I keep saying that opera is an incredibly versatile art form. Accordingly, there is a lot to tell about the world of opera. Today, I present three facts that you might not immediately think of when you hear the word “opera”.
1) Opera has always been political.
You don’t believe that? Don’t be misled by the fact that today’s opera audience usually sits quietly in the auditorium and applauds politely at the end. That was very different in the past. The opera was a melting pot of culture and the political spectrum. It was not unusual for socially critical debates to begin in the opera. Mozart’s Magic Flute, for example, is a work of the Age of Enlightenment; in the Prague Estates Theater, even a national anthem was born.
2) The opera repertoire is highly consolidated.
The opera repertoire is incredibly diverse – on paper. For most operas lead a shadowy existence, while a few dozen titles are played again and again. But these typical “long sellers” – year after year these include operas such as La Traviata, Carmen, La Bohème or The Magic Flute – are also simply damn good pieces. You can read more about the opera repertoire of the 2019/20 season here.
3) Opera is high-performance sport.
Anyone who participates in an opera production will confirm this to you. Singing the title role in Tosca? High-performance sport. Playing or conducting Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for five hours in the semi-dark orchestra pit? High performance sport. Convert the stage set for Fidelio in a quarter of an hour? High-performance sport. The opera demands top performance from all performers.
I hope these three facts could give you a small glimpse behind the scenes of opera. The world of opera is exciting and there are always new things to discover. If you enjoyed the article, I would be happy to receive a comment here in the blog. Or you can subscribe to the StarkConductor Newsletter, then you will always be well informed about what is happening here in the blog.