Sam's annual opera thread

13

Replies

  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,957 Senior Member
    Meanwhile in Japan, there be Noh.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o--VbWf6M0c

    Just say no to noh.

    Socks with sandals? :uhm::nono::tooth:
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 19,288 Senior Member
    I think you need to be very conversant with Japanese culture to "get" that. Understanding failed for me when the first actress/dancer/??? threw her fan. Why throw props????
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • shushshush Senior Member Posts: 6,259 Senior Member
    Meanwhile in Japan, there be Noh.

    I see your Noh and raise you one;


    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTC-Ms7wYnA4tW06cIJXlmyxm6PfhQJlHvOaFpmZKED3VlmQy3AWg

    Or;

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR9joCvfJO53HIwNnBztnQjjM0eBSW42cYicJe1vF2Idt1PRV7H

    cjp wrote: »..... Oh dear God, I've admitted to liking something Limey.I'll never hear the end of this.

    Jayhawker wrote: »...But seriously Shush....

    Big Chief wrote: ».........walking around with a greasy butt ain't no fun, though!

     


     

  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    Speaking of Bugs Bunny, "The Rabbit of Seville" was GREAT! :up:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXCULR2wO-A

    That's always a fun treat. Thanks!

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Very interesting observation. Many of the same types of observations can be made of operas as well. Trite, repetitive music, comic book plots. Yep check, check, and check. I remember the snooty vocalists at school as well. Turning their noses up at musicals while Opera continues its slow death as a musical form. There is not an Opera today that can hold a candle to the ticket sales of a Broadway musical. And Classical musicians wonder why no one comes to see their stuff anymore. Contempt for ones fan base does a lot to turn away possible fans.

    Er, hey, the opera where I used to sing just sold out all their performances. They were so popular they added a 6th performance per opera and those sold out too. And sold the tickets to regular people. Classical concerts are mostly fully sold. Opera too.

    And also musicals, for sure. There's a market for both. I just don't care that much for the fairly limited vocal range of the musical performers or the modestly set of musical themes that Broadway offers.

    Mozart is the tops for a reason - he's the best.

    I don't know where you got the idea that opera was doing the slow death thing. Opera companies are thriving. When did you learn about classical musicians where "no one comes to see their stuff"? Houston Symphony mostly sells out, also the several orchestra seasons here from the universities, as well as their opera and ballet theaters.

    And sure, Broadway offerings are well supported here as well. There's a vigorous market for both.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    How's your rendition of Nena's 99 Luftballons? That would at least get you current. . .sort of. . .to 1983. . .

    Er, no. I do read German modestly, have however forgotten too much of it to really get along nicely. Most of my German knowledge these past few years has been via learning arias from Magic Flute, "O Isis und Osiris" (bass) and "Ein Madchen" (baritone). My knowledge of French and Italian (and Latin) is very sketchy, some words and phrases here and there.

    When I first started learning German we had to also learn the old style Fraktur type. But that's gone now, only used for "official looking" documents and such, similar to ornate script you see in proclamations and diplomas in English.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    zorba wrote: »
    Why does your makeup itch? Some kind of sensitive skin?

    Well, since we mostly used hypoallergenic makeup, mostly Ben Nye brand, it's usually not a problem. But the stage lights are hot and you tend to sweat, and that makes your face itchy, and it's tempting to reach up and scratch, which will smear the makeup. So you keep a kleenex handy and just dab without swiping.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    I don't know where you got the idea that opera was doing the slow death thing. Opera companies are thriving. When did you learn about classical musicians where "no one comes to see their stuff"? Houston Symphony mostly sells out, also the several orchestra seasons here from the universities, as well as their opera and ballet theaters.

