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Thread: Animals in opera productions?

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    Default Animals in opera productions?

    Last night I saw La Cenerentola at San Francisco Opera in the old Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production. During the storm the chorus/supers brought a Pomeranian across the stage.

    What other animals have you seen in opera productions?

    The first that came to mind for me was the pair of Irish Wolfhounds in Mary Zimmerman's production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met


    but I know there's more!

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    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    In the former Met LE NOZZE DI FIGARO the Count had some kind of a big hunting dog (I have no idea what breed -- I'm a cat-lover anyway).

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    Are you sure it is not Scottish Deerhounds?

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    Cavalleria rusticana starts with a horse on the stage (in Budapest).

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I believe Thomas Beecham was conducting an opera whose props included a donkey. Apparently the donkey dropped a pile on the stage at which Beecham quipped, "not just a musician - a critic!"

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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I believe Thomas Beecham was conducting an opera whose props included a donkey. Apparently the donkey dropped a pile on the stage at which Beecham quipped, "not just a musician - a critic!"
    Someone has to assess the asses, 'critics,' I mean. ;D
    Last edited by Marschallin Blair; Nov-19-2014 at 21:38.

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    I was on a swimming club exchange trip to St Petersburg (1990 I guess) and learning that I was an opera fan they took us to the Mariinsky Theatre for Rimsky Korsakov's The Maid of Pskov, with Gergiev and Galina Gorchakova.

    It was the original 19th century production and the brilliant storm and chase scene featured two horses at full gallop from one wing to the other. Completely unexpected and magnificent!
    Last edited by Don Fatale; Nov-20-2014 at 01:12.

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    Karajan used dogs, in the entrance of Elizabeth, in the garden scene in Don Carlos by Verdi on the Salzburger festspiele
    Last edited by Pugg; Nov-20-2014 at 07:25.

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander View Post
    I was on a swimming club exchange trip to St Petersburg (1990 I guess) and learning that I was an opera fan they took us to the Mariinsky Theatre for Rimsky Korsakov's The Maid of Pskov, with Gergiev and Galina Gorchakova.

    It was the original 19th century production and the brilliant storm and chase scene featured two horses at full gallop from one wing to the other. Completely unexpected and magnificent!
    Wow! That must have been spectacular!
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Horse and donkey in Don Quichotte. Would love to see this production one day.

    Last edited by sospiro; Nov-20-2014 at 10:46.
    Ann

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Karajan used dogs, in the entrance of Elizabeth, in the garden scene in Don Carlos by Verdi on the Salzburger festspiele
    I know he used birds of prey in one production. One critic remarked how like Karajan they looked!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sloe View Post
    Are you sure it is not Scottish Deerhounds?
    I am pretty sure they are Irish Wolfhounds. Renée Fleming even interviewed their handler during the Live In HD transmission and I believe it was discussed but I can't find video or a transcript.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    I am pretty sure they are Irish Wolfhounds. Renée Fleming even interviewed their handler during the Live In HD transmission and I believe it was discussed but I can't find video or a transcript.
    Ok you are probably right and they look more like Irish wolfhounds but it is difficult to see and Scottish deerhounds would be more suitable for Lucia de Lamermoor.
    Last edited by Sloe; Nov-20-2014 at 19:22.

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    Horses seem to be among the more popular four-legged opera "stars." The DVD of the ROH production of Carmen conducted by Sir Tony Pappano has Escamillo (Ildebrando D'Archangelo) make his first appearance mounted on a beautiful dark bay/brown, and there was a horse parading in the background during a Salzburg Festival performance of Zimmermann's Soldaten a few years ago. In a performance of La Fanciulla del West at the Cincinnati Opera back in the '80s that I attended, Minnie and Dick/Ramerrez rode off into their new life together on a pair of Quarter Horses. One of the elephants from the Cincinnati Zoo was always part of the Triumphal March whenever the Opera staged Aida. In recent months, a production of Aureliano in Palmyra at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro featured four live goats, one of whom chose his moment in the spotlight to relieve himself on some of the scenery, and a performance of Louis Andriessen's De Materie at the Ruhr Triennial had an entire flock of sheep present during the opera's fourth segment. However, they behaved with more discretion than the goat in Pesaro, or that donkey at the performance Beecham conducted.

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    This fall, I've been lucky to see the Met's classic productions of both La Boheme and Aida. If I recall correctly, in La Boheme, Musetta makes her entrance in a carriage drawn by a white horse and Parpignol's toy cart is drawn by a donkey. And in Aida, the triumphal march featured a beautiful bay horse, then Radames made his entrance in a chariot drawn by two white horses.

    One of the most effective and extended animal features I've seen was in King for Day (an English version of Verdi's Un giorno di regno ) at Glimmerglass Opera last year, where Ginger Costa-Jackson sang an entire aria to a very patient poodle.

    Years ago, I attended a recital by Denyce Graves where she made her entrance carrying her own pet dog.

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