Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Great Operas Set in Spain

Aloha Everyone,

This morning’s Enrichment Program on Classical Music was Great Operas Set in Spain. While none of the composers were native Spaniards, all four operas: Carmen, Il Trovotore, Ermani and Don Carlo were all set in Spain.


The presentation began with the four acts opera by the French composer George’s Bizet. This was based on the novella of the same title. The first performance was by the OpĂ©ra-Comique in Paris on 3 March 1875. It was said that the breaking of conventions shocked and scandalized its first audiences. After the 33rd performance, Bizet suddenly died unaware that his work would achieve international acclaim within 10 years of his demise. Colorful costumes inspired by the Romani tradition is a story of fierce love, hate and tragedy.

Il Trovotore

Giuseppe Verdi’s four acts opera. Love, hate and revenge, burning of a Romani woman at the stake for witchcraft.  Powerful imagery with some nail biting scenes.


Another operatic drama by Giuseppe Verdi based on the 1830 play Hernani by Victor Hugo.

Don Carlos

An 1867 five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Mesmerizing stage setting with hymns by priests in the background, unforgettable scenes of the Forest of Fontainebleau, this opera is most often performed in Italian.

The 45 minutes lecture merely scratched these four major works. The presenter used publicly available photos, billboards and other images which made it sound as if he was reciting from a textbook. A couple of occasions, he told us about a Diva Soprano who was very bossy that the stage hands decided on a revenge. As a result she became very cooperative. On another occasion, Verdi’s wife negotiated for a higher price. She guaranteed the commissioned work would be completed.

Aloha -- Cathi