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Opera Celebration: November 22, 2011

The Opera Album 2011
Various Artists

CDs: 2
Tracks: 40

Decca Music Group Ltd.
Rel. 6 Jun 2011

Sample Album Track
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Best of Baroque Opera
Play a "1-Click Concert™"
Best of Classical Opera
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Best of Early Romantic Opera
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Best of Late Romantic Opera 1
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Best of Late Romantic Opera 2
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Best of Modern Opera
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Best of Contemporary Opera
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Best of Operetta
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Opera Celebration
This “Opera Celebration” is the first in our series of features devoted to seven principal genres used by composers throughout music history, whereby we invite our visitors – regardless of experience – to explore and discover the many composers and works that exalt the genre, and some of the outstanding artists that successfully bring it to our ears. Specifically, this Feature includes an extended written Overview of the Opera, as well as a useful index of key composers, works, and artists – each of which is linked to the related page on our site. In addition, we provide a set of two-hour 1-Click Concerts (full streams to our subscribers only), a featured “sampler” album, and a set of “Opera” videos. Enjoy!

“Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man's faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.”
– Giacomo Puccini

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Origins and Opera in the Baroque Period

The term “opera” (lit. the plural form of the Latin word “opus”, meaning “work”) is an abbreviation for opera in musica – that is, a drama set to music, where the theatrical roles are sung by trained singers accompanied by instruments, along with sets, costumes, and sometimes dance. While musical plays and dramatic representations with music (especially on sacred topics) date back to the early Middle Ages, the direct origins of opera stem from late 16th century Italy, especially Florence – where scholars and musicians joined together with hopes of reviving the imagined glories of ancient Greek drama. The members of the “Florentine Camerata”, who met at the home of humanist Giovanni de’ Bardi during the 1570s and 80s, were convinced that ancient drama was sung rather than spoken, and envisioned a new musical form to recapture this blend of music and drama, beginning with a the creation of a “stile recitativo”, or a declamatory style of singing appropriate for dialogue.

Following proto-operatic experiments by composers such as Emilio de Cavalieri (e.g., his musical play La rappresentatione di anima e di corpo), the first true opera, Dafne, was written by Jacopo Peri in 1597; while this score is now lost, a second opera by Peri, Euridice (1600), still survives. Essential for the future of opera, however, were the contributions of Claudio Monteverdi, whose Orfeo (1607) is the earliest opera still in the repertory; in it, and in his final opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642), Monteverdi expanded the musical language beyond mere recitative to include styles associated with the madrigal, sacred music, and especially the solo aria – capable of instilling an emotional and psychological reality into the characters, an element that underlies so much of opera’s appeal throughout its history.

In its earliest decades, opera performance was exclusively associated with courtly life, notably in Ferrara with the d’Este family, and in Mantua with the Gonzagas – who commissioned Orfeo; these courts also employed the first celebrated opera singers, such as the “concerto delle donne” (consort of ladies) and the soprano known as Madama Europa (incidentally, the sister of composer Salomone Rossi). In 1637, the broader public’s interest in the new genre was tested when the Teatro San Cassiano opened in the Rialto district of Venice; its most active and celebrated composer was Francesco Cavalli, who produced 10 operas there between 1639 and 1650, including the celebrated La Didone (1641). Such was Cavalli’s success that he was frequently summoned to other cities in Italy as well as to Paris, thereby further disseminating the genre. Following Monteverdi and Cavalli, the most important Italian opera composer was Alessandro Scarlatti, who wrote 115 operas between 1679 and 1725 – introducing accompanied recitative, establishing the Neapolitan school, and helping to inaugurate the reign of “opera seria” (lit. serious and stylized opera, rejecting the earlier blend of tragic and comic themes, featuring a dominance of long and often virtuosic da capo or A-B-A arias, and prevailing from c.1710-1770; an alternative approach was afforded by opera buffa or comic opera, which endured through the late 18th century); ironically, few if any of Scarlatti’s operas are heard today. At the same time, from the 2nd half of the 17th century, opera began to flourish outside Italy: in France with Jean-Baptiste Lully and later Jean-Philippe Rameau; in England with Henry Purcell; and in Germany with now-forgotten composers such as Reinhard Keiser (interestingly, Heinrich Schütz wrote the first German opera, Dafne, in 1627, now lost).

