Prelude to Act III of “La Traviata”

La Traviata was first performed in 1853. One of Verdi’s most famous operas, it tells the story of a doomed love affair between a young and beautiful girl of dubious reputation and a young man from the proper social circles. The Prelude to Act III opens with a high ethereal melody played by divided violins. Its foreboding tone and mood set the stage for the opera’s tragic conclusion.

Overture to “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”

Overture to “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”

Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) is best known for his masterful comic operas. He was a prolific composer who, at one point, composed 16 operas in 6 years – and then retired when he was 37 years old!

Rossini wrote this overture for one of his best-known operas, The Barber of Seville, which premiered in Rome in 1816. Opening with a loud fanfare, it immediately drops to a whisper – foreshadowing the comic (yet elegant) nature of the piece. Abruptly shifting gears to a fast tempo in a minor key, Rossini alternates thunderous fortissimos with witty wind melodies. Several long crescendo passages add even more drama to the overture, which finishes with a flourish at the end of a breakneck finale.

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