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#115 - 11/24/00 10:38 AM Re: Opera is just grand!
RhubarbCommando Offline

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
Aaaahhhhhhhh !! Where to begin!! Opera hasn't any good songs !!! (splutter, splutterrrrr) A bastard form of entertainment !*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Combining drama with song doesn't make it a bastard. A cross breed, possibly - but mongrels are usually stronger and more robust than the pure bred. The best of opera combines the strengths of both media of entertainment - the worst of opera tends not to survive, naturally enough.

As for good songs, well! Carmen is packed with them - at least five first class songs in there; Don Giovanni has at least two; Marriage of Figaro - Cherabino's aria is superlatively excellent, has always been on my list for the desert island - and there are a couple of other good ones in there. Aida - - I won't go on - most (not all!) of the repertoire has at least one good song in it.
But, really, the existence of good songs in opera avoids the point - they tend to support each other and build up a background feeling of whatever emotion the composer is trying to evoke, where even the lesser songs have a contextural integrity that help to carry you along in your suspended disbelief - which is the essence of all theatre, of course.

the ballet (well…. dance as high art rather than entertainment is always going to find only a limited audience);
One of the problems that beset both opera and ballet is the belief that it is "high art." It is entertainment. It was so written and performed, and it is so received in civilized countries like Italy, where opera, particularly, is not the exclusive property of the intelligentsia (I hope Emanuela will correct me if I've got this wrong!)
[end rant]

And the proposed trip is one of the few that actually would tempt me to come back down to The Smoke again (although when I lived there, we talked of going up to the Smoke from Hounslow, for goodness sake! But it was Middlesex in those days.) Even at the expense of shocking Jo with the knowledge that I have a beard on my chin as well as high heels on my feet!

#116 - 11/24/00 10:49 AM Re: Opera is just grand!
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Oh all right. Covent Garden here I come. (Will a panto do instead - now that's an art form I'm really interested in?)

But songs. Now I think you and I are going to get into a definitional disagreement here. For me a song is an inseperable conjunction of words and music. 'Song without words' is meaningless to me, as is the notion of a lyric that can be set to any music ("pick a score, pick any score").

By that token, from all I've heard of opera (and unless you know the original language, you must rely upon translations), the songs are genuinely awful - though you may want to present us with an example of operatic lyrics that are not embarrassing. If you can do so, I will drop my case. If you can produce an operatic lyric that is comparable with that of "Won't get fooled again" or "My way" or even "Blowin' in the wind", I will buy the ruddy CDs or whatever and immerse myself in the stuff. But without such proof (and I am granting the quality of the music alone beforehand), you are not going to convince me that what happens in operas can even be called songs, let alone good ones.


the sunshine warrior

ps. Are the high heels because you're not very tall?

#117 - 11/24/00 10:59 AM Re: Latin culture
FishonaBike Offline

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
there is no disputing [with] taste, shona; go, the mass is ended.

Thanks, tsuwm. Two things threw me - the fact that the Latin dictionary/translator didn't provide "dispute" as a possible meaning of disputandum [investigated, explained, discussed..], and the fact that there isn't a verb for "ended". Is that common practice in (New) Latin?

Oh, and thanks, wsieb. I'm afraid you'll need to change the holy water now, though, sorry.

#118 - 11/24/00 11:06 AM Re: Opera is just grand!
FishonaBike Offline

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
a beard on my chin as well as high heels on my feet!
Will a panto do instead?

Sounds to me like Rhub is going to be the panto, shanks!

"There is nothing like a dame, nothing in the world..."


#119 - 11/24/00 11:21 AM Re: Opera is just grand!
RhubarbCommando Offline

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
operatic lyrics that are not embarrassing

I will freely admit, that I pay scant attention to the actual words of songs - whether in opera or any other form - it is only occasionally theat the words of any of them are really good - and those are so often the ones with dreadful music! You cite Blowin' in the wind - the words to which are fairly tellin' - but the music is banal in the extreme! I much prefer to hear opera in its original language, even though I don't understand a word of it - to be quite honest, singing distorts the words so much, for the most part, that the words are rarely discernible my ear - I tend to regard the voice as a particularly sensitive and flexible musical instrument, far more expressive than most other instruments, and therefore enjoy the sound. As Humpty Dumpty rightly said, "Take care of the Sounds and the Sense will take care of itself."

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