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Is Opera rubbish?

Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 05 Aug 03 - 11:10 PM
Ebbie 06 Aug 03 - 12:36 AM
Clinton Hammond 06 Aug 03 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Dale 06 Aug 03 - 12:52 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 03 - 12:56 AM
Benjamin 06 Aug 03 - 01:05 AM
Jon W. 06 Aug 03 - 01:12 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 03 - 01:22 AM
Leadfingers 06 Aug 03 - 02:57 AM
Escamillo 06 Aug 03 - 03:14 AM
Mudlark 06 Aug 03 - 03:15 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 03 - 03:18 AM
Catherine Jayne 06 Aug 03 - 03:21 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Aug 03 - 03:30 AM
VIN 06 Aug 03 - 03:57 AM
Gervase 06 Aug 03 - 04:09 AM
Escamillo 06 Aug 03 - 04:42 AM
GUEST 06 Aug 03 - 04:44 AM
Gurney 06 Aug 03 - 04:44 AM
Pat Cooksey 06 Aug 03 - 05:00 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Aug 03 - 05:32 AM
Micca 06 Aug 03 - 05:54 AM
greg stephens 06 Aug 03 - 06:04 AM
Dave Bryant 06 Aug 03 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,KB 06 Aug 03 - 07:37 AM
mooman 06 Aug 03 - 07:57 AM
Kim C 06 Aug 03 - 08:06 AM
ard mhacha 06 Aug 03 - 08:44 AM
EBarnacle1 06 Aug 03 - 08:54 AM
Ringer 06 Aug 03 - 09:35 AM
jacqui.c 06 Aug 03 - 09:36 AM
RichM 06 Aug 03 - 09:57 AM
John P 06 Aug 03 - 10:03 AM
Bill D 06 Aug 03 - 10:35 AM
KateG 06 Aug 03 - 10:40 AM
Dave Bryant 06 Aug 03 - 11:18 AM
mack/misophist 06 Aug 03 - 11:40 AM
ard mhacha 06 Aug 03 - 02:06 PM
harvey andrews 06 Aug 03 - 02:23 PM
Amergin 06 Aug 03 - 02:50 PM
greg stephens 06 Aug 03 - 02:55 PM
jimmyt 06 Aug 03 - 03:02 PM
Stewart 06 Aug 03 - 03:08 PM
Don Firth 06 Aug 03 - 03:15 PM
greg stephens 06 Aug 03 - 03:19 PM
Les from Hull 06 Aug 03 - 04:22 PM
GUEST,Q 06 Aug 03 - 04:24 PM
greg stephens 06 Aug 03 - 04:46 PM
Don Firth 06 Aug 03 - 04:51 PM
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greg stephens 06 Aug 03 - 05:53 PM
greg stephens 06 Aug 03 - 05:57 PM
artbrooks 06 Aug 03 - 06:04 PM
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Don Firth 06 Aug 03 - 06:33 PM
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marthabees 06 Aug 03 - 08:25 PM
Deckman 06 Aug 03 - 08:43 PM
izzy 06 Aug 03 - 08:57 PM
marthabees 06 Aug 03 - 09:01 PM
izzy 06 Aug 03 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 06 Aug 03 - 10:20 PM
Don Firth 07 Aug 03 - 04:20 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 07 Aug 03 - 05:14 PM
TheBigPinkLad 07 Aug 03 - 05:32 PM
Don Firth 07 Aug 03 - 05:45 PM
greg stephens 07 Aug 03 - 05:54 PM
Deckman 07 Aug 03 - 06:24 PM
Don Firth 07 Aug 03 - 07:06 PM
ToulouseCruise 08 Aug 03 - 08:48 AM
Mr Red 10 Aug 03 - 06:00 AM
C-flat 10 Aug 03 - 06:48 AM
Mary in Kentucky 10 Aug 03 - 07:33 AM
Escamillo 10 Aug 03 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Aug 03 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Aug 03 - 09:15 AM
Pied Piper 10 Aug 03 - 10:30 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Aug 03 - 12:28 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Aug 03 - 12:33 PM
Tam the Bam (Nutter) 10 Aug 03 - 12:45 PM
Alice 10 Aug 03 - 01:02 PM
Don Firth 10 Aug 03 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Rhiannon 10 Aug 03 - 03:41 PM
Linda Kelly 10 Aug 03 - 04:05 PM
Candyman(inactive) 10 Aug 03 - 04:39 PM
Linda Kelly 11 Aug 03 - 02:53 AM
GUEST 11 Aug 03 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 11 Aug 03 - 08:04 AM
Homeless 17 Sep 03 - 11:41 PM
GUEST 18 Sep 03 - 03:42 AM
s&r 18 Sep 03 - 04:14 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Sep 03 - 04:46 AM
sian, west wales 18 Sep 03 - 11:34 AM
jimmyt 18 Sep 03 - 12:30 PM
Tam the Bam (Nutter) 18 Sep 03 - 12:30 PM
brid widder 18 Sep 03 - 01:12 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 30 Apr 04 - 05:31 AM
fiddler 30 Apr 04 - 07:49 AM
el ted 30 Apr 04 - 09:02 AM
el ted 30 Apr 04 - 09:03 AM
LindsayInWales 30 Apr 04 - 09:30 AM
concertina ceol 30 Apr 04 - 10:11 AM
Don Firth 30 Apr 04 - 11:45 AM
Dave Hanson 01 May 04 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 01 May 04 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Fat Lucy 01 May 04 - 10:38 AM
Don Firth 01 May 04 - 12:38 PM
Shimbo Darktree 02 May 04 - 12:27 PM
Ebbie 03 May 04 - 12:41 AM
Don Firth 03 May 04 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 03 May 04 - 12:41 PM
GUEST 03 May 04 - 01:10 PM
fiddler 05 May 04 - 03:40 AM
Muskratpete 05 May 04 - 11:11 PM
Dave Bryant 06 May 04 - 05:15 AM
keberoxu 24 Jan 16 - 12:16 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Jan 16 - 01:30 PM
Jack Campin 24 Jan 16 - 01:55 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Jan 16 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,HiLo 24 Jan 16 - 04:54 PM
Bonzo3legs 24 Jan 16 - 05:08 PM
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Jack Campin 24 Jan 16 - 05:54 PM
Joe_F 24 Jan 16 - 06:08 PM
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Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 16 - 06:37 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Jan 16 - 07:37 PM
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GUEST,Patsy 24 Jan 16 - 08:05 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Jan 16 - 08:21 PM
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Airymouse 25 Jan 16 - 12:20 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 16 - 05:54 AM
Dave Hanson 25 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,HiLo 25 Jan 16 - 07:06 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Jan 16 - 09:38 AM
keberoxu 25 Jan 16 - 02:54 PM
MGM·Lion 25 Jan 16 - 03:21 PM
Airymouse 25 Jan 16 - 05:01 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jan 16 - 05:17 PM
Steve Shaw 25 Jan 16 - 07:23 PM
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Subject: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 11:10 PM

I was going to put crap, but thoughyt it might getrt delted if i did!
anyway=yesterdat, i pressed nunmber 3 oin my radio, instead of 4 [ i got radios bbc programed into 1 to 5 in my radio], i pressed 3 by mistaeak, and i thought" " what is this shite?" , i neber heards so mucjh rubbish in my life! [just some womun screaming], opera is not populer in hull, maybe some posh people go, but i dont know them, anyway= i like all types of music [not just folk], but i dont understand operaer, or rave music [boom boomm boom etc[, not even proprer music, if you ask me, it was never like that in my day, etc, they cant even play thhere intruments, its all done with computers, i think opera is rubbish, its all in foreigmm, and people going there are probably just showing off etc.john
ps what you think= is opera rubbish or not[ i reckon it is].john


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 12:36 AM

I disagree, John. Mostly because I like the sounds especially when I don't know the language so that it's a tonal thing to me. A male and female singing a duet can sound like angel music. The sound vibrates and echos and swells and diminishes in a marvelous fashion.

That said, I don't care for most operas themselves. I just like a lot of the songs.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 12:41 AM

It's not half as bad as your typing...

Try a spell checker...

