Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Holy Monteverdi, Batman! I haven’t been this excited since I got to see Lady Gaga back home in Pittsburgh! Boston Lyric Opera is offering STUDENT SUBSCRIPTIONS?! Surely, this must be pure jest. Opera is exclusively reserved for the blue hairs, hoity toity socialites, and pretentious art lovers. The stuff in opera is way to highbrow to be appreciated by the likes of us rowdy college students.

But, that isn’t the case at all. Operas were the original musical and, dare I say, the original movie. Wagner created epic mythological tales through his Der Ring des Nibelungen, while Puccini poured emotion, romance, and tragedy into La bohème. By the way, these two operas are inspirations to modern day works! Have you ever seen The Lord of the Rings or Rent? You should probably read this article for a great comparison of Wagner and Tolkien, and Rent is a direct adaptation of Puccini’s La bohème.

So, if operas are about love, manipulation, tragedy, myth, violence, betrayal, and anything else from the mystery bag of emotions, themes, and plots, then there is no reason for you to miss out on an opera. Especially since they have indeed inspired modern works (You can’t even prove me wrong on this one. Look at the above…)! It would be similar to missing out on the blockbuster of the year, or the movie that everyone is talking about, but you. Especially since the blockbuster you would be missing would be a fabulous BLO production. The mission of Boston Lyric Opera is to produce artistically excellent productions of a diverse repertoire that entertain and inspire audiences. BLO does, has done, and will do exactly that in this 2010-2011 Season. We will go from tormented and torturous love in Tosca, to the provocative morality play of The Emperor of Atlantis or Death Quits, a comedy of Roman proportions in Agrippina, and enter the land of confusion in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I couldn’t be more excited for this Season, especially as a student. A great offer waits ahead, as well as even greater productions. I can’t wait to see where the productions take the audiences physically and mentally this Season, by way of unearthly talent and genius collaboration on stage to make these stories come to life.

See you soon!

- Jessica Trainor, Boston College

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

Why opera?

As a young person who loves opera, I'll be the first to admit that we are slightly rare birds. I've never quite understood why--opera is exciting, sexy, and full of decidedly not-G-rated subject matter--accompanied by powerful, sublime music. Current directors and designers are creating innovative, visually stunning productions, and opera is a great theatrical medium for experimenting (Wagner's gesamtkunstwerk definitely has room for acrobats and video projection, that's all I'm saying). I'm from the San Francisco area, and I used to meet other students while waiting in ridiculously long lines to buy student rush tickets. Now that I'm on the East Coast for school, BLO is where I get my opera fix, and I'm excited that there's a program for young people like the BLO Bunch. The great thing about BLO shows is being treated to way more than just the "standard" production--the design and directorial choices are always fresh and interesting, and I love having the Opera Annex production in a non-traditional theater space. The school year can get so busy, and being involved in the BLO bunch is a perfect way to stay in touch with other young opera lovers. I am looking forward to meeting fellow students who procrastinate by watching John Adams' Nixon in China on YouTube instead of writing papers. See you at the opera!

-- Audrey Chait, Brown University