For the past few days, I’ve found myself listening to a lot more opera than I usually do. Granted, listening to even one song from an opera is a lot more than usual for me.
So why have I suddenly found myself in an opera phase?
You can thank my writing for that.
As I’ve mentioned occasionally in Soundwave Wednesday posts, one of the things I will do before and during a writing session is queue up some of the music that was popular in the Regency Era where my stories are set so I can imagine what my characters may have listened to or played on their instruments if they possess any musical talent as several do.
Although none of my projects revolve around operas (yet), Against His Vows does feature a scene where my protagonists attend an opera based on Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (which, if you haven’t read, has a really fascinating history and what I would call the originator of the alternate ending). Even though the scene is more focused on the characters than the opera itself, I’ve been looking into what operas were new around the time Against His Vows is set.
I’ve been using 1808/1809 as a starting point, which I plan to refine through further research. While looking at what operas were among newer releases of those years, I came across one of particular interest for me.
While I love Doctor Faustus, another play I have a sincere appreciation for is George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The play is inspired by a Greek myth where a sculptor who fell in love with a statue of his own creation, which later comes to life with a little help from Aphrodite.
I’ll admit Guises to Keep has some Pygmalion vibes, in terms of someone falling in love with something they have created, being the version of someone a character helped shape rather than the “real” person. But I think it also has developed a loose tie to Against His Vows, which brings me to this Soundwave Wednesday.
As I was looking into operas from the early 1800s, I came across one called Pimmalione by Luigi Cherubini, which was first performed in 1809. As it turns out, Pimmalione is an Italian translation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s 1770 scene lyrique titled ~ you guessed it ~ Pygmalion.
While I couldn’t find much on Cherubini’s translation, I was able to find a few recordings of Rousseau’s work.
You can listen to the overture from Rousseau’s Pygmalion below!