My flute is haunted, please call a priest
I just saw an opera, live, in the theatre. And it was great! I don't get why people say they hate opera. I'm convinced that the only way to hold that opinion is to have never seen one in the theatre.
The music was great, the peformances were fantastic, and everyone had a blast. Nothing like watching on a screen.
The Magic Flute is being performed here in Bristol next month by the Welsh National Opera Company.
[Just curious: what does this have to do with violins/violinists?]
He's a violinist and he went to see it.
... and a whole bunch of violinists sitting there playing 1st & 2nd?
I love opera, but haven't seen this one. Will keep my eye out for it, and I love the thread title!
Righto - I'll start a topic on 'Cheese stick recipes for chamber music session tea break'...
It has been said that if you want to play Mozart well on the violin then listen to his operatic arias. Similarly with Paganini's slow movements; he was influenced by the Italian operas of his time.
One reason why I don't particularly care for opera is because I do not speak Italian or German or French. So if the opera is sung in one of those languages, then I find myself at a practical disadvantage when it comes to understanding the plot. So I have to rely on the little printed digest of the plot provided in the program (if even there is one). On the basis of that admittedly limited experience I find that the plots are not distinguishable from those of routine TV dramas (think "Dallas" here). The OP basically stipulated that without the trappings of live operatic performance (presumably he was referring to the stage acting, costumes, set, lighting, among other aspects of the production), one might not enjoy it for its musical content alone. That's what I infer from "they didn't like it because they didn't see it live." I just find that the stage production has rather little value for me if I can't ever understand what they are saying (singing). Likewise I find that Russian novels are entirely worthless
I like opera even though a lot of it is in language which I do not know, sometimes while listening to an opera the people around me will chuckle but I often have no idea what was so funny unless there is a visual cue for me. I am also a big fan of heavy metal even though I cannot comprehend what they are singing most of the time. Our local college radio station sometimes has a Native American program and enjoy listening even though it is in different languages.I probably should work on learning some other languages.
The production I saw happened to have the words to the music projected onto the rear wall, and the action in between songs was in English. You'd think it would be distracting, but I don't think anybody cared. And everyone clapped after each song (except for one pouty old lady next to me). So yeah—not an uptight event.
"The production I saw happened to have the words to the music projected onto the rear wall."
I too have never been in the audience of live opera, but in the past I've played cello in the band in nearly all the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, which was great fun. I always had a good view of the performances, unlike the unfortunate violists who always had their backs to the stage, and partook of a free repast afterwards where we got to know the members of the company well. And got paid.
Paul, the brief plot summary of each scene is indeed all you need, so there is no need whatsoever to understand the exact sentences they are singing. It is all about drama and feelings, and these should be obvious from the music and the performance. So really, give it a try and let yourself go! "Music is emotion" is nowhere clearer than in opera.
"So really, give it a try." I did. I couldn't get past not being able to understand the words. I thought the music was fine but not better than all the other stuff I'd rather listen to.
I prefer musicals (like Cats, Wickes) to opera precisely because of the language issue. It is more a combination of dance theatre and pop music, so I suppose it is not for everyone's liking.
For Magic Flute, especially, I find that I enjoy it more when I CAN'T understand the words. I love Mozart operas and that one in particular, but its plot is not its strong point.
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