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Sweatin’ to the cabalettas

Here’s a playlist of bel canto favorites suitable for motivating even the most couch potatoesque of parterrians to put in a hard session of weight training.


  • m. croche says:

    It’s hard to imagine A True Opera Lover ™ working out to anything other than Pelleas et Melisande.

  • Podlesmania says:

    I don’t go to the gym at all, but when I’m jogging I have my turbo-favourites:

    1. Walküre -- Prelude of the second act (you run fast with those horns after you!), Hojotoho included. Also, the Ride of the Valkyries (yes, I know, meh), and Wotan’s Farewell, that music just make you tickle -- Leinsdorf recording, with Birgit.

    2. The ejaculatory end of Siegfried -- Solti.

    3. Götterdämmerung -- Zu neuen Taten till the last heil-C. Then the Brünnhilde & Waltraute’s confrontation to the end of Act I, Hagen’s Hoiho! Hoihohohos till the Helle Wehr! Heilige Waffe & finally the immolation scene (actually, I jump to Fliegt heim…). Solti at a deafening volume.

    4. Tristan -- From Entartet Geschlecht to the end of the curse narrative. And the end of act I when is at fast pace! -- Böhm.

    I have many others, and out of Wagner I think that listening to Elektra you can run a marathon!


    • Podlesmania says:

      And finally, for a sprint: Mussorgsky’s The Field Marshal from Songs and dances of death!

    • The_Kid says:

      oh, the confrontation scene from elektra or the salome finale (with either welitsch or cebotari) work just fine for the crosstrainer or the treadmill. marfa’s fortune-telling scene or the scene where she convinces her lover to go to a fiery death with her ain’t bad either…..of course with arkhipova. also, the mad scene from ‘the tsar’s bride’!!!

      • Podlesmania says:

        A major YES for the Salome finale, The_Kid!
        I’m not familiar with the Tsar’s bride, but speaking of Russian opera, I know that the Ya poydù from Lady M of Mtsensk (end of act III, I think) has great motivation power!!

  • Cocky Kurwenal says:

    There is loads of brilliant stuff on here, thank you very much to Coloraturafan.

    I also usually listen to opera if I go to the gym, but it doesn’t really matter what it is -- the music doesn’t inform the pace at which I work, it just keeps me interested and less likely to leave after 5 minutes owing to sheer boredom. So it can be Cosi, or Elektra, or Strauss Lieder -- anything, as long as I like it.

  • alejandro says:

    I lift weights to opera but most opera is mastered too quietly for properly motivating me for cardio. Those cardio machines make a lot of ambient noise. I need to switch to pop/indie/alternative/dance for that.

    I heart coloraturafan. He’s an opera queen for the 21st Century! Woo hoo!

  • Milady DeWinter says:

    Coloraturafan -- thanks for including the phenomonal Maria Aleida! (is the “Rodgriguez” now gone?) I prefer the traditional club mixes for cardio, step, slide, interval training,etc. although as I said in the post under the “Bomp” song, (I teach group fitness classes in addition to my “real” job) I actually have tried out Rameau dance suites (particularly “Indes Galantes”) and they were not only a hit with the class, they are really, really difficult (in a good way) to work out to because of the changes/rhythms, tempi etc. For cooldowns I have played the vocalise section to “Bachianas Brasilieras” and and the Ravel “Vocalise” -- and they loved loved those too. Nice surprise.

  • The_Kid says:

    ok, i finally listened to the whole thing sans interruptions….again, very nice, of course, and despite some surprising selections (note to self: that’s why it is called a compilation of PERSONAL favorites !), quite representative of the art of cabaletta.
    i have one complaint, though: you’ve sadly neglected contraltos. i know, of course, that coloratura contraltos are like hens’ teeth, but here are a few suggestions that you might like to include in the sequel LOL….
    1. Lusinghe più care (Clara Butt)
    2. Il segreto per esser felici (Ernestine Schumann-Heink)
    3. Something from Tancredi, sung either by Podles or Horne.
    4. ‘Una voce poco fa’ in the original keys as opposed to the soprano transposition; Podles again, or maybe a mezzo such as Conchita Supervia.

    I’m seriously considering doing a MT/operetta version of this for moi (I’m definitely including Mariza’s entrance from ‘Grafin Mariza…..), and I’ve found something that is the exact counterpart of your Vidal/Dessay video:

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      The sound quality of recordings by Butt, Schumann-Heink and Supervia is surely too poor to enable them to be heard above the sound of the machines and ambient music in the gym.