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.
Readers, you've taken a liking to our series of Aria Guides, which offer tips to complement the work you do on repertoire with your teachers and coaches. Our latest guide is less about operatic arias, and more about that other powerful genre, the Christmas Carol. Our short and sweet list of caroling tips is for all holiday singers, professional and otherwise. So pick your favourite Christmas tune, and don't forget the joy!
Sometimes, readers, after a long day of scouring information on opera singers, we start to bemoan the fact that their bios don't really tell us anything about them. If any of you know an opera singer personally, go read their professional bio right now. Who is that person? They seem busy, but it's not clear why anyone should go and hear them sing.
On the one hand, this is great news. There are indeed operas - and good ones - written by women, and Saariaho's mesmerizing tale of 12th-century troubadour Jaufré Rudel is one of them. On the other hand, it's fairly stunning that after Der Wald, there was a 113-year wait for the Met (the Met, for goodness' sake!) to stage a second opera by a woman composer.
The obvious choice, really. There's the creepy castle; the weird, cold relationship between Bluebeard and his new bride; the secret rooms; the clear intimacy issues; the dead ex-wives. The music, though, is the scariest thing about Bartòk's opera; the score sounds like something Bernard Herrmann would have written for a Hitchcock film, and it seems to waver unnaturally between uncomfortably soft and impossibly loud. Kind of like a scary, abusive husband.
Often, opera titles get whittled down to one indicative word in the full title. Instead of The Magic Flute, it's just Flute, the same way it's just Ballo, not Un ballo in maschera. Così rarely needs the fan tutte in general conversation, Fanciulla will do without the del West, and The Turn of the is redundant when we're talking about Screw. It's Dialogues, but no Carmélites, Elixir with an assumption of Love, and one can just say Rake, with the Progress implied.