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Opera Names: A Quiz

Megan Branch, Intern

Operas are always full of intrigue, suspense, drama, romance—and characters with really great names like Figaro, Egisto, and Gorislava. In Who Married Figaro? A Book of Opera Characters, Joyce Bourne, co-author of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, has written over 2,500 entries about the people behind all of those funny-sounding names. Here’s a quiz about some of opera’s  figures. Go ahead and see if you can get all the answers right in the comments. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the answers.

1. The clockmaker’s wife hid her many lovers inside of clocks to conceal them from her husband, Torquemada.

2. This earth goddess, mother of twelve, only leaves the earth to deal with disaster.

3. This very special bird has the job of warning Tsar Dodon of enemies.

4. The title character from the Britten opera that incorporates an audience sing-along and a well-known story from the Bible.

5. This character, from Puccini’s La Rondine, was a palm reader in love with a maid.

6. Gershwin’s seller of ‘happy-dust’ in Porgy and Bess.

7. Mozart’s Roman emperor who didn’t want to seem like a dictator.

8. The magician who helped to smooth over relationship complications in Handel’s Orlando.

9. This inventor made the mechanical doll that Hoffmann fell in love with in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann.

10. This ‘shadowy’ character was the devil in disguise, stole a soul after a lost game of cards and his signature aria is “I burn! I freeze!”.

Recent Comments

  1. Anna

    1 L’heure espagnol
    2 [no idea, although will probably feel very silly when the answer is revealed ]
    3 Golden Cockerel
    4 Noye
    5 [not likely to know without looking up – not a Puccini fan!]
    6 Sportin’ Life (I think)
    7 Tito
    8 Zoroaster (Zoroastro?)
    9 (blast, I can see the scene from one production but the name escapes me)
    10 Nick Shadow from Rake’s Progess

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