Sunday, 7 September 2008

Ladies and gentlemen - let us stretch ourselves

After the pleasurable time that was had by all over the film lists, let us extend ourselves and show our true cultural mettle:

Gyppo's Top Twelve Operas - 1

Don Giovanni (Mozart)
It's impossible to impress on anyone who hasn't been compelled to study 18th century opera just what a refreshingly revolutionary piece this is. There is fabulous music all through to be sure; but the real kick is that last scene where the Commendatore's statue arrives. In many ways, this is the true birth of romantic music.

Siegfried (Wagner)
I know Wagner isn't everyone's cup of tea, and that his supposed political views and the fact that Hitler was a fan weigh against out-and-out enjoyment for many, but I still love giving in to a good wallow in the sheer musical magnificence of it. Siegfried, for me, is the ultimate Wagner opera; but then again I'm a tenor. For best scene, it's a three-way tie for me between the forging of Nothung, 'forest murmurs' and the love duet with Brunnhilde at the end (if the orchestral entry at 3'43 in this last bit doesn't send a thrill up your spine, then you either have no soul or the voume isn't set high enough...)

Akhnaten (Philip Glass)
The final - and best, imho - part of the great Glass operatic trilogy (coming after Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha). I never tire of listening to this... I've seen the Philip Glass Ensemble play live, accompanying a screening of Koyanisqaatsi. It was honestly the loudest thing I've ever experienced - the speaker stacks rivalled many heavy metal bands.

1 comment:

Gadjo Dilo said...

Another good initiative, Mr Gyppo, and I for one can really broaden my knowledge here :-) I know I've railed against Wagner before, but I gave him another try here and I do agree that it's magnificent paganism! My father enjoyed this Mozart chappie, but I confess that (unlike Schubert) his music doesn't make me tingle and I don't really know why - I'm sure it's my loss. I saw Akhnaten at London's Coloseum many years ago at it was given the most wonderful staging - it left a big impression on me!