The second episode of “Lost Music: Exploring Literary Opera” is out! This one tells the story of how I turned myself into an opera freak by forcing myself to listen to nothing but opera music — 100 selected arias in random order, eight hours a day every day while I worked for months — until osmosis took effect and I eventually started recognizing, differentiating and deeply enjoying the melodies. It was an odd experiment that succeeded beyond my own expectations. It resulted in my decision to start this podcast to explore the bountiful connections between literature, history, religion, politics, culture and opera. It’s the first of what I hope will be several new Literary Kicks podcasts to come.
The latest episode also features an interview with British lyric soprano Nicola Mills, who has performed on many European stages as well as in New York City, and who runs a unique organization called Opera For The People that does many different things including bringing music into hospitals and homeless shelters. Nicola shares the story of her own journey to opera, which is totally unlike mine. This episode also examines Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”, a sophisticated and ironic romantic comedy, which blew me away when I saw it at the Met last year.
My new podcasting habit has me playing DJ! I’m trying out Patreon as a support model for “Lost Music”, and since Patreon suggests that podcast creators give access to premium content to patrons, I created a special arrangement of the eleven most essential arias from Cosi Fan Tutte, rearranged for maximum thematic power and and musical flow and effect. What I really did here is boil down a long opera into its peak emotional moments, removing much of the duller material that advances the plot, resulting in a power-packed 37 minutes of beautiful music, sequenced for listenability. I’m highlighting four key arias from the first act in which the four main characters, Dorabella, Guglielmo, Fiordiligi and Ferrando each establish their bold and confident characters – and these flow directly into the four key second act arias from the same four characters … after all their worlds have fallen apart.
My playlist puts this essential plotline in the center of the playlist, and places more decorative numbers like Despina’s aria at the beginning, Alfonso’s final number towards the end, and the soothing first act trio “Soave sia il vento” at the very end, which doesn’t really make sense thematically but certainly does musically, since it’s a gentle and bittersweet ending to an intense and emotional work. This is how I present Cosi Fan Tutte in the opera house of my imagination.
It’s fun playing opera DJ (just like it’s fun playing opera podcaster) and I really hope some friends of Litkicks will consider gaining access to this special premium Lost Music Literary Opera House Mix playlist by not only enjoying my new podcast, but also becoming a patron at Patreon. Patreon is a monthly support system, and I chose the lowest price point ($2) because I want to make it easy for anyone to jump on board. I’m actually so excited by my new curated playlist that I’ll even send a copy by email to anyone who wants to hear it even if they don’t want to become a patron at Patreon. Just get in touch and I’ll happily send it along. I’m doing all of this to teach myself how podcasting support models work, but sharing the joy of music is also its own reward.
Please do support “Lost Music” on Patreon if you can, and more importantly, please check out and enjoy episode two of this podcast, and let me know any feedback you have on this episode! Episode three is coming soon …