Spring Scenes (That Make Me Forget My Allergies for a Few Minutes)
Ah, spring is upon us once again. Flowers are blooming. Trees are blooming. Weeds are blooming. Grass is also somehow blooming. What next, mold? Ok yeah, I guess that’s probably blooming too. Why not? Sometimes I am quick to forget the beauty of spring as I stumble around in a hazy allergy-induced fog. However, there’s nothing like springtime-inspired music to make inhaling physical granules of pollen (almost) worth the trouble. Sit back, relax, and don’t forget the Zyrtec!
Flower Duet - Madama Butterfly
Especially when taken out of context, this duet exudes pure joy. From the sweeping vocal lines, to the staging that often includes copious amounts of flower petals being tossed about, this scene sets the human desire of hope against the backdrop of a season of change and rebirth. This heightens the heart wrenching dramatic irony of the scene, setting it in sharp contrast to the choice Cio-Cio San makes later in the opera.
The Lusty Month of May - Camelot
Ok, it’s not an opera, but I’m sure you’ll indulge me on this (and one must ALWAYS indulge in Julie Andrews). This tongue-in-cheek number combines witty and surprisingly saucy lyrics that delight at every turn with a hummable, jaunty melody to celebrate the more…carnal pleasures associated with this time of year. Add in some chivalrous, leaping lords and fine, lilting ladies eschewing court decorum and you have the makings of a compelling springtime musical number.
This one is also not an opera, but I’m too haunted by the multiple filmed versions of Carmina Burana available on the internet not to share. Much in the same way that The Lusty Month of May celebrates, well, lust, Carmina Burana celebrates the transience of time, seasons, and the eternal pursuit of fleeting pleasures. As the wheel of fortune turns, so do the seasons. These productions, often highlighting athletic and agile dancers, express a springtime exuberance that is often trippy, frequently floral, and more than occasionally suggestive.
Printemps qui commence - Samson et Dalila
This seductive and seemingly heartfelt aria equates the return of spring to that of a lost lover. Dalila is clearly trying to ensnare Samson, but the emotional and genuine delivery starts to convince him, and maybe the audience, that Dalila may actually care for Samson. Despite the intent of the character, this is a warm and glowing aria that allures with the promise of new beginnings.
Well, who doesn’t need a little Strauss waltz in their life? Whether you're listening to Dessay, Battle, or Jo, the sparkling melody evokes the cry of a bird ushering in the new season and fairer weather.
I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I do! As always, don’t be shy and share your favorite springtime classical music with us! There’s certainly a lot to choose from!