Here's a free one...

http://www.spellcheck.net/


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 12:52 AM

Everything is rubbish to someone, just as it is music of the Angels for someone else.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 12:56 AM

Ebbie-I have trouble liking the songs if i cant understand them, [NOTE I am NOT taking the piss out of opera people, but with folk music, tyou know exactly waht its about, ie you listen to Marrowbones by martin carthy, or indeed any folk song, and you KNOW, waht its about. even now some modern music [radio 1 etc], you font know waht its about, but folk music tells a story,.
someone said before "what id folk music?"
ok i tell you= folk music tells a story. i post more later [ i'm going to eat now]
ps-clinton-this is music site not spelling site, and spell ceckers not work with internewt tv.john
and waht your favourire martin cartjhy song tyhemnn?
peoplr who post other things , not about the thread piss me off, the just show off.john


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Benjamin
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 01:05 AM

John, opera is one of the most important events in music history. You might find some of the earlier operas more interesting (try L'Orfeo by Monteverdi). Opera did change over the years and I have to admit that I don't care much for the music of some of the biggest opera composers. As for the singers, I think it's simular to any other music in that there are some singers you'll like and some you won't. Not every operatic soprano is as boring as radio would have you think.
As for the language, it really depends on the opera. The idea that any good opera is in Italian is a horrible, out right lie. You might check out Aaron Copland's The Tender Land, or Gershwin's Porgy and Bess for english operas. Those are both American composers, but I'm sure there's British ones out there who wrote in english.
Another good lesson to learn though is that you don't have to like everything.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Jon W.
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 01:12 AM

I have enjoyed some operas, others, even quite famous ones, I don't like at all. Many are pompous, pretentious, boring, others are very humorous, enlightening, interesting. I very much doubt you heard a woman screaming in opera. She may have been singing much higher than most people can possibly sing, and loud enough to balance and entire orchestra (without a microphone!) but she wasn't screaming. Bottom line: Opera is much different than most people are used to, it's an acquired taste that needs cultivation to grow, and no, it's not rubbish. I also have the need to understand what I'm listening too, fortunately I speak Italian a little so that's OK.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 01:22 AM

JOn W, - i DID hear a womun screaming, this was about 2 days ago, you can go to bbc3 site and here it for yourself, I am NOT lyingf about this, [ i never ly at mudcat], i think i spelled ly wrong, but you know waht i mean, anyway, look at the bbbc site and thst will proove it.john


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 02:57 AM

Dont beat about the bush,John-Tell us what you reslly think.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Escamillo
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:14 AM

If you heard a woman screaming it probably was not opera, but probably was Whitney Houston :)

To anybody who dislikes some operas (as I dislike some) I would recommend to obtain a video tape of George Bizet's CARMEN, with Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson, directed by FRANCESCO ROSSI, then find a moment of calm in your night, and listen carefully to the songs and enjoy the fantastic images. This opera could be an enjoyable introduction to many others.

Of course opera tells a story, it is its main purpose. Also note that Opera is musical theatre, so it must be seen, not only heard.

Also it is absolutely true that Opera singers don't use amplification and their voices are a part of the orchestra, so the singers must use the power of their voices in full. There are sweet moments of pianissimo too, but when the authors want SOUND, they are unmerciful with the singers. After all, they have been professionally trained and are expected to be the best singers in all genres of music.

Un abrazo,
Andrés in Buenos Aires
(one who humbly sings his part in the choir and feels great)


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Mudlark
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:15 AM

John, your spelling may be faulty but at leaxt you no what you like! I am not all that fond of opera (and I really hate opera type singers singing folk stuff), but I am passionate about music...and som of these opera singers are very good at producing it, in there own way. That New Zealand lass, Kiki Te Kenawa (sp?) for one makes my eyebrows climb into my forehead, and Pucini's operas...bits of them...are pretty amazing, if sung by the right pepul. Also, Delibes...whoa...angles...um, angels, singing...it can give you the shivers sometimes. Give it a chance, try diffrent peopl, diffrnt opras.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:18 AM

Kiri [not Kiki].john


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:21 AM

I have to disagree with you John. I like Opera and I certainly aint posh! I like all types of music and I love to go to see the Opera but I have to save up to get e really good seat!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:30 AM

Helo, Catsphuddle, I never mentioned posh in any of my messages, so tell us why you like it then [not making trubble, just asking], some of my non-folkie frends say "wahts so good abour#t folk music then?"
i tell them , it tells a story and sounds good.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: VIN
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:57 AM

Like catsPHiddle i also like other music forms aswell as folk and I've seen some operas like Carmen (three times!), Barber of Seville, Cosi Fan Tuttie, Salome and enjoyed them very much mainly, i think, because i like the music and new the story before hand, so even if it was sung in a foreign language, i new roughly what was goin on. Nowadays, many theatres have sur-titles to help. As to the 'why', well its like asking why some people prefer blue instead of red or Ibitha rather than the Lake District or real ale rather than keg. Its simply a matter of taste. I get enjoyment listening to Martin Carthy, Vin Garbutt, Fairport, BBC Philharmonic, Halle, Roy Harper, Pink Floyd, Incredible String Band, Mobi, David Gray &c.......then p'raps i'm just weird!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Gervase
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:09 AM

Opera rubbish? No
Question Naive? Certainly!

You want stories, drama, passion, tunes, melody and spectacle? Opera's got the lot. OK, some prefer Gluck to Britten or Mozart to Maxwell-Davies, but there's enough in there for everyone to enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Escamillo
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:42 AM

Agree with VIN, the only way to appreciate operas in a foreign language, is to read the story beforehand. On-line translations are not very accurate, and poetry is lost.

Also, give a chance to artists to show you the full spectacle, and attend Opera at the Theatre. Listen to the natural sound without a carton cone vibrating in a plastic cabinet. Hear them breath, sigh, laugh and cry, see how the whole room elevates to heaven and falls to hell.

And see that guy hidden in the choir, perhaps you'll see me, happy as a clam, wishing to live long enough to die some day in a stage.

Un abrazo,
Andrés


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:44 AM

With all these things it helps if you know and understand the background of what you are listening to. Those unfamiliar with folk might complain that reels are a repetitive set of scale exercises which all sound alike. Only when you put the sound together with the people, the atmosphere, the culture, and the history does it become meaningful. Once you appreciate all these things, it becomes possible to find the music alone meaningful. Occasionally, a piece of music - folk, classical or pop - can just reach out and grab you without the baggage but you have to be open-minded about being grabbed. This is music at its best. The others are right. Enjoy what you enjoy and be grabbed by what grabs you. But don't suggest that something is rubbish because you don't like (or know about) it. Just be open-minded and perhaps one day Mozart's Queen of the Night will embrace you whether you like it or not!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:44 AM

No, it isn't rubbish. They have the very best singers, songwriters, and musicians.
I still don't like it, though. It seems to me to be strained, pretentious, overacted, and dated. And with a few exceptions, elitist.
I can recognise the quality, but I like a more 'folksy' performance.

Her Indoors has been trying to convert me for 30 years, but has only managed to get me as far as Gilbert & Sullivan. That looks fun.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 05:00 AM

Lat Saturday I attended an open air classical concert here in
Nuremberg given by the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, with soloists
Annette Elster, soprano, and Lena Neudauer, violin.
The concert under the logo Good Old Europe attracted 70.000 people of
all ages and the night went on 45 minutes over schedule, such was the
applause.
The sound system was brilliant and you could here every note 300 metres from the stage.
My six years old grandson who normally has mini discs of Eminem
glued to his ears was blown away by the occasion.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 05:32 AM

There is a lot of music, including opera, that I do not like. There is a lot of music, including opera, that I do like. I always atart off feeling it is partialy my fault when I do not like something. I think I do not like it because I do not understand it. Either the composer or the performer is doing something that is over my head and I am not intelligent enough to spot it:-(

Then I think, 'what the hell'. If I don't understand it is not entirely my fault. The performers or composers should not be such clever dicks in the first place! It is not up to me to try and work out why I should be enjoying it. So I don't:-)

An relative by marriage did try to explain jazz to me once. I got to the stage where he declared that there was no need to stay in relative keys because that restricts your creativity. The chords of F G and A minor diminished still sounded awful when used in the same tune...

Anyway. To answer the question. No, Opera is not rubbish. There are some operatic composers that are too clever by half and some performers that are to pretentious for their own good.

But perhaps that is just calling a spade a gold plated digging impliment;-)

Cheers

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Micca
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 05:54 AM

I also like some opera...and lots of other music also... and that is the only criterion (for me) do I like it!!! for opera a knowlede of the story , from a synopsis if not a full libretto usually helps in the enjoyment but there is a particular opera "Lucia de Lammermuir" by Donizetti which i dont know the story of, andI enjoy enormously because the music is sublime.. A tip, that Has often been said, sometimes the voice is used in song to communicate the words, but sometimes just as another instrument.. I believe this is true, as in "Lucia" I think ,for me, knowledge of what the words "mean" would in fact detract from the "musical experience"
A little story, a group of us went to the English National Opera ro see Mozarts " The Magic Flute" one of the group pressured her boyfriend, a Rock drummer, who had NEVER heard ANY live classical music into coming with us. As we were leaving the theatre at the end of the night, we are descending a long staircase from the gallery with about 200 other people when the b/f said, loudly, " Hey this guy Mozart wrote some real nice tunes" there was a lot of laughing and applause from the other patrons!!! but the point is he had an incentive to listen and found that he enjoyed it. That That the Music is sublime and it was in English probably helped.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:04 AM

"Is opera rubbish"? A typically crude and provocative question from some illiterate Philistine idiot crawling around on his hands and knees in some squalid little hovel, trying to find some dregs of lager in various opened cans lying on their sides, and scratching at crumpled bits of brown paper to see if there is any semi-edible yesterday's chips or pizza.
    How he can have the effrontery to dismiss the product of many centuries work by the cream of western Europe's composers, singers and orchestras in this uneducated yobbish way. It makes me despair of human nature.
   Sorry, I've gone into a diatribe. Well, the question is "Is opera rubbish". Taking a long dispassionate look, and bearing in mind that all opinions are subjective, de gustibus non diputandum est: I have to say, yes it is.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 07:33 AM

I know that you like to sound sound like a bigotted idiot, John, but I have heard from people who know you that it's all an act. I'm not very fond of the current crop of pop music, but I put that down to the fact that I have different musical tastes to those who do like it. I'm sure that if you ran a national poll on what sort of music people classed as rubbish, you would probably find that a high percentage would put folk music in that category - possibly a higher number than those who don't like opera.

