Good morning, opera lovers. This grand old holiday season is fast upon and this time of year is a happy, festive time no matter what you celebrate. Now while this time of year has a much deeper meaning, one of the defining factors of December is the giving and receiving of gifts. And while it may feel good to receive it feels even better to give. Great, now I sound like a kindergarten teacher. With that being said, though, getting gifts is fun.
Now, as an opera lover, this season is particularly advantageous. All of those treasured classical music albums like the Three Tenors Christmas, and Christmas with the Angels, work themselves back into CD players across the nation. Christmas carol mix CD’s are burned and you’re never far from some good cheer. Music stores have sales and everything is hunky dory.
Now, many an opera lover has constructed their list for this holiday season, myself included. On these lists, go CD’s, DVDs, tickets, books, tickets, trinkets, tickets. Did I mention tickets yet? Now one of the nice parts about this season, is sharing with others. As a community of opera lovers, we can bounce ideas off each other. Maybe you’re wishing for a CD, that I’ve never heard of, I hear about it from you, or another wisher, and I think, “That sounds interesting”. Or if I’m wishing for a DVD that you’ve never heard of but think you’d enjoy, you can add it to your wishlist.
So, here’s what I want for Christmas, that’s opera related:
Angela Gheorghiu’s Homage to Maria Callas. Let me Explain. Angela Gheorghiu’s newest release, a compact disk love letter to herself, and Maria Callas, in that order. This CD is the one that contains that awkward Habanera duet with Maria Callas. The one where Callas’ voice was isolated and an orchestra played the Habanera. The two divas alternated vocal lines creating for an… effect. While it was interesting to see technology applied to opera this way, this felt a little uncomfortable. I want this CD to hear Angela sing some classic as well as some more “eclectic” opera arias.
The Das Ring Desk Set from the Met
Who wouldn’t want this? I was quite enchanted (no pun intended) by it 🙂
Anna Bolena DVD with Netrebko and Garanca
Personally, when this season started, I had heard of Anna Bolena before, but I really discovered this opera while listening on opening night. I fell in love with this opera. It is melodic and quite dramatic simultaneously. It felt like a good balance. This production stars Anna Netrebko, but in Saltzburg (Right?) this time. She is also singing with Garanca, another beautifully gifted artist. I can’t wait for this DVD.
William Berger’s Wagner Without Fear book
I need help. My new year’s resolution is to learn to love Wagner, or at least listen to him. I intend to keep this resolution with the help of this self help book. Thank you Mr. Berger 🙂
Carmen with Julia Migenes and Placido Domingo
Yes, opera lovers, it has returned. Francesco Rossi’s Carmen has been re-released on DVD, and aren’t we lucky. Considered by some to be the greatest movie adaption of an opera ever made, Rossi’s 1984 Carmen, filmed in Seville, is held dear to many an opera lover. This production was briefly released on DVD a few years back, but production stopped and a new Carmen DVD was going on Amazon for $150.99. I speak for many people when I say that I’m thrilled to have this cinematic masterwork back on DVD, and whether it will be your first time seeing it (Like me), or your fiteenth, it will be a performance to savor.
Manon CD with Beverly Sills
If I don’t get tickets to Manon for Christmas, I will buy them myself. I am DESPERATE to see this production. I figured, let’s start the chain by hoping for a CD of the performance, that comes with a libretto. That may be my first experience with the opera (Besides listening to the Gavotte about 100 times), and I’m interested to learn more about Massanet’s most famous piece.
There are a few more things on my list such as Joan Sutherland’s Complete DECCA studio recordings which weigh in at a whopping $80.00. Truthfully, I would be happy with almost anything opera related this year, whether one thing or ten. Christmas is about spending time with family and friends and comparing notes about the, some opera, then what is to come the following year. I know that other people feel the same way, but with a family like mine and the love we share, with or without opera, it’s always a perfect Christmas.
Happy Holidays, opera fans! And a harmonious and melodious New Year!