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Music and Opera Lovers Autumn and Winter 2017 – Part Two

For our elderly Music and Opera lovers here is Part Two of what is on offer for Autumn and Winter 2017. Understandably, variety is the key word here as there is something for everyone. So, if you are caring for an elderly loved one, you know that keeping them active is important. Not only physically but mentally as well. Furthermore, it is better if the whole family can get involved.

Here at Vermont Aged Care, we know the importance of quality-of-life for our beloved residents. We have to care for them physically, mentally and emotionally. In other words, it is a holistic package. That is why we are happy to keep you posted via our blogs on the latest interesting events in and around Melbourne.

For the opera lovers

Opera Australia is offering four well known and well loved operas this season. Carmen, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and King Roger. Furthermore, they are all being staged at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. The link is at Last week we told you about the story behind Carmen and Cavalleria Rusticana. This week it is our pleasure to give you an overview of Pagliacci and King Roger.


Pagliacci, meaning Clowns, is an Italian opera in a prologue and two acts.  The music and libretto are by Ruggero Leoncavallo. Furthermore, it is the only Leoncavallo opera that is still widely performed. Pagliacci premiered at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan on 21 May 1892. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Did you know that Dame Nellie Melba played Nedda, the female lead, in London in 1893? Following that it was given in New York on 15 June 1893.

The action takes place in Calabria, near Montalto, on the Feast of the Assumption. During the overture, the curtain rises. From behind a second curtain, Tonio, dressed as his  character Taddeo, addresses the audience. This is to remind them that actors have feelings too, and that the show is about real people.

Following, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the troupe enters the village to the cheering of the villagers. Here, Canio describes the night’s performance: the troubles of Pagliaccio. As Nedda steps down from the cart, Tonio offers his hand, but Canio pushes him aside and helps her down himself. The villagers tease Canio that Tonio is planning an affair with Nedda. Canio warns everyone that while he may act the foolish husband in the play, in real life he will not tolerate other men making advances to his wife.

The message

This is a story about the dangers of adultery and the possible consequences. Furthermore, Nedda does have a lover named Silvio. So Canio is the sad clown who is being cuckolded by his wife. In the end, Canio, grabbing a knife from the table, stabs Nedda. As she dies, she calls: “Help! Silvio!”. Silvio attacks Canio, but Canio kills Silvio also. The horrified audience then hears the celebrated final line: La commedia è finita! – “The comedy is finished!”

The production will run from May 10 to 20, at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. The Link is

Recommended Reading


King Roger

King Roger is a Polish work. It is the tale of a society seduced by a firebrand Shepherd. This is a coproduction with Britain’s Royal Opera house. It has been an international success. Furthermore it features a stunning set. The show lasts approximately two hours including the interval.

It is an opera in three acts by Karol Szymanowski. Set to a Polish libretto by the composer himself and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, the composer’s cousin. The opera received its world premiere on 19 June 1926 at the Grand Theatre, Warsaw. The “Sicilian drama”, as he called it, originated from Szymanowski’s enthusiasm for Mediterranean culture as a melting pot of different peoples and religions. He composed the opera over the period of 1918 to 1924. He was inspired by mystical themes.


The place is Sicily, in the 12th century. The story relates the conversation between the Christian King Roger II and a young shepherd who represents pagan ideals. Despite calls by the Archbishop as well as the crowd for his punishment as a heretic, Roxana, Roger’s wife, convinces the King not to kill him. Further, Roger orders the young man to appear at the palace that night, where he will explain himself and submit to the King’s judgement.

As instructed, the Shepherd appears at the palace gates. However, Roxana sings a seductive song causing Roger to grow jealous. The Shepherd is led in and soon almost the entire court joins him in an ecstatic dance. Roger attempts to chain him, but the Shepherd easily breaks free. He  leaves the palace with almost all those assembled following him as he has seduced them.

The final Act!

In Act 3, set in an ancient Greek theater, King Roger and Edrisi rejoin Roxana. It ends with her informing her husband that only the Shepherd can free him of his fear and jealousy. The production will run from May 19 to 27 at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. The Link is

Recommended Reading

This blog is intended to provide helpful advice. Please speak with your family GP for personalised information or, for specialist advice & support in Melbourne Australia, please contact VERMONT AGED CARE:

770 Canterbury Road, Vermont, Victoria, Australia 3133

Phone: +61 03-9873 5300. Email:

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