Skip to comments.Verdi or Wagner?
Posted on 01/08/2013 8:19:15 AM PST by Borges
Its apt that Wagner and Verdi were born in the same year. They are romantic operas two great antipodes, united in stature, but divided in almost everything else. They embody two completely different outlooks on life and art, which are rooted in the cultures of their respective nations. Thats why every German city has a Wagnerstrasse, and every Italian one a Corso Giuseppe Verdi.
Though their supporters often did battle, the composers warily avoided each other. Verdi had a grudging respect for Wagner, but he warned younger Italian composers against following the Wagnerian path. Wagner wouldn't even grant Verdi that much distinction, though there were more Italianate traits in him than he liked to admit. Both cast a long shadow over opera during their lives and afterwards, and in Wagners case the shadow extended even further, to politics and the arts in general. Two hundred years later, its easy to think the nationalist passions have cooled. But the recent row over Daniel Barenboims decision to open La Scalas season with Wagner instead of Verdi showed that theyre still there, just waiting to burst out.
And what about the wider world? Does one still have to be a Verdian or a Wagnerian, or have we learned how to love both? I asked some distinguished opera-lovers and practitioners to give their views.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Better French Horn parts!
But where does one find an alpenhorn?
I’m a musical dilettante but Verdi is one of my favorite composers. His requiem is some of the strongest most hair raising music ever created. Though I like Wagner, I read that you have to be German to truly get him.
Wagner. He’s German and liberals hate him. If Adolf liked him he’s gotta be cool.
(just propagating the liberal myth)
Kill the Wabbit !!! Kill the Wabbit !!!
actually I like Verdi’s Requiem..
With my sword and magic helmet!
I just like the music.
Wider array of all styles.
Wagner. A man one biographer called “meaner than Hitler,” but a great composer.
Hard to imagine you casting your vote for Verdi.....
Don't get me wrong...I love the more romantic Verdi and never tire of listening to his magical music.
Opera stars have really been trimming down over the years. It’s nice to see. She looks pretty good - well, for an opera singer.
I’m probably the ony FReeper who has sung the operas of both of these titans on some of the great stages of the world. Comparing the two is a waste of time and fools who insist that either is greater only reveal their ignorance.
The difference between them can be summed up by the great Italian conductor Toscanini who was hearing a performance of Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde’ and, during the lengthy love duet in Act 2, turned to his wife and said “See if they were Italian they would have seven kids by now but they’re German so they keep talking about it...”
I don’t want to drag this otherwise high minded thread into the gutter. So how should I put this?
~~That’s My Kind of Woman!
How does a chorister and tenor weigh in on this?
She’s sweet on Wagner,
I think she’d die for Beethoven.
She loves the way Puccini lays down a tune
and Verdi’s always creepin’ from her room.
- ELO Rockaria
Wagner is only inspirational when I’m cleaning the long guns.
Puccini & Verdi for this gal (have yet to hear anything as hauntingly beautiful as Ave Maria in Otello)
This is a war that doesn't need to be fought.
Each great in his own way.
I prefer Verdi just because when Wagner occasionally gets too full of himself, it is monumentally, painfully ponderous, in a uniquely German sort of way. I have nothing against the Germans, I studied German for 10+ years and lived in Bavaria. But they do have their quirks. Of course so do the Italians, but somehow it isn't as painful - a shout, an explosion, and it's over.
Both. It is essentially a meaningless question.
That’s Great! LOL!
Like ‘em both, but for different reasons.
Italian opera leaves me cold somehow or other. Opera composers I enjoy listening to include Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Bizet, and Offenbach, and you might could add Scott Joplin to the list on the strength of the one opera TreeMonisha.
I just put a CD on that has a mixture
Puccini, La Boheme “Your tiny hand is frozen”
Verdi, Prelude to La Traviata
Wagner, Prelude to Tristan and Isolde
Maple Leaf Rag
Comment: He has light feet.
I say both, depending on my mood.
I like them both .
This number is ..... well, no doubt what Wagner had on his mind when he scored this.
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde - Liebestod
I’m quite fond of both of them, but have only sung Verdi. The tenor lead in the Kyrie gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Also the Salva Me and Hostias.
The man in 119 takes his tea alone.
Mornings we all rise to wireless Verdi cries.
I’m hearing opera through the door.
The souls of men and women, impassioned all.
Their voices climb and fall; battle trumpets call.
I fill the bath and climb inside, singing.
He will not touch their pastry
But every day they bring him more.
Gold from the breakfast tray, I steal them all away
And then go and eat them on the shore.
I draw a jackal-headed woman in the sand,
Sing of a lover’s fate sealed by jealous hate
Then wash my hand in the sea.
With just three days more I’d have just about learned the entire score to Aida.
Holidays must end as you know.
All is memory taken home with me:
The opera, the stolen tea, the sand drawing, the verging sea, all years ago.
— Natalie Merchant
“Italian opera leaves me cold somehow or other.”
I guess my tastes in Opera aren’t as sophisticated as yours.
My musical tastes pretty much breakdown as follows:
Everything else Call it “other”.
I have never sung Verdi but had progressed in my training to the point where my range (I am a bass) had expanded to the point that it was possible to give a good account of Verdi’s music. Had to quit training because of a new job.
Ah...one of these days I will get back to it.
By the way, Black Dog Opera label has great operas with librettos for about $13.00.
You can get them through Amazon. Great stuff.
She has a really pretty face. And great emotion, too.
Was he really a better writer of operas than Verdi? It doesn't matter. Like Mark Twain is supposed to have said, Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
There's a lot to be said for Verdi, but it's hard to go up against the myths that Wagner created -- about himself as much as about the Nibelungen or Tristan and Isolde.
The more I listen to Wagner, the more I appreciate John Cage’s 4’33”.
“But where does one find an alpenhorn?”
Raid a ricola commercial shoot?
Had access to one about a thousand years ago in elementary school!
For PDQ Bach fans, a shower hose will suffice!
Compare Verdi’s Slave Chorus with Wagners Pilgrim Chorus. You decide!
Any discussion of Wagner is going to get to french horns eventually.
I heard the following story many years ago. I have not been able to find it on the internet. It sounds like Wagner, though:
Horn players: Herr Wagner, we can't play the part you have written!
Wagner: I know you can't. What I want is the effect of your trying to play it.
Verdi is not the only one Wagner (and his disciples) tangled with. He had a big feud with Brahms, and even after Wagner’s death, Brahms still battled with Bruckner and his followers, as representatives of Wagner.