Confessions about Opera

Reader, I have a confession to make. I have tried and tried but Opera and I just won’t work together. Yes, it’s a painful confession but I have to make it. It’s not that I don’t love classical music; I love going to the symphony. One of my favorite sounds is an orchestra warming up. But if you add operatic voices to the mix, something goes wrong in my head. It’s not that I don’t like certain arias and whatnot. Maybe the problem lies in the same part of my brain that doesn’t like musicals. I’m not sure.

I’ve seen six classic operas and with the exception of one, they did not work for me. I’ve seen The Marriage of Figaro twice: once as a kid’s version at band camp (yep, at band camp) and another time with a Rene Magritte theme at the Lyric Opera. I loved the allusions to my favorite painter but that was more fun to me than the opera itself. I’ve seen Rigoletto at the Lyric, which my dad says was a strange production. I’ve walked out at the intermission of Handel’s Acis and Galeta. Handel is one of my favorite composers! I saw Lucia di Lammermoor with s Chinese opera company. That production was rather fantastic but I don’t know how much of it was the circumstances of it or the production itself.

And I just saw the Lyric Opera’s Porgy and Bess. I love Gershwin; I think he is the finest American composer. The production has gotten absolutely amazing reviews. But I did not love it. There were some amazing songs in the show, like “Summertime,” “A Woman is a Sometimes Thing” (I know!), “I Got Plenty of Nothin’” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” Eric Owens was fantastic as Porgy. I was moved by his character throughout the show. Adina Aaron as Bess was okay; I don’t know if I loved her voice. The staging was fantastic with a two story stage that they really made use of. But the show did not hold together for me. Sung dialogue was rather bothersome to me. And the other songs didn’t grab me. The sum was not greater than the parts.

So I think it’s me, not the opera. Now, I’ve been told that I should try Carmen and I’ll concede that I need to see it. After all, Carmen Miranda, the “Brazilian Bombshell”, was allegedly named for the opera. Naturally, I have to see that. But I suspect that the same thing will happen. I will love some songs in the opera and get bored by the parts in between. I’m apparently missing the opera gene.

That’s all for now!

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2 thoughts on “Confessions about Opera

  1. For someone who doesn’t like this you sure put a lot of effort into it (going 6 times and to a good variety of them). I take my bowler hat off to you. It might have something to do with not liking musicals. It might not. I don’t like musicals either and I love opera. But I didn’t always. I guess it’s one of those things that either clicks with you or not.

    What worked for me (and won’t work for all) is I eventually became interested in “extreme” singing of all sorts and opera is extreme singing if anything.

    1. Thank you very much. I’m just so confused since I love the symphony so much! But I like that idea of extreme singing. I’ll see if that does the trick.

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