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Operatic Greek Myth
"Many classical operas are based upon tales deriving from Greek mythology. In this quiz, I'll discuss some of these operas. Most of the operatic facts are related in the "Grand Opera Book"."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
One of the oldest operas ever was composed by Jacopo Peri and bears the name of Orpheus' wife. Who was she?
Claudio Monteverdi composed in 1608 an opera about Theseus' girl friend. What was her name? The opera was named after her.
In 1639 Francesco Cavalli composed the opera "Le Nozze di Teti e Peleo" ("The Wedding of Thetis and Peleus"). According to Greek myth, this couple had a very famous son. Who was the offspring of this wedding?
Claudio Monteverdi composed the opera "Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria" ("Odysseus' Return to his Home Country") in 1641. What is the name of this home country of Odysseus'?
Francesco Cavalli composed the opera "Il Giasone" ("Jason") in 1649. Jason was one of the heroes that sailed to unknown countries to find the Golden Fleece. Name the ship he sailed with.
The opera "Ercole Amante" composed in 1662 by Francesco Cavalli relates Hercules' love life. After having killed his first wife, he had to perform twelve tasks. Which of these famous missions was *not* one of Hercules' twelve tasks?
Cleaning the Augean stables
Obtaining the Golden Fleece
Killing the Hydra at Lerna
Picking Hesperus' Golden Apples
In 1666 the opera "Il Pomo d'Oro" by Marc'Antonio Cesti relates the very beginning of the Trojan War. According to a popular story that is not related in the "Iliad", the goddess of Discord threw in a golden apple at the wedding banquet of Thetis and Peleus. What was inscribed in this golden apple?
"For the Prettiest"
"And yet it moves"
"Know thy self"
"To be or not to be"
Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed in 1675 an opera named after the witch living at Aea that turned Odysseus' fellow travellers into swine. Odysseus stayed with her one year and then sailed on. Who was she?
Jean-Baptiste Lully composed in 1683 an opera named after Helios' son, who drove the chariot with the Sun. What is his name?
One of the most tragic stories in Greek myth is that of Jason's wife. When Jason fell in love with a Corinthian princess, his wife killed their children. Who was she? Marc-Antoine Charpentier named an opera after her in 1693, and Luigi Cherubini did likewise in 1797. Darius Milhaud also portrayed her in an opera in 1939, and Samuel Barber composed a ballet suite on the same subject in 1947.
Domenico Scarlatti composed in 1713 an opera based upon a theme related to the Trojan War. According to this story, the Greek fleet commanded by Agamemnon could not sail because of the lack of wind. An oracle summoned Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter. Who was she?
The French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau completed in 1737 an opera on the most famous twins in Greek myth. They are the sons of Leda. What are their names?
Eros and Thanatos
Castor and Pollux
Hippias and Hipparchus
Amphion and Zethus
Johann Christian Bach composed in 1763 an opera on one of the most fervent hunters in Greek myth. This hunter was killed by Artemis with a single shot. After his death, Zeus placed this hunter at the firmament. Who was he?
Tommaso Traetta completed in 1772 an opera on a young woman who prefers to die in order to give a decent burial to one of her brothers. Who was this courageous girl, the heroine of a theatre play by Sophocles and by Jean Anouilh?
Antonio Salieri composed in 1778 the opera entitled "Europa Riconosciuta" ("Europe Recognised"). The opera doesn't relate the manner in which Zeus seduces Europe. In which disguise does Zeus start the seduction?
Shower of gold
The Belgian composer André Grétry composed in 1780 an opera on Hector's wife. The "Iliad" relates the tragic goodbye as Hector goes out to fight Achilles. Who is Hector's wife?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed in 1781 an opera on the king of Crete who led his troops against Troy. Which king gave his name to an opera by Mozart?
In 1784 Antonio Salieri composed an opera on the 50 daughters of the Libyan king Danaus. All but one were punished for having killed their grooms during the wedding night. What was their punishment?
They have to roll up heavy rocks on a steep mountain slope
They have to fill a barrel without a bottom
They suffer from eternal hunger and thirst
An eagle picks out their livers
Luigi Cherubini composed in 1809 an opera on the sculptor who fell in love with his artefact. Who was this sculptor, who also inspired George Bernard Shaw?
In 1858, Jacques Offenbach strikes the opera public with a comical opera. He depicts a Greek mythological singer who descends into hell, competes with the gods in singing the Marseillaise and finally retrieves his wife in hell. The most shocking experience for the auditory was probably the performing by women of the French Can-can, originally a (rather explicit) Algerian dance for men only.
What is the title of this opera?
"Le Sacre du Printemps"
"Le Devin du Village"
"Orphee aux Enfers"
In 1864, Jacques Offenbach named an opera after the beautiful woman whose abduction led to the Trojan War. What was her name?
Gabriel Faure composed in 1900 an opera on the person who gave people the knowledge how to start fire. As the gods wanted to keep this secret, this person was heavily punished. Who was he?
When Agamemnon returned to Mycenae after the Trojan War, he was killed by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. In revenge, his daughter instigated his son Orestes to kill the murderers. Who was this daughter, after whom Richard Strauss named an opera in 1909?
Igor Stravinsky composed in 1927 an opera on the mythical king who killed his father and married his mother. Who was this king of Thebes?
(One Word - complex)
Igor Stravinsky composed in 1934 an opera on the goddess of the underworld. Her mother was the goddess of fertility. When her daughter was captured by Hades (God of the underworld), she started mourning all year. In order to prevent nature from extinction, the gods decided on a compromise: the daughter would stay one third of the year in Hades (hell) and the rest of it on Mount Olympus. During her time in Hades, winter would set in, but spring starts as the daughter returns to Mount Olympus. What is the daughter's name?
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Compiled Dec 11 12