Scene 4 (Passacaglia): The Doctor scolds Wozzeck for not following his instructions regarding diet and behavior. Glorious music, and paired with Pagliacci, while a lesser opera, knocks it into the top 10. But it was not until 1890, twenty-one years after the composer’s death, that the full opera was produced on stage, and it was not until 1969 that a recording of the complete piece was made (under the direction of Sir Colin Davis). So, if you want to get to know opera, start at number one and work your way up. Here are my 15 Favorites; but I have not the courage to assign them an order: >Troyens Before I give my top 10, I will argue that greatest is really a hard term to define. Relativism and secularism have taken their toll on the arts: a recent Swedish staging of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” recast the story as a whodunnit, wholly devoid of religious tones, and a Viennese production of “Rusalka” (an underrated opera in my view, worthy of top-10 consideration) rendered sin as . I have been listening to opera for more than seventy years and have drawn the following from all the sound and fury ………………….Opera is in the ear of the listener. Madama Butterfly is a very great and affecting opera, and the love duet at the end of Act I is a masterpiece. Conductor? Iphigenie en Tauride (Gluck) Is there any difference here between “greatest” and “which I like the most”? We’re one of a kind, and no one would ever dare say that Don Giovanni is not the greatest opera ever. Choosing only 10 doesn’t leave you a lot of options. Perhaps Don Carlo is his greatest accomplishment, or Falstaff most complex, but nothing can beat the simplicity and power of this one. In 1863, the second half of the opera, with some parts cut, was premiered under the title Les Troyens à Carthage and met with some success. 20th century operas I listed some 20th century operas I like. There is no moral ambiguity in either the libretto or the sublime music that Mozart composed for it, and for that reason the genius of this opera may well outlast political correctness. ), Pierre Cardin: The Death of a Man Who Destroyed Fashion, Cancelling the Classics? And were it not for No. The last scene still gives me the chills. Scene 3 (Largo): Wozzeck confronts Marie, who does not deny his suspicions. It appears here courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Of his operas, I have listened to Aggripina, Giulio Cesare, Alessandro Severo, Siroe Re di Persia, Alcina, and Rinaldo. All lists of this nature are interesting. Scene 2 (Invention on a Single Note (B)): Wozzeck and Marie are walking in the woods by a pond. We were hooked and started listening to the Saturday Met broadcasts. Perhaps the most performed opera today, this tragic and sexually-charged tale of the young courtesan Violetta’s love for the nobleman Alfredo scandalized mid-nineteenth Victorian audiences in Europe and America, even more so than had Mozart’s Don Giovanni the previous century. Below is a list of the ten greatest operas ever composed, in order of greatness, from ten down to number one, in the estimation of the present author. My piece should read: “Two Spaniards set out to rescue . Of Händel’s oratorios I have listened to Hercules, Saul, Messiah, Israel in Egypt, and The Triumph of Time & Truth. With Tommy Pearson, Fiona Maddocks and Richa... – Luister direct op jouw tablet, telefoon of browser naar Top 5 20th Century Operas van The Classical Top 5 - geen downloads nodig. >Die Meistersinger von Nuremburg This is the glory of opera. If aliens come to Earth intent on destroying us, it is distinctly possible that we could shield ourselves from their hellish death rays and mind control by simply joining in a world wide chorus of “Summertime,” quite possibly the most versatile and oft-interpreted piece of music ever (Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin, Sublime, AND The Zombies?). Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame are both sublime. Home > Columbia Encyclopedia > Literature and the Arts > Performing Arts > Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments > opera > opera: Twentieth-Century Opera ; Cite. Boris Godunov, Mussorgsky. He makes an advance on her, to which she first rejects but then gives in. But requires intense commitment, preparation, and a world class production, which is why it is last on my list. Although Porgy & Bess is an incredible composition, as well. >Baby Doe I’ll avoid the issue of Wagner on the grounds that he wrote ‘music dramas’ and not operas, so he’s really a genre to himself. Wagner does certain things that no one else can do as well. (By the way, Belmonte and Pedrillo in the Abduction are Spanish, not English. 8. He’s considered obvious and sloppy by many musicologists who have written about him, but that judgment just doesn’t hold up on real analysis. 