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05 June 2015 @ 09:45 pm
I just watched Bedřich Smetana's The Bartered Bride for the first time tonight. This scene stood out for me for two reasons: Because the music will be familiar to those of us who have watched a lot of Looney Tunes shorts over the years, and... BEAR!
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Current Music: Smetana: The Bartered Bride (Dance of the Comedians)
11 June 2014 @ 06:15 pm
Richard Strauss was born 150 years ago today.
22 November 2013 @ 05:23 pm

One happier anniversary, though: Benjamin Britten was born 100 years ago today.
21 August 2013 @ 06:00 pm

After what he did in Dallas, I can expect no less in Colorado. :)
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
26 June 2013 @ 07:15 pm
Claudio Abbado
A happy 80th birthday to Claudio Abbado today!
29 April 2013 @ 12:37 pm

I even shared a birthday with him. RIP.
Let me just make it clear: I HATE opera.

You remember that screech of chalk on the blackboard that gave you goosebumps and made you cringe? A soprano hitting the high notes has the same effect on me. I had tried getting into it many years ago, having liked Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. But I eventually found myself turned off by the sometimes ridiculous and often overly melodramatic plots as well as the screaming, er, singing. Even my own mother and grandmother kept me turned off of it, describing it as something "that's always in another language and where the singers sound like they're screaming".

Now don't get me wrong. I love classical music. Give me Beethoven's Pastoral, Tchaikovsky's Pathetique, Mahler's Fifth, Shostakovich's Tenth, or some Brahms any day. But I have found one big exception to my operaphobia recently: Rossini's The Barber of Seville. And a big reason has to do with pop culture that I grew up with. Elmer Fudd chased Bugs Bunny around an opera stage to its overture in Rabbit of Seville. A big, fat opera singer kept getting disrupted by Bugs as he was trying to rehearse "Largo al factotum" in Long-Haired Hare. That very same aria was used in many other cartoon shorts as well.

Another reason is because it's comical. This opera was based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais, and is pretty much a romp throughout. The plot involves the attempt of Count Almaviva to woo the wealthy and beautiful Rosina, yet her guardian, Dr. Bartolo, wishes to marry her himself. Eventually, the Count wins the lady with the help of Figaro, a barber. His schemes create many laughs at the expense of Don Basilio.

Whenever I watch this, I forget that I hate opera. And if I'm ever given the chance to see it performed live, I'll probably give it a go.
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Rossini: The Barber of Seville Overture