Opera is merely a category anyway - do you like ALL folk songs/music ?
I have even been known to sing the odd operatic number in a folk environment (Dick Dauntless' song from Ruddigore is a wonderful counter to all those ditties about great British naval victories). I have also heard songs from John Gay's "Beggar's Opera" sung and of course "Tom Bowling" (in DT) is from one of Dibdin's operas.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 07:37 AM

I don't listening to Opera - but the italian arias are just amazing sheer pleasure to sing.

As far as I understand it from my teacher, the good operatic pieces are written specifically for the voice - which means that the quality of tone is easier to achieve. Eg The shape that your mouth needs to be for a given note is the same as the shape for the syllable you are singing - so it is easier to get a really beautiful sound. Then you can really let yourself go and "fly" - AND you don't strain your voice.

Folk is more about communicating with words, whereas opera is more about communicating with music. So, if you are a words person then you will likely prefer folk, or if you are music person you will likely prefer opera. Or if you're a bit of both then neither will be rubbish!

A crude and provocative question it may be - but then John does those so well! I like this thread - John's wickedness always makes me smile.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: mooman
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 07:57 AM

I would like to proffer an opinion but have never had enough money to afford the tickets to go and find out...

Seriously (from what I have seen on the television), like all musical forms there is good and bad. Some opera is excellent and some, for me, seems over the top and pretentious. I tend personally to prefer the accessibility and intimacy of other musical forms.

moo


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 08:06 AM

Carmen ROCKS.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 08:44 AM

John you say that most people in Hull don`t like Opera, I can also vouch for Sunderland, Newcastle, Middlesborough, and any other town you care to name in England.
I remember one night in Sunderland out with my workmates pub-crawling, although a non-drinker I went along for the dubious pleasure.
In one particular crowded Pub, close to the Docks, the Juke-Box was belting out some noisy pop music, I slipped over to the Juke-Box and spying La donne mobile sung by Mario Lanza I slipped the Tanner in and sidled over to the Snooker table to join my mates, and a few minutes later on came Mario, immediatley there was complete silence followed by loud roaring to "get that bloody man off", one of my mates knew it was me that put it on and he was doubled up laughing.
John it might be hard to acquire a taste in later years, but I can tell you that in Ireland we were brought up on John McCormack, Gigli, Caruso, and a host of classical singers, and I am thankful for that, it`s a great pity John, but you are missing out on one of the Worlds pleasures. Ard Mhacha


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 08:54 AM

Consider the art in its context. Opera was the urban movie of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. People would go out and enjoy the music. It was not culcha, it was just music. The appeal was across cultures and across ages. Everyone went. Many of the stories were trite or derivative. That didn't matter. What did matter was the presentation.

There were also plenty of other outlets for the public. Consider that in those non-electrified time, almost everyone was involved with others. There were community bands, theaters, concert groups, etc. Should we return to those simpler times? In some ways, perhaps, but I would not give up my car or medical services or indoor plumbing.

Yes I like much about opera. Quality, however, does vary.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Ringer
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:35 AM

Try Gilbert & Sullivan, John, for an easy introduction. Superb music, not too much of it, in English, and very witty words.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:36 AM

When I became interested on Opera I found a local venue where they put them on in English, so that I could understand what was going on. If they come on TV they are always subtitled, which helps a great deal. I'm far from being either posh or intellectual but I love a lot of opera for the sheer emotion of the music. When you put that together with the words, once you know them..... I wonder if it really matters what label is put on a piece of music if it appeals to the listener. Like Vin I like all sorts of music and will always listen to something new, just to see if it might add to my listening pleasure. My CD collection is extremely eclectic but gives me great pleasure. Getting invovled in performing folk music has increased my enjoyment of all kinds of music as I now realise how difficult it can be to do it well!

I must admit, though, that I find modern classical and rap rather offputting!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: RichM
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:57 AM

Rubbish? Well, yes it is, mostly...

I particularly dislike operatic soprano singing---though I admire and like folk soprano singing--- (especially my wife's ;)

In the same category are the warpipes, if played closer to me than 25 metres(yards)!

But that's only my opinion,as was John's starting comment in this thread...

Rich


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: John P
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 10:03 AM

Arrghh! Don't you people have anything better to do with your time than to read and respond to rubbish on the computer?? Some idiot makes an assinine post and you all start answering him as if he made any sense at all. Arrghh!

TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTERS!!!
Go play some music, or sing a song, or do anything worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 10:35 AM

greg stephens---- ;>)


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: KateG
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 10:40 AM

Is opera elitist...depends on where you are.

Many years ago I went to a production of La Boheme given in a small park in a poor Italian neighborhood of Boston (it was the late 60's and they were experimenting with culture as a form of riot control).

We went with a friend who was playing the cello in the orchestra. When we arrived there were NO parking spaces. But then folks on the street saw the cello in the passenger seat of Dave's car. Smiles, friendly gestures, and lo, a parking space appeared where none had existed before.

We go to the park, a paved square with streets on all four sides and a couple of battered basketball hoops. A portable stage was set up at one end, and the rest of the park was packed with people of all ages, all with their picnics and folding aluminum lawn chairs. Eating, talking, laughing, shouting...etc. Clearly neighborhood folks, not the elite from Beacon Hill.

When the music started, the park went silent. By the time the first act ended, it was three quarters empty and NO-ONE had left. The entire audience was on their feet, pressed up against the sawhorses that defined the orchestra pit, and they stayed there for the entire performance. By the end, there wasn't a dry eye on anybody over the age of 20. The atmosphere was electric, and the audience response called forth a performance that was beyond superlative. I have never heard anything so amazing in my life, it totally changed my view of opera. It may be posh music in the English-speaking world, but in it's native Italy, it IS folk music, and people sing snaches of aria the way folks here sing songs from "The Sound of Music" or other popular entertainments.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 11:18 AM

I've sung a fair amount of opera from light to grand and have always enjoyed it. I even find my folk singing experience useful - several musical directors have been impressed with my phrasing in unacompanied recits. On the other hand the skills which I've learnt in opera prove useful especially in putting over songs (esp. comic ones) which need a little acting.

I think my two favourite roles have been Jack Point in "Yeomen of the Guard" and Rudolpho in "La Boheme" - we only performed the first act, which works well on it's own. As the song says you never forget The roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 11:40 AM

A. Opera is hours of tedium punctuated by moments of glory. It's
   worth it.

B. For those who don't like songs they can't understand; the words
   often suck anyway. Think of it as vocal instrumentals.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 02:06 PM

John P, You have it wrong about John from Hull, he is the heart of the Mudcat.
John`s contribution over the tears have always had the sly dig in them, don`t take his posting to serious, half of the time he is taking the mickey.
John from Hull bang away you are the life of the Mudcat. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: harvey andrews
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 02:23 PM

I think John from Hull is actually Nigel Molesworth grown up.
I agree with the above,his postings bring pleasure.
As to Opera, some good, some bad.
I remember having to pull off the road once, so evercome with emotion at the male duet from "The pearlfishers". Couldn't understand a word of it, but it was overwhelming in what it did to my emotions.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Amergin
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 02:50 PM

from the Devil's Dictionary:

OPERA, n.
A play representing life in another world, whose inhabitants have no speech but song, no motions but gestures and no postures but attitudes. All acting is simulation, and the word simulation is from simia, an ape; but in opera the actor takes for his model Simia audibilis (or Pithecanthropos stentor) -- the ape that howls.
    The actor apes a man -- at least in shape;
    The opera performer apes an ape.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 02:55 PM

I find it difficult to move in my house for LPs,tapes(of all kinds and sizes) and CDs. I couldnt begin to estimate how many. But I've just done a stock-take of the opera component: one Gilbert and Sullivan!I'm afraid my ears have a blind spot, and it's opera.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: jimmyt
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:02 PM

Thank God For Jo9hn from Hull! I hope he lives forever, so I will always know that somewhere out there someone more blunt and less politically correct than me still exists. Hang in there John!!! At least he hasn't posted a thread on   "DENTISTS, JUST A LOAD OF CRAP"...............yet!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Stewart
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:08 PM

For synopses of some operas in words that the average guy can understand try Newman Levy. A writer of light verse in the early 20th century, he wrote "Opera Guyed," a collection of poems telling the plots of operas in everyday language. Several of these poems have been set to music as:

TRISTAN AND ISOLDA

THAIS

CARMEN

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:15 PM

An art form that has been around for centuries, is a combination of several other art forms—music and singing (obviously), acting, visual arts (set and costume design), literature (the story on which the opera is based), and often dancing—and is still going strong in this age of canned entertainment, has whole armies of singers hoping that they can get good enough to by hired by some opera company somewhere, and sold-out audiences for almost every performance given in cities of any size can hardly be all these things if it's just "rubbish." A comment like that springs from abysmal ignorance.