9, as the old joke goes, it would be enough to turn Verdi green! Probably overlooked since this is his only great opera, but what a perfect work it is. Both are excellent. I won’t complain about Mozart getting the top four, but I’d join sancrucensis and substitute Cosi for Entführung. He went on to say that he wanted to study the score together with Schoenberg. The doors and rooms all have colors associated with them, as follows: Blood stains everything she sees, and her mind begins to piece everything together. But that's a story for next week. This Biblical tragedy was the first of Nielsen's two operas. But lists are subjective, are they not? Therefore I was surprised to find it absent from any of the Top 10 lists featured above or even any of the educated comments. ( Log Out / I have also listened to his masque Acis & Galatea, and Parnasso in Festa, a festa teatrale, a form also called a “serenata”, a type of Italian opera intended as entertainment to celebrate a festive royal or state occasion. Manuel Rosenthal, Maurice Ravel’s student, wrote the following in his memoir: So I would not say that Kierkegaard thought that Don Giovanni was the best ever, but rather that The Seducer did, as a practitioner of the purely aesthetic (as opposed to ethical or religious) life. However, we do not hear much of this composer. With that in mind: 5) Porgy and Bess–George (and Ira…and Ira) Gershwin. Even though considered a different type of opera for Wagner himself, they are essentially operas, and represent the perfection of the genre. A toughie. Luciano Pavarotti. Così is certainly greater than Entführung, and arguably greater than Figaro. I am a diehard “Mozartianer”. The story centers on the eponymous aristocrat whose obsession in life is bedding as many women as possible by whatever means necessary, whether persuasion or force. 7. I actually don’t like Don Giovanni much, but I love music from The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi fan tutte. I am glad that you found something to enjoy here nonetheless. Thank you for compiling this – I really enjoyed your video clips – but a top ten list cannot be without Boito’s Mephistopheles (WAY superior to Berlioz’s Faust), Cavalleria Rusticana, and Eugene Onegin. I appreciate that Puccini does not feature on this list. I have a question that I cannot find the answer to: His operas include Der ferne Klang and Die Gezeichneten. I have pretty much the same feeling for Butterfly. And where’s “Eugene Onegin”? So, so many operas are great. Was Bach better than Monteverdi? Both the aesthetic and the ethical are transcended by the religious. my thoughts exactly, any list without Wagner is just no list. Tons of fun. Should a Monteverdi opera have been on the list? Enjoyed this site vey much. This is typical of not only Osborne but other musicologists who seem to have no literary chops, or somehow go crazy when considering Puccini and fail to see the brilliant craftsmanship even when it is slapping them in the face (or ought to be). Also, comments containing web links or block quotations are unlikely to be approved. Pages in category "20th-century operas" The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total. Because it’s such a rad plot and structured so awesome-rad, I’m going to just quote the WikiPedia synopsis, which explains the opera rather well. Though not convinced, Wozzeck gives her some money and leaves. But they’re usually performed or at least recorded just in the musical portions. Liberally indulging in the common practice of self-borrowing, Vivaldi sometimes cobbled together “new” works, taking arias and tunes from previous operas and instrumental works. Action packed. In the early part of the 20th cent. Or magic flute. "Definitely one of the greatest sopranos of the last century," says Catherine Bott, "Freni had an inborn gift for creating a perfect, smooth vocal line, and a natural talent for inhabiting every role, from the innocent Butterfly to the courageous Tosca. Maybe we should get Takashi Miike to write a libretto? The Best Operas My favorite operas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century periods. If there was anything that would be cooler than Bluebeard having killed all his wives…it would be making them wear heavy-ass jewelry and crowns and shit, worshipping them, forcing Judith to join them, and then locking them up (I hope my girlfriend isn’t reading this…I don’t have a castle anyway). It’s what is enjoyed. This suggests that I know nothing about opera at all. Interesting list. 10. With all the great sopranos of different vocal types active in the 20th century, picking just 10 is a daunting task. Mozart, only four out of ten you say? than Mozart, who’s music was claimed, I read, to be very good and often his performances were advertised as being Mozart’s music. . Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata (The Fallen Woman). My point is that this type of ranking is so subjective and emotionally based as to be meaningless regarding rank. 1904 Madama Butterfly (Puccini). Verdi and Wagner should be up there. Dido & Aeneas is excellent. (Personally, I rank Don GIovanni and Tristan and Isolde as indistinguishably great and not rankable vs. each other, and with them I personally place Boris Gudonov, which seems to be less generally popular). 