Humour

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
The coughing phenomenon

The coughing phenomenon

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?

Jenna Simeonov
Mildly amusing: the Wiki Opera Game

Mildly amusing: the Wiki Opera Game

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.

Jenna Simeonov
Can you say, "Yannick Nézet-Séguin"?

Can you say, "Yannick Nézet-Séguin"?

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.

Jenna Simeonov
The Opera Olympics: it's time

The Opera Olympics: it's time

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?

Jenna Simeonov
Energy boost: 5 perky patter songs

Energy boost: 5 perky patter songs

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:

Jenna Simeonov
Nude musicians: less hot than it sounds

Nude musicians: less hot than it sounds

Judge if you must, but the whole image of a naked cellist playing a wedding gig had us thinking about the realities of nude music-making. Upon further consideration, the idea may be better in fantasy than in reality.

Jenna Simeonov
Hilarity: stereotypes from choir

Hilarity: stereotypes from choir

We laughed out loud at Cassie Kutev's YouTube video, where she "interviews" select members of a choir, from Soprano I to Bass II. Our favourite quotable quote from the "Tap...water? I want sparkling. I'm a diva. We sparkle."

Jenna Simeonov
Hilarity: how good are your gargling skills?

Hilarity: how good are your gargling skills?

Honestly, can't you just picture her practicing this at home? Our bet is that many of you are now off to test your gargle-singing skills.

Jenna Simeonov

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