Category Archives: Opera

A Titanic Love Affair, Horse Chestnut Husk Dye and Mordanting with Moses the Chemist


My titanic love affair has little to do with those 12 sprogs/pre-Olympian gods of Uranus, less still the ill-fated ship of that name. I’m in love with the oxalate of a mineral element,  Titanium Oxalate (C4O8Ti) which is a new … Continue reading

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Inch of the Day 28 August 2015


At the moment I’m singing through Handel, 45 Arias from Operas and Oratorios which is a three-volume collection of sheet music edited by American pianist, composer, music editor and singing teacher Sergius Kagen and published by the International Music Company (New York). Continue reading

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What I’ve Been Singing: Le Spectre de la Rose: Les Nuits d’Eté: Berlioz


I had a first-time try last Friday at singing some of the songs from Hector Berlioz’ song cycle Les Nuits d’Eté (Summer Nights) the texts for which came from six poems composed by Theophile Gautier.

I’ve had a CD for some years of the song cycle recorded by the late great Janet Baker, so I was not entirely unfamiliar with it. I never thought at the time that I’d one day be singing it.

The theme of the cycle is love, its progress from innocence to loss and renewal. The second song of the cycle, Le Spectre de la Rose, began as a work for piano – Afforderung zum Tanz (Invitation to the Dance) – written, in 1819, by Carl Maria von Weber. Continue reading

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Singing in a Sling: Elle a Fui la Tourterelle: Les Contes d’Hoffmann: Offenbach


I can sing, in a sling!

I had a go at this aria a couple of weeks ago. There are many versions on You Tube. I like this interpretation because it is excerpted from a staged opera and thus live rather than studio recorded, or performed as part of a recital; and Diana Damrau has such a meaty dramatic voice.

The Tales of Hoffmann is an opera in three acts composed by Jacques Offenbach. Elle a Fui … is Antonia’s aria from the second act. Its most famous aria is from act 3, Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour, sung by the character Giulletta. Continue reading

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What I’m Singing: Non Lo Diro Col Labbro


This is an excerpt from the 1996 film version of Jane Austen’s Emma, with Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow) duetting charmingly with Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor). The song is an English version of a Handel aria, Non Lo Diro Col Labbro. The English song wasn’t created, however, until 100 years after Jane Austen wrote Emma. Ah, well, poetic licence … Continue reading

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What I’ve been Singing: Ebben! La Wally: Catalani


An opera in four acts by Alfredo Catalani (1854-1893), La Wally presents a romeo-juliet situation in which our heroine – Wally – (short for Wallburga) is in love with Giuseppe, the son of an enemy of her father. It’s set … Continue reading

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NaBloPoMo XXVIII: It isn’t Over till the Fat Lady Sings


“It isn’t over till the fat lady sings”

I won’t get time to write tomorrow, so I’m doing it today. Tomorrow I have a singing lesson in the morning and then in the evening, a rehearsal for the concert on Saturday. In between, I’ll probably need to lie down … Anybody who thinks singing isn’t a physical activity, … wrong! I know, it isn’t over till the fat lady sings – there is this lingering image of sopranos as large ladies. Continue reading

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