Pretty poison: Lucrezia Borgia at New Amsterdam Opera
Opera shorthand: how to speak like an insiderHumour
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.
Ways to procrastinate: the plot-generated operaHumour
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.
5 people who would make great opera rolesHumour
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.
Rhythm: the good, the bad, and the stressfulHumour
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.
Trousers on TV: 4 animated pants rolesHumour
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.
The coughing phenomenonHumour
Does the initial cougher do so because they really were holding it in for the last little bit? Or is it a release of tension, brought on by impressive music and then a sudden, maybe uncomfortable, silence?
Mildly amusing: the Wiki Opera GameHumour
Well, how about the opera version of the Wikipedia Game*? The premise is simple: go to the Wikipedia home page, and on the left hand side, click on "random article." Starting from this random page, the goal is to get to the Wiki article on "Opera" in as few clicks as possible, using only the hyperlinked words within each page along the way.
Can you say, "Yannick Nézet-Séguin"?Humour
A little bit Stephen Colbert-esque, Nick chats with greats like conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Emmanuel Ax (or, Yo-Yo Ma's accompanist) about their work. We can't quite tell if the interviewees knew what they were getting into with Nick, but we like it.
The Opera Olympics: it's timeHumour
But in competition, singers are judged on the big picture that comes out of countless achievements in vocal technique, foreign language skills, dramatic training and general charisma (can that be taught?). So, what if, like the Olympics, competitions were broken down into these smaller parts? Like gymnasts or track-and-field stars?
Energy boost: 5 perky patter songsHumour
Equal in hilarity to the image of a monotone group of Catholics speeding through holy texts out of sheer rote/boredom are all the "patter songs" that steal the show in opera and music theatre. Here are some of our favourites: