In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera


Sep 29, 2014 5:59:00 PM
By BLO Staff

time I veer away from the YouTube highway and stroll down pathways of my own devising.
I guess I might call it phase one of DR. VON LYRIC'S OPERATIC BOOK OF
LISTS. As I mentioned in my last post remembering Licia Albanese and
her amazing 105-year life span, I am fascinated by chronology - the
seemingly random or coincidental juxtaposition of events and people that are
thrown together by the fortunes of the calendar. They might reveal mysterious
cosmic forces at work (or not). Anyway, here is a list of
"things" that happened in 1853 - the year of the premiere of La Traviata at La Fenice in Venice. 
  • First
    railroad through the Alps (Vienna - Trieste)
  • Wellington
    gigantea, the largest tree in the world, discovered in California
  • Napoleon
    III marries Eugénie de Montijo (Another fascinatingly long-lived figure – she
    was born in the year Thomas Jefferson died and died in the year Beniamino Gigli
    made his Met debut and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote This Side of Paradise.)
  • Vincent
    van Gogh and Carl Larsson born
  • Henry
    Steinway begins manufacturing pianos in NYC
  • Franklin
    Pierce inaugurated as 14th President of  the U.S.
  • Wagner
    completes text of the Der Ring des
  • The
    Crimean War between Russia and England breaks out
  • Georges-Eugène Haussmann begins reconstruction of Paris by tearing great swaths of
    it down
  • and...Verdi
    had ANOTHER premiere (Two months earlier than the La Traviata opening, Il Trovatore opened in Rome)  
A (inevitably
partial) LIST OF OPERAS (familiar and obscure) set in Paris (or environs):
  • La Traviata
  • ·       
    La Bohème
  • La Rondine  
  • Il Tabarro
  • Manon
  • Manon Lescaut
  • Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame
  • Thérèse
  • The Ghosts of Versailles
  • Andrea Chénier
  • Danton’s Death   
  • Louise (and its sequel Julien)
  • Adriana Lecouvreur
  • Les Huguenots
  • Capriccio
  • Fedora
etc....etc....etc...fill in
at your leisure.

Maybe this was a bad idea -
as I type, the list now seems endlessly…fascinating?...pointless?
Most certainly Paris is the operatic capital of the world (in this sense). Any
challengers? Any nominees for second place? Rome? (oddly)
for today...will follow up in our next chat with some more lists. 
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