A couple of Verdi's operas are based on the plays of Shakespeare: MacBeth and Falstaff ("The Merry Wives of Windsor"), and his Il Trovatore ("The Troubadour") is based on a play by Antonio García Gutiérrez; Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor is based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott ("The Bride of Lammermoor"): Bizet's Carmen on a novella by Prosper Mérimée; Gounod's Faust on Part 1 of Goethe's tragedy; Puccini's La Bohème on Henri Mürger's "Scènes de la Vie de Bohème;" and on and on. Of course, there are those who would regard Shakespeare as "rubbish" also. "They wear silly clothes and they talk funny."

In fact, Shakespeare's plays make an interesting parallel to most operas in terms of format. Much of Shakespeare is in verse, and from time to time, the characters will stand there talking to themselves (a "soliloquy"—a device that allows the actor to give the audience essential information or that allows the audience to look into the character's mind). An opera composer could (as Verdi and some others did) take a play by Shakespeare and write music to it.   The play is sung. Conversations and such come out as "recititive" (words sung or spoken on specific notes), duets, or other ensemble pieces (quartets, sextets, choruses, etc.), and the soliloquies come out as arias. This is a bit over-simplified, but it becomes pretty straightforward if you look at it that way.

I find that those people who condemn opera the most vociferously are those who have heard an excerpt or two completely out of context, sung in a language they don't understand and in style they are not familiar with, and assume that opera is nothing more than a bunch of fat women who carry spears, wear iron brassieres and wings on their hats, and run around screaming. That's sort of like saying that a folk singer is just some guy wearing bib overalls who can't sing and stands there alternating between picking his guitar and picking his nose. Stereotyping without knowing anything about it.

Opera is such a wide and varied field that you can find lots of opera buffs who don't agree with each other. There are those who like only Italian opera, some who like Italian and French opera but can't stand Wagner, and those who think Wagner is the be-all and end-all of singing and everything else is frivolous. There are those who like only the classic eighteenth and nineteenth century opera and those who care only for contemporary opera. All possible combinations.

And, of course, there are those who will tell you that opera plots are impossible to follow, and even if you can follow them, it isn't worth it because they are incredibly stupid. Well, let's put it this way: I find that a lot of opera plots are very similar to the plots you will find in ballads. The plot of Lucia di Lammermoor and the plot of Anachie Gordon, for example, are remarkably similar. Young woman in love with a young man who happens to be poor. He goes away to make his fortune so he can return and claim the girl. In the meantime, the girl is forced by her family to marry a rich man she detests. Her lover returns to discover that it's her wedding day and he's returned too late. She's already married. She dies of grief and anguish. Devastated, he kills himself. Silly plot. But no sillier when performed by the singers, chorus, and orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera than it is when sung by Mary Black.

I could draw parallels like this between dozens of ballads and operas. In fact, I would go so far as to say the ballads are "mini-operas." And operas are "ballads on steroids." So much for silly plots.

For anyone who knows little or nothing about opera but who is genuinely interested in finding out what it's all about, a good opera to start with is La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. The opera is accessible to anyone who knows little about opera but who is willing to come to it with open ears and an open mind. The plot is simple and easy to relate to: a bunch of hippies (bohemians—same thing, different era) trying to survive in mid-nineteenth century Paris while pursuing their dreams of becoming successful poets, artists, and musicians. The story's center is the love affair between the poet Rodolfo, and Mimi, a girl who lives in the same flea-trap apartment building. The music of this opera is exquisitely beautiful. And if this opera doesn't get to you, then they may as well throw a sheet over you, put a tag on your toe, and close the drawer.

Don Firth

ADDENDUM:   Although it would be by far the best to see and hear La Bohème as a live opera, opera tickets can get pretty pricey, and even if your locality has an opera company, it might be years before they put it on. An alternative would be a excellent version filmed at the Metropolitan Opera. It's directed by Franco Zeffirelli, conducted by James Levine, and starring José Carreras as Rodolfo, Teresa Stratas as Mimi (looking appropriately small and delicate), and Renata Scotto as the flirtatious Musetta. This is available on both VHS and DVD, and as I recall, it has English sub-titles. It may be available at a local library or rentable from Blockbuster or someplace like that.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:19 PM

Don: "abysmal ignorance". My point about JOhn from Hull, absolutely. That man should be curator of the Hull Abysmal Ignorance Museum.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:22 PM

Abysmal Ignorance, Don, Greg? Knowing John as I do, I would say that keen search for knowledge would be more accurate.

I admit to a fondness for Gilbert and Sullivan but that's as far as it goes, except for the last bit of Don Giovanni - them three basses hammering away.

John - I could play you a CD with the word opera on it that you'd love. It is, of course, Peter Bellamy's ballad opera 'The Transports'. Now if more opera was like that...


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:24 PM

Are folk songs rubbish?
Do Gilbert and Sullivan belong in the dustbin-dumpster-garbage pail-landfill? Or just "My Fair Lady"? Ballet? Chinese Opera? Bluegrass?
Is all music the work of the devil? Or just the blues?


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:46 PM

I think Don was being serious, Les from H. I wasnt!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:51 PM

Well, I would say that if millions of people have enjoyed and found value in opera (or any other art form for that matter) over a period three or four centuries and even more millions of people continue to find enjoyment and value in it, for someone to ask "Is opera rubbish" is less a thirst for knowledge than a display of abysmal ignorance. Even if someone absolutely hates it, it's pretty stupid to say that it's "rubbish." To some benighted people, just about anything you can name that people find value in is "rubbish." It tells you more about the person making the remark or asking the question than it does about opera or whatever.

Sorry, jOhn from Hull, but if you don't know or understand something, that doesn't make it rubbish, it just means you don't understand it. If you do understand it but don't like it, that's okay. But that still doesn't make it rubbish, it just means that you don't like it.   

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 04:58 PM

Well, hell! Maybe I'm being too serious about this. If jOhn from Hull was doing a tongue in cheek bit of trolling, then he caught me. But I like opera, have for years, and I'm used to people cavalierly trashing it when they know nothing about it, so I'm afraid I tend to knee-jerk a bit. Anyway. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 05:53 PM

Don't be deceived by JOhn from Hul9, Don. beneath that dribbling idiot mask lies the Emeritus Professor of Spelling at the University of Hull(formerly Hull University).


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 05:57 PM

Mind you, he probably does think opera is shite.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: artbrooks
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:04 PM

I don't care for opera myself, but then I also don't care for jazz, rap or most pop/rock. Can it be that's why we have individual tastes?


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:07 PM

What I really hate is pickled walnuts.(I think, I havent tried one since the first time in 1958).


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:33 PM

Well, I guess we're in chac'un au son gout territory here. Actually, it's Bob Dylan who triggers my gag reflex, but lotsa folks seem to like him, so. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 06:35 PM

well if that's not abysmal ignorance I dont know what is


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: marthabees
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 08:25 PM

As a music teacher, I constantly have to fight with students, teachers and parents over the basic question that sly-dog John of Hull presents. I've gotta tell the kids that all music has good parts and bad parts. It's not good or bad - it's a style issue. Most of us have styles that we strongly prefer or not prefer and it's nearly always because we're familiar with one or the other. The twangy sound of a dobro/pedal steel or country tenor "sanger" takes as much getting used to as the very trained (and sometimes undesirably wide) vibrato of a singer at the opera.

I was planning to become a music teacher for many years as a child and could not make myself open up to opera until one day "Amahl And The Night Visitors" by Gian Carlo Menotti (an American)came on TV. I stood up to turn it off (this was well before remotes were invented). 20 minutes later I realized I was still standing there, watching this opera. I figured it must be good or I wouldn't have just stood there. So I watched the whole thing and loved it.   And I still like the opera. It's a good story about a mischievous boy who has told one too many tales.... Lovely story, actually. I was kinda shocked that I actually liked an opera.

So, if you can't abide the sounds cuz you're not used to the style, find out the story first and then just go for the plot. The music will help tell the story if it's a good writer doing the music.

All that being said, some opera I still don't like. But a lot of it I do. However........ while I enjoy the theatrical experience of most any opera and the wonder arias that abound, I find it difficult to just pop an opera on the CD and listen to it. Opera is too theatrical to just listen to. It needs to be seen as well.

My 2 cents worth.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 08:43 PM

I have succesfully kept my exposure to OPERA at a minumum. However, I have had two opera experiences that I have enjoyed and well remembered. They both revolved around the late Earl Robinson, from Seattle. Earl was a strong figure in the Seattle music world in the 1950's. I met him a time or two socially, and we traded songs at a hoot once, when I was a teenager. I liked him and he seemed to respect me and my music. That's as good as it gets when you are 17!

About 1957 or 1958 (?) I took myself to a public performance of an OPERA in process at the Seattle Womens Century Club (I think that was the name ... up on Capital Hill). Earl sat by himself at the piano, and gave a spellbinding performance of an opera he was still in the process of writing. It was later completed, was performed on stage in New York, and I know it was also released on vynal record. The title was "SANDHOG."

I was absolutly blown away. Here was ONE GUY, the composer. He sat at the piano, spoke to the audience in a very relaxed and personal manner, and talked/sang us through the entire opera. He sang all the parts, in voice. He sang the bass lines, tenor, alto, and even did the high soprano in falsetto. Between the musical setting, he would get up and talk to the audience, explain his vision as to the story telling he wanted to do.

