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20 Reasons To Love Opera

Updated on November 29, 2014

Best Loved Operas - Twenty Reasons Why Opera Is Gorgeous

Do you really enjoy opera? Perhaps opera is not to your taste, or you are looking for operas you can understand? What are the best loved operas? As a teenager, I looked down my nose at opera. It was somehow removed from life as we know it, it didn't speak to my generation in the way that rock music did. I loved classical music - always did and still do - but somehow opera got translated in my teenage brain into comical figures dressed strangely and capering about on stage instead of singing seriously - and in tune! Then I went to College. In College we had an amazing lecturer for music, sadly now deceased, whom I shall never forget. She insisted on dragging us out to see operas. It was part of the course, she said. We saw Boris Godunov, The Queen of Spades, Eugene Onegin - and I was hooked.

All of a sudden I understood the acting and the business behind some of the most glorious music ever written. I started to buy opera records, cassettes and later CDs.

The picture shows Claudio Monteverdi as a young man. He is playing a bass viol or a viola da gamba - not sure which - but to me he looks almost like a rock star playing an oversized guitar. Monteverdi was the inventor of opera as we know it! Opera is not everyone's cup of tea, but it can easily grow on you because of the great tunes. Here I give you twenty reasons why I find opera gorgeous. In time I may well go beyond the twenty of course. I hope you will enjoy these gorgeous tunes as much as I do!

(Picture of Claudio Monteverdi is from Wikipedia and is in the Public Domain)

Opera - Flower Duet from Lakme - Opera IS Gorgeous - Delibes - Flower Duet

Probably the most gorgeous operatic tune ever written. Associated in every one's minds with Terminal 5 at Heathrow, but listening to this can transport you to destinations British Airways could never service! In fact, I love it so much, I arranged it for two flutes and a guitar!

Favorite Opera Recordings for Beginners and Aficionados! - Delibes, Wagner and Verdi - the greats!

Delibes Lakmé
Delibes Lakmé

Delibes might have been a minor composer, but he could write gorgeous melodies!

 

Opera IS Gorgeous - Wagner's Liebestod - Love Death Aria

Romantic to the point of being dangerous - here the lovers who can neither be together nor bear to deceive a friend make a suicide pact and so ends the opera. Such an amazing tune that reaches right inside and tugs at the soul! So sad....

Buy the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde

Wagner Prelude and Liebestod

The Prelude and Liebestod is an incredible piece of music that reaches into the soul and pulls the heartstrings.

Wagner: Orchestral Music
Wagner: Orchestral Music

Wagner's orchestral music was amazing. Popular now for all sorts of occasions. He expanded the orchestra to increase its power and tone.

 

A Little Bit of Singing History To Be Sure - Opera IS Gorgeous - Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen

Remember the days when singers were singers and recordings were honest? No? Here is an example....

Wagner Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin - Here Comes the Bride

What wedding would be without this? Here we have the proper version rather than an organ arrangement. Do you prefer it? I think I do.... ;)

Opera IS Gorgeous - Pavarotti - Nessun Dorma - Nessun Dorma - the Football Anthem

Remember when this was just an aria? Then along came Pavarotti and the Three Tenors and all of a sudden every footballer in the world knew it!

Lush Pilgrim's Chorus - Wagner - A Choral Version

Opera IS Gorgeous - Wagner more than most! We have to remember that Wagner's "baggage" was attached long after his death. Hitler was very clever in his choice of music, there is no doubt - but it is good to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing this masterpiece!

Emma Kirkby sings Dido's Lament - Realistic Performance of Dido'd Lament with Elizabethan Instruments

Emma Kirkby has a pure sound that is perfect for early opera written pre bel-canto and big orchestras that made vibrato - a by-product of diaphragmatic exertion - a necessity. These early instruments provide perfect backing for her beautiful rendition of Purcell's classic!

Carmen Toreadors Aria - A Frisson from my Childhood!

I seem to remember some cartoon animal rushing round singing this one in the dim and very distant past - and I also seemed to rush around singing it myself without realising what a macho song it was or that it was opera....

Habanera - Carmen - Gorgeous Mezzo-Soprano Lushness

This is just so sensual it makes your hair stand on end. Bizet could have taught Eartha Kitt a thing or two!

Opera Scores - For Those Who Love To Sing Along.....

The Pearl Fishers Duet - Bryn Terfel - Wow....

Such a classic song for the men and Bryn Terfel and Roberto Alagna really do this one credit!

Eugene Onegin - The Letter Song - Tchaikovsky - Letter Song by Tatiana

Tchaikovsky at his absolute melodic best! Two great performances to enjoy....

