Now that we have a good handful of people in the group (yay! happy dance), I found it a good time to finally start a discussion. I'll start by saying that my two most favorite operas is Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro, or The Day of Madness) and Carmen.
The Marriage of Figaro is one of my favs because it is so funny and cleverly written. The music is so busy yet structured in such a way never possible at its day (such as the brilliant madness of Mozart). I love Mozart!!!!!! Da Ponte's libretto was amazing in keeping a lighthearted story without the political messages that caused the play it was based on to be banned (good piece of history to look up on, that). The finale of act two is just breath taking I could not keep my eyes off the scene ^_^ Miah Persson is my fav Susanna, she knows how to sing Mozart and I just love Erwin Schrott's voice as Figaro.
Being a mezzo-sop (and contralto) I loved that Carmen had one as a lead roll (which rarely happens). There is something about French language being sung that just flows and when you add the sultry Spanish music by Bizet, you have perfection. Beside how can you resist the Overture, Habanera or the I saw this opera live at a movie theater (Live @ the Met) which had Elina Garanča as the feisty gypsy (she looks amazing as a brunet btw), I like her the best as well. The songs are catchy, the plot is solid, the ending-not so comique (as most operas aren't) but still good to watch and hum to ~_^
So that is my start let me know what you think and what operas you really love (I would love to know)
My favorite opera is Verdi's Don Carlo. The music is beautiful, especially the two arias for Rodrigo in the fourth act (Per me giunto and O Carlo, Ascolta. especially with Peter Mattei sings them.), the scene between King Phillip and the Grand Inquisitor, and, of course, the aria for Princess Eboli, "O don fatale" (especially with Sonia Ganassi)
I also LOVE Peter Grimes by Benjamen Britten. THe music is exquisite and I love how Britten paints a picture of a character that every single one of us can identify with (peter). We all know what it is to be an outsider, and we all have expirienced it at one point. It makes us see the Peter Grimes in all of us.
Also, i love The Pearl Fishers by Bizet. It, of course, is famous for the tenor-baritone duet "Au fond du temple saint" but the rest of the music (such as "Je Crois Entendre Encore", which is AMAZING when Nicolai Gedda or Rollando Villazon singing). I saw a production recently and I wrote a review for it on my blog :D :D :D :D
My favorite opera is without a doubt Les Contes d'Hoffmann, or The Tales of Hoffmann. It is the perfect story to me. I love the emotions portrayed and the relationship between Hoffmann and his muse. Kate Lindsey is the perfect Nicklausse. ^_^
I like Die Fledermaus and La Boheme. :] I think Musetta is so compelling: Her relationship with Marcello makes me chuckle because thier behavior corresponds so well with the typical high-school relationship we all know and love.
Off topic, but this weekend some of my high-school friends and I had the oppurtunity to perform with guest conductor and composer Ola Gjeio... He's on the rise right now and if you haven't heard of him you've got to look his stuff up! He's kind of Whitacre-esque but he puts more focus into his own improvisational skills (he typically improvs piano interludes under his choirs). My favorite pieces by him are Spheres and Dark Night of the Soul!