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Classical 101

Love At The Opera: Can You Match The Valentine To The Opera?

1. Pleeease be mine!

We just can't resist when puns are involved.

This time last year, we saw some classical-music-themed valentines and decided to try our hand at creating some. Ours featured plays on popular composer names.

We've created a new set this year, with an all-opera theme. Because what's more fitting than passionate love and operatic stories?

Take a look at the five valentines below and see if you can name the opera referenced (answers at the bottom).

1. Pleeease be mine!

2. No one else is Godunov for me.

3. I'm no lyre – be mine!

4. Valentine, you're the tweetest!

5. It's no riddle – you're the one!


1. Pleeease be mine! 
She’s just not that into you. Many of us have been there (haven’t we?) – boy loves girl; girl loves boy. Until she doesn’t. He gets desperate; she gets colder. He gets … well, let’s just say these things don’t usually end well.

Were you able to guess the opera from the valentine picture? Don Jose is obsessed with the fiery gypsy in Georges Bizet’s perennial favorite Carmen.

2. No one else is Godunov for me.
So if this opera is about love, it’s about love of power – definitely not the hearts-and-flowers kind of love. But who can resist a truly awful pun?

Yes, this valentine is from Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov, a tale from Russian history, set in the years before the rise of the Romanov dynasty in the early 1600s.

3. I'm no lyre – be mine!
At last, a true love story – although not a happy one. This man loved his wife, so much so that he traveled to Hades to try to get her back after she died. It’s based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and his beloved Eurydice.

You had two shots at guessing the correct opera here: Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice or Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo.

Bonus points if you knew that Monteverdi’s iteration is the earliest opera still performed regularly today. Extra opera geek points if you gave the Gluck title in French.

4. Valentine, you're the tweetest!
Love is for the birds – literally. In this charming duet, a birdcatcher and his intended mate sing a joyful song of the life they will share together.

W.A. Mozart’s The Magic Flute features some complicated twists and turns, but the sweet duet between Papageno and Papagena is uncomplicated and joyous.

5. It's no riddle – you're the one!
How do some women do it? They treat men abominably, yet they never seem to lack for suitors. I’m guessing it has something to do with being a princess.

This Chinese princess sets her suitors impossible tasks, then beheads them when they fail! Apparently this princess is worth it, though. In Puccini’s Turandot, the tenor wins the hand and, ultimately, the heart of the former ice princess. 

Finally, a happy ending.

Classical 101 Program Director Cheryl Dring moved to Columbus in 2016, having worked in public radio since college. With stops in Austin, Madison, Dayton, Sacramento, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana, she has seen much of the country through the lens of public radio and local arts.