Opera Preview: Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini Thursday, July 27, 7:00 PM

Even though it was a disastrous flop in its 1904 premiere in Milan, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly has emerged as one of the most popular operas ever written, performed dozens of times a year in opera houses all over the world. Why? Madama Butterfly is a touching story of a 19th century Japanese woman who is loved and then abandoned by an American naval officer. More importantly, though, Madama Butterfly contains some of the loveliest and most poignant music Puccini ever composed. This free lecture, provided to increase the enjoyment and appreciation of Seattle Opera productions, will feature Norm Hollingshead, with recorded musical excerpts. Space is limited. First come, first seated. Sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library.

 

Opera Preview: The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Thursday, April 27, 7:00 PM

Mozart was a busy fellow in the summer of 1791, the last summer of his short life. He had a commission from the new Emperor for a “Coronation Opera” (which became La Clemenza di Tito in Prague in September) and also for a German language singspiel comedy for a talented impresario in Vienna. The singspiel, which opened as The Magic Flute in October, 1791, was a huge success. Finally Mozart had a money-making hit. But then, heart-breakingingly for posterity, he died at age 35. The Magic Flute has everything an opera-lover could want: serious life-and-death drama paired with some of the most rollicking comedy ever put on stage. Add in a hilarious feather-covered bird-catcher and a crazed Queen with dazzling high notes, and this opera goes over the top. You will laugh. You will cry. You will love this opera! This free lecture, provided to increase the enjoyment and appreciation of Seattle Opera productions, will feature Norm Hollingshead, with recorded musical excerpts. Space is limited. First come, first seated. Sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library.

 

Opera Preview: Katya Kabanova by Leos Janacek Thursday, February 16, 7:00 PM

Katya, in a soprano role, is a young wife in an unhappy upper middle class marriage. Her weak husband is an alcoholic, and both the young husband and wife are dominated by his mother, the Kabanicha. Not surprisingly, Katya is lured into an illicit love affair with a handsome young fellow from the city. Such improper behavior cannot be tolerated for long, and once the Kabanicha finds out, Katya is doomed. Janacek’s amazing music in this opera makes Katya’s final scene the most gripping in all opera. This free lecture, provided to increase the enjoyment and appreciation of Seattle Opera productions, will feature speaker Norm Hollingshead, with recorded musical excerpts. Space is limited. First come, first seated. Sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library.

Opera Preview: The Marriage of Figaro Wednesday, January 13, 7pm

This is a nearly perfect opera-hilarious comedy versus class conflict with touching pathos thrown in. Mozart, in his first collaboration with Lorenzo DaPonte, lavished so much glorious music on DaPonte’s libretto that The Marriage of Figaro, even though it caused a scandal when it was first presented in 1784, has never been out of the repertory. Audiences wouldn’t allow it! This free lecture, provided to increase enjoyment and appreciation of Seattle Opera productions, will feature speaker Norm Hollingshead with recorded musical excerpts.
Space is limited. First come, first seated.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library.