View Full Version : Greetings from Maryland, USA

February 23rd, 2015, 07:44 PM
Hello to anyone who stumbles upon this! I've been lurking on this site off and on for quite some time; however, in the interest of full disclosure I thought it advisable to finally make an honest woman of myself.

I'm a 31-year-old female; married; 2 children. By vocation, I'm an History teacher; though, I'm currently away from my profession and shall remain so until my children are older (as of this writing, they are one and three).

I've no special musical background other than having taught myself piano as a child -- I continue to play an hour or more daily. At one time I fancied myself a singer, but I lacked the logistical wherewithal, and probably the passion, to take that desire very far. If this counts, I was once chosen to sing the US National Anthem for an entire season of home games for a prominent sports franchise.

I have loved Classical music my entire life -- mostly Baroque. Notwithstanding, for the past few years I've gravitated more toward opera. Ironically, I don't enjoy Baroque-era opera; possibly, it's the Castrati tradition (yucky even to an Historian who understands the social and religious contexts); I'm more inclined towards Rossini, Delibes, Verdi, and Puccini.

I've joined this forum hoping to expand my knowledge of opera. In that respect, I'm something of an operatic heathen; aside from owning the ubiquitous O mio babbino caro and Nessun Dorma (and a few others) in many and varied flavors, I don't possess even one complete opera. That said, I have Pandora playing near 24/7 and it's always set to opera. Whenever I hear something I like I usually drop what I'm doing and google the composer/song/opera to learn more. When I sit at my piano I often, as not, play one of my favorite opera pieces.


February 23rd, 2015, 09:02 PM
Hi Abigail

and welcome to Opera Lively! Maybe if you have been visiting this site, I don't need to make any introductions but there is a whole wealth of knowledge about opera between the members so please put forward any questions you want to.
It is an international member base so some are sleeping (or listening to late night cricket) whilst others are in opera world...

February 23rd, 2015, 09:31 PM
...I'm an History teacher...

This information has just reached my brain...

Fantastic! What period?

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 23rd, 2015, 10:32 PM
Welcome to Opera Lively, Abigail!

Ironically, I don't enjoy Baroque-era opera; possibly, it's the Castrati tradition (yucky even to an Historian who understands the social and religious contexts); I'm more inclined towards Rossini, Delibes, Verdi, and Puccini.

Of course I respect your taste, but can't help but give it a shot: may I try to interest you in Baroque opera anyway? There are some very formidable ones out there that are very entertaining, and as I'm sure you know, those castrati roles are now taken by mezzos or countertenors. Here, a beautiful piece by a countertenor:


See this work; it is available on both DVD and blu-ray disc and is quite exquisite - the role of Cesar is taken by the phenomenal British mezzo Sarah Connolly, and Cleopatra is the very, very charming Danielle de Niese (both are Opera Lively interviewees):


This is such an extraordinary show, that it might end up changing your mind about Baroque opera.

A trailer:


And then, there is also this one, of course:


It's also extremely entertaining and beautiful. Maybe you'll like this video clip from it:


February 23rd, 2015, 10:45 PM
This information has just reached my brain...

Fantastic! What period?

I have taught US History at the high school (secondary) level for three years; thus, I was a generalist. However, my research interests focus on the period between 1865-1930 -- Gilded Age + 12, give or take :p I'm also fascinated by the British monarchy, with a special interest in the Plantagenet's (Henry II - Richard III). I'm sorry for not providing a shorter response: my Achilles' heel is an ever-present need for precision. :lalala:

February 23rd, 2015, 11:06 PM
I'm sorry for not providing a shorter response...

I like hearing the background of fellow forum members; I like to think of all of us as friends as much as opera lovers

...my Achilles' heel is an ever-present need for precision...

I love precision; I just don't seem to be able to manage to do it myself...

February 23rd, 2015, 11:26 PM
Mr. Gazzola ... Fond as I am of Handel's Xerxes, especially the opening aria (for which I owe both daughters!), I was completely unfamiliar with the video you posted. For me, at least, I think the countertenor, like a fine old claret, will require some getting used to. Possibly, my taste for the Baroque has been spoilt by too many years listening to instrumentals and the occasional Boccherini quartet. But I shall try!

Thank you ever so much for taking time to post the videos and album art; il est très apprécié.

EDIT: For comparison sake I went back and listened to one of my favorite tenors and a favorite baritone performing Xerxes Largo (larghetto). I mean no disrespect -- I know little about opera, but I do find that I prefer the purer quality of the natural voice as opposed to the countertenor falsetto.



My bias is not restricted to opera. I know male falsetto in R&B, Pop, and some R&R is all the rage now, but I don't care for it.

The video, below, features Alessandro Moreschi, one of the last Sistine Castrati. By the time this recording was made Mr. Moreschi was in his 50s and his upper tessitura was greatly diminished; nonetheless you can detect his natural voice -- something I still appreciate over the countertenor voice, but that's just me.


February 27th, 2015, 01:01 AM
Welcome, Abigail! I don't know if you are from one of Maryland's DC suburbs or another part of Maryland, but this gives our area greater presence here on OL.

Btw, I am a big fan of Rossini, Delibes and Verdi - and Wagner. I like Puccini, but find that his operas are crowd pleasers, so tend to be somewhat over produced. I have to say that I still enjoy them when I see them.

The OL community is small, but growing. It's very civilized place and I am terrifically fond of everyone here.

Don't worry about Luiz. Don't tell him I told you, but he's still working on me to try and improve my appreciation for contemporary/modern opera. I put up a fight for a long time, and haven't yet thrown in the towel, but decided that maybe I should give him a chance. Passion can be a hard thing to resist.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 27th, 2015, 04:07 AM
[QUOTE=Hoffmann;45670]Don't worry about Luiz. /QUOTE]

Oh, no, no, no, she *should* worry about Luiz!! That guy is dangerous!!

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 27th, 2015, 04:18 AM
Mr. Gazzola ...

Dear Abigail, please just call me Luiz or Alma. Sure, like I said, I respect your taste. It's just that I really, really love countertenors. If you browse the site you may bump into a huge thread in which I had an endless argument with one of our friends, defending the countertenor voice. I was trying to uphold my opinion that the best male singer in activity is Philippe Jaroussky, and most people won't agree with that... But I still think he is.