Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Verdi?

Sunday, October 06, 2013 - 07:00 PM

Giuseppe Verdi is the most-performed composer in opera houses worldwide, and his themes have taken root in popular culture from movies to hip-hop. Take our (moderately tricky!) quiz and see how much you know your Verdi.

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Comments [22]

marilyn rey from cambria heights, NY

Don’t feel bad Art Foxx, I got one wrong, too, because I voted with my heart for Rigoletto (my favorite opera) instead of for La Traviatia which makes more sense as it just naturally has more public appeal. A bit later, having learned my lesson, I took the test again and got it right. Yes, Meredith, the duke is married. There is a spot in the opera where a page-boy (played by a woman as is usually the case in opera when a strong voice is required for a very young male character) goes to the courtiers and tells them that the Duchess wishes to see the Duke. The duke is otherwise occupied with Gilda, so they tell the “boy” that the duke has gone hunting. The page-boy seems very confused that the Duke went hunting without weapons or attendants—a very tiny incident that takes place in the midst of a very chaotic situation in the plot. Look for it next time you see or hear this opera. Tim Brown, it’s unfair to ask you which street Verdi Square is near. It would be like you asking me which street “the house where Lincoln died” is near. Anyway, I only discovered it about a month ago when I got to Lincoln Center a bit early and was wandering around the neighborhood. I wasn’t so early that I would have wandered all the way to 96th Street. The other two locations are totally out of the question. Question No. 10 is a bit unfair, too. Stiffelio is an obscure opera, but the version re-named Aroldo is even more obscure. No one should be expected to know about Aroldo unless they paid strict attention to the program notes when Stiffelio was done a few years ago. It is not the only time that Verdi had to re-name characters and even re-title an opera. Even if we consider Stiffelio and Aroldo the same opera they (it?) are less frequently performed than either of the other two choices.

Oct. 13 2013 11:01 PM
Art Foxx from california

I only had one wrong - the question about the parody Q11.
Deutsche Welle TV had had a 30+minute documentary about Verdi
and his deep love of the land around his birth place in Busetta, Italy.

Oct. 13 2013 05:54 PM
Camilla from Nyc

Had fun. Got them all right !! Didn't know i knew that much. My mother would be proud . WQXR would play all day . Thank you.

Oct. 12 2013 08:09 PM
Elise Carter from new jersey

I love everything about the "new" WQXR. Ever since it has become a donation based radio station. I think your programming is very original. I love the CD of the Week, and I like the themes that you pick too. Thanks for keeping classical music alive and refreshing.

Oct. 11 2013 11:14 PM
Larry Eisenberg from nyc

Low concentration, I do fear,
Excessive Wagner did appear,
That three minute thing
Would do for The Ring,
Few Verdian ears did it cheer!

Oct. 11 2013 08:34 PM
Sandra from Brooklyn

I enjoyed this week of Verdi, I thought the 3 minute tongue in cheek synopsis was extremely amusing and enjoyable. So enjoyable that I've decided to attend a couple of Verdi performances this year....thanks WQXR!!

Oct. 11 2013 05:10 PM

Folks, thanks for your comments on the quiz. We try to find a middle ground in difficulty level, so to make it accessible to casual classical music fans but also substantive to the more knowledgeable Verdi lovers. It's a fine line, for sure.

To the questions about Arthur Sullivan's adaptation: According Will Berger's book, "Verdi with a Vengeance," he did indeed parody the chorus for the Burglar's Chorus in "Pirates of Penzance." After the opera went on tour, it found its way into the popular song version in the 1920s.

Oct. 11 2013 01:12 PM
John Clark from New Jersey

The quiz wasn't very challenging, but I guess it's in keeping with rest of 'Verdi Week', where very little of Verdi's music is played on the over-the-air station. While there are some good special features and programs, the playlist for most of the day resembles the uninspired selections you play every other day. Now on Verdi Week, it's more Dvorak! Also, I'm not how you advance Verdi's cause by running 3-minute features making fun of this plots. Bach month (or however long it lasted - it seemed endless) played every note Bach wrote on the over-the-air station in a non-anniversary year. Verdi (and Wagner, too) deserved more! Very disappointing - but, unfortunately, all too predictable - WQXR!

