The Met is woefully lacking in this area. I like:
|L’Incoronazione di Poppea||Monteverdi||2008 with Danielle de Niese|
|Dido and Aeneas||Purcell||Dido and Aeneas with Sarah Connolly|
|Giulio Cesare||Handel||Cecilia's Salzburg version|
|Orlando Furioso||Vivaldi||Marie-Nicole Lemieux|
|Artaserse||Vinci||Artaserse with 5 Countertenors|
|Partenope||Handel||YouTube from San Francisco|
|Theodora||Handel||Theodora from Glyndebourne|
I will need to do additional research to find the best version of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, a very significant opera. But the Danielle de Niese L’Incoronazione di Poppea is a fine Monteverdi example.
Two star Cecilia Bartoli, one from Zurich, Semele, and one from Salzburg, Giulio Cesare. Operas chosen for the modern productions are Partenope and Theodora. A modern production can improve a Baroque opera.
|Orphée et Eurydice||Gluck||Vesseliina Kasarova|
|Don Giovanni||Mozart||Bartoli Zurich|
The Met on demand has covered this genre, but I will keep searching for examples to add here. The Gluck shown above is a wonderful performance of the Berlioz arrangement made for Pauline Viardot.
|Otello||Rossini||Zurich with Cecilia|
|Le Comte Ory||Rossini||Zurich with Cecilia|
|Lucia di Lammermoor||Donizetti||ROH with Damrau|
The Lucia shown above is of a controversial production where Lucia is on the stage for the entire opera. The murder is shown. I prefer Cecilia's Ory over the Met's.
There are many Norma DVDs. It would be hard to evaluate them all. Neither Cecilia Bartoli's version nor the recent HD version are currently available. Met on demand has a rich assortment of the operas of Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti.
|La Traviata||Verdi||Netrebko from Salzburg|
|La Forza del Destino||Verdi||from Munich with Kaufmann|
|Don Carlo||Verdi||Salzburg with Kaufmann|
The two Kaufmann performances are from the Verdi year. You would only want these if you enjoy Anja Harteros like I do. I love the original version of the red dress La Traviata from Salzburg with Netrebko and Villazon.
French, Russian, etc.
|Ruslan and Lyudmila||Glinka||Gergiev Netrebko|
|L'Africaine||Meyerbeer||Domingo & Verrett|
|Carmen||Bizet||Kaufmann and Antonacci|
|Manon||Massenet||Netrebko and Villazon|
|Pelléas et Mélisande||Debussy||Robert Wilson|
|Die Fledermaus||J. Strauss||Kiri te Kanawa|
Hamlet is nothing without Natalie Dessay who was ill for the HD. This DVD of Manon with Netrebko and Villazon is completely charming and much better than the HD, though I do like the HD with Pretty Yende. The Robert Wilson Debussy is quite abstract but beautiful. I'm pleased to include one Meyerbeer, a seriously neglected composer.
|Cavalleria Rusticana||Mascagni||Domingo movie|
|I Pagliacci||Leoncavallo||Domingo movie|
|Manon Lescaut||Puccini||ROH with Kaufmann|
|La Bohème||Puccini||movie with Netrebko and Villazon|
|Adriana Lecouvreur||Cilea||Gheorghiu and Kaufmann|
|La Fanciulla del West||Puccini||Stemme and Kaufmann|
I have listed the Domingo movies filmed on location because I enjoy them. The Tosca which films each historic location in Rome is especially beautiful. There is also a La Bohème movie with Netrebko and Villazon, but I'm less enthusiastic here. Some people don't enjoy film versions of operas, and if you are one of these, please skip them.
Jonas Kaufmann is the hot tenor of today, and I like very much his La Fanciulla del West with Nina Stemme.
|Salome||Strauss R||ROH Maria Ewing|
|Salome||Strauss R||ROH Nadja Michael|
|Ariadne auf Naxos||Strauss R||Original from Salzburg|
This Ariadne DVD is of an historical performance of what they are calling the "original" Ariadne auf Naxos. The first version of Ariadne played as a closing piece to Moliere's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. Historical might lead you here, or perhaps you would be attracted by Jonas Kaufmann as Bacchus.
The Maria Ewing Salome has to be the best operatic striptease ever. But if you prefer a better sung Salome, try Nadja Michael. The productions are completely different.
|Káťa Kabanová||Janáček||Glyndebourne Gustafson|
|The Cunning Little Vixen||Janáček||Charles Mackerras Paris|
|The Makropulos Affair||Janáček||Glyndebourne Silja|
|From the House of the Dead||Janáček||Aix-en-Provence|
I am attempting to fill a gaping hole by recommending these DVDs of Janáček operas mostly from European summer festivals. This is an area of opera everyone should have some experience of. The pickings are shockingly slim. Janáček plays at the Met but has never been on the HD series.
|Moses und Aron||Schoenberg||Vienna State Opera|
|Porgy and Bess||Gershwin||Willard White|
|Einstein on the Beach||Glass||Now on DVD|
|Written on Skin||Benjamin||Barbara Hannigan|
I enjoy Barbara Hannigan and recommend her DVDs, especially Lulu. After several decades there is finally a DVD of Einstein on the Beach, a landmark opera. Save Moses und Aron for later.
Do not miss Porgy and Bess with Willard White.