Just ignore me, by the way! I just went on too long!
I don't think so for a minute! I think this discussion, and your insights in particular, are fascinating. Frankly, I don't have too many folks in my life with whom I could have such a discussion. Please, go on long again....or even longer!!
I sort of went cold turkey once I found ballet (and ballet started giving me the highs that opera was no longer giving me)....
I can understand that easily. I am much like you (except I haven't gone cold on opera). Ballet is numero uno
with me too. I would walk on broken glass to see ballet, but I need a sidewalk to get me to see an opera. I am totally addicted to ballet.....it seems I have no choice but to go to every production 3, 4, or 5 times (and see every possible cast). In fact, I will be seeing PNB's current program (Concerto Barocco, On the Front Porch of Heaven, In the Upper Room
, and a world premiere by PNB's own Paul Gibson
who I think is a masterful, but little known, choreographer) 3 times in 24 hours starting tonight. Operas I usually see once, sometimes twice, and very occasionally more than that. I skip operas; I never skip ballet.
I did go see Kaufmann in the HD Parsifal at the movies recently, and he gave me that thrill that made me fall in love with opera.
I was thunder struck by his performance. I'll be there for the encore next Wednesday too. You mentioned "a night to remember for the rest of our lives"
.....well, in that last Act, Kaufmann gave me a night (day actually) I will never forget. He was born to do that scene (talk about drama!!).
Who serves the drama better? The soprano who does not look the part AT ALL but sings the hell out of the role or the soprano who is totally wrong vocally but looks the part?
There's where the "balance" comes in. Can you achieve perfection? Maybe once in a great while.....maybe never; but can you strive every time to get as close as possible while making the trade offs that nearly always have to be made.....you bet!
Not only that, but every audience member has the right to react differently to the balance presented. Clearly, you would prefer that the better voice was used, I might settle for less voice if I got a better actor. Kaufmann, you and I can agree, got it all
right in Parsifal
I have been told by non-opera lovers that "All opera singers sound the same..."
I've heard that too; not only that but I was one of those people just 10 years ago (maybe even less). But when I said that, I was not putting down opera, or being resigned that my experiences with jazz and rock had spoiled me; rather I knew there was something there that I just didn't yet have the experience or knowledge to understand. Well, I worked hard at it, and went to dozens of operas. Now
, I hear the difference all right, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. How glorious it all sounds (and feels
) to me now. I don't think I'm alone. If I had to guess, I'd say more folks appreciate great operatic voices than ever (Met HD is helping with that I think......my wife and I even took a 15 year old friend who was into rock music big time to see Met HD's Die Valkerie
a couple of years ago, and he got it....all 5 hours of it!)
There are videos too but they were much slower in taking off. The singing in opera is what most people crave.
I disagree with you strongly here. I don't know how typical I am, but I am in the process of moving to a new area and a new home, and I can't wait to install a biggish flat screen near the hi-fi in order to purchase only DVDs of opera (no more CDs). Why? Gesamtkunstwerk again. Now that I "get" the drama that opera is, simply listening to the music is not enough for me. I want to see character. I want to read the super titles because I've learned that nearly every word is reflected somehow in the orchestra, and that it is the emotion and "human-ness" that the singer puts into the words that counts with me. A pretty voice is just a piece of what I'm looking for now. (OK....for those who know an opera cold, you know what is being said at each moment with your eyes closed, but I ain't there yet.)
I spent a long time collecting over 100 Norma bootlegs in my years of opera going.
WOW.....I think that is so cool. Perhaps you are just an obsessive collector of things (I am the opposite), but I'd bet that you did it out of love of opera.
Anyway, opera is wonderful (it was Kaufmann that got me going this time
), but ballet is nirvana. In about 6 hours I will be seeing my spiritual guru, Mr B, work his magic once again. Can't wait!!