Breaking: Music historians discover lost Mozart opera, opera circles collectively agree that it is crap.
Maybe you were dragged to the opera against your will. Maybe you were guilted into seeing the show, because you knew someone in it. Maybe you were hangry, or maybe your ass fell asleep. Or maybe Occam's Razor applies to you and your disruptive crew, and you're rude, phone-addicted people who can't read the room.
One of the most moving examples of this diegetic music technique is in that shattering finale of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. The nuns sing the "Salve regina" as they are led hopelessly to the guillotine; one by one, the voices peter out, and Poulenc even adds the horrific sound of a guillotine, as though he wants to make you wince and weep.
Yet Cio-Cio San is singing about life-long marriage and the happiness and stability it would bring her; Pinkerton is really singing about experiencing the world, marvelling at the obedience and admiration in the eyes of his young Japanese wife and getting excited to have some exotic sex with her. And never forget that line about Cio-Cio San being fifteen years old...yikes.
It propelled the stereotype that opera singers are angry, horned ladies. It taught us some of Wagner's best tunes, before we even realized what they were. It tugged at our heartstrings, tickled our funny bones. It's one of the most epic face-offs between Bugs and Elmer, cloaked in a 7-minute version of the entirety of Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen". If you haven't yet seen it, get comfy and prepare yourself for some genius.
The best thing about opera is that it takes any human emotion, and blows it up to huge proportions. There's really no such thing as "mildly happy" or "somewhat down" in opera; even an explosive emotion like anger is amplified. With so many anger-inducing headlines on our news feeds lately, some catharsis seemed appropriate.
Speaking of the various circles of hell, Drumpf, is having a really hard time finding people who want to celebrate his win as President of the Divided States of America; the list of people refusing to perform is growing longer... and longer... and longer... With the event a mere 9 days away, so far we have: Jackie Evancho singing, the Rockettes performing on a "voluntary basis", and a college marching band - that's it.
The attention-seeking Lucia wears her di Glammermore tartan with pride, and just a titch of morbidity. She likes cemeteries, believes in ghosts, and she has the wild eyes of someone with a past - someone you don't want to piss off. One is never quite sure if that smear of red on her kilt is from her lipstick, or from something more sinister.
Something Blue: The Bachelor Opera is another misguided love story, unpacking everything that's totally bizarre about reality dating & marriage shows. Joiner sings the role of the Bachelor, and soprano Jessica Fishenfeld is his new - and perfect - bride.
If you're going to an opera for the first time, and you don't know the plot ahead of time, fantastic! You may be tempted to get a head start on the action to come, by reading the synopsis included in most programmes; try to resist the urge. It's a chance to experience an opera in a fresh way, to be surprised and shocked and saddened at all the right moments.