To someone unfamiliar with Opera a common question may be “Why do you even like opera? Why is it so important?” and the answers they may receive from opera fans will be varied and personal. Just like any art form, opera has the capacity to provide different things to different people. So, we thought we’d explore the impact and importance through a few different parts of opera that make it special, starting with the music itself.
Opera by nature has music that is full and well rounded – and as varied as any modern musical or album. The music of some of the most famous operas explore just about every human emotion. Poetic lyrics translated in many different languages are backed by orchestrations that are full, deep and wide with tones and musical texture that can effortlessly tug your heart in any direction. There is a reason that modern musicians still play with putting together opera-styled albums – they allow for a richness and complete story line to play out over the span of many different songs with different views, messages and emotion.
Opera singers themselves are champion vocalists – the training and technicality of the music demands achievement, as well as passion and talent. Traditionally, opera singers do not use microphones – that in itself is quite the demand; the ability to fill a space with accurate sound as well as compete with the orchestra is basically unheard of in today’s times where technology reigns supreme.
Story lines are another part of Opera that are complex and vibrant – the variety of stories that can be told is huge and if you look, you can find some of the most heart-wrenching, dark dramas or a laugh-out-loud comedies on an operatic stage. These stories are set against music and huge scenic sets with large casts supporting the story. We mentioned that opera singers are some of the most trained musicians out there but as a reminder; they have to act too!
So we’ve pointed out some of the most obvious parts that could sell you – but if all that doesn’t convince you just yet, we present the costumes, sets and props. An opera is a FULL theatre production which means that there are gorgeous large scale sets, over the top costumes and sometimes even trick props and flash-bangs (explosions!). This spectacle is all set to let lead characters and large choruses shine, to let audiences suspend their belief and sink into the world that is created and fleshed out by music, story, art, emotion, and theatre.
With over 400 years of history under it’s belt, opera is no new-comer on the scene and yet it may surprise you to know there are still new operas being written, produced and brought to audiences in addition to the traditional favorites. Like theatre in general, opera opens the door to the human heart and experience to give us a chance to explore, share and feel together. It ties together some of the best artistic mediums to offer a reflection of the human experience and a chance to share cultural experiences together in a theatre or even on our own with our headphones and screens. It makes us take a moment out of our every day lives and look at life differently, explore through a different lens.
So, we’re sure by now you’re curious. Want to know where to start? Below are some of the most popular pieces from a variety of shows:
Opera to Try:
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