O welche Lust (O what a joy)

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
James Levine
Metropolitan Opera, 2000

♫ opera ♫♪

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?
I think his operas are dreadful.
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)