Take Opera Wilmington’s Buffa Opera Quiz!

No, this is not the prestigious Opera Quiz that entertains (and baffles) during Metropolitan Opera broadcast audience members during intermissions. But we hope you’ll find it fun.

Here’s our August quiz:

Even composers of operatic blockbusters occasionally misfired, or circumstances conspired to torpedo their works. Can you match these successful composers with their little-known works? Before you give up, look for subtle clues in the blurb about each one, such as language or location.
Answers are at right.

Composers: Verdi ~ Rossini ~ Wagner ~ Puccini ~ Bizet ~ Mozart ~ Donizetti


L’Equivoco stravagante (The Bizarre Deception) – Allusions to army desertions led to this opera being closed down by the police.

Chiara e Serafina, or I Pirati — After this early work flopped at La Scala, the theater blacklisted the composer for a decade.

La Finta semplice (The Fake Innocent) — Composed by a 12-year-old, this opera was the victim of intrigues by rival composers and was threatened with sabotage by a producer.

Alzira — This work bombed in Naples, Rome, and at La Scala in Milan.

Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love) — Its debut was marred by poor attendance and a lead singer who forgot the words and had to improvise. The second performance was canceled after a fight broke out backstage between the prima donna’s husband and the lead tenor. It was never again performed during the composer’s lifetime.

Edgar —  After Edgar received a tepid initial reception, the composer reworked it several times and ultimately gave up on it.

Djamilah — Despite praise from Mahler and Richard Strauss, this work was neglected for most of its existence. After its initial short run in Paris, this comic opera was not staged again there for 66 years.


Here’s our July quiz:

We take a slightly dark turn in this month’s quiz, acknowledging that a tragic opera is nothing – nothing! – without a good death scene. Some heroines, like Mimí in La Boheme, pass away peacefully, while singing their hearts out. But others have more dramatic ends. Match the heroine with the manner of her end. One of these heroines does not actually die, but is consigned to become an agent of death. Answers are at right (no peeking!)

  1. Carmen                                                       Jumping off a building
  2. Aida                                                             Avalanche
  3. Luisa Miller                                                Buried alive
  4. Carmelite nuns                                          Snakebite
  5. Rusalka                                                        Stabbing
  6. Desdemona (Otello)                                  Ritual suicide
  7. Wally (La Wally)                                        Burning at the stake
  8. Chio-Chio-san (Madama Butterfly)        Guillotine
  9. Elektra                                                         Strangulation
  10. Tosca                                                            Demon of death
  11. Euridice (Orféo ed Euridice)                     Poison
  12. Norma                                                          Dancing to death


Here’s our June quiz:

Our June quiz presented a set of seven anagrams of names of well-known operas. How many can you unscramble? Answers are at right.

  1. Rival tooter
  2. Austria Drama
  3. All-time Will
  4. Old acorn
  5. Toad runt
  6. Casual region
  7. Fair Alps


Here’s our inaugural (May) quiz:

We thought we’d have a bit of fun with some names and concepts behind well-known operas. Take this quiz and see if you can come up with the silly connections (including at least one groaner) between the clues and the operas they suggest.

1. An opera hero whose unfortunate situation is reflected in that of many homeless travelers these days of coronavirus contagion?

2. An enchanted glass of bubbly?

3. Something to use in cooling everybody down in an enclosed space?

4. An opera whose librettist might have been thinking of Annie Oakley?

5. An opera to watch while savoring killer scotch?

6. An opera whose composer might have been inspired by Leiber and Stoller’s “Love Potion Number Nine”?

7. An opera whose title, if rendered in Italian (as it should have been), would give you the name of a type of pasta?

8. An opera whose title might come to mind when you think of former NPR humorists whose parting line was “Don’t drive like my brother”?

Buffa Opera Quiz ~ Answers:

1. Stabbing by another person
2. Buried alive
3. Poison
4. Guillotine
5. Becoming a demon of death
6. Strangulation
7. Avalanche
8. Ritual suicide (Harikiri)
9. Dancing to death
10. Jumping off a building
11. Snakebite
12. Burning at the stake


August Buffa Opera Quiz

L’Equivoco stravagante – Rossini
Chiara e Serafina – Donizetti
La Finta semplice – Mozart (who else?!)
Alzira – Verdi
Das Liebesverbot – Wagner
Edgar – Puccini
Djamilah – Bizet


July Buffa Opera Quiz

1. Stabbing by another person
2. Buried alive (in a vault)
3. Poison
4. Guillotine
5. Becoming a demon of death
6. Strangulation
7. Avalanche
8. Ritual suicide (Harikiri)
9. Dancing to death
10. Jumping off a building
11. Snakebite
12. Burning at the stake


June Buffa Opera Quiz

  1. Il Trovatore
  2. Maria Stuarda
  3. William Tell
  4. Don Carlo
  5. Turandot
  6. Suor Angelica
  7. Parsifal


May Buffa Opera Quiz

  1.  The Flying Dutchman
  2.  The Magic Flute
  3. Così fan tutte (cozy fan tutti)
  4. Girl of the Golden West
  5. Macbeth OR Maria Stuarda
  6. The Elixir of Love
  7. Madama Butterfly (Farfalla in Italian)
  8. Carmen

Past Productions


Venture backstage and check out some of our shows you might have missed!