If you are new to the world of opera, then this post will educate you on a little known fact that even some life-long opera aficionados do not even know and that I only came by quite recently; if, however, you have been an admirer of the art form for some time, you may be surprised to learn that some of the things you thought that you knew are subject to change depending upon what people are really conversing. If you belong to this elite latter group, or even if you belong to the former one and you have shown diligence in applying yourself to learning everything about opera that you can, you were probably just getting the hang of knowing precisely what someone means when they give you an Italian word such as appoggiatura, legato, vibrato, or crescendo, and you have probably been confident in your knowledge of what someone is saying when they refer to a 'florid vocal passage,' an 'extended line,' or an 'interpretation,' which is something everyone is supposed to understand, critique, and automatically dislike when a performer is not around, and I would wager you have even began to apply this knowledge of opera to what you see and hear, so you naturally know most of the composers for the major works of the repertoire, right? For instance, if I were to inquire of you who the composer of Manon Lescaut was, you would automatically be able to give me the right answer, but if that right answer is going to be Puccini, you could be sadly mistaken.
I recently learned that there was another version of Manon Lescaut, and it was composed by one Daniel Auber. It turns out that this version, which is even more remote from the novel by Abbe Prevost than Puccini's version, is written for a coloratura soprano, and it has many high F's. Here we find something interesting; why do works such as this, which are replete with vocal fireworks according to Wikipedia and to my limited hearing of the work, go out of fashion? There are other more frequent examples of this sort of thing especially among the Baroque composers, but I wonder exactly how many operas have the same title and are by different composers? Does anyone have any to mention?
Thank you all for reading, and thank you, Kim, for following my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it! I look forward to reading your posts enthusiastically.