Do you have any not-so-popular opera recommendations? I live in a tiny city and in our opera house they always have like the same three mainstream stuff. If I have to watch Madama Butterfly one more time I'm gonna catapult myself into the ocean. (Also James Levine is gone for good let's celebrate!!)
omg i hate madama butterfly. Funny story. The Met production of madama butterfly…her son is played by a puppet…so she goes “this is our son!” and you are expecting a little boy to come out but instead…it is just a fcking puppet. I almost died.
And about Levine…I said from the beginning he was a horrible conductor. And from my *personal* knowledge of the Met and people working there – there is a big culture of men being disgusting perverts and the met putting up with it/covering it up, so I was not surprised at all to hear about what he did. They need to do a big clearing of house to get rid of the pervs and I have my list of names that I will be happy to see go.
Okay. so better operas to see, I’ll recommend you videos so you can watch them, not just listen (I always find watching is better for the first time through an opera): (I won’t recommend things like Turandot and Carmen and Traviata and Faust and all those over-done ones lol)
Under the cut 😉
Don Carlo (obvi this is my first recommendation, it is v under-performed with regard to the fact that it is THE BEST OPERA!). Get the dvd from the met with Ghiaurov and fast-forward past Domingo and his sad flat notes. The rest of the cast is great (Bumbry who is my fav eboli and Freni who is my third-fav elisabetta, and the rodrigo is…okay…not great but w/e), so that makes it the best recording out there. Honourable mention for the sung in german Don Calro w/ Fischer-Dieskau (my fav Rodrigo), James King (GREAT tenor), and is worth watching just to see Martti Talvela as the 7 ft tall beast of a grand inquisitor (altho Fischer-Dieskau is almost as tall as him which I never knew…so that is also a little horrifying) – this would be good if Josef Greindl weren’t such a horrible, awful, disgraceful Phillip. Here’s a link. There is also on youtube a video of fragments (looks like something happened to the recording) of a 1997 recording WITH GHAIUROV AS PHILLIP which is interesting to watch just because he is still beautiful and the best phillip at almost 70 years old. Also no stupid domingo. Enjoy.
Boris Godunov: Also one of my fav operas. There is a *good* version on youtube with Nesterenko as Boris – he is good and sort of vaguely looks like Ghiaurov, but he just doesn’t…do it like ghiaurov. There is no ghiaurov video-recording tho…even tho there is a video on youtube of him doing the death scene wearing the same costume as nesterenko…in the same production…so at the end of the nesterenko version just switch to ghiaurov cos it is so much better, why ddnt they film him??? kill me.
Chovanščina: FULL VERSION ON YOUTUBE WITH GHIAUROV!!!!!!!! I like this less than Boris, but it is still an interesting opera that no one ever sees.
Ernani: This is also one of my fav Verdi’s. AND THERE IS A FULL VERSION WITH GHIAUROV!!!! (unfortunately…also domingo who is horrible and forgets to sing a note at the end of the opening scene…but there is Freni who is good! and I love Bruson as Carlo…).
Elektra: A crappy video-quality is on youtube with BIRGIT NILSSON! I weirdly like Strauss… he always does a good job except I hate der rosenkavalier cos that three soprano thing…creepy…too many women. I really like Die Frau Ohne Schatten but idk for a video.
Aida: Not my absolute fav and I think this is at best a serviceable production – I can´t think of an ideal video one (i.e. one with Price or Nilsson). Freni is surprisingly good and ghiaurov has a small part. Endure domingo.
Macbeth: This is a great production with Verrett (my second favourite lady macbeth…first is…of course…nilsson), Cappuccilli (always does a good job) and … guess who? GHIAUROV. I also uploaded on my youtube a film-version of Macbeth which is interesting…mostly because of Ghiaurov. Here’s a link.
Simon Boccanegra: GREAT CAST (i.e. Ghiaurov is in it, w/ Freni and Cappuccilli)
Otello: There is a DVD with Jon Vickers (JON VICKERS!!!) and Freni which is a great production. Get that.
Parsifal: I put a video on youtube (kind of crappy quality sorry) with Vickers who is the BEST parsifal and also just the best and I love him.
Eugene Onegin: There is the whole video on youtube, with Freni (she is very good in this!) and Ghiaurov! Overall very well done.
Verdi’s Requiem: Not opera, but a similar taste. Here is a video recording. Guess who’s in it and is wearing a VERY SPARKLY AND ADORABLE bowtie thing?
Don Giovanni: There is imo no really good recording except – I suspect – the one in German with Fischer-Dieskau who is my second favourite Don Giovanni. I haven’t seen it (cos you have to buy the DVD and I haven’t gotten around to it lol), but I’ve seen parts and I’m sure it is super good. Not as good as Ghiaurov would have been, but if you are looking for the best audio recording…it is the 68 with Ghiaurov, Freni, Kraus, Janowitz, Talvela, von Karajan conducting and I put the whole thing on youtube because I am a saint.
Others I think are worth listening to, but I don’t think there exists a good enough video:
Attila (72, Firenze, w/ Ghiaurov), Tannhäuser (Nilsson, Fischer-Dieskau, Windgassen)
Lohengrin (the one with James King)
die Walküre (cos I just want Christoff doing it!!! – so instead go for the one with Nilsson and Hotter)
Mefistofele (DO NOT listen to the commercial one with Ghiaurov and Domingo. The best one is the 64` Teatro alla Scala with Ghiaurov, Bergonzi, and Kabaivanska – there is a dvd with Ramey and I think it is horrible and would turn you off from the opera. My mum was there for the performance and she said it was the only opera she has ever fallen asleep on…Ramey has no charisma…his faust is horrible too …)
Il trovatore: the one with Corelli and Price (even tho Milanov is my fav in that part!)
and honorable mention for the Parisfal in italian w/ Christoff cos that is my fav for the Gurnemanz part.
Things that are a little over-done but there is a great video: Corelli’s Turandot, Corelli’s Carmen (two versions, italian is a little better imo), Vickers’ Carmen (with BUMBRY!!!!), Vickers’ Pagliacci (better than Corelli’s just cos I cannot believe anyone would cheat on corelli, and I also love kabaivanska), Corelli’s Tosca, and either of the two Fausts on youtube with Ghiaurov and Kraus.
Im going to shut up now.