April 17, 2019

A Romantic Night at the Opera

Posted 9/8/2017

Looking for a romantic date night? Look no further! Though operatic tales of love don’t always end well, Lyric’s 2017/18 season features several couples who live happily ever after.

Kicking off the season on September 23rd is Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice; the story of a man who goes to great lengths — all the way to the Hades — to reclaim his lost love. When Orpheus’ wife, Eurydice, tragically dies, Cupid appears and offers him the chance to bring her back to life under one condition: he is now allowed to look at her on their journey from the Underworld. Orpheus, however, breaks his promise to Cupid, turning around at Eurydice’s urging. She immediately dies, leaving Orpheus heartbroken once again. Just when it seems that all is lost, Cupid revives Eurydice once again, and the two join in a song of praise and celebration.


The title character of Puccini’s Turandot is initially less-than-receptive of any attempts to woo her. Every suitor who wishes to win her hand in marriage must answer her three riddles — or face beheading. When the young Prince of Tartary sees Turandot, he instantly falls in love, and though he is well aware of the risks, attempts her riddles. He is successful, but gives her one last chance to retain her independence. If she is able to discover his real name by sunrise, he will willingly suffer the same fate as her other suitors. Some bloodshed follows, but she is ultimately unsuccessful. Turandot is enraged, but with a kiss, the Prince wins her heart. He reveals his name to her — Calaf — and she spares him, declaring her love for him to the entire kingdom.


Bellini’s I Puritani is the story of a romance that triumphs over war and prejudice. Elvira, a Puritan woman, and Arturo, a Royalist, are engaged to be married — despite belonging to rival factions. However, Arturo’s loyalty to the king leads him to betray the Puritans. When Riccardo (a Puritan and Arturo’s romantic rival) reveals this, Arturo becomes a fugitive. Without him, Elvira goes mad with longing.

After several months, Arturo and Elvira reunite in the woods. Their happy reunion is cut short when Riccardo arrives announcing Arturo’s death sentence. Just when it seems the two will never see their happy ending, we learn that the Royalists have fallen, and all prisoners have been pardoned. Arturo, Elvira, and the Puritan people express their joy in song.


Opera reminds us that even when things are at their darkest, there is always hope that love will prevail. Experience how Gluck, Puccini, Bellini, and more express love through music this season at Lyric! Treat yourself to a romantic night at the opera with your special someone. 

Photo: Todd Rosenberg