The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera

By John Warrack; Ewan West | Go to book overview

O

obbligato (It.: 'obligatory'). Strictly, a term for an instrumental part that cannot be omitted. (It is often used, paradoxically, for a part that may be omitted.) In vocal music it is essential but subordinate to the voice, e.g. the corno di bassetto obbligato in Vitellia's 'Non più di flori' in Act II of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito.

Oberlin, Russell (b Akron, OH, 11 Oct. 1928). US counter-tenor. Studied New York, Juilliard School. Début as concert singer, New York 1951. Founder member of New York Pro Musica. New York 1956, sang titlerole of Handel Giulio Cesare (in concert). London, CG, 1961, Oberon ( A Midsummer Night's Dream); first US Oberon, S Francisco 1961. Like Alfred Deller, a pioneer in the revival of the male alto voice and repertory. (R)

Oberon. Opera in 3 acts by Weber; text by James Robinson Planché, after William Sotheby's translation ( 1798) of Wieland Oberon ( 1780), based in turn on a 13th-cent. chanson de geste, Huon de Bordeaux. Prem. London, CG, 12 Apr. 1826.

France, the Orient, and Fairyland, AD 800. Oberon (ten) has vowed not to meet Titania again until he has found a faithful pair of lovers. With some supervision and help from Puck (sop), and provision of a magic horn that can summon aid, he sends Sir Huon (ten), who has offended Charlemagne, to Baghdad to rescue Reiza (sop).

With the aid of the magic horn, Huon succeeds in releasing Reiza, while his squire Sherasmin (bar) carries off her attendant Fatima (sop). On their voyage to Greece, both couples are shipwrecked and captured by pirates.

Sherasmin and Fatima are sold as slaves to the Emir of Tunis. Huon appears and, when he refuses to concede to the Emir's wife's plans to murder the Emir and marry her, is sentenced to death. He is saved at the last moment by magic. Oberon accepts Huon's proof of his fidelity to Reiza, and the couple are restored to Charlemagne's court.

Oberspielleiter (Ger.: 'senior producer'). The name given to the chief resident producer of an opera company. He might sometimes also be the *Generalintendant.

Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio. Opera in 2 acts by Verdi; text by Piazza, revised by Solera, probably from the original text for Verdi's uncomposed or adapted Rocester and perhaps Lord Hamilton. Prem. Milan, S, 17 Nov. 1839.

Ezzelino's castle, near Bassano, 1228. Cuniza (mez) is to marry Riccardo (ten). Oberto (bs), the exiled Count of Bonifacio, has disowned his daughter Leonora (sop) because she was seduced by Riccardo. Oberto and Leonora reunite so as to be avenged on Riccardo. Oberto persuades Leonora to disclose the whole story to Cuniza. She is horrified and confronts Riccardo, telling him he must now marry Leonora.

Not satisfied with this revenge, Oberto challenges Riccardo to a duel. Riccardo kills Oberto and, filled with remorse, flees Italy, leaving Leonora in despair.

Obraztsova, Elena (b Leningrad, 7 July 1937). Russian mezzo-soprano. Studied Leningrad Cons. with Grigoryeva. Début Moscow, B, 1963 (Marina). Moscow, B, from 1964; New York, M, 1975 (with Moscow B), and from 1977; Milan, S, 1964, 1973 (with Moscow B), 1976; also Barcelona, Vienna, S Francisco, etc. Roles include Rosina, Countess ( Queen of Spades), Marfa ( Khovanshchina), Eboli, Carmen, Britten's Oberon. Possesses a deep, vivid tone and a vigorous style. (R)

O'Brien, Timothy (b Shillong, 8 Mar. 1928). English designer. Studied Cambridge. Has worked in TV and in the theatre, especially at Stratford, but has also made a reputation as an exceptionally intelligent, inventive, and practical designer for opera (often in collaboration with Tazeena Firth). Productions include London, SW: Flying Dutchman ( 1958), Girl of the Golden West ( 1962): London, CG: the prem. of Tippett Knot Garden ( 1970), Peter Grimes ( 1975), Rake Progress ( 1978), Lulu ( 1981), Verdi Otello ( 1987); London, C: Henze Bassarids ( 1974), Meistersinger ( 1984). Wozzeck ( Adelaide 1976); Turandot ( Vienna 1983); Lucia (Cologne 1985); War and Peace (Leningrad 1991).

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Key to Vocal Compasses x
  • Abbreviations xi
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 72
  • D 112
  • E 144
  • F 157
  • G 181
  • H 218
  • I 241
  • J 251
  • K 259
  • L 277
  • M 305
  • N 356
  • O 370
  • P 384
  • Q 419
  • R 421
  • S 449
  • T 505
  • U 525
  • V 529
  • W 545
  • X 563
  • Y 564
  • Z 565
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