Sunday, December 15, 2019

Award Categories for KK Awards

First one must look at standard repertoire.  The 100 operas list of most frequently performed operas divides roughly chronologically like this:

  • Mozart.  Standard opera repertoire begins with Mozart and includes 5 operas with no opera seria.  I might add any Gluck reform operas here.
  • Bel canto.  The next big group is Italian bel canto by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti and includes 6 operas.
  • Verdi.  He could be lumped with bel canto but is too significant for that.  By himself he counts 10 operas which is more than the other three composers combined.
  • Wagner.  With 8 standard repertoire operas, he makes a group by himself.  Humperdinck with his only one opera I would lump with Wagner, since he is Wagner's only true disciple.
  • Romantic not Verdi or Wagner.  We have 10 operas in this category, including operas by Gounod (1), Bizet (1), Dvorak (1), Offenbach (1), Johann Strauss (1), Tchaikovsky (2) and other composers, including Berlioz and some operetta composers.  Anyone who composes in the romantic style could be included here.
  • Verismo.  This is a list of 7 operas, 5 of them by Puccini.  All of Puccini is included here whether or not the opera is truly verismo (deals with stories from the lower classes).  I am aware of the fuzzy use of terminology, and it is not done from ignorance.  For me this is a musical style that adopts features of Wagner into the larger Italian style, including making the opera through composed.  Cilea, Giordano, Mascagni, etc.  Sometimes I just call this the BEST PUCCINI AWARD.
  • Strauss, R.  This is only 3 operas.  If I have seen a few operas by Richard Strauss, I include him as a separate group.  Otherwise he groups with the Romantic not Verdi or Wagner.
The 100 operas list does not include any operas before Mozart or after Richard Strauss.  Everything before Mozart is lumped into Baroque except the reform operas of Gluck.  As a young man Gluck composed in the currently popular Neapolitan opera style.  He invented reform opera which is not significant enough to be a complete category.  I lump his reform operas in with Mozart, his younger contemporary.
  • Baroque.  This consists mostly of operas by Handel but extends all the way back to Monteverdi, the first significant opera composer.  Italian musicology is very active now and may produce some performable operas from this period.
That leaves us with everything after Strauss.  If I can lump all of Baroque together into a single period, why not all of modern opera?
  • Modern.  Styles include Impressionism (mostly just one opera), Expressionism (mostly just two operas), Modernism (A lot of operas, none of them popular), Minimalism (Glass, Adams), English (mostly Britten), Janáček, etc.  Jazz operas appear occasionally.  People still compose atonal music.  There are never enough examples of any given style to compare a group of operas, so I stick with this large category.  
I am flexible in the observation of my categories.  This year I saw three revivals of American musicals and included a category for that.  It will probably disappear next year.  I add or remove a category whenever I like.

These are not standard musical style periods, but are the broad categories into which opera repertoire falls. The point is to try to make a basis for comparison.  If you look back, you will see that they are constantly in flux.  The KK Awards began in 2012.

Every year or at least four times:
  • BEST BAROQUE OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
  • BEST MOZART OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012
  • BEST BEL CANTO OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012
  • BEST VERDI OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
  • BEST WAGNER OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2016, 2015, 2013
  • BEST ROMANTIC OPERA NOT VERDI OR WAGNER AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013
  • BEST NEW OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012
  • BEST MODERN OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015
  • BEST RICHARD STRAUSS AWARD:  2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

Switched from Puccini to Verismo:
  • BEST PUCCINI AWARD:  2014, 2013, 2012
  • BEST VERISMO OPERA AWARD:  2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

One time only, usually special circumstances:
  • BEST LULU AWARD:  2015
These are all musical categories except for the Broadway revival category which isn't really opera.  I also award for strictly theatrical reasons, but separately.

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