An American Editor

December 24, 2012

A Musical Interlude: Duets

Because this is a holiday week, and because I plan to relax and not write another blog post until the new year, I thought I would do another music video post.

One of the greatest musical art forms is the opera. The collaboration necessary to create a great opera — the collaboration of the composer and the librettist and of the singers/performers — reminds me of the collaboration necessary between an author and an editor.

I like to think that authors and editors are duetists — working together to create a masterpiece. I know I’ve suggested this before (see, e.g., Symbiosis: The Authorial and Editorial Process), and I have also stated that I consider “The Flower Duet” from Leo Delibes’ opera Lakme to be the finest opera duet ever written (yes, I know that many opera buffs would disagree, but that is the beauty of art — we can each be right). In this post, I thought I would highlight a few more great opera duets.

I begin with my favorite duetists, Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca, singing the “Bacarolle” from Jacques Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman.

Placido Domingo is one of the great opera tenors whose performances are considered the standard against which all other tenors are measured. In this video, he and Anna Netrebko perform Franz Lehar’s “Lips Stay Silent” (“Lippen Schweigen”) from The Merry Widow.

Renee Fleming and Cecilia Bartoli are two of the greatest soprano voices ever to hit the opera world. In this video, they sing “Sull’aria” from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Mozart’s The Magic Flute is a well-loved opera. I’ve found that even young children like it, especially the “Papageno-Papagena” duet. In this Australian Opera version of the duet, Papageno (Andrew Jones) uses his magic bells to call for his future wife Papagena (Kiandra Howarth) so they can be together. Reunited they sing of the happy future they will have together.

Finally, I thought the following inspirational piece featuring 16-year-old Charlotte and 17-year-old Jonathan, performing on Britain’s Got Talent 2012, is worth watching.

Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


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