As any opera fan knows, lawyers and judges do not fare well in most operas. Just consider the productions of ‘Andrea Chenier,’ ‘Aida, Norma,’ ‘Billy Budd,’ ‘Peter Grimes,’ ‘The Crucible,’ ‘Lost in the Stars,’ ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ ‘The Makropulos Case’ and Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cycle. Around 1810, the theme of justice emerged in opera.
The Opera is obviously the first draft of a fine spectacle; it suggests the idea of one.
If time were the wicked sheriff in a horse opera, I’d pay for riding lessons and take his gun away.
An aria in an opera – Handel’s ‘Ombra mai fu,’ for example – gets along with an incredibly small number of words and ideas and a large amount of variation and repetition. That’s the beauty of it. It’s not taxing to the listener’s intelligence because if you haven’t heard it the first time round, it’ll come around again.
A cabaret song has got to be written – for the middle voice, ideally – because you’ve got to hear the wit of the words. And a cabaret song gives the singer room to act, more even than an opera singer.
Sleep is an excellent way of listening to an opera.
I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.
The Metropolitan Opera, of course, is the gold standard in opera. The Met experience includes the huge stage, the vast audience, the elaborate sets. Anyone who saw ‘Faust’ there – I did – knows exactly what hell is like, complete with fire, smoke and terror.
One year, I was a patron of a new opera. It was, to put it kindly, unpleasant to the ear. The friends I went with hated it. Keeping quiet about my contribution, I was outed when one of them, reading the program at the restaurant during dinner, saw my name.
Opera is the most complete art form. It includes drama, acting, technology (lighting), art (the sets), dance, and the epitome of the human voices. But mostly, go for the glorious music. The arts are crucial to the life of every community.