some pieces…

This month I’m taking a look at opera. The operas below are good ones to start with The Listen Here buttons connect to Spotify where you can listen to pieces.

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La Traviata

As with the other operas featured this month La Traviata is also based on a facinating story with great music.  In January 1847 a young woman lay dying of consumption at 11 Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris. Her name was Marie Duplessis. She had recently turned 23 and was the most fashionable courtesan in Paris. Among her clients were some of the most celebrated artists, writers and musicians of the time. Her life and death would inspire Verdi’s most famous opera – La traviata. La traviata has become immensely popular and is the most frequently performed of all operas.

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The Magic Flute

            Here is an opera that is actually a cheery comedy! People often think that opera is an ‘elitist’ art form aimed at the upper classes.  In reality operas were the popular music of their day and none more popular that this one. This opera has everything...a prince who is sent to rescue a princess, special effects to keep the crowd happy and most important of all..truly beautiful music.  

This is a great first opera to see if you haven’t been to one already.  In the meantime click the link to hear some of Mozart’s beautiful music. 

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Peter Grimes

I think that opera at it’s best, combines a great story with wonderful music (just like a modern musical.)  Peter Grimes is a fisherman, living in a small Suffolk town. The story is a dark tale but is a gripping one with great music.  (The orchestral interludes from this opera are often played in their own  as a stand alone piece in many symphony orchestra concerts.)  Britten lived in Suffolk in the town where his Snape Maltings Concert Hall and festival were founded.  I have played in the festival and you can see his influences particularly for this opera there. It’s well worth a visit if you are ever in the area! 

a video…

March could be a hard month with Brexit etc……so here is the Muppets take on the opera Carmen.

some more pieces to discover….