    Just a couple of articles for your perusal.
    http://issaquahtimes.com/2011/06/02/symphonies-declaring-bankruptcy-nationwide/

    http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/mar/28/classical-operatic-death/#

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/19/san-diego-opera-to-shut-down/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304373104579109623037365300

    Sam I am a classically trained musician with a BM in music, with an emphasis on orchestral performance. I have played with four symphonies. I know a little something about the state of classical music in this country. You may have a snapshot of something going on in Huston, but classical music is dying a slow death in this country. You might also note that Huston is home of Rice, which has a very noted School of Music. Huston will be an outlier due to it's size and firm music foundation. I have not been to a packed orchestral performance in over 10 years. The Major Symphonies, and opera houses may continue to thrive due to their fame, but more companies and orchestras close yearly.
    It's because I hate Trump.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 19,288 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Well, since we mostly used hypoallergenic makeup, mostly Ben Nye brand, it's usually not a problem. But the stage lights are hot and you tend to sweat, and that makes your face itchy, and it's tempting to reach up and scratch, which will smear the makeup. So you keep a kleenex handy and just dab without swiping.

    Ok, now I got it. Its really hard not to wipe/scratch when your face is covered with sweat! Instant makeup destruction.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • SlanteyedshootistSlanteyedshootist Senior Member Posts: 3,947 Senior Member
    zorba wrote: »
    I think you need to be very conversant with Japanese culture to "get" that. Understanding failed for me when the first actress/dancer/??? threw her fan. Why throw props????

    It's a ninja thing.
    The answer to 1984 is 1776
  • SlanteyedshootistSlanteyedshootist Senior Member Posts: 3,947 Senior Member
    shush wrote: »
    I see your Noh and raise you one;


    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTC-Ms7wYnA4tW06cIJXlmyxm6PfhQJlHvOaFpmZKED3VlmQy3AWg

    Or;

    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR9joCvfJO53HIwNnBztnQjjM0eBSW42cYicJe1vF2Idt1PRV7H

    So that's a Noh Noh?
    The answer to 1984 is 1776
  • SlanteyedshootistSlanteyedshootist Senior Member Posts: 3,947 Senior Member
    My German is limited to "I know nothink!" and "Vewwy intewesting, but shtupid.".
    The answer to 1984 is 1776
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    zorba wrote: »
    Ok, now I got it. Its really hard not to wipe/scratch when your face is covered with sweat! Instant makeup destruction.

    Like most stages, the lights are bright and hot. And being very smart, the house tends to direct the AC toward the paying audience instead of the performers. And backstage in the wings or the dressing rooms, it's sticky and pretty close quarters, too.

    It takes a lot of willpower to not automatically scratch a facial itch and therefore smear the makeup. Most backstages, you'll find a box of kleenex at each stage entrance for the performers to do a quick "pat down" but not smear.

    For those who don't know, stage makeup is of two types -- normal and special effect (like a scar or zombie or whatever). All standard stage performers in plays, musicals, operas, etc use standard makeup. This is because stage lights are bright and flatten out the actor's facial features and so a small amount of makeup compensates for this. Also, makeup emphasizes the eyes and mouth which are the principal ways actors display emotion, and you need to convey these aspects to the audience. Without makeup, you're essentially expressionless to the audience.

    Lots of performers use "Ben Nye" for their makeup. All BN makeup is hypoallergenic and doesn't stain clothing very easily. It's fine quality and not expensive, so it's a keen thing to use. BN also has a vast supply of makeup kits and they're custom tailored for each type of skin tone. Google "Ben Nye" and just scan thru their huge catalogue. Amazing.

    For example, they make basic kits with combo foundation, eyeliner, lipstick, cheek rouge, etc, and you can buy them for "Fair skin Caucasian male" or "Dark skin Asian female" or "Medium skin African-American female" and so on. The kits cost maybe 20-30 bucks and give you all the basics.

    Zorba, I think you'll verify this... First you must have your face scrubbed clean. Then apply a very light coat of foundation over your whole face, including ears. This provides an even skin tone, and takes away the skin shine that reflects the bright stage lights too much. Then apply a very light line of underliner beneath the eye, and a lighter touch above the eye, on the underlid. Next, a small smudge of rouge on the cheek, blend it in, and a small touch of highlighter (if needed) on the forehead, below the cheeks, and across the jawline (unless you've got facial hair). Finally, a very light puff of makeup-grade talcum to further reduce shine.