Placido Domingo and Kiri The Kanawa - Last Scene of La Boheme by Puccini

One of opera's saddest moments as the Left Bank love affair dies along with the heroine....

Tchaikovsky - The Queen of Spades - Drama and Passion from Russia

Tchaikovsky is one of my very favourite composers and he had such a skill for melody writing....

Vissi D'Arte from Tosca

This comes so close to the Flower Duet from Lakme when it comes to choosing a favourite. Vissi D'Arte is perhaps the most gorgeously romantic tune ever written!

Maria Callas - At Covent Garden 1962 and 1964
Maria Callas - At Covent Garden 1962 and 1964

Maria Callas singing Vissi D'arte still gives me goosebumps!

 

Pace, Pace, Mio Dio - Maria Callas - The Legendary Maria Callas

Maria Callas sings Pace, Pace, Mio Dio. Callas at her best was a living legend and the ultimate diva! She will always be remembered.

Buy Puccini Tosca

Buy the opera Tosca

From the tragedy of Tosca and her lover to the villainy of Scarpia, Tosca is hard to beat for drama as well as melody! Click on the image if you would like to buy Tosca.

Puccini - Madame Butterfly - Love Duet from Madame Butterfly

The sad consequences of mixed marriages in the nineteenth century. Madame Butterfly is good enough to love, but not to marry. Just not right is it?

Verdi Nabucco - Slaves Chorus - A Fond Memory....

I remember singing this one at College with the choir and the tall girl who decided to faint in the middle of it. They didn't feed the slaves well enough it seems....

Buy Maria Callas Nabucco (1949)

Buy Verdi Nabucco (1949) Callas

Nabucco was Callas first complete major role. Clicking on the image will take you through to buy it.

Boris Godunov - The Boyar Is Implacable.... - A Noble Bass Voice...

This Soviet version is powerful and deeply moving. I have to feature Mussorgski's opera as it turned my thinking round....

Verdi - Triumphal March from Aida - Great Music from Grand Opera!

I am sorry, I can't help it that I love the sad ones best - but this is a great contrast!

More Music Pages you might enjoy

If you enjoyed this page, you might enjoy visiting some of these too:

Anitra's Dance by Edvard Grieg

Apres Un Reve And Pavane by Faure

Cantique de Noel - O Holy Night

Jingle Maria

Liebestraum - Dreams of Love

Musical Arrangements and Compositions

The Music of Charlie Chaplin

My Life In Music

Russian Composers in Pop Music

Vaughan Williams Songs

If you love opera you will be no stranger to these amazing tunes - if not, I hope this page gets you thinking about it in a new way....

© 2010 Lisa Marie Gabriel

I hope you enjoyed my Twenty Reasons to Love Opera - Have you been to an opera?

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    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image
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      Lisa Marie Gabriel 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @anonymous: And I am so late replying! I am sorry! Music is so tribal you know - especially when you are so young. I never could understand that as a kid, and I still don't understand. I love classical music, jazz, folk, some pop (when its not too artificial) and even classic heavy metal. I arrange classical tunes for guitar and record my own rock and pop songs. Some might call that Catholic taste - I call it keeping an open mind. If people would hate you because you love beautiful operatic voices, they would not be real friends anyway... Keep enjoying, keep singing, and you will find true friends in time who enjoy it with you or those who maybe don't like it, but love you anyway!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I know I'm so late, but whatever.

      I got interested in opera by a well known musical and book:

      The Phantom of the OPERA.

      The first version I watched was the 2004 version. My favorite.

      Then I began watching other movies and musicals. And I listened to other singers. Like Sierra Boggess and Peter Karrie.

      For being only 12 years old, opera isn't something most of my friends like. In fact, I'm the only one in my school and the several around it that have interest in opera. I used to hate opera. Whenever I thought of it, I always thought about screeching ladies in vikings costumes. But now I appreciate opera as people who can really sing. I enjoy classical music as well. My favorite aria is 'O Mio Babbino Caro'. When I sing it, people often ask me if I'm singing in Spanish...

      Or if I even know what I'm singing. Yes I do.

      Numbers cannot explain how many friends I've love because of my love for opera. The minute I meet a new person that would like to be my friend, they always ask me what kind of music I like.

      "Opera, classical. You know?"

      That's when the conversation ends. I've never heard of any of these titles, but I will check them out. I'm not familiar with too many operas. Faust being my favorite... I might try to learn a bit of Italian, German, and French while listening to some operas.

      Thanks so much!

