June 9, 2013

Who said it? An opera-quote matching game

Marcel Marceau. Why aren't there more mime operas, anyway?
Its reputation as a stuffy, elitist art form nothwithstanding, opera has managed to infiltrate almost all walks of life in modern society. Whether it's Bugs Bunny cartoons, those live HD transmissions in movie theaters, or the constant cultural cross-pollination of omni-present mass media, there is no societal class that hasn't been exposed to Verdi, Puccini and the rest.

And you know how it is with opera - you may love it or loathe it, but no one is neutral on the subject. Consequently, the Internet is chock-full of highly opinionated quotes from a wide variety of celebrities. I've collected a blog's worth below. We've got composers, a conductor, a playwright, and a bevy of Hollywood types. Oh, and a mime. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to match the quotes on the left with the person who said it on the right. When you're done, the answer key and a guide to scoring is provided at the bottom of the page. (Sorry about the sloppy-looking uneven columns; this Blogger site doesn't allow for formatting.)

1.  Of all the noises known to man,                                             A. Tony Curtis
opera is the most expensive.

2. No good opera plot can be sensible,                                     B. Claude Debussy
for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.

3.The opera is to music what the                                                C. Peter Boyle
bawdy house is to a cathedral.

4. People are wrong when they say opera is                           D. Marcel Marceau
not what it used to be. It is what it used to be. 
That is what's wrong with it.

5. My parents were opera singers and                                      E. Moliere
voice teachers, so growing up, I admired 
musicians and dancers.

6. In opera, there is always too much singing.                      F. Cab Calloway

7. Opera is really fun.                                                                       G. H. L. Mencken

8. One can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin                          H. Sam Waterston
after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend
to hear it a second time.

9. I really wanted to be an opera soprano.                               I. Sandra Bullock

10. Like an opera singer, I am able to sing out                         J. Gioacchino Rossini
my song in paint.   

11. Music conveys moods and images.                                      K. Sarah Caldwell
Even in opera, where plots deal with the structure 
of destiny, it's music, not words, that provides power.

12. If you can sell green toothpaste in this country,                L. Maureen O'Hara
you can sell opera.

13. Opera? Just what the world needs: more                           M. Noel Coward
fat women screaming.

14.   I enjoy listening to opera at home, occasionally,              N. W. H. Auden
but I would much rather see it than just listen to it.

15. What opera isn't violent? Two things happen,                    O. RenĂ©e Fleming
violence and love. And other than that, name something 
else. You can't.    

KEY: (1/E; 2/N; 3/G; 4/M; 5/I; 6/B; 7/O; 8/J; 9/L; 10/A; 11/D; 12/K; 13/C; 14/H; 15/F)

14-15 correct: Congratulations: you're a fount of useless information.
12-13 correct: I'll bet people avoid you at cocktail parties.
10-11 correct: Wow - you're stunningly average.
8-9 or fewer correct: Fail. You know, with a couple of mouse-clicks you could have found all these online and cheated. I'll bet you regret your choice now, right?

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