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An Introduction to Opera

“Mimi!” Rodolfo cries. His exasperation is directly followed by a deafening chord that represents the horrifying action of ripping two lovers apart. The curtain falls, and the entire audience jumps to its feet for a standing ovation. Throughout the thunderous applause and the screams of “Bravo!” I am incapable of movement, gripping the arms of my seat with chills running through my core. Mimi is dead.

When most people think of opera, they imagine a fat lady with a Viking hat breaking glass with a high-pitched howl. It is safe to say that this is no longer an accurate representation of opera. Opera managers have made a point in recent years of recruiting younger and more aesthetically pleasing singers for their productions.

A friend of mine recently clarified the reason why voice as an instrument resonates so well with us as an audience. The reason is simply due to the fact that it is human, and we have an innate tendency to relate to it. The connection is subtle and happens in our subconscious, yet it makes sense. We are not made of wood, as string instruments are, nor brass, like a trumpet or a trombone. We are made of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, and we all possess the same genetic build. It is amazing what kind of beauty can be produced simply from breathing and exhaling through vocal chords, granted through training.

Another thing to consider is the antiquity of the art of opera. The first opera ever performed was named “Daphne,” composed by Jacopo Corsi. The premier was in 1598, 413 years ago. Since then, opera has been an extremely popular form of entertainment, and continues to be. The question that necessarily follows is why? The reason is depicted in what is described in the beginning of this article. It is impossible to replicate the emotions one feels when fully immersed in the story and music of live opera.

More to come…

Category: Opera


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