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Five famous operas you need to know about!

Author SaadiqahSaadiqah, May 24th, 2023

A guide for what operas to look out for!

We all love an evening with a show, whether that's a musical, concert or comedy show but one genre that we think should be on your bucket list is Opera. Want to know where to start? Here are 5 top Operas that we think everyone should see.

1. Tosca

An intense opera in three acts, Tosca is set in the boiling turmoil of Napoleonic Rome in 1800 just before the battle of Marengo. Including drama, battle, and romance through the eyes of a desperate prima donna as she tries to save her lover.

Fun fact: Tosca is one of the most performed operas worldwide!

WHAT'S TOSCA ABOUT?

Caught in a love triangle of epic proportions, Floria Tosca is pursued by a lascivious chief of police who covets her more than anything and will go to dangerous lengths to have her. However, she only has eyes for her rebel lover, who is trying to stave off the invading forces of Napoleon's army. In order to save his life, she must involve herself in the treacherous world of politics - leading to disaster for all three.

2. Carmen

She might not have been the original femme fatale, but Carmen has carved a niche in our consciousness as one of opera's most dangerous women. An intense tale of love found and ruthlessly taken, Carmen is an intense and passionate piece, as lust and revenge go hand in hand making for a fiery finale.

Fun fact: This opera has been adapted into a film, Broadway and Ballet!

WHAT'S CARMEN ABOUT?

Stunningly beautiful and wholly aware, Carmen's habit of taking and breaking hearts can only lead to trouble for her and her bedazzled targets. Her short temper brings her to the attention of the kind and charismatic Don Jose, who falls head over heels in love with her.

3. La bohme

Prepare to be transported to the snowy streets of 19th Century Paris, where Puccini's group of ill-fated bohemians collide in this epic tale of romance and tragedy that echoes through the ages. A four-act tragedy, the story delves into 1830s Paris where a group of struggling artists lives in destitute slum conditions, yet are determined to celebrate love in all its simple glory.

Fun fact: This opera is very influential within the arts, for example, the hit musical Rent was based closely on this particular story!

WHAT'S LA BOHME?

When Rodolfo helps his pretty neighbor Mimi to find her keys in the dark, their hands touch, and attraction flares within them. The story then moves on over the course of a few months, where Mimi is found to be terminally ill from consumption; despite having broken up, Rodolfo cares for her deeply and is heartbroken to hear that she is dying. He carries her upstairs to his couch and caresses her, as she slips away in his arms.

4. The Magic Flute

Created by Mozart, this opera includes the quest for truth, reason, love and understanding. This particular opera is an innovative form called singspiel', which is where it combines both singing and spoken dialogue, similar to the Broadway shows we know and love. The Magic Flute blends romance, comedy, fairy tale Egyptian mythology and Masonic elements.

Fun fact: This was the last composed opera by Mozart!

WHAT'S THE MAGIC FLUTE?

Pursued by a serpent in a strange land between the sun and the moon. He soon finds himself at the center of a wild adventure when he is saved by the mysterious handmaidens of the commanding Queen of the Night. Sent on a mission to save the Queen's captured daughter Pamina with a magic flute and bumbling servant Papageno, Tamino discovers his trials have just begun as he loses his heart to the Princess and comes to realize that the nature of good and evil in this odd place may not be as clear as they first appear.

5. Don Giovanni

Mozart's libertine philanderer is plunged into an abstract architectural landscape, where his story of unavenged justice plays out. This opera is remarkably timely given its setting in feudal Europe prior to the French Revolution, where crimes committed by the rich and powerful go unpunished.

Fun fact: This opera is the first to use the instrument Trombone'!

WHAT'S DON GIOVANNI?

Don Giovanni, a notorious lech, and rapist, attempts to carry off the virginal Donna Anna against her will and kills her elderly father in cold blood after he is caught. However, Giovanni escapes with his identity hidden by a mask, and Donna Anna is filled with a lust for vengeance against the masked attacker. Proud, arrogant, and cruel to the last, Giovanni is confronted by the specter of Anna's father who asks him to repent; he refuses and is consumed by flames and sent to hell. The entire party gathers and ruminates on Giovanni's now-cursed fate.

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