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Comedy of Errors

Illusion and Reality in English and French Opera

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”Albert Einstein

Illusion, deception and confusion as well as their resolution and the inevitable confrontation with reality are amongst the most common features of baroque opera. The following two acts appear to be of purely instrumental origin. However, in reality, the majority of pieces are based on a arias taken directly from a French and an English opera. The first introduces the French court at the dawn of the 18th century. This is followed by a musical depiction of late 17th century England.

“Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends.”
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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