Sunday, September 17, 2006

Expanded Horizons

As one of the perks of my current employment status, I've recently been afforded the opportunity to see and do things that in the normal course of events I never would. For example, this past week I had the chance to attend the opera.

Yes. The opera.

In any normal circumstance I wouldn't have any desire to see the opera, nor would I be able to afford it. However, I am of an open mind, and given that I was in a position where I didn't have to pay I thought, what the heck?

The Opera in question is Die Walkure which is the 2nd part in a 16 or so hour opera commonly referred to as The Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner (pronounced Vagner). This particular opera was serving to open the Canadian Opera Company's newly minted Four Seasons Centre of Performing Arts in Toronto. I heard it referred to as the Superbowl of Operas.

If by that they mean a hyped-up, long drawn out disappointing event in which the best part is the intermissions.......then yes, I concur.

Granted, I only watched one act of Die Walkure (my partner seemed to take to it a bit more than I, so I conceded him the 'privilege' of about 5 hours of it), but it became quickly apparent that it wasn't for me. I really gave it a go, though, because the story was right up my alley. Gods, heros, sword fights, etc. Not to mention it was directed by Atom Egoyan, a film director whose movies I've enjoyed. But, at the end of the day, the singing drove me nuts.

I'm sure opera singers are very talented, but to my uncultured ear, a happy bellow sounds the same as a sad bellow or an angry bellow. In truth, I don't think anyone really likes the opera. People have just been trained to think that appreciating the opera makes you smart and sophisticated, and gives you the ability to talk snootily. For example:

[with thick British accents]

Chap 1: [clapping] A fine performance. Bravo!

Chap 2: Magnificent. Truly magnificent.

Chap 1: I quite enjoyed the staging. And the voices....exquisite.

Chap 2: Verily, I must agree.

Chap 1: Shall we retire for some tea and crumpets?

Chap 2: May we use the fine china, holding it delicately whilst extending our pinky fingers?

Chap 1: Just so!

Chap 2: Then count me in, good sir.

I don't know. Perhaps people really do enjoy it. I just don't understand why. Much in the same way I don't understand why people like musicals. For the love of God, why musicals? I'm not trying to bash the theatre.....I like the theatre.....just not musicals. I don't even like the musical montages in The Family Guy.....they piss me off. Unless the singing is part of the story (i.e. Walk The Line), then let's leave the singing for the radio.

But maybe that's just me.


Blogger Eileen said...


1:01 PM  
Blogger CAPT_Sawyer said...

At the Met in NYC, the Opera is subtitled. There are little LED screens in the back of each seat where a translation scolls. It makes it much more enjoyable. My wife and I purchased a set of tickets one year. My problem with it was that if it started at 1830 or 1900 it ran until 2330 or 2400. Too late a night for me!

3:38 PM  

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