Alex Massie

Is Don Giovanni really the greatest?

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Just received an email from Washington National Opera touting their new production of Don Giovanni in which they claim that it's "widely regarded as the greatest opera ever composed". Is this true? I suppose it could be, but as with novels it had never occurred to me that there was a clear or obvious "Number 1 Opera".

Still, parlour-game time: if you had to nominate an opera for "Greatest Ever" status, what would you select and, secondly, what opera would you choose to see if it was understood that this would be the last opera you'd ever see?

UPDATE: Meanwhile, the Lyric Opera of Chicago calls La Boheme "the world's most popular opera". Make of that what you will. I trust, however, that their new production will be better than the distinctly average offering recently provided by WNO (though, in fairness, the production came via Warsaw. Still...)

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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