A bunch of not so well known operas (151-200)
151 Hamlet (Thomas)
To sing or not to sing?
152 Tamerlano (Handel)
Tamerlano and Bajazet were pretty cool medieval rulers and the 18th century was aware of it, seeing as how they were well represented in opera. But is this good? Yes.
153 Mitridate Re di Ponto (Mozart)
Mitridate was another cool ruler from Caesar’s time. He did quite well resisting and generally fucking with Rome. Unfortunately, Rome was just getting into its own, and he was ultimately (after about 30-35 years) crushed. His son Farnace, who’s the villain in this opera, was also an interesting character, and fought the Romans best he could until he, too, was crushed (by his son-in-law, of all people, but that’s how they rolled back then – hey, he himself offed his dad so he couldn’t really complain).
But beyond my interest in Ancient history, this opera, which Wolfie wrote when he was 14, has some kick-arse arias. True, it’s formulaic as hell and the soprano who created Aspasia too much of a diva for the good of the opera (why the hell should we hear so much from her and that fop Sifare (who, btw, was an illegitimate son of Mitridate and never got to rule anywhere)?) but Mitridate and Farnace get some of the best numbers, so not all is lost.
154 La Favorita (Donizetti)
If Don Carlo was a monk and loved Eboli instead of Elisabetta you’d get La Favorita. Much cooler premise and the music is rather good.
155 Agrippina (Handel)
Too bad Handel was too young when he wrote this one, the plot is hysterical but the tunes not as good as usual. We do get Come nube and that’s worth putting up with a bit of snoozing.
156 Don Quichotte (Massenet)
That chap again! I bet a rabid fan voted under different names.
157 Kat’a Kabanova (Janacek)
First name, last name with a Slavic twist.
158 Saint François d’Assise (Messiaen)
Jesus Christ on a pogo stick.
159 Rienzi (Wagner)
You know, Wagner.
160 Daphne (Strauss)
When in doubt, include a Strauss opera.
161 Cardillac (Hindemith)
Never knew this chap wrote operas.
162 Die Dreigroschenoper (Weill)
Ain’t bad in that cabaret sort of way.
163 Mazeppa (Tchaikovsky)
164 Francesca da Rimini (Zandonai)
Heard this one by mistake and the music was pretty damn good.
165 Nixon in China (Adams)
Kinda funny premise for an opera, but after Serse can you complain? The music is all right.
166 A Life for the Tsar (Glinka)
As I was saying 100 positions above, Italianate noodle. Sounds like Glinka went to see a lot of Bellini and such whilst he was hanging out or studying in Italy. Then again, they didn’t have Russian opera as such before him so maybe I shouldn’t go too hard on him. It was pleasant enough if not compelling in any way.
167 Atys (Lully)
Hm, can’t say I found it too enjoyable.
168 Martha (Flotow)
It’s first name now. Never heard of it.
169 Ercole sul Termodonte (Vivaldi)
No Griselda or Bajazet, I guess.
170 Rodelinda (Handel)
I don’t praticularly care about motherhood plots and maybe Fleming doesn’t do justice to Handel either. Briefly put, I sat through it and was happy when it ended.