List of important operas

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The operas listed cover all important genres, and include all operas regularly performed today, from seventeenth-century works by Monteverdi, Cavalli, and Purcell to late twentieth-century operas by Messiaen, Berio, Glass, Adams, Birtwistle, and Weir. The brief accompanying notes offer an explanation as to why each opera has been considered important. For an introduction to operatic history, see Opera. The organisation of the list is by year of first performance, or, if this was long after the composer's death, approximate date of composition.

Contents

This list provides a guide to the most important operas, as determined by their presence on a majority of selected compiled lists (dating from between 1984 and 2000) of significant operas: see the Lists consulted section for full details.

1600–1699

Claudio Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi, 1640 Bernardo Strozzi - Claudio Monteverdi (c.1630).jpg
Claudio Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi, 1640

1700–1749

George Frideric Handel by Balthasar Denner, 1733 Haendel.jpg
George Frideric Handel by Balthasar Denner, 1733

1750–1799

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart aged 21 in 1777 Martini bologna mozart 1777.jpg
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart aged 21 in 1777

1800–1832

Gioachino Rossini, 1820 (International Museum and Library of Music, Bologna) GiorcesRossini1.jpg
Gioachino Rossini, 1820 (International Museum and Library of Music, Bologna)

1833–1849

Gaetano Donizetti Gaetano Donizetti 1.jpg
Gaetano Donizetti

1850–1875

Richard Wagner RichardWagner.jpg
Richard Wagner

1876–1899

Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini, 1886 Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini.jpg
Giuseppe Verdi by Giovanni Boldini, 1886

1900–1920

Richard Strauss Richard Strauss (b).jpg
Richard Strauss

1921–1944

Giacomo Puccini Puccini2.jpg
Giacomo Puccini

From 1945

Igor Stravinsky Igor Stravinsky LOC 32392u.jpg
Igor Stravinsky
Benjamin Britten Benjamin Britten, London Records 1968 publicity photo for Wikipedia.jpg
Benjamin Britten

Significant firsts in opera history

Operas not included in the above list, but which were important milestones in operatic history.

See also

Related Research Articles

Opera Artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.

A tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the countertenor and baritone voice types. It is one of the highest of the male voice types. The tenor's vocal range extends up to C5. The low extreme for tenors is roughly A2 (two As below middle C). At the highest extreme, some tenors can sing up to the second F above middle C (F5). The tenor voice type is generally divided into the leggero tenor, lyric tenor, spinto tenor, dramatic tenor, heldentenor, and tenor buffo or spieltenor.

Liceu Opera house in Barcelona, Spain

The Gran Teatre del Liceu, or simply Liceu in Catalan, is an opera house on La Rambla in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The Liceu opened on 4 April 1847. The adjacent Liceu metro station is named after the theatre.

The German Fach system is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used worldwide, but primarily in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries and by repertory opera houses.

Canadian Opera Company opera company and producer

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is an opera company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest opera company in Canada and one of the largest producers of opera in North America. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. For forty years until April 2006, the COC had performed at the O'Keefe Centre.

Casa Ricordi music publishing company

Casa Ricordi is a publisher of primarily classical music and opera. Its classical repertoire represents one of the important sources in the world through its publishing of the work of the major 19th-century Italian composers such as Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Verdi, and, later in the century, Giacomo Puccini, composers with whom one or another of the Ricordi family came into close contact.

A coloratura soprano is a type of operatic soprano voice that specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.

Union Avenue Opera

Union Avenue Opera is an opera company based in St. Louis, Missouri. The company was founded in 1994 by Scott Schoonover, the music director of Union Avenue Christian Church, which serves as the company's venue in St. Louis' Visitation Park neighborhood.

Grange Park Opera

Grange Park Opera is a professional opera company and charity whose base is West Horsley Place in Surrey, England. Founded in 1998, the company staged an annual opera festival at The Grange, in Hampshire and in 2016-7, built a new opera house 'Theatre in the Woods' at West Horsley Place – the 350-acre estate inherited by author and broadcaster Bamber Gascoigne in 2014.

Nashville Opera Association non-profit organisation in the USA

The Nashville Opera Association is a professional opera company in Nashville, Tennessee and is a member of OPERA America. The company currently offers four fully staged opera productions and an educational outreach program during an annual season which runs from October through April. Performances are offered at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Downtown Nashville and the Noah Liff Opera Center in the Sylvan Heights section of West Nashville. Designed by architect Earl Swensson, the 26,000-square-foot (2,400 m2) Noah Liff Opera Center houses the company's executive offices, conference facilities, and a rehearsal studio.

