Thread: Opera Small Talk

          
   
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  1. #196
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    If only there were a way to combine the two . . .

  2. #197
    treemaker
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    Alma, how do you know these things? Do you have an encyclopedic knowledge of names and faces of opera stars of various countries? Did you find some caption somewhere that told you who that woman was? Interesting.

  3. #198
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    eerm, just go to the original Youtube video.

    But Alma never forgets a cleav....I mean face.
    Natalie

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  5. #199
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treemaker View Post
    Do you have an encyclopedic knowledge of names and faces of opera stars of various countries?
    Only the cute ones!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  6. #200
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    I find it sad, but I'm willing to forgive a lot if the performance as a whole is satisfactory. Or if I have a warm fuzzy feeling about the singer.
    Natalie

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  8. #201
    Schigolch
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    Failing to reach a note is something very common in live theater, and not only by tenors and high Cs...

    There are also many different types of operatic fans. Indeed, there are some that are first and foremost lovers of the operatic voice, and they are more willing to suffer (or enjoy) with this kind of accidents.

    Personally, I don't think this is really important... if the singer is failing just one high (or low) note. It's a quite different picture if the singer is failing a lot of notes, of course.

  9. #202
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schigolch View Post
    Failing to reach a note is something very common in live theater, and not only by tenors and high Cs...

    There are also many different types of operatic fans. Indeed, there are some that are first and foremost lovers of the operatic voice, and they are more willing to suffer (or enjoy) with this kind of accidents.

    Personally, I don't think this is really important... if the singer is failing just one high (or low) note. It's a quite different picture if the singer is failing a lot of notes, of course.
    True. It's live theater like you said; people may have days that are not their ideal days, some throat congestion, or just lose track a bit of how to manage their voices throughout the entire evening to survive all the difficult parts.

    When I said I find it awful, I meant, largely, awful for the singer, I cringe and feel sorry for him/her. I don't enjoy it, like the quote implies.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  11. #203
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    When I said I find it awful, I meant, largely, awful for the singer, I cringe and feel sorry for him/her. I don't enjoy it, like the quote implies.
    This is also my reaction.

  12. #204
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    An interesting piece of information, from Opera America: the most produced operas in the United States last season:

    Title Composer # of Productions
    The Marriage of Figaro Mozart 21
    La bohème Puccini 20
    Carmen Bizet 16
    Tosca Puccini 13
    La traviata Verdi 13
    Madama Butterfly Puccini 11
    The Magic Flute Mozart 11
    Hansel and Gretel Humperdinck 11
    The Elixir of Love Donizetti 10
    Don Giovanni Mozart 10
    The Barber of Seville Rossini 10
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  13. #205
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    OK, I'm reading this book, "Who is my bottom?" by Christopher Gillett, and I fail to see what other members liked about it. Is it funny? Well, it is, if one's idea of funny is fart jokes and details about how he needed to take a dump in the loo when he arrived in Tokyo. Is it pleasant to read? No, the author seems bitter, mean-spirited, and frankly, mediocre. It's always someone else's fault when he doesn't perform well (or some bug's fault), and he says detrimental things about other musicians - such as how he puts down composer Tan Dun for not having confirmed him for the third production of Tea after he created the role in Japan and repeated it in Europe. Well, maybe it was because he didn't sing the role so well (like at one point he seems to half-acknowledge).

    Well, I happen to think that Tan Dun has a considerable amount of talent, so I tend to doubt the self-serving assessment the author puts forward. He seems to have a bad opinion of the opera public as well (in the quote that I have mentioned earlier in this thread, about opera audiences vying for seeing a singer fail).

    What is most irritating is his self-deprecation, which seems, well, rather fake. He seems to deep inside think highly of himself and keeps pretending over and over that he's showing his weaknesses, but in a way that would lead (at least, that's what he seems to desire) the reader to actually side with him and believe that he is very talented but was unfairly treated.

    Well, I'm not so sure. I don't buy it. He doesn't seem to have enjoyed a major career - is he really talented and didn't make it due to unfairness, or is he just mediocre and didn't make it due to lack of merit? Reading this, I'd rather guess the latter.

    In my opinion, his major weakness that comes across in this book is not the ones he tries to show in his anecdotes about the rehearsals, etc., but rather, a personality disorder - he seems envious of the success of others, and bitter.