Opera reached new heights in the late Baroque era, most especially in those by George Frideric Handel, who composed 40 operas between 1711 and 1741, mainly for London audiences; Handel wrote his masterpieces, such as Xerxes, in the Italian opera seria style – though he only wrote three set to librettos by Pietro Metastasio, the most celebrated author of this style. Handel wrote his splendid, virtuosic arias for the most famous singers of his day – such as soprano Faustina Bordoni and castrato Senesino (however, Handel never wrote for most famous castrato of the era, Farinelli); more importantly, he increased the overall dramatic impact of his arias and recitatives. Handel’s contemporary, Johann Adolf Hasse, was equally prolific and celebrated in his day – writing nearly 70 operas, 38 in collaboration with his friend Metastasio, and several featuring his wife, Faustina Bordoni; as with Scarlatti, though, today Hasse’s operas are rarely performed. Such is also the case for another giant of the late Baroque, Antonio Vivaldi – who wrote as many as 94 operas in his career and enjoyed tremendous success as an opera composer and impresario. Remarkably, perhaps the most brilliant composer of the late Baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach, never wrote a single opera.

Reform and Opera in the Classical Period

By the middle of the 18th century, the overly rigid and stylized techniques used in opera seria had begun to attract its critics. The call for reform was met principally by Christoph Willibald von Gluck, who aimed to return prime focus to the drama by eliminating the halting formula of the da capo aria, while likewise applying a more natural, less virtuosic approach to vocal writing and a simpler yet more emotive orchestral accompaniment. In operas such as Orfeo ed Euridice (1762), Gluck established reforms that inspired opera composers through the end of the 19th century. The greatest composer of the latter 18th century (the Classical Period), however, was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose masterpieces – such as Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro integrate the best of buffa and seria techniques, imbuing the music with a new level of expression and a more imaginative role for the orchestra. Indeed, Mozart must be considered among the greatest opera composers of all time. By contrast, Joseph Haydn’s 14 operas written for his employers, the Eszterházy, are almost completely unknown today. The youngest of the three principal masters of the “First Viennese School”, Ludwig van Beethoven, limited his interest in opera to one work, Fidelio, which he revised several times between 1805 and 1817 – and yet which maintains a prime place in the repertory.

Bel Canto and Opera in the Romantic Period

In the wake of Gluck’s reforms and the masterful models of Mozart, the 19th century witnessed a veritable explosion of operatic development and achievement – giving rise to an enormous wealth of operas that still dominate the repertory today. The most successful heir to the Mozartian model was Gioacchino Rossini, whose 39 operas span the gamut of style and topics, but who is most revered for his delightful and dazzling comic operas, such as Il barbiere di Siviglia (1816). By this time, moreover, opera had shifted demonstrably from the private court to the public middle-class theaters, whereby a successful opera composer like Rossini could become a rich and famous man. Aiding this shift was the growing number of star opera singers, and especially a new emphasis on a virtuosic yet elegant approach to vocal writing known as bel canto (lit. “beautiful singing”). The bel canto style reached its heights in the 1830s and 40s, notably in the works of the Italian composers Vincenzo Bellini (e.g., Norma, 1831) and Gaetano Donizetti (e.g., L’elisir d’amore, 1832) – whose influence would endure through the end of the century.

The early Romantic era also saw the beginnings of greater nationalist stirrings among composers, including those of opera. In German-speaking lands, where the notions of romanticism (intense personal emotion, supernatural themes, etc.) were most palpably felt, a new direction was initiated by Carl Maria von Weber, who established a German alternative to the Italian bel canto style with his Der Freischütz (1821). Further examples of early German Romantic opera include those by Franz Schubert – though it is noteworthy that despite his genius for writing songs (over 600), Schubert completed only 9 operas, none of which survives in the modern canon. In France, the success of Rossini and the bel canto style gave rise to “Grand Opera”, emphasizing virtuosic singing and dramatic stage effects – such as in Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots (1836); in this theatrical environment, the more serious and experimental operas of Hector Berlioz – such as his 5 Act, 4-hour Les Troyans (1858) – had difficulty finding an audience at the time, though have since become staples of the repertory. Finally, Russian nationalist opera saw its origins in the first half of the century with Mikhail Glinka and such operas as Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842).

