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Opera Guide - Atlanta Opera


  • pg 1
									      dennis hanthorn - Zurich General Director

OctOber 2,5,8,iO (M), 2OiO

    Opera Guide
tAbLe OF cONteNtS
Welcome ............................................................................................................................................ 03

What to Expect at the Opera ........................................................................................................... 04

Cast of Characters and Synopsis ...................................................................................................... 06

Meet the Cast .................................................................................................................................... 09

Meet the Composer ......................................................................................................................... 14

Life Reflected in Art ........................................................................................................................... 16

La bohème in the 21st Century ........................................................................................................ 18

Who Are Bohemians Anyway? ......................................................................................................... 19

The Paris of La bohème..................................................................................................................... 21

Puccini’s Early Poverty and Political Beliefs ..................................................................................... 23

Literature in Puccini’s Time ............................................................................................................... 26

Science in Puccini’s Time .................................................................................................................. 28

Opera Then & Now ........................................................................................................................... 34

A Look at Etymology ......................................................................................................................... 38

Get With the Program ...................................................................................................................... 40

Coming from Everywhere ................................................................................................................ 42

How Much are the Tickets? .............................................................................................................. 44

Form in Music and Poetry ................................................................................................................. 46

It’s All In How You Say It .................................................................................................................... 49

Act II Finale......................................................................................................................................... 52

History of Opera in Atlanta ............................................................................................................... 54

Special Thanks .................................................................................................................................. 56

Appendix ............................................................................................................................................ 57

Fall 2010

Dear Educator:

Hello and thank you for joining us for this production of Puccini’s classic, La bohème. The most
frequently performed opera in North America, La bohème has been delighting audiences since
its premiere in 1896. This opera has some of the most quoted music in the mainstream today,
and you and your students will instantly recognize some of the melodies as you are carried back
to an era of carefree innocence, bold dreams and bonhomie.

The Atlanta Opera Student Shorts are fully-staged, abbreviated versions of the mainstage pro-
duction. La bohème Student Shorts will feature the full Atlanta Opera Chorus and Orchestra,
and will include Acts I and II of the opera (lasting approximately one hour).

This will be the first opera experience for many of your students, and will be most thoroughly
enjoyed with a bit of preparation before they arrive at the theater. The guide has been
developed to acquaint both you and your students with the opera La bohème, as well as to
familiarize students with the world of opera (vocabulary, history, etc.) Our goal is to provide
you with an innovative, multidisciplinary approach to teaching required skills and curriculum,
including Georgia Performance Standards and National Arts Standards. Where applicable,
you will find the corresponding standard(s) in parenthesis at the end of each activity or lesson.

Thank you again for allowing us to share this opera with you. It is our sincere hope that you
enjoy the experience, and look forward to seeing you and your students at the opera!

The Atlanta Opera Education Department

the Atlanta Opera center
1575 Northside Drive
Building 300, Suite 350
Atlanta, GA 30318

WHAt tO eXPect At tHe OPerA
Are you unsure about how to act, what to wear or what you are going
to see at the Opera? You are not the only one! Many others, students
and adults, are apprehensive about their first trip to the opera. Read the
truth behind some of the most popular opera myths and see if they
answer some of your questions about the opera as well!

Not true! Operas tell some of the most interesting, scandalous and beautiful stories of all time.
It is not unusual to find love triangles, murders, fatal illnesses and messages from beyond the grave.

             THE STORY.

We can help! It is true that many operas, like La bohème, are sung in languages other than
English. This Atlanta Opera production will be sung in German with English dialogue. Since most
people in our audience do not speak German, we project English translations, called supertitles,
of the opera on screens above the stage. This way, you can follow along even if you do not
understand the language. You also can read the synopsis of the opera before you arrive.
Knowing the story will also help you follow along.

While many people like to dress up when they go to the opera, it is definitely not required.
Wear something that makes you feel comfortable, but remember that it is a special event
and you may want to wear something a little nicer than ripped jeans and a sweatshirt.

You don’t want to miss the beginning! At most opera houses, the ushers will not seat you
if you arrive after the opera has begun, as it is disturbing to the rest of the audience and the
performers. If you arrive late, you may need to wait until after the first act before you can enter
the hall. There is no late seating for opera performances at The Cobb Energy Centre.

WHAt tO eXPect At tHe OPerA (cont.)

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

1. Remember: the opera is a live performance. You can hear the performers on stage, and that
    means they can hear you too! Please refrain from talking or whispering during the opera. It is
    distracting to others around you as well as to the singers. Please do not leave your seat during
    the performance. The Student Shorts of La bohème will be one hour with no intermission.

2. If you have them, please turn off all cell phones, pagers, beeping watches and anything else
    that may go “beep” in the night!

3. Please do not take photographs, video or audio recordings of the performance.

4. If you like what you have seen and heard, let the performers know! It is okay to applaud at
    the end of songs, called arias, and at the end of a scene. If you really liked what you heard,
    call out “bravo” (to the men on stage), “brava” (to the women) and “bravi” (for all on stage).
    And, of course, a standing ovation is always welcome!

tHe cASt OF cHArActerS
rodolfo – a writer; Marcello’s roommate

Marcello – a painter; Rodolfo’s roommate

colline – a philosopher

Schaunard – a musician

benoit – landlord of Rodolfo and Marcello

Mimì – a poor seamstress; neighbor of Rodolfo and Marcello

Musetta – Marcello’s ex-girlfriend

Alcindoro – Musetta’s wealthy new love interest

Photos from The Atlanta Opera’s production of La bohème, 2005 (Tim Wilkerson)

SYNOPSiS (cont.)
Act i
In a garret in Paris on a cold Christmas Eve
Rodolfo and Marcello make light of the fact that they cannot afford to turn on their heat or buy
firewood by offering to sacrifice their works of art to build a fire. Their friends Colline and Schau-
nard come to visit them. Schaunard brings food and wine and is excited to share his newfound
wealth and tell them all about his most recent job. Their landlord, Benoit, interrupts their jovial-
ity asking for the rent. The friends tease Benoit until he leaves the garret in a furious state. They
decide to go out and celebrate Christmas Eve at the Café Momus. Rodolfo insists on staying a few
minutes longer to complete an article, and tells his friends he will meet them later at the Café as
they leave. Rodolfo hears a faint knock at the door. He finds a young woman named Mimì asking
him to light her candle that has blown out. Overcome by a cough, she faints in his arms. Rodolfo
quickly gives her a bit of wine to revive her. Mimì’s candle goes out again, and she drops her key
in the confusion. Rodolfo sees an opportunity to stay with her longer, blows out his own candle
and hides her key in his pocket. He touches her hand, which is stone cold, and they sing to each
other about their lives (“Che gelida manina” – Rodolfo, “Sì, Mi chiamano Mimì” – “Mimì, O soave
fanciulla” – duet). They leave the garret together to join Rodolfo’s friends at Café Momus.

Act ii
Later that evening at Café Momus
A crowd of people are in the square outside the Café Momus - children are playing, street vendors
are advertising their goods, and people are celebrating. Rodolfo purchases a bonnet for Mimì,
Colline purchases a coat, and Schaunard purchases a horn. Mimì, Rodolfo and his friends find a
seat at the Café. Almost immediately after they are seated, Marcello’s high-spirited ex-girlfriend,
Musetta, busts into the Café with Alcindoro, her new wealthy love interest. Musetta, trying to
attract Marcello’s attention, sings a beautiful waltz about how admired she is by all the men she
meets. Seeing that she has Marcello’s attention, Musetta sends Alcindoro away to buy her new
shoes. The moment Alcindoro leaves, Musetta falls into Marcello’s arms. Schaunard realizes that
all of his money is gone, and he cannot pay the bill for his friends’ feast. Musetta convinces the
waiter to put the bill on Alicindoro’s tab. The friends leave together, carrying Musetta over their
shoulders as Alcindoro returns with Musetta’s shoes and a large bill awaiting him.

the Atlanta Opera Student Shorts will stop here, but the full opera continues on…

SYNOPSiS (cont.)
Act iii
Months later outside the tavern where Musetta and Marcello live;
Rodolfo is sleeping inside the tavern, and Mimì, who is obviously unwell, approaches Marcello in
desperation because her relationship with Rodolfo is in trouble. She can no longer tolerate his
relentless jealousy. Hearing Rodolfo emerge from the tavern, Mimì hides, as not to be seen. At first,
Rodolfo insists that Mimì flirts too much with other men. He later confesses that he cannot stand to
see Mimì so ill, especially when there is nothing he can do to help her. Overwhelmed by Rodolfo’s
confession, Mimì emerges from her hiding spot, and the two embrace. Mimì and Rodolfo remem-
ber the good times they had while Marcello and Musetta quarrel in the background. The idea of
separation is too difficult for the couple, so they agree to stay together through one more spring.

                                              Act iV
                                              Months later in the garret
                                              Mimì and Musetta have left Rodolfo and Marcello for two
                                              wealthy men. Marcello and Rodolfo lament their lost loves
                                              in the garret. Colline and Schaunard enter the garret bear-
                                              ing food and drink to lighten their spirits. The four friends
                                              horse around until Musetta interrupts their merriment with
                                              heartbreaking news: Mimì is downstairs, too ill to climb the
                                              stairs. Rodolfo rushes to her aide as Musetta explains that
                                              Mimì begged to be taken to Rodolfo so she could die by
                                              his side. The friends sell their most prized possessions,
La bohème, 2005 (Tim Wilkerson)               including the coat Colline purchased at their outing to
Café Momus, to afford medicine and a doctor. Alone at last, Mimì and Rodolfo reminisce about
their first days together. Musetta returns to give Mimì a muff to warm her hands. Before Marcello
can return with a doctor, Mimì dies quietly. Rodolfo stays by her side, mourning her loss and
crying out her name. Courtesy of Opera News

Meet tHe cASt
                      Gregory Vajda
                      Atlanta Opera Debut: Romeo & Juliette, 2007
                      Hailed as a “young titan” by the Montreal Gazette, Gregory Vajda is one of the most sought-after conductors in the
                      international scene. After completing his tenure as assistant conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in
                      200, Vajda took over as resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 200-0 season.
In 200, he was appointed Artistic and Music Director of Music in the Mountains, CA. Highlights of this season include a subscription
series with the Oregon Symphony featuring the US premiere of his work Duevoe and return engagements to the Edmonton Symphony
and Symphony Silicon Alley. Mr. Vajda’s 200-0 season began with a stint at the Hungarian Radio, followed by his first return to the
Hungarian State Opera since immigrating to the US. In his adopted country, he led subscription concerts with the Oregon Symphony,
debuts with the Seattle, Grand Rapids and Memphis Symphonies, and returned to the San Antonio Symphony and Symphony Silicon
Valley. The 200-0 season marked Vajda’s introduction to the Salzburg Festival as assistant conductor to Péter Eötvös. He conducted
the final performance of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Chorus, before returning to
The Atlanta Opera to lead Cinderella. Vajda is also a clarinetist and composer. Recently, he conducted his own composition for the silent
film The Crowd at the Auditorium of the Louvre, with pianist Jay Gottlieb. He has also recorded Duevoe with the Hungarian Radio
Symphony Orchestra. He was honored with the Zoltán Kodály State Scholarship for composers in 2000, and the Annie Fischer State
Scholarship in . Born in Budapest as the son of renowned soprano Veronika Kincses, Gregory Vajda studied composition at the
Franz Liszt Academy of Music under Professor Ervin Lukács and was a conducting pupil of Péter Eötvös.

