I thought I’d post something a little… different for this week’s Wednesday Music. I don’t usually post pieces from operas, so I thought I’d give that a try today. If you don’t like the actual singing that’s in opera, don’t worry: today’s piece is an overture and does not have any singing. It’s from The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini. This piece is near and dear to my heart because I played it during the last year of orchestra in high school. (I miss orchestra so much!) I was principal second violin—that means I sat up front near the conductor and led the second violin section. Here’s a bit about the piece.
- Allegedly, Rossini wrote this opera in a mere three weeks. To me, that’s like writing a novel in three weeks—impossible for us mere mortals. However, the overture was recycled from two of his earlier operas, so that part probably didn’t take long to write.
- This doesn’t relate specifically to the overture, but to the opera as a whole: one of the parts, a character named Rosina, is supposed to be sung by a contralto, the lowest female voice. Due to the scarcity of contraltos, her part is often sung by a soprano nowadays.
- You may have heard this overture before, as it has been used on TV, in films, and in advertising over the years. It was especially popular in the 1940s and 1950s in cartoons.
Or click here to see on YouTube.