The Opera Lover's Companion by Charles Osborne

By Charles Osborne

Written by way of a widely known authority, this booklet comprises a hundred seventy five entries that set the most well known operas in the context in their composer's occupation, define the plot, speak about the track, and extra.

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Act III, scene v. The street outside Marie’s house, the next morning. Children are playing, among them Marie’s Child. Other children arrive, one of whom tells Marie’s Child that its mother is dead. The Child, who does not understand, at first continues to play on an imaginary hobby-horse, but then runs off after the others. Berg studied composition with Arnold Schoenberg, whom he eventually followed down the path of atonalism, a method of composing without using a key system which stayed in vogue for two or three decades in the first half of the twentieth century.

I have just come from La Scala where the first performance of Norma was, would you believe it, a dismal fiasco!!! I tell you truly, the audience was very severe, and seemed to me to want my poor Norma to suffer the same fate as the Druid priestess. I no longer recognized those dear Milanese, who had greeted Il Pirata, La Straniera and La Sonnambula with joy on their faces and warmth in their hearts, although I had hoped that with Norma I had given them something just as worthy. The reaction of the first-night audience may to some extent have been organized by a faction supported by the mistress of the composer Giovanni Pacini, whose opera Il corsaro was about to be given its premiere at La Scala.

Di qual sei tu vittima’). Adalgisa spurns him and, as the hapless Roman attempts to justify himself, the sacred gong sounds, summoning Norma to the temple. Act II, scene i. Norma’s dwelling. Norma enters the room in which her two children are sleeping. She is carrying a knife, for she intends to kill the children rather than allow them to live in shame. Approaching the bed, she raises the dagger but finds that she is unable to strike. She sends Clotilde to fetch Adalgisa, having now decided to entrust the children to the care of Adalgisa and Pollione and then kill herself.

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