                      Tamara Watson Harper
                      Stage Director (Student Shorts performances)
                      Atlanta Opera Debut
                      Dr. Watson Harper is a performing soprano and active stage director and recently joined the faculty at Georgia
                      Perimeter College, having previously held teaching positions at Reinhardt College, Georgia Southern University,
and Angelo State University. Dr. Harper’s most recent directing credits include “Carmen and Friends” with Peach State Opera and as
opera director for Tyler Perry’s upcoming film, “For Colored Girls.” She has directed in Italy as assistant director at Opera Lucca and
Oberlin in Italy. Her collegiate directing credits include The Magic Flute, Cosí fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, The Pirates
of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, A Little Night Music and The Desert Song, as well as numerous Madrigal Dinners. She has also served as
musical director/conductor for performances of Cabaret, Company and The Fantasticks, and as choreographer for numerous other
productions. Dr. Harper has also been director, musical director and/or choreographer for numerous civic theatre productions. Dr.
Harper holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Ohio State University, a Master of Music degree from the Boston Conservatory,
and a Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University. She has also studied at the American Institute of Musical Studies (Graz,
Austria) and Opera Lucca (Lucca, Italy).

                      Barbara Divis
                      Mimì (Student Shorts performances)
                      Atlanta Opera Debut: Madama Butterfly Student Shorts, 200
                      As one of opera’s outstanding up and coming stars, Barbara Divis has performed more than thirty roles in her
                      young career. With her acclaimed versatile range at her disposal, Divis is known particularly for roles that
demonstrate her lyric soprano voice through an impressive lower range. Divis has performed in operas ranging from the Baroque of
Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes, to the modern of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, and Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
Divis has performed roles including Violetta in La traviata, Micaëla in Carmen, Tatyana in Eugene Oñegin, Marguerite in Faust, Nedda
in Pagliacci and Mimì in La bohème. She has performed with opera companies in cities throughout North America, including San
Diego, San Jose, Fort Worth and the Sinonica Mineria of Mexico City.

Meet tHe cASt (cont.)
                       Nathan Munson
                       Rodolfo (Student Shorts performances)
                       Atlanta Opera Debut
                       Nathan Munson is emerging as a talented young tenor and has rapidly become in demand as a recitalist, concert and
                       operatic singer. Most recently, Munson appeared as Dr. Baglioni in a world premiere revised version of Daniel Catán’s
                       La hija de Rappaccini, after which he received the first ever Jerry Hadley Memorial Award from the University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign. Munson also made his debut with Opera North as Le Dancaïre in Bizet’s Carmen and performed with Capitol City Opera
in a concert of scenes from La bohème, Roméo et Juliette and Madama Butterfly. He has appeared with the Lexington Philharmonic, Kentucky
Symphony Orchestra, the Opera North Orchestra with the Dartmouth Glee Club, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and the Baroque
Artists of Champaign-Urbana. Operatic appearances include New York City debuts as Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Laurie in
Little Women with the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. Munson has been a featured soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Kalamazoo
Symphony Orchestra and with the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana performing Bach’s Johannes Passion, G-minor Mass, and Magnificat,
Handel’s Messiah and Alexander’s Feast. Mr. Munson holds a Master Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Kentucky and a
Bachelor Degree in Opera and Musical Theater Performance from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and also trained as a Young Artist
with Opera North and Il Corso Estivo per Giovani Cantanti Lirici in Urbania, Italy. He attended the University of Miami in Salzburg summer
vocal program and the American Institute of Musical Studies, or AIMS, in Graz.

                       Jan Cornelius
                       Atlanta Opera Debut
                       Native Texan Jan Cornelius has been described as a “dark-toned soprano, tipped with a silvery edge.” Most recently, she
                       received second prize at the Connecticut Opera Guild’s Vocal Competition and was a Metropolitan Opera National
Council Competition Semi-Finalist. In 200, Ms. Cornelius won second prize in the Licia Albanese–Puccini Foundation Vocal Competition
and first prize in the Gerda Lissner Competition. In the spring of 200, Ms. Cornelius was second-prize winner in both the Fritz & Lavinia
Jensen Foundation and the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition. She made her international competition debut as a finalist in the prestigious
Monserrat Caballé International Vocal Competition. She also received an encouragement award from the Opera Index Foundation and the
Giulio Gari Vocal Foundation. Ms. Cornelius is a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where she has performed as
Mimì in Puccini’s La bohème, Anna Bolena in Anna Bolena, Silvana in Respighi’s La Fiamma, Violetta in La traviata, Countess in Strauss’
Capriccio, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and the title role in Manon Lescaut. As a young artist, she performed with Opera Theatre of St. Louis,
Chautauqua Opera, Pensacola Opera, Mobile Opera, Birmingham Opera (AL), Des Moines Metro Opera, and Ohio Light Opera. She was a
resident artist with Virginia Opera’s Spectrum Young Artist Program, where she performed children’s operas for more than 0,000 students
across the Virginia countryside. The summer of 2007 was her professional debut with Chautauqua Opera as Micaëla in Carmen. In the summer
of 200, Ms. Cornelius performed as Micaëla in Carmen at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, as Fiordiligi with the Virginia Opera, and will
perform Verdi’s Requiem with the Alexandria Symphony.

                       Matthew Curran
                       Atlanta Opera Debut
                       American bass Matthew Curran has garnered attention internationally with his imposing voice and authoritative presence.
                       He has been described as having “the voice of a poet,” and a sound “that is confident and comes with a twinkle.” Recent
appearances include Mat of the Mint in The Beggar’s Opera, Inspector Watts in a concert reading of Séance on a Wet Afternoon by Stephen
Schwartz, and Edwin Cheney in Shining Brow by Daron Hagen with the Buffalo Philharmonic, recently released on the Naxos label. He also has
been a regular singer in various works developed by the American Opera Project. This coming season he will return to New York City Opera as
Inspector Watts in Séance on a Wet Afternoon. He has performed with the Seattle Opera, Zürich Opera, Opera New Jersey, New Orleans Opera,
Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera, Skagit Opera, Washington East Opera, Center City Opera Theater, and Opera Company of Brooklyn,
among others. Mr. Curran is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans School of Music and Indiana University School of Music.
                                                                       - 10 -
Meet tHe cASt (cont.)

                      Andrew Garland
                      Atlanta Opera Debut
                      American baritone Andrew Garland has been saluted by The New York Times as having a “distinctly American
                      presence” and by Opera News as having a “coloratura that border[s] on the phenomenal and [offers] …
elegance and glamour.” During the 200- season, Mr. Garland joins Commonwealth Opera as the title role in Don Giovanni, the
Arizona Opera as Ping in Turandot, and the Boston Lyric Opera as Starveling, in a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In the 200-200 season, Mr. Garland performed the title role of Don Giovanni with Opera New Jersey, Dancairo in Carmen with
the Boston Lyric Opera, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Knoxville Opera. He also debuted at Carnegie Hall, where he
premiered several works by living American composers. On the opera stage, he portrayed Hermann in Les contes d’Hoffmann and
The Gamekeeper in Rusalka both with Boston Lyric Opera, as well as Dandini in La Cenerentola with the Fort Worth Opera and
Opera Company of North Carolina. Other roles include: Dandini in La Cenerentola, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Schaunard in
La bohème, Damis in Kirk Mechem’s Tartuffe, and Giuseppe in The Gondoliers with the Utah Symphony and Opera. Mr. Garland
made his debut at Seattle Opera when he stepped in at the last minute for Nathan Gunn as Riolobo in Catán’s Florencia en el
Amazonas. He has performed in concert stagings of La bohème with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Figaro in Il barbiere di
Siviglia with the National Philharmonic, Jake Heggie’s Here and Gone at the Ravinia Festival, and the world premiere of Jonathan
Sheffer’s Red Couch Floating on Lake Erie. Each season, Mr. Garland, and pianist Donna Loewy, offer recital programs of art songs
by living American composers. Mr. Garland is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

                      Timothy Kuhn
                      Atlanta Opera Debut: Turandot, 2007
                      With a bold presence and elegant, secure singing, Timothy Kuhn has established himself as a leading interpreter of the
                      Mozart, Britten, Donizetti and Puccini repertoire. Upcoming engagements for Mr. Kuhn include Guglielmo in Così fan
tutte with Virginia Opera, and Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Syracuse Opera. In the 200-200 season, Mr. Kuhn returned to Gotham
Chamber Opera as Ernesto in Il mondo della luna, and Syracuse Opera for Marcello in La bohème. His 200-200 season included the Count in
Le nozze di Figaro at Palm Beach Opera; prior to this engagement, he bowed as Malatesta in Don Pasquale at Syracuse Opera. Mr. Kuhn’s recent
appearances include the title role of Don Giovanni with New York City Opera, Dayton Opera, and in concert with Gustavo Dudamel and the
Sinfónica de la Juventud Venezolana Simón Bolívar. He has also sung Ping in Turandot with The Atlanta Opera, Schaunard in La bohème and
Sonora in La fanciulla del West with Florida Grand Opera, Sid in Albert Herring with Gotham Chamber Opera, and Hal Henson in Britten’s
Paul Bunyan with Opera Omaha. As a young artist, Kuhn participated in the programs of Santa Fe Opera (200-200) and Florida Grand
Opera (200-200). With Santa Fe, the baritone covered the title role in Don Giovanni as well as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. With Florida
Grand Opera, Mr. Kuhn covered the lead roles of Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, the title role in Don Giovanni and Germont in La traviata,
in addition to singing a number of supporting roles. Kuhn was the third prize winner of the 200 McCammon Competition, and also received
third prize in the 2002 Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, Advanced Division. He has received an Encouragement Grant from the George
London Foundation, and has twice won the Districts of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

                      John LaForge
                      Atlanta Opera Debut: Macbeth, 
                      Bass-baritone John LaForge has performed with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the U.S.,
                      including Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Chautauqua Opera, among others. He
appears regularly as a guest soloist with various organizations in and around the Atlanta area, including the Michael O’Neal Singers,
Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Sacred Chorale, Georgia Philharmonic and Capitol City Opera. He has received awards and recognitions from the
                                                                    - 11 -
Meet tHe cASt (cont.)
Sullivan Foundation, the Florida Suncoast Opera Competition, the Houston Grand Opera Auditions, the Lyric Opera Center for
American Artists, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. LaForge is the coordinator of Music Education for Fulton
County Schools. His -year career in music education began as choral director at Tri-Cities High School, the Visual & Performing Arts
Magnet program in Fulton County. During his tenure at Tri-Cities, his choirs performed at numerous concert venues throughout the
state, including Spivey Hall and Symphony Hall in metropolitan Atlanta and at the GMEA In-Service Conference in Savannah. In
addition to his responsibilities in Fulton County, LaForge is director of auditions for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Southeast
Region and works with numerous fine arts organizations in the Atlanta area, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Community
Engagement Council, the Advisory Board of the National Center for Educational Partnerships in Music, the Capitol City Opera Board of
Directors, the Spivey Hall Education Committee, and the Education Committee for The Atlanta Opera.

