New to Opera

Posted In: Repertoire

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    suzanne-johns on #192581

    I have recently moved to a new area and been asked to consider playing for the local opera orchestra. Most of my experience has been in solo or light orchestral playing. Are there good resources to get opera excerpts to start working on that music? Can you purchase harp parts?

    MusikFind1 on #192582

    Use the search feature on the Kalmus web site to see parts that are in the Public Domain.
    2,145 complete operas, excerpts and overtures are listed.
    Instrumentation can be checked to see those that have harp.
    These parts should be ordered from your harp dealer.

    As in all music reprints that have not been edited, the material will contain mistakes made by the original engraver.
    Kalmus reprints exactly what the original publisher created.
    Click on Search Catalog.
    Under Genre, add Opera to the search box.

    Works can also be searched by Composer and/or Title.

    When an opera is under copyright ask the orchestra librarian to order the harp part in advance of the order date for the rest of the orchestra material. Rental publishers accept orders only from librarians, conductors and administrators.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #192610

    If you are thinking of learning Lucia di Lammermoor, don’t use the Zabel solo arrangement. It is very different from the original part. When you are learning opera parts, listen to recordings as well, because there are many pauses and changes in tempo, which depend on the singer’s and conductor’s interpretation. Many of these places are not marked in the music.

    carl-swanson on #192611

    There are a number of “versions” of the cadenza from Lucia di Lammermoor, that greatly extend the length of the cadenza, turning it really into a solo piece. There was a reason why these were written. There apparently is a big scenery change at that point, and the conductors or directors, I’m not sure who, wanted the harp cadenza to be longer so there wouldn’t be a long silence between scenes.

    My teacher Pierre Jamet, who had been the principal harpist in the Paris Opera orchestra from 1937 to 1959, told me a very sweet story. He was playing Lucia when Lilly Pons was singing. He played the cadenza and by the time he got to the end, the curtain was up and Pons was on stage to begin the scene. Before starting, she walked to the edge of the stage and motioned for him to stand up and take a bow. She waited for him to take a bow and for the applause to die down before starting the scene.

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