You sure about the I?Thanks for the warm welcome, guys!
Wow, you decided to sneak into the opera world through the backdoor, didn't you?
I haven't seen Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth yet but have heard excerpts of Verdi's Macbeth the latter of which is actually based on the Shakespearan tragedy and have also only heard of Werther and Prokofiev's Fiery Angel. I'm curious; did you purposely look for the more obscure works or did a friend recommend them to you?
I used to be a huge fan of Donizetti (in particular, Lucia di Lammermoor & La fille du regiment) and Rossini ( favourites are La Cenerentola & Barber of Seville) but I'm now getting into Wagner (Tristan Und Isolde & The Ring Cycle...etc) & Verdi (La forze del destino, Aida!...etc). I was planning to see Tristan & Isolde (with Waltraud Meier. I don't remember the tenor. No one ever does. lol) in Paris this year but, due to scheduling conflicts, I'll get to see Rigoletto instead.
As for artists, I'd have to say Jessye Norman (what technique and such an expressive voice!), Maria Callas (but of course... but not to everyone's liking), Leontyne Price (I was listening to her sing 'pace, pace mio dio!' in lecture hall a few days ago on my mp3 player and, when she hit the maledizione, every hair on my body stood one end and it felt like one giant 15-second aural orgasm. I was seriously writhing in my seat. Not a pretty picture. ), Samuel Ramey (I'm still surprised at how he manages to combine a low bass voice with a really bright tone), Kathleen Battle (yeah, she was a b***h to everyone she worked with but most people that can distance the stunning artistry from the person also enjoys listening to her), Shirley Verrett, Beniamini Gigli & Miguel Fleta.
Everyone that knows of my obsession never believes this but as we're rather opera-starved here (operved, if you will), I had never seen a live opera till last week and instead, subsisted on recorded performances. Youtube is a goldmine for opera excerpts and the full ones can be gotten from Amazon or... *cough*downloaded online*cough*
What operas to recommend... let me think Puccini operas are accessible and easy to get into (purists accuse them of being fluffy but I think otherwise) and I find them rather enjoyable and a particularly nice one would be Tosca. My favourite recording is the one with Montserrat CaballÚ in the title role.
Verdi's are intense yet beautiful with tragic heroines. La Forze Del Destino, Aida and La Traviata are three of my favourites from his compositions.
Richard Strauss's Salome has to be one of the most intense and depraved operas out there; be prepared to wash your eyes after reading the end of the synopsis. lol
Wagner's Tristan Und Isolde is the greatest love story that exists. I'd normally tell folks to leave Wagner on the backburner for a bit till they've listened to other stuff but if you can weather Werther and Shostakovish:P, then you can definitely give it a look-see.
Wikipedia the plots and/or get the librettos/scripts from here.
Some great arias on youtube:
- Liebestod, Shirley Verrett: youtube.com/watch?v=tM0SVA3b0XE (the greatest love song that exists)
- [I]Ombra Mai Fui[/I], Beniamini Gigli: youtube.com/watch?v=BPKBkjamc_s
- Agitata Da Due Venti, Cecilia Bartoli: youtube.com/watch?v=J7P-INo21qU
- Fruhlingistimmenwaltzer,Kathleen Battle: youtube.com/watch?v=TF0XSkb7TyM
Good intro, made me smile. Welcome.