    If you'll check the faces of the men and women on the stage shot I posted, you can see that mine and the others' makeup is almost invisible. EXCEPT the "Count" to my left. But he's deliberately wearing the sort of formal facial makeup that nobility wore in the 18th century. But the other characters' makeup is barely noticeable. Which is the object, to compensate for the bright stage lights that flatten out the facial aspects, and the makeup fixes this. (see post #42)

    And a Halloween note: Ben Nye makes these great little one-shot makeup kits for use. Costs maybe 15 bucks each, contains special stuff for each type of character, such as "Zombie" or "Vampire" or "Ghoul" or whatever. Includes the needed "stitches" for Frankenstein's monster, and so on. They're sold at costume shops and are on a rack, the kit includes all the needed special makeup plus instructions. And all is top quality hypoallergenic, too. Just look for "Ben Nye" brand and you can't go wrong. Works for kids and adults both, a lot easier than trying to do your own stuff and making a mess.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 6,045 Senior Member
    Never been to a performance but do listen to German and Italian operas. For music, Mozart is a wonderful listen. When it comes to the singing, I prefer Italian. The language is more melodic my ear. I can listen to complete performances but mostly I enjoy certain singers. So what I will listen to more often than operas, are albums of arias by performers I enjoy. In no particular order:

    Cecilia Bartoli
    Joan Sutherland
    Maria Callas
    Renata Tebaldi
    Rene Fleming
    Fritz Wunderlich
    Jose Carreras
    Jussi Bjorling
    Pavarotti
    Placido Domingo
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Just a couple of articles for your perusal.
    etc etc.

    Good stuff for me to read about, thanks for the heads up.

    Here the fine arts are thriving (as well as other popular arts). Maybe it's more that Houston is economically better off than many other cities and disposable incomes are therefore greater? I dunno.

    But I'll read the links and report back.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    Sam, I love some of this already. Pavarottiti was one of my very favorite singers of all time. Mario Lanza was another one. Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, are still great today as is one of my very favorites, Andrea Bocelli. I could go on but it's straining my brain to pull all that out of my memory that's been buried there for years. I don't know if i could sit through an Opera being sung in Italian or French, maybe I could stay awake if it was in German, but I know any of these Tenors I've listed can hold my attention for hours.

    Anyone who's seen supertitles used in an opera (and yeah, they're used a lot in English language musicals these days, too), can attest that the things are quick to get used to.

    Thing is, like ANY song (rock, CW, Broadway musical, opera, whatever) the lyrics are mostly repeated. I wanna have you baby! I wanna have you have you have you have you..... baaaaaby!

    So you simply glance up and see "I wanna have you baby" and then listen to it being repeated a few times. This works for opera and for rock and roll.

    And yeah, the lyrics do matter, but the music can be the driving force. After all, consider, mmm, hearing Eric Clapton. Sure, you hear the lyrics but it's his awesome guitar licks that sustain the tune, right? It's the same for opera, plus the singer's voice.

    Now, we all hear parodies of opera singers via cartoons and dumb TV shows, and the "singers" are of course awful, intentionally. But listening to a major classical singer who's in good voice, and who's singing a terrific "song" (aria) can be stirring (in a good way, ha ha). When I hear Figaro sing "My little count, you will dance to my tune" the bouncy tune and the humor and sarcasm come through nicely. When I hear Papageno sing about wanting a girlfriend or he'll have to just go and hang himself (in a very funny song, honest) you laugh and smile. And when I hear Rigoletto spew forth hatred for the Duke and listen to the anger and power in his murderous plan, it's chilling: "Now, my great and mighty Duke, you're mine! My foot is on your neck, your blood on my hands! Victory is mine! Vengeance is mine!" and if it's delivered with power and skill, it's awesome.

