By Sir Denis Forman
This somewhat irreverent consultant to opera summarizes the plots of 17 of the world's nice operas, together with Aida, los angeles 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
So go to hell;9 now I hate you says she in the final splendidly forceful ensemble: let me die, says he. Once more Amneris ‘thinks’, this time sadly. Again a sustained tune of great beauty11 in the lower strings. ) Act IV Sc 2 MINUTES FROM THE START 24: Morir! sì pura ** 30: O terra, addio *** The last scene: the duet Radames/Aida:24 he has caused Aida’s death: he regrets this: she sees a vision of a rather friendly angel of death: the priests and priestesses (offstagers) quietly chip in with their spooky hymns to Phtha from Act II.
A quick-fire two-hander23 leading to a racy ensemble as the poncey pair get excited about the letter from la Duclos. The actors’ quartet sings against rather than with the main melody which comes from the pit. The whole scene is a little marvel of speed and wit and the ensemble quite delicious. The serious sentimental Michonnet watches from the wings. He thrills to Adriana’s performance. Two great bursts of melody here,27 the first from the orchestra and the second vocal when poor Michonnet finds in her performance something to compensate him for his disappointment.
To ask her to believe the true story would have been less demanding. The silly business of neither rival recognizing the other in the dark does not help the plot. Maurizio’s political problems (in danger of his life, the duel, prison) are totally incomprehensible. Again in Act III why is he cool to Adriana? There seems to be no motive for this nor for his desertion of Adriana after the party, except that he heard some gossip about her. Not good enough: neither Verdi nor Puccini would have tolerated this sort of thing.
A Night at the Opera: An Irreverent Guide to the Plots, the Singers, the Composers, the Recordings by Sir Denis Forman