The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera

By John Warrack; Ewan West | Go to book overview


Vaccai, Nicola (b Tolentino, 15 Mar. 1790; d Pesaro, 5 or 6 Aug. 1848). Italian composer and singer. Studied Rome with Janacconi, Naples with Paisiello. Failing to follow up his successful Neapolitan début-with I solitari di Scozia (The Hermits of Scotland, 1815) -- when he moved to Venice, he developed a career as a singing-teacher there and in Trieste. He sang in his own Pietro il grande ( 1824) in Parma, where he had his greatest operatic successes with Zadig ed Astartea ( 1825) and especially Giulietta e Romeo ( 1825). These won the respect of Rossini, whose influence is clear. But the rise of Bellini eclipsed this moment of fame, especially when Bellini collaborated with Romani (with whom Vaccai had quarrelled) on his own Romeo and Juliet opera, I Capuleti ed i Montecchi. However, it became the custom (following a suggestion of Rossini) to incorporate the penultimate scene of Vaccai's opera into Bellini's.

In 1830 Vaccai went to Paris as a teacher, travelling on to England ( 1930-3) and publishing his still-respected singing method. Giovanna Gray ( 1836) was a failure, despite the presence of Malibran, but led to the post of censore at the Milan Cons.: here he made a number of reforms. His last opera, Virginia ( 1845), was an attempt to emulate the successes of French Grand Opera.

'V'adoro, pupille'. Cleopatra's (sop) aria in Act II of Handel Giulio Cesare, declaring her love to Caesar.

Vaduva, Leontina (b Rosiile, 1 Dec. 1960). Romanian soprano. Studied Bucharest Cons. Début Toulouse 1987 (Manon). Sang Marion at London, CG, 1988, followed by Gilda, Antonia, and Juliette. She is also a sympathetic interpreter of such roles as Drusilla ( Poppea), Mimì, Susanna, Ninetta ( La gazza ladra). Other appearances at Vienna, S; Geneva; Buenos Aires; Barcelona, (R)

Vakula the Smith. Opera in 4 acts by Tchaikovsky ; text by Yakov Polonsky, after Gogol story Christmas Eve ( 1832). Prem. St Petersburg, M, 6 Dec. 1876. Revised in 1885 as Cherevichki (The Little Boots -- also known in the West as Oxana's Caprices), prem. Moscow, B, 31 Jan. 1887.

The witch Solokha (mez) is approached by the amorous Devil (bar); as he flies off, he raises a storm and steals the moon so as to revenge himselfon her son Vakula (ten), who has made an ugly painting of him; this hinders Vakula, who is trying to make his way to court Oxana (sop). When her father Chub (bs) comes home with his friend Panas (ten), both drunk, Vakula throws them out, but is himself thrown out by Oxana, though privately she admits that she loves him. in Solokha's hut, the Devil hides himself in a sack when the Mayor (bs), then the Schoolmaster (ten), and then Chub arrive; each in turn hides in a sack. Vakula staggers off with the sacks. Oxana demands a pair of cherevichki high-heeled leather boots) belonging to the Tsaritsa, and Vakula flies off on the Devil's back to St Petersburg, where he is granted the cherevichki; he returns to claim Oxana.

Valdeugo, Giuseppe (b Turin, 24 May 1914). Italian baritone. Studied Turin with Accoriuti. Début Parma 1936 ( Rossini's Figaro). Milan, S, 1941-3; New York, M, 1947-54; Gly. 1955. Also London, CG; Paris; Vienna; Buenos Aires. Roles included Don Giovanni, Tonio, Rigoletto, Ford, Iago, Falstaff. (R)

Valentin. Marguerite's brother (bar) in Gounod's Faust.

Valentine. The Comte de Saint-Bris's daughter (sop), wife of the Comte de Nevers and lover of Raoul, in Meyerbeer Les Huguenots.

Valentini Terrani, Lucia (b Padua, 28 Aug. 1946). Italian mezzo-soprano, later contralto. Studied Padua. Début Brescia 1969 ( Cenerentola). Milan, S, from 1973, New York, M, 1974; Florence 1982. Also Paris, O: London, CG; Chicago; Moscow, B; Geneva; Munich; Prague; etc. Roles include Dido ( Purcell), Tancredi, Isabella ( L'taliana), Rosina, Marina ( Boris), Quickly. One of the most successful contraltos of the day, with a particular sympathy for Rossini and his seria roles. (R)

Valkyrie (Ger., Walküre). In Teutonic mythology, the Walküren were the warrior maidens who took slain heroes from the battlefield to Walhall (Valhalla), there to feast and act as a bodyguard for Wotan. The word derives from Wal (battlefield), küren (to


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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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