When I was a child, my Italian mother always sung songs from different operas. We would go to the library and she would get the tapes. While we were either studying or doing our chores she would have the music in the background.
As each song played with “extreme animation,” she would say, “Children, children, LISTEN, THIS is WHEN…” and she would describe the scene of the next song, so we would “understand” and “value” the beauty in the Italian lyrics and the music.
A few weeks ago, my mother called me. In her sweet Italian accent sounding very urgent told me, “YOU have to go to the Opera.” It was one of those motherly “it’s your duty,” remember “it’s how I raised you” to appreciate good music, you should “never forget” type of moments. I could hear this in her voice.
I was wondering where this was coming from. Turns out she had just received the Fall Opera listing! NOW, IT ALL MADE SENSE!
So, I am looking at what operas are playing…
A favorite of hers, that EVEN non opera fans would enjoy, is “The Merry Widow.” This is a lively operetta composed by Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár, it premiered in Vienna in 1905. It was so popular they translated it from German to English and it went International.
The story is of a wealthy widow from a small kingdom who goes off to Paris. The kingdom will collapse without her fortune, so the King sends a dashing man off to win her affections and bring her back to restore their kingdom to prosperity (short version).
Here are two lively YouTube videos from “The Merry Widow.” The first song is called, “We’re the Ladies of the Chorus.” The widow had been a dancer, so you’ll see some fun dancing in this video. The second song is a group of men singing about how difficult it is to court women. BOTH songs are in English. It’s very nice!
Give it a try…
Mom, this is for YOU — sharing with the world!!