Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your

Operas are an important part of our culture. “Another Opening, Another Show” by Tom Markus and Linda Sarver points out that opera was born in the Renaissance when the Florentine theatre artists took Greek plays and put them to music. The word “operas” means works.

I have been watching “Tristan and Isolde,” whose story takes place during the time in which, as the Metropolitan Opera website states, “the chivalric code prevailed.” This opera is a musical landmark. World Book Encyclopedia says that it has an intense chromatic style used to express the love interest in the story.

The article went on to say that the story doesn’t deal as much with external events or actions as it does with the emotional lives of its characters, which the composer referred to as “soul states.” See how well you do with this week’s vocabulary quiz that’s sautéed in “Tristan and Isolde.”

1. The composer of “Tristan and Isolde” was ___.

A. Clara Schumann (CLAIR-uh SHOE-mahn)

B. Franz Liszt (FRAHNZ list)

C. Frederick Chopin (FREHD-uh-rick SHOW-pan)

D. Richard Wagner (REE-card VAHG-nuhr).

E. Franz Bendel (FRAHNZ BEN-dul)

2. All five aforementioned composers lived in the

A. 17th century.

B. 18th century.

C. 19th century.

D. 20th century.

No. 1 is B. No. 2 is C.

3. Act I of “Tristan and Isolde” takes place

A. in a plethora of roses.

B. in a ballroom.

C. on a ship.

D. in a garden.

Act I takes place on board ship from Ireland to Cornwall; Act II is in the castle’s garden. No. 3 is C.

4. chattel (CHAT-ul)

A. an unimportant conversation

B. something that a person owns other than real estate

C. trivial comments

D. secret potion

The Metropolitan Opera website said that Tristan delivers Isolde like a chattel to his uncle, King Marke. No. 4 is B.

5. intone (in-TONE)

A. to recite in a singing tone

B. to make amends, as for a sin or fault

C. to make a loud noise

D. None of the above

The MO website used this verb “intoned.” Tristan’s companion Kurwenal intoned an insolent verse about Isolde’s fiancé, Morold, who was killed by Tristan.

Last week’s mystery word is sagacious.

This week’s mystery word to solve is the term for lovely Brangane’s warning first heard in Act II, scene 2 of “Tristan and Isolde.” The first syllable has the sound of “light.”

Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D., of Eupora is a speech and theater professor at East Mississippi Community College, Golden Triangle. Contact him at