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Subject: Re: OPERAS THAT HAVE CAST MEMBERS THAT ARE SINGERS?
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:14:43 -0400
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Well, I would say that "about" is maybe the wrong word to use from the get-go, but I 
think we can feel free to interpret that "about" somewhat liberally, to include operas that 
include floods and related incidents. I would add the obviously menacing coastal storm in 
Peter Grimes, and also Mahagonny for the hurricane that threatens the city but ultimately 
passes by it. 

As for "don't they all sing?" - the defining term we should use is "diegetic" singing - in 
this case meaning *characters* who actually sing, as opposed to the overall conceit of a 
cast singing the score of the opera.

The question here is whether we're only meant to include "professional" singers (such as 
Tosca) or including any characters who sing - Magda, for instance, who I assume is not a 
*singer* singer, but who does indeed diegetically sing what has turned out to be the most 
famous melody in the opera. 

I'm including some of both:

I don't think Meistersinger has been mentioned yet, so now it has. ;-) 
Tannhauser, in particular for the contest song that seals his fate. 
Anyone who provides a serenade - Don Giovanni, Almaviva, Alfredo (the end of Act I of 
Traviata), Alfred (Fledermaus), Turriddu, Beppe (as Arlecchino), even Mephistopheles...
Anyone who sings a drinking song - in Otello, Macbeth, Traviata, Cavalleria, etc
Carmen, with her song/dance/castanet entertainment for Jose. 
Eboli's "Veil Song."
Cherubino singing "Voi Che Sapete."
The music lessons in Barbiere and Fille Du Regiment.
Rosalinde as the Hungarian Countess singing the Czardas.

Stella in Hoffmann doesn't always sing, depending on the version presented, but she is of 
course a singer. 

One for debate - is the Commedia performance in Pagliacci literally sung? Or is it a 
spoken performance that we hear in musical terms as part of the opera? (Likewise, is 
Canio's "Un grande spettacolo" to the crowd at the beginning of the opera actually sung, 
or do we just *hear* it as such?

In the case of Ariadne Auf Naxos, I think it's clear that the commedia characters ARE 
singers, in addition to the performers in the opera itself. (Also, has anyone ever noticed 
that we never really find out who the 3 Nymphs are? They don't get featured in the 
Prologue as the others do - we meet the Prima Donna and the Tenor, but not the others.)





On Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:41:40 -0400, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>We actually had that one several months ago, something like:
>"Operas That Feature Characters Who Sing".  There aren't as many
>as you might assume, and you'd be surprised at the number of "but
>don't they all sing?" responses there were.
>
>This time, the most popular answer is the incident of the Rhine
>overflowing its banks at the end of you know what, but I insist
>that's all it is: an incident, not what the opera is '"about".
>
>dtmk
>
>On Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 12:00 AM, RAYMOND GOUIN <[log in to unmask]>
>wrote:
>
>> Now that we have reached the level of "operas that have floods?"  how
>> about it's companion piece, the above.
>>
>>
>> Really, this type of question makes the Met's opera quiz look like the
>> oral exam for a PhD.
>>
>>
>> Ray Gouin
>>
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