Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I am a multi-tasker. However, I find it difficult sometimes to focus on the task at hand and avoid external distractions like Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. The key to the most effective level of concentration is that the focus must be intense yet relaxed. I am a “whistle-while-you-work” type and right now I’m listening to Act II of Verdi’s Macbeth (which is getting me SO excited for the BLO production!) I find that a well-constructed playlist can help get the job done. Furthermore, I think opera and classical instrumental music provides a stimulating balance to ease the stress of project management.

The positive effect classical music has on the brain as one learns is well established and I find it allows me to concentrate on the task at hand. Tonal opera and classical music provides a relaxing atmosphere with the beauty of the composition itself, but does not distract my attention: it is simply an “easy” listen. Whether you are an opera buff familiar with these pieces, or someone who never considered listening to opera while working, check out a few of the pieces I find to be perfect additions of inspiration and beauty for my study playlists and everyday life!

1)      Song to the Moon (from Rusalka)
2)     Meditation (from Thaïs)
3)     Sous le dôme épais (from Lakmé)
4)     Chopin Etude in E Major
5)     Ev’ry Valley (from Handel’s Messiah)
6)     ANY Mozart Piano Concerto (the Allegro from No. 5 is a personal favorite)
7)     Au fond du temple saint (from Les pêcheurs de perles)
8)     Dove sono (from The Marriage of Figaro)

And, maybe when you complete your next big project, or cross off the last item on your to-do list, you can blast the end of “Nessun Dorma” or “Ride of the Valkyries” for some dramatic effect.

--Melanie Burbules, Boston University ‘14


  1. I must have silence while I work! Or else I'm sure to write "L'oiseau chante" somewhere in the middle of my English paper. This'll make a great housekeeping playlist though; thanks Mel!


  2. I'm glad to see "Ev'ry Valley" on the list. It's one of my all-time faves!