My flute is haunted, please call a priest

March 22, 2019, 9:24 PM · 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.

Replies (18)

Edited: March 22, 2019, 9:47 PM · The Magic Flute is being performed here in Bristol next month by the Welsh National Opera Company.

I understand that under the provisions of Canon Law the local Diocese has a qualified exorcist available should the need arise during the performance.

March 22, 2019, 9:52 PM · [Just curious: what does this have to do with violins/violinists?]
March 22, 2019, 10:32 PM · He's a violinist and he went to see it.
March 23, 2019, 2:13 AM · ... and a whole bunch of violinists sitting there playing 1st & 2nd?
March 23, 2019, 12:53 PM · I love opera, but haven't seen this one. Will keep my eye out for it, and I love the thread title!
March 23, 2019, 1:14 PM · Righto - I'll start a topic on 'Cheese stick recipes for chamber music session tea break'...
March 23, 2019, 5:36 PM · 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.
Edited: March 24, 2019, 9:47 AM · 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 in their original language because I do not read Russian, but I can see how someone who reads Russian would enjoy them very much because I have enjoyed some of them in translation. Unfortunately, there is a sufficiency of "opera buffs" who would bitch loudly and tear up their donation checks if their beloved Verdi and Puccini were presented in translation. These are the same people who cast you a dirty look if you applaud after the first movement of a concerto.

I have attended recitals where a soloist sang a couple of Schubert songs in German. That was okay because I can pick out about 20% of the words from having had four years of German back in high school.

March 24, 2019, 10:30 AM · 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.
March 24, 2019, 10:37 AM · 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.
March 24, 2019, 1:14 PM · "The production I saw happened to have the words to the music projected onto the rear wall."

Then how do you watch the show? How do you enjoy the subtle facial expressions and other small gestures that are part of great acting, if you're reading the text meanwhile?

Sorry -- I've been to live opera, and it's just not for me. I did go to a Gilbert and Sullivan show a couple of years ago, presented by a very highly acclaimed group, which was fun, but I would much rather hear a top string quartet, orchestra, or jazz concert.

Edited: March 24, 2019, 2:14 PM · 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.
March 24, 2019, 1:55 PM · 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.
March 24, 2019, 4:37 PM · "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.
March 25, 2019, 6:09 AM · 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.

I even find ballads more interesting than opera. Somehow the idea is people is trying to communicate something to me with both word and music and I don't get the word really put me off.

March 25, 2019, 11:04 AM · 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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