The list author says: "THE 25 BEST OPERAS and BEST OPERAS FOR BEGINNERS TO OPERA: Here are 25 of the best operas ranked in order of opera greatness. Beginners to opera may want to start with one of the top dozen best operas or any of the best operas with comedy and romance. Take a young person or family to the masterpiece comic opera Magic Flute by Mozart, which is the best opera masterpiece for older kids and families, although Magic Flute is an adult opera and terrific entertainment for adults. Opera greats Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Wagner dominated their eras with the greatest operas. Rossini, Bizet, Donizetti and others created some of the best operas. The three operas by Mozart and Da Ponte are masterpieces not to be missed. Attend performances and decide what you think are the greatest operas. Hansel and Gretel is the best children's opera written for kids. These (revised) rankings of the 25 best operas are based on acclaim by experts, opera popularity, and this author's taste. Unlike other art forms, the human voice can have a powerful emotional expressiveness through opera singing -- especially when paired with terrific acting. Great opera musical scores can powerfully convey moods, themes, emotions and characters when integrated with the story. Add to that intriguing theatrics (sometimes lavish or clever). Anyone even remotely interested in opera should try one of the top ten operas or the best operas with some comedy. Exploring the greatest operas can be a lifetime hobby. Of course, taste is subjective and evolves. Some operas will appeal even more to classical music enthusiasts, while others are more theatrical. Opera enthusiasts often like new or challenging works. See the best operas and decide what you think are the best operas. Create your own top 25 or top 10 best operas list and revise it as you experience it. (I have adjusted the rankings several times since fall of 2010 as my opinions evolve and always after seeing one as I think about it further)."
"1. Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. A musical masterpiece, with comedy, by arguably the greatest opera music composer. The overture is very famous. Mozart blends masterpiece classical music with full vocal expressiveness and excellent theater."
"2. La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. This may be the favorite opera in the world. By a great master of opera. This approachable storyline was later used for the Broadway musical Rent. Includes the famous Musetta’s Waltz aria."
"3. Carmen by Georges Bizet. Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy. A sexy contender for most popular opera and a good first opera. Bizet was essentially a one-hit wonder in the world of opera -- but what a hit it was!"
"4. Don Giovanni (Don Juan) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Amazing music that reaches the ultimate level of story expressiveness! A masterpiece, with some comedy, by arguably the greatest opera music composer. Mozart has extra appeal for classical music enthusiasts. Mozart blends masterpiece classical music with full vocal expressiveness and good theater."
"5. Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. A violent, naughty and somewhat scandalous story that fits modern audiences. By a great master of opera. "Vissi d'arte," "Mia gelosa," "E lucevan le stelle," "Te Deum," "Ha piu forte sapore" and Recondita Armonia" are standout pieces."
"6. Aida by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. A spectacular opera on a grand scale, including the March aria, by perhaps the greatest master of opera. See an expensive, premium opera house production of this if you can."
"7. Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. A great first opera. By perhaps the greatest master of opera. One of the more famous roles in opera is the troubled hunchback jester Rigoletto. Has famous arias."
"8. Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Emanual Schikaneder. The story is ridiculous, but the humor is entertaining, themes of brotherly love are noble, Queen of the Night aria is astonishing (MUST SEE!), and music by Mozart is terrific. This is a great opera for younger people and families, although written for adults and great for adults."
"9. Cosi fan Tutte (Girls Are Like That) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Amazing music! A masterpiece but needs YOUNG singers and great acting, especially YOUNG females. Cosi fan Tutte was once misinterpreted. Da Ponte poked fun at men in other operas; now young women -- with thoughtful ending. Mozart has extra appeal for classical music enthusiasts."
"14. Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) by Gioacchino Rossini. Libretto by Cesare Sterbini. A comic opera masterpiece. Includes the famous and very difficult baritone aria Largo al Factotum and the difficult soprano aria Una Voce poco Fa."
"15. Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito. A fine opera with comedy. Written when Verdi was in his 80th year and his last, Verdi was influenced by Wagner and the music is somewhat Mozart-like in its integration with the story."
"16. Lucia Di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti. Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano. The story is underwhelming, but with a great virtuoso soprano, the difficult bel canto singing in a showstopper, including the mad scene and note reaches way up to high F."
"22. Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) by Richard Wagner. This masterpiece opera with comedy is marred by Wagner's association with antisemitism. Wagner's dramatic expressiveness in music, including leitmotifs, advanced Western music and shaped music today."
"24. Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde) by Richard Wagner. Dramatic and controversial story of forbidden and eternal love for advanced opera enthusiasts. The chromaticism pushed the boundaries of music and changed the course of Western art. The difficult singing requires herculean endurance, and the production scale is enormous. This is considered by some to be #1, and torture to others."
"25. Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), actually a series of long operas, by Richard Wagner. Legendary themes. Die Walkure (The Valkyrie) is the most popular of the ring operas and includes the famous Ride of the Valkyries."
"Honorable Mention: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) by Mozart. Libretto by Johann Gottlieb Stephanie der Jüngere. This entertaining comic Singspiel (with talking and singing) is not as great as Mozart's four great operas but includes a rare great singing role for a bass, including the aria Ha, Wie Will Ich Triumphieren to low D. Great music."
"Honorable Mention: Idomeneo by Mozart. Libretto by Giambattista Varesco. With this opera seria (classical melodrama), Mozart shattered the confines of the form with amazing Mozart opera music and expresiveness."
"Honorable Mention: Faust by Gounod. Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. Mephistopheles is a legendary character. This opera drama elicits mixed reviews and falls in and out of popularity. Not a good first opera."
"This is a great picture book introduction to opera and the benchmark reference guide at a general level, with terrific pictures. It includes basic summaries of the best operas. This book pairs well with the book Ticket to the Opera."
"This is a terrific reference book on opera and the greatest operas. It pairs well with the Eyewitness Companions picture book. The author's rankings are very interesting (although Mozart is ranked way too low and beginners should be wary of the high Wagner ratings and others dramas)."
"MUST HAVE! This is THE BEST opera CD for kids and simply a great CD for kids. Buy it now and give it to a child you know for a gift. Must have! The Magic Flute by Mozart was written for adults but is great for kids."