Opera 100

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.

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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.

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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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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro [The Marriage of Figaro]

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: Le nozze di Figaro [The Marriage of Figaro]

by: Alexander Campbell

Count Almaviva has amorous designs on his wife’s maid Susanna, engaged to his valet Figaro. Simultaneously, the pageboy Cherubino is pursuing the Countess, unhappy at her husband’s apparent disinterest in her. After multiple indiscretions Cherubino is banished. Trapped in the Countess’s bedroom, he is rescued by Susanna’s quick thinking. Figaro owes money to the elderly Marcellina and must pay up or marry her. To the Count’s fury this debt is waived when Figaro’s true parentage is discovered. After Figaro’s wedding much intrigue takes place in the moonlit gardens. The Count’s infidelity and jealousy are revealed, but his wife forgives him.

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Henze: Elegy for Young Lovers

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.

Henze: Elegy for Young Lovers

by: Alexander Campbell

Egotistical poet Gregor Mittenhofer retreats to the Alps to seek creative inspiration from the visions of Hilde Mack whose husband disappeared on the mountains forty years earlier. His various admirers pander obsessively to his self-indulgent whims. Hilde’s husband’s body is found. Mittenhofer’s mistress, Elisabeth, tenderly tells Hilde the news thereby attracting Toni. They declare their love. Jealous Mittenhofer notices, ostentatiously blesses the couple and persuades them climb the Hammerhorn to collect him flowers. As a storm breaks out he deliberately fails to send help. Toni and Elisabeth freeze to death. Finally inspired, Mittenhofer cynically dedicates his poetical elegy to them.

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Verdi: La traviata

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.

Verdi: La traviata

by: Kevin Rogers

Violetta is introduced to Alfredo Germont at a party. He persuades her to abandon her extravagant ways, which would otherwise lead her to an early grave. Violetta supports their new life in the country by selling her possessions. Dishonoured, Alfredo leaves to rearrange his affairs. Meanwhile, Germont Senior persuades Violetta to leave because her shameful past insults his family. Alfredo, unhappy at this apparent abandonment, broods on vengeance. He confronts Violetta whilst gambling, and hurls his winnings at her for services rendered. Months later, Violetta is ill. Alfredo returns, and, whilst urging him to find a better wife, Violetta dies.

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Rossini: Il turco in Italia

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.

Rossini: Il turco in Italia

by: Kevin Rogers

Napoli poet Prosdocimo, writing a new opera, influences the lives of those he observes. Gypsy Zaida, accompanied by Albazar, misses her ex-fiancé and Turkish prince Selim. Geronio is concerned about his wayward wife Fiorilla; she seduces Selim on his visit to Naples and makes admirer Narciso jealous. Placating Geronio, Fiorilla agrees to meet Selim: he meets Zaida mistakenly and they renew their love for each other. Fiorilla is discontented; Selim vows to steal Fiorilla because Geronio will not sell her. Identities are mistaken at a masked ball; happily, Selim and Zaida, and Geronio and Fiorilla are reconciled, delighting the poet.

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Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen

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.

Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen

by: Alexander Campbell

A forester catches a vixen cub, taking her home. The resourceful vixen incites the hens to feminist rebellion against the cock before slaughtering them and escaping. Evicting the badger she settles in his home. The forester, schoolmaster and priest musing on frustrated love and ambition, each drunkenly encounter the vixen on their ways home. A fox marries the vixen. Defending their numerous children the vixen is shot by a poacher, Harasta. Dozing in the woods, the old forester is roused by animals, including one of the vixen’s offspring. He dreamily rejoices in the cyclical renewal of life offered in nature.

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Janáček: Katya Kabanova

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.

Janáček: Katya Kabanova

by: Alexander Campbell

Boris, financially dependent on his uncle Dikoj, loves Katya, a sympathetic woman married to Tichon, a weak man dominated by his harsh mother Kabanicha. Kabanicha taunts Katya for her passivity when Tichon departs on business. Varvara persuades the reluctant Katya to meet Boris one evening whilst she meets her own lover Kudrjas. Katya and Boris fall in love. A massive storm unsettles Katya’s reason. Unnerved, she publicly confesses her adultery. As others search for her she encounters the departing Boris, now banished to Siberia by Dikoj. After they part Katya drowns herself in the Volga. Tichon is distraught, Kabanicha unmoved.

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Verdi: Aida

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.

Verdi: Aida

by: Kevin Rogers

Ethiopian princess Aida is brought to be a slave of Egyptian princess Amneris; Radames, who loves Aida but is loved by Amneris, captains the force sent to repel the rescue attempt. Amneris tricks Aida into admitting her love. Radames returns triumphant, with prisoners – Ethiopian king Amonasro, disguised, pleads for the captors’ release. Triumphantly, Radames is betrothed to Amneris. An astonished Amonasro discovers Aida, and persuades her to get Radames to reveal Egypt’s military plans; Radames surrenders to Amneris while Aida and Amonasro escape. The Ethiopian forces are routed, but Radames will not disclose, so is buried alive, Aida with him.

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