It was an electric night.

Years later, I was able to purchase the vynal record of "Sandhog, but it was not nearly as captivating as that night.

Earl passed away perhaps 10 (?) years ago. I went to his memorial service, at a Unitarian Church in The "U" district of Seattle. The service was as startling and dramatic as was his life. I was also delighted to run into another folksinger that was there for the same reasons as I ... to pay tribute to this wonderful man. Maggie and I sat side by side and smiled at the remeberences that were offered. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: izzy
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 08:57 PM

Actually Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten wrote operas based around English folk melodies. Hugh the Drover and Peter Grimes (of course) spring to mind, but there were lots of others. All in English, too. Vaughan Williams' Riders to the Sea (based on the play by Synge) is very well thought of, but I'm afraid I've got so used to opera being sung in Italian (and thus not knowing what it's all about) that it's rather irritating to wait about 30 seconds for someone to say something that would normally take about 10. Based on this I conclude that I will stop enjoying opera once I start learning Italian.

Actually jOn from Hull is much better spelling-wise in chatrooms, so his postings here come as a bit of a surprise. Maybe he's just putting it on, or maybe he is Nigel Molesworth grown up? In that case the rest of us are uterly wet and weedy chiz moan drone. I'm sure fotherington-tomas was a big opera fan... The fact is that opra is full of fat ladies who screme and then evryon go bravo whizzo, as any fule kno.

Cheers,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: marthabees
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:01 PM

Who is Nigel Molesworth?

Martha


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: izzy
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:07 PM

Hallo, Martha,

Nigel Molesworth was a comic creation of Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (the former a writer, the latter a well-known cartoonist), a schoolboy noted for his incredible spelling style and cynical attitude. I actually have The Compleat Molesworth here on my lap, comprising Down With Skool! , How to be Topp, Whizz for Atomms, and Back in the Jug Agane. They were all written during the fifties. To give you some idea of the flavour, there is a chapter entitled Skool Food, or The Piece of Cod which Passeth Understanding. VERY funny if you've had an Anglican upbringing..

Hope this explains it,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 10:20 PM

Opera is definately rubbish.

Oprah on the other hand can be interesting.

The Grand Ole Opry is much more listenable than opera.

Little Jimmy Dickens sings very opry-etic.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 04:20 PM

No, Greg, not really ignorance. I thought he was a three-dollar bill when I first heard him back in the early Sixties and I haven't heard anything since to change my mind. When I heard a nineteen-year-old kid killing himself in an attempt to sound as if he was eighty years old, toothless, and freshly dug out of a manure pile, my "Phony Radar" developed a major blip. He's mellowed some, but he still affects me like a big slug of ipecac.

It's less a matter of ignorance and more one of taste. Some folks like him real fine. Worship him, in fact. I can live with that. Just as long as they don't stand between me and the porcelain receptacle.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 05:14 PM

Whats ipecac?


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 05:32 PM

Opera to me is a bit like Saturday Night Live (sorry Brits etc. if you are not familiar with the US TV show) -- you have to watch for several years in order to get a good bit -- similarly, I view opera (personal opinion, note) as diamonds set in shite.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 05:45 PM

Ipecac is an emetic. It makes you up-chuck.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 05:54 PM

See what I mean, Don, he just winds you up. he's also Emeritus Professor of Emetics.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 06:24 PM

How in the heck did we get from OPERA to vomit juice? Bob


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 07:06 PM

Dylan'll do that to me. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: ToulouseCruise
Date: 08 Aug 03 - 08:48 AM

Well, for me that Dr Phil is extremely annoyi... oh, sorry, I thought the thread title referred to OPRAH.

Dyslexics of the world -- untie!!!

Brian.


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Subject: ARE Opera rubbish?
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 06:00 AM

call me a pedant but........ isn't the plural of opus - opera?
I know, I know - folk process

it are now a singular noun.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: C-flat
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 06:48 AM

I love all types of music but I do think that opera takes a little getting to know before it can be fully enjoyed.
Maybe that's why so many people have a problem with it, ("If it doesn't move me when I first hear it, I don't like it"), an argument with some justification.
After all music is one of the most natural of instincts and should appeal to us just as instinctively. Like modern jazz, opera is basic music taken on to another level and unfortunately not all of us are taken along with it. I've sat in Ronnie Scotts jazz club and watched a group of amazingly talented individuals, all playing furiously, and even as a musician, all I could say was that they started and finished together, what happened in between was a mystery!
Opera has made itself seem exclusive and unapproachable by a snobbish and high-brow attitude by the majority (it seems) of those involved in it and the staggering cost of tickets.
In reality it is just music and theatre combined. Some good, some bad, all of it subjective.
Similary a trip to Tate Modern might leave you feeling bemused or moved. Is it art?
It is if you want it to be.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 07:33 AM

KB said something that made me think:

if you are music person you will likely prefer opera

When I was 12 years old I listened to an LP of Madama Butterfly on earphones at the library. I absolutely fell in love with the music. Who cares what the words are.

Then Harvey Andrews mentioned the duet from Pearlfishers. Same experience for me. I heard it as a piano duo before I heard the singing of it. Simply sublime.

Micca mentioned Lucia diLammermoor. The wedding sextet from that one is one of my favorites. I don't want to know the words. But the emotion is so overwhelming it has deep meaning for me.

To me opera is sheer, intense emotion.

My two favorite quotes from James Michener:

I have never met a person
with a really first class mind who wasted
his or her time on opera.

[ Opera is ] a form of art which is inherrently
romantic, passionate, absurd and illogical.
...And yet much of the mindset that has enabled
me to enjoy a creative life was acquired through
my intensive study of opera.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Escamillo
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 08:37 AM

Many years ago I've been promoted to Opera lover, and discovered that I still have not heard 95% of the music that has been written in the form of Opera, and will probably die before hearing and seeing a 20%. This is a whole world of combinations of visual, musical, performing, plastic arts, of which you can't see much, just by listening to a CD or radio.

Go to see it at the theatre (Opera House). Avoid "popular" versions performed in stadiums or open air or inappropiate rooms aided by electric amplification. Opera is expensive because it is acoustic and can't be performed for more than 2,000 people in the world's largest theatres.

If you find that some fragments are boring, just take them as an introduction to those you really like. Enjoy those songs that move you, and gradually you will see the opera as a whole.

Choose the lightest works, easy to listen to. Bizet, Gilbert&Sullivan, Gershwin, and then Mozart, Puccini, Cilea, Leoncavallo, Verdi. Don't try Wagner or Britten at first.

In my humble opinion, the appreciation of music forms is not simply a matter of taste, it is a process of maturing. A baby will vomit if we give him a pepperoni pizza (not to mention a Bouillabaise).

Un abrazo,
Andrés


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 08:47 AM

I've mixed feelings about Opera. I don't enjoy screaching (to my ears) sopranos or perhaps even classical voices in general. As such, I would not be putting an opera on the hi-fi to listen to.

The other side of coin to me is that I remember going to see the WNO do the Barber Of Seville many years ago and I thought the whole spectacle was fantastic.

I also keep meaning to learn the mandolin piece from Don Giovanni...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 09:15 AM

I've just thought of an Opera I can say I really did enjoy on TV. Street Scene (Kurt Weill).


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 10:30 AM

I dislike opera singing intensly, particularly the inability of opera singers to sing without shed loads of vibrato on every note.
What realy pisses me of though, is the rediculous amount of my taxes wasted on the elitist drivle. Opera resieves lots of subsidy, and still costs an arm and a leg to see.
I dislike Irish country and western allmost as much, but at least I don't pay for it.
Without the undemocratic subsidy opera would vanish (or become a comercial proposition (as if)) and the sooner this happens the better.

Actualy I like bits of Gilbert and Sulivan, but don't tell any one.

PP


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 12:28 PM

I agree with Pied Pipper, I seem to remember there was a big outcry a couple of years ago, when an opera company were given millions of pounds of lottery money [i cant remember how much but it was a lot], whilst a kids playgroup were asking for a couple of hundred quid for toys and were refused.
I just tried to find the details of this from google, but cant find it.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 12:33 PM

I found it, The Royal Opera house were given £78.5 Million of lottery money! I wonder how many lottery players regulary visit The Royal Opera House!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 12:45 PM

I quite like opera, I don't listen to radio 3 because I can't get it.
The only music that I can't stand is that shite called mordern music.
Heid busting music that you hear in nightclubs.
I think it's shit, but I like music I don't consider that as muic.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Alice
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 01:02 PM

John, you must see a live performance to appreciate opera. I'm sure if you did, your opinion would change.

Alice


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 01:59 PM

". . . screeching (to my ears) sopranos. . . ."

Listen to a recording of Renée Fleming singing the "Song to the Moon" aria from Dvorak's Rusalka. If this is "screeching," then I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life listening to such screeching. This is only one soprano singing one aria (out of hundreds, maybe thousands, of possible combinations of sopranos and arias) that does not (to my ears) screech.

