Archives: Opera 100

Puccini: Il trittico – Gianni Schicchi

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Puccini: Il trittico – Gianni Schicchi

by: Kevin Rogers

The rumour that the dead Buoso Donati left his fortune to a monastery prompts his relatives, who have gathered round his deathbed, all feigning grief to impress each other, to search for his will. Rinuccio finds it, but won’t disclose its contents until he is promised the hand of Gianni Schicchi’s daughter, Lauretta. The relatives persuade the cunning Schicchi to fix the problem of all Donati’s money going to the church. Impersonating Donati, in making a new will, he leaves all the money to himself, the relatives powerless to stop him. Upon seeing the lovers happy, Gianni Schicchi is satisfied.

Puccini: Il trittico – Suor Angelica

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Puccini: Il trittico – Suor Angelica

by: Kevin Rogers

As the nuns finish their prayers, Sister Angelica, sent to the convent by her family because she had an illegitimate child, tries unsuccessfully to hide her unhappiness at having heard no news of her family in seven years. Then, the Abbess announces that Angelica’s aunt, a princess, is arriving. The aunt coldly informs Angelica that her child is dead. Distraught at this news, Angelica pines to join her child in Heaven. She drinks poison, but is further grief-stricken when she realises suicide condemns her to Hell. She then prays to the Madonna, who guides Angelica and her child to Heaven.

Puccini: Il trittico – Il tabarro

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Puccini: Il trittico – Il tabarro

by: Kevin Rogers

At sunset on the River Seine, Michele, owner of a barge, watches the stevedores finish their work, unaware that one of them, Luigi, is the lover of his wife Giorgetta. Michele’s suspicions grow when he meets them both. When Michele departs, Giorgetta arranges a rendezvous with Luigi for later that night. Conversely, Michele begs Giorgetta that they return to their former love and happiness; she rebuffs him. When meeting Luigi, and tormented by thoughts of his wife’s betrayal, Michele kills him upon getting him to confess to his disloyalty. Giorgetta returns and, in triumph, Michele reveals the corpse of Luigi.

Beethoven: Fidelio

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Beethoven: Fidelio

by: Kevin Rogers

Leonore (disguised as Fidelio) infiltrates the prison of Don Pizarro to rescue her husband Florestan whom has been illegally incarcerated for two years. Marzelline, the daughter of Rocco the gaoler, has fallen for Fidelio, though she is loved by Jaquino, even though Rocco has promised his offspring to Fidelio. Pizarro, on learning that the minister Fernando plans to visit the prison, resolves to have Florestan disposed of; the task is given to Rocco, aided by Fidelio. Leonore prevents Florestan’s murder by revealing herself to a surprised Pizarro. Upon the minister’s pardon, she removes her husband’s shackles; Pizarro is taken away.

Britten: Peter Grimes

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Britten: Peter Grimes

by: Alexander Campbell

Ostracised by the stifling Borough community after losing an apprentice at sea, rough fisherman Peter Grimes takes on another workhouse boy. Only sympathetic teacher Ellen Orford supports him. When she later questions his harsh treatment of his new assistant, Grimes strikes her. Witnesses to this incite the crowd to march on Grimes’s hut. To escape them, sailor and apprentice climb down a cliff near their hut, but the boy slips. The apprentice’s disappearance is soon noticed, rumours abound, and a manhunt begins. Ellen and old sailor Balstrode help Grimes to escape by sailing out to sea and scuppering his boat.

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia

by: Alexander Campbell

Gennaro is drawn to a masked lady. His friends including Orsini insult her, unmasking her as the hated Lucrezia Borgia. She vows revenge. Her secret visits to Gennaro arouse her husband’s suspicions. The Duke sentences Gennaro to death for defacing a Borgia crest; Lucrezia must select the method of execution. Choosing poison she subsequently administers the antidote and facilitates Gennaro’s escape. Lucrezia entraps Orsini and colleagues and poisons them, then discovers the disguised Gennaro amongst them. Spurning her proffered antidote he tries to stab her until she reveals herself as his mother. Refusing aid, he dies. Explaining all, Lucrezia collapses.

Wagner: Tannhäuser

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Wagner: Tannhäuser

by: Alexander Campbell

Tannhäuser escapes Venus’s realm of bacchanalian excess. Wolfram leads him to the Wartburg, reuniting him with Elisabeth, the Landgrave’s niece. Minstrel knights then sing of Love’s purity, provoking Tannhäuser to recklessly extol carnality and the Venusberg. Elisabeth protects him from the scandalised knight’s swords. The Landgrave expels him until he gains Papal absolution. The mournful Elisabeth rejects Wolfram’s advances. Encountering Tannhäuser, Wolfram hears of the Pope’s damnation. Venus returns to claim Tannhäuser, but Wolfram reveals Elisabeth’s fidelity to him as her funeral procession passes. Tannhäuser invokes Elisabeth’s heavenly intercession. Pilgrims reveal the Papal staff has flowered – thus Tannhäuser is redeemed.

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin

by: Alexander Campbell

On Madame Larina’s country estate the bookish Tatyana meets Eugene Onegin, friend of the poet Lensky. Infatuated, Tatyana writes Onegin an effusive love-letter overnight which he returns, coolly admonishing her naïve lack of self-restraint. At Tatyana’s name-day celebrations Onegin flirts with her sister Olga, provoking Lensky. Pride preventing their reconciliation Onegin kills Lensky in a duel. Years later in St Petersburg Onegin encounters Tatyana, now a celebrated society beauty. Confessing love for her by letter Onegin then visits Tatyana. Although loving him still she tearfully rejects him, resolving to remain faithful to her elderly husband Prince Gremin. Onegin is desperate.

Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur

by: Alexander Campbell

Actress Adriana Lecouvreur loves Maurizio, giving him a posy of violets as a love-token. Maurizio meets the Princess of Bouillon, his former lover, passing her the posy to placate her suspicions. When Adriana interrupts them the Princess hides. The Prince arrives, and though jealous, Adriana helps her rival escape disgrace. The ladies recognise one another at a party, whereupon Adriana uses a dramatic recitation from Racine to insult the Princess publically. Backstage, a bouquet of faded violets is delivered. Believing Maurizio unfaithful Adriana kisses and discards them. Maurizio arrives. The reconciled couple discover the Princess has exacted her toxic revenge.

Mozart: Idomeneo, re di Creta

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Mozart: Idomeneo, re di Creta

by: Kevin Rogers

After the Trojan War, Idomeneo, King of Crete, is missing. His son, Idamante, loves the captured Trojan princess, Ilia; the jealous Elettra looks-on. Neptune calms a storm, and Idomeneo, rescued, must offer-up Idamante. To save Idamante, the King resolves to send him away to Argos with Elettra. Neptune, angry that Idomeneo is attempting to cheat him of Idamante, sends a monster; the people flee in terror. Idamante pledges to kill the monster, but Idomeneo again urges his departure. Ilia offers herself as Neptune’s sacrifice, which placates him. The Oracle announces that Idamante and Ilia shall reign; Elettra is deeply unhappy.

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