Friday, January 28, 2011

Quote of the day

Andrew Stevens on Opera:
There's Wagner, Mozart, and Gilbert and Sullivan. The rest are just bad dramas about prostitutes dying of consumption with the occasional pretty song.


Kate Marie said...

Wait a minute. I feel I need to put in a good word for Handel and Purcell. I'll take them over Wagner any day.

On the other hand, for various reasons I'm not much of an opera goer, so I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather *listen* to Handel and Purcell than Wagner.

Andrew Stevens said...

Possibly just a preference for Baroque over Romanticism (I'm guessing J.S. Bach is your all time favorite composer), but you must experience the drama to get what Wagner was doing with the orchestra. Merely listening won't give you the full effect.

I must confess that I know virtually nothing about Baroque opera so it's excluded from my critique.

Kate Marie said...

Excellent guess, Andrew!

I'm sure you're right about Wagner, too. I've never seen Wagner performed on stage.

George Pal said...

I insist there’s nothing wrong with consumptive prostitutes, pretty songs, or Puccini for that matter.

Andrew Stevens said...

If you must defend an Italian operatic composer who wrote about consumptive prostitutes, at least let it be Verdi.

Withywindle said...

Verdi! Otello. Also, there are Russia operas with no dying consumptives, and fifteen-minute arias of love for the Motherland.

Anonymous said...

I fall asleep at the opera.

Interestingly, the prostitutes are not only in the operas but back stage as well. They is a much believed belief and widely-accepted practice that male performers give better performances if they have released themselves in the moments before they go onstage. Women who in the old pre-pc days would've been considered classic working girls are backstage working as performance enhancers.

When it's not opera season many of these women can get jobs are in the adult video world. There, their role is to keep the male actors at attention in between takes.


Andrew Stevens said...

Otello is Verdi's greatest work, by far, mostly because he broke from typical Italian opera and followed the trail that Wagner had blazed. But I don't care for Aida and won't forgive him La Traviata. A great composer though.

The Russian opera I have seen (very limited) has not made me anxious to see or hear more.

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