17
   

Opera - an acquired taste? Or is it something one has an affinity for?

 
 
mismi
 
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 08:47 am
In Pretty Woman, Richard Gere makes an observation about opera that has always stuck with me. "Peoples reactions to opera the first time they see it is very drmatic. They either love it or they hate it. If they love it they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it - but it will never become part of their soul."

As a child I hated opera. But I loved music. I learned to appreciate both classical and opera as a music major. I did not come to love opera until performing it. Of course I am only a chorus girl...but that is okay by me. But I loved it. And I do believe that it touches a chord in me somewhere that is different than any kind of music. It is thrilling.

I am going to post some of my favorites: I hope you all will too.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 17 • Views: 6,162 • Replies: 70
No top replies

 
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 08:48 am
@mismi,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2ODfuMMyss&feature=PlayList&p=E616D683968748BF&index=2
Queen of the Night Aria - Magic Flute
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 08:51 am
@mismi,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwCGw5KNOps&feature=PlayList&p=37CAA623F8BBAD15&index=16
Charlotte Church - The Laughing Song (Mein Herr Marquius)
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 08:53 am
hmmm, i have been to two operas, one in english, with sets designed by david hockney, and another in what might have been bulgarian or possibly the sound made if you were crushing water fowl

i really enjoyed the sets designed by david hockney
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 08:57 am
@mismi,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6-5g78Nr6Q
Les Miserables - Do You Hear the People Sing? (TAC)
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 08:58 am
@djjd62,
djjd said:
Quote:
i really enjoyed the sets designed by david hockney


Well...there is a pretty amazing thing going on with many of the sets. That made me laugh Didge.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 09:08 am
@mismi,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S88rkpPu8_g&feature=related
Phantom of the Opera - Sara Brightman and Antonio Banderas

Well...that surprised me.

What do you think seperates an opera from a musical?
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 09:23 am
@mismi,
mismi wrote:
What do you think seperates an opera from a musical?

The ticket prices.

There is sometimes very little difference between an opera and a musical. In general, an opera is any musical stage work accompanied by a live orchestra and without spoken dialogue. Under that definition, a work such as Les Miserables (which, I believe, has no spoken dialogue), qualifies as an opera, even though it is billed as a musical. On the other hand, Carmen, perhaps the most popular opera in history, was originally written with spoken dialogue (in that form it was, technically, an opéra comique). So the definitional boundaries are rather blurry.

As a general rule, a work that is designed for the popular stage and intended for a long, continuous run will be billed as a musical, even if it could qualify as an opera. Rock operas like Jesus Christ, Superstar are an exception, probably because the producers want to inject some "class" into the production. Otherwise, the word "opera" would be box office poison for a Broadway show and is studiously avoided at all costs ("operetta" is even worse, despite the fact that many musicals could qualify as operettas).

In a hundred years, when a major opera company puts on a production of Les Miserables, perhaps then it will be called an opera. Until then, it's a musical.
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 09:29 am
@joefromchicago,
Thanks Joe...I saw recently the term "popera". Ew.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 10:27 am
@mismi,
I used to despise opera. When I was a kid, we watched the Ed Sullivan Show and probably a few others that occasionally featured opera singers such as Robert Merrill or Jan Pierce or Margarite Piazza (don't know if she was actually an opera singer, but I thought of her as one). I considered it caterwauling, screeching, or similar words.

I grew to not like musicals very much either. They always stuffed up stories by stopping for singing. I hated the movie, Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Ok, ok, I sort of liked Oklahoma and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I sometimes liked recordings of songs that were excerpts from musicals.

What a grump.

Later in life, I had a boss who liked opera, and I bedeviled him about it, making him shut his door.. when he played Tebaldi. Well, making him do that is an exaggeration, but he laughingly agreed.

Then one cold March day I fell in love with Rome. My beady little heart opened up to the possibility of opera as being tolerable.
Some time later a work friend came back from being in Rome and seeing the original three tenors concert at the Baths of Caracalla, and played a tape he'd made at the time. I liked it. He gave me a copy of the tape. I loved it, not just liked it. So much for opera hating.

I still prefer to listen to compilations of arias rather than a whole opera, so I'm not mature yet as a listener. I still prefer italian opera to German. But now I figure that I'm on a learning curve.

To answer, my affinity was acquired.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 10:35 am
here is a link to the set and costume designs for The Rake's Progress which i saw in Toronto in the 1980's

THE RAKE'S PROGRESS

clicking an image opens up a larger view, selections from the opera also play in the background
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 11:22 am
@mismi,
mismi wrote:

Thanks Joe...I saw recently the term "popera". Ew.

Yikes!

On the other hand, you mentioned The Magic Flute as one of your favorites. But that is another opera that has spoken dialogue -- the Germans would call it a Singspiel. In its day, people probably would have treated it more like a "musical" than an opera. Just another example of the fuzzy lines between musicals and opera.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 11:31 am
@mismi,
I'm sort of a minor league opera snob. Wouldn't consider Les Mis or Phantom as operas. They're carriers for power ballads to my way of thinking.

