More From 10 Operas You Need To Know From World Of Opera

The scheming Count Almaviva (Erwin Schrott, left) and Basilio the music master (Benjamin Bruns) prop up a swooning Susanna (Slyvia Schwartz), the object of the Count's nefarious affections. Michael Pohn/Wiener Staatsoper hide caption

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First-Time Perfection: Mozart's 'Marriage of Figaro'

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Mozart's premier creative partnership with Lorenzo Da Ponte produced a masterpiece for the ages, and one of the only successful sequels to an existing plot. This comic opera continues where playwrite Beaumarchais' The Barber Of Seville leaves off.

The Marriage Of Figaro

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The tortured relationship between Carmen (mezzo-soprano Beatrice Uria-Monzon) and Don Jose (tenor Roberto Alagna) is at the center of one of opera's biggest blockbusters. A. Bofil/Liceu Theatre Barcelona hide caption

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'Carmen': Bizet's One-Opera Hit Parade

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Georges Bizet is only known for one opera — but he packs more hummable tunes than usual into it. This production features Roberto Alagna as Don Jose.

Carmen

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Carlos Alvarez and Lyubov Petrova in Verdi's Rigoletto Karin Cooper/ hide caption

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Vengeance Reversed: Verdi's 'Rigoletto'

Verdi's tightly wound masterpiece swirls heartfelt sentiment together with appalling violence and genuine tragedy, along with some of the most familiar tunes he ever composed.

Hear An Audio Introduction To The Opera

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Tosca (Catherine Naglestad) with her politically subversive lover, the painter Caravadossi (Roberto Alagna). Photo Grand Angle Orange hide caption

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A Shocker In Real Time: Puccini's 'Tosca'

Execution, extortion, and exploitation. No, it's not an episode of Showtime's Dexter. It's Puccini's operatic thriller Tosca, which takes a surprisingly realistic approach to the passage of dramatic time with scenes of physical and psychological torture.

'Tosca' at Theatre Antique

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Though Pelléas (Yann Beuron) and Mélisande (Marta Márquez) do not explicitly discuss their love for each other until late in the opera, it smolders throughout the first three acts. Hans Joerg Michel hide caption

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Psychological Slow Burn: 'Pelléas and Mélisande'

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Can opera be passionate without shrieking mad scenes and overstuffed choruses? The answer is yes, and Claude Debussy's subtle, dreamy psychological thriller proves it, in a production from German Opera On Rhein.

Hear An Introduction To The Opera

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Claudio Abbado conducts this concert performance of Beethoven's "Fidelio" at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. Peter Fischli/Lucerne Festival hide caption

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Strife and Salvation: Beethoven's 'Fidelio'

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Beethoven's only opera is about a daring woman who dresses as a man, risking all to save her imprisoned husband. Read the story and hear excerpts from this Lucerne Festival production.

Fidelio

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The Vixen (Isabel Bayrakdarian) sows seeds of discontent among the barnyard animals. New Press Photo Firenze/Maggio Musicale Fiorentino hide caption

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Quirk of Nature: Janacek's 'Cunning Little Vixen'

Although populated with barnyard animals, the opera speaks volumes about human nature, though some of Janacek's most touching music.

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Even the few light-hearted moments in Berg's opera are surrounded by darkness. The disturbed Wozzeck (Georg Nigl) has horrific visions of knives and blood, which turn out to be prophetic. Damir Yusupov/Bolshoi Theatre hide caption

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Opera Noir: Alban Berg's 'Wozzeck'

As he struggles with jealousy and poverty in this powerful tragedy, the psychologically disturbed title character endures ridicule from his superiors and undergoes bizarre medical experiments.

Wozzeck at the Bolshoi Theatre

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Eugene Onegin (Dmitry Hvorostovsky) rejects his suitor with hardly a thought, but he comes to regret it by the end of the opera. Axel Zeininger/Wiener Staatsoper hide caption

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Reversal of Fortune: Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin'

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Tchaikovsky felt the story of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin so deeply that it led him to both enter an ill-fated marriage — and write an opera.

Eugene Onegin

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Sophie Koch and Jonas Kaufmann as the star-crossed lovers in Werther. Michael Pöhn/Wiener Staatsoper hide caption

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Ending It All In Massenet's 'Werther'

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Forget Metallica and Megadeth: the lovelorn hero of Jules Massenet's opera 'Werther' romanticizes suicide far more than heavy metal headbangers ever have.

Hear An Introduction To 'Werther'

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