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Name this famous potion-drinking character: dreaming of marriage to the prince, this water nymph implores the witch Ježibaba to give her a potion that will make her human. It ends in tears.
Isolde from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde
Rusalka from Dvořák's Rusalka
Correct! Rusalka the water nymph falls in love with a prince and drinks a potion which gives her legs but takes away her voice. Things don't end happily…
Adina from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore
How many children did JS Bach father between the years of 1708 and 1742?
Answer: 20. But only ten of them survived infancy
Never one to stifle his own romantic affairs, which French composer said: ‘I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.’
Correct! It was Debussy. The French composer left his wife in 1904 for the singer Emma Bardac - who some years earlier had had an affair with Gabriel Fauré.
What did Richard Wagner and Cosima von Bülow call their first daughter conceived out of wedlock?
Answer: Isolde. She was born in 1865. Another daughter, Eva was born in 1867 and the couple's first son, Siegfried, in 1869.
Who wrote the opera Sir John in Love?
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Correct! The opera by Vaughan Williams is based on Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor - and the John of the title is the famous bawd, Sir John Falstaff
Which composer in the 1930s initially intended to keep his Romeo and Juliet alive, but later revised his plans and stuck to Shakespeare’s original plot?
Correct! Prokofiev thought better of changing the plot in the end…
When the Duke of Andria and Donna Maria D’Avalos were indulging in a little extra-marital pleasure in 1586, they had the misfortune of being caught in flagrante by her soon-to-be-murderous composer husband. And he was…?
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Answer: Gesualdo. The jealous composer then displayed the bodies outside his palace. Being a nobleman he was immune to prosecution - but he still fled to escape from relatives seeking revenge
Tomás Luis de Victoria
A hirsute beast from a classic 1933 film becomes infatuated with the subject of a famous Vermeer Dutch painting. Name the 1994 opera in which this unlikely scenario occurs.
The Second Mrs Kong
The Pearl Earring Fisher
Answer: Harrison Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong mixes modern stories, ancient mythology with a good dose of history too.
Beast and the Beauty
Which British composer died of pneumonia when his wife locked him out of the house after a late night out?
Answer: Poor Purcell probably died of pneumonia after returning from the theatre one night and finding he was locked out.
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