Sunday, February 06, 2011

Fantasy Opera Elsewhere

Around the blogosphere:
I detect a palpable longing for modernist and unusual operatic repertory. Opera houses and orchestras of the world: take note! The New York Philharmonic sold out three performances of Le Grand Macabre. You, too, can tap into the unmet desires of musical minorities. And yes, I'd settle for concert or semi-staged performances of just about all of the operas we've listed.


John Marcher said...

Okay, I'm in too:


Mark Berry said...

This is the most depressing thing: pretty much everyone considering him- or herself as an opera-goer wants more interesting repertory. The problem, however, is that I fear we do not make up most of the audience. That hit home when, before Christmas, I was speaking to someone working at a major opera house, who told me that the greater part of the audience does not correspond to that which goes to concerts in the same city, etc. Instead one is dealing in large part, in addition to the corporate brigade, with people who consider it an evening 'experience' somewhat akin to going to an expensive restaurant. Of course, what the houses should do is to make it their mission to attract those who are interested in music, drama, and musical drama, but there seems precious little evidence of anyone doing that...

Daniel Wolf said...

Here's mine:

Monteverdi, L'Orfeo
Mozart, Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Weber, Oberon (in the English original)
Berlioz, Les Troyens
Dargomyzhsky, The Stone Guest
Wagner, Die Feen
Verdi, Falstaff
Wolf, Der Corrigidor
Debussy, Pelléas et Mélisande
Thomson, Four Saints in Three Acts
Feldman, Neither / Kondo, Hagoromo
Cage, Europeras 1 & 2

Henry Holland said...

Of course, what the houses should do is to make it their mission to attract those who are interested in music, drama, and musical drama, but there seems precious little evidence of anyone doing that...

This is just from my experience talking to people about opera and there's three major roadblocks:

1) The style of singing. Sorry, voice lovers, not everyone likes the operatic style of singing.

2) The language barrier. Supertitles don't negate that, in fact I had one person who loved live theater state flat-out "I don't speak any foreign languages and I'm not taking my eyes off the stage to read titles".

3) Length. Operas are long, even those not by Wagner and his followers. Asking people to sit still and quiet for 2 hours + of music is a bridge too far for some people.

Evan Tucker said...

For anyone's purusal, I have created a fantasy orchestral season.

Frankly, it was exhausting:)


Matthew said...

It's astounding to me that nobody in all of these posts has suggested Dallapiccola. Il prigioniero is an astonishing score.

And you missed his Ulisse in your Trojan War Season.

John Marcher said...

Actually, I did- see my fourth fantasy season where I pair The Prisoner with Bluebeard's Castle.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Matthew, I'll get to Il Prigoniero eventually - I'm planning on a few more seasons!

The Unrepentant Pelleastrian said...

I'd jump for joy to see these at the Metropolitan Opera...

Hindemith - The Harmony Of The World

Sessions - Montezuma

Liebermann - Penelope

Honneger - Antigone

Egk - The Inspector General

Malipero - L'Orfeide

Von Einem - Dantons Death

Roussel - Padmavati

Blacher - Die Nachtschwalbe

Pfitzner - The Rose From The Love Garden


P.S. I'd especially love to have a complete recording of Honneger's Antigone.

It is described very enticingly in the 1964 book The World Of Opera by Brockaway and Weinstock:

"The strong, spare three-act libretto by Jean Cocteau (after Sophocles) was set with stark power, a Lullyan type of continuous recitative being heard above a strong, sharply dissonant orchestral web. Honneger added to the kinetic energy by disregarding a French operatic custom of placing the important first syllables of text words on unaccented beats -- instead he repeatedly gave them strong accents. The opera is devoid of arias, and contains none of the decorative features, balletic or otherwise, of many large French operas; it hews unmitigatedly to the business of clothing text (without word repetitions) in expressive music....."


My plea to Maestro Abbado, Rattle, Levine or Boulez:

Study this intriguing Honneger opera and make a recording, please!

Even Poulenc loved it so it must be good!