By Henry W. Simon
A useful consultant for either informal opera lovers and afficionados, this quantity includes act-by-act descriptions of operatic works starting from the early 17th century masterworks of Monteverdi and Purcell to the fashionable classics of Menotti and Britten. Written in a full of life anecdotal type, entries comprise personality descriptions, ancient heritage, and lots more and plenty extra.
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Additional info for 100 Great Operas And Their Stories: Act-By-Act Synopses
The Council continues its angry deliberations, quiets down with a prayer for divine guidance, and finally comes to the conclusion, as announced by the Grand Inquisitor, that Vasco is mad, and his request is turned down. Vasco’s angry answer is that Columbus was also considered mad, and the argument waxes furious all over again. Finally the Grand Inquisitor can take no more. In the name of the Pope, he sends Vasco to prison. The two Indians are taken along with him. ACT II In the Inquisition prison to which Vasco and his two Indian slaves have been consigned he lies asleep, while Selika sings a lovely aria that begins as a lullaby but develops into a passionate avowal of love before it ends (Sur mes genons—“On my knees”).
It took a great deal of persuasion to get him to write an opera at all; and when he did undertake Aïda, he paid his librettist generously—and also contributed a portion of the advance to the sufferers in the siege of Paris. He worked hard and conscientiously, too. He took a four-page outline of the story by the Egyptologist Mariette Bey and, with his French friend Camille du Locle, worked out a four-act libretto. Then he engaged the Italian poet Ghislanzoni to transform it into an Italian libretto, and he worked over every detail of that libretto, even writing some of the lines himself.
Scene 2 This scene takes us to the gates of Hades. Alcestis wishes to enter at once—to die; but the specters of Hades tell her she must not enter before nightfall. Admetus, who has followed his wife, now comes in, hoping to take her place, but Alcestis nobly refuses. The god of death, Thanatos, appears and gives Alcestis the chance to renounce her vow, to remain on earth, alive, and let Admetus take her place. Still Alcestis remains firm. And now night begins to fall, and the specters of Hades call upon Alcestis to enter the gates.
100 Great Operas And Their Stories: Act-By-Act Synopses by Henry W. Simon