Oct. 10 2013 08:14 PM
Peter O'Malley from Oakland, new Jersey

This was woefully basic. I agree with Meredith that there should be ascending levels of difficulty. Also, the words "Hail, hail" do not appear in G&S's "Pirates": the words set to that tune are "Come, friends who plough the sea Truce to navigation; take another station . . . "

Oct. 09 2013 08:38 AM
Meredith from nyc

Funny that hail hail is based on anvil chorus....i guessed it from the tune, but never knew that. Plus, was the Duke of mantua married? Maybe it's hidden in the libretto somewhere. Also funny was the grand inquisitor as psbl choice.
This quiz was fun, but easy...how about another quiz one level harder--say, after the Verdi week?

Oct. 08 2013 08:44 PM
Marsha from Englewood, NJ

The only one I got wrong was the Requiem dedication. To Carol in Elmwood....best guess on the Verdi Square question was which one is closest to the Met! Loving Verdi week!!!! (But why is the Met doing Bellini on Verdi's big day?)

Oct. 08 2013 03:22 PM

thanks Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake, NM

Oct. 08 2013 02:57 PM
Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake,NM

Act II: "Al suo sposo parlar vuol la duchessa." ("The duchess wishes to speak to her husband.") sung by the Page, thus initiating the sequence that leads to "Cortigiani,vil razza dannata".

Oct. 08 2013 01:48 PM

The Duke of Mantua's married? News to me. The only one I got wrong, but I suspect the writer who asked the question might've made a mistake.

Oct. 08 2013 12:19 PM
Tim Brown from Washington DC

I missed two - didn't know the location of Verdi Square in NY, and guessed wrong about the least performed Verdi opera. Fun quiz! Enjoy it, and am loving Verdi Week!

Oct. 08 2013 07:39 AM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Great comic relief for a dismal day: "Hail, hail the gang's all here" is a send-up of the Anvil Chorus! Hahahahaha!!!! I never noticed until you asked. That's hysterical! (I did get that question right. Nailed all of 'em, by the way.)

Oct. 08 2013 07:27 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

I got all of them right except for one. I didn't know where in New York Verdi Square is located - I guess that's because I live in New Jersey!

Oct. 07 2013 07:26 PM
Richard Russell from Sarasota, FL

Actually Aroldo wasn't staged by OONY, it was done in concert. New York Grand Opera staged it in 1993 in Central Park. We did it here at Sarasota Opera in Florida in 1990.

Oct. 07 2013 12:37 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I answered all of the questions correctly. Do I get a prize? Oh David, yes Ouch. Ba Room Boom. Thanks.

Oct. 07 2013 11:28 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Yes, I correctly answered all the questions which actually were easy to answer for all Verdians. There is no way to overestimate the cultural and entertainment values of the iconic GIUSEPPE VERDI.
As all opera singers, whether they become ultimately Mozartean, Puccinian, Verdian or Wagnerian singers, they ween their tyro days studying and singing Verdi's oeuvre. The man was as all geniuses a complex man, but to his credit, he also was concerned with his countrymen's present and future. He was an idealist, whose ideal eventuated. We are all deeply indebted to him and celebrate this great man. I am a wagnerian heldentenor whose career has been nurtured on primarily Verdi but also the other inspirational opera composers and composers like Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Hugo Wolf. They all have given hope, joy and zealous motivation for a meaningful life. www.WagnerOpera.com; www.ShakespeareOpera.com and www.RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com

Oct. 07 2013 09:02 AM
OperaNow! from Manhattan

"With Cat-like Tread for the last question" Hal Hail was a parody of that parody.

Oct. 07 2013 06:33 AM

Actually, Verdi's Jewish opera was "La Traviyenta." (Ouch!)

Oct. 07 2013 06:29 AM

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