Parlando: The COC Blog


Inside Opera: William Zeitler and the Glass Armonica

The Canadian Opera Company's popular Inside Opera video series is back with a behind-the-scenes look at Lucia di Lammermoor. In case you missed it, revisit our first video in the series, Creating Lucia: Part One, featuring soprano Anna Christy and director David Alden discussing her interpretation of the famous role. 

In William Zeitler and the Glass Armonica, learn about the rare instrument joining the COC orchestra for the spring production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, the glass armonica was originally included in Donizetti's opera, but was later replaced with a flute solo instead. Watch as composer and performer William Zeitler shares the sound of this unique instrument.


Learn more about Lucia di Lammermoor:

Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (1) / permalink

Dennis James (4/22/2013 7:05:00 PM)
This is not a Benjamin Franklin armonica, it is a modern-design variant named the Quartz Harmonica, a 20th century new invention, by Gerhard Finkenbeiner. That new design incorporates 'fused silica' (a type of glass developed for scientific work in the early part of the 20th c.) as the essential component within the Finkenbeiner patent description together with multiple claims of his presumptively necessary design improvements towards mechanized glass music instrument design for this 'new' musical instrument (with nary a single mention of Benjamin Franklin as the originating precedent armonica inventor - see US Pat. 4,589,322). Unfortunately in the initial sales and vast commercial media publicity (now abandoned), the late Finkenbeiner in marketing represented that his instrument was a reproduction of Franklin's armonica invention. A clever scientific glass technician and imaginative amateur musician, Gerhard readily admitted in conversation originally seeking what became a highly profitable way to manipulate what were the usually discarded ends of the General Electric produced commercial grade quartz glass tubing remaining from his extensive lab device glass commissions and military weapon gyroscope production carried out at first under the guise of historical music instrument reproduction.

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001



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