Lois Jeanette McDonall is a Canadian operatic soprano, especially known for her performances in the operas of Mozart and Donizetti.

A bass ( BAYSS) is a type of classical male singing voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a vocal range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C (i.e., E2–E4). Its tessitura, or comfortable range, is normally defined by the outermost lines of the bass clef. Categories of bass voices vary according to national style and classification system. Italians favour subdividing basses into the basso cantante (singing bass), basso buffo ("funny" bass), or the dramatic basso profondo (low bass). The American system identifies the bass-baritone, comic bass, lyric bass, and dramatic bass. The German fach system offers further distinctions: Spielbass (Bassbuffo), Schwerer Spielbass (Schwerer Bassbuffo), Charakterbass (Bassbariton), and Seriöser Bass. These classification systems can overlap. Rare is the performer who embodies a single fach without also touching repertoire from another category.

This list includes opera productions of the Opera Group and Opera Company of Boston from 1958 to 1990.

Hervey Alan was an English operatic bass and voice teacher. During his career he sang leading roles with most of Great Britain's major opera institutions, including the Edinburgh Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Royal Opera House, the Sadler's Wells Opera, and the Welsh National Opera. He is best known for creating the role of Mr. Redburn in the world premiere of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd at the Royal Opera House, London, on 1 December 1951. Music critic Elizabeth Forbes wrote that his voice was "dark toned, resonant", and "especially effective as Zaccaria in Nabucco.

Christof Loy is a German stage director especially for opera, whose work received several awards. A freelance director, he has staged operas from Baroque to premieres of new works at major European opera houses and festivals. He is known for directing works by Mozart.

John Del Carlo was an American bass-baritone who had an active international opera and concert career from the 1973-2016. Music critic F. Paul Driscoll, wrote that "Del Carlo had the distinction of being not only one of the busiest artists in opera but one of the best liked, beloved throughout the U.S. by audiences and by his colleagues for decades." He was particularly active with the San Francisco Opera where he performed regularly from 1973-2015, and with the Metropolitan Opera where he appeared in more than 300 performances in 21 seasons from 1993-2016. He also frequently appeared at the San Diego Opera and the Seattle Opera, and gave performances at important opera houses internationally, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, and the Zurich Opera among many others. A skilled actor, Opera News stated that "Del Carlo made a career specialty of bringing authentic character to roles that are often dismissed as comprimario parts; in Del Carlo’s shrewdly judged performances, [these parts] became authentic star turns."

John Longmuir (tenor) Scottish born, Australian tenor

John Longmuir is a Scottish-born Australian tenor. Known primarily for operatic roles he is also in demand on the concert platform and has appeared as a judge on channel seven's music competition show 'All Together Now'. Noted for his "generous voice, bright ringing vocal quality and legato phrasing" His operatic studies took place at the Australian Opera Studio. In 2019 John received his first Helpmann Award nomination, for his role as the Captain in Berg's Wozzeck, for Opera Australia.

Krisztián Cser Hungarian opera singer and physicist

Krisztián Cser is a Hungarian operatic and concert singer (bass) and physicist, the soloist of the Hungarian State Opera.

