SUPERNUMERARY (20 Scrabble points) – Latin – A supernumerary is opera’s version of an extra. Supernumeraries have no dialogue and are directed to create a believable scene, when the environment calls for large groups of people. But they’re actors or artists in their own right. What would Gianni Schicchi have been like without the lively corpse played by Momo Casablanca? What would the Pagliacci circus be like without dozens of attentive audience members? Can you imagine the cinematic beauty of Paris in La Boheme without several spirited supernumeraries showcasing the quintessential Parisian “joie de vivre?”
PARLANDO (11 Scrabble points) – Italian – Parlando literally means “in speaking style” and refers to the moment when singers used technique to bring singing close to speaking. In other words, singers will sound like they are speaking, but using the rhythm and/or inflections used for singing. A famous example of this is mid-way through the famous aria, “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca (which returns next season starring Sondra Radvanovsky). See a video of Radvanovsky performing the aria below. At first, she sings along with the melody, but soon diverts (around the 1:15 minute mark) from the melody into a section where she’s singing in the style of speech (as if she converses with herself).
Looking forward to our upcoming 16/17 season’s revival of Tosca starring Sondra Radvanovsky? We’ve collected a couple articles for you to read before seeing the show next year.
SINGSPIEL (12 Scrabble points) – German – A singspiel, which literally translates to “sing-play” is a German comic opera that mixes spoken dialogue with singing. Singspiels are folkloric in nature, often having fantasy elements. If you are slightly more inclined towards musical theater, then singspiels are the opera genre for you. Famous singspiels include Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio (coming next season) and The Magic Flute (though our upcoming production has taken out the dialogue).
Excited about our upcoming singspiels? Learn more below.
CADENZA (19 Scrabble points) – Italian – A cadenza is an elaborate section (sometimes improvised) towards the end of an aria that allows the singer to really showcase what their voice can do, like the below “Flute Cadenza” in Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
Interestingly enough, Donizetti never wrote such a section into his original score for Lucia. The section was added to showcase Nellie Melba’s coloratura singing during an 1889 performance at The Paris Opera. Other famous singers (Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, and Beverly Sills) added their own flavor when playing Lucia. Check out Diana Damrau (who will play all four heroines in our 16/17 production of Tales of Hoffmann) tackling Lucia’s entire mad scene below, including the famous cadenza.
Can’t get enough Diana Damrau? Get to know Diana Damrau in the articles that follow and get in the Damrau spirit.
COUNTERTENOR (13 Scrabble points) – Latin – A countertenor is the highest, adult male voice type in opera. Countertenor parts are common in Baroque opera (watch Anthony Roth Costanzo sing “Stille amare” from George Frideric Handel’s Tolomeo below) but they also gained an increased popularity in the mid to late 20th century with the works of Benjamin Britten and Philip Glass. The title character in Akhnaten, which opens at LA Opera in November as part of the 16/17 season is a countertenor part.
Can’t get enough of the countertenor voice? We’ve collected a few articles and videos below to get you in the countertenor spirit.
Are you excited to find out what we have in store for our 2016/2017 season? We can’t wait to tell you! That’s why this week, we’re giving you some clues. Get in on the fun and guess what will be on our mainstage in the coming season, which starts this fall.
Just how well do you know opera? (And if you don’t, now’s the time to get excited.) There are two ways that you can guess the 16/17 season this week. Here they are.
Let’s Talk About Icons
Each day this week, we will release an image of an object that symbolizes of one of the operas in the coming season. We’ll roll them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and they’ll also be added to this post.
Comment below or on any of our “How Well Do You Know Opera” social media posts and guess which production the icon is from. If you guess right, you will be entered to win a special prize.
But that’s not all! All winners will be entered to win a GRAND PRIZE – two tickets to the Plácido Domingo and Renée Fleming concert on March 18.
Let the guessing games begin! In what opera might you see this?
CABALETTA (13 Scrabble points) – Italian – A cabaletta is a feature of Italian opera common in the first half of the 19th century. The fast, final section of a two-part aria, a cabaletta is animated, lively, and memorable. Think the end of the first act of Verdi’s La Traviata, when Violetta sings “Sempre libera.” Listen to Maria Callas’ rendition below.
Can’t get enough of cabalettas? Stay tuned for our upcoming 2016/2017 season announcement on January 26; you may be pleasantly surprised.
CAVATINA (13 Scrabble Points) – Italian – Cavatina is a short operatic aria in simple style without repeated sections. Norma’s famous aria “Casta diva” is a classic example of this. Short and simplistic or long and melodic, Norma’s incredible cast will surely blow you away.
Can’t get enough of Norma? We’ve collected some articles to get you in the druid spirit below.
Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma is arguably the ultimate girl power opera, with a fiery and dramatic plot that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. To help everyone get in an empowering mood, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 girl-power anthems for you to listen to until the opening night of Norma this Saturday. Here’s a list of 10 stellar girl power songs.
WANDELPROBE (19 Scrabble Points) – German – Like a sitzprobe, this means the orchestra and singers are rehearsing together for the first time with one small difference. Instead of just singing, there is some staging/blocking involved. Picture Captain Ahab singing along to the orchestra’s music and walking the stage in peg-leg, because Moby-Dick’s wandelprobe is coming up this Saturday!
The winds have shifted! The tide has changed! With the pending arrival of Moby-Dick, we’re on to sea words for #WordWednesday.
PEQUOD (18 Scrabble Points) – The Pequod is the fictitious whaling ship that Captain Ahab and his crew call home, as they sail the seas in search of the elusive white whale, Moby-Dick.
Moby Dick sails to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on October 31st, and the Pequod will be a stunning set to see, consuming the stage with ropes, masts and breathtaking visuals.
VERISMO (22 Scrabble points) – Italian – Verismo literally means “realism” or “truth.” It is a genre of opera made famous by Puccini, Mascagni, and Leoncavallo in the late 19th century – think cinema’s Italian neo-realism movement, but for opera.
ARIA (4 Scrabble points) – Italian- An aria is an operatic solo, accompanied by music. Similar to a monologue in a play or a solo in a musical, an aria is the truest expression of a character’s desires and soul; it’s an outpouring of emotion often occurring when a character is most vulnerable.
TESSITURA (9 Scrabble points) – Latin – Where is your voice most comfortable? Do you find yourself singing high notes easier than low notes or are low notes your bread and butter? The answer to these questions is what’s called tessitura in the music world.
VOX (13 Scrabble points) – Latin – Vox is the Latin word for “voice.” It may only be three letters, but don’t be deceived by its small size.
BUFFO or BUFFA (9 Scrabble points) – Italian – Have you ever had a good laugh at the opera and wondered how to describe it?
ZARZUELA (16 Scrabble points) – Spanish – This saucy term refers to a Spanish comedic opera, where characters can jump from spoken to sung scenes.
DIVA (8 Scrabble points) – Italian- while its popularly used to describe someone’s attitude, in opera, diva refers to a woman of outsanding talent in the world of opera.
Share Word Wednesday: Learn new opera terms for your next Scrabble game! Opera – the art form – draws from many different languages for its music and its terminology, making the language of opera rich with high scoring words. Because … Continue reading