    What is the fun of reading such an account? I'm puzzled. Please you guys who loved this book, explain to me why I should feel more positive about it, if possible.

    By the way, I'm watching a documentary about Tan Dun and the making of Tea at the World Premiere in Tokyo, the one Mr. Gillett participated in, and it is all very fascinating, showing a much different picture than the one Mr. Gillett wants to convey in his book.



    So, of course, people like or dislike a book for different reasons, and Natalie has already brought my attention to the fact that I somehow have low tolerance for sillyness (such as the fart jokes).

    But I'm actually quite puzzled, so please, those who liked the book, defend it a little so that I can get a clearer picture of the merits of it (which so far I can't see - I'm on page 64, half of it - it's got about 130 pages and by now I'm regretting the money I spent on it and doubting that I will read it until the end).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  14. #206
    Senior Member Involved Member AnaMendoza's Avatar
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    I'm scared.

    Going to see the HD Traviata tonight--that's exciting. Meeting my sister there--that's great. She's gotten hooked on opera, this last year. The short version is, that just a year ago, she being in her 60s, her opera knowledge consisted of a liking for the Three Tenors. Then came the HD Il Trovatore last spring. It was a revelation to her--the revelation being that it's not just pretty singing, it's the singers creating characters, and the music intensifying the emotions, and the emotions, love, loss, rejoicing, being universal, even though the plots might be improbable. (All this, more or less, her words.) Since then, she's seen Die Walküre, Madama Butterfly, Don Carlos, Anna Bolena, Siegfried, Don Giovanni, Rodelinda, Faust, The Enchanted Island, Ernani, Götterdämmerung, and Manon in the Met broadcasts, as well as Turandot and Carmen on DVD. Forgive me for the gloating--this is a success story of epic proportions, I feel.

    So, this last year, she's worked hard on enticing other family members to their first opera. And, the plan is to have another sister join us tonight, and our adult niece, and maybe another sister. Now, I'd consider La Traviata just about the perfect opera for a novice, but I don't feel at all confident that the production is the best one for a novice, and I worry about the state of Natalie Dessay's voice. And I don't even know if my sisters will show up! Well, we'll see....

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  16. #207
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    You shouldn't fear. It's a very good production and Natalie was fine. Not perfect, but fine enough. Matthew and Dmitri were good too.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  17. #208
    Senior Member Involved Member AnaMendoza's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reassurance. Perfect isn't necessary.

  18. #209
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Congratulations on being such a successful 'opera missionary'! I'm sure they will love it. Really jealous.
    "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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  20. #210
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    OK, I'm soldiering on and reading "Who's my Bottom?"
    I definitely don't like this guy. One of the words most repeated in the book is "fart." On top of this he's got a huge obsession with bodily functions. I wonder why I should find an interest in learning about his burping and his stomach growling or his crapping and that of his landlord's cat. Or a a dog that pees and poops. Or his diarrhea by food poisoning when he was supposed to have a romantic encounter with his lover. Eww.

    He disparages Sir Georg Solti and shows profound lack of understanding of the work of a conductor. Fortunately at least he spares Carlos Kleiber.

    And then, this guy who did A Midsummer Night's Dream so many times writes its French title as Le songe d'un nuit d'été. To compound his misunderstanding of the gender of French words, he then calls the Brussels opera house Le Monnaie. No wonder he had a small career.

    So, why am I still reading? Because he does show some backstage business that enhances my understanding of the pitfalls in a singer's career. So, the book is useful. But it is not pleasant.

    ---

    Oh darn. Now on pages 122-123 he displays his shameless contempt for opera fans.
    This guy is so bitter, I wonder why in the hell he picked this trade.
    He says that opera fans - he calls it an addiction - should take up stamp collecting instead.

    Well, Mr. Gillett, why don't *you* take up, I don't know, real estate or accounting, instead? You don't seem to love your trade, nor the people who love it. So quit already - from failed opera singer to failed book author, you're in the wrong business. Which is painfully clear when you say, on page 129: "I just don't want to sing at all if I don't really have to." Then, don't. The opera world will thank you for not being part of it. Maybe you should try to write a pseudo-humoristic book about farts and burps and pee and poop and diarrhea. Yeah, that's a lot better than singing, right? Oh wait, you've done this already and it wasn't any better. So, back to real estate or accounting, please.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 13th, 2012 at 01:32 AM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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