The Student Prince
For many years, I have appreciated classical music. With many cds in my personal collection (and always adding more), it is only recently that I have begun exploring opera outside of individual selections by composers as Mozart, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, etc.
For the first time I am listening to operatic music, as a means of storytelling, as it was composed and written for. To listen to entire operas from beginning to end is a new experience for me, and I am finding myself quite taken by this art form.
Last night I listened to the 1 1/2 hours of music from the operetta The Student Prince with Mario Lanza. Beautiful.
My interest in the outcome of the story was held throughout. Unfamiliar with the ending, I enjoyed following the story as it unfolded in song. This is another example (among a few others recently) which has developed an appreciation of the opera and makes me interested in experiencing viewing an opera performance on stage. (I’ve attended only one opera many years ago.)
Based on Wilhelm Meyer-Förster’s play Alt Heidelberg, the music is by Sigmund Romberg with lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly. I was delighted to recognize several pieces I’ve heard and liked before but never realized they were from The Student Prince. Others I expected, and enjoyed hearing again.
The celebration of spring, friendships made at university, and love were all perfectly communicated in the music.
I will make no comment on the outcome for those of you who have yet to hear or watch its performance. True love, a relationship based on whole appreciation for another and a concern for their happiness, is rare. I’ll say only that the story left me focused upon the importance of decisions one makes and that which is made a priority in one’s life. Is love something one would give up what is pre-planned for their life or does one follow the expectations of others? Would true love lead one to venture off the set course that was planned for them? This is the question the student prince must answer for himself.
In some ways The Student Prince is reminiscent of the true story of Prince of Wales Edward VIII who fell in love with American female Wallis Simpson. In his abdication speech in 1936, giving up his British throne, he said he could no longer continue to fulfill his duties “without the woman I love.” Due to his royalty, it was scandalous. He was a prince, such as in the operatta, who fell in love with someone who wasn’t of royal blood. So the theme of The Student Prince is not without its parallels in history, and take away the royalty part, and I’m sure it has been experienced to one degree or another by many in the situation of deciding whether they will make a choice for love which, if taken, will change their lives significantly. Be it perhaps between decision of career, where to live, or any other important life choice and that of a relationship (if it is a rare situation where the two are mutually exclusive), such questions are universal in the human experience. It is in such times that what we value most becomes apparent. Nobody else but the individual can decide what is right for them, but one’s beliefs and priorities, based on the values placed in one’s heart, will determine the choices made throughout life and the subsequent blessings or sorrows.
The human experience celebrated and explored through opera is relatively new to me, but so far each of those I’ve familiarized myself with have been poignant in story, beautiful in song, and filled with the emotions of all mankind making the stories timeless. I will be and look forward to exploring more operas.