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The site of Cristina Alvarez Magliano
Fine Art in Marquetry

These series include portraits of one or more operatic characters in a particular moment or, eventually,   
just a synthesis of several themes of import in the music and staging of famous operas.  In some
cases, I have adapted my style to art movements contemporary with the time period in which the opera
is set, or I have combined representational and figurative design with abstract backgrounds. However
most of the characters are of European origins (French, Italian, German, etc.) from the XIX and
beginning  of XX Century, I paid also a lot of attention to an Argentinean composer whose music I
admire and love, Astor Piazzola. In 1968’s he wrote an opera called “Maria de Buenos Aires” a
tangopera (‘operita’ he said) where Maria personifies tango:  her cradle lies on the banks of the vast
delta of the Rio de la Plata. That element has a significant empathy with my way of viewing things,  as I
have always been very fond of dramatic female characters and music.
Maybe this is due to the first defining experiences I had as a young woman in the early years of the
cold war, trying to find her identity in a small town outside Buenos Aires. To fall in love for the first time
thinking about the atheist existentialism of Jean Paul Sartre and the strength of Simone de Beauvoir is
not common to all generations; later generations fell in love while dancing to the Beatles, that is to say,
with much more lightness and less heaviness in the heart, but not less affectionately, tenderly or
without goodness. Only, in my imagination at least, with less melodrama. On the other hand, to grow up
surrounded by traditional tango music translates into a vision of women stereotypes that ranges from a
sacrificed mother dying in poverty to a streetwalker destroying a man’s life for money.
For all that reasons the later works in the series depict women that are light, funny and, at the same
time, very provocative and sexy. None of them are real women. My pieces depict a partial vision,
among many, that come from a rich existence. But, actually, adversity, intense passion, and other-
worldly acts of courage by women all over the world are not only within de realm of fiction. I present
only one -and very personal-  point of entry into that profound appreciation of womanhood which can
be shared by men and women alike.
"Women in the Opera" and "Objects of Desire"
Violetta Valery. La Traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi
set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It takes as its basis the novel La
dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas. It was first performed at the Teatro la
Fenice in Venice, on March 6, 1853. The title "La traviata" means literally The Woman
Who Strayed, or perhaps more figuratively, The Fallen One. The original audience
appears to have been puzzled by the fact that the opera had a contemporary setting.
Violetta Valery is the principal character, a famed courtesan; the young nobleman
Alfredo Germont,  declares his love for her. Violetta rejects him but gives him a
camellia, telling to return when the flower has wilted. She contemplates the possibility
of a real relationship with true love, but finally rejects the notion. She needs freedom
to live life, night and day, from one pleasure to another. However, a few months later
Alfredo and Violetta lead an idyllic existence in a country house outside Paris. His
father visits her and asks Violetta to leave Alfredo because her reputation has
destroyed his family’s future. Then, without telling him the truth, she returns to Paris to
her wild existence. Alfredo disrespects and insults her in public; finaly he realizes
what she did was for love of him; but it’s too late: consumption has confined Violetta
to her bed. Alfredo begs her forgiveness, but she dies in his arms. .
Violetta: “... Sentia
che amore e palpito dell’universo intero, misterioso, altero, croce e delicia al
cor...”             “...Follie!...Povera donna, sola, abbandonata in questo popoloso deserto
che appellano Parigi, che spero or piu?
"Pelleas et Melisande" (Pelléas and Mélisande) is an opera  by
Claude Debussy. The French libretto is adapted from a famous symbolist play
by Maurice Maeterlinck and follows it almost exactly. It received its first
performance at the Opéra Comique in Paris in April 30, 1902.
It is often called an impressionist opera, though others believe this lies in
explicit conducting instructions left by Debussy. It concerns the forbidden,
doomed love of the title characters.The plot involves a long triangle among the
mysterious Melisande, her husband Golaud, and his half-brother Pelleas. Both
Melisande and Pelleas die tragically but not before the libretto touches on the
meaning and ramifications of ideal love, innocence, jealousy, anger, shame,
and redemption. The climactic moment is when, to the importuning of Pelléas,
Mélisande lets down her hair from the casement of some hoary old mediaeval
castle, for his wonderment and incredulous delight, and embraces him
declaring her true love. Finally, after his death by the hands of the jealous
husband, she gives birth to a girl –Pelleas’ daughter- and dies. Melisande’s
great grandfather then takes the girl and exclaims: ‘Now is the time of the little
Pelleas: "Your hair, your hair descends toward me! All your hair Melisande, all
your hair is falling by the tower!... I have in the hands, I have in the mouth...
