The Ultimate Art Form

Marriage of Figaro - Opera Atelier

Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: Phillip Addis, Wallis Giunta, Carla Huhtanen, Patrick Jang, Peggy Kriha Dye, Curtis Sullivan and Cavell Wood

Fostering a love of classical music in young people is so important for its survival. We here at REFINERSFIRE are very dedicated to that mission. If you are interested in sharing with others what makes opera “the ultimate art form” check out this great list of operas for beginners.

1. The Magic Flute – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
With romance, intrigue, an evil queen, and an enchanted instrument, Mozart’s The Magic Flute has all of the elements of a stupendous masterpiece and features one of the most famous arias of all time. If you can get past the outrageous and convoluted plot line, you will be greatly rewarded by the beautiful score that has made The Magic Flute a most beloved work.

“Queen of the Night Aria”

If you are in Pittsburg you can go see it live

2. Tosca – Giacomo Puccini
The tragic tale of torture, murder, love, loss, and suicide set against the beautiful backdrop of Italy, Tosca offers something for everyone to enjoy.

If you are in New York, go see it at the Met.

Here’s a live recording of the great Spanish tenor Placido Domingo singing

3. Tales of Hoffmann – Jacques Offenbach
A silly fairy tale with a wind up doll and barcarolle that every musician knows, Tales of Hoffmann is a must see for any opera lover (and it’s great for children).

“Belle Nuite Barcarolle”

Resources about the opera from the San Francisco Opera

4. Hansel and Gretel – Engelbert Humperdinck
Although the themes of Hansel and Gretel are a bit dark, children familiar with the fairy tale will find this to be an excellent introduction to opera.

Here is a great interactive website for kids

From the MET production

5. La Boheme – Giacomo Puccini
Perhaps the most romantic opera of all, the story of La Boheme has been updated and retold on film and Broadway, but nothing can replace the sweeping drama of Puccini’s beautiful score.

An educator’s guide from the Metropolitan Opera

A great movie version starring Anna Netrebko

Once you’ve made your way through our top 5. Check out these honorable mentions:

6. Carmen – Georges Bizet
Complete Opera- Vienna Opera

7. Das Rheingold – Richard Wagner
Met Opera

8. La Traviata – Giuseppe Verdi
Vienna Philharmonic

9. The Marriage of Figaro – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
From Salzburg Music Festival

10. Barber of Seville – Gioachino Rossini
Figaro’s Aria

New York City Opera

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