Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fantasy Opera: finale

All good things must come to an end. Or, as Erda has it, 'Alles was ist, endet.' It has been tremendous fun to put together these seasons, and I could happily have gone on for longer, but the way in which this eighth selection concluded suggested more than a mere end of season. What strikes me is how many great works, some of which I love very dearly, have yet to be programmed, especially when it comes to Mozart and Wagner, but from many others too, from Purcell to Birtwistle, from Gluck to Goehr. As I noted at the beginning, I have also ignored entirely newly commissioned works. Perhaps that would be an idea for a subsequent series. Here, at any rate, is my final selection of sixteen productions:

Cavalieri, Rappresentazione di anima et di corpo
Lachenmann, Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern
Rameau, Platée
Berg, Lulu
Berio, Un re in ascolto
Gluck, Alceste
Strauss, Die Frau ohne Schatten
Mozart, Der Schauspieldirektor, Purcell, The Indian Queen, and Mozart, Zaide
Berlioz, Béatrice et Bénédict
Haydn, La fedeltà premiata
Korngold, Die tote Stadt
Handel, Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Henze, The Bassarids
Monteverdi, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Il ballo delle ingrate, and Stravinsky, Œdipus Rex
Wagner, Parsifal
Cage, Europeras I and II


Raining Acorns said...

I enjoyed this series very much. I've been following with interest and am curious, now that you've finished, what led you not to include Shostakovich.

Mark Berry said...

Thank you! It wasn't a definite policy: I'd have been happy to include 'The Nose', for instance, but it just didn't happen. Many of my favourite works escaped inclusion, not least Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Tristan, Meistersinger, Ariadne auf Naxos, etc. That said, I suppose it is not entirely without reason, in that I cannot claim to be a great devotee of Shostakovich - which puts me outside the general view, I realise. When it comes to the symphonies, with odd exceptions (the first and the last, at least), I tend to find them valued in a way I simply cannot understand, except as pieces of autobiography. I think I have always found Prokofiev much more interesting. Still, Shostakovich will survive without me, I am sure...

Raining Acorns said...

So interesting what you say about Shostakovich. I tried listening to his music several times over the years, without success, except one piece. Then I read William Vollman's Europe Central and became a voracious devotee for a while. I think your comment may partly be proven by my case, as my entry point to him was, indeed, his personal story. (Though I do love, particularly, his preludes & fugues for piano.)

Thank you again for the fantasy opera series, which I've bookmarked for ongoing reference!