This evening I will not open the hands!! "" You don’t know why I should go
away ... is because I love you "
Melisande:" I love you too... "
"Musetta and Mimi" from "La Boheme" by
Giacomo Puccini, who freely adapted Henry Murger's episodic novel into
a four-act opera focusing on six young bohemians in Paris in 1840. The
libretto of the opera combines comic elements of the impoverished life of
the young protagonists with the tragic aspects, such as the death of Mimí.
The principal four characters are Rodolfo, a poet; Mimì, a seamstress;
Marcello, a painter; Musetta, a singer. They are all poor (like Puccini was
in his youth); the opera's libretto focuses on the relationship between
Rodolfo and Mimiì, ending with her death. Mimi is young, inexperienced,
and full of hopes; she falls in love with Rodolfo; Musetta, on the other
hand, is exuberant, ready to enjoy all aspects of life, even a fight; she is
in love with Marcello.
When Mimi and Rodolfo meet (scene I) they sing a beautiful and very
popular arias: "Yes, they call me Mimi, but my name is Lucia. My story is
a short one. I embroidery flowers in silk or in fabric at home…” “I’m quiet
and gay and I find much fun doing roses and irises”. In this way Mimi
introduces herself to Rodolfo (who sings: I’m a poet, I write, and how I
live? Just I live…) to whom already she is falling in love.
After a very hard winter, Mimi develops consumption. Not just the illness
is progressing, but she is declining specially because Rodolfo has left
her. At the end of the opera, when she dies, he is full of regrets. It takes
him to yell one the most famous wrods in music:
MIMI...MIMI !!!!!

"Floria Tosca" from the opera of the same name by
Giacomo Puccini, based on Victorien Sardou's drama, La Tosca.
The work premiered in Rome on January, 1900.
Floria Tosca is a famous opera singer; she is the lover of the
painter Mario Cavaradossi. Mario is, in turn, friend of a political
prisoner that the chief of Police, Baron Scarpia, is searching for;
more than that, this prisoner has escaped and is hidden in
Cavaradossi’s Villa. In spite of Tosca’s claims for clemency,
Scarpia commands his soldiers to torture Mario so he tells where is
Angelotti, but after hearing his screams, is Tosca who reveals what
she knows. In her will to save her lover, Tosca promises to give
herself to Scarpia if he gives her a safe conduct  for Mario; she
believes the soldiers will perform a mock execution following
Scarpia’s orders.  While she is waiting for Scarpia to write it, she
notices a knife on the table, and makes the decision to kill Scarpia
rather than allowing him to rape her. She stabs him and runs away
to find Mario at the Castel Santangelo (the Pope’s prison that
stands in Rome behind the Vatican and has the archangel as a
distinctive in its top - today they remain connected through a
pathway ) where he is waiting for the execution. She warns him to
fake his death with bravura for, after that, both will run away to
liberty. But she is mistaking: Scarpia had never intended to spare
Cavaradossi, but had given Spoletta orders to execute him. Then
Spoletta comes forward to take Tosca prisoner, but she pushes
him away. She then jumps from the ramparts of the castle and
falls to her death. She sings:  "O Scarpia, we shall meet before
"The bride left
is the first
work of this series. It is
not related to a specific
opera, but represents
all the operatic female
characters. It's a
woman that suffers a
disenchantment  at the
lack of commitment on
part of her lover, even
after he had promised
to love her forever.
"Turandot" Four pieces screen for a table.
The premiere of Turandot was at La Scala, Milan, on Sunday 25 April
1926, one year and five months after Puccini's death (he left it
unfinished),conducted by Arturo Toscanini. The story of Turandot was
taken from a Persian collection of stories called The Book of One
Thousand and One Days, where the character of "Turandokht" as a cold
princess was found. She confronted her suitors with three riddles. The
suitor had to forfeit his life if he failed to answer correctly. Three
ministers,Ping,Pang and Pond, work for the Princess, and the three
words for Calaf (the Unknown Prince that correctly answers the riddles)
are 'Hope', 'Blood' and 'Turandot'. The famous aria 'Nessun dorma...'
belongs to the third act; was sung by tenors from Mario DelMonico and
Franco Corelli to Luciano  Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.
"Objects of Desire"
"Orchid Girl"
"Temptation Girl"
" Yoga Meditation"
"Norma" opera by Vincenzo Bellini with
libretto by Felice Romani after a novel by
Alexandre Soumet, was first produced at La
Scala on December 26, 1831.  The story of
the Druid Priestess Norma (who breaks her
vows and has an affair with the Roman
Proconsul Pollione, the oppressor of her
people) and the way she resolves the conflict
in a tragic manner, inspired Bellini to
compose some of his most divine melodies.
Maria Callas was an outstanding Norma, later
followed by  Dame Joan Sutherland.
