Page 152. " began to sing "O Mio Babbino Caro" "
Poster advertising Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi (probably to coincide with the Italian premiere on 11 January 1919)
Public DomainPoster advertising Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi (probably to coincide with the Italian premiere on 11 January 1919) - Credit: Leopoldo Metlicovitz

‘O mio babbino caro’ (‘Oh My Beloved Father’) is a soprano aria from Giacomo Puccini’s 1918 opera Gianni Schicchi. It is sung by the opera’s heroine Lauretta at a moment when escalating tensions between her father and the family of her beloved Rinuccio threaten to separate the two young lovers.

Florence Easton as Lauretta at the world premiere of Gianni Schicchi (14 December 1918)
Public DomainFlorence Easton as Lauretta at the 1918 world premiere of Gianni Schicchi - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The opera was first performed on 14 December 1918 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, with the English soprano Florence Easton as Lauretta. For many, though, the definitive performance of 'O mio babbino caro' belongs to the American-Greek soprano Maria Callas.

 

Page 162. " She was Mozart's Susanna. Carmen was the Countess Rosina. "
by hector

The Marriage of Figaro
Public DomainThe Marriage of Figaro - Credit: A. Linton, Gustave Janet
Two characters from The Marriage of Figaro, one of Mozart's most popular operas.  Susanna is maid to the Countess Rosina and the fiancée of Figaro.

In the picture, Susanna (standing) and the Countess (seated) are disguising the Count's page, Cherubino, as a woman to trick the Count into a compromising position.

Listen on Spotify to a duet between Susanna and Countess Rosina.

Page 171. " the opening lines of "Claire de Lune." "
by hector

Clair de Lune is the third movement of the Suite bergamasque by Claude Debussy.

Listen on Spotify

Page 172. " he would look like Tolstoy "

Bearded Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is best known for writing War and Peace and Anna Karenina – two ‘realist fiction’ works that describe Russian life and society during the 19th century.

Born in 1828 into wealthy Russian nobility, Tolstoy’s experience in the army caused him to reject his life of privilege and become a devoted Christian anarchist later in life. He married Sophia Andreevna Bers in 1862 and the couple had 13 children together, five of whom died during childhood.

Considered one of the world’s greatest novelists, Tolstoy died of pneumonia in 1910, aged 82.  

War and Peace on Book Drum

 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Public DomainWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - Credit: Wikimedia Commons