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20 Reasons To Love Opera
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 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'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.... ;)
A really great gift if you love Wagner!
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!
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!
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
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