Archive for opera house

Search terms for 7 days ending 2011-05-09

Posted in Blog Stats, Culture, Food, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

More bizarre search terms that have been typed in by people probably not looking for this blog, but who ended up here anyway …

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Is Opera Dead?

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Opera is a particularly tricky genre to exploit nowadays when so many of its constituent parts have themselves mutated markedly over the past fifty years, yet the usual home for performances is a building whose traditions are better suited to an outmoded form of dramatic presentation. Opera, music drama, music theatre, or whatever, nearly always seems to be lagging behind present-day possibilities, not least because it’s usually stuck in these houses which belong to a different era.

The only opera I’ve heard close to its inception when I knew it was a masterpiece (and I speak as someone who grew up in the 1970s) was John Adams’ Nixon in China.

I always think that when people come out of performances scratching their heads, and saying, don’t know, what do you think, that bit with the flutes was nice, the performance has failed. It’s got to grab you, even if you don’t understand it all at a first hearing.

How I would love to have been present at those Britten or Shostakovich premieres.

What is opera, if not a flawed art form?

Why go to an opera house?

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Have you ever met anyone who greatly prefers to experience opera by listening to complete audio recordings at home as opposed to seeing the whole theatrical event in an opera house?

There seem to me to be two different breeds of opera goer, albeit with some overlap. There are those, like me, who basically go for the total experience, music, drama, and production, and we are often disappointed. The other group can accept shortcomings in some aspects, as long as the singing is good, in fact some opera fans are really just enthusiasts for their favourite singers, the voice is all.

It’s now some time since I went to ENO or Covent Garden, as I have endured so many perverse productions that I really cannot face any more. It would be nice if recorded opera made up for my loss, but recent offerings have been disappointing, mainly due to multi-mic balances and other forms of over-produced sound engineering. I still enjoy opera sets from the late fifties and sixties more than recent ones.

This is a very complex subject. Perhaps part of me rather resents the emphasis on opera at the expense of orchestral and chamber music, especially when you consider how few decent large concert halls we have in this country.

While the music is by far the most important part of opera for me, I still go to live opera as often as I can, despite the fact that I sometimes do not like the productions. The sound of live opera simply cannot be replaced for me. I have relatively good stereo equipment, but there is something completely different about the sound in the opera house and the thrill of hearing the orchestra and singers live. I love to see productions that enhance the music for me, but often I would simply be happy if the production did not make it hard for me to concentrate on the music.

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