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 October quiz:

Since it’s October, when fancies turn to “ghoulies and ghosties,” this month’s quiz challenges you to match each supernatural element below with the opera in which it appears or occurs. Of course, our next production, The Magic Flute, is full of the occult.

Answers are at right.

The operas:

Don Giovanni ~ Der Freischütz ~ Macbeth ~ Lucia di Lamermoor ~ The Queen of Spades ~ Faust ~ The Flying Dutchman

Their spooky features:

  1. The tragic hero makes a deal with the Devil. Very bad idea.
  2. The central character, a gambler, is haunted and ultimately destroyed by a ghost who holds a secret he desperately seeks.
  3. The main character is dragged to Hell by the ghost of one of his victims.
  4.  Urged on by his wife, this main character offs his competition for the throne until one of them comes back in dramatic ghostly form to condemn him.
  5.  A ghost ship is condemned to sail forever unless its cursed captain can find redemption through true love.
  6.  The heroine sees the ghost of a young girl, whom she believes is giving her a warning.
  7.  In which we learn that a “magic bullet” is not always a good thing.

Here’s our September quiz:

The name of the heroine in Lucia di Lamermoor is pretty obvious. But some leading ladies’ names aren’t as obvious as Lucia or, say, Carmen. Can you match each of the following heroines with the opera that features them?

Answers are at right.

The leading ladies:

Adina ~ Desdemona ~ Marguerite ~ Mimì ~ Minnie ~ Rosina ~ Violetta
Their stories:

The Barber of Seville
La Bohème
The Elixir of Love
The Girl of the Golden West
La Traviata

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.

Answers are at right.

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


October Spooky Buffa Opera Quiz

  1. Faust (Gounod)
  2. Queen of Spades (Tchaikovsky)
  3. Don Giovanni (Mozart)
  4. Macbeth (Verdi)
  5. The Flying Dutchman (Wagner)
  6. Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
  7. Der Freischütz (von Weber)

September Buffa Opera Quiz

The Barber of Seville – Rosina
La Bohème – Mimì
The Elixir of Love – Adina
Faust – Marguerite
The Girl of the Golden West – Minnie
Otello – Desdemona
La Traviata – Violetta

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!