                     Brendan Daly
                     Atlanta Opera Debut
                     Tenor Brendan Daly specializes in Mozart, the high-flying bel canto roles of Rossini and Donizetti, Baroque
                     repertoire, operetta, and contemporary opera, and has sung a wide range of roles on stages across the country. Last
spring, Mr. Daly finished a two-season residency at Opera Colorado. High points with the company included: The Barber of Seville
(Almaviva) and Tales of Hoffmann (Nathanael) with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra; state-wide tours of Romeo and Juliet (Romeo),
The Music Shop (Ivan), and La Cenerentola (Ramiro); a mainstage cover of Ferrando in Così fan tutte; and a number of high-profile
recital, event and radio engagements. While in Denver, he also made notable oratorio appearances with the Colorado Chamber Players
in Handel’s Messiah and Bach Cantatas  and 0. He returned to Colorado in August to sing the Bruckner Requiem at the Colorado
Music Festival under the baton of Michael Christie. Continuing a new foray into music of the Baroque era, Mr. Daly begins the 200-
 season singing Acis in Handel’s Acis and Galatea at the White Mountain Bach Festival, where he also will perform Bach’s Cantata
0. Deeply committed to new music, Mr. Daly appeared at the 200 Aspen Music Festival as the central character in Mason Bates’
new opera California Fictions. His twentieth-century music credits include Candide in a Bernstein on Broadway revue with the Boston
Pops, the Wise Man in Hindemith’s Hin und Zurück at the Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, solo appearances in Opera
Boston’s acclaimed production of Kurt Weil’s Mahagonny, and, most recently, a Denver performance of Benjamin Britten’s song cycle
Les Illuminations de Rimbaud.

Ken Yunker
Lighting Designer
Atlanta Opear Debut: Amahl & the Night Visitors, 
Mr. Yunker is the resident lighting designer for The Atlanta Opera, Sarasota Opera Association and is a principal designer for the Tony
award-winning Alliance Theatre Company. A native Northwesterner, he’s surprised and pleased to consider Atlanta home for 22 years.
Beginning his professional career at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, he has more than 00 designs for opera, ballet and theatre to his
credit. National credits include Utah Symphony and Opera, Tulsa Opera, New Orleans Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Fort Worth
Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Opera New Jersey, Chautauqua Opera, Knoxville Opera, San Antonio Opera, Nevada
Opera Theatre, Eugene Opera, Augusta Opera, Toledo Opera and Mobile Opera.

                     Walter Huff
                     Chorus Master
                     Atlanta Opera Debut: Tosca, 
                     Walter Huff has been Chorus Master for The Atlanta Opera for 22 years. Mr. Huff studied piano with Sarah
                     Martin, Peter Takacs and Lillian Freundlich. He has performed with singers throughout Europe and the United States
and served as coach with the Peabody Opera Theatre, Washington National Opera and Baltimore Opera Company. Mr. Huff has
performed in master classes given by renowned singers and pianists such as Sir Peter Pears, Licia Albanese, Eileen Farrell, Dalton Baldwin,
Leon Fleisher and Elly Ameling. In , he received Tanglewood’s C.D. Jackson Master Award for Excellence, presented by Seiji Ozawa
                                                                   - 12 -
Meet tHe cASt (cont.)
and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has been musical director for The Atlanta Opera Studio, Georgia State University Opera, and
Actor’s Express. Also, Mr. Huff was one of four Atlanta artists who were chosen for the first Loridans Arts Awards, given to Atlanta artists
who have made exceptional contributions to the arts life of Atlanta over a long period of time. In June 200, The Atlanta Opera Chorus
under Mr. Huff’s direction sang critically acclaimed performances of Porgy and Bess at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and on tour in Granada,
Normandy, and Luxembourg.

Will Breytspraak
Children’s Chorus Master
Atlanta Opera Debut
Will Breytspraak holds degrees in piano performance and conducting from Saint Olaf College and the Westminster Choir College.
A lyric baritone, Mr. Breytspraak has performed the roles of British Sailor and Villager in Delibes’ Lakmé, and Crewman of the
Dutchman in Wagner’s Der fliegende Hollander at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, South Carolina. He was the Evangelist
in Handel’s Brockes Passion, and was a featured soloist in a performance of Handel’s Chandos Anthems on the acclaimed Musica
Sacra Atlanta concert series. Currently serving as Interim Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, Mr.
Breytspraak will conduct music of Fauré, Menotti, Paulus, and Stravinsky in concerts on the 200-20 Musica Sacra Atlanta series.
He has conducted ensembles and given master classes at regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors
Association, the Choristers Guild and the Liturgical Music Symposium.

                                                                    - 13 -
Meet tHe cOMPOSer
                                       Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924)
                                       Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy, on December 22,
                                       1858. Puccini’s was fifth in a family of seven girls and two
                                       boys. His father died when he was a young boy, leaving his
                                       mother to care for Giacomo and his six siblings.

                                       They had very little money, but his mother had great
                                       dreams for Giacomo. She arranged for his uncle, Fotunato
                                       Magi, to give him music lessons. Giacomo began work at
                                       age 11 as a church organist to contribute to the family’s
                                       finances, and later earned money by teaching music and
Giacomo Puccini

playing in Lucca’s taverns. Puccini saw his first opera when he was 18 years old. Too poor for
train fare, he walked 20 miles to see Verdi’s Aida, and it totally changed his life. He knew that
he would not become a church musician like his father, but would turn to opera. He made plans
to move to Milan, the center of Italian opera and the home of La Scala, the most famous op-
era house in Italy. Giacomo enrolled in the Milan Conservatory and began meeting the most
influential people in the opera business, slowly working his way up the career ladder. During
this time, Puccini lived the life of a poor student. He shared an apartment with two other artists,
always scraping for money. His lifestyle during this period later served as inspiration and motiva-
tion for La bohème.

Puccini could not have succeeded without the friendship of Giulio Ricordi, the most important
publisher in Italy. Ricordi saw great promise in Puccini, and believed he would become a great
opera composer. He paid Puccini a stipend for several years and supported his early attempts
at writing opera. His faith in Puccini was paid back beyond the wildest expectations. The Ricordi
publishing house would own the performance rights to four of the most popular operas ever
written: La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Turandot.

In 1893, at age 35, Puccini premiered his first successful opera, Manon Lescaut. It launched his
career and made him a front runner in the search for a successor to the great Giuseppe Verdi.
Then followed two big hits, La bohème in 1896 and Tosca in 1900. After their success, Puccini
was in the limelight, overseeing productions of his operas in Europe’s greatest theaters.
When Verdi died in 1901, Puccini became the future of Italian opera, and he knew that the opera
                                                - 14 -
Meet tHe cOMPOSer (cont.)
world would expect nothing but the best. His next opera, Madama Butterfly, had to be successful.
Madama Butterfly did become a huge success, but it cost Puccini seven years of strife. The op-
era was cursed with delays, a car accident which severely injured Puccini, a disastrous premiere,
and five revisions. In the end, Puccini triumphed with one of the world’s most popular operas.

With three tremendous successes behind him and a seat at the top of the opera world, Puccini
entered a long period of creative struggling, experimentation, and limited successes. He took a
six-year hiatus following Madama Butterfly, due in part to the suicide of one of his personal ser-
vants and an ensuing court battle. After the buzz died down, Puccini returned to the music world
premiering La Fanicuilla del West at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1910. Though it
had a lukewarm reception by American audiences, it remains a staple in Italian opera houses.

He would live another 17 years and compose five more operas but only one, Turandot, would
match the fame of his “big three.” Turandot was Puccini’s final masterpiece. Diagnosed with throat
cancer in 1923, Puccini battled to complete his most beloved project before his health failed. But
he fell short, suffering a fatal heart attack after surgery in November, 1924. Turandot was com-
pleted by another composer. Unlike many composers, Puccini died a wealthy man, with an estate
valued at $24 million in today’s money. His only direct living descendant is his granddaughter,
Simonetta Puccini, a retired teacher of literature who devotes her time to researching her grandfa-
ther’s works. She owns and operates the “Villa Museo Puccini,” on the grounds of which Puccini is
buried, along with his wife and son. Used by permission of the Forth Worth Opera.

Photos from The Atlanta Opera’s production of Turandot, 2007 (Tim Wilkerson)
                                                                               - 15 -
La Bohème – LiFe reFLecteD iN Art
By Erik Haines La bohème
La bohème was described by British musicologist Spike Hugh nearly 100 years ago in the
following manner:

“Puccini’s most nearly perfect opera…a work of consummate operatic craftsmanship, applied
  with a sureness of touch and exhilarating vigor. Above all however, there is its charm and
  warmth, gaiety and genuine pathos…deriving from a peculiar authority, and infectious
  youthfulness of music.”

I think you will find that the same sentiments are felt about this opera today. One hundred and
fourteen years after the opera’s premiere, it is considered a favorite by many. An opera house
can almost guarantee sold-out performances whenever this opera is performed. Puccini
captured the spirit of the characters and the mood of the work so well that a good performance
can be absolutely magical!

Many operas are based on characters and situations from actual people and events, and
La bohème is no exception. The characters and situations in this opera are based on the life
and times of French poet Henri Murger. Beginning in 1845, Murger wrote a series of vignettes
entitled Scenes de la vie de Bohème, which were published in the Parisian periodical Le Corsaire.
The author was a poor, 23 year-old poet who received 15 francs for each story. The stories them-
selves dealt with the poverty-stricken life he shared with his three artistic friends and the often
comic fight for survival as struggling artists. Of course, he also wrote about their relationships.

Photos from The Atlanta Opera’s production of La bohème, 2005 (Tim Wilkerson)

                                                                                - 16 -
La Bohème – LiFe reFLecteD iN Art (cont.)
The characters found in Murger’s Scenes de la vie de Bohème, and ultimately the opera
La bohème, are based on the following people:

• The poet Rodolpho was based on Henri Murger himself. Murger described the character as
 being heavily bearded and balding – not the traditional image of a lead tenor, but a rough
 description of Murger himself.

• Painter Marcello is based on a painter named Tabar. The painter was especially known for
 working on one painting continuously, the subject of which he would change depending
 on the client.

• Mimì was based on several of Murger’s love interests, perhaps one in particular named
 Lucille Loubet.

• Musetta, Marcello’s love and secondary soprano in the opera, is based largely on Marie Roux,
 who was a model and singer. She was also known as “Madame Bagpipe” because when she
 sang, it was known to be loud and off pitch. She was known to love money and parties. After
 becoming quite wealthy, she was intending to move to Algiers to live with her married sister.
 Unfortunately, the boat on which she was traveling sank along the way leaving no survivors.

• The musician Schaunard was based on Alexandre Schanne who was a musician and artist of
 the time. He went on to make a fortune as a manufacturer of toys.

• The character of Colline was a composite of two of Murger’s friends. Jean Wallon was a stu-
 dent of philosophy and was known to keep his coat pocket full of books. The gentleman
 Trapadoux was known as a “hyperphysical philosopher.” In Murger’s novel he was also known
 as the “Green Giant” because of both his stature and because his once-black overcoat had
 faded to green. We see this coat throughout the opera.
 It is plain to see the realism in which this wonderful work is steeped. Artists continue to flock
 to this area of Paris, largely because of the notoriety it gained through the writing of Murger.
 Henri Murger eventually became rather well-to-do, largely on the success of his novel and play
 which eventually led to Puccini’s opera. As a successful author, Murger’s writings warned of
 the dangers of leading the Bohemian life he so vividly portrayed in his earlier writings. Murger
 died at the age of 39. Used by permission of the Hawaii Opera Theatre.

                                                          - 17 -
La Bohème iN tHe 21St ceNturY
Puccini is said to be one of the main catalysts of American musical
theater. From Showboat to Rent, the works of Puccini have influ-
enced them all. Puccini’s well-mastered use of verismo (the use of
melodramatic situations with common characters) has endured well through both the 20th and
21st centuries. Puccini meant for his operas to relate to the common everyday people. Musical
theater writers simply took his brilliant idea a step further by inserting dialogue into their works.

