By Sir Denis Forman [Forman, Sir Denis]
This just a little irreverent advisor to opera summarizes the plots of 17 of the world's nice operas, together with Aida, l. a. Boheme, and Carmen, and describes their characters, artists, and composers.
From the Hardcover edition.
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And continuing as a bit of a stop-start Willow-Songish affair, but flowering into moments of great beauty. The duet21 Radames/Aida which develops the plot in Act III – lengthy, varied and exciting throughout. First he presses his case (matrimony and the queen’s crown) urged on by little snaps and stings from the trumpets: she says Whoa! ) Act IV Sc 1 MINUTES FROM THE START 2: Oh! che mai parlo? ** 4: Già i sacerdoti *** 6: Sì, all’amor ** 9: Chi ti salva ** 11: Ohimè! morir ** 14: Spirto del nume ** Amneris thinks aloud: frightens herself at the thought of Radames’ death: reflects on her great love for him in a sudden, sweet, lyrical burst of emotion2 (tune lies in the accompanying strings).
Adriana gives him a posy of violets. Both exit. The poncey pair come on. I got the letter says the Abbé. ’ Zut! says the Prince: 42 RR is the house I use for assignations with Duclos: double-crossing whore and Zut! again. The letter is addressed to Box 3 says the Abbé. It’s that Maurizio says the Prince. What to do? Invite all the cast to a party at 42 RR says the Abbé give ’em a surprise. Ha ha and very good says the Prince go ahead. Send on the letter to Box 3: exits. Actors rush off stage. All is chatter scandal and gossip: they say Duclos meets many lovers at 42 RR and also gives the key to the Princess who indulges in adulterous fancies there.
We know where we are: in the pretend never-never land actors inhabit when not acting. Chatter continues. 6 Not a number to stop the show, but fortunately the show does stop for it. The feverish pace is halted to let her do her stuff. So we learn the opera is going to be a little serious too. Michonnet moves stealthily towards the topic of marriage with Adriana13 (inconceivable of course). His oblique approaches and her ripostes – she hasn’t the faintest idea what he’s on about – are married skilfully to a tender melody flowing along in the strings – which puts his case more persuasively than he could do himself – poor sod.
A Night at the Opera by Sir Denis Forman [Forman, Sir Denis]