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    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Hello from Austin, TX

    Hello, all! I've been lurking for a little while, to soak up what opera lovers are talking about these days. See, I've only been an addict for about a year.

    I've been a symphony addict since about 2000 when I started college, but never really thought I'd get into opera. Even though I loved choral orchestral works, and Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (and strangely Monteverdi's Orfeo which I got into during a medieval/Renaissance music phase), I didn't really think it was for me, I thought access to seeing high-quality productions was a financially insurmountable obstruction. (And frankly, I didn't know the level of stagecraft that is going on these days.)

    I tried to get into opera around 2010, to a.) remedy some blind-spots in my knowledge of my favorite composers, like Beethoven and Strauss, and b.) see what some contemporary composers were doing. The 3 productions that most made an impact on me were a Met Live in HD broadcast of Zefferelli's Turandot (the spectactle, the cinematic quality of the no-overture opening, and of course Nessun Dorma), the world premiere of Heggie's Moby-Dick in Dallas (my first live opera!), and a semi-staged "The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat" here in Austin.

    But several inert/bad stagings, and operas that I just wasn't really prepared for, put me off again. And I didn't really see anything for a few years until 2015. I heard about the Opera Platform starting up, and decided to make myself a little mini-festival of operas that were free online. I was hooked from the first one, "La Traviata" from Madrid with Ermonela Jaho. I felt like "WHY WASN'T I WATCHING MORE VERDI?!" (I had only ever seen a Met broadcast of Aida which sadly almost put me to sleep.) The other nails in the coffin were Peter Grimes (a long time fan of the Sea Interludes, I was so happy that the opera was even better than those excerpts), and the Met's broadcast of "La fille du regiment" (Florez' high Cs! Okay, I *get* opera singing now.) More recently, a University of Texas performance of Heggie's 'Three Decembers' really wowed me, because I didn't have to read the surtitles to understand what was sung. That immediacy is not always part of modern opera-going, and should be experienced more often.

    So, I've seen about 60 operas now. As you can probably tell, my taste is diverse. I have a bit of a formula to make sure my viewing is diverse. Basically, I don't want to wait another 5 years before I discover a whole genre (bel canto) that could be my next thing. Also, some composers like Mozart & Strauss don't really click with me 100%, but if I have a steady diet, I'm sure I'll get a better ear for them (it's worked before with Brahms' symphonies . My favorites so far are Handel, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner & Britten.

    I watch *exactly* 1 opera a week. This is important in maintaining the addiction. If I binge, I'll burn out, but with just 1 a week I feel sated for a few days and then by the 5th or 6th day I WANT MORE. I am close enough for day trips to Dallas or Houston for live opera (and there's a chamber group in San Antonio that I'm about to check out for the first time).

    And... I'm already addicted enough to plan my vacations around it. I'm going to Santa Fe in August to see all 5... and will probably make a 3-day quick trip to NY in November to see William Tell & Jenufa....

    Sound familiar to any of y'all? : )

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Great story Nemorino, and I admire your eclectic likes (I'm a Handel/Wagner/Britten/Verdi fan myself, Donizetti less; aldo not keen on Strauss but I am still persevering. And I think I know the Met Aida that put you to sleep - it nearly put both my children off for life too).

    Look forward to chatting to you in the future.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemorino View Post
    I've been a symphony addict since about 2000 when I started college, but never really thought I'd get into opera. Even though I loved choral orchestral works, and Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (and strangely Monteverdi's Orfeo which I got into during a medieval/Renaissance music phase), I didn't really think it was for me, I thought access to seeing high-quality productions was a financially insurmountable obstruction. (And frankly, I didn't know the level of stagecraft that is going on these days.)
    Welcome. Love your username! From one of my favourite operas.

    I started out similarly with orchestral music, then moving to choral works, and finally opera. The gateway for me was my favorite composer, Beethoven, and his one opera. That led to many operas and opera is most of what I listen to anymore (90% or so).
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Hi Nemorino, Welcome to Opera Lively!

    I was kind of unusual when I started college in already having something of a taste for classical music (thanks to music being a regular class like English or math all through public school...), albeit not particularly well developed or sophisticated. Dorm mates wondered about my taste in music, but I always reassured that it never would extend to opera.

    Well. I saw my first opera when I was 21 and left understanding why opera was a 'thing'. After moving to DC and discovering the Kennedy Center a couple of years later, I was hooked.

    Santa Fe is one of the great opera venues in the U.S. - have a great trip! Dallas Opera also does a nice job - I made the trip there a couple of years ago and saw Die Tote Stadt and Il Barbiere di Siviglia - I thoroughly enjoyed them and the Winspear is a beautiful opera house. I, too, am planning on a weekend in NY and seeing William Tell+.

    Btw, I always like to encourage folks to be sure and give Rossini's serious operas a listen!

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    FYI, Seattle Opera is performing Wagner's Flying Dutchman (Der fliegende Hollander) this May.
    Necessities of life: food, water, air, shelter, and opera.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemorino View Post
    Sound familiar to any of y'all? : )
    Oh yes, indeed it does!

    Welcome to the forum Nemorino. I'm looking forward to reading about your opera journey and the delights you encounter along the way.
    "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

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  11. #7
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Welcome to Opera Lively, Nemorino.

    You'll love Santa Fe. Post about your experiences there, once it happens!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Thanks! And I will check out Rossini's dramas. In fact, my local library has a really good Rossini DVD selection for some reason (it's lacking in almost all other areas, except Mozart). Can't wait!

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    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    it nearly put both my children off for life too).
    It wasn't the opera. It was the hunger.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Natalie

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