By Sir Denis Forman
This a bit 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
The courtroom fills. Many get the black cap. Chénier is called. His defence speech is prolix but he maintains he is not a traitor not guilty. Evidence? says the President. The accusation is a lie I fudged it all says Gérard. OK says the Public Prosecutor you stand down I will make the same accusations. My God says Gérard I am a true son of the Revolution and I can’t stand this mindless hatred distorting French justice. The crowd shouts shut up Gérard: to the guillotine with Chénier. Guilty says the President.
Aida’s pomp and circumstance is unmatched in all opera (though Carlos comes close), the duets are dramatic as can be, the romanzas (Radames’ ‘Celeste Aida’ and ‘O patria mia’) romantic in the extreme. But perhaps Aida sticks in the memory most of all not for the crash and bang of the big stuff but for the gentle moments, the wistful dying fall of Amneris’ cry: ‘Ah! vieni amor …’ and Aida’s ‘O terra addio’. Verdi at the zenith of his power: alpha-plus. Andrea Chénier Revolutionary tragedy Giordano The one where the butler leads a riotous mob into the Countess’s drawing room, where there is a march past of named French Revolutionaries, and a court scene leading to tumbrils for two.
It’s a messenger. What a stunning young girl says Bacchus. Is that cave your place? Will you take me in? Who are you? What’s going on? I’m not very strong in the head says Ariadne. I know who you are she says getting on to her favourite pitch you’re Hermes the guy who will take me to the happy land. Not so you’ve got it wrong says Bacchus. 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.
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