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Famous Quotes

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What is Opera?

Opera is music drama.
-- Richard Wagner (1813-1883), German composer

Opera is when a guy gets stabbed and instead of bleeding, he sings.
-- Ed Gardner (1905-63), American comic actor, writer and director

No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
-- W. H. Auden (1907-73), Anglo-American poet

I don't mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is in a language I don't understand.
-- Sir Edward Appleton (1892-1965), English physicist

Quotes by and about Famous Opera Composers

Bizet Quotes

Donizetti Quotes

Gounod Quotes

Puccini Quotes

Rossini Quotes

Verdi Quotes

Wagner Quotes

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Related Resources

Quotable Opera: Aria Ready for a Laugh?

What they said when they were not singing.

Here are hundreds of quotes that highlight the wit, wisdom and lunacy of the opera world. Luminaries Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, Caruso, Ruffo, Chaliapin, Melba, Sills, Callas, Toscanini, Beecham and other more recent personalities have had lots to say about opera, themselves and each other.

There are venomous quotes from critics and emotional outbursts by performers and listeners. One hapless society matron tried complimenting soprano Eileen Farrell at a reception in her honor with "My dear, you reminded me so much of Kate Smith." The comparison so rattled the diva Farrell that she blurted out, "Well, kiss my ass!" and stormed out.

Austrian conductor Franz Schalk is noted for the most emblematic words about opera life: "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

This book will be a delight for aficionados of opera.

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Opera Antics and Anecdotes

Opera singers are just like other people, only more so. Often unseen by their public and fans, they erupt in glorious, dazzling displays of human cussedness, using biting banter, one-up-manship, and even sabotage to deal with their main frustration, which is, of course, each other. The irreverent atmosphere backstage is often hilariously in contrast with the reverent hush out front. In terms of chaos on stage, yells from the balcony and intermission twaddle in the foyer, you'll meet dimwitted audience members, meatball tenors, vain soprano fatsos, stilletto-tongued conductors and old-time impresarios and general managers who didn't know their brass from their oboe. The Viennese conductor Franz Schalk said, "Every theater is an asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for incurables."

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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See also:
Middle Ages Music
Renaissance Music
Baroque Era Music
Classical Era Music
Romantic Era Music
Nationalist Era Music
Turn of Century Music

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