Give me Opera Atelier or something similar

http://www.operaatelier.com/aboutoa/index.htm
http://www.operaatelier.com/aboutoa/prod_touring.htm

Monteverdi/Lully, that generation/style of composer interests me. More modern opera, not so much. I fell asleep at the first 'real' opera I went to - Joan Sutherland in Donizetti's Anna Bolena.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 11:58 am
@mismi,
I am working on it....and love a number of arias....some are amongst my most beloved pieces of music.

But I doubt it will ever be in my soul...so perhaps Gere's scriptwriter was right?

Then again...WHAT soul...but I am being pedantic.

I think (when I was having singing training ) being able to SING some of the less stratospheric ones helped a lot.


Pamela Rosa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 12:06 pm
My favorite opera is Bluebeard's Castle by Bella Bartok

Quote:
Place: A huge, dark hall in a castle, with seven locked doors.

Judith insists that all the doors be opened, to allow light to enter into the forbidding interior, insisting further that her demands are based in her love for Bluebeard. Bluebeard refuses, saying that they are private places not to be explored by others, and asking Judith to love him but ask no questions. Judith persists, and eventually prevails over his resistance.

The first door opens to reveal a torture chamber, stained with blood. Repelled, but then intrigued, Judith pushes on. Behind the second door is a storehouse of weapons, and behind the third a storehouse of riches. Bluebeard urges her on. Behind the fourth door is a secret garden of great beauty; behind the fifth, a window onto Bluebeard's vast kingdom. All is now sunlit, but blood has stained the riches, watered the garden, and grim clouds throw blood-red shadows over Bluebeard's kingdom.

Bluebeard pleads with her to stop: the castle is as bright as it can get, and will not get any brighter, but Judith refuses to be stopped after coming this far, and opens the penultimate sixth door, as a shadow passes over the castle. This is the first room that has not been somehow stained with blood; a silent silvery lake is all that lies within, "a lake of tears". Bluebeard begs Judith to simply love him, and ask no more questions. The last door must be shut forever. But she persists, asking him about his former wives, and then accusing him of having murdered them, suggesting that their blood was the blood everywhere, that their tears were those that filled the lake, and that their bodies lie behind the last door. At this, Bluebeard hands over the last key.

Behind the door are Bluebeard's three former wives, but still alive, dressed in crowns and jewellery. They emerge silently, and Bluebeard, overcome with emotion, prostrates himself before them and praises each in turn, finally turning to Judith and beginning to praise her as his fourth wife. She is horrified, begs him to stop, but it is too late. He dresses her in the jewellery they wear, which she finds exceedingly heavy. Her head drooping under the weight, she follows the other wives along a beam of moonlight through the seventh door. It closes behind her, and Bluebeard is left alone as all fades to total darkness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebeard's_Castle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbPX1w5Jhb0&feature=related
0 Replies
 
Lightwizard
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 02:59 pm
@joefromchicago,
It seem to take forever to get Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" in the repertoire as an opera -- about the time Loren Maazel made his famous recording. "Les Miserables" finds itself in the same status so you are likely right and it might be dubbed an opera in the future.
Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 03:06 pm
My first opera was Aida. 18 years old and totally mesmerized. I couldn't believe what my ears and eyes had come in contact with. This is someone whose introduction to music was Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I think that I have an affinity to opera.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 03:41 pm
@Lightwizard,
Porgy and Bess is an interesting case. It was originally intended for the Broadway stage, where it ran for 124 performances during its initial 1935 production. Gershwin thought of it as a "folk opera," which is pretty accurate if your "folk" happen to be Jewish New Yorkers who made a living in Tin Pan Alley. It is operatic in the sense that there's no spoken dialogue, but the set-piece songs, such as "It Ain't Necessarily So" could have come from any Broadway show at that time. It was only in 1976 that a major American opera company (the Houston Grand Opera) produced Porgy and Bess. Since then, it has been a fixture in the American operatic repertoire.

All in all, it took about forty years for Porgy to be transformed from a Broadway show into an opera. So I guess it might not take a hundred years for Les Miserables to make the same transition.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:35 pm
@joefromchicago,
I could, of course, be wrong, Joe, but I seem to recall that Porgy and Bess was staged by the Met in NYC at some date way earlier than 1976. They do say the memory is the first to go, tho. . .
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Jul, 2009 04:54 pm
@Merry Andrew,
The Met Opera database does not list any staged performance of Porgy and Bess before 1976, though it lists a handful of concert performances of select numbers from the work. Their archive dates the first staging at 6 Feb 1985.
 

Related Topics

HOW COME . . . - Question by Setanta
Ten Hottest Sopranos - Discussion by talk72000
um um good - Discussion by dyslexia
the Paris Opera - Question by Woollcott
Never heard of this! - Question by sophocles
"Carmen" cancelled over fears it promotes smoking - Discussion by joefromchicago
Weird short stories for opera texts. - Discussion by The Pentacle Queen
Question for Italian Opera buffs - Question by quakera
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Opera - an acquired taste? Or is it something one has an affinity for?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/26/2019 at 09:13:05