Transformation and Triumph: Opera in the Late-Romantic Period

The ripe operatic seeds laid in the first half of the 19th century bore fruit across Europe in the second half, an era that spawned many of the most popular operas ever created. In Italy, the unrivaled heir to Bellini and Donizetti was Giuseppe Verdi, who in such masterworks as Il trovatore and La Traviata (both from 1853) augmented the bel canto style with a greater sense of drama and direct communication, while maintaining many of its signature elements, such as dividing operas into distinct “numbers”. Verdi was also among the most successful composers of all time, whose operatic melodies were sung on streets across Europe while still in performance – much as his operas virtually dominate opera houses around the world still today.

The year of Verdi’s birth, 1813, was also the birth year of another transformational opera composer, Richard Wagner – often cited as the most revolutionary of all. Wagner, following the lead of Weber, envisioned a distinct model for German opera, dispensing with the Italian “number” structure, in favor of a seamless integration of recitative and aria into an approach of “endless melody” and recurring, thematic “leitmotifs”, while likewise elevating the role of the orchestra to an almost equal character with the singers. Wagner also used his operas – which he referred to as “music dramas” (and which represented to him a unified embodiment of all the arts, or in German, Gesamtkunstwerk) – as vehicles to indulge his radical experiments in harmony and chromaticism, and in such works as Tristan und Isolde (1859) influenced not only the future of opera but also classical music in general. Wagner’s crowning achievement was his epic “Ring Cycle” (1869-74), a 12-hour, four opera marathon based on the legends of ancient Norse mythology. The grandeur to which Wagnerian opera aspired is also revealed in the shrine-like opera house the composer built in 1876 in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth – which continues to perform his operas for nearly 60,000 “pilgrims” each summer.

In the fertile environment dominated by Verdi and Wagner, the mid-late 19th century likewise saw magnificent opera creation elsewhere in Europe: in France, by Charles Gounod (esp. Faust, from 1859), Camille Saint-Säens (esp. Samson et Delila, from 1877), Georges Bizet (esp. Carmen, from 1875), Léo Delibes (esp. Lakmé, from 1883), and Jules Massenet (e.g., Thaïs, from 1894); in Bohemia, by Bedrich Smetana (esp. The Bartered Bride, from 1886), Antonín Dvorák (esp. Rusalka, from 1900), and Leoš Janácek (e.g., Jenufa, from 1902); and in Russia, by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (esp. Eugene Onegin, from 1879), Modest Mussorgsky (esp. Boris Godunov, from 1872), and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (e.g., Sadko, from 1896) –  the latter two countries revealing increased nationalist tendencies in both subject matter and musical language. At the same time, and likely in response to the growing seriousness and intensity of so many operas of the period, the latter 19th century also saw the rise of light opera or “operetta” composers, particularly in the capital cities of Paris (esp. Jacques Offenbach), Vienna (esp. Franz von Suppé), and London (esp. Sir Arthur Sullivan); these works were often extremely popular – and form the basis for the rise of musical theater in 20th century America.

Yet, the legacies of Verdi and Wagner still offered rich room for development and personal expression in their own lands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Italy, the so-called “verismo” (lit. “realism”) school of composers expanded upon Verdi’s dramatic intensity with libretti that emphasized the realistic hardships of modern, generally lower-class life – inspired by the “naturalist” novels and plays of Emile Zola and Henrik Ibsen; at the same time, they adapted a more Wagnerian approach to form by generally abandoning the “number” format, and embraced the greater harmonic richness found in Wagner’s scores. Leading composers associated with this school include Pietro Mascagni (esp. Cavalleria rusticana, from 1890); Ruggero Leoncavallo (esp. Pagliacci, from 1892); and most significantly Giacomo Puccini – whose operas, such as La bohème (1896) and Madama Butterfly (1904), are among the most beloved operas ever written. Puccini’s operas defy any limited definitions of “verismo” and owe their popularity to the beauty and power of his melodies and his keen dramatic sensibility; not surprisingly, Puccini was also made a very rich man through the success of his operas.