It's really unfortunate that so many people, when they hear a soprano singing in her upper register, put it down as "screeching." Some of the most beautiful music ever written was written for the soprano voice—some, the very highest soprano (coloratura) voice. They wouldn't say the same thing about a flute or a violin playing the same notes. Why "screeching" then? Well, maybe some people just don't like the sound of the human voice.

AND—one of the reasons that opera tickets are so expensive is that, with most operas, for the price of one ticket, you're getting a half-dozen or more highly trained singers, a whole chorus, sometimes a bunch or dancers, and a full symphony orchestra, and they're all doing their thing in a sizable theater complete with sets, props, and more often than not, period costumes. And all the backup personnel such a production requires. Whadeeyawantanyway? Egg in your beer?

For several years running my wife and I were season ticket holders for Seattle Opera (fourth largest opera company in the country, by the way), and saw everything from La Bohème to Norma to all four of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungen operas (all four "Ring" operas in one week—my ears were happy—it was hugely magnificent!—but my butt sure got sore!). Probably some thirty or forty operas altogether. It's best live, because you get the full experience, but it is pricey. But having seen a lot of it live, I can thoroughly enjoy opera on television, such as "Live from the Met" on PBS.

I can understand a person not liking opera. But when that same person simply writes it off as "drivel," that's just plain ignorant.
Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Rhiannon
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 03:41 PM

As you only listened to the opers then I do not think that you are really able to make a valid judgement. Opera is like a play. You cann;t just listen to a play. You jave to be there and watch it. Folk music can be just listened to to get the story. To fully appreciate an opera, you need to be therein the moment. The passion of the singers and their delight are notjust put through their voices, they are put through their bodies. YOu cann't tell someone in the real world something passionate without moving. You cannot tell someone you love then with your hands glued to your sides. Opera, I think is on of the greatest art forms. Dance brings the story through movement, opera brigs it through entirely. I am onlu fifteen and I can appreciate or at least try to apprecite all forms of music, why can't you, why do you have to e so closed minded.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 04:05 PM

Opera can be anything from extremely uplifting to totally unfathomable. Personally, I love bits of it- Tosca and Madame Butterfly are both wonderful works - but Wagner is totally lost on me. I defy anyone not to believe Delibes Flower Song from Lakme to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music on Gods earth as it Visse D'Arte. I have seen a couple of Oscars in the Royal Opera House, and agree to it being elitist although I would love to do Glynebourne. The best visit to the Opera -many years ago, sitting on the pavement in Covent Garden with hundreds of others, bottle of wine in hand -looking at the performance inside the ROH, on a giant screen. It was Tosca, it was Placido -it was an awesome and abiding memory.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 04:39 PM

i think opera is rubbish, its all in foreigmm, and people going there are probably just showing off etc.john

Your xenophobic, if not racist, attitude betrays you. Not all opera is in foreigmm [sic], there are operas in many languages, including English.

BTW, much of the folk music on this planet is not in English either. Folk music exists in virtually every language. Do you consider folk music in foreigmm [sic]to be rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 02:53 AM

Candyman, John is not being racist John is being John -I refer you to about a million other threads and ask you to revise your judgement.Since I know John personaly I can assure you he is not a racist by any stretc of the imagination.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 03:32 AM

Actually, the Royal Opera House is not as elitist as appearences suggest. It is just that the vast majority of good seats and boxes are bought for corporate entertainment so that rich businessmen who don't care about it can be impressed. The opera house has to take this business to survive but few normal individuals can pay the same prices as large companies. The real opera fans pay approximately £5 and sit (or stand) high up at the back. It is possible to hear perfectly well and a good pair of binoculars means that you can see too. There is certainly no posh dress code either as most people who haven't been there think. I was lucky enough to get free press seats on a few occasions and I saw the opening nights of La Traviata and Romeo and Juliet. As a scraggy student, I did find that one or two people asked if I was in the correct seat but this made the whole experience even more enjoyable.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 08:04 AM

I personally don't enjoy opera, but I would never rubbish it, just as I'd take EXTREME exception to anyone rubbishing folk music just because it's not their cup of tea. It's different strokes for different folks - just because I don't like a particular type of music doesn't make it rubbish.

But like a few other contributors to this thread, I do rubbish the Lottery crowd who have donated obscene amounts of money to opera, which is very much a minority interest, whilst other equally deserving causes have received loose change or bugger all.

Johnny.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Homeless
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 11:41 PM

I went to photograph the final dress rehearsal of Lucia di Lammermoor tonight. And once again I was astounded by the vocal capabilities of the performers. There was one point where the lead soprano was singing so loudly that I could feel my chest vibrate. Now granted I was only in the sixth row, but this was *unamplified*. To experience the singing of someone with that much volume and power to their voice is awe inspiring. Later, while the character was in a delirium, she was lying flat on her back singing effectively to the lights and ceiling over the stage - not to the acoustic tiles in front of the stage. Her volume was still enough to be heard throughout the theater. It was amazing.

As for so called screeching, all I can think is that the person claiming to have heard such has either never *listened* to opera, never heard a decent soprano, or is inept with language and cannot adequately describe what they hear and so fall back on the word "screeching." Yes, in the arias tonight there were some high notes (very few, in actuality) that cause me to wince because of their pitch and volume, but the tones were so pure and clear that no intelligent person would have considered them "screeching."


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 03:42 AM

Screeching? That describes quite a few floor singers that I have heard over the years. At least with Opera you aren't get half the performance filled with tallentless dead beats.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: s&r
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 04:14 AM

Just as a thought - opera and other classical styles of music are recorded with much lower levels of compression and a higher dynamic range than pop, some folk, country,most jazz etc.

Domestic reproduction doesn't cope well with wide dynamic range - the screech could be the result of the amp/speakers introducing some distortion.

I feel I ought to like more 'serious' music than I do; the values that were instilled in me by my music teachers don't accord with my taste and preferences...

I sometimes think that there is a lot of pretentiousness in music - Emperor's new clothes...


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 04:46 AM

I think it was Shaw who wrote "Wagner is better than he sounds". But I'm not sure he was right about that.

On the other hand Mozart is better than we deserve.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 11:34 AM

At the risk of sounding nerd-y, I've just come across a graph of European music 'consumption' here ... I think it's page 17 of this pdf file. Kind of interesting if you're a boring old administrator like I am ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: jimmyt
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:30 PM

To Strollin' Johnny, so you "Take exception" to corporations or other benefactors for spending obscene amounts of money? Last iheard the Royal Opera Company nor any symphony, ballet company nor other cultural organization are exactly flush with money. Would you be happier if they didn't buy the corporate boxes, anf as a result the opera company would have to cut pay, lay off or totally fold as a result of not having this "obscene money?"


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 12:30 PM

No, mind you it's the same with any kind of music and other things, we all have different tastes, some think it's crap and others think it's the best thing.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: brid widder
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 01:12 PM

I enjoy Gilbert & Sullivan but on the whole agree with something I once heard Sid Kipper say on the subject... "all those fantastic songs and no-one joining in.... except me"


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 05:31 AM

its still rubbish!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: fiddler
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 07:49 AM

I've scanned most of the thread but not read it all!

I love Opera - it combines Drama, orchestral Music and singing all on the same stage at the same time. Blaming difficult. The roles demand BIG powerful voices used correctly you cannot even play a part using amplification they are too big. How many of us could fill the Albert Hall with sound and no Amplifiers, walk off stage and still have a voice and be able to use it?

Sorry - I used to get paid to direct it.

Back to folk many Operas are based around folk myths and many around folk Music - Rimsky Korsakov's The Snow Maiden is one of my favorites even though the press did not like my interpretation, Teh Music is steeped in Russian Folk music and the tale is a Russian Folk Tale. Then there is Russlan and Ludmilla, Magic Flute......

Having said a bit - How many of you have been to an Opera - Many - not all will say - I've never been 'cos I don't like it just what heaps of people say about folk music and we say ........

I rest my case your honour now let the masses decide teh fate of opera assasination by Yorkshiremen and others. Should they forfiet their right to enjoy folk music as Opera lovers don't like it (although they have never experienced it).

Hugs to you all

Andy

BTW Phantom of the Opera is an opera as is jesus Christ Superstar - Evita but to avoid the snob value they are sold as musicals - HUMPH


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: el ted
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 09:02 AM

Verdi's Otello


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: el ted
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 09:03 AM

is divine. Oh... post no 100 by the way.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: LindsayInWales
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 09:30 AM

I'm not a great opera fan as I get sick of all those bellowing tenors (Andrea Bocelli excepted...he's gorgeous) and I get irritated by all those females who sound like they've had a hot potato dropped down their cleavage.

I do however like to listen our own Lesley Garrett, who I think has done more to bring opera to "the masses" and take the "snobbery" out of it, with her delightful "no nonsense" personality.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 10:11 AM

Is opera rubbish - short answer "yes"

Imagine if efdss had had a 10% of the money the royal opera house has had from the lottery! then we would see folk music in the media.

Having said that some italian opera is ok


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 11:45 AM

Is opera rubbish? Asinine question.

Is this thread rubbish?

