maria Callas/Tito Gobbi/Giuseppe di Stefano recording is still a bestseller to this date, and if you give it a listen, it's no wonder why. The Act II encounter of Callas's Tosca and Gobbi's Scarpia is worth the price alone; in fact, Callas performed this act in concert a few times. And yes, if I haven't already said this, I am a huge Maria Callas fan. Indulge me my fangirlism. :p

    Obi-Anne, is the Tosca with Placido on DVD? I've read about it and have been wanting to see it for some time.
  16. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    I would guess that it should be available on DVD. I was lucky enough that my mother recorded it on VHS back in 1992 and then a couple of years ago they showed it on TV again and I just happened to have access to a recordable DVD, so I made my own DVD of it.

    edit/ hmm, strangely enough a quick search only comes up with a VHS and Laserdisc edition. I thought this would be an opera production that was so famous that it was sure to be a available.
  17. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Maria Callas was the most famous Tosca, I think. I would love to see her in it.
  18. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    and Birgit Nilsson was the one who started the trend of singing "Vissi d'arte" while lying on the floor.
  19. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    15 - die Zauberflöte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue.

    Synopsis

    Act 1

    Scene 1

    After the Overture, we are introduced to Tamino, a handsome prince who is lost in a distant land and is being pursued by a serpent. He faints from fatigue and three ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, appear and kill the serpent. They find the unconscious prince extremely attractive, and each tries to convince the other two to leave, in order to be alone with him. After arguing, they decide that it is best that they all leave together.

    Tamino recovers, and Papageno enters, arrayed entirely in the plumage of birds. He sings of his job as a bird catcher and the fact that he is longing for a wife, or, at least, a girlfriend. Papageno tells Tamino that he, Papageno, strangled the serpent with his bare hands. At this moment, the three ladies appear and punish his lie by placing a padlock over his mouth. They tell Tamino that they were responsible for saving him, and show to the prince a portrait of a young maiden, Pamina, with whom he falls instantly in love.
    The Queen of the Night now appears. She tells Tamino that the girl in the portrait, Pamina, is her daughter, who has been captured by her enemy, Sarastro. She demands that Tamino go to Sarastro's temple and rescue Pamina, promising that he can marry Pamina in return. (Recitative and aria: "O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn" / "Oh, tremble not, my dear son! You are innocent, wise, pious".) After the Queen leaves, the ladies give Tamino a magic flute that can change men's hearts, remove the padlock from Papageno, and present him with a chime of bells to protect him. Papageno is ordered to accompany Tamino on his rescue-mission, and together they set forth. (Quintet: "Hm hm hm hm".) The ladies introduce three child-spirits, who will guide Tamino and Papageno to Sarastro's temple.

    Scene 2: A room in Sarastro's palace

    Pamina is dragged in by Sarastro's moorish slave Monostatos. (Trio: "Du feines Täubchen, nur herein!".) Papageno, sent ahead by Tamino to help find Pamina, enters. Monostatos and Papageno are each terrified by the other's strange appearance and both flee the stage. But Papageno soon returns and announces to Pamina that her mother has sent Tamino to her aid. Pamina rejoices to hear that Tamino is in love with her, and then offers sympathy and hope to Papageno, who longs for a wife to love. Together they sing an ode to love (duet: "Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen"), then depart.

    Scene 3: Grove and entrance to the temples

    The three child-spirits lead Tamino to Sarastro's temple, promising that if he remains faithful and steadfast, he will succeed in rescuing Pamina. As Tamino reaches the temple, he is denied entrance at two of its three gates, by invisible voices singing "Go back!". But when he tries the third gate, an old priest appears and gradually convinces him that Sarastro is benevolent, not evil, and that women's opinions should not be taken seriously. After the priest leaves him, Tamino plays his magic flute in hopes of summoning Pamina and Papageno. The tones summon a group of magically tamed beasts, which listen in rapture to Tamino's music. Then Tamino hears Papageno's pipes, which Papageno, offstage, is blowing in response to the sound of Tamino's flute. Ecstatic at the thought of meeting Pamina, Tamino hurries off.

    Papageno appears with Pamina, following the distant sound of Tamino's flute. The two are suddenly captured by Monostatos and his slaves. Papageno then works an enchantment on the slaves using his magic bells, and they dance, mesmerised by the music of the bells, off the stage.

    Papageno now hears the approach of Sarastro and his large retinue. He is frightened and asks Pamina what they should say. She answers that they must tell the truth. Sarastro and his followers enter.

    Overcome by Sarastro's majesty, Pamina falls at his
  20. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I haven't seen the Bergman version, but I agree it's a great opera. The Queen of the Night aria gets all the press and understandably; it's amazing. But I think Papageno is one of my favorite operatic characters and the Papageno/a duet is just . . . incredible. Great opera.
  21. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    The Bergman film is great...
  22. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    I don't think I could name 14 operas I prefer over The Magic Flute, so now I'm curious as to what the rest of this list is going to look like.
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I think Mozart's own Don Giovanni is better and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. After those two though . . . yeah, I'd go with The Magic Flute as number three. (The Pearlfishers as number four? It's actually way better than Carmen!)
  24. Obi Anne FF admin Celebrations, Europe

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    There are a bunch of good operas coming up, but many of them are not close to as good as the Magic Flute.

    I have noticed that in classical circles die Zauberflöte is seen as too populistic. I've heard quite a few commentaries along the way of "if an opera house wants to do something safe and be sure to draw crowds then they'll just put up that childish opera again".
  25. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

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    Sometimes the audience is right...