Saturday, October 06, 2007

What's Opera, Doc?

Today's a big day for me. I'm going to the opera. I have never been to the opera, I have never really had much interest in the opera. I have seen one opera - on PBS. It was Otello. Clearly it was Shakespeare that drew me to that, and it was sorta fun, but Jon Vickers in black face? Okay, no, not minstrel show black face but still - tell me there wasn't a single black man who could have sung that part. Really. What the hell is that about?

Sorry. That's an entirely other rant, and I won't go there.

Back to the opera. I'm seeing Don Giovanni today. I loves me some Mozart. I had my Mozart 101 in college. Not in a class but rather after class. The head of my drama department was a piano playin' prodigy and after the work day was done he would take advantage of the baby grand the school had and 'stored' on the stage when it wasn't being used for shows. Since I worked in the theater office and was, essentially, always there, I heard him playing and went to listen. It then became a regular thing. He'd play, I'd swoon because let's face it: I love the music and if someone can make it happen live in front of me I'm done for. He was a huge Mozart fan, which makes a lot of sense as he was quite young and so was ol' Wolfgang - there was a connection there. He had some very strong opinions on how Mozart should be played, and when he showed me the differences I had to agree he was right. Boy, could that man play the piano. Fabulous. *sigh* I wish I had parents who thought music lessons were worthwhile... okay, sorry, that's also another rant and I won't go there either.

Back to the opera again. I love Mozart, Don Giovanni written by same, seems like a good start point. We shall see.

I do feel at a distinct cultural disadvantage as my deepest opera experiences are related to 1) Bugs Bunny (shush, you know you like it too)

and 2) Moonstruck.

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm culturally illiterate. What can I say, I've done my best. I was raised on Long Island. Feel my frustration? Good. I hate to suffer alone.

So I'm off to 3 hours and 15 minutes of an art form I'm almost entirely new to, in a form (live) that is completely new to me. It may drive me nuts. I may leave at the first opportunity. Or I may find I'm a big opera queen. The main thing is giving it a try. I'm very big on trying new things - how else can we grow? And if you don't try something new how can you possibly say you don't like it? Okay, yeah you can say you don't like it: but it's an uninformed opinion. I like to be able to back up my dislikes. As well as my likes.

In my typical all-or-nothing fashion I am also scheduled to see Carmen tomorrow. I figured just dive in and if I don't like Don Giovanni, maybe I'll like Carmen. See, I'm giving opera a diligent try, because as Mae West said: I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.

Wish me luck, okay? The Opera. I'm going there.


Ladron de Basura said...

Don Giovanni is a good place to start for me, even if it's rather dark. Wagner would be the worst place to start, but then I'm a Jew with a short attention span and don't like women with horns on their heads. So take that with a grain of salt. I grew up in Oklahoma and Missouri, but my mother started dragging us to the opera and symphony around age 6 to make sure she was not raising her little ones to grow up to be hicks.

Joy said...

Ladron - Don G (look I'm all familiar now) was funnier than I anticipated, though with Mozart I should have expected it. I agree about Wagner, not appealing to me (with or without salt).

Salty Miss Jill said...

I love the opera I'm so jealous that you live in NYC and get to go...but I'm happier that you have this fabulous opportunity.

You will give us a full report, yes?

And, AW YEAH with the cartoon! 'What's Opera Doc' is on my virtual top ten list of favorite things of all time. :)

Joy said...

Salty Miss - 'K, here's my quickie report. Loved Don Giovanni, did not love Carmen. Since I'm such a novice I can't say that Carmen was less artfully produced but I can say that I definitely prefer Mozart to Bizet.

That said, despite not adoring Carmen I did stay through two intermissions, and with my predilection for escaping, given the teeniest opportunity, that says much.

If you're ever in NYC let me know and I'll see if I can swing you a seat at the Oprey. ;)

Carmen notwithstanding, I'm still loving the opera and baby, it is a huge shock to me!!!

Gary said...

OMG! I didn't know you could watch cartoons on YouTube. I feel like such a moroon. You have ruined me for my studies oh mighty hunter.