So how did you do, loyal BRAVO reader?
In honor of LA Opera's production of Verdi's Macbeth, we challenged you to test your knowledge of Shakespeare and opera in the BRAVO 43 quiz prepared by Mark Lyons, self-described opera and Shakespeare geek and LA Opera’s Associate Director of Communications and Publications.
Here are the questions with the correct answers in bold. Be sure to follow the email link at the bottom to let us know how you did.
Question 1: Verdi, avid Shakespeare fan as he was, composed no less than three operas based on the Bard’s works. He very much wanted to write a fourth, working on it with two different librettists over the course of two decades, but it came to nothing. Name that play.
B. Romeo and Juliet
C. King Lear
D. Richard III
Question 2: Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette is one of the most frequently performed Shakespearean operas. Monsieur Gounod made a significant change to the play’s original ending. How does the opera end?
A. Romeo survives, but Juliet dies in his arms.
B. Romeo lives long enough to sing a duet with Juliet; they die together.
C. Romeo and Juliet drink poison together in a double suicide; the stage censors of Gounod’s era wouldn’t allow blood onstage.
D. Romeo is killed in the Act Three duel with Tybalt; Juliet kills herself in grief in Act Four.
Question 3: Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra was written for which auspicious occasion?
A. The inauguration of the new Metropolitan Opera House
B. The quadricentennial celebration of Shakespeare’s birth
C. A commission awarded in conjunction with soprano Leontyne Price’s Presidential Medal of Freedom
D. The Metropolitan Opera’s 100th anniversary
Question 4: In Bellini’s operatic adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), what is unusual about the role of Romeo?
A. Bellini didn’t like the tenor assigned to create the role of Romeo, so he made it a supporting role, with little music of any importance to sing.
B. Romeo sings an offstage serenade in Act One, but doesn’t appear onstage until the third and final act of the opera.
C. Romeo’s only aria was written by Bellini’s assistant after the composer’s untimely death. (It is typically cut in modern performances.)
D. Romeo is a trouser role, designated for a mezzo-soprano.
Question 5: Shakespeare’s Hamlet famously ends with a stage littered with corpses, including that of the title character. Ambroise Thomas took great liberties with the plot in his French grand opera adaptation. How does his Hamlet end?
A. Hamlet is the only fatality, stabbed by Claudius and Laertes.
B. Hamlet is proclaimed king of Denmark.
C. The opera ends with the wedding of Hamlet and Ophelia.
D. Having gone mad, Ophelia kills Hamlet.
Question 6: Which Shakespearean opera was the first production ever at LA Opera?
B. Roméo et Juliette
Big thanks to Mark Lyons and Bill Kennedy for preparing this quiz.
Click here to email BravoQuiz@gmail.com to let us know how you did and provide feedback.