All I have to say on this subject, I have said above.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 01 May 04 - 04:22 AM

Fat people yodelling in slow time.
eric


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 01 May 04 - 10:06 AM

So, opera and classical musisic are good? But are they worth the £100,000,000, give or take the odd million or three, that the vairious Arts Councills throught the UK have chucked at them over the last ten years? I think not.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Fat Lucy
Date: 01 May 04 - 10:38 AM

Are we bollocks


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 May 04 - 12:38 PM

Everyone knows who Beethoven was and what he did. Here's a challenge for you:   without reaching for a history book or encyclopedia, name one general who was a contemporary of Beethoven. Almost everyone is familiar with music from Verdi's or Bizet's operas (whether they know it or not), but who can tell me what the political situations were in Italy and France at the time they were writing their music? I didn't think so.

I'm bothered a helluva lot less by a few million dollars given to an opera company, ballet company, or symphony orchestra now and then than I am by an umpteen billion dollar annual military budget.

Kings, politicians, and military men fade into the mists of history. The Arts last, for us to enjoy and be inspired by today--and on into tomorrow. Too bad we don't spend anywhere near as much on the Arts as we do making machines to kill people with. Someday, maybe the human race will evolve beyond our present primitive state.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Shimbo Darktree
Date: 02 May 04 - 12:27 PM

Dear me, we do get cross, don't we! Don's right about the expenditure on killing; but we are so good at it!

Having said that, why does opera (much of which is incomprehensible if you only speak English) get done in the "grand style", whereas folk gets done by the old and poverty-stricken (us!). Yes, I have been to opera - twice, I think (Mikado; Don Giovanni), many years ago, just as I have been to ballet once (Giselle). Didn't like them. Cannot understand the words or the plot of opera (can't understand some folk songs, either, because of idiomatic or ancient wording), and in ballet the scuffing of the shoes spoils the music. But if you want to go, then go.

Is it rubbish? Don't know ... my younger offspring think my folk is rubbish, or at least somewhat dubious ... or maybe it's my delivery ... hmmmmm.

Shimbo


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 May 04 - 12:41 AM

Juneau, Alaska has Lyric Opera but there are several singers who are capable of grand opera. I saw La Boheme in a small theatre several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

'Rodolpho', a big man with a marvelous voice, (Bill Garry) was measureably better trained and talented than the other men but he told me that he felt honored to do the play, that he had always wanted to.

And of course, 'Mimi' (Kathleen Wayne) had a gorgeous voice. The music is absorbing. It's strange- I don't like having my buttons pushed but with La Boheme I didn't resist it.

I'm one of the few people in the world who has seen 'Wuthering Heights' as an opera! Written in 1934, it was presented in Portland, Oregon with a stormy night sky canvas backdrop with Heathcliff's tortured face superimposed. I don't remember a single one of the songs - I do know I much preferred the book.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 May 04 - 11:51 AM

Pushing one's buttons is what it's all about, Ebbie. The music in is La Bohème is lush and gorgeous! Anyone who doesn't get a bit choked up is probably dead.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 04 - 12:41 PM

God , what a narrow pivot you lot do turn on. If all of you don't like it, it must be elitist...really, what a bore. And John from Hull really ought to grow up..it is possible to be too silly for too long.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 04 - 01:10 PM

If you want "elitist" just watch how the regulars look down their noses when you walk into a strange folk club without a guitar case.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: fiddler
Date: 05 May 04 - 03:40 AM

Matching post form Ballet thread!

So the upshot of this is some of us like it and some of us don't!

And being good folking folkies we all respect each other persons viewpoint!

OK I'm in!!!

I am not so sure about some of the narrow bigoted views expressed though I can't subscribe to them. Biggotry can starts conflicts and conflicts on a large scale end in war, so I won't make any comment s about those views or those of the originator of the thread. alos the money then spent on those wars if they didn't exist can go to the arts.

Hmmm.......

Hugsnall (even to Jo9hn)
A
XX


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Muskratpete
Date: 05 May 04 - 11:11 PM

Opera?!?!?! I thought the thread said "Oprah!" uffda...oh well, I can't stand to listen to either.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 06 May 04 - 05:15 AM

People who want to knock opera always seem to say that it is too elitist because of the ticket prices. Even the prices for the very best seats (and there are many much cheaper tickets available for most productions) are paltry compared to the prices that people are willing to pay for those for some football matches and big pop concerts. Also, while I realise that it covers a whole week rather than one evening, how much does a ticket for Sidmouth cost these days ?


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 12:16 PM

Can we agree on one thing: that opera has been the butt of joking for lo! these many years. Some of us have heard more joking about opera than we have heard opera....not naming names.

I am reminded of the one about Trovatore, a piss-take which refuses to die. Best said by Julian Budden, in his The Operas of Verdi:

"How many people will claim that they have heard a performance in English in the course of which Manrico declared, sword in hand, 'Mother is roasting!'? I do not believe that such a translation exists."

The full piss-take begins, 'Mother is roasting / Down in the courtyard....'   The actual aria begins "Di quella pira," for those who are ignorant (I was ignorant for years -- I grew up in a house where opera was disliked).


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 01:30 PM

I have always loved opera myself, tho never so much as in my early teens, when I saw every production in the Sadlers Wells repertoire at successive Saturday matinées; which meant getting up at 6 to go down by Tube from Golders Green to Angel to get cheap on-the-day tickets -- oh I wasn't I ever' a dedicated young fellow in my youth!

But I am surprised no-one has quoted [unless I somehow missed it] Burl Ives's story in his early memoir 'Wayfaring Stranger' of his dutiful visits to the Met Opera during his early days in NY: "One day while standing through a Wagnerian opera, the Almighty sent a ray of light through my skull, and I realised, 'This stinks'."

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 01:55 PM

I just did a price comparison with Scottish Opera's production for next Friday (29 Jan 2016), a premiere of a new work ("The Devil Inside", words by Louise Welsh and music by Stuart MacRae) and the Celtic Connections event at the most comparable venue, the "Transatlantic Sessions".

Scottish Opera: 16 pounds to 30.50 pounds.
Celtic Connections: 27 pounds to 30 pounds.

A fairly basic ticket to see Rangers v Falkirk the next day costs 20 pounds. I presume it would be a lot more to watch Rangers losing to a team anybody had heard of.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 04:28 PM

There are lots of regional opera companies that put on a damn good show for modest
prices. You may not get planetary superstars or the New York Phil but you'll a damn good spirited production of the kind that Gluck and Mozart might have expected. Mozart, a big snob, though the second greatest human who ever lived (after Beethoven), was dead chuffed when he noticed that the ordinary people of Vienna were humming or whistling the tunes from The Magic Flute in the streets. We've already allowed the pseudo-Christian Victorians to steal Christmas, so let's not let the big knobs nick opera. Viva Verdi!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 04:54 PM

Good music is never rubbish. Some beautiful music has been written for operas,Mozaet andVerdi are but two examples. I don,t care what language it is in, beautiful singing is a great joy, just try Callas! Sutherland or Tibaldi for breathtaking music, or Bartoli for that matter, especially singing Vivaldi. No, it not rubbish.And Steve is right, many small,local opera companies do wonderful work ! Get out and enjoy them!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 05:08 PM

I wouldn't mind if opera singers sang in tune!!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 05:17 PM

I have been listening to opera for many years. I never heard one who was out of tune.who were you listening to ?


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 05:54 PM

I have been listening to opera for many years. I never heard one who was out of tune.

I have. Jessye Norman. Singing almost anything, but Wagner brought out her tasteless worst.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 06:08 PM

Joe_F is a philistine too


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 06:15 PM

I have not listened to a lot of Jessye Norman, but Wagner is not kind to singers, I must admit!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 06:37 PM

Jessye Norman is a goddess. Bite your tongue, Jack!

What a veritable Who's Who of past mudcat members and reprobates are present in this old thread. And too many who are long gone.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 07:37 PM

I heard Jessye Norman in 1977 singing the Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss. Mrs Steve once waited on her table at the Hole In The Wall in Bath in the late 60s. They had trouble finding a chair wide enough for her overly-ample bottom. I have absolutely no time for that ghastly egotistical antisemite Wagner and will not have his music in the house. In fact, I think that his overblown musical style, sadly emulated by so many composers of the late 19th and early 20th century, represented a complete dead end.

Now HiLo old chap, we've reached agreement on several things in recent days, but, honestly, Callas??? I mean, did this disaster of a woman ever sing a single note in tune??


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:02 PM

Yes, quite a few actually , Steve. I love the emotion of Callas. technically she is far from perfect, but she brought to her singing an emotional depth not often achieved by so called " better" singers. don't you think?


