Who’s an Opera person?

Mauricio recently surprised me with tickets to the Opera.  I’ve never been, but everyone’s seen ‘Pretty Woman’…right?  The movie where the small town girl goes to the Opera and it doesn’t matter that she isn’t some would say cultured, she cries because the story and the music connects to her soul and blah blah Hollywood nonsense blah.  Stupidly, I had this idea that my experience could somehow be that poetic.  Just magically connected and passionate about it. Well…  I did not connect.  I did not cry.  It did not speak to my soul.  It did however make me laugh, and then later put me to sleep.

The Opera is an Italian story titled Orlando Furios.  It has 7 characters and lasted 3.5 hours.  The premise of the Opera is that Orlando is a dangerous soldier/guy/whatever and loves a woman, we’ll call her Rose.  Well Rose loves someone else, we’ll call him Gerry.  Instead of Rose being an honest person about the fact that she loves Gerry, NOT Orlando, she deceives Orlando by sending him on a dangerous quest to prove his love hoping he’ll die instead of returning.  Because apparently that’s a lot easier on her conscience, you know, sending someone to their death instead of simply saying “I’m just not that into you”.  While Orlando is gone she of course agrees to marry Gerry….And right about here is when I started getting desperate.

The thing is, they literally sing the same few phrases over, ie “Our love is vast and shines bright like the stars of the heavens”.  or “Her beauty shines light upon the world that is my soul” over…and over.  Also, it was 5 female voices and only 2 male voices.  All the female voices were high and sounded pretty much the same.  When a man would sing it was literally a relief to my ears to hear something in a lower range.  You’d think with the main character being Orlando that it would be a lot of pleasant low male voice singing, but no, Orlando was being played by a woman.  A woman wearing a spandex skin colored shirt that had fake hair hot-glued onto the chest.

So here I am sitting exactly in the middle, people on both sides of me, and I’m desperate.  So I start fidgeting a little bit.  And then shifting the way I was sitting, scratching an imagined itch etc.  Mauricio leans over to me and whispers “tranquilo!” and I shamefully still myself.   By sheer willpower desperation turned into boredom which then became sleepiness…

And later, I wake up who knows how long later to see Orlando on stage, wearing a wedding dress crying and sobbing over the remains of what was the wedding celebration of his beloved Rose to Gerry….Furios Orlando looking at this point nothing resembling furious only ridiculous with that fake hair on the spandex skin shirt puffing out over the top of the wedding gown.  Not ashamed to admit that at this point I did fall back asleep for a bit.

To be clear, I love musicals, and I love Andrea Bocelli (Italian Tenor).  Those things combined with the Pretty Woman idea really had me thinking this was gonna be a great moment for me.  Those of you who’ve been to multiple opera’s what do you think?  Was it because it was too many female voices (this is the answer I’m waiting for since it makes me the least at fault)?  Are they all so repetitive?  Expectations too high?  Or maybe I’m just not an opera person….?

***if you click this link it opens to the Frankfurt Oper website for Orlando Furios, scroll down and they’ve posted a few pictures of the performance.  🙂

 

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3 responses to “Who’s an Opera person?

  1. This is awesome.

    I happen to love opera, but only the good shows. (I feel the same way about musicals, plays, and middle school orchestra – do “good ones” exist?) Honestly, it sounds like it was too heavy on the female voices (when I was doing some opera in college the goal is basically to outsing the person next to you, so I’m sure you were getting an earful) and they needed more balance.

    I’m no expert, but I’d recommend a classic La Boheme, La Traviata, or Madame Butterfly.

    I love hearing about your adventures!

  2. eh heh, maybe taking you to Baroque opera as your first opera outing wasn’t Mauricio’s best idea. Baroque opera can be a tough start but it depends on a lot of factors. A different Orlando was one of the first operas I saw (on the telly) a few years ago and I personally loved it, but I did know the story and I love female voices 😉 You should know that Orlando is mad and won’t take no for an answer from Angelica, which is why she’s being sneaky with him. He’s also a knight and thus loves quests, which is why sending him on one was the easiest way to get rid of him. Another thing with Baroque opera is that back then they really enjoyed high voices better and all the heroes were sung by castrati. Today these heroes are sung either by women (mezzos and contraltos, usually, but sometimes sopranos) or countertenors so there is really no getting away from the high voices. There is an opera that has 9 countertenor roles! That’s just how they liked it back then. If you’d rather have low voices fast forward to Romantic opera. The thing with repetition: opera singers were the rock stars of that time, so they demanded very ornate vocal scores from the composers to show off their vocal skills. The repetition just gives them the opportunity to ornate the same line in a different way. There are very specific skills needed to sing Baroque opera, which are different than those needed to sing Romantic opera. You need elasticity in the voice, precision and a killer trill for all the ornaments. Ultimately, though, you either like or you don’t 😉 But I agree, give La Boheme and La Traviata a try before you decide whether you’re an opera person or not, you might like them better. Or Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, that’s usually one of the easiest ones to enjoy. A lot less repetition and plenty male voices.

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