Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ah!! Bel Canto!

On Sunday afternoons, my grandpa will close the door of his room, lie down in bed, and listen to the opera radio show. I grew up listening to this type of music (some snoring included in the background.) It was very simple; no one told me I had to like it or taught me about the most relevant exponents of it or its history. I just learned to love it because of him.

It is when I started reading more about it that the topic gets more complicated but not less interesting. I learned that Singspiel, semi-opera, operetta and opera comique are some of the different types of operas. Each one defined by the plot and the combination of spoken dialogue, music, or dancing roles. I learned also that Jacopo Peri, an Italian composer and singer, is the author of Dafne, known as the first work considered an opera, played around the year 1597. Claudio Monteverdi, another Italian composer is also considered one of the pioneers of this type of music, and his opera titled L’Orfeo that was first played in 1607 is still performed nowadays.

Despite the fact that this music style is more than 500 years old, opera is still popular today. Francesco Cavalli, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi and Donizetti, are some of the most important exponents of this genre that I am sure you’ve heard about. Arias like “La donna è mobile,” “Nessum dorma, ” and “O sole mio” are now pretty much everywhere, from TV ads to music boxes. During the 90s José Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, and Plácido Domingo captured the attention of millions with their famous tours and concerts around the world. Currently, bands with different music styles, like East Village Opera Company does interesting covers of famous arias that you might enjoy.

Some books about the topic you could check out are:


Anonymous said...

About 10 years ago we saw Tosca at the Austin Lyric Opera. I didn't know anything about opera so I got a Dummies book and read up. It told me to keep my eyes on Tosca at the end; she's going to throw herself off the castle wall onto a hidden trampoline. Toscas who use the trampoline method frequently bounce back into view. That didn't happen, but her cloak got caught on one of the buttresses. I saw Tosca's gloved arm reach up from beyond the grave and yank her cape free.

And I would not have seen that if I hadn't checked out ,i>Opera for Dummies

Aleph said...

Awesome!! I guess they keep on doing this even when they now the "Toscas" will bounce back just because people are expecting something to happen at the end. In the Tosca I went to see, nothing special happened, too bad! I will keep on trying though! :)