Tuesday, January 20, 2009

La Boheme - It's an Opera

I can't remember who said "Anything too stupid to be said is sung," but it might be relevant to a discussion of opera. I believe the second half of that quote is "And anything too stupid to be sung is put in a poem," and we ought to have a separate discussion about whether poetry is indeed stupider than opera.

That having been said, I'm a fan of opera in general — I've had Der Rosenkavalier on in the background this weekend — although I really can't get my head around modern operatic stagings. If you really pressed me on it, no, I don't suppose I could give you a good reason why Carmen shouldn't be staged in an underwater city of the future, and I couldn't articulate why it feels wrong to have The Marriage of Figaro set in an S&M-style dungeon. Nevertheless, those things feel wrong to me, and it's annoying to spend the first two acts sitting there wondering "WTF?" and missing the music.

I'm told there's some European opera magazine that runs a regular feature where they show you a photo of a set and you have to guess what the opera is. The rigging of a pirate ship? Must be Nabucco!

But it's jackassery along those lines that keeps me from going to more operas in the flesh. Much less stressful to listen to it at home, and you get the fun of shopping for 45s at indie record shops, too!

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