Puccini’s La bohème is a timeless classic that will be revered by audiences for many centuries
to come. Although La bohème is still performed as an opera, the tragic story of the struggling
French Bohemians has also been transformed into a modern day musical: Rent. Despite the
many differences between modern day New York City and 19th Century France, there are many
striking similiarities that exist between La bohème and Rent; most exclusively the plot twists,
lyrics and a few melodies.

Many starving artists exist in the same essence now as they did in the 19th century: underpaid,
rebellious and passionate. It’s the ideal of the Bohemians to live a life full of truth, beauty, free-
dom and love; in this story, these vibrant characters search for these ideals and live them to the
fullest. This philosophy is illustrated in both the original and updated version of La bohème.
Puccini operas do not end with “happily ever after,” so Mimì suffers from, and ultimately dies of,
Tuberculosis, the deadliest disease of their time. Similar to La bohème, Mimì in Rent is infected
with and ultimately is killed by HIV, the deadliest disease of our time. Rent creator Jonathan
Larson magnified Puccini’s traumatic story by making a majority of his characters infected with
HIV as well. In both versions, the characters grieve, love and learn together in their search to
find their place in the world.

Baz Luhrmann, director of Moulin Rouge, showcased La bohème on Broadway in its original
form. Using many of the sets borrowed from Moulin Rouge and young vibrant cast members,
Luhrmann transformed Puccini’s 19th century opera into a glitzy Broadway show set in the
1950’s. The show received two Tony Awards for excellence in theater. La bohème is only the
fourth opera in Tony Award history to be nominated for an award. The story of La bohème
endures the test of time because of its versatility and uniqueness. It’s a story that will never be-
come out-dated or unlovable. On the opera or Broadway stage, this story will sing its way into
the heart of every audience member for many centuries to come.
                                                 - 18 -
And how did Puccini come to write an opera about them?
                                                        Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic, and its nomadic
                                                        natives – a group that we often call Gypsies – were known
                                                        as “Bohemians” in French. The term “Bohemian,” however,
                                                        also came to mean anyone who behaved in strange ways
                                                        and didn’t live their lives as most people do. Artists, writers,
                                                        musicians, philosophers – these people shared certain traits
                                                        with gypsies and therefore came to be known as “Bohemi-
                                                        ans.” All have a vagabond lifestyle and are known for their
                                                        merry poverty and disregard of money and steady work in
                                                        pursuit of freedom and relationships. These are not quali-
                                                        ties that are typically admired by society, but while there are
Adolphe-William Bouguereau
The Bohemian (1890) The Minneapolis Institute of Arts   many who disdain them, many envy them, too.

The French author Henri Murger, being a Bohemian himself, decided to try to change the way
people thought about Bohemians. He wrote a series of character sketches about a group of four
free-thinking Bohemians (one an artist, one a writer not unlike himself, one a musician, and one
a philosopher) that was published in the literary magazine Corsaire in 1846. Murger’s “Bohemi-
ans” were a group of young, struggling artists who accepted their lack of money and “creature
comforts” in exchange for the knowledge that they were intellectually and romantically free to
do as they chose. The sketches caught the eye of the playwright Theodore Barriere, who ap-
proached Murger about turning them into a stage play. The resulting work, entitled La Vie de
Boheme, was a smash hit. Murger, who as a youth had lived with friends in an attic apartment
(the group called themselves the Water-Drinkers because they couldn’t afford any other bever-
ages!), now found himself quite famous and wealthy. The popularity of his Bohemian characters
led him to revise his earlier newspaper columns and publish them as a book entitled Scènes
de la vie de Boheme, in 1851. This publication was immediately followed with a sequel called
Scènes de la vie de Jeunesse.

Giacomo Puccini is said to have first seen the novel Scènes de la vie de Boheme in the winter of
1892-3 when a friend gave him a copy and suggested that he consider it as material for a new
opera. Puccini and his friends were not unlike Murger’s “Bohemians” – in fact, they were fond of

                                                                 - 19 -
WHO Are bOHeMiANS ANYWAY? (cont.)
And how did Puccini come to write an opera about them?
meeting at the local café and calling themselves “Club Bohème.” Feeling closely aligned with the
subject matter, Puccini decided to take on the project. In March of 1893, however, Leoncavallo
(composer of Pagliacci and a rival of Puccini) learned that Puccini had decided to write an
opera based upon the very same subject matter that he himself was in the process of writing an
opera about. Leoncavallo was particularly upset because he had offered Puccini his libretto for
La bohème (which he had written himself) some time earlier and Puccini declined it – likely
thinking that if it was good, why wasn’t Leoncavallo writing music for it? Well, that is exactly what
Leoncavallo had decided to do, and he made this known in the papers along with the fact that
Puccini knew of his plans perfectly well before starting on his own “Bohème”. He was accusing
Puccini of stealing subject matter. Puccini answered this accusation the next day, in a published
response that stated how he welcomed the competition and felt confident that the public would
choose the best “Bohème.” Choose they did. Although Leoncavallo’s La bohème received a
warmer reception at its premiere than Puccini’s did, it is rarely performed on the opera stage
today and has been almost entirely forgotten. Puccini’s La bohème, however, is among the
top 10 most popular operas of all time and is still performed time and again in all of the great
opera houses of the world! Used by permission of Opera Colorado.

Suggestions for classroom Discussion and research:

1. Through this opera, we see an example of Bohemian life in Paris in the early 1800’s.
   Do you think that the Bohemian lifestyle exists in 2010?
   What examples can you think of? Is the lifestyle the same
   now as it was in 1831? How is it the same/different?

2. Can you think of “bohemian” characters in recent movies,
   television shows or books? Do you see any examples of
   “bohemian” characters in the news or current events?

Social Studies: Sociology
Students will explain the development and importance of culture.
Students will evaluate how cultures develop and evolve.
Students will analyze social structure and interaction within society.

                                                           - 20 -
tHe PAriS OF La Bohème

The setting of La bohème is the Paris of 1831. At that time, Paris was a city of great energy,
vitality and ebullience. It was in every way, politically, socially, economically and culturally, the
center of France. It was also a world center of art and literature, attracting artists and writers
from all over the world. This Paris was a city of great contrasts: of enormous wealth and of abject
poverty, of intellectual and artistic brilliance and of popular literacy, of a glittering and powerful
high society and of disenfranchised masses. Paris was also the center of European revolutionary
thought and activity. The ruling monarch, Louis Phillipe, had come to the French throne on the
wave of a Parisian revolution in 1830. The entire decade of the 1830s was marked by political
uprisings and labor strikes in Paris. (The student uprising depicted in Hugo’s Les Miserables
takes place there in 1832.) Louis Phillipe’s regime greatly favored the propertied classes and
did little to relieve the poverty and illiteracy of the great majority of French-men. He was forced
from the throne by another revolution in 1848.

                                                  - 21 -
tHe PAriS OF La Bohème (cont.)
Although in 1831 Paris was one of the world’s great cities, it was not yet the modern metropo-
lis of wide, tree-lined avenues, great squares, beautiful public buildings, and museums that
it would be come in the 1850s under Napoleon III. Rather, it was a cramped city of 1,000 nar-
row winding streets and blind alleys where 30,000 houses sheltered a populace of more than
800,000. Modern improvements such as a system of sewers and bridges were being implement-
ed, but much of the city resembled an overpopulated anthill.

In 1831, most Parisians traveled the busy crowded street on foot and face, in Chopin’s words,
“more mud than it is possible to imagine.” Custom gates marked the roads that led out of the
crowded confines of the city into fields and small villages. Of course, all was not grim in the lives
of the lower classes of Paris. Each quarter of Paris had restaurants and cafes where its citizens,
no matter their social class or occupations, could relax, wine, dine and socialize. The Café Mo-
mus, which is the setting for Act II of La bohème, was a real café, catering to young artists and
writers. Indeed, all of the locales of the opera were real places and its characters based on real
people. Used by permission of the Pittsburgh Opera.

Suggestions for classroom Discussion and research

1. Have students research further the geography and culture of France. What were some of the
   changes that happened under Napoleon III that led to the modernization and distinction that
   we see in Paris today? What is the current governmental system in France?

2. What was happening in the U.S. and Georgia during the time of La bohème?

Social Studies: World Geography
The student will explain the cultural aspects of geography.
The student will describe the interaction of physical and human systems that have shaped contemporary Europe.

Social Studies: Government/civics understanding
The student will explain the structure of modern European governments.

Social Studies: Georgia Studies
The student will explain significant factors that affected the development of Georgia as part of the growth of the
United States between 1789 and 1840.

Social Studies: europe
The student will locate selected features of Europe.
The student will explain the impact of location, climate, natural resources, and population distribution on Europe.
The student will describe the cultural characteristics of Europe.
                                                          - 22 -
PucciNi’S eArLY POVertY AND POLiticAL beLieFS
Puccini’s family was very poor due to his father’s death at the age of 51, when Giacomo was five.
He was the oldest son. His mother was left to support two sons and six daughters. She believed
that a good education could free her children from their poverty. The following letter was writ-
ten by Puccini’s mother to the Queen of Italy in an attempt to acquire a scholarship for her son.
       You are the Queen and the mother of all the poor, and you are also the patroness of art-
       ists, while I am a poor widow with two young sons, whose ambition in life is to give them
       the best education. My children are students of music, and the older of them, Giacomo,
       shows great promise. For five generations, the Puccini’s have formed a dynasty of musi-
       cians, and if the opportunity should arise, Giacomo will continue the glorious tradition.
       He has terminated his studies at Lucca; he desires to proceed to Milan, the capital of
       music. I cannot myself pay his expenses at the Conservatory, for I have only a meager
       monthly pension of 75 lire allowed me by the City Council. The Duchess Carafa, who
       knows me well, has encouraged me to writer to Your Majesty. Will you therefore in your
       immense generosity come to the help of a poor mother and an ambitious boy.
                                                         Kissing your munificent hand, I am
                                                         Albina Magi-Puccini

Even after Puccini received a scholarship, he remained poor. He often wrote to his mother about
food, requesting a little olive oil or some beans. He found that the other students were from
wealthier families and he could not join them at the cafes of Milan because a drink was more
than he could afford. While he was a student at the conservatory, he wrote Capriccio sinfonico.
This piece was part of his graduation requirements, and it found its way into the opening theme
of our opera La bohème.

After he graduated with a bronze medal, he struggled for ten years before he became recog-
nized as a major talent in the field of opera. During this time, he would send his younger brother
Michele the few extra lire he had. However, his brother decided to immigrate to Buenos Aires,
Argentina, in 1889 in search of a better life. It was there that be became ill with yellow fever in
1981 and died. The loss of his brother pained Giacomo deeply. If he had been successful a little
earlier, he thought, his brother would not have had to emigrate.

                                                - 23 -
PucciNi’S eArLY POVertY AND POLiticAL beLieFS (cont.)
Puccini’s family was not the only one suffering. Italy was one of the poorest nations of Europe at
the time of Puccini’s life. Italy had been one of the last nations to be reunited as a nation state.
This was because the other powerful nations of Europe and the Vatican controlled large sections
of the country. As a result of the political instability and frequent wars that moved through the
region, Italy’s economy was largely underdeveloped.

The economy was weak because investors make capital investments in nations that have stable
governments. Countries that have frequent uprisings or political instability place the invest-
ments of industry at great risk. Who would want to invest money in an area where the new fac-
tory could be burned down in the next riot? As a result, Italy was not able to begin to attract the
foreign investors needed to build its economy.

