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Easy to eat opera overtures

Three – by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Wagner – you may not know

The king of opera, Gioachino Rossini
The king of opera, Gioachino Rossini

While opera remains the most acquired of the classical music tastes, opera overtures are pretty easy to digest. Some opera overtures are known to many who don’t consider themselves to be classical music fans at all. I speak of overtures to operas such as CarmenWilliam Tell, and Tannhäuser. Other opera overtures are well-known to classical music lovers. These include titles such as The Marriage of FigaroLa Forza del Destino, and Fidelio. Then there are opera overtures that are known by opera fans. This category includes opera overtures such as Ruslan and LyudmilaThe Flying Dutchman, and The Abduction from the Seraglio.


The list can go on and on. A quick Google search for how many operas there are yields some staggering results. It is estimated that some 40,000 operas have been written since the art form’s origins in the late 16th Century. Most of those have been forgotten but hundreds of operas are still regularly presented worldwide. Of those hundreds, here are three opera overtures that you may or may not have heard. All three are written by prominent composers.


The first is by the king of opera, Gioachino Rossini. His opera Ermione had seven performances in 1819 after which it was not heard again until 1987, 120 years after Rossini died. The setting of the opera is the aftermath of the Trojan War. This overture is unique in that it employs a chorus of defeated Trojans lamenting the loss of Troy’s ancient glory. The music packs a punch as do many of Rossini’s overtures. Should you want to differentiate yourself from mere mortal opera fans, go ahead and listen to the entire thing.


Video:

Rossini: Ermione overture




Opera isn’t the first idiom that comes to mind when the name Pytor Tchaikovsky is mentioned. Overtures do come to mind but the 1812 isn’t an opera overture. However, Tchaikovsky’s overture to his opera Mazeppa is everything that we love about the overt Russian emotionalist. It is dramatic and tuneful. The opera is based on historical fiction written by Pushkin, Russia’s greatest poet.

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Video:

Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa overture




The final overture is by Richard Wagner. Of course, Wager is well-known to everyone because of his “Ride of the Valkyries” from Act III of The Valkyrie. His prelude to Tristan and Isolde is a piece of music upon which the entirety of music history pivots. However, his opera Rienzi was his first success and the overture is a romantic delight to listen to. Rienzi was performed regularly into the early 20th Century. However, Rienzi just happened to be Hitler’s favorite opera and, like the name Adolph, it has rarely seen the light of day ever since. The character of Rienzi is based on Cola Rienzi, the last Roman tribune and a tragic champion of the people.


Video:

Wagner: Rienzi overture






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Wagner doesn't appeal to the young because he makes too many demands
The king of opera, Gioachino Rossini
The king of opera, Gioachino Rossini

While opera remains the most acquired of the classical music tastes, opera overtures are pretty easy to digest. Some opera overtures are known to many who don’t consider themselves to be classical music fans at all. I speak of overtures to operas such as CarmenWilliam Tell, and Tannhäuser. Other opera overtures are well-known to classical music lovers. These include titles such as The Marriage of FigaroLa Forza del Destino, and Fidelio. Then there are opera overtures that are known by opera fans. This category includes opera overtures such as Ruslan and LyudmilaThe Flying Dutchman, and The Abduction from the Seraglio.


The list can go on and on. A quick Google search for how many operas there are yields some staggering results. It is estimated that some 40,000 operas have been written since the art form’s origins in the late 16th Century. Most of those have been forgotten but hundreds of operas are still regularly presented worldwide. Of those hundreds, here are three opera overtures that you may or may not have heard. All three are written by prominent composers.


The first is by the king of opera, Gioachino Rossini. His opera Ermione had seven performances in 1819 after which it was not heard again until 1987, 120 years after Rossini died. The setting of the opera is the aftermath of the Trojan War. This overture is unique in that it employs a chorus of defeated Trojans lamenting the loss of Troy’s ancient glory. The music packs a punch as do many of Rossini’s overtures. Should you want to differentiate yourself from mere mortal opera fans, go ahead and listen to the entire thing.


Video:

Rossini: Ermione overture




Opera isn’t the first idiom that comes to mind when the name Pytor Tchaikovsky is mentioned. Overtures do come to mind but the 1812 isn’t an opera overture. However, Tchaikovsky’s overture to his opera Mazeppa is everything that we love about the overt Russian emotionalist. It is dramatic and tuneful. The opera is based on historical fiction written by Pushkin, Russia’s greatest poet.

Sponsored
Sponsored


Video:

Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa overture




The final overture is by Richard Wagner. Of course, Wager is well-known to everyone because of his “Ride of the Valkyries” from Act III of The Valkyrie. His prelude to Tristan and Isolde is a piece of music upon which the entirety of music history pivots. However, his opera Rienzi was his first success and the overture is a romantic delight to listen to. Rienzi was performed regularly into the early 20th Century. However, Rienzi just happened to be Hitler’s favorite opera and, like the name Adolph, it has rarely seen the light of day ever since. The character of Rienzi is based on Cola Rienzi, the last Roman tribune and a tragic champion of the people.


Video:

Wagner: Rienzi overture






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The latest copy of the Reader

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