46. Der Ring des Nibelungen (Richard Wagner)

“The Teutonic reputation for brutality is well-founded.  Their operas last three or four days.  And they have no word for ‘fluffy’.” – Blackadder A cursed magic ring; the forging of a broken sword; giants, dwarves, dragons, and Valkyries; and the downfall of the gods in a fiery cataclysm – combined with German philosophy, radical politics, … Continue reading 46. Der Ring des Nibelungen (Richard Wagner)

45. I puritani (Vincenzo Bellini)

I PURITANI E I CAVALIERI Opera in 3 acts By Vincenzo Bellini Libretto: Carlo Pepoli, after Jacques-François Ancelot & Joseph Xavier Boniface (Saintine)’s Têtes rondes et Cavaliers (1833) First performed: Théâtre de la comédie italienne, Paris, 24 June 1835 Dossier "Carve into your head in adamantine letters," Bellini urged his librettist: "The opera must make people weep, shudder, die … Continue reading 45. I puritani (Vincenzo Bellini)

44. Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung / The Taming of the Shrew (Hermann Goetz)

DER WIDERSPÄNSTIGEN ZÄHMUNG (THE TAMING OF THE SHREW) Comic opera in 4 acts By Hermann Goetz Libretto: Joseph Viktor Widmann, after Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew First performed: National Theatre, Mannheim, 11 October 1874, conducted by Ernest Frank. Dossier SYNOPSIS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvjA9iCpB-8&w=640&h=385 The opera is based on Shakespeare's early comedy.  Katherina is the "shrew"; she bullies her family, … Continue reading 44. Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung / The Taming of the Shrew (Hermann Goetz)

43. La Navarraise (Jules Massenet)

Épisode lyrique in 2 acts By Jules Massenet Libretto: Jules Claretie & Henri Cain, after Claretie’s short story La Cigarette (1890). First performance: Covent Garden, London, 20 June 1894, conducted by Sir Augustus Harris First performance in France: Bordeaux, 27 March 1895. First performance in Paris: Opéra-Comique (Salle du Châtelet), 3 October 1895, conducted by Philippe Flon. … Continue reading 43. La Navarraise (Jules Massenet)

42. Isabeau (Pietro Mascagni)

Dramatic legend in 3 parts By Pietro Mascagni Libretto: Luigi Illica First performed: Teatro Coliseo, Buenos Aires, 2 June 1911, conducted by the composer Libretto, with English translation Mascagni is thought of as a one-hit wonder; Cavalleria rusticana ("Cav" for short) is one of the 50 most performed operas in the world, usually in a double bill with … Continue reading 42. Isabeau (Pietro Mascagni)

41. Belisario (Gaetano Donizetti)

Tragedia lirica in 3 acts By Gaetano Donizetti Libretto: Salvadore Cammarano, after  Luigi Marchionni’s adaptation of Eduard von Schenk’s play, Belisarius (1820) First performed: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 4 February 1836 Dossier HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Belisarius (c. 505-65 A.D.) commanded the Byzantine emperor Justinian (r. 527-65)'s armies.  Justinian's reign is remembered as a high point in Byzantine history, and the legal systems … Continue reading 41. Belisario (Gaetano Donizetti)

40. The Queen of Spades / Pique Dame (Пиковая дама) (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

Opera in 3 acts By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Libretto: Modest Tchaikovsky, after Alexander Pushkin’s short story (1833) First performed: Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia, 19 December (O.S. 7 December) 1890. Reception: A hit, and one of Tchaikovsky's two most popular operas to this day. Dossier Synopsis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucwJikYWjLQ&w=640&h=385 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g43Ropa1QyY&w=640&h=385 Act I St. Petersburg, towards the end of … Continue reading 40. The Queen of Spades / Pique Dame (Пиковая дама) (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)