Some scholars feel that the loss of his young brother to an early death, as a result of poverty, was
the passionate power behind the music of his opera, La bohème. In this opera, the main charac-
ter, Mimì, also dies an early death as a result of extreme poverty. The theme of poverty was again
addressed in his Il trittico (The Triptych) operas. As Puccini grew more successful, he continued to
be aware of the suffering of those he considered to have “great sorrows in little souls.”
Used with permission of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

La bohème

                                                             - 24 -
PucciNi’S eArLY POVertY AND POLiticAL beLieFS (cont.)
Suggested topics for Discussion and research:

1.Italy was one of the poorest nations in Europe at the time of Puccini’s life. What is the current
  economic climate in Italy? How does this compare with other European countries? What are
  the major industries? What are the major exports? What kinds of goods are imported, and
  from where?

2. Puccini’s mother was raising her family on a very limited budget (75 lire/month). She must
   have had to adhere to a strict budget in order to provide for food and shelter for herself and
   her sons. Create a sample budget for a family of two adults and two children based on an an-
   nual income of $50,000. Don’t forget to budget funds for mortgage/rent, groceries, transpor-
   tation, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc. Repeat the same exercise based on an annual income of
   $75,000 and $150,000. What differences do you see?

3. What are some of the challenges facing families living in poverty in the USA? What are some
   ways that you can help those who are living in poverty?

4. Investigate local charities for the homeless and see what kinds of programs they provide.

5. If you were in a position to assist at a local charity, can you think of other programs that you
   would start to help the homeless more?

Social Studies: economics (macro, micro, international, personal finance)
The student will describe how households, businesses, and governments are interdependent and interact through
flows of goods, services, and money.
The student will explain how changes in exchange rates can have an impact on the purchasing power of individuals in
the United States and in other countries.
The student will apply rational decision making to personal spending and saving choices.
The student will explain how changes in monetary and fiscal policy can have an impact on an individual’s spending
and saving choices.
The student will evaluate the costs and benefits of using credit.
The student will describe how insurance and other risk-management strategies protect against financial loss.

Social Studies: Sociology
Students will analyze the function of social institutions as agents of social control across differing societies and times.
Students will analyze forms of social inequality
Students will analyze social change processes in a society.

                                                           - 25 -
LiterAture DuriNG PucciNi’S LiFetiMe
The century during which Puccini lived and worked was alive with literary genius. While he was
composing his operas, others were busy telling stories with ink and paper. The amount of great
literature that was written in the 1800’s is amazing. It was a century filled with intellectual energy,
energy preserved in the writing of many great men and women. The list below is only a select list of
authors who lived in the 19th century. Used with permission of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

                                                                    Victor Hugo (1802-85)
                                                                    The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831)
                                                                    Les Misérables (1862)

                                                                    Henrik ibsen (1828-1906)
                                                                    A Doll’s House (1879)
                                                                    Hedda Gabler (1890)
Lewis carroll (1832-98)
                                                                    rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
                                                                    The Jungle Book (1895)
Through the Looking Glass (1971)
                                                                    edgar Allan Poe (1809-49)
Stephen crane (1871-1900)
                                                                    Stories include:
Red Badge of Courage
                                                                    “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1845)
charles Dickens (1821-70)                                           “The Murders in The Rue Morgue” (1842)
Tale of Two Cities (1859)                                           Poems include:
Great Expectations (1860-61)                                        ‘The Bells’ ‘The Raven’ (1845-49)
                                                                    ‘Annabel Lee’ (1849)
emily Dickinson (1830-86)
Poems include:                                                      robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94)
‘The Chariot’ ‘The Snake’                                           Treasure Island (1883)
‘There’s A Certain Slant of Light’                                  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
‘I Died for Beauty’

Gustave Flaubert (1821-80)
Madame Bovary (1857)

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64)
The Scarlett Letter (1850)
The House of the Seven Gables (1851)
                                                           - 26 -
LiterAture DuriNG PucciNi’S LiFetiMe (cont.)
bram Stoker (1847-1912)                                  Mark twain (1835-1910)
Dracula (1897)                                           Tom Sawyer (1867)
                                                         Huckleberry Finn (1894)
Henry David thoreau (1817-62)
                                                         A Connecticut Yankee in King
Walden or Life in the Woods (1854)
                                                          Arthur’s Court (1889)
Poems of Nature (1896)
                                                                                                     Mark Twain
                                                         Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Leo tolstoy (1828-1910)
                                                         The Importance of Being
War and Peace (1863-69)
                                                          Earnest (1895)
Anna Karenina (1874-76)
                                                         The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
Short stories include:
“The Death of Ivan Ilych” (1886)

Suggestions for further research and discussion:

1. Choose two literary works by two different authors on the list to read and research. Do you
   see any similarities in the works? Are there themes or similarities that may be attributed to
   events, thoughts, fashion or fads of the time? Are these themes still relevant in modern
   literature? If so, how might they be communicated by authors today?

2. Can you think of any operas based on any of the literary works on this list? What are they and who
   are the composers? Is the music similar in style to that of La bohème? How is it alike/different?

english/Language Arts High School:
The student deepens understanding of literary works by relating them to their contemporary context or historical
background, as well as to works from other time periods.

english/Language Arts: reading And Literature
The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a warranted and responsible explanation of a
variety of literary and informational texts.

english/Language Arts: reading Across the curriculum
The student participates in discussions related to curricular learning in all subject areas.
The student establishes a context for information acquired by reading across subject areas.

english/Language Arts: reading and World Literature
The student demonstrates comprehension by identifying evidence (i.e., examples of diction, imagery, point of view,
figurative language, symbolism, plot events, main ideas, and cultural characteristics) in a variety of texts representa-
tive of different genres (i.e., poetry, prose [short story, novel, essay, editorial, biography], and drama) and using this
evidence as the basis for interpretation.
                                                           - 27 -
ScieNce iN PucciNi’S tiMe
The scientific world during Puccini’s time was undergoing a revolution. There were many major
scientific discoveries, the fields of microbiology and geology were developed, radiation was dis-
covered and Darwin’s theory of evolution was published. Electricity was being used in increasingly
complex ways that would directly affect everyday life as we know it.

                                        the Science of Geology
                                        The developer of Geology was Sir Charles Lyell, born in 1797
                                        to a wealthy Scottish family. After studying at Oxford, his
                                        parents sent him on a tour of Europe. This journey, the first
                                        of many, was a time for him to make geologic observations.
                                        Later in his career, he traveled to the United States, also to
                                        observe geologic formations. These opportunities for wide-
                                        spread fieldwork allowed Lyell to begin to see a unified view
Sir Charles Lyell                       of earth history.

Lyell’s Principles of Geology, which arose from these and subsequent travels, was an important
text in the 19th century for anyone wanting to study geology. His Principles, besides being influen-
tial, were also revolutionary. The popular view of geologic history at the time was Catastrophism,
which said that most of earth’s geologic history could be reduced to a short time of flooding and
violent upheaval. In the first volume of Principles (1830), Lyell attacked this view, arguing instead
that geological phenomena could be explained in terms of currently observed natural processes
operating gradually over long periods of time. This concept was called Uniformitarianism.

Lyell himself expected that his three volumes of Principles (1830, 1832, 1833) would be widely criti-
cized, due to his strong disagreement with Catastrophism. However, this was not the case, as the
books were widely read and praised. Moreover, as the three volumes were republished, he updated
each new addition to include his and other geologists’ latest findings.

Besides his work with geology, Lyell was also a skilled zoologist (zoology is the study of animals).
In fact, he combined the two fields of study when he classified the Tertiary rocks of northern Italy.
Unlike many geologists of the time, who relied on differences in rock type, Lyell emphasized differ-
ences in fauna. He defined “Different tertiary formations in chronological order, by reference to the
comparative proportion of living species of fossil [shells] in each.”

                                                  - 28 -
ScieNce iN PucciNi’S tiMe (cont.)
Again, this new approach was successful. He defined four periods of time, now known as epochs:
New Pliocene (renamed Pleistocene by Lyell), Older Pliocene, Miocene, and Eocene. These names,
with some modifications, are still used today.

Lyell’s Principles were enthusiastically read by Charles Darwin before his voyage on his ship the
Beagle (1831-1836). Lyell’s description of the vastness of geologic time undoubtedly established a
frame of mind that paved the way for Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution. Darwin and
Lyell became friends after Darwin’s return. Lyell helped Darwin publish his ideas, and eventually
supported his theory.

Lyell died in 1875. He was praised by Darwin who stated: “The science of geology is enormously
indebted to Lyell – more so, as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived.”

the Science of electricity
Puccini was born into a world of candles and died in a world of electric light. This development
would have a great impact on his operas. The visual layout of an opera production depends on
light. The lighting effects add drama and enable the audience to visually experience the story.
Through costume, set, and lighting, the illusion of another time and place is created on the stage.
Specifically, the lighting gives the entire scene mood and depth. This enables the designer to use
light to create feeling and movement to accompany music. Few realize the huge improvement
electrical lights bring to the production of modern opera.

This change came about by the scientific research of several Americans. The first and most im-
portant of these was Thomas Edison of New Jersey. While he was working on his experiments, he
would stay in his lab for weeks, if not months, at a time. He would work through the night and often
he would don on with his research and experiments without taking a bath for weeks. His focus was
on developing a lasting filament for his electric light bulb. Later he worked on power generation
and many other uses of electric power.

Edison was also a man who judged a person by the content of their character. He recognized bril-
liant men of science without respect to the color of their skin. He hired Lewis Howard Latimer and
Granville T. Woods, both African-Americans, to join his company.

                                                 - 29 -
ScieNce iN PucciNi’S tiMe (cont.)
                               Lewis Latimer, born the son of a former slave, joined the Navy at age
                               sixteen during the Civil War. His interest in drawing and mechanics
                               got him his first position with the patent soliciting company of Crosby
                               and Gould in 1865, and in a few years he was chief draftsman. In 1876,
                               Latimer was given the job of drawing the blueprints for Alexander
                               Graham Bell’s recently invented telephone. He was well on his way
                               towards a prosperous career in mechanical engineering.
Lewis Latimer

In 1879, Latimer became head of the U.S. Electric Lighting Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut and
began his real interest in the future of electricity. By 1882, he received a patent for the manufacturing
process of carbon filaments in light bulbs. This giant process of carbon filaments in electrical lighting
improved the duration and conductibility of the filament itself. In1884, Latimer became the only black
member of Edison Pioneers, the specialized scientific team who worked for the Edison company.
Here, he helped bring Tomas Edison’s electrical lighting system to Canada and the cities of New York,
Philadelphia, and London. By this point, Latimer was also and accomplished writer. He produced the
first textbook on the Edison electric system.

Grantville T. Woods also started his career early, by becoming a fireman-
engineer for the railroads in Missouri at age sixteen. Through the pursuit
of mechanical and electrical engineering jobs, Woods was able to open
a factory in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1881. Specializing in the manufacturing      Lewis Latimer

of telephone and telegraph equipment, Woods invented a more powerful telephone and transmit-
ter and by 1885 sold his “telegraphony” apparatus to American Bell. By combining the transmission
of signal and oral messages through the line, with telegraphony, the complexity of Morse code was
greatly decreased. Woods continued to invent and in 1887 patented a communication system be-
tween moving trains and railway stations which increased the safety and efficiency of railway travel.

