Cecilia Rangwanasha ~ Or sai chi l’onore ~ Don Giovanni - Mozart

Donna Anna has put two and two together and realised that the masked intruder who tried to ravish her, and killed her father when he intervened was, in fact, the sexually voracious bounder Don Giovanni. She begs her fiancé, Don Ottavio (a real sweetie actually), to avenge the callous and heartless murder.
Antonio Iranzo ~ Niun mi tema ~ Otello ~ Verdi

Proper opera tragedy, this one. Otello has killed Desdemona, his loving and faithful wife, having made the big old mistake of listening to the manipulative lies of the wicked Iago. Realising he has been horrifically duped, he mourns her loss and shows how sorry he is by killing himself too. Marvellous.
Emma Dogliani ~ Casta Diva ~ Norma ~ Bellini

Norma, high priestess of the Celts in ancient Gaul, is in a right pickle. She has made the massive career mistake of falling for an enemy Roman, Pollione, and having had two secret children with him ~ and now his inclination has turned elsewhere, and she is supposed to be a virgin priestess. In the sacred grove of the druids, she prays before the altar to the moon goddess to cast her peaceful influence over earth.
John Savournin ~ Si, obtrudat ultimam ~ 
Applausus Jubilæum Virtutis Palatium - Haydn

An applausus was an 18th century form of semi-staged, allegorical oratorio, if you can get your head around what that might have been like. One of four Virtues, the character of Fortitude, is being tutored by wise Theologica. He sings ‘If destiny should swallow us up in a final cataclysm ...’ with huge verve. Always looking on the bright side ...
Nina Kanter ~ Il est doux, il est bon ~ Salome ~ Massenet

Salome, whose mother, Herodias, sent her away whilst she married King Herod Antipas, has arrived back in Jerusalem. Fending for herself, she has become a massive fan of the prophet John the Baptist.  She has taken the usual path of extreme fandom and now fallen in love with him, and is following him everywhere.
Elizabeth Marcus ~ Prelude in A minor ~ Ravel

Composed in 1913, a year when Ravel wrote little else after the huge and taxing efforts of getting two ballets on the Paris stage the previous year. Also in 1913, he and Debussy both attended the seismic premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. He adored it.
Clare McCaldin ~ King of Clubs ~ Mary’s Hand - Bussey

Queen Mary I, elder daughter of Tudor king Henry VIII and lover of card games, is reflecting on the hand life has dealt her. Feted as a child, ignored and neglected as a young woman, her opposition to the new church in England in the reign of her teenaged brother is total and religion becomes heated politics. This excerpt is part of a full recording of the opening night at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival in 2018. https://www.tete-a-tete.org.uk/event/marys-hand-2/
Holly Brown ~ Snegurochka’s aria ~ The Snowmaiden – Rimsky Korsakov

Snegurachka, the snow maiden, daughter of Grandfather Frost and the Spring Fairy, is 15, and desperate to go and live amongst the humans in the nearby village. She has heard a local shepherd singing in the fields and wants to learn his songs so she can sing them to cheer everybody up. There’s naturally a problem – if her heart were ever to warm up and feel real love, she would melt. You’ll never guess what happens in the end.
Jonathan Williams ~ As Long As Your Eyes Are Blue ~ Maxim

This piece was written in 2014 with inspiration from a romantic Australian ballad by the poet Banjo Patterson.
Katie Grosset ~ Skye Boat Song

Katie courageously crosses the country down from Scotland by road each time the OpCab calls. What a joy to see what things are like when she’s singing on her own doorstep!
Fiona Tanner Baldwin ~ Chi Il bel sogno di Doretta ~ La Rondine - Puccini

We are at the glittering party of the Parisian courtesan,
Magda. The fashionable poet, Prunier, is struggling to finish
his song about Doretta, and how she rejected the advances of
a king in pursuit of true love. Effectively crushing Prunier’s
creative mojo, the beautiful hostess takes over the song and
finishes it for him, telling everyone how Doretta then fell
blissfully in love with a poor student.
Cecilia Rangwashana ~ Dich, Teure Halle ~ Tannhäuser - Wagner

Princess Elizabeth of Thuringia is tremendously excited by the news that Tannhäuser, better known to his mates as Heinrich von Ofterdingen, is returning to court. He left a year ago after a bit of a barney with the other knights, and has been hanging out in the mountains with the goddess Venus, but is drawn back by his feelings for the Princess. Elated, she rushes into the Hall of Song, site of Tannhäuser’s many triumphs in singing competitions.
Antonio Iranzo ~ Era la notte ~ Otello ~ Verdi

Wicked Iago is making up big porky pies. He is attempting to drive Otello wild with unfounded jealousy and tells him that he has overheard his roommate, Cassio, talking in his sleep whilst having sexy dreams about Desdemona, Otello’s wife. It works a treat and Otello swears his terrible vengeance.
Nina Kanter ~ Donde lieta usci ~ La Boheme ~ Puccini

Mimi and Rodolfo are breaking up. Rodolfo accuses her of carrying on with other chaps, but the real reason is that he knows she is ill and he cannot bear to watch her die. She is impressively dignified and instructs him sadly to pack all her things in his room. Tissues at the ready recommended.
Alenka Voynic ~ Si, ta presence m’est ravie ~ Tales of Hoffmann - Offenbach

The Venetian courtesan, Giulietta, has been ordered by Captain Dapertutto to trick the poet Hoffmann into giving her his reflection. If she manages the task, she will be rewarded with a diamond. She sets about seducing Hoffmann who, besotted with her, gladly gives her her prize. She immediately abandons him and then mistakenly drinks the poison and dies. Serves her right.
Clare McCaldin ~ Usherette’s blues

A view from the back of the stalls.
tutti ~ Nessun dorma ~ Turandot - Puccini

A clip of the tumultuous encore at the 2019 OpCab. Hoping for more ‘Vincero!’ in 2021. Until then, ‘O mia patria, si bella e perduta’.
Met Opera’s Chorus ~ Va Pensiero ~ Nabucco - Verdi
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