Friday, October 21, 2011

This Day in History October 22, 1883

I was a music major in college, and I studied opera (and sang it too!). So what I will be sharing tonight kind of brings back those college memories.  On this day in 1883, the Metropolitan Opera opened.  It was then located at Broadway and 39th in New York City.  It opened with a performance of Charles Gounod's Faust.  Although originally written in French, it is sometimes performed in Italian (and the Met management favored that version).

The Metropolitan Opera (and I had a chance to see it in person when I toured Lincoln Center in high school) has seen its share of performances throughout the years.  I know that opera is not everyone's cup of tea.  I do not normally make a conscious decision to go see and opera, but there are some operas that I feel are worthwhile and integral part of our culture.

As I think back on opera, I have to say my favorite opera is Carmen.  I think that the story has always drawn me in.  I have never seen it live, but I saw a version on video starring Jose Carreras, and I was blown away.  On a lighter side, I like The Magic Flute.  I did get to see this live in high school.  They sang it in English--which was nice.  But I also saw it on video in German, and I enjoyed it just as much.

I tried for years to teach my students to appreciate opera, but I have to admit I was not very successful.  Most people are not willing to sit through an opera when it is completely sung in a different language.  I really do understand, but there is something really stirring about seeing a good opera.  I can't quite explain it.  When an opera is performed in a language that is not its original, I have to say that it loses something.  I think it is very much a lost art in this day and age, and I really do understand.  People are not interested in my voice since I am classically trained.

Oh well, enough rambling.  If you are interested, here are a couple sites to check out for more information.


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