Humour

Aria guides: [insert Christmas carol here]

Aria guides: [insert Christmas carol here]

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!

Jenna Simeonov
A call for Honest Bios™

A call for Honest Bios™

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.

Jenna Simeonov
Teddy Roosevelt, the Chicago Cubs, & operas by women at the Met

Teddy Roosevelt, the Chicago Cubs, & operas by women at the Met

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.

Jenna Simeonov
6 operas to creep you out

6 operas to creep you out

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.

Jenna Simeonov
Opera shorthand: how to speak like an insider

Opera shorthand: how to speak like an insider

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.

Jenna Simeonov
Ways to procrastinate: the plot-generated opera

Ways to procrastinate: the plot-generated opera

Readers, we've discovered a new game. If you head over to Plot Generator, you can fill in a form that creates your own short story (sort of like Mad Libs). It's kind of fun on its own, but there's a nerdy twist to it.

Jenna Simeonov
5 people who would make great opera roles

5 people who would make great opera roles

Right up there with Donizetti's Tudor Queens, the hypothetical opera about Michelle Obama is packed with some serious history. The election of Barack Obama exposed the real racism that still exists in the United States; yet at the same time, the Obamas set a new bar for humanity and class among politicians.

Jenna Simeonov
Rhythm: the good, the bad, and the stressful

Rhythm: the good, the bad, and the stressful

To be clear, readers, this bit of grumbling isn't meant to say, "look how bad the average person's rhythm is!" It's truly an impressive feat to master the art of keeping a beat. It's a skill that makes a stellar beat-boxer, and adds to the value of a great drummer.

Jenna Simeonov
Hilarity: why the opera makes you cry

Hilarity: why the opera makes you cry

We liken this video by Juan Pablo Zaramella to every production of *La bohème*. Every time we weep (either at the return of the *cuffietta*, or when Musetta is nice, or at the very least at "coraggio!"), we feel like yelling at long-dead Puccini, "you did not earn those tears honourably! These are cheap tricks!"

Jenna Simeonov
Trousers on TV: 4 animated pants roles

Trousers on TV: 4 animated pants roles

But who are the cartoon pants roles (and skirt roles) of more recent years? And how does a casting choice affect how we react to a character? We tracked down four of our favourite 21st-century cartoon characters, who all take a cue from opera's tradition.

Jenna Simeonov

Unlike other sites, we're keeping Schmopera ad-free. We want to keep our site clean and our opinions our own. Support us for as little as $1.00 per month.