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Tuesday, June 29, 2010



What! No opera? Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Marriage of Figaro". "Magic Flute" later. In spite of any possible negative comments try Beethoven's "Fidelio", preferably with a German soprano in the title role.

Carl E. Olson

I've tried and tried (and tried) to enjoy opera, but have had no success so far. There's something about it that leaves me completely cold. Help?

Christopher Lake

Carl, I listened to classical music almost exclusively for a couple of years in college. Sadly, I think that in the years since that time (more than a decade), I have allowed the internet to damage my attention span—leading me back, largely, to shorter forms of music. I do love rock music, in its many different forms/styles (not indiscriminately or without discernment though). However, your list of classical and jazz here is inspiring, and I think that I will use it as a springboard to dive back into the those great waters! Thanks so much!

(I've been meaning to write you again with an update on my formal re-entry into the Church. There have been some logistical difficulties, but they can be overcome. I'll send you an update tonight or tomorrow.)

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

Carl, about opera...
Rumpole of the Bailey's famous british series, based on John Mortimer's books is worth being quoted thus:

"Someone said Wagner is not as bad as it sounds"

seriously, Opera is and always will be an acquired taste.


A recording of the Beethoven violin concerto I would recommend is Yehudi Menuhin's, with Wilhelm Furtwangler conducting. And I would recommend Ted Libbey's helpful book "The NPR Guide to Building a Classical Music Library".

David K. Monroe

Early Music You Must Hear NOW!

Sequentia: Symphoniae - Spiritual Songs
One of the earliest and greatest presentations of the music of Hildegard von Bingen.

Sequentia: Philippe le Chancelier - School of Notre Dame
All of Sequentia's recordings are exceptional, this is their greatest non-Hildegard recording in my opinion.

Sarbande: Llibre Vermell
The Red Book of Montserrat is a legendary collection of Spanish folk songs in honor of the Virgin. There are many recordings, this one will transport you.

David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London - Music of The Gothic Era
No early music collection is complete without the father of the genre, the brilliant David Munrow. This is the last record he produced before his untimely death. This is one of the most captivating recordings of polyphony I have ever heard.

Matthew K

For a total neophyte, it might be interesting to create a Pandora channel based on the above recommendations and see what rotates in. This applies to any genre, really.


If you can't get to the Met in NYC during the opera season find a comfortable chair at home (alone), read through the libretto with English translation to get an idea of the the "plot", put on the 33 LP (oops, CD), and crank 'er up. You are sure to come across an aria or quartet that attracts you. Second and third time around you realize you had missed that divine duet. Er, don't look at the pictures of the singers.

Brian J. Schuettler

Try Mozart's piano

Beethoven's 7th

Mahler's anything

Opera almost has a female gene requirement ( opinion!)

Brian J. Schuettler

I left out ....tchaikovsky's symphonies and ballet (music)...superb

in fairness to opera, there are some stunningly beautiful arias that can be purchased together on CD or downloaded

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