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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    An Opera Poem

    So I'm taking a poetry writing workshop. Each week, we read and discuss a published poem; then the group leader suggests how we might use it as a prompt to create our own work, and we have just fifteen minutes to come up with something.

    Last time we read a poem addressed to the Blues; the assignment was to write our own apostrophe--an address to an absent person or abstract idea. Not surprisingly, I chose an operatic theme. For what it's worth, here's my attempt.


    To Wagner’s Tristan

    A moonless night, a lantern lately quenched,
    Two disembodied voices in the dark,
    Groping their tender way toward escape
    From daylight, duty, honor’s curbing bounds.

    Once more you weave me in your tapestry,
    Your siren ewig einig, ohne End,
    Chromatic swirl of free tonality,
    Seductive realm where love and death embrace.

    Resistant to your pull, your Liebestod,
    I cling to life, yet lose all certainty;
    Your frozen vortex draws me to the void,
    Where I have been forever, and remain.
    Last edited by Amfortas; November 29th, 2014 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Typo

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Clayton's Avatar
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    I liked reading this poem and would be interested to know if there is any further works.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Thanks, Clayton. Only a few other poems, and nothing else on an operatic theme. It was a fun workshop, and I took it because poetry is definitely out of my comfort zone. But I enjoyed giving it a try for a while.

  5. #4
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Claudia Muzio
    (1889 – 1936)

    I never thought I’d love an older woman,
    and surely not one seventy years my senior.
    But from the faded past, she reaches out:
    a voice that captures, captivates my heart.

    In times gone by, they called her “La Divina”—
    an opera diva, great tragedienne,
    the Bernhardt or the Duse of her day.
    Before Ponselle or Callas, there was Claudia.

    Born in Pavia, parents musical,
    she quickly showed her promise, stood apart.
    A voice made up, her listeners soon would say,
    of “tears and sighs,” “restrained interior fire.”

    Reclusive, shy, devoted to her art,
    she nonetheless found fame throughout the world—
    New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Rome—
    and set her seal on roles she made her own.

    Her Norma, Nedda, Tosca, Turandot,
    Santuzza, Leonora, Maddelena,
    Mimě, Manon, Desdemona, Aida,
    Cecilia and, above all, Violetta.

    I hear the pathos of those portamentos,
    those fleeting, floated pianissimos,
    especially in those final arias
    recorded just a year before her death.

    Her passionate “Adio del passato,”
    La Traviata’s deathbed-scene farewell;
    such poignancy revealed in that voice,
    when she herself stood poised upon the void.

    She left the world too suddenly, too soon;
    ironic fate: a failure of the heart.
    Just her recorded legacy remains,
    those faint mementos, faded memories.

    Yet when my own day comes, perhaps I’ll find
    no more dividing me from La Divina.
    For now I hear her darkly, through a glass,
    but then—who knows?—in glory, face to face.

    Last edited by Amfortas; June 3rd, 2019 at 08:28 PM.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    I've always admired people who can write poetry, as I'm totally inept at it.

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I've always admired people who can write poetry, as I'm totally inept at it.
    Just don't let that stop you. I never have!

    EDIT: Made some revisions to the poem above.

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    No, you write very well. About all I'm capable of are some smart-aleck limericks.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    No, you write very well.
    Indeed he does.

    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    About all I'm capable of are some smart-aleck limericks.
    I can't even do that! I decided to write one to celebrate my visit to Limerick and I got this far:

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard



    any suggestions for the last line will be gratefully received
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    Indeed he does.



    I can't even do that! I decided to write one to celebrate my visit to Limerick and I got this far:

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard



    any suggestions for the last line will be gratefully received
    It's weak, but it rhymes:

    "And that was all part of her plan!"


    This might be the first "selfie" limerick that I am aware of.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    It's weak, but it rhymes:

    "And that was all part of her plan!"


    This might be the first "selfie" limerick that I am aware of.
    I'll take it!
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    This might work but probably is not correct:

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard
    But her favorite voice is sopran
    O


    Or

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard
    The music was NOT from Alley Tin Pan
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    This might work but probably is not correct:

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard
    But her favorite voice is sopran
    O


    You're right, this is incorrect. Funny though!


    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    Or

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard
    The music was NOT from Alley Tin Pan
    Teehee! Keep em coming!
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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  22. #13
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post


    You're right, this is incorrect. Funny though!




    Teehee! Keep em coming!
    Just think of words that rhyme with Ann and then see how you can make them fit.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  23. #14
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    Just think of words that rhyme with Ann and then see how you can make them fit.
    I know! I went through all these https://www.wordfind.com/ends-with/an/ but couldn't find one with the right number of syllables.
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

  24. #15
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Lander (sospiro) View Post
    I know! I went through all these https://www.wordfind.com/ends-with/an/ but couldn't find one with the right number of syllables.
    Ouch, that may be too many rhyming words! I guess if more syllables, then less text in the line, so

    There once was a woman called Ann
    Of live opera she was a great fan
    She travelled the world
    and great voices she heard
    It was truely epicurean!
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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