    Just like ANY good music.

    But as anyone knows, bad music is sickening, regardless of what type of music it is. Problem with opera, there are no mikes and therefore no autotuners or electronic enhancement at all, none. It's the voice alone, and if you're in a big hall, you really have to push it. No amps, no speakers. Just you on stage. And also, in opera, the actual music is more demanding.

    For example, the average untrained voice is about 3/4 octave. Mine, after a couple years of private lessons (and having pretty good pipes to start with) is 3+ octaves, and top rate pro opera singers can do 5-6 octaves, with power and with perfect tones, no screeching or warbling or goofy stuff, really clean and sharp tones, top to bottom. It ain't easy, dudes.

    So my point is, it's a helluva lot easier to screw up singing opera than it is other vocals. Not to mention that the tune you're gotta sing are also more demanding. In my "moneymaker" aria "Alla Vita" (all the people) from Verdi's "Masked Ball", I go from a high F or G (above C) down to a low G. And it has to be delivered with power and spot on the note.

    Anyway, as I said, opera is definitely an acquired taste, like scotch. Most people won't likely enjoy it. But the original intent of my post is that if you (not you personally, snake) get sort-of pushed into an opera, try to pick one from the list (all are popular except for the modern one) and you may be in for a fairly unique evening, not too shabby, kinda fun because it's a new thing to try. Is all.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,957 Senior Member
    My German is limited to "I know nothink!" and "Vewwy intewesting, but shtupid.".

    Sgt. Schultz from "Hogan's Heroes".

    Arte Johnson from "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In".

    Posting that makes me feel older than dirt. :tooth:
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    LMLarsen wrote: »
    You say that, and yet continue to marginalize every opinion in this thread that is counter to your own.

    No, I didn't. I just disagree with the assessment that opera is stupid or that G&S are terrific. Many folks think otherwise, fine. But criticism needs to come from a basis of knowing the facts, not just blowing smoke (as the ancient Romans said).

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    BAMAAK wrote: »
    Usually about 200 lbs of female flesh.

    Er, check the gals in the photo I pasted.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Sam

    I like
    Tosca
    Various Works by Wagner
    Aida
    Carmen
    Among others. I tend to like the larger works of the Romantic period, rather than the Classical or Baroque. I usually do not listen to entire works. I have certain arias or overtures I enjoy. The rest bores me.

    Tosca is another opera that I enjoy. Aida is sadly too often butchered. Why that particular opera gets the rag treatment so often, I don't know. Carmen is one I listed. And Wagner? My liking for Wagner is sketchy. I find it a bit ponderous at times. But many opera fans love him.

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,993 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    Speaking of Bugs Bunny, "The Rabbit of Seville" was GREAT! :up:

    And Charles M. Jones is a god that walks the earth.:worthy:

    I'm not sure if those old cartoons gave me an appreciation for classical or ruined it for me . . .I can't hear The Barber of Seville without expecting to see electric clippers get blasted with a shotgun.

    It's probably good that "Kill da Wabbit" is counterbalanced by the air assault scene from Apocalypse Now. Thanks to Warner Bros., Wagner would probably have ZERO respect today if not for the victorious smell of napalm.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,827 Senior Member
    jaywapti wrote: »
    Having seen a few operas, some i liked, others bored me to tears.



    I have to add Josh Groban to the list, when i'm driving cross country, i can burn out a CD listening to him ,though i dont understand a thing he's singing.



    JAY

    Yeah I like him too!
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • shushshush Senior Member Posts: 6,259 Senior Member
    So that's a Noh Noh?


    More your Zen Zen, I think.

    cjp wrote: »..... Oh dear God, I've admitted to liking something Limey.I'll never hear the end of this.

    Jayhawker wrote: »...But seriously Shush....

    Big Chief wrote: ».........walking around with a greasy butt ain't no fun, though!

     


     

  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,607 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I'm a grown ass man and still laugh at farts.