References

Notes

  1. John Whenham, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  2. 1 2 3 4 Ellen Rosand, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  3. Viking p. 191
  4. Martha Novak Clinkscale, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  5. 1 2 3 Curtis Price, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  6. Viking p. 418: "According to John Mainwaring, Handel's first biographer, 'The theatre at almost every pause resounded with shouts of "Viva il caro Sassone". They were thunderstruck by the sublimity of his style: for never had they known till then all the powers of harmony and modulation so closely arrayed and forcibly combined'".
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Anthony Hicks, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  8. Robert D. Hume, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  9. 1 2 Orrey p. 64
  10. Orrey pp. 90–91
  11. 1 2 3 4 Graham Sadler, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  12. Stanley Sadie, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  13. Mary Hunter, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  14. Viking pp. 375–76
  15. Viking pp. 378–79
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Julian Rushton, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  17. Viking p. 381
  18. Caryl Clark, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  19. Viking p. 393
  20. Viking p. 370
  21. Orrey p. 110
  22. 1 2 Orrey p. 113
  23. Viking p. 752
  24. Orrey p. 107
  25. Orrey p. 114
  26. Gordana Lazarevich, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  27. Viking pp. 210–11
  28. Viking p. 59
  29. Viking pp. 1002–04
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Richard Osborne, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  31. Viking pp. 1212–14
  32. Viking pp. 1214–15
  33. Oxford Illustrated p. 136
  34. Clive Brown, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  35. 1 2 Simon Maguire, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  36. A. Dean Palmer, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  37. Viking pp. 884, 917–18
  38. 1 2 William Ashbrook, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  39. Viking p. 38
  40. Viking p. 66
  41. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Julian Budden, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  42. Orrey p. 132
  43. Viking pp. 659–60
  44. Viking p. 70
  45. Viking p. 609
  46. Viking p. 277
  47. Viking p. 278
  48. Viking p. 1176
  49. Viking p. 71
  50. Viking p. 412
  51. Viking p. 280
  52. Oxford Illustrated pp. 246 ff.
  53. Viking p. 660
  54. Viking p. 282
  55. Viking p. 92
  56. 1 2 Viking p. 1125
  57. 1 2 Viking p. 285
  58. 1 2 The New Penguin Opera Guide, p. 265
  59. Viking p. 584
  60. 1 2 3 4 Roger Parker, writing in Grove
  61. Viking p. 1177
  62. Viking p. 368
  63. Viking p. 1179
  64. Viking p. 288
  65. Viking p. 1127
  66. Viking p. 48
  67. Viking p. 1128
  68. Viking p. 1181
  69. 1 2 Viking p. 1132
  70. 1 2 Viking p. 94
  71. Viking p. 328
  72. Viking p. 726
  73. Viking p. 661
  74. Viking p. 1138
  75. Viking p. 968
  76. Viking pp. 1184–86
  77. Viking p. 1139
  78. Oxford Illustrated p. 192
  79. Oxford Illustrated p. 193
  80. Viking p. 1143
  81. Viking p. 1144
  82. Viking p. 228
  83. Viking p. 735
  84. Penguin Guide to Opera on CD, p. 114
  85. Viking p. 1147
  86. The New Penguin Opera Guide, p. 266
  87. Viking p. 97
  88. Viking p. 1149
  89. Viking p. 115
  90. Viking p. 736
  91. Viking p. 397
  92. Viking p. 664
  93. Viking p. 1196
  94. Viking p. 1098
  95. Viking p. 988
  96. Viking p. 1152
  97. Viking p. 116
  98. Viking p. 398
  99. Viking p. 990
  100. Viking p. 1198
  101. Viking p. 1099
  102. 1 2 Viking p. 738
  103. Viking p. 131
  104. Viking p. 1188
  105. Viking p. 1190
  106. Viking p. 718
  107. Viking p. 1020
  108. Viking p. 992
  109. Viking p. 118
  110. Viking p. 1191
  111. Viking p. 1192
  112. Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Discs, p. 53
  113. Hugh Macdonald, writing in Grove
  114. Viking p. 1087
  115. Viking p. 624
  116. Viking p. 1201
  117. Viking p. 866
  118. Viking p. 252
  119. Viking p. 807
  120. Viking p. 625
  121. Viking p. 1022
  122. Viking p. 720
  123. Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Discs, p. 54
  124. Oxford Illustrated pp. 164–65
  125. Viking p. 618
  126. Viking p. 134
  127. 1 2 3 Richard Taruskin, writing in Grove
  128. Peter Ross, writing in Grove
  129. Viking p. 1094
  130. Michele Girardi, writing in Grove
  131. Viking p. 564
  132. 1 2 3 Rodney Milnes, writing in Grove
  133. Ian Denley, in The New Grove
  134. Jan Smaczny, writing in Grove
  135. Viking p. 203
  136. 1 2 Oxford Illustrated p. 269
  137. Oxford Illustrated pp. 281–87
  138. Viking p. 728
  139. Oxford Illustrated p. 304
  140. Viking p. 559
  141. Viking p. 1026
  142. Viking p. 729
  143. Viking p. 256
  144. Oxford Illustrated p. 285
  145. Viking p. 871
  146. Viking p. 502
  147. Viking p. 1028
  148. Viking p. 1241
  149. Viking p. 872
  150. Viking p. 635
  151. Viking p. 1029
  152. Viking p. 849
  153. Viking p. 1031
  154. Peter Franklin, writing in Grove
  155. Viking p. 314
  156. Viking p. 137
  157. Viking p. 1045
  158. Viking p. 485
  159. Viking p. 168
  160. Viking p. 1251
  161. Viking p. 773
  162. Oxford Illustrated pp. 286–87
  163. 1 2 3 David Murray, writing in Grove
  164. Christopher Palmer, writing in Grove
  165. Viking p. 505
  166. Oxford Illustrated p. 306
  167. Viking p. 1252
  168. Viking p. 953
  169. 1 2 Michael Kennedy, writing in Grove
  170. Viking p. 506
  171. Oxford Illustrated p. 297
  172. Harman A & Mellers W. Man and His Music: The Story of Musical Experience in the West. Barrie and Rockliff, London, 1962, p. 950.
  173. Orrey p. 218.
  174. Viking p. 477
  175. Tibor Tallián, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  176. Viking p. 1076
  177. 1 2 John Tyrrell, writing in Grove[ full citation needed ]
  178. Oxford Illustrated, pp. 310–11
  179. Viking p. 542
  180. 1 2 Stephen Hinton, writing in Grove
  181. Viking p. 980
  182. Orrey p. 220
  183. Laurel E. Fay, writing in Grove
  184. Viking p. 1039
  185. Richard Crawford, writing in Grove
  186. Orrey p. 219
  187. Viking p. 1120
  188. Viking p. 1041
  189. Viking p. 613
  190. Viking p. 480
  191. Viking p. 143
  192. Oxford Illustrated p. 316
  193. Viking p. 1115
  194. Viking p. 144
  195. Viking p. 803
  196. Viking p. 802
  197. 1 2 3 Bruce Archibald, writing in Grove
  198. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Arnold Whittal, writing in Grove
  199. Viking p. 307
  200. Viking p. 793
  201. Anthony Sellors, writing in Grove
  202. Viking p. 649
  203. Viking p. 1050
  204. Viking p. 462
  205. Viking p. 152
  206. Viking p. 1208
  207. 1 2 3 Geraint Lewis, writing in Grove
  208. Jon Alan Conrad, writing in Grove
  209. Viking p. 794
  210. 1 2 Barbara B. Heyman, writing in Grove
  211. Viking p. 795
  212. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Andrew Clements, writing in Grove
  213. 1 2 Orrey, p. 234
  214. 1 2 Adrian Thomas, writing in Grove
  215. Viking p. 159
  216. Viking p. 243
  217. 1 2 Paul Griffiths, writing in Grove
  218. Viking p. 854
  219. David Osmond-Smith, writing in Grove
  220. Tim Page, writing in Grove
  221. Viking p. 108
  222. Viking p. 1232
  223. Viking p. 18
  224. 1 2 Oxford Illustrated p. 8
  225. Viking p. 174
  226. Oxford Illustrated p. 31
  227. Viking p. 180
  228. Stein (1999), paragraph six
  229. Russell: "Manuel de Zumaya", Grove Music Online

