By Henry W. Simon

ISBN-10: 0385054483

ISBN-13: 9780385054485

A useful advisor for either informal opera fanatics 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 kind, entries contain personality descriptions, ancient historical past, and masses extra.

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Additional resources for 100 Great Operas And Their Stories: Act-By-Act Synopses

Sample text

He was a modest gentleman whom everyone liked as a human being and respected as a musical poet of unimpeachable integrity. ACT I Forty years before the action begins, Archibaldo had invaded Italy from the north and made himself King of Altura. As part of the peace pact, he had insisted that the beautiful Fiora, affianced to the local Prince Avito of Altura, should become the bride of his own son, Manfredo. So it was done; and now Archibaldo, a blind old man, continues to live in the royal castle, suspicious of his daughter-in-law, and, despite his handicap, keenly sensitive in every other sense and nerve to what goes on about him.

He takes hold of her, and in a powerful seizure of desperate pride she tells him yes, she does have a lover, and she taunts the old man with it. Repeatedly he demands his name; repeatedly she refuses it. Finally he pushes her back on a bench and, with cold hatred, chokes her to death. Manfredo, who has seen the waving stop and fears that Fiora may have fallen from the parapet, returns a moment later. His father tells him what he has done and why; and Manfredo’s feeling is one of deep pity for a beautiful woman who could feel such love, though not for him.

ACT III The opening music suggests the scene vividly. It is a hot summer night on the banks of the Nile, near the Temple of Isis. A boat glides up, and the High Priest Ramphis and Princess Amneris step out and enter the temple; for it is the eve of her wedding to Radames, and she must pray. When they have disappeared, Aïda, heavily veiled, comes for a last rendezvous with her lover. If, she says, it is only to bid farewell, then she must drown herself in the Nile; and she sings her second great aria of the opera (O patria mia), in which she gives voice to her longing for her native land.

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100 Great Operas And Their Stories: Act-By-Act Synopses by Henry W. Simon


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