I thought it might be interesting or amusing to compare the number of video recordings I’ve reviewed of various works with their Operabase popularity ranking (based on number of performances worldwide in the 2015/16 season). I’ve reviewed a total of 467 DVDs and Blu-rays and 15 works have been reviewed five times or more. That list includes five of Operabase’s top 10.
In order of number of reviews it goes (Operabase rank in brackets):
- Mozart’s Don Giovanni – 12 reviews (9th)
- Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte – 9 reviews (2nd)
then each with seven reviews:
- Bizet’s Carmen (3rd)
- Britten’s Peter Grimes (83rd)
- Mozart’s Così fan tutte (15th)
- Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (8th)
- Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (50th)
then with six reviews:
- Berg’s Wozzeck (104th)
- Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (115th)
- Strauss’ Elektra (64th)
and with five reviews:
- Beethoven’s Fidelio (37th)
- Dvorák’s Rusalka (34th)
- Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (91st)
- Verdi’s La Traviata (1st)
- Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (44th)
The five opera’s that make Operabase’s top ten but not my top fifteen are:
- No.4 Puccini’s La Bohème – 4 reviews
- No.5 Puccini’s Tosca – 3 reviews
- No.6 Puccini’s Madama Butterfly – 1 review
- No.7 Rossini’s Il barbieri di Siviglia – 4 reviews
- No. 10 Verdi’s Rigoletto – 1 review
So what, if anything do I conclude from this? I find the Mozart/daPonte operas endlessly fascinating, especially Don Giovanni, and so do directors who produce some of their most adventurous work with these pieces. When they get it right it’s fascinating and when they don’t Oh well!
I get to see the most popular Puccini works live often enough (too often in the case of Butterfly) and it’s quite hard to find interesting looking disks of them. Seen one well cast Met or Covent Garden Tosca, seen them all basically.
I have an obsession with Peter Grimes. I think it comes from having half frozen to death on east coast beaches too often.
The Strauss operas, Wozzeck, Poppea and Dido and Aeneas are scandalously under programmed. I’m actually surprised at Poppea‘s low ranking. Surely it has everything the main stream opera audience loves; sex, violence, tunes, exotic setting and a language they don’t understand? Bit of a mystery really.