In Germany, the clear heir to Wagner was Richard Strauss, whose long operatic career extends from 1894 to 1942. In such operas as Elektra (1909), Strauss pushed Wagner’s harmonic experimentation to an extreme, effectively helping to bring the long-standing harmonic language of Tonality (which had held sway since the mid-17th century) to an end. In his very next opera, however, the successful comic opera Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Strauss would seek more diverse musical inspirations, including Viennese waltzes and the classical language of Mozart – signaling the transition from Romanticism to Modernism. In considering German opera in the late-19th century, moreover, it is worth noting that Strauss’ great contemporary Gustav Mahler never wrote an opera, despite his lifelong love of vocal music and his long career as an opera conductor. However, the Wagnerian tradition found another worthy heir in Alban Berg, whose Wozzeck (1925), for example, ably points back to the harmonic richness and psychological insight of operas by Wagner and Strauss, as well as forward to the harmonic and formal innovations of the 20th century.

Experimentation and Eclecticism: Opera in the Modern and Contemporary Periods

As with all musical genres, opera underwent radical transformation through the 20th century, along with a palpable decline in the popular interest for new works. A glance at the current programming schedules of the major opera houses around the world reveals that this relative disconnect has continued, and that the operas most desired by audiences are not those written by their contemporaries – as had been the case for the three centuries prior to the 20th – but largely those written between 1730 and 1900. The reasons for this development are complex and beyond the scope of this essay, but in short stem from the technical and aesthetic shifts following the collapse of Tonality and “common practice” forms as the 19th century came to a close.

Although most of the major composers of the first few decades of the 20th century –Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Béla Bartók – wrote at least one opera, few of them have entered the regular repertory, as have for example Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande (1902) and Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress, along with Berg’s Wozzeck and Lulu (1935, incomplete); and even these are rarely performed compared with operas of the previous century. Each of the operas by these masters is marked by the musical approach favored by the composer at the time – impressionist harmony with Debussy and Ravel, atonality with Berg, neo-classicism with Stravinsky, polytonality with Bartók, and 12-tone technique with Schoenberg. Perhaps the most successful Modern period opera composer has been Benjamin Britten, often called the greatest from England since Henry Purcell; Britten’s operas, such as Peter Grimes (1945) and the chamber opera Turn of the Screw (1954), are performed with some regularity. Less commonly performed, though artistically celebrated, are the few operas by the two Russian composers Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the jazz-influenced operas by George Gershwin (Porgy and Bess, from 1935) and Kurt Weill (e.g., The Three-Penny Opera, from 1928) are frequently performed and recorded.

The eclecticism and experimentation found in operas of the Modern period has only expanded in the Contemporary period. Time will tell, of course, but it appears that the trend of limited shelf life will continue for operas written since 1960, though naturally there will be exceptions. Critically acclaimed operas from recent years include those by György Ligeti, Hans Werner Henze, Krzysztof Penderecki, Michael Tippett, and the American composers Philip Glass, John Adams, and Jake Heggie. Indeed, there is no shortage of new opera commissions by the world’s major opera houses, and the general public interest in opera premieres is usually quite high. Libretto topics vary considerably, though in recent years there has been a keen interest in operas covering recent topical events; such so-called “CNN operas” include Adams’ Nixon in China, Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, as well as Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole and Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier – the latter two being the source of featured presentations here at Classical Archives.

And though we may not be regularly witnessing the kind of premiere operatic successes common in Verdi’s or Puccini’s day, there is no doubt that the world’s 400 year-old love affair with this most unique blend of classical music and drama – opera in musica – is as strong today as ever. Today’s leading opera singers are among the music industry’s top celebrities, whose exposure is enhanced not only through recording (and online presentation such as here at Classical Archives), but also increasingly via in-theater and public HD broadcasts by New York’s Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, among others. At the same time, the high costs of operatic productions are such that opera houses around the world are nearly always in dire financial need – requiring rising individual patronage in the US and increased taxpayer support in Europe. Still, the pleasure derived from a successful production of a great opera – by Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Strauss, Britten, or Adams, to name a few – ensures that the art form will endure for at least another 400 years.

