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Subject: Twelve Operatic Masterpieces You May Not Know
From: Roger Brunyate <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Roger Brunyate <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 20 Dec 2017 17:48:07 -0500
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Dear All,

I am preparing a course for adults entitled TWELVE OPERATIC MASTERPIECES YOU MAY 
NOT KNOW. Twelve two-hour sessions, in each of which I will introduce a different work and 
play substantial sections. I have made a provisional list below, but would dearly like advice 
in refining it.

You will see that the "you may not know" part should be taken with a grain of salt. I am just 
avoiding the ubiquitous faves (CARMEN, BOHEME, etc.) and the biggest composers (Mozart, 
Verdi, Wagner, Puccini), though I might entertain Strauss. My audience of about 100 will be 
retirees from many different professions, intelligent, open, engaged, but not necessarily 
with specific knowledge of opera. Each work should indeed be a masterpiece, with an 
assured place in the history of opera. Each should be available on DVD in a strong 
performance with English titles. However, as I have to entertain the eyes of the audience as 
well as their ears, I am going to choose works primarily because of their theatrical qualities, 
rather than for the singers. Here is my first list: 

Monteverdi: ORFEO (Deflo/Savall, Barcelona)
Lully: ATYS (Villégier/Christie, Paris)
Handel: ORLANDO (Herzog/Christie, Zurich) — or other Handel?
Rameau: LES BORÉADES (Carsen/Christie, Paris)
Rossini: LE COMTE ORY (Sher/Benini, Met) — or other less-known Rossini?
Meyerbeer: ROBERT LE DIABLE (Pelly/Oren, London)
--- GAP?! ---
Janacek: JENUFA (Braunschweig/Bolton, Madrid) - or other Janacek?
Debussy: PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE (Mitchell/Salonen, Aix, or Vick/Davis, Glyndebourne) -- 
too well-known?
Schoenberg: MOSES UND ARON (Decker/Boder, Bochum)
Shostakovitch: LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK (Winge/Anissimov, Barcelona)
Britten: DEATH IN VENICE (Warner/Gardner, ENO) — perhaps substitute A Misummer 
Night's Dream?
Adams: DOCTOR ATOMIC (Sellars/Renes, Netherlands) — or other recentish American 
opera?

Other than the specific questions I ask after some of the entries, I see some problems. 
There is not enough comedy. By excluding Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner, I have left a big gap 
in the mid-19th century, especially in the Italian repertoire. If I get some good suggestions, 
I can certainly reduce the number of pre-Mozartian and early 20th-century operas.

All suggestions will be gratefully received, especially if they come with specific DVD 
recommendations.

Thanks! Roger.

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