In 1890, at a theater in New York, Woods became interested in the dimming apparatus utilized by the
electrical lighting system in the performing arts community. His next project improved the dimming
system by decreasing its energy output and the threat of electrical fires common at the time. Woods
became a giant in the electrical and mechanical world, accumulating over one-hundred and fifty
patents. He invented the electrified “third rail” configuration that powers the New York, Philadelphia,
and Chicago subways as well as the overhead conducting system, still used to power trolleys. He died
in 1910, a celebrated man of science.             - 30 -
ScieNce iN PucciNi’S tiMe (cont.)
                             the theory of radiation
                             Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland to the Sklodowska family in
                             1867. Her early years were troubled by poverty; however, she never
                             lost her quest for knowledge. She traveled to Paris to study math-
                             ematics and physics at the Sorbonne where she was able to earn
                             degrees in both subjects in 1893 and 1894 with honors.

                             As a college student, she met her future husband, the scientist Pierre
                             Curie. One year after the met they married and began to raise a family.
Marie Curie                  Together they were pioneers in the study of radioactivity. Marie
joined her husband, who had been given the directorship of a lab at a leading institute. For her
doctoral thesis, Maria decided to study radiation, which had been discovered a few years earlier
by Henri Becquerel. While working on radiation, she discovered that uranium pitchblende and the
mineral chalcolite gave off four times the amount of radiation that was expected from the uranium
content. From this discovery she theorized that something else was present that was emitting the
higher degree of radiation. Pierre realized the importance of his wife’s discovery and joined her
in her work. Over the next year they discovered two elements; one was named for Maria’s native
country of Poland and was called polonium; the other they name radium. Once they had discov-
ered these, they began to focus on separating the elements from their compound sources so that
they could document the chemical properties of each new element.

In 1903, Marie received her doctorate for her research in radioactive substances. With her
husband and Henri Becquerel she received the Nobel Prize in physics for the joint discovery of
radioactivity. After Pierre was killed in a car accident, Marie assumed his position as a lecturer
at the Sorbonne. She was the first female professor at the school, in 1908. In 1911, she won her
second Nobel Prize for chemistry after she successfully isolated pure radium.
Later she worked in the application of x-rays in medicine. As a result of the work Marie Curie
and her husband Pierre, the deeper understanding of the nucleus of atoms was achieved.
Their research also led to the hypothesis that the splitting of the atom would release great
power. From this theory, the atomic age was born.

                                                - 31 -
ScieNce iN PucciNi’S tiMe (cont.)
                                                the theory of evolution
                                                In 1857, a year before Puccini’s birth, a book about the
                                                science of evolution was published that would change
                                                the way people saw the world. It was written by
                                                Charles Darwin who was born in Shrewberry, England
                                                on February 12, 1890. His father was a doctor and his
mother was the daughter of the famous porcelain maker, Josiah Wedgwood. At Cambridge Univer-
sity, he studied for the priesthood but turned his attention to geology and natural history.

After he graduated, a professor encouraged him to join a five-year scientific expedition as a non-
paid naturalist. Charles accepted the advice of his professor and joined a voyage in 1831 on Her
Majesty’s ship Beagle. His job was to study the geology and biology of the Pacific coast of South
America and Pacific Islands such as the Galapagos. This decision changed his life and formed the
basis of research that changed the way people thought about the sciences of biology and geology.
His work also had a profound impact upon theology and sociology, as people pondered the impli-
cations of his findings to religious beliefs and their social relationships.

Darwin reported some of his vast data in England’s Journal of Researchers in 1839. He told some
scientists of the conclusions he had reached and was admitted into England’s elite Royal Society.
During the 1840’s, he published three books on his geological research. These books laid the
groundwork for people to accept the idea that things in nature change over time.

Over twenty years after he returned home, Darwin published his most controversial theories in a
book called On the Origin of Species. From his meticulously-kept notes and records, he theorized
that all species on earth had evolved from other earlier species. It is from this concept that the term
evolution comes. This idea led to great controversy when people began to realize that his theory
also applied to human beings as well as other forms of life.

Darwin’s theory of evolution focused upon the idea that creatures struggle for survival. This leads
them to engage in a process he called natural selection. In this process, creatures that are better
able to adapt to changing ecological conditions would survive and pass on to their young the pre-
disposition needed for survival under changing environmental situations.

                                                   - 32 -
ScieNce iN PucciNi’S tiMe (cont.)
A good bit of his ideas on this topic were based on research he had compiled while on the Gala-
pagos Islands. He noted three different, yet similar types of finches. These birds all looked alike
except for one major difference. The birds on one island that ate large seeds had very powerful and
large beaks; those on another island that ate smaller seeds had smaller beaks, and those on still
another island that ate insects had fine beaks. This led him to theorize that the birds had evolved to
address the food types most available in their local ecological food chain. This concept of adapta-
tion was revolutionary. Used by permission of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Science: Grade eight
Students will be familiar with the forms and transformations of energy.
Students will explore the wave nature of sound and electromagnetic radiation

Science: Geology
Students analyze how scientific knowledge is developed.
Students will understand important features of the process of scientific inquiry.

Science: Physical Science
Students will distinguish the characteristics and components of radioactivity.
Students will investigate the properties of electricity and magnetism.

Science: Zoology
Students will explain the evolutionary history of animals over the geological history of Earth.

                                                              - 33 -
Opera combines all of the fine arts: music, drama, visual art, and dance. The performance of an opera
includes many craftspeople: costume designers, seamstresses, stagehands, makeup artists and wig-
makers; the musicians in the orchestra, the singers in the chorus, and the dancers on stage; the artistic
director, stage director and choreographer; the engineers running the computers and lighting. How
have major inventions over the centuries affected the opera performances we see? Let’s find out!

If so many operas are in foreign languages how can we understand the story, the humor, or the
dramatic situations in which the characters find themselves? Throughout history, on-stage conven-
tions have helped audiences understand the stories of their favorite operas. Period costumes,
magnificent stage sets and elaborate dances describe the time and place in which the opera is set.
The stage direction and choreography communicate elements of the story. The music conveys
emotions and the subtexts of the story. Many opera companies, however, offer their audiences a
little more help, with the aid of modern technology. Using large screens above or beside the stage,
English translations are projected. These Supertitles do not include every word that is sung, but
enough to understand the story. As the technology advances, opera companies have begun to
move from using slide projectors to computers to project the Supertitles onto the screens.

tHe SiNGerS
Over the years, the singers have changed, too! In early Italian operas, singers did very little act-
ing on stage, focusing on showcasing their voices. Operas often resembled concerts, more than
plays. By Mozart’s time in the late 18th century, however, singers were encouraged to play out
the action in the story, adding the dramatic element that we see on stage today. At that time,
the singers sometimes did not always “look the part” they were singing. The singers some-
times did not look like princesses or lovely young maidens, and the prince may not have looked
young and handsome. The bel canto style of singing, which literally means “beautiful singing,”
was favored in Italian opera, especially in the operas of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. This style
focuses on the voice as the most important expressive element in the opera. It is more impor-
tant than the words and even the orchestra. In later operas by Wagner and Berlioz, the orchestra
became a partner with the singers, rather than an accompanist. This meant that the singers had
to produce even more power to be heard over a large, rich symphonic orchestra.

                                                  - 34 -
OPerA: tHeN AND NOW (cont.)
tHe OrcHeStrA
And what about the orchestra in the pit? The orchestra provides a framework for the opera by
playing recurring themes and providing dramatic clues to the drama while accompanying the
singing. But the orchestra wasn’t always as we see it today. In the 17th century, some operas
were intended for entertainment at private parties, primarily at weddings (Monteverdi’s Orfeo
begins with a wedding scene). The principal accompanying instruments were a continuo
(a small organ) or harpsichord and a few viols (stringed instruments). In the 18th century,

Mozart began to write his operas for an orchestra of 20 musicians and harpsichord and he was
the first composer to add clarinet to his opera orchestra. The small-scale accompaniment, how-
ever, was still often used during a recitative, a musical selection in which the singing imitates
the sound of spoken words and helps to move along the story line. (Arias, on the other hand,
are more melodic and are often written to express strong emotion, rather than to tell parts
of the story.) By Wagner’s 19th century, the opera orchestra had increased in size, mostly due
to large symphonies composed by Beethoven (d. 1827). Wagner referred to opera as “music
drama” and is one of the few composers who wrote the libretto (the book or story of the opera)

                                                - 35 -
OPerA: tHeN AND NOW (cont.)
as well as all the stage directions and music! Many composers work with colleagues to com-
plete one or more of these elements. [FYI: Beethoven only wrote one opera, Fidelio. Just as he
persistently made changes and corrections in his other works, Beethoven composed four differ-
ent overtures for this one opera.] The orchestras that you see at opera houses today consist of
between 45 and 120 musicians, depending on the requirements of the composer. It is made up
of several sections: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. It is situated in the orchestra pit,
the area which is in front of the stage. The orchestra is seated lower than the stage so that the
sound of the singers’ voice may travel over it. The orchestra pit in the John A. Williams Theatre
at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre has a retractable cover. The cover is removed for
Atlanta Opera productions to accommodate the orchestra. For some other performances at the
theatre, the pit may be closed to allow for extra seating in the theatre.

tHe StAGe
Power to the stage! Even before electricity was available, Monteverdi used torches to light his
early opera, Orfeo, in 1607 and all of Mozart’s operas (1769 – 1791) were staged with candle-
powered and reflected oil lamps around the front of the stage. While Wagner’s Festival Theatre
at Bayreuth (1870’s) had one of the first electric generators in all of Europe, electricity continues
to enhance fantastic opera performances in many ways in opera houses around the world. At
the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York, for example, four stages move hydrauli-
cally: one stage lifts and moves to the side as another replaces it with the scenery for the next
act. This changes work the stage crews need to do and allows for more elaborate and grandiose
sets and smoother scene changes. Engines controlled by computers make this possible as well
as controlling lighting and special effects on stage.

tHe OPerAS
Where do the stories for operas come from? Are all operas based on fairytales and myths? Do
they all have tragic endings like La bohème? Throughout the history of opera, their stories have
come from many sources, including myths and history, are funny and tragic, take place hundreds
of years ago or in modern times, and address topics including love, death, and fantasy.

Myths have been the inspiration to many composers for highly imaginative operas. Montever-
di’s Orfeo was based on the Greek myth that was a familiar story during the Renaissance. Ideas
of the ancient world, primarily from the Greeks, were popular themes in architecture, painting

                                                - 36 -
OPerA: tHeN AND NOW (cont.)
and drama at that time. Even in the 19th century, Wagner was fascinated with many of the same
tales, though they had since evolved into Nordic folktales. “The Lord of the Rings” stories are
very much like many of Wagner’s “music dramas,” including greedy dwarves and the precious
golden ring that makes one invincible.

traditional stories of medieval kings and queens, magicians, and great knights are favorite
topics for opera. Classic literature has also provided the basis for many operas. Popular themes
from literature include various Shakespeare plays and the adventures of Don Quixote. Some
operas, especially in more recent times, have been inspired by actual events. Andrea Chenier
(1896) by Umberto Giordano was based on the life of the poet Andrea Chenier, a supporter and
then victim of the French Revolution and Nixon in China by John Adams reflected actual events
in the 1970’s. There is even an opera written in the 1960’s based on the life of Lizzie Borden!

Grand opera is a term that is often heard in opera circles. Grand opera means grand every-
thing: big stage sets, big voices, big orchestra! Grand opera was popular in Europe in the
mid-19th century. Grand operas include huge crowd scenes and feature a wide range of emo-
tions and events, including heroic feats, great passion and intense suffering within a religious or
romantic story. One of the best-known grand operas is Verdi’s Aïda.

