If Music be the food of Love...

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Question:

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. 

Response:

Isolde from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

Rusalka from Dvořák's Rusalka

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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

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Question:

How many children did JS Bach father between the years of 1708 and 1742?

Response:

20

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Correct! But only ten of them survived infancy

22

24

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Question:

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.’

Response:

Gabriel Fauré

Maurice Ravel

Claude Debussy

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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.

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Question:

What did Richard Wagner and Cosima von Bülow call their first daughter conceived out of wedlock?

Response:

Isolde

Brünnhilde

Eva

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Answer: Isolde. She was born in 1865. Another daughter, Eva was born in 1867 and the couple's first son, Siegfried, in 1869.

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Question:

Who wrote the opera Sir John in Love?

Response:

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Arnold Bax

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Answer: 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

Gustav Holst

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Question:

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?

Response:

Frederick Delius

Maurice Ravel

Sergey Prokofiev

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Correct! Prokofiev thought better of changing the plot in the end…

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Question:

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…?

Response:

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

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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

Carlo Gesulado 

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Question:

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.

Response:

The Second Mrs Kong

The Pearl Earring Fisher

Beast and the Beauty

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Answer: Harrison Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong mixes modern stories, ancient mythology with a good dose of history too.

 

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Question:

Which British composer died of pneumonia when his wife locked him out of the house after a late night out?

Response:

Hubert Parry

Henry Purcell

Orlando Gibbons

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Answer: Poor Purcell probably died of pneumonia after returning from the theatre one night and finding he was locked out.