My Top 10 Favorite Operas

Every once in awhile I like to put together a post like this one. Most of the time they don’t get a lot of comments because, well, I figure that folks may look at something like this as taking a lot of time, and I know that the particular style of music or movie doesn’t fit everyone.

Opera Singer by Cliff

So why do I do them? Two reasons.

One, because I have lots of interests, and I like to share my thoughts on things every once in awhile.

Two, because I like to consider myself kind of a renaissance guy, and I know a lot of people wouldn’t think that I would be the type of guy to like some of the things I do. I don’t know why not, though; after all, I did do a post showing my 19 favorite classical pieces, my top 10 disco favorites, and my 13 favorite singers, and on the first and third some of what’s below is repeated.

Why opera?

First, I was a music and history major in college, and I grew to enjoy opera a lot while in college, probably because of music history class, where we had to listen to all sorts of songs and be able to give all sorts of information about what we were listening to.

Second, as I listened to a lot of this stuff, I realized just how many of these songs were in the Warner Brothers cartoons I grew up watching and loving.

Third, my dad loved classical music and loved to sing, and every once in awhile he’d be watching opera on TV and I’d sit and listen with him. Whenever I’m on the road, the day I come home always starts with an opera in the early morning, and when it’s done then it’s time for something upbeat. But opera always comes first. 🙂

Did I always know what was going on? Not even close! Sometimes I did, and when I started going to operas, they’d have the lyrics posted above the stage so you can kind of follow along. You see in English what they’re saying in other languages. I’ll tell you the truth, most of the time I love the choruses more than the solo performances, probably because I was in a choir, and my dad loved choir music a lot.

What you see below are my top 10 favorites, in reverse order. I’m not giving the kind of detail I often do with these things, but I will tell a few stories before I start.

For instance, the reason Carmen is at the top of my list is because it’s the first opera I ever saw live.

Porgy & Bess is here because I knew a lot of songs from it before I ever knew it was an opera, and almost all black people at the same time; imagine my surprise at that one.

Lohengrin is on here because I had always planned on having a chorus at my wedding singing the Wedding March, which comes from it, but of course that didn’t happen.

Hansel & Gretel is the first opera I ever remember seeing on TV, and I watched it with my dad.

Most of the rest… well, I love the love stories in operas, even though they don’t usually end well, and most of these are, to a degree, love stories. The Mikado; it just makes me laugh.

Who says I don’t have culture? Anyway, that’s that; enjoy!

10. Tristan & Isolde

9. Otello (Kiri Te Kanawa)

8. Madame Butterfly (movie)

7. Romeo & Juliet

6. HMS Pinafore

5. Hansel & Gretel

4. Lohrengrin (wedding march)

3. Porgy and Bess

(On this one, if you remember the TV show The Jeffersons, the lead singer here was the second Lionel, before they went back to the original for the last year)

2. The Mikado

1. Carmen

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13 thoughts on “My Top 10 Favorite Operas”

  1. Hi Mitch

    It’s interesting learning some things about bloggers we meet. I’m not into but I had a friend who was and when we shared a flat in our student days she would go round the house singing. She seemed to know all the words and as they were in Italian I didn’t have a clue lol
    Handy if you have the translation up so you can follow along.
    I saw HMS Pinafore as a 7th grader as my teacher loved musicals. Really enjoyed that but then it was in English so I got to figure what it was about. Thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Thanks for your comment, Pat. I hope you listened to at least a couple of the examples I put up. And don’t forget to check out the link to the classical pieces as well.

  2. SO I listened to all of them and I was familiar with #8, 6. I saw you have Carmen at number 1 and I never saw that but I did see Carmen Jones which I absolutely love and have the dvd.

    BTW, I found out from ComLuv that my url was banned that’s why the feed was being picked up. Go figure.

    1. How did your url get banned Karen, and how do you fix that? I have Carmen Jones on VHS, which does me little good these days. lol Luckily, I also have it on cassette, and get to listen to it here and there. Glad you enjoyed listening.

    1. I love the overture to the Barber of Seville (smile), but otherwise it’d be in my top 20, but not my top 10. Same goes to Die Fledermaus.

  3. You have a nice passion Mitch, opera is a cultural and relaxing activity not many people are practicing or listening anymore.
    I don’t really know all that much about this subject, other then the obvious things but I like to listen instrumental pieces like Fur Elise, the rhapsodies, and some other with names I don’t recall right now.

    I listened two of the operas you posted more exactly 8. Madame Butterfly (movie) and 5. Hansel & Gretel because the pieces were sang by Romanians 😛

    1. Thanks for your comment, Alex. I love the pieces you mentioned as well; I used to play some of those on the piano myself. I love this stuff.

      1. Arrghhhh!!!! Fur Elise is my Mother’s favourite and I had to play it every norning when I did piano practice to start and finish my session. Then my niece learnt it when she was learning to play piano. I was so over it but Mum still goes all gooey whenever she hears it played. She also has a little laugh as she knows how I feel lol

        Patricia Perth Australia

      2. Pat, my mother still loves Fur Elise as well, and I’m glad she doesn’t have a piano in her home so she can’t try to ask me to play it for her. lol

  4. I also love to hear Opera play. Thanks for sharing some video clips for us to see and hear those cool programs. Opera started in Italy at the end of the 16th century (with Jacopo Peri’s lost Dafne, produced in Florence around 1597) and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Schütz in Germany, Lully in France, and Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century.

  5. I will get out of the frame, I love classic opera, but definitely, my most favorite one is the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” and there is another one which I love again rock opera from Eastern Europe called “Rock Opera ‘Saint Patriarch Evtimii” which is very good.

    1. Carl, I love Jesus Christ Superstar, but I just couldn’t classify it or other music of that type as a true opera.

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