Sources

Lists consulted

This list was compiled by consulting nine lists of great operas, created by recognized authorities in the field of opera, and selecting all of the operas which appeared on at least five of these (i.e. all operas on a majority of the lists). The lists used were:

  1. "A–Z of Opera by Keith Anderson, Naxos, 2000".
  2. "The Standard Repertoire of Grand Opera 1607–1969", a list included in Norman Davies's Europe: a History (OUP, 1996; paperback edition Pimlico, 1997). ISBN   0-7126-6633-8.
  3. Operas appearing in the chronology by Mary Ann Smart in The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera (OUP, 1994). ISBN   0-19-816282-0.
  4. Operas with entries in The New Kobbe's Opera Book, ed. Lord Harewood (Putnam, 9th ed., 1997). ISBN   0-370-10020-4
  5. Table of Contents of The Rough Guide to Opera. by Matthew Boyden. (2002 edition). ISBN   1-85828-749-9.
  6. Operas with entries in The Metropolitan Opera Guide to Recorded Opera ed. Paul Gruber (Thames and Hudson, 1993). ISBN   0-393-03444-5 and/or Metropolitan Opera Stories of the Great Operas ed. John W Freeman (Norton, 1984). ISBN   0-393-01888-1
  7. List of operas and their composers in Who's Who in British Opera ed. Nicky Adam (Scolar Press, 1993). ISBN   0-85967-894-6
  8. Entries for individual operas in Warrack, John; West, Ewan (1992). The Oxford Dictionary of Opera. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-869164-8.
  9. Entries for individual operas in Who's Who in Opera: a guide to opera characters by Joyce Bourne (Oxford University Press, 1998). ISBN   0-19-210023-8

Operas included in all 9 lists

Further reading