I have had this stuck in my head on and off for several days. I have no idea why.
It’s Shirley Verrett performing “Ah, quando all’ ara scorgemi,” Elisabetta’s first aria from Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda, which is one of those delightfully anachronistic nineteenth-century operas about sixteenth-century politics. Have you ever seen that awful Mel Gibson movie The Patriot? Well, the relationship between Mel Gibson and the actual American revolution is a little bit like the relationship between Donizetti and his librettist and their source material. With the crucial difference that Maria Stuarda is entertaining. Also, no horses get run through with American flags, which is always pretty much a plus for me, as far as opera goes.
(BTW, a while back in a Don Carlos context I mentioned animal wranglers. Apparently the Met gets most of their animals from these people. I am not sure that this a useful piece of information, but there you are.)
I would like some day to teach a course about nineteenth-century operas based on sixteenth-century politics – “The muse and the censor: politics and opera in Europe, 1815-1914” or something like that. The only trouble is, I am not a historian of nineteenth-century Europe. I think I could fake it convincingly for an undergraduate seminar though, and if I could get more than, say, two people to take it it’d be an awful lot of fun.