The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: It’s spring. Can you pass this quiz from NPR about flower songs in opera? | May 9, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

It’s a funny kind of spring where The Ear lives in the Midwest.

More than giving us a steady spring, the weather seems to bounce back and forth between winter and summer. One week we have high in the 80s. The next week — like the one coming up – we’re in the 50s or lower.

Add in all the rain and gust wind, and this spring has been hard on the flowers in my yard. The daffodils have hardly blossomed and are already shriveling up, while the newly sprouted tulips are already dropping petals.

tulips and daffodils

Oh well, at least we haven’t had tornados—not so far.

But it is still worth s celebrating the greening out and other bright colors we see after the long, gray winter.

How well do you know your flowers from opera? (Below, in a photo by Cory Weaver, is mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili in a field of red poppies that was used in the production of the 19th-century Russian composer Alexander Borodin‘s opera “Prince Igor” by the Metropolitan Opera.)

Mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili in Met's Pricne Igor by Borodin CR Cory Weaver MET

Here is a seasonal puzzler — with only five multiple choice questions — from the exceptional blog Deceptive Cadence on NPR or National Public Radio.

The Ear found it not so hard but tricky.

Still, it seems that celebrating flowers in music is universal. At the bottom is a YouTube video with an excerpt from the Chinese operaJasmine Flower,” which is NOT included in the quiz.

But hard or not, the quiz was fun and educational.

See how you do and let The Ear know.


  1. Well, I got 4/5 but it was more inspired guessing than knowing anything. That’s why multiple choice is less accurate than essays or coming up with the answer. They are a whole lot easier to grade though!

    Based on my musical knowledge of opera flowers I would have gotten a zero.

    Comment by Daryl Sherman — May 9, 2015 @ 8:50 pm

  2. 4/5: But I’ll admit the audio helped.

    Comment by Steve Powell — May 9, 2015 @ 7:32 am

  3. Oops. Found it. Sorry.

    Comment by Wini Bowen — May 9, 2015 @ 12:14 am

  4. It would be fun to take it but the links send one to Wikipedia rather than a quiz.

    Comment by Wini Bowen — May 9, 2015 @ 12:13 am

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