Operas are long, in a foreign language and hard to follow, but they have great tunes! How can one get the very best out of these behemoths and still have time for dinner? This problem was solved in the 19th century when great pianists would arrange the memorable tunes from popular operas and play them in concert. Franz Liszt did not invent the opera paraphrase, but he perfected it and became the genres greatest practitioner.
Liszt "borrowed" some of the three handed effects of the piano virtuoso Sigismond Thalberg, when he said to him, "I have copied all your traits" "yes replied Thalberg, there are Thalberg passages in your Norma that are positively indecent!" Liszt was explicit when it came to telling a story in music, he had a way of getting the absolute best out of a melody and when it came to opera his amazing technique and imagination caught fire in a way that could drive an audience wild.
On the Piano this Sunday part two of Liszt at the Opera where the music of Bellini, Verdi, Meyerbeer, Mozart and Wagner get the virtuoso treatment from Franz Liszt. Tune in at 5 this Sunday afternoon on KPAC and KTXI. - host, Randy Anderson