Composers from different countries and periods of history use different styles of writing. In his
writing, Puccini matches specific instruments and combinations of instruments to dramatic mo-
ments, allowing the orchestra to create the atmosphere for the scene. Music scholars agree that
Puccini’s style of writing emphasizes melody, and he uses leitmotif to connect characters (or
combinations of characters). A leitmotif is a recurring musical theme, associated with a particular
person, place, or idea. Wagner also used this tool in his operatic works. Another distinctive qual-
ity in Puccini’s works is the use of the voice in the style of speech: characters sing short phrases
one after another as if they were talking to each other.

Diagram used by permission of the Montréal Opera Guild

Music: Middle School chorus - 8; Music: High School chorus - 8
Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

Music: Middle School chorus - 9; Music: High School chorus - 9
Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

                                                          - 37 -
etymology and Word comparison in Other Languages
Have you ever wondered how different words evolved? Etymology studies the origin of words,
and how those words developed. The words selected below come directly form the libretto.
The origin of the English word or phrase has been given along with its etymological root as well
as a translation of the word into Italian, French, German and Spanish. Do you notice similarities
or differences with the words? Used by permission of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

english                                        italian              French          German       Spanish
Courage - c. 1300 O. Fr. corage                Coraggio             Courage         Courage      Valor
L. cor ‘heart;’ coeur

Dine - c. 1297 O.F. disner                     Pranzare             Diner           Essen        Cenar
originally ‘take the first meal of the day’

Farewell - c. 1374 M.E. faren wel              Addio                Au revoir       Auf          Adios
usually said to the departing person who replied goodbye                            Wiedersehn

Flower - c. 1200 O.F. flor; L. florem          Fiore                Fleur           Blümen       Flor
to blossom

Love - O.E. lufu; love                         Amor                 Amour           Liebe        Amor
Affection, friendliness

Quiet - c. 1300 O.Fr. quiete; L. quies         Zitto                Silence         Sei still    Silencio
rest, quiet, or silence

Spring - M.E. springan                         Primavera            Printemps       Frühling     Primavera
Implying rapid or sudden emerging as in first season of year

Street -   O.E. stret; L. Strata               Via                  Rue             Straße       Calle
lay down, spread out, pave, by way of

To be called - c. 1250 O.E. & L. nomen         Chiamare             Appeler         Geheissen    Llamarse
to give a name other than one’s given name

To sleep - O.E. slaepan                        Dormire              Dormir          Schlafen     Dormir
To sleep

To wait - c. 1200 O.N.Fr. waitier              Aspetare             Attendre        Erwarten     Esperar
O.H.G. wachten; to watch

To want - O.N. vanta                           Volere               Vouloir         Wollen       Querer
To wish
                                                           - 38 -
A LOOK At etYMOLOGY (cont.)
english                                     italian               French        German            Spanish
To write - O.E. writan                      Scrivere              Ecrire        Schreiben         Escribir
To score, outline

Tranquil - c. 1200 O.F & L. tranquillus     Tranquilla            Tranquilite   Ruhig             Tranquilo
peaceful, calm

Young girl - O.E. maeden                    Fanciulla             Jeune         Mädchen           Nina,
Maiden                                                            femme                           Chica
Winter - O.E. wentruz                       Inverno               Hiver         Winter            Invierno
Fourth season of the year

Modern Languages:
The students use information acquired in the study of the target language and information acquired in other subject
areas to reinforce one another.

                                                         - 39 -
Get WitH tHe PrOGrAM

For each opera that The Atlanta Opera produces, the Marketing
Department creates a program that includes information about
the production, artist biographies, staff listings, donor listings,
ads, etc.

All audience members receive a program when they enter the auditorium. How does the
Marketing Department of the Atlanta Opera figure out how many programs to print?

Here are some numbers to consider in your equations:
      • The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre seats approximately 2,700.
      • Ushers recycle programs that are left in the seats at the end of performances –
        approximately 20% of distributed programs are collected after each performance
        and are redistributed at future performances.

                                           - 40 -
Get WitH tHe PrOGrAM (cont.)
Used by permission of the Pittsburgh Opera.

Students will understand the meaning of the four arithmetic operations as related to positive rational numbers and
will use these concepts to solve problems; Students will communicate mathematically;

Students will describe various sources of energy and with their uses and conservation.

                                                        - 41 -
cOMiNG FrOM eVerYWHere

People drive from all over the Atlanta region to attend performances of The Atlanta
Opera. Some drive for an hour and travel approximately 60 miles, while others may
drive for an hour and only travel 10 miles. Why?

Create an original map of the Atlanta region. Include the physical features of the
land and roads.

  • What would happen to the commute time if there were trains?

                                         - 42 -
cOMiNG FrOM eVerYWHere (cont.)
Used by permission of the Pittsburgh Opera.

Social Studies: Geographic understandings
The student will describe Georgia with regard to physical features and location; The student
will explain how the Interstate Highway System, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and Georgia’s deepwater
ports, and the railroads help drive the state’s economy.

                                                           - 43 -
HOW MucH Are tHe ticKetS?
Ticket sale revenue does not cover the cost of producing an opera, but is a major component of
keeping the budget balanced. With that in mind, how does The Atlanta Opera decide what to charge
its patrons for tickets? Currently, The Atlanta Opera has tickets priced at 5 levels ranging from $25 to
$140. Price is determined by seat location in the Cobb Energy Centre.

Your job is to compute the pricing structure of the auditorium with the goal of making $150,000 over
4 performances. Your lowest ticket should cost $25. The highest should cost $140.

• Decide how many levels of ticket prices you’ll need between $25 and $140 and how many seats are
 in each level.
• Set your ticket prices. Calculate how many of each ticket you’ll have to sell to meet your goal.

consider the following:

• The Cobb Energy Centre seats approximately 2,700.
• Base your budget and pricing structure on selling 75% of the tickets available – it’s good to be
 conservative and not anticipate a complete sell-out of each performance.
• Check out The Atlanta Opera’s website (www.atlantaopera.org) for some ideas about their
 seating levels.

                                               - 44 -
HOW MucH Are tHe ticKetS? (cont.)
Used by permission of the Pittsburgh Opera.

Students will make connections among mathematical ideas and to other Disciplines; Students will understand and
apply linear equations in one variable; Students will represent and evaluate quantities using algebraic expressions;
Students will communicate mathematically

                                                         - 45 -
FOrM iN MuSic AND POetrY
Objective: Students will display an understanding of form as a musical element.

i. WHAt iS FOrM
Form in music is the structure, plan, or design of a piece. According to the Oxford Dictionary of
Music, “a musical form is the structural outline - comparable to an architect’s ground plan…”

The concept of form in music may also be compared to the concept of form in poetry. While
musical form is determined by the sequence of musical material, poetic form is determined by
characteristics such as rhyme schemes and patterns of syllables.

Below are some poetic forms you may have studied. Ask students to define each and describe
its form.

3 lines: first line has 5 syllables, second line has 7 syllables, third line has five syllables

5 lines: first, second and fifth lines rhyme; third and fifth lines rhyme

14 lines: rhyming scheme of either abba abba cdcdcd oR abab cdcd efef gg

What other poetic forms have they studied? Are the students able to illustrate other forms?

Listed below are some frequently used musical forms. Letters of the alphabet represent main
musical and melodic ideas.

Strophic (A, A, A, A, etc.)

Song Form (A B A) Note: Opera arias are often in this form!

rondo (A B A C A) Note: Pop songs are often in this form!

Ask the students to think of songs or pieces written in any of the above forms. What are they?

Example: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is ABA.
                                                - 46 -
FOrM iN MuSic AND POetrY (cont.)
ii. creAtiNG FOrM

Non-music teachers may omit Section II or substitute another creative activity such as writing
poetry, writing music using non-traditional notation or drawing.

Have the students work in small groups to sequence the rhythmic patterns listed below to
create one of the forms listed above.




Have the students perform their composition for their classmates. Can the students identify the
forms their classmates have used?

iV. reFLectiON QueStiONS

Assess the student’s understanding of musical form.

1. What is form in music?

2. How is form in music similar to form in poetry? How is it different?

3. What are other areas of study in which you might find similar ideas of form and structure?

                                                - 47 -
FOrM iN MuSic AND POetrY (cont.)
4. Using capital letters to identify the main musical ideas, describe the following musical forms:

Strophic _________________________

Song Form _______________________


5. How do you think listening for the form of a piece of music can help you better understand
   that piece? How can it help you better understand an opera?

Have the students review the translation (Appendix B) and listen to “Quando m’en vo”
(Musetta’s Waltz) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV3F_yNSQwM. Have the students
write a poem describing either Musetta’s character or the situation about which she sings in
“Musetta’s Waltz.” Make sure that the poem has a clear, definable form.

english/Language Arts: Writing
The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres.

english/Language Arts: reading and Literature
The student demonstrates comprehension by identifying evidence (i.e., examples of diction, imagery, point of view,
figurative language, symbolism, plot events and main ideas) in a variety of texts representative of different genres
(i.e., poetry, prose [short story, novel, essay, editorial, biography], and drama) and using this evidence as the basis for

Music: chorus and General Music
Reading and notating music; improvising melodies, variations and accompaniments; composing and arranging music
within specified guidelines; Listening to, analyzing and describing music; Understanding relationships between music,
the other arts and disciplines outside the arts.

                                                           - 48 -
it’S ALL iN HOW YOu SAY it!
character Analysis

Objective: Students will learn about different characteristics through experimenting with vocal
interpretations. Students will then analyze character traits of Mimì, Rodolfo, Marcello, and Mu-
setta from the opera La bohème.

i. cHArActeriZiNG tHrOuGH VOcALiZAtiON
When trying to characterize people in books or plays, we not only look at what they say, but we
listen to how they say it. Sometimes, the inflection in the voice can change the meaning of a
simple sentence. In opera or musical theater, the inflection can be dictated through the musical
line: for example, an “ah” sung in a very high register and very loud could be an exclamation of
fear or surprise, while the same “ah” sung in a low register and quietly could be a sigh or con-
tentment or sadness.

A. Have your students take a simple phrase like “Well, that’s the way it is” or “I don’t know
  about that” or a sentence of your choosing, and say it with different inflections to change the
  meaning. Students may refer to the character list on the following page to give them ideas
  about how to deliver the line. Remember that more than one characteristic can fit an inflec-
  tion. Go around the room and have each student deliver a line choosing a characteristic and
  then discuss the different ways to say it.

B. Write a brief, 4-8 line dialogue between two characters. (Use simple, emotion-neutral state-
  ments such as “Hello. How are you? Some weather we’re having.”) Have pairs of students
  interpret and deliver this same dialogue. Discuss how each group interpreted and delivered
  the scene differently. What did the different interpretations tell us about the relationship be-
  tween the characters, their moods, their characters, etc.

C. On the blackboard, list the different emotions the students demonstrated and discuss how
  these emotions could help them make judgments about different people’s character.

ii. cHArActer ANALYSiS
When going to see an opera that is in another language, it is important for the students to know
the story before they get to the theater so they can understand what’s going on onstage. Knowing
the characters and how they react to one another is an important aspect of understanding a story.

                                               - 49 -
it’S ALL iN HOW YOu SAY it! (cont.)
A. Have students read the synopsis of La bohème. Discuss the students’ impressions of
   the characters and storyline. For example, there is much debate as to whether Mimì is a
   manipulative character or a truly helpless damsel. How do the students think Mimì will be
   portrayed in The Atlanta Opera production? How could the interpretation of Mimì change
   the landscape of the entire opera?

