By Sir Denis Forman
This a bit 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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Additional info for A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings
But to return to the music, the great joy of Adriana lies in the score. Never before had anyone written page on page of witty one-liners floating on a sea of orchestral froth. There are lots of musical mottos and tags of identity which crop up from time to time, but there is no need for them to bother the listener at all. ). But we are free to relax and enjoy the music as it comes without any struggle. Then there is the orchestration, as clear as spring water, for to hear Adriana after one of the other late Italians – Gioconda, Cav or Chénier – is like clearing the palate with a Rimsky-Korsakov sorbet after a big helping of brown stew from Brahms.
Although melodic inspiration does not irrigate the whole system all the time, as it does with Puccini, there is enough to give satisfaction. Adriana’s piece about acting, Maurizio’s first act solo and duet with Adriana, the Princess singing to the star of the East, all of these are – if you measured arias as you do oysters – Colchester Number Ones, that is large, juicy and with the authentic native flavour, in this case, Italian. Adriana, we love you. An unexpected alpha. Aida Egyptian tragedy Verdi The one where the four-star Egyptian general loves a slave girl named Celestial Aida, where there is a Grand March and a terminal entombment for two.
I don’t want you to die no how. Contrariwise. I’m jolly well going to die just the same says Ariadne breathing rather heavily. At this point the sky comes down and surrounds Bacchus and Ariadne to the exclusion of all else. Has she died? Yes? No? Probably not, because Bacchus kisses her and she likes it. You’re magic! she says. All my troubles have fallen away. I am full of godlike yeast and I love you says Bacchus and Hey Presto! the cave turns into a lovers’ bower or maybe a king-size bed. Don’t ever let me go says Ariadne.
A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings by Sir Denis Forman