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Song Discussion: Prima Donna 
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Post Song Discussion: Prima Donna
This is my favorite song in the show. Musically and lyrically, it's the closest PotO comes to Sondheim as far as I'm concerned. Plus the two Managers are the best male roles in the show.

My favorite bit in the number is, "If it's loudly sung and in a foreign tongue."

However, it has been in my experience that this is a love-it-or-hate-it song among Phantom fans. So, which side are you on? Why do you love or dislike Prima Donna?

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Sat May 15, 2010 1:32 pm
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Tony Winner
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Post Re: Song Discussion: Prima Donna
SomeoneLikeYou wrote:
This is my favorite song in the show. Musically and lyrically, it's the closest PotO comes to Sondheim as far as I'm concerned.

I think his inspiration for this number is from the movie "Amadeus". He referred to this movie several times before and after POTO was created, and one scene correspond very well with "Notes/Prima Donna"; the scene where Amadeus tries to convince the king that the opera "Marriage of Figaro" is a good idea, despite the king banning the play he based the opera on.

MOZART
It's so new, people will go mad for it. For example, I have a scene in the second act - it starts as a duet, just a man and wife quarreling. Suddenly the wife's scheming little maid comes in unexpectedly - a very funny situation. Duet turns into trio. Then the husband's equally screaming valet comes in. Trio turns into quartet. Then a stupid old gardener - quartet becomes quintet, and so on. On and on, sextet, septet, octet! How long do you think I can sustain that?

JOSEPH
I have no idea.

MOZART
Guess! Guess, Majesty. Imagine the longest time such a thing could last, then double it.

JOSEPH
Well, six or seven minutes. Maybe eight!

MOZART
Twenty, sire! How about twenty? Twenty minutes of continuous music. No recitatives. Sire, only opera can do this. In a play, if more than one person speaks at the same time, it's just noise. No one can understand a word. But with music, with music you can have twenty individuals all talking at once


Personally, I think "Notes/Prima Donna" depend on the cast. If they don't have a strong Carlotta and two solid managers with comic timing, forget it. But if the cast is strong, this is one wonderful piece of musical theatre.

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Sat May 15, 2010 2:05 pm
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It's also one of my favorites in the show. It's just so purdy!!!1!

I usually tune out the counterpoint and listen to the french horns.

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Sat May 15, 2010 4:30 pm
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I like it 'cause it's some of the funniest material in the show, and points more to the show's camp origins with Richard Stilgoe as lyricist.

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Sat May 15, 2010 5:22 pm
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I like this song, (and *sometimes* the show in general), because of the fun it makes at the opera genre. Prima Donna always reminds me of a climactic sextet from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, which is a Very Serious Affair in the original context. I find it very funny when the context is switched to Carlotta's hissy fit, providing comic relief, while at the same time managing to move along the plot. Wow.

There's also the Mozart influence, as mentioned above, but I find that this influence is more obvious in 'Il Muto', which brings to mind Nozze di Figaro, the opera from which the conversation that operafantomet cites is about.

And the trio at the end of Phantom is a great homage to the 'dungeon trio' from Gounod's Faust, an opera associated with the original novel.

This has probably all been said before. :oops: Might as well just say it again.


Sat May 15, 2010 6:25 pm
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Overall I think my favourite is the Point of No Return but Prima Donna definitely comes close.

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Last edited by Peritombry on Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun May 16, 2010 3:37 am
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I like the most of it, though I find the begining with the managers only a bit "meeh", but as soon as they begin on all the crossover-lines and harmonys I'm hooked :D that sound awesome as h... :D especially the ending - I have a soft spot for Carlotta high notes and the girys in general :)

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Mon May 24, 2010 1:37 am
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I rather enjoy the song as it's clever, witty and fast-paced.
However as soon as a song posesses such traits inherently there is always the trap that performers will become complacent and put nothing into it themselves. But it is a welcome piece of comic-relief within the show and I struggle to imagine a production without it.

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Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:32 pm
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It's actually my favorite part of the show.


Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:13 am
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Post Re: Song Discussion: Prima Donna
Although Prima Donna is not at all a favorite of mine, I still enjoy it and listen to it often

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Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:04 am
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Post Re: Song Discussion: Prima Donna
Personally I love Prima Donna. The lyrics are clever and sharp-witted, especially the last few lines-- "You couldn't get away with all this in a play, but if it's loudly sung and in a foreign tongue it's just the sort of story audiences adore; in fact, a perfect opera."


Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:13 pm
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Post Re: Song Discussion: Prima Donna
I mostly enjoy it if it's sung right.

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