Overtures in the theater are designed to capture the audience’s attention and set the mood. As a result, composers often put a considerable amount of effort into them. And since an overture has a beginning, middle and end, it can easily become a stand-alone piece for the concert hall or recordings.
That’s certainly true of overtures from well-known and often-performed operas by Rossini, Wagner, Offenbach, and Verdi.
But there are also famous overtures from operas that have all but vanished from the stage—and by composers who might otherwise be completely forgotten.
In the next hour, eight of these remarkable survivors—and the stories behind them.
|French Opera Highlights [for Herold’s Zampa]||Detroit Symphony, Paul Paray||Mercury Living Presence 432 014-2||028943201421|
|Great Comedy Overtures [for Lortzing’s Zar und Zimmerman]||Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Lance Friedel||Naxos 8.573418||747313341870|
|Russian Overtures [for Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmilla]||Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev||Newton Classics 8802037||8718247710379|
|Nicolai: Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor||Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Kubelik||Decca 0289 460 1972||028946019726|
|Flotow: Martha||Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra, Heinz Wallberg||BMG Classics 74321 32231 2||74321 32231 24|
|Light Cavalry: Suppé Overtures [for Poet and Peasant, Light Cavalry & Donna Diana]||Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti||London 421 170-2||028942117020|