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Music
Opera

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General
Bizet
Benjamin Britten
Gilbert & Sullivan
Mozart
Puccini
Rossini
Richard Strauss
Verdi
Wagner
Other composers

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Opera

See also Opera: Composers, Opera: Excerpts, Gilbert & Sullivan.

General

Text of an opera (or musical play) Click to show or hide the answer
Opening orchestral piece, introducing the main melodies Click to show or hide the answer
Translation of the libretto, projected onto a screen above the stage Click to show or hide the answer
Opera on a grandiose scale – all sung, with no spoken lines Click to show or hide the answer
A brindisi (paradoxically from the German (ich) bringe dir's – "(I) offer it to you") is a Click to show or hide the answer
Often called the father of opera: Dafne (c. 1597) is often referred to as the first opera, and Eurydice (first performed in the Pitti Palace, Florence, in 1600) is the oldest to survive to the present day Click to show or hide the answer
Appointed Maestro di Cappella to the viceroy of Naples, 1684; founder of the Neapolitan School of opera, and regarded as the founder of modern opera (father of two other composers, Domenico and Pietro Filippo) Click to show or hide the answer
Rossini and Massenet wrote operas (and Prokofiev wrote a ballet) based on Click to show or hide the answer
Founder of the Vic–Wells Opera company, 1931, which eventually became English National Opera (ENO) Click to show or hide the answer
Company that succeeded Lilian Bayliss's Vic–Wells Opera and was renamed ENO in 1974 Click to show or hide the answer
British opera company: founded 1873, closed 1960, revived 1997 Click to show or hide the answer

Ballad opera in three acts, first performed in London in 1728: written by John Gay, with musical arrangements by Johann Christoph Pepusch; translated into German in the 1920s by Elisabeth Hauptmann, and arranged by Kurt Weill (with added lyrics by Bertold Brecht, based on works by Rudyard Kipling and the 15th–century French poet François Villon) into Der Dreigrosschenoper (The Threepenny Opera – first performed 1928) Click to show or hide the answer
British prime minister, satirised in the Beggar's Opera in the character of Macheath Click to show or hide the answer
(Spoiler alert!): Il Segreto di Susanna (Susanna's Secret – Ermano Wolf–Ferrari, 1909): the secret is that Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer

Bizet

Based on a story by Prosper Merimee; features the Toreador's Song Click to show or hide the answer
Carmen works in a Click to show or hide the answer
Sergeant who falls in love with Carmen and eventually stabs her Click to show or hide the answer
Carmen: Escamillo is a Click to show or hide the answer
Carmen is set in Click to show or hide the answer
Famous for a duet sung by Zurga and Nadir Click to show or hide the answer
The Pearl Fishers is set in Click to show or hide the answer

Benjamin Britten

Based on Lytton Strachey's book Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History (1928); first performed at Covent Garden in 1953, as part of the celebrations for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II Click to show or hide the answer
Central character in Gloriana Click to show or hide the answer
Written in 1952 to celebrate the Festival of Britain; set on board HMS Indomitable, during the French Revolutionary Wars (1797); based on a novella by Herman Melville Click to show or hide the answer
Tells the tragic (fictional) story of a fisherman from a fictional village (The Borough) based on Aldeburgh – libretto from a poem by George Crabbe who, like Britten, lived in Aldeburgh Click to show or hide the answer

Mozart

Name translates approximately as So do all women Click to show or hide the answer
Title character (a legendary libertine) murders Don Pedro (a.k.a. the Commendatore, or Commander) in the opening scene, after attempting to rape his daughter (but she has escaped) Click to show or hide the answer
Leporello, the title character's servant, enumerates his master's sexual conquests (including 1,003 in Spain); later, he complains that he's sick and tired of hearing a particular Mozart aria everywhere all the time
In the final scene, a statue of the Commendatore comes to life – after which the disreputable title character is dragged off to Hell by a chorus of demons
Don Giovanni is set in Click to show or hide the answer
Set in ancient Egypt: the Queen of the Night engages Tamino, a handsome young prince, and the birdcatcher Papageno to free her daughter Pamina from the hands of Sarastro, the High Priest of Isis, with the help of the eponymous enchanted instrument. Sarastro convinces them that he is holding Pamina for her own good; after many trials and tribulations, Tamino and Pamina are united in love Click to show or hide the answer
Has been described as "a barely veiled Masonic allegory ... a kind of introduction to the secret society ... an Enlightenment allegory, veiled in Masonic ritual"
Based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais; a sequel to Rossini's The Barber of Seville Click to show or hide the answer
Recounts a single "day of madness" (la folle giornata) in the palace of Count Almaviva
Begins with the hero measuring the space where his marriage bed will be, while the bride tries on her wedding bonnet
The Marriage of Figaro: name of Figaro's bride (the Countess's maid) Click to show or hide the answer
Librettist for Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi Fan Tutte Click to show or hide the answer

