By Sir Denis Forman
This a bit of irreverent consultant 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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Extra resources for A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings
24 Then BANG! and we are into the histrionics of the Act end (and very effective too). Act III MINUTES FROM THE START 1: Dumouriez traditore * 6: Son la vecchia Madelon *** 14: La coscienza nei cuor ** 20: Se ancor di me * 24: Io t’ho voluto ** 26: Voce piena d’armonia * 28: Mamma Cadet! * 31: Si, fui soldato * The courtroom scene1 opens with sonorous chords (terror of the Revolution) and addresses by Mathieu and Gérard are all good solid stuff. Suddenly Madelon’s offer of the last male in the family6 strikes a chord of genuine pity and terror: both the gesture itself and the tender music cast a spell – until we get to a patch of goo (when Gérard horns in).
I’m in love too! she says. Whizzo! My lover’s in the front of house tonight. Michonnet (hopes dashed) exits: Maurizio (really the Count of Saxony) comes in. Big hellos. How’s your career? asks Adriana. Have you been promoted Company Commander yet? My boss the Count of Saxony (ho ho) keeps promising but never delivers says he: bastard. I am seated in Box 3 let’s meet after the show. Adriana gives him a posy of violets. Both exit. The poncey pair come on. I got the letter says the Abbé. ’ Zut! says the Prince: 42 RR is the house I use for assignations with Duclos: double-crossing whore and Zut!
Chénier caught on and has stuck around in the rep. perhaps partly because it is a great favourite with tenors. Not too much heavy work early on, good applause points and their big moment coming in the last act when they can belt it out for all they are worth. COMMENT The story of Chénier makes a good yarn though Chénier as a character suffers from the nineteenth century’s rather ridiculous image of a ‘poet’: aesthetic, impulsive, wildly idealistic – something like W. S. Gilbert’s Bunthorne in Patience.
A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings by Sir Denis Forman