Tristan and Isolde a Legend of Passion and Romance

The legend of Tristan and Isolde is one of the most influential medieval romances. The original texts bears the tale of a love triangle between Tristan, the hero, Isolde, his uncle’s wife and Mark, his uncle. The story in the early traditions was altered and modified by alternative accounts with time, but the legend still held the captivating and thrilling romance originally expressed by the tale. It is from this legend that the Arthurian romance story of Lancelot and Guinevere was wrought. With time, the hero Tristan joined the Round Table fellowship of King Arthur.

Today, experts believe that there are two distinct traditions relating the Tristan legend. The earlier of these two comprises of romance accounts from two 12th century French poets, Beroul and Thomas. This account can be traced back to the most original Celtic romance. The second tradition brewed up later from the Prose Tristan. Prose Tristan went on to became the officially recognized medieval tale of the legend that is Tristan and Isolde. It is this tale that provided Sir Thomas Malory, the English author of Le Morte d’Arthur (1469), with raw materials.

Several other accounts came up before the 17th and 18th century and its these that formed the bases of the opera Tristan and Isolde. Ideally, Tristan and Isolde is a Continue reading

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The Operatic Legend in Madama Butterfly

The events purported to have occurred in Nagasaki at around 1886, triggered the genesis of one of the greatest operas to grace world theatres, Madama Butterfly. These events were compiled by Pierre Loti and transformed into a novel by the name Madame Chrysantheme in 1887. From there on, the story was picked up by John Luther Long in a short story that was later dramatized by David Belasco in 1898. Though these works of art had inclusions and exclusions to the original story, the flesh of the story was left intact, or even better, developed to maturity.

It was from these distinct sources that Giacomo Puccini gained his insight and composed a two-act opera before rewriting it into a three-act opera. He composed the opera on a libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Thus emerged Madama Butterfly, the opera. As already noted, the original version of this opera was in two acts and it premiered at La Scala, Milan on 17th February, 1904. The lead roles featured baritone’s Giuseppe De Luca, soprano’s Rosina Storchio and tenor’s Giovanni Zenatello. However, the performance was poorly received, largely because of lateness in completion and hurried rehearsals. This prompted Puccini to go back to the drawing board and remake the opera for success.

That is when he decided to split the single act to into two separate acts besides making other dramatic changes. The story of Madama Butterfly was still Continue reading

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The James Bond Music Collection

The James Bond 007 series was originally written by a British author, Ian Fleming, and published by Jonathan Cape in 1953. It is an action spy fiction film. Fleming further wrote twelve novels and two short story collections on the fictional character James Bond 007. When Fleming died in 1964, other authors were hired by the franchise to write the James Bond scripts, such as John Pearson, Kingsley Amis, Raymond Benson, John Gardner, Christopher Wood, and Charlie Higson. Besides the 22 official Bond films to date, the James Bond character has been adapted for TV, radio plays, comic strips, and video games. The last film, Quantum of Solace, was released on 31st October 2008 and the upcoming one, James Bond 23, is expected to be released at some time in 2011.

Bond enthusiasts can identify the films’ staple theme songs from the second beat downwards. The James Bond soundtracks are classic releases in their own right and when incorporated in the film they make up for an aesthetic quality incomparable in most productions. James Bond films bear the James Bond theme which was written by Monty Norman. In most of the 22 films so far, title sequences have been composed and sung by renowned composers and singers. The Bond singers have especially made the series a success, and include personalities such as Tina Turner, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney and Wings, Shirley Bassey, and Sheryl Crow among many others.

After 1962’s Doctor No, the only Bond movie with a purely instrumental soundtrack, is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Even in this film, the ballad Continue reading

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The Il Turco in Italia Masterpiece

It is rare to find an opera that has been composed on two variant librettos, and written by three reputable opera experts at different times. Perhaps this is what sets apart Rossini’s opera from the rest. Il Turco in Italia is an Italian version, which was the original, of the masterpiece opera, The Turk in Italy in English. This two-act opera was composed by Gioacchino Rossini on an Italian libretto re-worked on by Felice Romani from the one first written by Caterino Mazzolà. Rossini’s opera was largely set on a script of an opera going by the same title which was composed by Franz Seydelmann, the German composer, back in 1788.

This dynamic opera derived some distinct features from Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Così fan tutte was actually being performed just before Rossini’s opera was premiered. Nonetheless, despite the great influence of many artists, II Turco in Italia was the signature style of Rossini’s work, the harmonized overture. This strange inclusion perfected the opera and although it has not been prominently recorded, it became one of the most resonating characteristic styles of Gioacchino Rossini. Again, Rossini factored in a very unusually long introduction, distinct displays and an extended melancholic horn solo. The horn solo was simultaneously flagged by a full orchestral accompaniment just before it gave way to the most lively and purely comic theme of all time.

At the heart of II Turco in Italia is a comic opera, sifted the Italian way of an opera buffo. He composed it to completion in 1814, and released it for performance in the same year. The premiere performance of the opera was on Continue reading

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