It’s National Princess Week!
I think most girls these days grow up with the concept of “Princess”. Initially it’s about dressing up, wearing play gowns and jewels; fluff and sparkle; tiaras, crowns, high heels.
Then it has a level of fairy tale romance to it... finding one true love.
In our culture, the term can have a derogatory note: read “spoiled”.
But opera princesses have more to them!
- Aida- Two Princesses equal in stature, one enslaved to the
other. Aida struggles with her love for Radames her enemy. In the end she puts duty before love with tragic consequences
for herself and Radames. Amneris uses her power
as a princess in all the wrong ways trying to possess Radames’ love. She learns
that power is weak compared to love, she cannot even save his life and ends up
praying for the two lovers as they enter heaven. I like to think that she
became a very wise Queen. Click to see the Aida Collection
- La Cenerentola presents a realistic Cinderella with no outer
magic relying instead on the magic that is within us. Angelina (Cinderella) provides
bread and coffee to a passing beggar – he is the Prince’s tutor in disguise but
one gets the feeling that it’s not the first time she has done this. The Prince
immediately senses her depth of character
and will accept no one else as his wife once he meets her. Angelina is rewarded
for her pure heart, authenticity and
human compassion. Click to see the La Cenerentola Collection
- Cendrillon- In so many ways this opera is about grief and
longing. Lucette (Cinderella) grieves her mother’s death and can barely take
note of how hard done by she is by her weak father and terrible Stepmother. But
when the ball comes around the outpouring of her sadness causes Le Fee to take
notice and take action on Lucette’s behalf. Later it is the despondent grief of
the Prince at losing Lucette that sets in motion their reconciliation... out of
two griefs comes one great joy. Click to see the Cendrillon Collection
- Eugene Onegin- Onegin rejects Tatyana’s love on no uncertain
terms. Boy is he surprised when the young country girl becomes a noble and beautiful Princess. In her
confrontation with Onegin she is equally angry and sad that Onegin wasted her
love for him.She and the Prince seem to
care deeply for each other even if
it is not the passionate love she had for Onegin and above all she places honor as she rejects Onegin again on no uncertain
terms. Click to see the Eugene Onegin Bracelet
- Magic Flute- Pamina’s portrait alone is enough to inspire
Tamino on his quest. Love is her guide
as she and Papageno attempt an escape and she steps up bravely and with confidence to guide Tamino through his
trials. Click to see the Magic Flute Collection
- Der Rosenkavalier - the Marschallin is also Princess Marie Therese von Werdenberg. Driven by her own unhappiness in Marriage and fears of growing older, she is takes a lot of risks with her affair with Octavian. But in the end, she's a model of taking responsibility, putting things right and letting go... Click to see the Silver Rose Bracelet
- Rusalka- While most would long to be princesses, Rusalka longs to be human. Alas it’s a tale in
not trying to be something you are not. Something about that just never works. Also
present, the foreign princess, jealous and out for her own ends a kiss from her
leads to Rusalka’s doom, foreshadowing the kiss by which the prince will die when
Rusalka kisses him in her form as a wil-o-the-wisp. Click to see the Rusalka Collection
- Turandot- Turandot uses her brain above all else and it is in a contest of wits that Calaf is able to meet her on her own terms and win her love. Love changes her heart which redeems not only Calaf and Turandot but all of China. Click to see the Turandot Collection.
And there are more!
- Adriana Lecouvreur – Princesses take matters into their own hands. The jealous and rejected Princess de Bouillon has her revenge by killing her rival by way of poisoned violets! Not the role model kind of Princess!
- Ariadne auf Naxos – Smart and capable, Princess Ariadne makes sure that her love Theseus is successful providing him a ball of red twine and a sword to defeat the Minotaur and find his way out. But Theseus has either left her or been warned off. Despondent and wishing for death she is lured back to life by the god Dionysius. Wise, beautiful and resilient.
- Tristan und Isolde-Well she lost most of her sense after taking that love potion, but before that Isolde was the wisest woman and greatest at the medical arts in all of Ireland which is what she was so attractive to King Mark in the first place.
There are probably more that I missed- Let Me know!
So much to learn from our opera Princesses!