This is my second blog. My first was created for a grad course I was taking in history. This time around, I want to do something fun and hopefully enlightening. As an aspiring historian and archivist, my purpose in maintaining this blog is to expand people’s knowledge of opera, specifically neglected operas. Youtube, amazon, dailymotion are filled with operas, some super famous, others ignored gems, some not so great. As I was listening to some of the more “far out there” titles I realised that practically no one was reviewing them. Yes OperaToday reviews a lot of the “other” operas by usually Italian “one hit wonder” composers, but otherwise if it isn’t “La Boheme” or at least “Arabella” it is a no show. Although I will include operas from many Eastern European national traditions: Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, I will not shy away from the French and Italian titles I have grown to love. However, this blog is not about operas that would be seen as “popular”, at least not in the west. Even if a few of the composers are world famous the operas themselves are very much “out there”, and I will probably never post a review of “La Traviata”. This blog is dedicated to those operas one doesn’t read about in the popular literature.
The format of the blog will be as follows. I will give some background regarding the recordings I find. I will review them in a “track” style, including my personal comments and a star rating from no star to *, ** , and ***, for example:
0-Overture, very boring what was Lloyd-Weber thinking?
5-Elva’s aria*, better but there is very little life in this.
10-Chorus and March***, finally something interesting! Exciting, the best number of the entire act.
The remainder of the post will be a review of the opera, the specific recording, and an overall letter grade from yours truly. I will also try whenever possible to include a web link to either highlights or the entire opera as well as whatever historic visuals I can find off the internet. Even if I score some of the compositions low, medium, or high, that is beside the point, I want people to find these operas. I have my own personal tastes (disclaimer: I love Meyerbeer, Verdi, Massenet, and Dvorak, I’m not thrilled with Wagner, Weber, Puccini, and Berlioz), but that doesn’t mean I won’t review those operas or that I don’t want people to listen to them. I want everyone to find the operas that speak most to them, and to know that opera is more than just the standard rep. Every opera ever written deserves to have its day-and if popular opinions change decades, in the sun.
Stay tuned for my first review post!