Bizet's Carmen premiered in 1875. Despite its lackluster opening in Paris, the opera gained popularity outside its home country. Eventually, after Bizet's death, Carmen became a huge success and continues to be one of the most performed operas today. Its music is lauded by many for its ability to convey the characters emotions along with the atmosphere of the setting. With Carmen's memorable melodies, unforgettable arias, and riveting libretto, it is certainly easy to understand why the opera is adored by millions of people. Learn the synopsis of Bizet's Carmen.
There have been a few song birds singing outside my bedroom windows the last few day, and their delightful melodies reminded me of Bizet's famous aria, "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle," sung towards the end of the first act of his opera, Carmen. Learn the lyrics to this incredibly famous aria.
Here's another composer born in the month of May - May 17, 1866, to be exact. Unlike Johannes Brahms (in an earlier blog post), Erik Satie never took classical music too seriously. He was eccentric joker with a rebellious spirit, which you can often hear throughout many of his compositions. Learn more about the life of Erik Satie.
For those of you with plans to travel to Europe to experience all of its many wonderful cultures, you might want to add a few of these important classical music sights to your itinerary. From the world's most beloved composers' birth houses and apartments (often accompanied by quaint museums with original artifacts and manuscripts) to their grave sites (where you can give your respect and genuflect), you can immerse yourself in classical music history and appreciation. Here are 12 classical music sights to see while in Europe.
181 years ago, the great romantic period composer, Johannes Brahms, was born. With two musical parents, he was introduced to several instruments through lessons in cello, horn, and piano. Aside from his robust desire to learn and study music, Johannes Brahms was a voracious reader. By the time of his death he had collected over 800 books in his personal library. Learn more about the life of Johannes Brahms in this profile.
When its world premier took place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1910, Puccini's opera, La Fanciulla del West, was initially quite successful. However, overseas the opera was less favored and performed much less. Today, a performance of La Fanciulla del West is definitely a rare occurrence due to the fact that his other operas are extremely popular and almost religiously adored. Learn the synopsis of La Fanciulla del West.
At the time of its premiere in 1651, Francesco Cavalli's three act opera, La Calisto, wasn't much of a success. However, it has enjoyed a modest amount of success as modern day opera companies have been performing the work more frequently. Learn the synopsis of La Calisto.
Antonio Vivaldi was a prolific baroque period composer best known for his famous program music, The Four Seasons. Not only was he a composer, he also served as a Catholic priest and was virtuosic violin player. Learn more about the life of Antonio Vivaldi.
Because of its content, the work is often performed during Advent and Epiphany, when the Catholic church ponders and meditates on the mysteries of Blessed Mary and her virgin birth. I find myself listening to it throughout the year when I need a bit of peace and calm. Learn the lyrics to "Alma Redemptoris Mater" (with a link to the recording inside).
Published in 1725, in a set of twelve concerto's entitled Il cement dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Test of Harmony and Invention), each concerto is in the distinct form of fast-slow-fast movements. Vivaldi wrote the individual Sonnets to go along with each movement of the Four Seasons. What's amazing is how accurately he musically portrays each Sonnet without losing the overall quality and balance of the work. His work especially appealed to the French. King Louis XV took a liking to 'Spring' and ordered it to be performed at the most unexpected moments. Read the Spring Sonnet and listen to the Spring Concerto.