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  1. #1
    Junior Member Recent member Bertie Wooster's Avatar
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    Hello, Everybody!

    Hello, everybody! I am a twenty year male old living in Southwestern Missouri. I am pretty new to opera, having watched my first a year and a half to two years ago. I fell in love with opera after watching La Boheme (the film version with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon) on my phone late one night while my parents were away, and have been hooked ever since.

    I went to a school with an excellent choir and orchestra program from 4th-7th grade, and it was there that I was introduced to the glories of Classical music. Even in my newly discovered zeal for classical music, however, I had retained the popular "Eww - opera is weird!" mentality of my peers, opting instead for orchestral (and some choral) music. I sang soprano in the choir (later alto) and took up the cello. I did not take cello very seriously until about 9th or 10th grade, when I started taking lessons (you can tell if you hear me play).

    Though I had listened to lots of orchestral music and a little choral music (and the Messiah), I had not watched an opera (or heard more than an aria or two) until about two years ago. At that time, I decided that this was a cultural and musical experience I needed to have, so I opened my mind and made a YouTube search for Don Giovanni (the opera I knew most about), found one with English subtitles and agreeable scenery and costumes, and made my first foray into the world of opera. At the time I found it somewhat slow and boring, though with nice music and a fantastic climax. After a lapse of a few months, I watched Amahl and the Night Visitors, which had a much quicker pace and appealed to my regrettably short attention-span. Several more months passed by before that fateful night when I stumbled upon the aforementioned La Boheme while browsing videos of classical music on YouTube. Somewhere around the love duet at the end of Act I, I had passed the point of no return. I am not normally a very emotionally expressive person, but I'll just say that I was glad I was home alone when I watched it.

    I wanted to see more operas, but I still knew very little about opera, so I started doing online research to find the best versions to watch. This led me to Opera Lively (based on the Desert Island DVDs thread I watched Abbado's La Cenerentola, which I found utterly delightful).

    Around this time, I made my very first opera purchases: a cassette tape of Pavarotti hits, another of Christina Deutekom Scenes and Arias, and Kathleen Battle Sings Mozart, all at thrift stores (so much cheaper than iTunes!), which I listen to periodically in my car (among other genres...). Then, I found a VHS of Don Giovanni at a Flea Market for a dollar (yes, I still have a VCR), which got me to thinking what operas I could find on eBay. There, I bought MacBeth (Claude d'Anna's film version with Shirley Verrett and Leo Nucci) on VHS, and I just recently purchased a DVD of Dvorak's Rusalka (2014 Met with Renee Fleming) which I am really excited about, but have not yet had a chance to watch. Do you know what that means? I now have my first ever Unwatched Pile (albeit with only two items: Rusalka and Don Giovanni)!

    In the last couple of months I have been reading forums on this site with increasing regularity, and tonight I finally got around to becoming a member. I hope I can provide some sort of positive input or insight to Opera Lively.

    I am currently in college with a Philosophy major, Biblical Studies concentration, and Music minor. I play in the University Orchestra and am taking voice lessons for the first time. I am also starting a string quartet next semester (I'm so excited!).

    Well, that's all I can think of. I'd be happy to answer any questions!

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Festat's Avatar
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    Welcome! Hope to see you around. That Cenerentola is really some of the best there is. Never fails to put me in a good mood.

    Easy (and free!) way to find opera with English subs, check regularly The Opera Platform. Also, search YouTube and DailyMotion, they have a bunch of complete performances there! We even have a thread for them. A lot of opera houses are live streaming some of their performances too. So stay tuned and you'll get a daily fix without having to decide whether that DVD of an opera you don't even know if you like or not is worth your 40 bucks.

  3. #3
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertie Wooster View Post
    Hello, everybody! I am a twenty year male old living in Southwestern Missouri. I am pretty new to opera, having watched my first a year and a half to two years ago. I fell in love with opera after watching La Boheme (the film version with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon) on my phone late one night while my parents were away, and have been hooked ever since.

    I went to a school with an excellent choir and orchestra program from 4th-7th grade, and it was there that I was introduced to the glories of Classical music. Even in my newly discovered zeal for classical music, however, I had retained the popular "Eww - opera is weird!" mentality of my peers, opting instead for orchestral (and some choral) music. I sang soprano in the choir (later alto) and took up the cello. I did not take cello very seriously until about 9th or 10th grade, when I started taking lessons (you can tell if you hear me play).

