Saturday, July 3, 2010

Art and thievery: a rant - Puccini and Webber

This evening I took my dad to see the last night of Puccini's opera The Girl of the Golden West. It is a love story that takes place in California gold mine country and it’s full of cheese, redemption and tragic love, you know, like most operas.

During the climactic aria "Quello che tacete" in the second act, I spotted what sounded like a short passage of “Music of the Night” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera (“Turn your face away from the garish light of day” for those who care). I noticed that other people in the audience acknowledged it too. The motive came back later as well, and more people got it that time. Sure enough, our evening’s program threw in a little tidbit about this very melody:

“Was Puccini Robbed?” it asks. The story goes on to inform the reader that following Phantom of the Opera’s success in 1986, the Puccini estate filed suit against Webber accusing him of plagiarism and the suit was settled out of court.

Alright, this is a little too much for me. There is a time and place for lawsuits, this is not one of them.


I've written about this before with Beyonce's choreography in the video for "Single Ladies."

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