Puccini

Title is the nickname of the tragic heroine, Cio Cio San (Cho–Cho San), who commits suicide on her father's sword after being betrayed by Lieutenant Pinkerton, an American naval officer Click to show or hide the answer
Lt. Pinkerton's ship Click to show or hide the answer
Madame Butterfly is set in (Japanese city) Click to show or hide the answer
Set in Rome, in 1800 (at the time of Napoleonic occupation); eponymous heroine is a famous singer and kills Baron Scarpia (a villainous police chief); in the end she hurls herself from the parapet of the Castel Sant'Angelo after her lover, the painter Cavaradossi, is executed for helping a prisoner to escape Click to show or hide the answer
Set in China; Ping, Pang and Pong appear in; Prince Calaf falls in love with the title character; includes Nessun Dorma Click to show or hide the answer
Includes Your Tiny Hand is Frozen Click to show or hide the answer
Whose tiny hand was frozen? Click to show or hide the answer
Your Tiny Hand is Frozen: sung by Click to show or hide the answer

Rossini

Based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais; subtitle The Useless Precaution Click to show or hide the answer
The Barber of Seville: name of the title character Click to show or hide the answer
Extract from overture used as theme tune to The Lone Ranger on TV Click to show or hide the answer
La Cenerentola is the Italian name for (central character) Click to show or hide the answer
Prince Charming's right hand man, in La Cenerentola (Cinderella) Click to show or hide the answer

Richard Strauss

Baron Ochs and Octavian appear in Click to show or hide the answer
Based on a controversial play by Oscar Wilde (biblical theme) Click to show or hide the answer

Verdi

Commissioned for the opening of the Suez Canal; based on a scenario said to be written by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, but possibly by the composer and lyricist Temistocle Solera; first performed at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo, on Christmas Eve 1871 Click to show or hide the answer
Set in Berkshire Click to show or hide the answer
Set on Cyprus (Shakespeare's play is also set in Venice) Click to show or hide the answer
Based on Victor Hugo's novel Le Roi s'amuse; the eponymous character is a deformed court jester Click to show or hide the answer
Includes La Donna e Mobile
Tells the story of the Jews' captivity in Babylon; features the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves Click to show or hide the answer
Nabucco is an abbreviation of the Italian name for the Biblical character known in English as Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
The Anvil Chorus comes from Click to show or hide the answer
Opera about Philip II of Spain Click to show or hide the answer
Based on the play La Dame aux Camelias, by Alexandre Dumas (fils); set in Paris; title translates as The Fallen Woman Click to show or hide the answer
Violetta Valery, a consumptive courtesan, is the heroine of

Wagner

Hero of the Ring of the Niebelungen Click to show or hide the answer
Title characters are given a love potion instead of poison; includes the Liebestod (love in death) – a.k.a. Mild und Leise (Mildly and Quietly) Click to show or hide the answer
Title character is a knight of the Holy Grail, sent in a boat pulled by swans to rescue a maiden who can never ask his identity; the son of Parsifal (Percival), one of the Knights of the Round Table Click to show or hide the answer
Includes Here Comes the Bride and the Swan Chorus
Augustine Mosler (a tailor), Veit Pogner (goldsmith) and Herman Ortel (soap boiler) appear in Click to show or hide the answer
Immolation scene in Gotterdammerung – includes the longest aria in opera – sung by Click to show or hide the answer

Other composers

BeethovenBeethoven's only opera: a faithful wife disguises herself as a man in order to free her husband from prison Click to show or hide the answer
Alban BergLulu: the heroine is killed by Click to show or hide the answer
BerliozBeatrice e Benedict: based on Shakespeare's Click to show or hide the answer
DeliusCharacters include the Dark Fiddler; includes the orchestral interlude The Walk to the Paradise Garden (the Paradise Garden is an inn) Click to show or hide the answer
GershwinTakes place on Catfish Row, Charleston, South Carolina (said to be based on the real–life Cabbage Row) Click to show or hide the answer
The first opera by a US–born composer to be performed at La Scala (Milan)
Crown (a tough stevedore) and Sportin' Life (a drug dealer) are two of the main characters in
HandelThe overture to Act III of Solomon is commonly known as Click to show or hide the answer
LeoncavalloTitle means "Clowns"; includes a famous prologue sung by a clown Click to show or hide the answer
MascagniOne–act opera often performed alongside Pagliacci Click to show or hide the answer
OffenbachThe Infernal Galop, better known outside classical music circles as 'the can–can', is the climax to (an opéra bouffe, or operetta) Click to show or hide the answer
PonchielliFamous dance interlude from La Gioconda (parodied as Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh) Click to show or hide the answer
PurcellHis only true opera Click to show or hide the answer
Rimsky–KorsakovHis last opera – about a bird that warns of danger Click to show or hide the answer
Sigmund RombergUniversity attended by the title character of The Student Prince Click to show or hide the answer
Johann Strauss IICentres around a ball at the summer house of Prince Orlovsky Click to show or hide the answer
William WaltonBased on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor – the title refers to Falstaff Click to show or hide the answer
Richard WagnerTitle character is a 13th–century German minnesinger or troubador Click to show or hide the answer
Kurt WeillThe Threepenny Opera: libretto Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18