Nolan Gasser, Artistic Director

Principal Opera Composers and their Operatic Works
Here is a list of some of the principal Operatic composers and works, grouped by period:

Baroque Period

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
    L'incoronazione di Poppea, SV308 (opera)
    Orfeo, SV318 (opera)

Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676)
    Gli Amori d'Apollo e di Dafne (opera)
    La Didone (opera)

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687)
    Acis et Galatée (pastorale héroïque), LWV73
    Proserpine (opera), LWV58
    Psyché (opera), LWV56
    Thésée (tragédie lyrique), LWV51

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
    Dido and Aeneas, Z.626 (opera)
    The Fairy Queen, Z.629 (semi-opera)
    King Arthur or the British Worthy, Z.628 (semi-opera)

Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)
    La Griselda (opera)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
    Catone in Utica, RV705 (opera)
    Griselda, RV718 (opera in 3 acts)

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
    Castor et Pollux (tragédie en musique)
    Dardanus (tragédie en musique)
    Hippolyte et Aricie (tragédie lyrique)
    Les Indes galantes (opéra-ballet)
    Les Paladins (comédie lyrique)

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
    Acis and Galatea, HWV49 (opera)
    Agrippina, HWV6 (opera)
    Alcina, HWV34 (opera)
    Ariodante, HWV33 (opera)
    Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV17 (opera)
    Rinaldo, HWV7 (opera)
    Rodelinda, regina de' Longobardi, HWV19 (opera)
    Xerxes ('Serse'), HWV40 (opera)

Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783)
    Cleofide (opera)

Classical Period

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736)
    La serva padrona (intermezzo)

Christoph Willibald von Gluck (1714-1787)
    Alceste, Wq.37 (opera in 3 acts, Italian version)
    Iphigénie en Tauride, opera in 4 acts, Wq. 46
    Orfeo ed Euridice, Wq.30 (opera in 3 acts, Italian version)
    Paride ed Elena (opera)

(Franz) Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
    La Fedeltà Premiata, Hob.XXVIII:10 (opera)

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)
    Falstaff, ossia Le tre burle (comic opera)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
    Così fan tutte, K.588 (opera buffa)
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), K.384 (Singspiel)
    Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K.620 (Singspiel)
    Don Giovanni, K.527 (opera buffa)
    Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K.492 (opera buffa)

Romantic Period

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
    Fidelio, Op.72 (opera)

Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)
    Der Freischütz, Op.77 (opera)
    Oberon, J.306 (opera)

Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864)
    L' Africaine (grand opera in 5 acts)
    Les Huguenots (grand opera)
    Le prophète (grand opera)
    Robert le diable (grand opera)

Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (1792-1868)
    Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra (dramma)
    Guillaume Tell (William Tell; opera)
    Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville; commedia)
    L'italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers; opera)
    La cenerentola (Cinderella; opera)
    La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie; melodramma)
    Mosè in Egitto (azione tragico-seria)
    Otello, ossia Il moro di Venezia (dramma)
    Semiramide (melodramma tragico)
    Tancredi (melodramma eroica)

Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)
    Der Graf von Gleichen, D.918 (opera)

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
    Anna Bolena (opera)
    Don Pasquale (opera)
    L'elisir d'amore (opera)
    La favorita (opera)
    La fille du régiment (opera)
    Lucia di Lammermoor (opera)
    Maria Stuarda (opera)
    Roberto Devereux (Il Conte di Essex; opera)

Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
    Beatrice di Tenda (opera)
    I Capuleti e i Montecchi (opera seria)
    I Puritani (opera seria)
    La sonnambula (opera semiseria)
    Norma (opera seria)

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
    Benvenuto Cellini, H.76a, Op.23 (opera)
    Les Troyens (The Trojans), H.133a, Op.5 (opera)

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857)
    Ruslan and Lyudmila (opera), G.xiv

Late-Romantic Period

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
    Aida (opera)
    Don Carlo (opera)
    Ernani (opera)
    Falstaff (commedia lirica)
    I Vespri siciliani (opera)
    Il Trovatore (opera)
    La forza del destino (opera)
    La Traviata (opera)
    Luisa Miller (opera)
    Macbeth (opera)
    Nabucco (Nabucodonosor; opera)
    Otello (opera)
    Rigoletto (opera)
    Simon Boccanegra (opera)
    Un ballo in maschera (opera)

Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
    Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman; opera), WWV 63
    Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (opera)
    Lohengrin (opera), WWV 75
    Parsifal (opera), WWV 111
    Tannhäuser (opera), WWV 70
    Tristan und Isolde (opera), WWV 90
    Das Rheingold (opera), WWV 86a
    Die Walküre (The Valkyrie; opera), WWV 86b
    Siegfried (opera), WWV 86c
    Götterdämmerung (opera), WWV 86d

Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
    Faust (opéra)
    Roméo et Juliette (opera)

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)
    Les contes d'Hoffmann (opera)
    Orphée aux Enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld; opera)

Franz von Suppé (1819-1895)
    Fatinitza (operetta)

Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884)
    The Bartered Bride (Prodaná nevesta; opera), JB 1:100

Johann Strauss II (1825-1899)
    Die Fledermaus (The Bat; operetta), RV503

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
    Samson et Dalila (opera), Op.47

Léo Delibes (1836-1891)
    Lakmé (opera)

Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
    Carmen (opéra-comique)
    Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers; opera)

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
    Boris Godunov (opera)
    Khovanshchina (opera)

Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
    Eugene Onegin (opera), Op.24
    Pique Dame ('The Queen of Spades'; opera), Op.68

Antonín (Leopold) Dvorák (1841-1904)
    Rusalka, B.203, Op.114 (lyric fairy tale, opera)

Jules Massenet (1842-1912)
    Manon (opera)
    Thaïs (opera)
    Werther (opera)

Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)
    H.M.S. Pinafore (The Lass that Loved a Sailor; operetta)
    The Mikado (The Town of Titipu; operetta)
    The Pirates of Penzance (operetta)

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
    Christmas Eve (opera)
    Sadko (opera)
    The Tale of Tsar Saltan (opera)

Leoš Janácek (1854-1928)
    The Cunning Little Vixen (opera), JW 1/9
    From the House of the Dead (Z mrtvého domu; opera), JW 1/11
    Jenufa (opera), JW 1/4
    The Makropulos Case (Vec Makropulos; opera), JW 1/10

Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921)
    Hänsel and Gretel (opera)

Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)
    Pagliacci (opera)

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
    Gianni Schicchi (opera)
    La bohème (opera)
    La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West; opera)
    Madama Butterfly (opera)
    Manon Lescaut (opera)
    Tosca (opera)
    Turandot (opera)

Victor Herbert (1859-1924)
    Babes in Toyland (operetta)
    Naughty Marietta (operetta)

Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945)
    Cavalleria rusticana (opera)
    L'amico Fritz (commedia lyrica)

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
    Ariadne auf Naxos, Op.60, TrV228a (revised version)
    Capriccio, Op.85, TrV279 (musical 'conversation piece')
    Der Rosenkavalier, Op.59, TrV227 ('musical comedy')
    Die Frau ohne Schatten, Op.65, TrV234
    Elektra, Op.58, TrV223 (tragedy)
    Salome, Op.54, TrV215 (music drama)

Umberto Giordano (1867-1948)
    Andrea Chénier (opera)

Scott Joplin (c.1868-1917)
    Treemonisha (opera)

Franz Lehár (1870-1948)
    Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow, operetta)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
    The Pilgrim's Progress (opera)

Impressionist Period

Achille-Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
    Pelléas et Mélisande, L.88 (opera)

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
    L'enfant et les sortilèges (opera-ballet)

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
    La vida breve (opera), G.35/39

Modern Period

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
    The Pilgrim's Progress (opera)

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
    Moses und Aron (opera; unfinished)

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
    Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Op.11, BB62 (opera)

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
    The Rake's Progress (opera)

Alban Berg (1885-1935)
    Lulu (opera)
    Wozzeck, Op.7 (opera)

Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953)
    The Fiery Angel (opera) Op.37
    The Gambler (opera) Op.24
    The Love for Three Oranges (opera) Op.33
    War and Peace (opera) Op.91

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)
    Die tote Stadt (The Dead City; opera), Op.12

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
    Porgy and Bess (opera)

