Frida Leider

The Collector's Guide to Opera Recordings & Videos

List of Reviews of 85 Operas (By Title) or (By Composer)


Opera on the Internet (Angelfire)
Opera on the Internet (Geocities)
The Guide to Where and When to Listen to Opera on the Internet (Go to either of these sites)

Links to Other Opera Sites

Sign Guestbook

View Guestbook

The Collector's Guide to Books on Opera

Frida Leider


This guide is meant to help both those new to opera and those immersed in it who may find thumbnail retrospectives useful. (When no decent Video recommendation is possible, none are listed, so someone viewing an unfamiliar opera won't be turned off for good through a sub-standard purchase.)

All operas covered are sometimes performed; I try to avoid too much esoterica.

A work never absent from the international stage since its world premiere is marked "Standard Repertory." Here, I sometimes recommend more than the usual two or three AUDIO sets. Still, due attention is paid to the supremacy of certain sets that may never be surpassed as a whole, despite the high caliber of individual interpretations -- in certain roles -- cited here in addition. For instance, on the one hand, one must acknowledge the strict standards of some Walter Legge recordings for EMI/ANGEL; it's hard to imagine a finer Fidelio as a whole than the Ludwig/Vickers/Klemperer set (the finest complete opera recording ever?), a finer Rigoletto than the Gobbi/Callas/Serafin or a finer Tosca than the Callas/Di Stefano/De Sabata. (Such recordings only enhance the elusive lure of perfection in the opera world.) On the other hand, in works of this stature, one must not neglect other benchmarks like Furtwängler's superb conducting in Fidelio, Stracciari's superb Rigoletto or the galvanizing duo of Nilsson and Corelli in the last act of Tosca. In giving my preferred recordings, all recommendations within each division (video first, audio second) are listed here in order of personal preference.

Other works here have only recently grown in stature and acceptance; here, a personal crystal ball has dictated certain choices.

Some exceptional videos have come from Japan with Japanese subtitles only; since this site is primarily, though not exclusively, aimed at an English-speaking audience, I have been sparing in listing such items. Only where a performance fills a clear void do I list it with an appropriate warning. Interested viewers are advised to obtain a libretto with full translation into the vernacular.

A few outside sources are occasionally used. I'll give certain specifics, say, from the German Language Video Center catalog (duly acknowledged), or whatever. But virtually all critical evaluations are firsthand from personal research and are marked "[G.R.]"


--G. Riggs.      

Send comments, questions, and suggestions to:
This Page Last Revised 1/17/2003
copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Geoffrey Riggs
All rights reserved