Tuesday, October 25, 2011

People Listen To This For Pleasure ?!

My kitchen normally chugs along to the noise of angry sounding young people bellowing over a crescendo of wailing guitars and pounding drum rhythms, yesterday though as I pressed on to the next part of my humanities course, the fat lady sang.

Giuseppe VerdiCover of Giuseppe VerdiTo be more accurate, she wasn't fat at all, I was just repeating an overly used jibe about opera, but like many people, I suspect that quote and a vague image of large men in tight fitting costumes is about my sum knowledge of opera.  Yesterday I was introduced to Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Donizetti and Luzzaschi, and I must admit, it was not an easy introduction.

I have no problem with listening to songs in another language, alongside the excellent German singing Rammstein I have a fair few bands whose singing language is either not English, or in some of the more extreme metal bands, possibly not human.

There is a quality to this operatic singing though that sends a shiver right through me, and not in a good way. To be even more precise, I can get along with the male singers, but the high pitched warbling effect favoured by the female vocalists is jarring and unpleasent to my ears. 

So far on the course I have gained knowledge of a good many art forms and historical figures about whom I previously knew very little, and the more I learn the more I seem to appreciate them, with the exception of Stalin, who was a git.  I have not come across anything so far though that has been so hateful at first contact and that has left me with the feeling that if I never encounter it again, I will be the happier for it.

Opera is regarded by many as being difficult and elitist, an art form reserved for, and appreciated by a narrow band of the upper classes.  As with many things regarded as being elitist, half the case is that access to opera, as with many things considered somewhat exclusive, is actually quite easy, anyone can download, cheaply or for free, a reasonable selection of music, and if you have the money you can buy a ticket for a gig.  What seems to be harder to come by though is an appreciation for the art form.  I am listening to (I think) Maria Callas warbling her way though a bit of Verdi's La Traviata, and to be perfectly honest, I just wish she'd stop.

Oh well, I will just have to apply our old Scout motto, POR - Press On Regardless.
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1 comment:

  1. Considering I actually belong to an opera company and perform it I'm not a great lover of it. The problem is that many recordings are quite old and just sound wrong and unless someone is guiding you as to what you should listen to first you'll probably hit something you don't like. (Obviously you are being introduced to it academically which probably isn't great for an introduction). I got into it through Inspector Morse! And even now I prefer the lighter comedy operas. I can't stand anything by Wagner. Hope you find the odd aria that you like.