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Recommended Recordings and Videos

There are thousands of opera available on CD and DVD. Here are some of our favorites.


Every great opera has been performed thousands of times and many of them have been recorded hundreds of times. Half the fun, of course, is comparing different recordings of the same opera; but we feel safe in recommending the following recordings as definitive: pretty much everybody loves them!

  • Beethoven: Fidelio (Klemperer)
  • Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Böhm)
  • Verdi: Falstaff (Toscanini)
  • Puccini: La bohème (Beecham)
  • Puccini: Tosca (De Sabata)
  • Puccini: Madama Butterfly (Barbirolli)
  • Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (Maazel)
  • Britten: Peter Grimes (Britten)

Also, some special Seattle Opera CDs

Exploring the Ring
with Perry Lorenzo (Available on the Seattle Opera site)
Magic Fire, Broken Vows, and Passionate Love: Speight Jenkins' Guide to Wagner's Ring
(Available on the Seattle Opera site)


In addition to the hundreds of live opera performances now available on DVD, you might like to check out these made-for-film operas:

Bizet's Carmen
directed by Francesco Rosi
This story of a sexy gypsy with a death wish and a way with men fairly sizzles on screen.
Mozart's Don Giovanni
directed by Joseph Losey
A lavish film version of the opera about the world's greatest seducer.
Mozart's Magic Flute
directed by Ingmar Bergman
A charming fairy-tale-like story set to immortal music and brought to life on screen by a great director.
Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann
Directed by Powell and Pressburger
An enchanting, disturbing, unforgettable film fantasy on a brilliantly dreamlike opera.
Puccini's Tosca
directed by Andrea Andermann
Puccini's blood-curdling melodrama, filmed in historical locations specified in the text, makes this a fascinating one-of-a-kind movie.
Verdi's Rigoletto
directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
An imaginative and gripping version of one of opera's most sublime tragedies.
Verdi's Traviata
directed by Franco Zeffirelli
A sumptuous film treatment of the beloved story of the Parisian party girl who dies of tuberculosis.

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Photo Credit

Eugene Onegin, 2002 © Rozarii Lynch