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Articles by John Snelson

The Shipping Cues: Why ships on stage make great drama

17 February 2015

Building a ship on stage might be a stage designer’s nightmare, but life on or by the sea has made ideal material for some of opera’s greatest stories.

Stormy Weather #2: Smart techniques for bringing a storm to the stage from history's great composers

23 January 2015

Beethoven inspired a host of operatic composers including Rossini, Verdi and Weill in musical methods for creating an operatic storm.

Andrea Chénier Musical Highlight – The Act III Trial Scene

19 January 2015

Giordano's music has a cinematic sweep in his depiction of the riotous trial where his hero is unjustly sentenced to death.

Ballet in Bloom: The Flower Waltz

24 December 2014

Ballet choreographers have long loved to craft swirling floral patterns for the corps de ballet, set to a waltz's gentle lilt.

Un ballo in maschera musical highlight: The Laughing Chorus in Act II

9 December 2014

Verdi’s music for the chorus ‘Ve’, se di notte’ shows how laughter can be used to heighten tragedy.

Tristan und Isolde Musical Highlight: The ‘Tristan Chord’

20 November 2014

Wagner is credited with changing the course of Western music in just four notes, but what turned a chord into a musical icon?

How to be perfect: Androids, humans and the danger of the ideal

13 November 2014

Søren Nils Eichberg’s opera Glare explores a recurrent issue in science fiction - what do you do if you can't tell who is real?

I due Foscari Musical highlight: The Act I finale

7 October 2014

Two characters rise to the dramatic and musical challenge of the powerful confrontation that concludes Act I of Verdi’s early tragedy.

Stormy weather: How opera composers use musical maelstroms

23 September 2014

Storms as a narrative and compositional device in Rigoletto, Idomeneo and Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Anna Nicole Musical Highlight: Daniel's Drug Ballad

15 August 2014

A short solo listing the drugs taken by Anna Nicole Smith's son distills the emotional essence of a tragic tale.

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