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
    Dialogues des Carmélites, Op.159 (opera)

Kurt Weill (1900-1950)
    Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (The Rise and Fall of the State of Mahagonny; opera)
    Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera; opera)

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
    Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (opera), Op.29

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
    Saint François d'Assise, I/52 (opera)

Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)
    Amahl and the Night Visitors (opera in 1 act)
    The Consul (opera)
    The Saint of Bleecker Street (opera)

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
    Death in Venice (opera in 2 acts), Op.88
    Peter Grimes, Op.33 (opera)
    The Rape of Lucretia, Op.37 (chamber opera)
    Turn of the Screw, Op.54 (chamber opera)

Contemporary Period

György Ligeti (1923-2006)
    Le Grand Macabre (opera)

Hanz Werner Henze (b 1926)
    Der junge Lord, comic opera in 2 acts

Philip Glass (b 1937)
    Einstein on the Beach (opera)

John Adams (b 1947)
    Doctor Atomic (opera)
    Nixon in China (opera)

Here is a short, and quite partial, list of the many outstanding artists (singers, conductors, and orchestras) featured on Classical Archives who specialize in performing opera – divided into their various categories:

Christine Brewer
Norma Burrowes
Montserrat Caballé
Maria Callas
Maria Dragoni
Kirsten Flagstad
Renée Fleming
Angela Gheorghiu
Emma Kirkby
Monika Krause
Stefania Malagu
Anna Netrebko
Birgit Nilsson
Leontyne Price
Margaret Price
Renata Scotto
Irmgard Seefried
Beverly Sills
Joan Sutherland
Renata Tebaldi
Kiri Te Kanawa

Olga Borodina
Grace Bumbry
Brigitte Fassbaender
Marilyn Horne
Christa Ludwig
Giulietta Simionato
Anne Sofie von Otter

Robert Alagna
Carlo Bergonzi
Jussi Björling
Joseph Calleja
Enrico Caruso
José Carreras
Franco Corelli
Mario del Monaco
Giuseppe di Stefano
Plácido Domingo
Maurizio Frusoni
Dennis O'Neill
Luciano Pavarotti
Peter Pears
Gianni Raimondi
Michael Schade
Peter Schrier
Jon Vickers

Baritone - Basses
Christian Gerhaher (baritone)
Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass)
Tito Gobbi (baritone)
Matthias Goerne (baritone)
Hans Hotter (bass-baritone)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Kurt Moll (bass)
Leo Nucci (baritone)
Alan Opie (baritone)
Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone)
Samuel Ramey (bass)
Andreas Schmidt (bass-baritone)
Cesare Siepi (bass)
Bryn Terfel (baritone)
José Van Dam (bass)
Theo Adam (bass)

Claudio Abbado
Ernest Ansermet
Daniel Barenboim
Piero Bellugi
Karl Böhm
Richard Bonynge
Willi Boskovsky
Sir Colin Davis
William Christie
Charles Dutoit
Richard Edlinger
Alberto Erede
John Eliot Gardiner
Gianandrea Gavazzeni
Valery Gergiev
Carlo Maria Giulini
Bernard Haitink
Eugen Jochum
Herbert von Karajan
Carlos Kleiber
Kiril Kondrashin
Rafael Kubelik
James Levine
Lorin Maazel
Sir Charles Mackerras
Kurt Masur
Nicholas McGegan
Zubin Mehta
Pierre Monteux
Riccardo Muti
Kent Nagano
Roger Norrington
David Parry
Sir John Pritchard
Alexander Rahbari
Rico Saccani
Kurt Sanderling
Gerard Schwarz
Tullio Serafin
Giuseppe Sinopoli
Leonard Slatkin
Georg Solti
George Szell
Christian Thielemann
Georg Tintner
Sergio Vartolo
Antoni Wit

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Berlin Philharmonic
Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Capella Istropolitana
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra
Dresden Staatskapelle
La Scala Theater Orchestra
Les Arts Florissants Orchestra & Chorus
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
London Symphony Orchestra
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Monte Carlo National Opera Orchestra
Monteverdi Choir
New York Philharmonic
Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia
Philharmonia Orchestra of London
Rome Opera Theater Orchestra
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra Covent Garden
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

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