20th December 2011. Scene 4 (Invention on a 6-Note Chord): Having returned to the murder scene, Wozzeck becomes obsessed with the thought that the knife he killed Marie with will incriminate him, and throws it into the pond. My favorite opera……and I love ’em all, is Rigoletto. Vivaldi is well-known today because of The Four Seasons and a handful of other concertos. The next morning I went to the library and checked out the only familiar sounding name in the opera cassettes, “Rigoletto”. . Their greatnesses, each in his own way, were essentially equal, or at least incommensurate. He insults her, and then asks her to sing him a song. Mozart, Marriage of Figaro. 13 Birgit Nilsson. It is also almost impossible to sing. ), jealousy, insanity, adultery, and the inevitable struggles of literally just existing. Also a strong case can be made that Verdi’s “Requiem” is his finest opera. We saw a wonderful La Traviata last night at the San Diego Opera. the foremost operatic composer was Richard Strauss. After a brief hunter’s chorus, Andres asks Wozzeck why he is sitting by himself. 2. BTW, I agree with the comment about Madam Butterfly, a perfect drama set to perfect music, but that describes so many operas in the top 50 or so. Premiered in 1838, the opera was a failure, and for more than 100 years after the composer’s death it lay unperformed, until revived and recorded by the British conductor, Sir Colin Davis in 1972. Puccini uses monotone vocal expressions throughout the opera to characterize their hopelessness and flat affect, and only occasionally do they burst forth in Puccinian melody. Nice list. I issue apologies to every Britten opera, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Elektra, The Rake’s Progress, Lulu, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Rusalka, Tosca, Jenufa, The Golden Cockerel (the suite is one of my all-time favorite pieces, though), The Love for Three Oranges, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany, Moses und Aron, Antony and Cleopatra, Turandot, Die tote Stadt, and The Cunning Little Vixen. I do, regularly, and even with my mediocre playing I’m stunned. Maria Callas . Indeed, it has the advantage of avoiding the longeurs of that better-known work. There it is. >Coronation of Poppea I have been suspicious of Steve’s taste in opera ever since he took all of us in his conference to a performance of Don Giovanni filled with black leather, in which Donna Elvira wielded a whip. The “Dance of the Seven Veils” is one of the great pieces of music, evidenced by the fact that it’s excerpted all the time, and the final scene is the craziest soprano lunacy this side of Brunnhilde taking a perfectly good horse with her into a huge fire. Debussy's elusive Symbolist drama is one of the most significant operas of the 20th century. This one including 2 operas composed by Berlioz is the most unique I’ve ever seen. >Cosi fan Tutte Opera in the 20th century became totally cool from a plot standpoint. Gioacchino Rossini: The Barber of Seville. I’m with you, love The Ring and Parsifal, no objections to the rest tho. I also agree with the commenter who says that Verdi’s Don Carlo may be better than Traviata. And let’s not forget the French Baroque (Rameau, Lully). The minor second plays a huge role musically…they call it the blood motif, as you hear it anytime Judith notices blood on Bluebeard’s stuff. Best American 20th century opera composer? I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Rigoletto. 1904 Jenůfa (Leoš Janáček). I’d rate Figaro a little higher than Don Giovanni. My favourite opera is La Traviata. Così fan tutte is the most subtle of Mozart’s operas; a musician’s opera. It simply means you like one work over another because you find it more pleasing to your particular ear or taste. I frequently have to stop and just take a moment to absorb the incredible harmonies and progressions, the small melodies I find that I had never noticed despite listening a thousand times (and the piano reduction leaves plenty of things out, mind you). Scene 5 (Rondo): In the barracks at night, Wozzeck, unable to sleep, is keeping Andres awake. Second, I can’t agree at all with your “implicit judgment of Puccini.” Puccini’s best works are among his least performed, but his famous works are still all excellent. Anyway, Puccini was a great genius, and I will argue at length (as you can see) with anyone who says (or just implies) otherwise. His diatribes against the Met probably were written during the, er, reign of Rudolf Bing. No Benjamin Britten opera makes the list. I've heard some of Ashley's music and think it's, mmm, interesting. My problem with the list is that my favorite opera isn’t on it: Madame Butterfly. Then this list is irrelevant. Kierkegaard did not believe everything he made The Seducer say, and portrayed him in a negative light at many times. And there is a sad lack of Puccini and bel canto in your list! >Carmen The news spreads that Marie’s body has been found, and they all run off to see, except for Marie’s little boy, who after an oblivious moment, follows after the others. Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971). Verdi, La Traviata. Considered by many to be the greatest composer who ever lived, his operas are also often held to be his supreme achievement. It’s the tale of Renata,a crazed religious mystic in 16th century Germany and the wandering knight Rprecht, who loves her in vain,and their horrifying involvement in the blackest of black magic,demonology and demonic possession, ending in an exorcism which will make you wet your pants in terror! Though it has dramatic lapses, a case can be made that L’Olimpiade, a love story that takes place during the ancient Olympic games, is the Red Priest’s greatest composition in this genre. Celebrated opera director and librettist Peter Sellars joins the team to nominate 5 operas written in the 20th century - but will he choose one of his own? It’s the opera I cut my teeth on when I first started listening to opera in the early ’90s. It is amazing that musical snobs still turn up their noses at this great opera. In particular it was part of the “Either” (first half) of the book, written in the voice of “The Seducer,” the person who lived the purely aesthetic life. Agreeing again with the above comments. So much so that chicks start demanding your decapitation as a test for the creepy desires of their stepdad. Jamie Frater. Then Wozzeck comes by and tells Marie of the terrible visions he has had. This was a tough piece to write. Handel went a step further than Purcell in English Choral Music and he was the undeniably supreme genius of the oratorio genre. Scene 1 (Suite): Wozzeck is shaving the Captain who lectures him for living an immoral life. My first listening on my Sony Walkman cassette player was until the quartet, “Bella fillia de l’amore” which I replayed over and over. There is a broad arching key structure of F# moving to C and back to F# which some people apparently think represents darkness and light, and which, now that I think about it, makes perfect sense. 1. My teenage wife and I were seriously into Rock n’ Roll and classical in the early 1960’s when we saw Montiverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea” on PBS, including countertenors. I’ll admit to being fascinated…generally, the more screwed up an opera plot is, the better. Monteverdi was, imo, better and more innovative than lesser composers such as Halévy. Anyway, he does a terrific analysis of it in that book; the section called The Immediate Stages of the Erotic I believe. Recommended Recording: Istvan Kertesz/London Symphony with Christa Ludwig as Judith and Walter Berry as Bluebeard, and also Walter Berry looking VERY suspiciously like a modern day Bluebeard taking women back to his apartment and acting inappropriately on the Decca Legends cover photo. The opera ends with Onegin in despair over this rejection. Mozart, Don Giovanni, simply because two Mozarts belong on the list, and that perfect finale. 1 pg. >Rake’s Progress I do like grand Verdi and would have Aida and Don Carlo on my list, in place of your two by Berlioz (which I admit I don’t really know). Though the aristocratic Droit du seigneur and the Count himself are mocked, as in Don Giovanni, Mozart is concerned less with class and more with the battle of the sexes, which he clearly sees as more revealing of the human soul and more important in the forging of human alliances. There’s something about the shock value that occurs when the story unravels…no matter how many times you see it, and you know what’s coming, you still feel completely repulsed, terrified, and enthralled all at once. She sings, but then notices blood on his hand and elbow; everyone begins shouting at him, and Wozzeck, now agitated and obsessed with his blood, rushes out of the tavern. I. Ivan the Fool (opera) R. Rothschild's Violin (opera) This page was last edited on 17 July 2014, at 08:41 (UTC). I am surprised. 5. The Best Operas My favorite operas from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century periods. He’s the one with verve, sex appeal, and courage, and he has the great music. [cf Stages in Life’s Way, Fear and Trembling]. Anyway, I could write a book (and sort of plan to) on why Puccini was a genius of a musical-dramatist. Along with a Mozart or two, Verdi, Carmen, possibly a Handel or Dido and Aeneas. 12 October 1935, Italian . They are longer and, imo, better, at least in some respects, than Dido & Aeneas. Having developed an appreciation for opera while living in Vienna I was pleased to find a posting on this topic. Kierkegaard valued not only the aesthetic, but also (and arguably more) the ethical. We make our choice of the ten best operas so far this century (not in any particular order). Benjamin Britten - Peter grimes, Billy Budd, The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and more Mozart seemed not to mind. Don Giovanni has the most delightful music I’ve ever heard… My #2 would be Aida… Cenerentola #3… Still working on the rest! But I’m not sure Vivaldi cuts it against the likes of Monteverdi, Händel, and Purcell. 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