Wednesday, January 25, 2006

EineKleine Rob on Opera

Seems there has been a bit of a furore on opera with EineKleine Rob and Anna of Rob makes an excellent case on opera, but the debate itself will probably strike some chords with people anyway.

For me, the point is that opera is so varied. Some I love; some I dislike (or haven't yet grown to appreciate). A good friend still hasn't quite forgiven me for not yet graduating to Wagner, being still a lover of Puccini - yes, I know, very adolescent, but Tosca remains an absolute favourite of mine, along with La Boheme. Sadly, I had to endure The Marriage of Figaro when I studied "The Enlightenment" module for the Open University. It didn't bring me out in the hives that repeated listening to Handel's Messiah did (if Handel hadn't have been long dead I would have surely located and assassinated him), but I certainly wasn't best chuffed with the guy. Thankfully, after many years I have gotten over my antipathy to Figaro, but it took some doing. It wasn't the music/opera per se, more the having to write an essay about it when I was so unable to match the musical terminology to what I was hearing (I have a similar problem with much terminology from poetry analysis: I think in that respect I am 'tone deaf').


Rob said...

Thank you for the kind words.

Over-analysis can kill the pleasure in anything, can't it? And why should you be expected to 'progress' from Puccini to Wagner? Are you then supposed to 'progress' from Wagner to Berg? Placido Domingo has sung various Wagnerian roles (and very well), but I don't suppose he considers Puccini beneath him!

Sorry you don't like "Messiah", but then for years it suffered from phoned-in performances in the Victorian tradition. As Ruth (Meanwhile Here In France) would doubtless point out, it doesn't have to be like that. You can find a piece of music boring until suddenly you hear a performance that isn't. I used to think Beethoven 7 was, to put it mildly, over-rated. Then I saw a live performance by the Academy of Ancient Music and had my socks well and trully knocked off.

Alan said...

Ah, but the great thing about The Messiah is that you get to have a little snigger during "All We Like Sheep".