More Operas Picks
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was a German Romantic composer whose operas, in particular the vast four-opera cycle "The Ring of the Nibelungs," pioneered a new approach to the art form that broke new ground in melody, harmony and orchestration, influencing nearly every major composer who came afterward. He was no less a pioneer of stagecraft, building his own theater at Bayreuth, Germany, so that his works could be presented in an all-absorbing way that rejected the conventions of the day and looked ahead to multimedia presentation.
The wearing of dramatic costumes and brightly painted masks has been an integral part of Chinese opera since ancient times. Scholars of Chinese culture have found records of actors wearing masks as long ago as the Chou dynasty, which began in 1122 B.C. The elaborately decorated masks use color to represent character traits and personalities, which can be confusing to those unfamiliar with this style of opera.
An operetta is a specific kind of opera that is light in music and subject matter. Operettas are close in nature to lighter forms of musical theater. An opera is a dramatic form of musical theater where the actors sing their parts to convey the story.
The Garnier Opera House, known also as The Palais Garnier, was built in grandiose fashion under the auspices of Napoleon III as a part of the Second Empire's great Parisian reconstruction project. The Palais Garnier opened in 1875, and is best known for being the 13th theater to house the prestigious Paris Opera. Rumors regarding a fish-filled lake beneath the construction site would later serve to inspire Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom of the Opera" in 1910.
The City of Light boasts more than one opera house, but when Parisians mention "L'Opera," they are speaking of the magnificent Palais Garnier and surrounding neighborhood. Built on the orders of Napolean III, the Palais Garnier Opera is located in Paris' 9th arrondissement on the right bank of the Seine. This prime location -- near the ritzy Champs-Elysees and the Louvre -- offers a number of excellent, upper-tier hotels but nothing exceptional for the budget traveler.
Vito Niccolò Marcello Antonio Giacomo Piccinni, or Niccolò Piccinni, lived from 1728 to 1800 in Naples, Rome and Paris. In his lifetime, he wrote around 130 operas and was known as one of the most prolific opera writers of his day. The piece that established him as an opera writer and launched his popularity among Italians was a comedy, first performed in 1760, called "La Cecchina," or The Good Daughter.
The opera "Peter Grimes" is a tale of tragedy about a fisherman who first loses his apprentice at sea and receives advice to avoid taking on a new apprentice until he can find a woman to take care of the apprentice. A chasm occurs between the town and Peter Grimes as they do not believe he is innocent of his apprentice's death. Composer Benjamin Britten uses several techniques to illustrate the isolation between Grimes and the world he finds himself ostracized from.
Opera is a narrative, theatrical musical art form. The word opera means "work" in Italian, which comes from the Latin "opus." The use of the word "work" refers to the fact that an opera combines the work of several artists. A composer scores music, a writer pens the lyrics, known as libretto, musicians perform the instrumental portions of the score and singers perform the roles in the story.
"Aida" is a four-act opera by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi that premiered in Cairo in 1871. The opera was a commission from the Khedive of Egypt to celebrate the recently opened Cairo Opera House. The libretto was a collaboration between Verdi and the Italian poet Antonio Ghislanzoni in which Verdi provided a scenario and plot details that Ghislanzoni then set to verse. Verdi would then comment on the verses in terms of meter to more closely match them to his musical phrases. "Aida" is now renowned as a timeless story about the dedication of true love.
Whether you want to be a general singer or specialize in opera, there are basic techniques that will help you increase your skill and ability in both fields. Opera training and vocal technique, at their roots, use the same concepts to teach vocalists how to breath, project their voice in a safe manner and proper pronunciation. Taking the time to study these techniques will ensure a safer and more fruitful vocal experience.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) wrote 22 operas during his life, starting at age 12 with "Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebotes." Of these 22 operas, the idea of revenge appears in five of them, occurring in both his comedies and his more serious works.
"Romeo and Juliet" has inspired many composers and songwriters throughout modern musical history. From Hector Berlioz's dramatic symphony and Sergei Prokofiev's famous ballet to Duke Ellington's conceptual jazz piece and Dire Straits' iconic rock ballad, the play has been adapted to virtually every musical genre. Music historian Eve R. Meyer identifies 24 operas based on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," the most famous of which is Charles Gounod's popular "Romeo et Juliette."
The opera "Samson and Delilah" ("Samson et Dalila" in its native language) is one of the crowning works of famed 19th-century French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, which started as a musical piece inspired by the well-known biblical story. Poet Ferdinand Lemaire insisted the tale was better suited for an opera than an oratorio. As a grand opera, it features lavish sets and a memorable score that has inspired even modern musicians, such as Matthew Bellamy of Muse, who reprises a section of "Mon Cœur S'ouvre à Ta Voix" in the studio version of the song "I Belong to You."
Nothing says high society quite like the notion seeing an opera. Once considered the domain of the rich and/or famous, live opera is performed today in famous opera houses and small community theaters alike. Some of the traditions and standards of opera behavior remain the same as in the old days; however, many theatergoers are unschooled in what to expect.
"Aida" is an opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi with a libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. It had its premiere at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo on December 24, 1871. Set in ancient Egypt, the story takes place during a conflict between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians. It features a love triangle between a former Ethiopian princess, now a slave in Egypt, an Egyptian princess and an Egyptian officer.
“The Bohemian Girl” is an opera written by Michael William Balfe, an Irish 19th-century singer and composer. The first production of the opera was in London in 1843, and became extremely popular among English speaking audiences. It is still being produced today, and the opera has been referred to in the writings of Irish author James Joyce, as well as the American short story writer Willa Cather.