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Why is opera so ridiculous?

Tom Service considers opera - capable of great profundity, why is it also so often ridiculous? Tom consults comic writer Armando Iannucci and soprano Lore Lixenberg.

Tom Service considers opera - capable of the greatest profundity and beauty, why is it so often also ridiculous? From Mozart to Birtwistle, Tom explores the highs and lows of this dramatic genre, and talks to two expert witnesses - the acclaimed comic writer Armando Iannucci, who is an opera-lover who sees the absurd side of it; and international soprano Lore Lixenberg, star of the high-camp Jerry Springer: The Opera, who recently opened a singing café in Berlin called Pret A Chanter where customers must sing rather than speak.
Pret A Chanter is a post-internet real-time opera that seeks to blur the boundaries between art and life. Anyone who steps over the threshold must abide by the rules of the opera. The main rule is: No Speaking. Only Vocalisations other than speaking are allowed.

10 days left to listen

29 minutes

Last on

Fri 7 Jun 2019 16:30

Music Played

  • Giuseppe Verdi

    La forza del destino (Overture)

    Orchestra: National Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
    • Verdi: 7 Overtures: NPO, Chailly.
    • Decca.
    • 4101412.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Nessun Dorma (Turandot)

    Performer: Luciano Pavarotti.
    • Select.
    • SELCD564.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Marriage of Figaro - Act 2 finale

    Performer: English Baroque Soloists. Performer: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 4398712.
  • Richard Wagner

    Die Walkure, Act 3; The Ride of the Valkyries

    Performer: David Zinman. Performer: Tonhalle Orchester Zürich.
    • Wagner in Switzerland.
    • RCA Red Seal.
    • CD88725479412.
  • Richard Wagner

    Tristan & Isolde - love duet

    Performer: Staatskapelle Dresden. Performer: Carlos Kleiber.
    • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON.
    • 002894775355.
  • Looney Tunes / Richard Wagner

    What’s Opera, Doc?

    Performer: Looney Tunes.
    • What’s Opera, Doc?.
    • Warner Bros.
  • Ruggero Leoncavallo

    I Pagliacci - Act 2, final scene

    Performer: Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala Milan. Performer: Georges Prêtre.
    • Philips.
    • 4114842.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Con onor muore (Madam Butterfly, end of Act Two)

    Performer: Maria Callas. Performer: Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala Milan. Performer: Herbert von Karajan.
    • EMI.
    • 5562982.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Magic Flute - Overture

    Performer: Christian Boesch. Performer: Martti Talvela. Performer: Zdislawa Donat. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: James Levine.
    • The Magic Flute.
    • RCA.
    • 88697527702.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Magic Flute - O Isis und Osiris (Sarastro)

    Performer: Christian Boesch. Performer: Martti Talvela. Performer: Zdislawa Donat. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: James Levine.
    • The Magic Flute.
    • RCA.
    • 88697527702.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Magic Flute - Holle Rache (Queen of the Night)

    Performer: Christian Boesch. Performer: Martti Talvela. Performer: Zdislawa Donat. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: James Levine.
    • The Magic Flute.
    • RCA.
    • 88697527702.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    The Magic Flute - Der Vogelfanger bin ich ja (Papageno)

    Performer: Christian Boesch. Performer: Martti Talvela. Performer: Zdislawa Donat. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: James Levine.
    • The Magic Flute.
    • RCA.
    • 88697527702.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    L’Orfeo - Tue se’ morta

    Performer: Ian Bostridge. Ensemble: Le Concert d’Astrée. Performer: Emmanuelle Haïm.
    • Virgin Classics.
    • 5456422.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Coronation of Poppea - Pur ti miro

    Performer: Magdalena Kožená. Performer: Anna Prohaska. Performer: La Cetra Barockorchester Basel. Performer: Andrea Marcon.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 4794595.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    L’Orfeo - A lei volt’ho il camin...

    Performer: Ian Bostridge. Performer: Le Concert d’Astrée. Performer: Emmanuelle Haïm.
    • Virgin Classics.
    • 5456422.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Coronation of Poppea - Pur ti miro

    Performer: Magdalena Kožená. Performer: Anna Prohaska. Performer: La Cetra Barockorchester Basel. Performer: Andrea Marcon.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 4794595.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Marriage of Figaro - Act 1 Sc.1 Cinque…dieci…

    Performer: Bryn Terfel. Performer: English Baroque Soloists. Performer: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 4398712.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Marriage of Figaro - Act 4 Cavatina ‘L’ho perduta…’

    Performer: Constanze Backes. Performer: English Baroque Soloists. Performer: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • ARCHIV.
    • 4398712.
  • Gerald Barry

    The Importance of Being Earnest - Miss Fairfax

    Performer: Barbara Hannigan. Performer: Katalin Károlyi. Performer: BCMG. Performer: Thomas Adès.
    • The Importance of Being Earnest.
    • NMC.
    • NMCD197.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Nessun Dorma (Turandot)

    Performer: Luciano Pavarotti.
    • Select.
    • SELCD564.
  • Charles‐François Gounod

    Faust - O dieu! Que de bijoux..

    Performer: Joan Sutherland. Performer: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Performer: Francesco Molinari‐Pradelli.
    • Decca.
    • 414450-2.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    La Donna e Mobile (Rigoletto)

    Performer: Juan Diego Flórez. Performer: Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. Performer: Riccardo Chailly.
    • DECCA.
    • 4758418.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    Song to the Moon (Rusalka)

    Performer: Anna Netrebko. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Gianandrea Noseda.
    • DG.
    • 4742402.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    quando men vo (La Boheme)

    Performer: Anna Netrebko. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Gianandrea Noseda.
    • DG.
    • 4742402.
  • Pietro Mascagni

    Cavelleria Rusticana - Voi lo sapete, o mamma

    Performer: Eugenia Burzio.
  • Richard Thomas

    This is my Jerry Springer Moment

    Performer: Loré Lixenberg.
    • Jerry Springer, the opera.
    • Sony Music UK.
    • 514792 2.
  • Gaetano Donizetti

    Ancor non giunse! (Lucia di Lammermoor)

    Performer: Anna Netrebko. Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Gianandrea Noseda.
    • DG.
    • 4742402.
  • Gerald Barry

    The Importance of Being Earnest - You are my little cousin Cecily

    Performer: Joshua Bloom. Performer: BCMG. Performer: Thomas Adès.
    • The Importance of Being Earnest.
    • NMC.
    • NMCD197.
  • Richard Wagner

    Die Walkure, Act 3; The Ride of the Valkyries

    Performer: David Zinman. Performer: Tonhalle Orchester Zürich.
    • Wagner in Switzerland.
    • RCA Red Seal.
    • CD88725479412.
  • Ruggero Leoncavallo

    Vesti la Giubba (I Pagliacci)

    Performer: Luciano Pavarotti.
    • Select.
    • SELCD564.

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