Giuseppe Verdi


A weekly Quixotic pursuit for appreciators of opera who don't expect too much, would-be appreciators of opera who don't know what to expect, and those somewhere in-between,
such as your host.

Thrown together in haste every
Saturdee morning by
Rip Rense

Giacomo Puccini


You don't like opera. At least you think you don't like opera. And then you're out in a public place---a square in Madrid, a mall in Philadelphia, a restaurant in Los Angeles---when, without warning, opera breaks out all around you. What? This is fun? You find yourself smiling? Laughing? Tapping your foot, swaying, bobbing? Even though you don't know the words? The melody might even be familiar---maybe you heard it in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. How could this be? You think to yourself, huh, maybe I sort of kind of do like opera. . .a little. . . wonder if maybe I should listen more? Answer: yes, you should. Here are flashmob opera excerpts, compared with the real thing.

Opera Flashmob in a market in Sydney, Australia. Would you like your "Carmen" in a bag?

Saturdee Opry Links Overture!
"William Tell," by Rossini. (Yeah, that's right---you know this one, Kimosabe!) 

"Libiamo Ne' Lieti Calici" ("Let's Drink"), from Verdi's "La Traviata."

Setting: A late-night party at the house of Violetta Valery
Synopsis: Alfredo is convinced by Gastone and Violetta to show off his voice. He sings (as this title suggests) a drinking song.
Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera."
The real thing, with Placido Domingo and Teresa Stratas.

Ode to a funicular railway!
In this case, the trademark song, "Funiculi, Funicula."
From Wikipedia: "Funiculì, Funiculà" is a famous Neapolitan song composed in 1880 by Luigi Denza to lyrics by Peppino Turco. It was written to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius. It was presented by Turco and Denza at the Piedigrotta festival the same year. The sheet music was published by Ricordi and sold over a million copies within a year. It has been widely adapted and recorded since its publication.
Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera."
Mario Lanza with the "real thing:"
And The Grateful Dead (warming up):

"Bevo al tuo fresco sorriso," the astonishingly beautiful quartet from Puccini's, "La Rondine" ("The Swallow.")  
Ruggero offers a toast: Let us drink to love! The two couples drink, then Ruggero toasts Magda. "I drink to your fresh smile. I drink to your profound desires and to your lips, which have uttered my name." (Bevo al tuo fresco sorriso) To Magda, this evening is a fulfillment of her dream. She is supremely happy. Lisette and Prunier exchange thoughts of love for each other. Prunier even tells her that she is the first who has spoken to his heart. Ruggero and Magda swear to be with each other forever.
Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera."
Real thing, with Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna.

 "Votre toast je peux vous le rendre," The "Toreador Song," from Bizet's "Carmen."  Escamillo, a great bullfighter, sings of his adventures in the bullring.
Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera
The real thing, with the wonderful, largely forgotten Argentine tenor Luis Lima.

 Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera," and the real thing.

"Te Deum" from "Tosca." 
Synopsis: The sound of a cannon signals that Angelotti's escape has been discovered. He and Cavaradossi hasten out of the church. The Sacristan re-enters with choristers, celebrating the news that Napoleon has apparently been defeated at Marengo. The celebrations cease abruptly with the entry of Scarpia, his henchman Spoletta and several police agents. They have heard that Angelotti has sought refuge in the church. Scarpia orders a search, and the empty food basket and a fan bearing the Attavanti coat of arms are found in the chapel. Scarpia questions the Sacristan, and his suspicions are aroused further when he learns that Cavaradossi has been in the church; Scarpia mistrusts the painter, and believes him complicit in Angelotti's escape. When Tosca arrives looking for her lover, Scarpia artfully arouses her jealous instincts by implying a relationship between the painter and the Marchesa Attavanti. He draws Tosca's attention to the fan and suggests that someone must have surprised the lovers in the chapel. Tosca falls for his deceit; enraged, she rushes off to confront Cavaradossi. Scarpia orders Spoletta and his agents to follow her, assuming she will lead them to Cavaradossi and Angelotti. He privately gloats as he reveals his intentions to possess Tosca and execute Cavaradossi. A procession enters the church singing the Te Deum; exclaiming 'Tosca, you make me forget even God!', Scarpia joins the chorus in the prayer.
The real thing, with: Fiorenza Cedolins (Tosca) Marcelo Alvarez (Cavaradossi), Ruggero Raimondi (Scarpia).

About "Tosca:"

 Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera" and the real thing. Yes, even Wagner!

"Ride of the Valkyries." No, this has nothing to do with the smell of napalm in the morning, or car commercials, or cartoons. This is the duly famous sequence from Wagner's "Die Walkure" (The Valkyrie), in which the Valkyries---female goddess warriors---gather up dead fallen heroes from battlefields and carry them on flying horses to Valhalla. 
The real thing, from the LePage production at the Met:


Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera" and the real thing.

A little "Carmen" at San Jose International Airport. (Not everyone looks pleased.) "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" ("Love is a rebellious bird.") As the factory bell rings, the cigarette girls emerge and exchange banter with young men in the crowd ("La cloche a sonné"). Carmen enters and sings her provocative habanera on the untameable nature of love ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle"). The men plead with her to choose a lover, and after some teasing she throws a flower to Don José, who thus far has been ignoring her but is now annoyed by her insolence.
And in Livorno, Italy:
The real thing, with Anna Caterina Antonacci and her two remarkable co-stars:


Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera" and the real thing.

In Adelaide, Australia, a restaurant crew hams it up---with "La Donne e Mobile" (Women are Fickle) from Verdi's "Rigoletto," the "Flower Duet" from "Lakme" by Delibes, the good old "Habanera" from "Carmen," and then, uh. . .it sort of devolves into uh, well, you have to see it.
"La Donne e Mobile:" The real thing:
About, translation:è_mobile
About "Rigoletto:"
"Flower Duet," the real thing, with Joan Sutherland and Huguette Tourangeau.
About, translation:
Habanera, translation:

Shopera/Opera: the "flash opera" and the real thing. "Anvil Chorus," from Verdi's "Il Trovatore." From Wiki: The Anvil Chorus is the English name for the Coro di zingari (Italian for "Gypsy chorus"), a chorus from act 2, scene 1 of Giuseppe Verdi's 1853 opera Il trovatore. It depicts Spanish Gypsies striking their anvils at dawn – hence its English name – and singing the praises of hard work, good wine, and Gypsy women.
The real thing, live on stage at the Met:

About, translation:

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