O welche Lust (O what a joy) from Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio. In this scene the prisoners are granted a brief moment of freedom and act accordingly.
Leonore: Karita Mattila
First Prisoner: Eric Cutler
Second Prisoner: Alfred Walker
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Metropolitan Opera, 2000
Crosstalk between steel drum band rehearsal in one room and opera suicide scene in the next.
As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note.
– Bizet, letter to Edmond Galabert, 1866
Musical ideas sprang to my mind like a flight of butterflies, and all I had to do was to stretch out my hand to catch them.
– Gounod, speaking of his period in Provence, 1863, quoted in J Harding, Gounod (1973)
My humiliating profession of decomposer of music.
Gounod, speaking of the demands for changes to his opera, Mireille, quoted in J Harding, Gounod (1973)
You were the beginning of my life as an artist. I sprang from you, You are the cause and I am the consequence.
– Georges Bizet, letter to Gounod, 1872
Massenet feels it as a Frenchman, with powder and minuets. I shall feel it as an Italian, with desperate passion.
– Puccini, quoted in M Carner, Puccini (1974)
Shostakovich: What do you think of Puccini?
Britten: I think his operas are dreadful.
Shostakovich: No, Ben, you are wrong. He wrote marvellous operas, but dreadful music.
– Quoted in Lord Harewood, The Tongs and the Bones (1981)
Give me a laundry list and I will set it to music.
– Rossini, attributed
The point is… a person feels good listening to Rossini. All you feel like listening to Beethoven is going out and invading Poland. Ode to Joy indeed. The man didn’t even have a sense of humor. I tell you… there is more of the Sublime in the snare-drum part of the La Gazza Ladra than in the whole Ninth Symphony.
– Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
The artist must yield himself to his own inspiration… I should compose with utter confidence a subject that set my musical blood going, even though it were condemned by all other artists as anti-musical.
– Giuseppe Verdi, letter, 1854
Stupid criticism and still more stupid praise.
– Giuseppe Verdi, speaking of the press notices of Aida
Opera is music drama.
– Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Opera is when a guy gets stabbed and instead of bleeding, he sings.
– Ed Gardner (1905-63)
Uwe Scholz, former ballet director in Leipzig, was hailed as one of the most brilliant choreographic minds of his generation and he was certainly one of the most important German choreographers when he died in November 2004 at the early age of 45. The fragile-looking man, who had enjoyed a full dance and musical education from childhood, took up his first position as a choreographer with Marcia Haydée in Stuttgart when he was 22. He saw himself as a mixture between his teacher John Cranko and the influential George Balanchine, and the well over one hundred magically beautiful and extraordinarily musical choreographies that he created for houses such as the Opera in Vienna, La Scala, Zurich and Leipzig owe much to neoclassicism.
Zubin Mehta conducting Bayerisches Staatsorchester
true love is great, but at this point of my life i’d rather go to the opera