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

By Henry W. Simon

A useful consultant 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 trendy classics of Menotti and Britten. Written in a full of life anecdotal variety, entries contain personality descriptions, ancient historical past, and lots more and plenty extra.

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

Sample text

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. But before her lover keeps his engagement, her father finds her.

Meyerbeer’s work has disappeared more slowly. It was at its height in popularity when the composer died (his last opera, L’Africaine, having its premiere a year after his death); and a season without Les Huguenots, Le prophète, Dinorah, or L’Africaine was still all but unthinkable for a great opera house in the time of our grandparents. By the middle thirties, however, he had completely disappeared from the stage of the Metropolitan and many other houses; and while he still is performed in the French opera museums and given an occasional revival in Germany, his vogue is long past.

Archibaldo picks up the body of Fiora, slings it over his still-powerful shoulders, and follows his grieving son off the stage. ACT III The body of Fiora has been laid in the crypt of the castle. Off-stage a choir is heard singing a dirge. On-stage is a group of Alturans, who bemoan the loss of their Princess and cry for vengeance on the murderer. When Avito enters, they depart respectfully. He speaks to her; he weeps in despair; and finally he bends over to kiss her lips. A poison begins to overpower him, and Manfredo, coming in at that moment, tells him that her lips were a trap to catch the lover whose name she so well guarded.

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