    Anyone who doesn't think a fart is funny is too 'high class' for their own good. If we can't retain some of our childishness, what is there to live for?
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 19,288 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    My liking for Wagner is sketchy.

    I find Wagner interesting - after all, who else wrote an opera that goes for 24+ hours?
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    zorba wrote: »
    I find Wagner interesting - after all, who else wrote an opera that goes for 24+ hours?

    Problem is, the ponderous music makes it seem to last 4 days!

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Never been to a performance but do listen to German and Italian operas. For music, Mozart is a wonderful listen. When it comes to the singing, I prefer Italian. The language is more melodic my ear. I can listen to complete performances but mostly I enjoy certain singers. So what I will listen to more often than operas, are albums of arias by performers I enjoy. In no particular order:

    Cecilia Bartoli
    Joan Sutherland
    Maria Callas
    Renata Tebaldi
    Rene Fleming
    Fritz Wunderlich
    Jose Carreras
    Jussi Bjorling
    Pavarotti
    Placido Domingo

    Nice list! Bjorling (called the "Swedish" Caruso) sadly drank himself to death. Pavarotti ate himself into an early grave. Sigh.

    Domingo has done it right, turning his singing career into conducting and producing. He's also a great guy.

    Callas I never liked, too much vibrato.

    Bartoli is terrific. She's one of the best recent lyric and dramatic semi-mezzos, and a very good person as well. What kept her from the full top rank is that her voice, although beautiful, lacks the immense power needed for large venues (the Metropolitan in NYC is the largest indoor opera house in the world).

    Rene Fleming is one of my alltime faves. Phenom voice and she's also a terrific person, which really helps. And a cutie.

    I'd add the Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel. Naturally I emulate baritones more than tenors, being a bass-baritone myself. We'd joke that tenors are able to sing the higher notes because they've got an empty resonance cavity in their heads, mostly the space between the ears!

    Our acting coaches would also caution us to not gesture too much when singing, a "malady" that's called in the biz, "tenor hands".

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 6,045 Senior Member
    Yeah I would love to have been able to hear Bjorling live or at least with today's recording technology. I love Pavarotti but Bjorling is my absolute favorite. The one person (it's rumored) that Pavarotti wished he could sing like was Jussi.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 19,288 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Problem is, the ponderous music makes it seem to last 4 days!

    Nah, best 24 hours of sleep I ever had! :silly:
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Just a couple of articles for your perusal.
    etc etc.

    Thanks for the links, tuba. I admit to being kinda surprised because the fine arts are thriving here in Houston. Maybe it's simply because the general economy here is also robust and this means lots of disposable income.

    Our major opera company, Houston Grand Opera, had a magnificent "house" build totally on private funds, zero tax or public money except that the city donated the 2 square blocks of property. And HGO is at near sellouts for their season.

    Even the small opera company where I performed has increased their season from 4 performance per production to 8, and near sellouts there, too.

    This past Sunday, girlfriend & I saw their production of Rigoletto and it was superb. A small house but 'legit" -- performing in full costume and sets (even though the sets are very modest) and with a small orchestra (a damn good one!) in original language. We really liked the show, good singing AND fine acting, first rate voices all. We're coming back to see their Carmen in the spring.

    As I say, I can't speak to the articles you provided me -- thanks by the way -- because Houston is buzzing, not just in its major concert venues, but smaller scale too. The chorale I used to sing for is always near sellout -- they're doing Carmina Burana in May 2015 -- and there are 4 ballet/classical dance groups in addition to the quite good Houston Ballet. Plus 3 small opera companies, plus our local colleges each have classical concert programs.

    And of course, Broadway and conventional theater is booming here too, a new theater group opened last year and they're doing fine. And naturally, rock and pop groups always tour thru Houston to sellout crowds.

    Hey, move to Houston, dude! Play for HGO or the Houston Symphony, teach horn on the side? ha ha

    Later...

    Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
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