General Question

rowenaz's avatar

Could you suggest some Operas with beautiful soprano singing?

Asked by rowenaz (2431points) July 20th, 2010

I don’t know anything about opera, and the only one I have ever seen is the Merry Widow, but now my 10 year old daughter is interested and is singing in four languages, and I want to encourage this, but don’t know a thing. Thank you for your help.

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17 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

Madama Butterfly
Anything by Puccini or Verdi

gailcalled's avatar

La Boheme
The Marriage of Figaro
The Magic Flute
Lucia di Lammermoor

dpworkin's avatar

Bellini – Norma

OpryLeigh's avatar

Carmen was my introduction to Opera and I have loved it ever since. I agree with @Austinlad, anything by Puccini is a good start.

DominicX's avatar

The Merry Widow is excellent. :) The Land of Smiles, also by Lehar, is great as well and has plenty of soprano singing. I also agree with people’s suggestions about Puccini. Puccini wrote some of the greatest operas known and there is always plenty of beautiful soprano singing in them: La Boheme, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Madama Butterfly. Bellini is excellent for soprano as well, but Bellini’s operas are said to be some of the hardest to sing: I Puritani, Norma.

For French opera, I have to recommend Carmen by Bizet and The Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach.

skfinkel's avatar

Lucia di Lammermoor has beautiful soprano arias.

zenvelo's avatar

La Rondine is beautiful.

Jeruba's avatar

All the suggestions above are great. But for a 10-year-old I would also propose operetta. Gilbert & Sullivan (G&S) wrote light operas in the operatic tradition (parodying the conventions of opera), with plenty of beautiful singing for sopranos and other voices. Their “big three”—H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado—are great places to start. Mabel’s aria “Poor Wandering One” in Pirates is a pretty good workout for a soprano.

G&S operas go down pretty easily, being in English, with dialogue in between musical numbers, plentiful humor, rousing choruses, hummable tunes, and (mostly) happy endings.

downtide's avatar

The only opera I really love is Madame Butterfly.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Mabel is, however, such a milksop. Is there a more boring character in G&S’s work?

Jeruba's avatar

Strephon is pretty much of an idiot.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Was he the one called a “lout”? I have been waiting for an occasion to use that word.

Die Flederrmaus ( by Johann Strauss) is lively and fun.

Cosi fan Tutti (WA Mozart) has gorgeous soprano solos and ensemble singing.

Jeruba's avatar

@gailcalled, O thou fortunate who have so few occasions to use the word “lout” that thou must look for them. I was proud of my teenage son the day he called one of his hanging-out buddies a lout.

Poor Strephon, son of Iolanthe, isn’t a lout. He’s just a sappy milquetoast. (I do believe he is admittedly a trifle stout, and that rhymes with lout, although not with pool.)

Fledermaus is another great choice, as is Cosi.

Jeruba's avatar

Postscript, @gailcalled: by my wig, you are correct—the Peers called him a lout:
“Young Strephon is the kind of lout
We do not care a fig about!
We cannot say
What evils may
Result in consequence”

Anyway, there are great parts for sopranos in all the G&S operas.

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: I just had a sudden flashback. My daughter, when she was in ninth grade in 1980, sang a squeaky Mabel. Alison looked lovely and photographed beautifully, but had troubles with the high notes (and most of the other ones).

For a parent, there is nothing to compare to the jr. high musicals and D squad field hockey games. We always had a full house due to sisters and cousins and aunts, but very few wards in chancellery.

Jeruba's avatar

No doubt you reckoned them by dozens.

@rowenaz, in my opinion you still can’t top the G&S recordings made by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, the original company founded in the 1870s to perform the operas in London and on tour. Regrettably the company has folded (more than once), but their recordings are still available. Here, try this one. You can listen to samples online. The soprano in this instance is Valerie Masterson, and here’s a tiny snippet of “Poor Wand’ring One.”

Most, if not all, of the operas suggested in posts above also have samples online.

rowenaz's avatar

Here she is singing at an informal concert last night. Thank you all for your suggestions!

gotta check if this will work.

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