All Time Coloratura

Seems like there's some opera malaise going around...


200 operas on worldwide shuffle? It's even worse than that, I think. I wouldn't be surprised if the 50 most popular operas accounted for 90% of all performances.

I see no reason for ennui, though. Even if I get sick of Madame Butterfly sometimes, I'd be sad if opera houses stopped programming it. And I think there's a lot of new opera being created, even if it sometimes goes under a different label (like "musical" or "performance art" or what have you).

Nothing replaces going to see opera live, but in my experience the internet opera community is very intense, and very open to new works. I enjoy reading parterre.com, even when it's very NYC-centric and detail-obsessed, because they bring a very irreverent sensibility to opera criticism. And, I think there's a wider variety of opera being shown now than ever before. 50 years ago baroque opera was almost never performed; now it's in regular rotation. Dusting off Massenet's back catalogue is a good thing. And a lot of capable directors are serving up the classics in interesting ways.

Back when I was getting into opera as a teenager I'd hear about Maria Callas' legendary Tosca and hope that maybe the arts channel would show clips on TV one day. Now I can find those clips on YouTube, along with scenes from productions all around the world. I'm finding it a very good time to be an opera lover.

I like your idea of bringing an opera sensibility into the culture at large. Please keep blogging; you have very interesting things to say.

Gordon Smith

I totally agree about mp3 opera. Very nasty!
But technology can bring a satisfying opera experience. And indeed open it up to huge audiences as demonstrated by the Met's HD Live initiative.
Actually, we are doing our small bit as well to make opera more widely known in our "Personal Opera House" that regularly showcases HD productions to a small jury, which subsequently comments on them and gives them a rating. Have a look at our site: www.operadou.info for more information about this initiative.

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