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Thread: Is any opera story literature-worthy?

  1. #1
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    Is any opera story literature-worthy?

    I'd like to slowly tell opera stories to my young child. Then when he's aware of the story I can introduce the songs.

    But any opera I've seen so far has pretty lousy story lines.

  2. #2
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I do not know much about opera, but that surprises me. Carmen was based on a short story by Prosper Mérimée. Otello was based on Shakespeare's play Othello. Tristan and Isolde was based on an old Celtic legend.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Many regard Wagner's Ring Cycle as having high literary value. That being said, I like to think of opera as something that should be seen and heard, rather than read. That being said, I am also of the mind that Shakespeare's dramatic works should be watched primarily and read closely secondarily.

    Works have intentions -- Opera is no different.

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I'll agree with JBI. Good to see you are still around.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
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    Tales of Hoffman has 3 stories which could work like fairy tales. The middle part of Coppelia & Hoffman might work. Rigalleto, Don Giovanni, The Pearl Fishers & the Marriage of Figaro could be adapted a bit and that might work too. Tristian & Isolde - the idea of a love potion causing all manner of trouble would be a fine tale - and probably be be better without Wagner's renowned brevity. The Pearl Fishers - all of them could make bedtime stories that would not be too far off fairy tales.

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    I’d say very likely if the opera is any good

    The Greek choruses are sung, the epic poetry of Homer and the Old English bards was sung.

    So there’s a conjunction between great music and great literature

    Oh, and Shakespeare’s Songs in the play

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    There are very few operas that are not based on a previous work, play, poem or story. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Verdi's Aida are exceptions.

    The bizarre story lines W S Gilbert provided for Arthur Sullivan (the Savoy Operas, Mikardo etc) are totally original. Their acceptance in rather stuffy and old fashioned circles means their radical nature is often over-looked. The combination of Gilbert's black absurdity and Sullivan's charm give them thieir unique character.
    Previously JonathanB

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    Opera tales are like ballads out of control. All elemental passion with no social responsibility so most of the story lines are bonkers - like Shakespeare. Guess it's the tunes- unless you're Italian - that's the attraction

  9. #9
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ennison View Post
    Opera tales are like ballads out of control. All elemental passion with no social responsibility so most of the story lines are bonkers - like Shakespeare. Guess it's the tunes- unless you're Italian - that's the attraction
    I wouldn't say that of Benjamin Britten or Verdi's Don Carlos or Mozart's three sex comedies. There's a cool irony in Cosi Fan Tutte of Figaro.

    For a child, the tale of Mozart's Magic Flute is a strong possibility. particularly as there is some very approachable and hummable music.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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