By Sir Denis Forman
This just a little irreverent advisor to opera summarizes the plots of 17 of the world's nice operas, together with Aida, l. a. Boheme, and Carmen, and describes their characters, artists, and composers.
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NOTES Aida Verdi’s twenty-sixth opera First night Cairo Opera House, 24 December 1871 Reception Very good. But some critics carped (see below) Libretto Ghislanzoni Source Very strange: one Mariette, an archaeologist on the staff of the Khedive of Egypt dreamt up the idea and sent a draft to Verdi’s friend du Locle NEWS AND GOSSIP In spite of pressing invitations, Verdi was not interested in writing an opera to open the Cairo Opera House until du Locle passed him this odd piece from Mariette. Du Locle wrote to Verdi that if he didn’t want to take it on ‘then Wagner might do something really fine with it’.
Author’s whim again, and whereas no reader is likely to want to swap any of the gammas with the alphas, these ratings are susceptible to a wide range of disagreement. But what the hell. Everyone their own opera critic. • The aim of the guide is to avoid every technical term in music that can be described in plain English, but there are some basic truths which have to be tackled by anyone who wants to get a fix on certain musical forms (aria) or on basic musical structure (tonality). These are dealt with in a summary fashion in the Words list and more fully in the Operatica section.
Aha thinks Adriana I’ll get after that Duke to make my Maurizio a Company Commander. Act II A room in maison 42 rue Rouge with French windows and garden beyond The Princess awaits Maurizio with anxiety: will he come? He comes. There is an incomprehensible discussion. Maurizio is interested in politics not sex: the Princess in sex but not in politics. Have you gone off me or something? she asks. Well he says hum haw we shall always be good friends. Good friends! Pshaw! she says. She sees the violets.
A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings by Sir Denis Forman