BBC Music Magazine - - CONTENTS - Oliver Condy Edi­tor

Opera is the art form to unite all art forms, cre­ated out of drama, mu­sic, po­etry, lit­er­a­ture and art… In its rel­a­tively short 400-year his­tory, opera has come to dom­i­nate clas­si­cal mu­sic in its am­bi­tion, scope and ex­pense – the grand­est of op­eras will em­ploy thou­sands. It cre­ates he­roes out of its artists, at­tracts un­wel­come – and of­ten un­fair – ac­cu­sa­tions of elitism, and is the ul­ti­mate sym­bol of a pro­gres­sive so­ci­ety, ev­i­denced by the num­ber of brand new opera houses spring­ing up from China to Oman. But opera is also in­tensely in­ti­mate, in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of a 2,000-strong au­di­ence un­der­go­ing a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, the com­poser com­mu­ni­cat­ing di­rectly and uniquely with each of us. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to com­pare the power of an oper­atic per­for­mance with a re­li­gious cer­e­mony. After all, the ori­gins of opera lie in re­li­gious fes­ti­vals in An­cient Greece.

But which are the great­est oper­atic mas­ter­pieces of them all? We wanted to ask the peo­ple at the heart of this most mag­nif­i­cent of mu­si­cal gen­res – opera singers them­selves. Over 170 voted in our poll, with some fas­ci­nat­ing re­sults. And whether or not you agree with our Top 20, we’d love to hear from you, so do email us at mu­sic@clas­si­cal-mu­sic. com and share your de­light and/or frus­tra­tions!

Lastly, do look out in fu­ture is­sues (and on p14) for de­tails of small changes to the Ra­dio 3 schedules, in­clud­ing an ex­cit­ing monthly pro­gramme on the pipe or­gan. As an or­gan­ist my­self, I’m rather de­lighted.

In its short 400-year his­tory, opera has come to dom­i­nate clas­si­cal mu­sic

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