Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Opera Wednesday: Revisiting the Ghosts

Pierre Beaumarchais is one of the more interesting characters in classical music, or politics, or any other subject you might want to discuss.  From the always-reliable Wikipedia:  Beaumarchais "was a French playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American)."  He wrote a couple of plays that were later adapted into operas, which you might have heard of:  Le Barbier de Séville, which became Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Le Mariage de Figaro,  which Mozart made into The Marriage of Figaro.  

One of the more creative operas of recent years is John Corigliano's seldom-performed The Ghosts of Versailles, which is based on characters from the two operas, as well as Beaumarchais himself, who Corigliano and librettist William M. Hoffman inserted as a character in the story.  Here is a clip from the 1994 world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by James Levine and featuring an all-star cast including Renée Fleming as Rosina, Stella Zambalis as Cherubino, Teresa Stratas as Marie Antoinette, and Häkan Hagegärd as Beaumarchais This is "Come Now, My Darling."

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