"Delilah", the opera Samson and
Delilah, by Camille Saint Saens.  Samson
loved Delilah, she betrayed him, and, what is
worse, she did it for money. Delilah was
approached by the Philistines, the enemies
of Israel, to discover the secret of Samson's
strength. Three times she asked and three
times he gave her a false answer. On the
fourth occasion he gave her the true reason:
that he did not cut his hair in fulfillment of a
vow to God; and Delilah betrayed him to his
"Lucia de Lamermoor",opera in
three acts by Gaetano Donizetti (1835) based
on a work by Sir Walter Scott. Set in Scotland
in the 17th century, tells the story of the
tragedy resulting from a forced marriage;
most famous for the Mad Scene in the last
act. It became Donizetti's most famous opera,
and one of the high points of the bel canto
tradition. The "Mad Scene", "Il dolce
suono...Spargi d'amaro pianto" is special for
coloratura sopranos. Maria Callas, has
performed the scene in 'a come scritto' .
"WALKYRIA"  1876-  Richard
Wagner -
Der Ring des Nibelungen.  
With the goddess Erda (of the wisdom
and eternal depths of the land), Wotan
engendered an army of doncellas
warlike, mounted in winged horses,
which transported to the Walhalla the
heroes killed in the battlefields, which
will be the people forming the army of
Wotan to defend themselves from their
enemies. Brunilda is, between the
walkyrias, the preferred of Wotan and
also the only that dares disobey him.
She will pay for it but, at the end, she
will discover his hidden mind
"Salome" Op. 54, is an opera by
Richard Strauss to a German libretto by
the composer, based on  Lachmann's
German translation of the French play
Salomé by Oscar Wilde. The opera is
famous (at the time of its premiere,
infamous) for its "Dance of the Seven
Veils". It is now better known for the
more shocking final scene (often a
concert-piece for dramatic sopranos),
where Salome declares her love to –
and kisses – the severed head of John
the Baptist.“I’ve kissed your mouth,
Iokanan, and your lips  tasted bitter! I’ve
kissed your mouth, Iokanan"
"Francesca and Paolo",
Opera by Ricardo Zandonai (1914)
Francesca Da Rimini was the beautiful
daughter of the Lord of Ravenna,
whose tragic love affair with Paolo
Malatesta is renowned in literature and
art. Married to Gianciotto Malatesta for
reasons of state, she was murdered by
him when he discovered her in adultery
with his brother Paolo Malatesta de
Verrucchio  whom he also killed. She
was a historical contemporary of Dante
Alighieri, who portrayed her as a
character in the Divine Comedy. The
picture is based in Dore illustration.
"Carmen" Carmen is an opera by
Georges Bizet,  premiered at the Opéra
Comique of Paris on March 3, 1875.The
story is set in Seville. Carmen, a
beautiful gypsy with a fiery temper,
woos the corporal Don José, an
inexperienced soldier. Their
relationship leads to his rejection of his
fiancé, mutiny against his superior, turn
to a criminal life, and ultimate jealous
murder of Carmen. Although he is
briefly happy with Carmen, he falls into
madness when she turns from him to
the bullfighter Escamillo. José, being a
soldier, simply kills her, and becomes
completely broken, signing: "Ah!
Carmen! ma Carmen adorée!".
'Cio-Cio-San",or "Madama
Butterfly", (1904)
opera by Giacomo
Puccini based partly on a story by John
Luther Long; it was also based on the
novel, Madame Chrysanthème (1887).
Pinkerton, an american sailor staying in
the port of Nagasaki marries
Cio-Cio-San,a 15-year-old Japanese
geisha. Goro has arranged the wedding
contract and rented a little hillside
house for the newlyweds. Butterfly
innocently believes the marriage to be
binding. When she discovers that this is
not so, she takes her father's sword and
reads its inscription: "To die with
honour, when one can no longer live
with honour" before she kills herself.
"Senta" (Richard Wagner’s Opera).
The Flying Dutchman had once wanted
to sail around a cape in a furious gale
and sworn that he would accomplish
this feat even if he had to keep on
sailing forever. The devil took him at
his word and condemned him to sail
the sea  in a ship with red sails. He
could be saved if an angel were to
intercede: every 7 years the Dutchman
can go ashore. If he finds a woman
who will promise to love him forever,
the curse will be broken and he will be
able to die. Senta swears to be faithful
to him until death; he tells her of his
curse,and leaves. Hardly has he left the
shore when Senta plunges into the
sea, faithful unto death and saves him.
For the beautiful music of any of these operas, in multiple editions, the best singers and
conductors, you can have CDs or DVDs, at very reasonable prices, at To
visit this site, please, click