Our good friend Mollie Fager (the executive director of The Dairy Center for the Arts) has a great rant up on the New West Network blog on “why opera rules” titled Opera: It’s Not for Wusses. In my endless effort to avoid wussness, I’m a believer.
The boulder arts blog
Opera: It’s Not for Wusses
By Mollie Fager, 6-27-06
sounds like poor Mollie doesn’t much like opera!
It’s MUCH better than Mollie lets on! She’s keeping the good
tickets for herself?
As usual, for the best stuff, just go right to the top, no
delay: Go for Mozart, Wagner, Puccini, and Verdi.
Mozart: Elegant, sublime, profound insight into the human
condition and human spirit, astoundingly effective musical
communication, often magical. From Papageno to Sarastro and
Puccini: Shockingly powerful communications of universal
emotions grabbing by the heart, the gut, lower still, from
remarkably few musical notes. Poor, poor lovable Mimi.
Rodolfo’s response of soaring emotions built on soaring
Verdi: Puccini on steroids, dressed up, refined, revised,
extended. Violetta passed through the ‘full range of
Wagner: From the sound of a ship crashing through a storm on
the North Sea, the elegant universal wedding march, the
astounding building orchestration of the Tannhauser Pilgrim’s
theme, to tender love, bombastic highs, and hellish lows of
‘The Ring’, much of it nicely summarized in the ‘Siegfried
Idyll’ birthday present, an intricate ‘modern music’ version
of love in ‘Tristan und Isolde’, and, again, the profound
majestic dignity of the astounding building orchestration and
development of the opening ‘ground theme’ in ‘Parsifal’.
It’s powerful music, high among the most powerful cases of
‘communication, interpretation of human experience, emotion’
we have, real crown jewels of civilization. Listen to this
music and conclude that many of one’s own most powerful
emotions have also been felt by others and are universal so
that we are not alone — tough not to do so.
But, from these and other composers of comparable
effectiveness, take mostly just their music and do not look
for comparable excellence in all of their thinking,
‘philosophy’, statements, writing, behavior, etc.!
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