Silk Purse (formerly Sow’s Ear)

December 1, 2011

“I had an awful seconda donna for my opera, Ciro in Babilonia. Besides being hideously ugly, she had the most wretched voice. After trying it with the utmost care I discovered that she possessed one single good note. So I wrote an aria for her in which she had nothing but this note to sing. All the rest I put into the orchestra, and as it was liked and applauded, my singer of the one note was delighted with her triumph.” — Gioachino Rossini

(Hat-tip to an anonymous poster on

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