    Though I had listened to lots of orchestral music and a little choral music (and the Messiah), I had not watched an opera (or heard more than an aria or two) until about two years ago. At that time, I decided that this was a cultural and musical experience I needed to have, so I opened my mind and made a YouTube search for Don Giovanni (the opera I knew most about), found one with English subtitles and agreeable scenery and costumes, and made my first foray into the world of opera. At the time I found it somewhat slow and boring, though with nice music and a fantastic climax. After a lapse of a few months, I watched Amahl and the Night Visitors, which had a much quicker pace and appealed to my regrettably short attention-span. Several more months passed by before that fateful night when I stumbled upon the aforementioned La Boheme while browsing videos of classical music on YouTube. Somewhere around the love duet at the end of Act I, I had passed the point of no return. I am not normally a very emotionally expressive person, but I'll just say that I was glad I was home alone when I watched it.

    I wanted to see more operas, but I still knew very little about opera, so I started doing online research to find the best versions to watch. This led me to Opera Lively (based on the Desert Island DVDs thread I watched Abbado's La Cenerentola, which I found utterly delightful).

    Around this time, I made my very first opera purchases: a cassette tape of Pavarotti hits, another of Christina Deutekom Scenes and Arias, and Kathleen Battle Sings Mozart, all at thrift stores (so much cheaper than iTunes!), which I listen to periodically in my car (among other genres...). Then, I found a VHS of Don Giovanni at a Flea Market for a dollar (yes, I still have a VCR), which got me to thinking what operas I could find on eBay. There, I bought MacBeth (Claude d'Anna's film version with Shirley Verrett and Leo Nucci) on VHS, and I just recently purchased a DVD of Dvorak's Rusalka (2014 Met with Renee Fleming) which I am really excited about, but have not yet had a chance to watch. Do you know what that means? I now have my first ever Unwatched Pile (albeit with only two items: Rusalka and Don Giovanni)!

    In the last couple of months I have been reading forums on this site with increasing regularity, and tonight I finally got around to becoming a member. I hope I can provide some sort of positive input or insight to Opera Lively.

    I am currently in college with a Philosophy major, Biblical Studies concentration, and Music minor. I play in the University Orchestra and am taking voice lessons for the first time. I am also starting a string quartet next semester (I'm so excited!).

    Well, that's all I can think of. I'd be happy to answer any questions!
    What ho pip pip old chap and welcome to OL!
    Natalie

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  5. #4
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Welcome, Bertie. I hope participating in this site only furthers your growing love of opera.

  6. #5
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Hello Bertie and welcome to the forum! What a wonderful start to your opera journey and I envy you your lifetime of exploration. I loved your 'point of no return' - once this happens you have to accept that opera is a part of your life.

    There are as many differences of opera opinions as there are opera fans and I look forward to hearing about your discoveries.
    "The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland."
    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  7. #6
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    Some operas I consider must watch are Il Trittico by Puccini and Rigoletto by Verdi (There's a nice version on YouTube with subtitles starring Pavarotti and Wixell). These are my favourite operas and Il Trittico is perfect for those of a short attention span containing as it does 3 brilliant one hour operas and Rigoletto is just awesome in general. In addition if you liked Villazon and Netrebko's Boheme try their La Traviata its also on you-tube with subtitles and is a fascinating production. Also the Met On Demand is quite a cost effective way to explore a lot of the main repertory (as long as you watch a lot of opera). Its about 15 dollars a month but the first week is free and if you watch 4 operas a month it balances out quite nicely. I myself am even newer to opera but have dived into the deep end somewhat and since watching my first in May or June have watched/heard about 30 different operas and one operetta since "with all except one online".
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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  9. #7
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Hi Bertie,
    Welcome to OL! This is a great forum, with lots of knowledgeable folks with a passion for opera. I got my first taste when I was 21, so about your age - I am retired now, but opera, quite unexpectedly, has provided a lifetime of pleasure.

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  11. #8
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Welcome to Opera Lively, Bertie. It's such a pleasure to read a story like yours! I hope you enjoy the site and our community and continue to develop your passion for opera.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  13. #9
    Junior Member Recent member Bertie Wooster's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone!

    In response to Festat, I have found the Complete Operas on YouTube thread and it has been useful. I was excited to find several Russian operas on YouTube (I am learning Russian) and I might watch Boris Godunov next (I listened to the overture and loved it).

    In response to Povero Buoso, I will look into the Met on Demand, but right now I don't know how much use I would get out of it. I have been working a lot over Christmas break and my class load next semester is rather heavy. Also, that is an impressive number of operas! I think I have seen twelve or thirteen complete operas (I have a list somewhere).

    Oh, and to Soave Fanciulla, what ho?

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  15. #10
    Senior Member Veteran Member Povero Buoso's Avatar
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    In regard to Russian operas first stop has to be Eugene Onegin! It is a beautiful opera and is easily the most performed Russian work in the repertory (with good reason). It has beautiful roles for soprano,tenor and baritone and other voice types get arias or duets at different points as well that are also exquisite. All in all its a definite highlight that should be watched!
    "Non sono in vena" Rodolfo summing up P.B's feelings on his dissertation.

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