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:05 PM

I really do not know enough about opera to enjoy it. The only operas that I have experienced are ones that have been televised and I haven't been able to sit through that so going to one for me is out of the question. Although I enjoy Carmen and the odd snippets from other operas such as Madame Butterfly it isn't something that I would want to spend my money on for entertainment personally. I suppose it is a bit like ballet although the skill and talent is appreciated it isn't everyone's cup of tea.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:21 PM

Her singing makes me feel uneasy, HiLo. Not because of the emotion, but because of her lack of security. Perhaps you had to be there. But I can't listen to any of her recordings. Opinion only. I know I'm in a minority!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,hiLo
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 08:28 PM

Steve, check out her singing of " la mamme morta" on you tube! Sublime, really.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Airymouse
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:20 AM

Off topic: "Wagner's music is better than it sounds" was a line of the American humorist, Bill Nye. It is often attributed to Mark Twain, who liked and repeated it.
Singular nouns can be used DISTRIBUTIVELY with a plural verb as in , "A number of people are going to be late to my party" and plural nouns like opera and agenda can be used used COLLECTIVELY with a singular verb.
On topic. Try Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. It's funny, has some beautiful music, and an entertaining plot. Opera combines music,drama and poetry, but for me the real lure is music. There is a stretch in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" where I can't understand the words and I don't pay much attention to the plot, but song after song is of miraculous beauty.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:54 AM

Just reminded myself of Jessye Norman's singing on "Four Last Songs" by listening again to "Fruhling". Beautiful - to me.

It always seems a little pointless claiming that X is vile and Y is wonderful - all art speaks to an individual in an individual way and all tastes are personal, in the end.

The dislike of Wagner for his anti-semitism does throw up the ever-present problem - discussed quite a lot on Mudcat - of the separation or non-separation of a creative artist from his or her personal life and beliefs. Not a question for which I have an answer, I'm afraid.

I personally think Wagner was an arrogant, self-centered shit, but it doesn't stop my from enjoying the "Rienzi Overture" or the Liebestod from "Tristan und Isolde". It didn't stop me from going to Covent Garden in 1971 to see the premier of the Peter Hall production of Tristan - very controversial because of its staging and production - boos at the end by large sections of the audience. Quite a fascinating night! Solti conducting and the leads taken by Jess Thomas and Birgit Nilsson. I didn't care for all of it, thought Wagner was an arrogant, self-centered shit, but It was an interesting evening.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 06:43 AM

Opera clearly isn't rubbish, but it is elitist, it's not too long ago that the great tenor Placido Domingo cancelled a concert in England saying that the ticket prices were so expensive his real fans couldn't afford to come and hear him sing.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:06 AM

I do dislike that elitist accusation. Tickets are often expensive, however, tickets to most venues, plays, pop concerts , sporting events are also very pricey these days. I was recently in NewYork and. Billy Joel ticket was considerably more than a ticket to the Met!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 09:38 AM

I just paid fifty quid to see Billy Connolly in his one-man show last Friday. There was one simple, unchanging backdrop for the whole show and his only prop was a small table for his glass of water. Hmm. As I said, big-superstar operas with celestial orchestras and conductors are not all there are and they are not the only ones capable of putting on a great show. But if it's a touring company they have considerable overheads and the venues have to be paid for. Hefty ticket prices might be unavoidable. Paying big stars five-figure sums per night might lead to elitist prices but you can still see great opera without paying 'em. Here in Cornwall or Plymouth £25-£30ish can get you into first-rate opera and ballet productions and our venues aren't exactly huge. I do get considerably peed off with "booking fees" and various other addenda to the price, however.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 02:54 PM

Nigel Douglas wrote: "If you want the unvarnished truth about a prima donna, ask another." He was writing about Adele Leigh vis-a-vis Kathleen Ferrier.

But what that quote brings to my mind is Lanfranco Rasponi's book of interviews called The Last Prima Donnas. Rasponi is dead, and so is practically everyone whom he interviewed; but some of those interviews are a glimpse into a century long past, and a tradition of which some parts survive and some are gone. Rasponi had an ax to grind, being the former promotor for Renata Tebaldi, and thus the competition with Callas actually informed his livelihood. However, what these retired professional singers, some of them much much older than Rasponi, have to say about Callas is sometimes disarming. Had to bring this up in response to dear Mister Shaw.

Most often said to Rasponi, regarding Callas: "She sang with three voices!"   The really elderly Italian women, however, are mostly more discerning. "She sang with three voices, only one of which was authentic," says one of them.

Augusta Oltrabella, old enough to have sung for Toscanini, offered a unique reminiscence. Oltrabella was on a first-name basis with Elvira de Hidalgo, another famous opera artist, who invited Oltrabella to come and hear a very young woman who was a promising student of de Hidalgo's. De Hidalgo specialized in the coloratura niche, the "soprano leggiero." And this was the specialty that de Hidalgo spent years of schooling on Maria Callas, whom Oltrabella recalled, reminiscing on the invitation, as a young woman so obese as to resemble a whale, and obviously too poor to afford shoes that fit; the shoes on her feet were literally torn so that her feet could get inside them. And young Callas owed to de Hidalgo the coloratura technique which she demonstrated, at the time, to Oltrabella.

This, declares Oltrabella, was Callas at her best: doing what she had been trained by her teacher to do, before the conductors, stage directors, and promotors got their greedy hot little hands on her. To hear Callas at her most reliable, one has to turn one's back on Tosca, Turandot, La Gioconda, Andrea Chenier, Medea, Norma, the high-profile dramatic stuff in which Callas exploited her personality traits. Instead, have another listen to things like I Puritani, La Sonnambula, the Bolero aria from I Vespri Siciliani.

Years ago, as a young accompanist, I enjoyed some conversations with a Greek mezzo-soprano, surely passed away by now, named Elena Nikolaidi, and remarked to her that listening to Callas sing the afore-mentioned Verdi Bolero sent chills along my spine. Nikolaidi said, "You are responding to her artistry. But remember this about Callas: she had everything, and she died without anything."


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 03:21 PM

The dislike of Wagner for his anti-semitism does throw up the ever-present problem - discussed quite a lot on Mudcat - of the separation or non-separation of a creative artist from his or her personal life and beliefs
.,,.,.
Right on, Will. I can't see that the fact that Caravaggio was a feared drunken quarreler and duellist, culminating in his becoming a murderer and having to flee Rome under sentence of death until he contrived somehow a degree of pardon, detracts for a second from his "The Supper at Emmaeus" in the National Gallery, London, being one of the world's greatest paintings.

I am obviously not one to condone antisemitism; and as it happens Wagner is far from being one of my favourite composers (though my late wife and I did quite enjoy the ENO's The Flying Dutchman about 20 years ago); but that is because his music doesn't generally appeal to me — rather too portentous for my taste — not because of any opinions the man himself might have held.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Airymouse
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:01 PM

Oh good, another off-topic discussion. The Wagner problem is not restricted to music and painting. Pontryagin and Teichmuller were anti-semetic, and Teichmuller showed up at Emmy Noether's lectures in his (Brown Shirt) uniform. Of course, mathematics is held to a higher standard than the personal life of the mathematician who discovered it. In chemistry, Ernst Haber provides a more extreme example. He won the Nobel Prize for his process of fixing nitrogen ("Fix" is jargon for getting it in a usable compound, namely ammonia) Without Haber's invention Malthus would surely have been proven right. But Haber was also responsible for the production of Zyklon-B gas and its uses in both World Wars, and it is reasonable to presume that his wifew's suicide was on this account


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 05:17 PM

Much of Wagner's anti-semitism was actually anti-Meyerbeerism writ large - and most present-day listeners would go along with his evaluation of that overblown mediocrity.

Most of Wagner's output is just too long for me to fit in. The only one I've heard more than once is Tristan. I have always preferred really short operas (Bluebeard's Castle, L'Enfant et les Sortileges, Erwartung).

Most enthralling operas I've heard in recent years:

- Harry Partch's "Delusion of the Fury" (went to see that two nights running, never done that before)

- Dusapin's "Perela" (on CD) - wonderful orchestral sounds


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:23 PM

He was pretty unpleasant about Mendelssohn too, Jack, and I definitely do not go along with Wagner's evaluation of him.

The actual truth about Caravaggio is in dispute and likely always will be, so best leave him out of the mix.

It's just me, maybe, but I dislike the idea of listening to music which I know was composed or performed by antisemites or Nazi sympathisers. I struggled for a while with Richard Strauss, whose music I love, and decided that he was often unwise though not of Nazi sentiment. Likewise the conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who was an even more marginal case, combining stupidity with, in his case, naivety. It's notable that Yehudi Menuhin worked with him quite enthusiastically after the war. Carl Orff fails the test for me, as does Herbert Von Karajan, whose recordings, in my opinion, have in any case dated quite badly. Many other eminent figures refused to stay in Germany, and those who did stay had questions to answer about their art contributing to the Nazi cause, which it was Hitler's priority that it should and which they knew was happening. I don't have to love someone's politics or behaviour to love their music but I do have a sort of red line.


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:39 PM

Ah yes, the Haber process. A way of making cheap nitrogenous fertiliser (at huge energy cost) that destroys soil structure and beneficial soil bacteria and which causes erosion, and which produces third-rate food. That Haber!


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 07:50 PM

What a terrible thread hijack. Apologies! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 08:02 PM

To appreciate different styles or arts such as the opera, you kind of have to zone out from your "normal" life, forget who you are, and just submit to the sounds. It's kind of like meditation. You'll feel great afterwards.

_____________________________________________

Feel Great With Music and Herbs
http://www.amazon.com/Mucuna-pruriens-Extract-Vegetarian-Capsules/dp/B00KXD4NI4


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Subject: RE: Is Opera rubbish?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 08:21 PM

Well that won't do for me. If I'm listening to the greatest music I have to engage and concentrate. Each to his own I suppose.


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