We'd heard of peach Melba and Melba toast, both inspired by the famed Australian soprano Nellie Melba, but we had never before realized the full magnitude of overlap that existed between food and opera. We have a lot of catching up to do! "Opera, of all the art forms, is singularly associated with food," reports a recent piece in the New York Times. "Whether because of the appetites of well-girthed singers or the sensual pleasures celebrated in its rich ragout of music, emotion, and stagecraft." The article goes on to detail the myriad ways in which meals have factored into famous operas, from the legendary banquet scene of Verdi's "Falstaff" to the sumptuous pastries of "Hansel and Gretel." There's even a quick rundown of the perks and perils of eating on stage: "Singers have to worry about slipping on fallen food or sullying expensive costumes, and must make sure they have swallowed before opening their mouths to sing."
We were surprised to learn that most of the food is actually eaten, as mid-performance singers are often famished, and very amused to hear about the specific preferences held by some of the genres most accomlished performers: "The bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, playing Leporello in the Met's recent 'Don Giovanni,' asked for vegetable sausage, said James Blumenfeld, the Met property master. 'It was the most disgusting thing I ever smelled,' Mr. Blumenfeld said. He added that the bass-baritone James Morris is known for preferring bananas when he is playing Scarpia in the fatal meal scene of Verdi's 'Tosca.'"
Don't Sing With Your Mouth Full from The New York Times
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