With a mythological musician as hero, L'Orfeo ranks as the first great opera. Monteverdi was the "founding father" of operatic form. Euridice dies from a snake bite. The sorrowful Orpheus, through his music, tries to save her from the Underworld. A lone English operatic success until the 20th century, Dido recounts the tale of the tragic Queen of Carthage and her love for Aeneas, inconveniently en route to found a new Troy. An epic of love and war often considered Handel's finest work, Giulio Cesare has a richly intricate plot and the bonus of a brilliantly characterised and outrageously seductive Cleopatra see Glyndebourne's Opus Arte DVD with the dancing Danielle de Niese as Cleo. Caesar, written for castrato, is often sung by a countertenor. A plot of jealousy, infidelity and treachery results in a cocktail of bravura music. A mix of old and new styles, poised at the birth of Romanticism, this is regarded as one of the key operas of the 18th century. Not one of the composer's best known, this opera seria is treasured by Mozartians as containing some of his greatest operatic music, hinting at glories yet to come.
Léo Delibes' Lakmé: The Flower Duet
Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop! If the word "opera" brings an image of a fat lady singing and sends you running away, you're missing out. Many operas are so famous that they've entered into pop culture. In fact, you probably already know more about operas than you think.
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In the spy thriller "Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation," Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt interferes with an assassination attempt that goes down at a live performance of "Turandot," Giacomo Puccini's final opera. While four people either try to kill or not kill an important politician, performers sing "Nessun Dorma," a beautiful aria that is also one of the most ubiquitously quoted pieces of music composed by Puccini. Afterward, I jokingly tweeted: "If you're going to an opera in a spy thriller, it's almost always Turandot. Why that opera, though? Why that aria, and not another one that also connotes imminent seduction? Why has "Turandot" or any other opera with one or two instantly-recognizable arias become a signifier for bombastic or hyper-stylized emotions? Here are the top five most-used arias, according to my own very subjective viewing experience, with some commentary about the different films it's been used in, and what the filmmakers might have seen in it. For many people, an "operatic" narrative is one that involves one of three types of women: a weak-kneed victim of consumption, a firebrand flirt, or an ice-queen villainess.
Fear not — here are some of the most famous tunes from the history of music, complete with all the background information you need. The official name of this piece is the Serenade No. Mozart himself gave the piece its nickname, when he jotted this name down in the log book he kept detailing all the music he wrote. It also featured prominently in the film Amadeus about the composer himself.