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

 
 
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Jul, 2009 11:53 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
There's this quote from Boulez, that I can't entirely remember, but he basically says that music's emotional aspect does not seem to effect him in the way that it does other people, and he is only concerned with structure.
It may be true, but I thought it more likely that he stated that as a defence to justify himself as a great composer- the fact that his music was highly organised.


Yeah. Practically every important composer after Stravinsky said something similar. It was part of the disillusionment and anti-Romanticism that set in after the two World Wars, Stravinsky's talk of objectivity coming in the aftermath of the First and Boulez's coming in the aftermath of the Second. So I think there's more to it than their simply wanting to validate themselves as composers. What's interesting is the fact that more organization and less emotion was seen as a way of validating one's music in the first place.

It's led to a lot of silly pronouncements about music (with Boulez's among the silliest) and has even been retroactively applied to older music with which it is patently inappropriate, but I guess I have to put up with it because it's also led to lots of pieces I love.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  2  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 05:08 am
Having read over the entire thread to this point, I saw only two posts that even attempted to answer the launch posts' query.
It was an interesting question. Richard Gere's line in the movie stayed with me for some reason, and I've always wondered how objectively true that really was. .. would I love it, or be one of those for whom it never became "part of their soul"?
I've never been to an opera - only seen and heard bits of them here and there.

and... if what he said is true - do you think it is the same with appreciation for ballet?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 08:05 am
@snood,
Well, when you think about it, the Pretty Woman quotation is rather jejeune. "Peoples reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic. 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." Or, in other words, you either love it or you don't, and if you don't you might eventually learn to like it. That's not a terribly brilliant insight. The same could be said of broccoli or stock car racing or one's mother-in-law.

Of course people can learn to appreciate opera. Tastes change over time, times change, people change. Back in the '30s and '40s, it was still possible to make fun of the opera in movies (A Night at the Opera) and cartoons (What's Opera, Doc?) because people were actually familiar with opera (you don't poke fun at something unfamiliar -- how many comedies have been made about French deconstructionism?). Now, not so much. But that might change. I think I read somewhere that the US has more opera companies now than it did fifty years ago -- it certainly wouldn't surprise me if that were true. And if people start looking at popular stage works as operas rather than as musicals, then it might lead to a greater popular appreciation of the genre. Or then again, maybe not.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Jul, 2009 09:41 am
@joefromchicago,
I really got into opera by seeing a live performance but that was even before VHS and PBS, so there weren't many home media offerings for home media except LP's and then CD's with visual operas appearing on VHS tape in-between. I look at the old VHS tapings against a several of the new Blu-ray discs of operas and, of course, the VHS picture is pathetically blurry and coarse on the tape even with a fairly good audio played through my surround system (with the surround turned off because it defuses the vocals). So I suggest if you want to find out if you have an appreciation for opera, go see a live performance of one of the favorites like Carmen, La Boheme or The Tales of Hoffman -- the one I saw live was with Beverly Sills in all three roles (I think the automated doll and Dr. Miracle got me and that had happened with the traditional Christmas broadcast of the Powell/Pressburger filmed TOH on the old Channel 5 ). Before that, I was familiar with the famous arias but not with full length opera.
shannalee
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 04:51 pm
@Lightwizard,
I have never had the opportunity to see a live opera. I love them though, I have a very nice collection of dvds. Puccini's Tosca is one of my favorites. The music is hauntingly beautiful. I think I can honestly say that Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and Pavarotti, made me appreciate this art form. The music was always playing in the house when I was young and now I can see why. Yes, I am an opera fan. I like to compare performances and I especially enjoy the older ones with the three above mentioned singers. The music just tears at the heart. I only wish I had more friends that enjoyed them too. How someone cannot be touched by these simply awesome pieces is beyond me. Maybe you do have to have an affinity for them.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 05:19 pm
@shannalee,
Quote:
I have never had the opportunity to see a live opera. I love them though, I have a very nice collection of dvds. Puccini's Tosca is one of my favorites. The music is hauntingly beautiful. I think I can honestly say that Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and Pavarotti, made me appreciate this art form. The music was always playing in the house when I was young and now I can see why. Yes, I am an opera fan. I like to compare performances and I especially enjoy the older ones with the three above mentioned singers. The music just tears at the heart. I only wish I had more friends that enjoyed them too. How someone cannot be touched by these simply awesome pieces is beyond me. Maybe you do have to have an affinity for them.


Thats lovely, shannalee.
Sometimes I think to myself that i could never be really unhappy so long as I can listen to Brahm's 3rd and 4th symphonies.

One girl my friend knew had a job when she was a student where she got paid to take a blind man to the opera and explain to him what was happening. That sounds like the best job in the world.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 05:38 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
What usually happens in operas is that blokes get their necks wrung.
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shannalee
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Aug, 2009 02:51 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Pentacle Queen,
That just has to be the VERY best of jobs, if you ask me.
And, I agree with you about never being unhappy as long as you can listen to your favorite pieces...they play in my home almost every day.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 12:00 am
@joefromchicago,
Pretty Woman was rather jejeune.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 12:02 am
@mismi,
I was famous to myself for hating it.

Until I liked it.

Back, manana.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Mar, 2010 12:06 am
I eat, drink and sleep music . . . and while opera may not be my fav . . . I think that because I love music so much, it is impossible to close out opera. Some people who criticize music so soundly (unintended pun) are people who dislike music and so settle for elevator music or the sound of the late 40s-late 50s pop.

SO, I would say that a taste for opera might have be acquired, the love of music makes it easy.

BTW, check out Bryn Terfel, a mountain of a bass baritone from Wales. While not handsome, he is one of the most attractive men I have ever seen. He is one of the singers I listen to at least once a week. (The others are Christy Moore, John Jones and Colm Wilkinson.)
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