24 April 2016 at 9.55am | 2 Comments
This weekend, thousands will push the limits of their endurance at the London Marathon. Long distance runners often claim that feats of stamina are transformative events, something that will resonate with opera fans who relish the power of the repertory's lengthier works.
In tribute to both groups' dedication, we've dug out the stopwatch to determine opera's longest works:
Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Licht cycle: 29 hours
The German composer spent 27 years composing the Licht cycle of operas, completing the work in 2003.
Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle: 15 hours
A cycle of four music dramas inspired by Norse mythology, Wagner's masterpiece took 26 years to write. They are often performed on consecutive nights.
Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: 5 hours and 30 minutes
Wagner's only comedy, Meistersinger explores the relationship of art and artists with society. Kasper Holten makes his farewell as Director of The Royal Opera with a new production of Wagner’s comic opera in Spring 2017.
Glass’s non-narrative opera breaks all operatic convention. Taking place over five hours, in its recent staging at the Barbican, audiences were allowed to enter and exit when they pleased during the performance.
Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: 4 hours 55 minutes
Richard Wagner described Tristan und Isolde as ‘the most audacious and original work of my life’.
George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto: 4 hours 45 minutes
Handel wrote many of his works for the first theatre on the Royal Opera House’s Covent Garden site.
Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser: 4 hours 30 minutes
One of Richard Strauss' best-known works, Der Rosenkavalier is at first glimpse a comic opera, but look closer and deeper themes emerge. The Royal Opera's new production starring Renée Fleming has its premiere in Winter 2017.
Based on the 1787 dramatic poem by Friedrich Schiller, Verdi’s Don Carlo dangerously intertwines politics and religion and love in 16th century Spain. Nicholas Hytner’s acclaimed Royal Opera production returns to the Covent Garden in Spring 2017.