The Historic False Start of Carmen

Of all great operas of the 19th and 20th Century, Carmen stands apart as pure genius. Indeed, it has been rated amongst the best performed operas of all time since the 1880’s. Yet this same opera was shredded to failure by critics and given such a negative reception that its composer died of a heart attack soon after the first performance. The false start of the opera is a historic irony of how art is received by critics and the real value as discovered with time.

The Carmen story was first authored by Prosper Merimee in a novella published in 1875. Merimee’s story was partly influenced by another publication by Alexander Pushkin, The Gypsies, published in 1824. The Gypsies was a narrative poem and Merimee had read it in Russian in 1840, before translating it to the French he knew better in 1852. Carmen, the opera, was then composed by Georges Bizet on a libretto by Ludovic Halevy and Henri Meilhac in 1845.

The Carmen story has its setting in Seville, Spain, in about 1830. The eponymous Carmen is a Gypsy woman, loving, beautiful, and with Continue reading

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The Godfather Title Songs

It was the legendary director Francis Ford Coppola who in 1972 shrewdly turned Mario Puzo’s novel hero, The Godfather, into a masterpiece film chronology. The Godfather is today amongst the greatest film accomplishments of American cinema in modern times. But besides the marvelous production, his greatest decision of all was to assign the scoring of The Godfather title songs to Nino Rota, the Italian film composer, who is a legend by his own right.

Nino Rota had the experience of three dozen films in 20 years before he composed the Godfather music, and in his scoring he incorporated Neopolitan jazz stylings into the Sicilian melody sensibility demanded by The Godfather. The result was a success fantasy in soundtrack work. A good example of the amazing quality of The Godfather music is characterized by the perfect mournful solo trumpet, the film’s title song. This Godfather title song has become Continue reading

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Star Wars Music Up Close

Star Wars music was composed by John Williams for all the six Star Wars films, both in the original Trilogy from 1977 up to 1983, and in the Prequel Trilogy from 1999 to 2005. Star Wars Universe includes the music for all Star Wars video games and other Star Wars media. In this, John Williams scoring has gained fame and become a popular contribution to contemporary film music.

All Star Wars soundtracks are certified platinum in the Recording Industry Association of America. They have been shipped across the world to the tune of over a million units in volume sales. The album, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and also ‘Attack of the Clones’ have achieved Gold certification for having sold over 500,000 units each.

The double trilogy’s success has greatly relied on advanced visual innovativeness, a simple emotional appeal in the plot, amazing characters, and most importantly, the Star Wars music. It is the Star Wars films that Continue reading

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Revisiting Mozart in Don Giovanni

With the popularity and fame of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, almost everyone has an idea what Don Giovanni is. The place of Mozart in opera was just above the pack, and in his few years of life, he achieved what nobody less than a genius could have. This amazing two-act opera was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on an Italian libretto written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. The premiere performance was at Estates Theatre, Prague, on 29th October 1787. The legend retold in Mozart’s Don Juan, had been adopted in many works of art prior to his opera.

The final opera that is performed to date has gone through several revisions, additions and subtractions, since that premiere composition. Some of these modifications were made by Mozart himself, as he refined the opera during subsequent performances. There had been a libretto done by Giovanni Bertati for Don Juan in the beginning of 1787, which was regarded as inferior although it was performed in Venice that same year. Nevertheless, compared to Lorenzo Da Ponte’s work, Don Giovanni was by far superior. Indeed, of all operas that had been based on the same legend of Don Juan, Don Giovanni’s entry rose to an artistic acceptance and recognition that was, and is still, thought of as beyond comparison. Da Ponte’s libretto was more of a cocktail of the serious and the comic in both dramatic and music action.

After the composition was premiered in Prague, Mozart classified Don Giovanni in a catalogue of an opera buffa. Experts however vary in their analysis of the opera. It is however synonymous in most operatic discourses to Continue reading

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