B. Divide the students in to four groups and assign each group one of the four main characters:
   Mimì, Rodolfo, Marcello, and Musetta. Have each group perform a character analysis of their
   character, including their motivation and predictions on their future.

iii. FOLLOW uP
After attending the opera, have the students revisit their character analyses. Did The Atlanta
Opera portray the characters as they had expected? Did the Opera’s production shed new or
different light on the individuals?

english/Language Arts: reading and Literature
The student identifies, analyzes, and applies knowledge of theme in literary works and provides evidence from the
works to support understanding.
The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a warranted and responsible explanation of a
variety of literary and informational texts.

english/Language Arts: Writing
The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres.

                                                       - 50 -
it’S ALL iN HOW YOu SAY it! (cont.)
A List of character traits

absent-minded           demanding         light-hearted    serious
adventurous             dependable        loud             sharp-witted
ambitious               determined        loyal            shiftless
awkward                 dreamy            mischievous      short
boastful                dull              nagging          shrewd
bold                    expert            neat             shy
bossy                   fat               obedient         sneaky
bright                  fearful           organized        soft-hearted
brave                   fierce            outspoken        spunky
calm                    follower          patient          stern
careless                forgetful         playful          stingy
care-free               forgiving         pleasant         stubborn
cautious                friendly          polite           superstitious
changeable              funny             poor             suspicious
charming                fussy             quarrelsome      talkative
clever                  generous          quick-tempered   tall
conceited               gentle            quiet            thin
confused                gloomy            reasonable       thoughtful
contented               greedy            reckless         timid
cooperative             helpful           relaxed          tough
courageous              honest            respectful       trusting
cowardly                humble            restless         understanding
coy                     humorous          rich             unfriendly
cruel                   intelligent       rude             unkind
hard-working            jolly             sad              wise
curious                 keen              self-centered    withdrawn
dainty                  kind              selfish          witty
daring                  lazy              sensitive        zany
dark                    leader            sentimental

                                      - 51 -
tHe Act ii FiNALe
Objective: Students will be able to express how composers use multiple operatic characteristics
in order to create a finale and how Puccini achieves this at the La bohème Act II Finale.

i. Defining Finales
Explain to the students that an operatic finale is the last piece in an act. Finales are often lon-
ger and more elaborate than other pieces (such as arias and duets) in an act. They often depict
some climactic event and may express many characters viewpoints at once. Operatic finales may
be compared to finales of other performing art forms such as film.

Use the Finale of a film such as Star Wars: Episode IV as an example. In the finale, there is a
climactic battle, concluding with the destruction of the Death Star. During the battle scene we
see and hear the viewpoints of different characters and see the action from different visual view-
points; sometimes some of these things are happening simultaneously.

An opera composer may create a finale by letting the audience not only see but hear the per-
spective multiple characters in different ways, sometimes simultaneously.

Introduce or review the different types of operatic compositions listed below.

Aria - A piece often expressing strong emotions, sung by one character, highly melodic

Duet - A piece sung by two characters.

ensemble - A piece sung by several characters, often with each having his/her own distintct
melody and point of view.

recitative - Imitation of natural speech, helps to move along the storyline, sung alone or as a

chorus - Sung by many characters, often commenting on the action of the story.

During an operatic act the audience may have heard arias, duets, ensembles, recitatives,
and choruses. In the finale, they might hear any or all of them in them, sometimes even
simultaneously. Sometimes extra orchestral instruments will be included on stage or back
stage (in addition to those in the orchestra pit).

                                                - 52 -
tHe Act ii FiNALe (cont.)
ii. Listening
In the Act II Finale of La bohème, the Bohemians are using the crowd’s excitement over the
soldiers’ parade as a distraction to leave the Café Momus and let Alcindoro be left alone to pay
their bill.

Listen to the Act II Finale (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19szc_9nuDg). Ask the
students to identify the kinds of compositions Puccini uses to create a complex, exciting scene.






Additional instruments On Stage or back Stage

All of the above except Aria may be circled.

reflection Questions

1. What is an operatic Finale?

2. How may the Finale be different from other parts of an operatic act?

3. How does Puccini make the La bohème Act II Finale different and more complex than the
  rest of the Act? How does this apply to what is happening in the story?

Music: chorus and General Music
Critical Analysis/Investigate – Listening to, analyzing and describing music; Evaluating music and music performanc-
es; Understanding music in relation to history and culture

english/Language Arts: reading
The student understands and acquires new vocabulary and uses it correctly in reading and writing.

                                                         - 53 -
Opera has been beloved in Atlanta since 1866! Though there hasn’t always been a local opera
company, audience members throughout Atlanta have been enjoying opera for over 137 years.
It began when the Ghioni and Sussini Grand Italian Opera Company presented three operas in
Atlanta in October 1866. They were well received and soon after, small touring companies be-
gan to bring full-length operas to Atlanta. When there wasn’t a touring opera company in town,
people would throw parties where they could entertain, often with musical presentations. Even
without the presence of an opera in town, audience appreciation for opera was growing!

In 1910, New York’s Metropolitan Opera first brought its opera tour to Atlanta. By this time,
Atlantans were in love with opera. Once a year, for a full week during spring, people flocked to
the city to see the Metropolitan Opera’s wonderful performances and enjoy the many parties
that were hosted throughout the city in celebration of the operas’ arrival. It was a magnificent
time! The opera was the place to see and to be seen, with people crowding the lobbies and
balconies. This continued for nearly seven decades, with the exception of 1931-1939, when the
Metropolitan was unable to tour due to the Depression.

Soon, citizens of Atlanta began to yearn for their own opera company, to represent and support
local talent, as well as to provide performances throughout the year, instead of only once in the
spring. Several smaller, local opera companies began to crop up. With the arrival of local opera
companies, and with troubles of its own, the Metropolitan Opera discontinued its nationwide
tour, giving its last Atlanta performance in 1986.

In 1980, The Atlanta Civic Opera was born as a result of two smaller companies merging togeth-
er, the Atlanta Lyric Opera and the Georgia Opera. Since then, the company has changed and
grown tremendously! The Atlanta Civic Opera officially changed its name to The Atlanta Opera
in 1985. Over the years, the company has presented its productions at the Woodruff Arts Cen-
ter’s Alliance Theatre and Symphony Hall, The Fox Theatre and the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta
Civic Center.

The Atlanta Opera was the first resident company in the new Cobb Energy Performing Arts
Centre upon completion of the facility in fall 2007. Patrons and performers alike are extremely
happy with the new theater, acoustically designed for opera. The Atlanta Opera celebrated our
30th Anniversary Season in 2009-2010. The 30-year history of The Atlanta Opera is only a small

                                                - 54 -
A HiStOrY OF OPerA iN AtLANtA (cont.)
part of the 100+ years that opera has flourished in this city. The company has been, and still is,
a significant contributor to the Atlanta community and to the countless singers, conductors and
directors who have developed their careers here.

Besides our mainstage performances, The Atlanta Opera has many programs to offer. There are
balls and galas to attend, dinners, concerts, opera classes and talks. The Atlanta Opera Studio,
founded in 1980, brings children’s opera (complete with sets and costumes) opera workshops
and master classes to schools throughout the state in an effort to teach students about opera.
We also offer arts administration internships, technical theater apprenticeships, and started the
new High School Opera Institute in Fall 2009.

The Atlanta Opera strives to present quality opera productions, while educating and fostering a
sense of appreciation for the opera within the community. So long as there are those in Atlanta
who love music and the art of opera, we can continue to perform and to grow!

                                                - 55 -
The Atlanta Opera would like to thank the following for their generous support of our education
and outreach programs.

The Atlanta Foundation
Bright Wings Foundation
The Mary Brown Fund
Camp-Younts Foundation
The Dudley-Litton Foundation
The Goizueta Foundation
Dr. B. Gene Griessman
JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Lois & Lucy Lampkin Foundation
The Ray M. & Mary Elizabeth Lee Foundation
Sara Giles Moore Foundation
Nordson Corporation Foundation
Mr. Hervey Ross
Mr. Randy Romig
Mr. Milton Sams
Francis Wood Wilson Foundation
The Zeist Foundation

                                             - 56 -
“che gelidad manina” (rodolfo’s aria)          “Sì mi chiamano Mimì” (Mimì’s aria)
Your tiny hand is so cold,                     Yes.
Please let me warm it.                         I’m known as Mimì;
What good to search?                           But my name is Lucia.
We won’t find it in the dark.                  My story is brief.
Luckily, though,                               I embroider on linens and silks
It’s a moonlight evening,                      At home or outside.
And the moon                                   I’m calm and happy
Is very near to us.
                                               And it is my special pleasure
Just a moment, mademoiselle,                   To make lilies and roses.
And in a few words let me tell you             I like those things
Who I am, what I do,                           That possess for me a sweet charm,
And who I live.                                That speak of love and spring,
Who am I? I am a poet.                         That speak of dreams and illusions,
What do I do? I write.                         Things that have the name of poetry.
And how do I live? I live.                     Is that clear?
In poverty I yet indulge myself
Like a grand seigneur                          Rodolfo
In rhymes and hymns to love.                   Yes.
For dreams, delisions
And castles in the air                         I’m known as Mimì,
I’ve a millionaire’s capacity.                 Why, I do not know.
While from my treasure chest                   Alone, I prepare my suppers.
Two thieves – a pair of beautiful eyes –       Not often do I attend church,
Steal all my jewels.                           But I pray a great deal.
                                               I live alone
And, entering with you, just now,              In a little room that looks out
My cherished dreams,                           Upon roofs and at the sky,
My beautiful dreams                            But with the thaw,
They’ve stolen!                                The first rays of sun are mine;
But the loss is of no consequence to me,       The first kiss of April is mine!
For it’s been replaced                         The first sunshine is mine!
By a very sweet hope.                          In a vase a rose sprouts…
Now that you know me,                          And I inhale its fragrance leaf by leaf!
Won’t you speak?                               So gentle is the perfume of a flower!
Who are you? Perhaps you’ll tell me.           But the ones I make, alas!
                                               Have no perfume!
                                               And that is about all I can say!
                                               I’m your neighbor
                                               Who intrudes upon you.

                                           - 57 -
APPeNDiX A (cont.)
“O Soave Fanciulla” (love duet)
Rodolfo                                                  Rodolfo
…O sweet aspect halo’s                                   And later?
By the light of the rising moon,
In you I behold                                          Mimì
The dream I would always dream!                          So inquisitive!

Mimì (to herself)                                        Rodolfo
Oh, you alone command, love!                             Come, your arm, my little one.
Oh, how sweetly his words fall upon my heart!
Love alone commands me!                                  Mimì
                                                         I obey you, Signor!
Within me, now,                                          Rodolfo
Ecstasies are stirring.                                  Tell me you love me.
Love awakens in the kiss.
Mimì (moving from Rodolfo as he tries to kiss her)       I love you!
No, please!
                                                         Rodolfo, Mimì
Rodolfo                                                  Love! Love! Love!
You’re mine!

The friends are waiting…

You dismiss me?

I’d like to say…but don’t dare…

Say it!

If I came with you?

What? Mimì!
It would be so lovely to remain here.
It’s cold outside.

I’ll be hear you…

                                                     - 58 -
Quando men vo (Musetta’s Waltz)

When I walk all alone in the street
People stop and stare at me
And look for my whole beauty
From head to feet

And then I taste the slight yearning
which transpires from their eyes
and which is able to perceive from manifest charms
to most hidden beauties.
So the scent of desire is all around me,
it makes me happy!

And you, while knowing, reminding and longing,
you shrink from me?
I know it very well:
you don’t want to express your anguish,
but you feel as if you’re dying!

                                                     - 59 -

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