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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Source material for opera

    Having just finished Rodenbach’s Bruges-la-morte, the source material for Die Tote stadt, and currently enjoying, Dumas fils’s La Dame aux Camélias, I’ve decided to embark on a reading project of source material for operas. Some I’ve read before and will be re-reading, some will be new to me. This is my list so far, with the proviso that I’m going to give all the all the Walter Scott novels a miss. I enjoyed Ivanhoe in the day, but I’ve never managed to get anywhere with the others.

    Beaumarchais: Le barbier de Séville ou la précaution inutile; La Folle Journée ou le Mariage de Figaro; L'autre Tartuffe, ou La mère coupable (The latter to see for myself what happens with the countess and Cherubino)

    Belasco: the Girl of the golden west (La Fanciulla del west)

    Crabbe: Peter Grimes from “the Borough”

    Dostoyevsky: The gambler

    Goethe: Faust, The sorrows of the young Werther

    Gozzi: Turandot, L'amore delle tre melarance (e-book?)

    Gutiérrez: El trovador, Simón Bocanegra (if I can find the e-books in English, or even at all)

    Hugo: Le Roil s’amuse (Rigoletto); Hernani (Ernani)

    James: The Turn of the Screw

    Mann: Death in Venice

    Melville: Billy Budd

    Mérimée: Carmen

    Schiller: Don Carlos; Die Jungfrau von Orleans/The Maid of Orleans (Giovanna D’Arco); Die Rauber/The robbers (I Masnadieri); Mary Stuart (Maria Stuarda); Wilhelm Tell (Guglielmo Tell), Turandot

    Shakespeare: Othello; The Merry wives of Windsor (Falstaff); Hamlet; A Midsummer Night’s dream; the Tempest; Macbeth; Much Ado About Nothing (Béatrice et Bénédict)

    Prévost: Manon Lescaut

    Pushkin: The queen of spades; Eugene Onegin; Boris Godunov

    Tolstoy: War and Peace

    Virgil: The Aeneid (Les Troyens)

    Please feel free to add to the list, make recommendations (links are always welcome), share your reading history and so on.
    Natalie

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Well, you know me. I have to add Sardou's La Tosca!

    And in a more Wagnerian vein:

    Gottfried von Strassburg: Tristan

    Wolfram von Eschenbach: Parzival

    Anonymous: The Nibelungenlied

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Sources that essentially *became* librettos:

    Büchner: Woyzeck

    Wilde: Salome

    Maeterlinck: Pelléas et Mélisande

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    No reading history to share; I've only read the FT for the past 15 years. I would like to read again La Dame aux Camélias and am also interested in Hugo's Hernani as well as Lucrèce Borgia. The first I will try to read (it has got to fit in somewhere between the opera, garden, cricket and Lagavulin) is

    Charles Maturin (play): Bertram; or The Castle of St. Aldobrand (Il pirata)

    I should (possibly) have finished this and be ready with another idea by the time you have completed your list and compiled your next reading list.

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nervous Gentleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
    Charles Maturin (play): Bertram; or The Castle of St. Aldobrand (Il pirata)
    I read that earlier this year! We must be the only two people on the planet who will have read it recently! It's very much in the Gothic mode so popular at the beginning of the 19th century and makes exciting (and creaky) reading.

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nervous Gentleman's Avatar
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    Wow! You sure got your work cut out for you!

    I highly recommend "Die Geier-Wally" (Vulture Wally) by Wilhelmine von Hillern. This was the source material for Alfredo Catalani's opera "La Wally" and it is a very enjoyable and beautifully written work in its own right.

    You can find the English translation that I read at archive.org:

    https://archive.org/details/vulturemaidendie00hilluoft

    You should also add to your Schiller list "Kabale und Liebe" (Intrigue and Love), the source for Verdi's "Luisa Miller."

    On the subject of Verdi, Victor Hugo's "Le roi s'amuse" (The King Amuses Himself), the source play for "Rigoletto," is also worth reading.

    Here's a direct link to download a pdf of an English translation of the play (though you'll probably want to read the original French):

    http://books.google.ca/books/downloa...pGVcgEbdTuY7xg

    Ángel de Saavedra's "Don Álvaro, Or, The Force of Fate," the source of "La forza del destino" is extremely interesting, but like the two plays by Gutiérrez, I had to order a copy in English from our local library.

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    Junior Member Recent member leonora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nervous Gentleman View Post
    Wow! You sure got your work cut out for you!




    Ángel de Saavedra's "Don Álvaro, Or, The Force of Fate," the source of "La forza del destino" is extremely interesting, but like the two plays by Gutiérrez, I had to order a copy in English from our local library.
    I actually have a copy of La fuerza del sino!! Which I bought in Swiss Cottage Market about 20 years ago!!

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