The Thursday Quiz is a twelve item is-it-or-isn't-it test of your knowledge, reasoning, stamina, and moxie!
Remember always the Fundamental Rules of the Thursday Quiz:
1. The Thursday Quiz is a POP quiz. No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. Violators will never be able to look at themselves in the mirror again.
2. Don't get all stressed out about it! It's supposed to be fun!
Which of the following opera synopses are more or less accurate, and which are just silly? ...or, rather, and which are not accurate?
1. Adams, Nixon in China. The President of the United States visits China, has cryptic conversations with Mao Tse-Tung, and takes tours along with his wife. Diplomacy is conducted. The high hopes that all the major characters bring to the event are somewhat disappointed by its relatively modest outcomes.
2. Glass, Hindenburg. Two romances, one between aristocrats and one between a more humble couple, develop as the doomed airship crosses the Atlantic. A Nazi saboteur is also on board; the opera leaves it ambiguous whether he carries out his plot or if the zeppelin is brought down by natural forces. In the stunned aftermath, we learn which characters have survived and which have perished.
3. Haydn, Cosi Fan Tutti. A comic opera intended for performance at Christmastime, Cosi Fan Tutti traces the adventures and mishaps of the shepherds – portrayed as rustic rubes – and the wise men – portrayed as pompous, foolish blowhards – as they try to find their way to the Adoration.
4. Mozart, The Magic Flute. The Queen of the Night sends a young hero out to rescue her daughter from an evil magician. It turns out, though, that the evil magician is actually good, and the Queen of the Night is actually evil. The hero has to go through strange trials to become worthy to enter the Temple of Light. He hooks up with the Queen of the Night’s daughter in the end.
5. Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro. Figaro, the Prince of Milan, must choose between three women: a peasant girl with whom he is in love, a sorceress who is trying to seduce him through magic, and the Princess of Saxony, whom his father insists he should marry for purposes of state. During a festival, the King discovers that the sorceress is actually a male wizard out to steal the royal treasury. The wizard repents, having met and fallen in love with the peasant girl; the king pardons him in exchange for casting a spell on Figaro, who thus falls in love with, and marries, the princess.
6. Offenbach, Tales of Hoffman. A writer tells stories about three of his relationships that didn’t work out. One old girlfriend sang herself to death, one was a courtesan who was only out to steal his reflection, and one turned out to be a robot. After thinking this over, he decides to give up all women except his muse, and just be a writer.
7. Puccini, Turandot. A young prince falls in love with a queen who, not really thinking of herself as the settling-down type, asks suitors three riddles and has them beheaded when they don’t get the answers right. He is able to give the right answers, though, so she has to marry him.
8. Rossini, Barber of Seville. A count is in love with the beautiful ward of a wealthy doctor, but the doctor is a bit creepy and wants to marry the girl himself. The count manages to elope with the girl through the help of an energetic local hair stylist.
9. Rossini, La Traviata. An Ethiopian princess is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. An Egyptian military commander struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh. Eventually, he is condemned as a traitor and buried alive, but the princess sneaks into the burial chamber so they can die together.
10. Sibelius, Gotterdamerung. Gotterdamerung is the court jester to the King of Norway, and faces a terrible professional problem: he is in love with the King’s daughter. He endures the humiliation of abuse from everyone around him, and only expresses his feelings obliquely, through his sly jesting. After he saves the princess from an attack by a villainous courtier, it is revealed that he is actually the Prince of Finland, adopted by the Norwegian King for safekeeping during an uprising. In the final scene, he marries the princess and returns to claim his kingdom.
11. Smetana, The Bartered Bride. Two young lovers plan to marry, but the girl’s parents want her to marry the son of a rich landlord. The parents hire a marriage broker, who bribes the boyfriend to sign a contract relinquishing the girl to the landlord’s son. But it turns out that the boyfriend is the landlord’s long lost OTHER son, so he gets the girl after all. And then a bear escapes from the circus.
12. Wagner, Tristan and Isolde. A Cornish prince has killed the Irish princess’s fiancé and is bringing her home to marry the King of Cornwall instead. She decides to kill him and herself, but oops, accidentally uses the love potion instead of the bottle of poison. Now madly in love with each other, the couple cheat on the king, get caught, and end up dying from a combination of love and, well, wounds.
Submit your answers in the comments.