A Valentine’s Day quiz

Test your musical knowledge with our ten love-themed questions

Romeo and Juliet

How much do you know about the music of love? It's time to get romantic…
(Answers at foot of the page)


1. Name the following operas in which potion speeds the course of love:
a) An Irish princess makes the Breton noble who killed her fiancé join her in drinking a lethal potion by way of atonement. In fact, it makes them fall in love with each other

b) After reading the story of the above characters, Nemorino buys a ‘love potion’ to help him win the affection of the lovely Adina. The potion turns out to be wine
c) Dreaming of marriage to the Prince, a water nymph implores the witch Jezibaba to give her a potion that will make her human

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


3. Never one to stifle his own romantic affairs, which French composer said the following: ‘I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it’?


4. Who wrote the Falstaff-inspired opera Sir John in Love?


5. A leading British composer had a long-standing affair with the below pianist. Name both the pianist and the composer.


6. What did Richard Wagner and Cosima von Bülow call a) their first daughter; and b) their first son?


7. Which composer initially intended to keep his Romeo and Juliet alive in his 1935 ballet, but later revised his plans and stuck to Shakespeare’s original plot?


8. When the Duke of Andria and Donna Maria D’Avalos were indulging in a little ex-marital pleasure in 1586, they had the misfortune of being caught in flagrante by her soon-to-be-murderous composer husband. And he was…?


9. In a 1994 opera, a hirsute beast from a classic 1933 film becomes infatuated with the subject of a famous 1665 Dutch painting. Name the film, the painting and the opera in which this unlikely scenario occurs.


10. Which composer died of pneumonia in 1695 allegedly due to his wife had locking him out of the house after a late night out?




1. a) Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde; b) Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore; c) Dvorák’s Rusalka

2. 20

3. Claude Debussy

4. Ralph Vaughan Williams

5. Harriet Cohen; Arnold Bax

6. a) Isolde; b) Siegfried

7. Sergei Prokofiev

8. Carlo Gesualdo

9. Film: King Kong; Painting: Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring; Opera: Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs Kong


10. Henry Purcell