The Twenty Most Famous Opera Overtures of all Time
Curtain up! When we go to the opera in the evening – unless it's opening night at a weekend – it's probably at the end of a long day. Mozart, Rossini and Co. were well aware of this potential tiredness among their audience: their overtures tend to begin with a powerful chord in the whole orchestra. It’s time for some drama, they seem to announce – you can have a nap during the love duet in Act Three.Read more…
Bringing together the 20 most famous opera overtures – and yes, we know, but we’re being pedantic and counting Mozart's 'Die Zauberföte' as a Singspiel! – is no easy task. Do we count current fame? Or popularity in our parents' generation? Is Weber’s ‘Freischütz’ Overture really still a hit? And is the overture to Rossini’s 'Thieving Magpie' ('La gazza ladra') more famous now, after its use in Stanley Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange', than that to 'Guillaume Tell'?
This list answers all those eternal questions, as well as injecting extra energy into your day. It starts with No. 20 (Wagner's 'Rienzi') and counts down to 'Carmen' at No. 1 – and remember: the judge’s decision is final.