    • Churchmouse LM profile image

      Churchmouse LM 6 years ago

      Gosh yes! Many times .. and sung in the chorus of several. I didn't like opera when a child but have grown to love many and appreciate the music and art form blend that it is. Not that I like ALL operas but most posted here I would say "thumbs up!" to. Extremely well done and a mine of information, thanks so much.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Sure I have been! Many times. Unfortunately going to opera is not the cheapest sport, it takes some time butit is rewarding after all! Thank you for reminding me of some great arias:)

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      I absolutely love Opera and never miss an opportunity to enjoy it!

    • AbsoluteJeanius1 profile image

      AbsoluteJeanius1 6 years ago

      My first operas were Cavilleria Rusticana and Andrea Chenier and I was sooo hooked. When I was teaching, our reading book had the story of Aida, and after reading it, we watched the Met version on video. They didn't want to, of course, but they left whistling the Grand March, lol. Aida is my favourite, but my best memories of it are not of live performances but of sharing it with my students for so many years. What a delight to have had the opportunity.

    • madoc profile image

      madoc 6 years ago

      I can't sing for toffee. I wish I'd discovered earlier that many operas have walk-on non-singing parts. It is a great way to be a part of the opera world.

    • Amarant LM profile image

      Amarant LM 7 years ago

      Great lens! I don't usually go to the opera, but a couple of months ago I went to see "La Traviata", and it was wonderful!

    • atirial profile image

      atirial 7 years ago

      What a wonderful selection of videos. Several of these are new to me - thanks for introducing them through your great lens!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image
      Author

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Heather426: Thank you for calling in Heather. Yes, I was pleased to find that Callas video - she was the definitive Tosca and that aria always sends me to another place.... I love Domingo's voice too!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image
      Author

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      @sandralynnsparks: That sounds wonderful - I am just a little green with envy ;) Thank you for visiting!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image
      Author

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Linda BookLady: Thank you Linda - some of the most beautiful tunes ever written were written for opera :)

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      I'm an opera fan too.Had season tickets to the LA opera for years. Placido Domingo still is on the board there. These are some great videos. I did not know that utube had video of Maria Callas, one of the greatest singers ever in my opinion. This is an amazing lens!

    • profile image

      sandralynnsparks 7 years ago

      My late companion was an opera coach and one of Pavarotti and The Kanawa's accompanists, among others. The years I spent with him put me backstage with some of the greats, and I loved every minute of the time...

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      This music is incredibly moving even when I don't know what the words mean. The tones of the singers touch the heart and soul.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image
      Author

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you all for visiting. I am very grateful, and especially so for the Blessing and lensrolling! I hope this is a lens you will come back to :)

    • LadyLovelace LM profile image

      LadyLovelace LM 7 years ago

      Love this lens. You've got two of my very favourites in there! - lensrolled to https://hubpages.com/entertainment/my-10-favourite

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      Thank you for rounding up these cream of the crop operas. I'm partial to Kiri and Puccini - wish he could have heard her! :-) Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens. An introduction to opera through the best pieces. I think I will listen to each one of these while I write my blog entry for tomorrow!

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 7 years ago

      I've seen Aida and love The magic flute and madame butterfly. my favourite aria is Lascia Ch'io Pianga from Handel's Rinaldo.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Great lens, it must have taken awhile to gather all those videos!

    • almawad profile image

      almawad 7 years ago

      I just hoped that you give me real reasons on why to love opera . I like some arias and it is nice that you collected them in a lens but sitting two hours or more there is very upsetting for me . The stories are childish and sung many times in Italian or German . I was twice in my life at the opera . Just to please my mum . It was in Budapest . More than 20 years ago . Sylvia Sass was singing and it turned to be a very snobbish event . There were a lots of expensive clothes .expensive smelling perfume and tons of bravos and big expensive bunches of flowers thrown on the singer .

      Not my cup of tea ...

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      A lovely musical lens with great selections. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on How to Make Good Music

    • corinnemwestphal profile image

      corinnemwestphal 7 years ago

      With Vienna, Austria being my current home, how could I not try to develop an appreciation for opera? This is a great selection not only for the aficionado, but for a newbie like me as well (though I admit, it will take me awhile before I venture into Wagner land). Thanks for this great lens!

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 7 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      Once you've experienced your "opera moment," there's no going back! I appreciated your selections. Thank you for sharing this memorable lens.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I love opera, it speaks directly to my emotions. I love your selection too. You've picked some of the pieces that always make me cry. Once I was listening to the Love Duet from Madam Butterfly when my partner and I were in the car going somewhere. Luckily, he was driving because I had tears steaming down my face. Music, particularly opera, really moves me.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Wonderful! Like you, I came to opera later on but am learning to love it. Thanks so much for featuring my Andrea Bocelli lens below. Lensrolling!

    • profile image

      olivertadpole 7 years ago

      A great collection of songs, most of which I like.... :)