Monday, September 27, 2010

Is opera boring?

Opera is boring, or so most people believe.  I mean, sure there are some operas that drag on a little, but I dare you to watch Puccini’s Tosca and not get emotional when Tosca dramatically reacts after her lover’s death (be sure to go see it this year!)  You cannot watch the end of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and not be completely blown away.  Not just because of the destruction of Valhalla (which is awesome), but because of the music that accompanies the scene.  (Indeed, Wagner’s Ring Cycle is based on the same Norse legend as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.)  Wagner’s music tells you something is happening; something powerful.  That is what great opera is about; great music, acting, sets, and, of course, great stories.  What would opera be without their stories?  Beethoven’s Fidelio, Verdi’s I vespri siciliani, and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte are but a few operas that were written about oppression.  That’s why opera is important: it says visually and musically what can’t be said orally.

Fortunately, Boston Lyric Opera is an immensely talented company that can re-create these operas for audiences to see and hear.  Last season's Turn of the Screw by Benjamin Britten was an amazing foray into not only a new venue (the castle by the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston) but an opera that visually made you uncomfortable, but in a good way.  BLO is changing the way opera in presented in Boston, and I for one can’t wait to see all their productions.  With their dedication and commitment, we are in for quite a ride this season.  Make sure your safety harnesses are fastened; here we go. 

- Rob Tedesco, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

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