August 4, 2013

The 2nd Annual "Random Questions About Opera"

In the summer of 2012 I published a piece on this very site consisting of a series of questions on random topics relating to the opera world.

Since then, enough issues, events, personalities and tom-foolery have arisen to warrant another series of questions.

I guess this is now a "thing"; a tradition; a blog signature.

Or maybe I'll never do another one. Depends on the number of hits, I suppose. In any case, here we go. I'm askin', but who's answerin'? Hmmmm?

  • Would it really destroy the acoustics and cause Richard Wagner's vengeful shade to rise up out of his grave if they installed some basic air-conditioning at Bayreuth? Do the patrons there really have to suffer in revolting sweat-i-tude in the heat of summer?

  • Didn't the BBC's Sarah Montague set a new and depressingly low standard for journalistic ignorance, yea, an ignorance surpassing that of Fox News, in attacking opera in this catty and hostile interview? Doesn't it make you want to see her locked in a room with all nine Valkyries for a half-hour? Don't you agree that she went way, WAY past playing any sort of "devil's advocate" role?

  • What will be the reaction of audiences to my new opera "Katie Luther"? Will people be enthusiastic? Will ladies' mascara be running down their faces in streaks from the tears in their eyes, or will people say, in a carefully neutral tone, "Well, that was interesting. I'm sure you enjoyed working on it."?

Crocodiles: shouldn't they be allowed to copulate in privacy?
(photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK)

  • Does James Levine have much gas left in his tank? Will the Met regret not moving on with a younger, more dynamic leader?

  • Copulating crocodiles? Seriously, Frank Castorf? Did this really strike you as a brilliant bit of staging? Take tremendous pride in it as an artist, do you?

  • Or maybe will it be the copulating crocodiles that make Richard Wagner's vengeful shade come out of the grave?

  • Isn't it a damn shame that New York City Opera has been reduced to a homeless band of itinerant artists doing a handful of small-scale productions hither and thither? Will they ever produce another Sills, Treigle, Domingo or Argento?

  • Speaking of Domingo, aren't you getting a little tired of his whole "I'm a baritone! I'm a baritone!" act? Hasn't he heard tons of actual baritones? Does he not hear the difference in timbre? Shouldn't he stick to conducting and whatever else he does to stay busy?

  • Did you hear about the a capella opera, The Blind, that had its premiere at the Lincoln Center Festival? Would you want to be blindfolded for the duration of an opera? Sound cool to you? Did composer Lera Auerbach think that the double novelty of blindfolded audience and a capella singing would make her opera twice as original and twice as cool as other operas? Could she not have extended her creativity to writing music anyone would want to hear more than once?

  • Wouldn't my current favorite TV show Breaking Bad make a cool opera if there was some way to condense five seasons into one evening of drama? Can't you just hear Walter White crooning, snarling and bellowing in baritonal splendor ("I AM THE ONNNNE WHO KNOOOOOOOCKS!") ? And wouldn't Jesse make a great role for a character tenor?

Shouldn't Black-eyed Susans be Tosca's favorite flower?

  • Doesn't Cavaradossi's first aria "Recondita armonia"  make it sound like Tosca is a battered woman? Isn't the line "Tosca ha l'occhio nero" translated as "Tosca has a black eye"?

  • Did you know there's an up-and-coming young soprano who, though not related to Your Humble Blogger, shares his last name, namely, the lovely Corinne Winters? Can you imagine my "Winters pride" at observing her developing a big career with glowing reviews like this one of her recent turn as Violetta at Wolf Trap? Won't it be fun when I finally meet "Cousin Corinne" this coming season when she comes to Virginia Opera to appear in our Carmen?

  • What must it be like to be Jonas Kaufmann these days? Does he ever stop to reflect on how many thousands of female opera lovers fantasize about taking him home and making like Tristan and Isolde with him? Or does he find that annoying and tedious? If the latter, what is WRONG with him??

  • And finally, Che farò senza Euridice? No, seriously: CHE THE HECK WILL I FARÃ’???


  1. Yeah, Orfeo, do what you will, but don't look over your shoulder while doing it ...

  2. Maybe The Blind's next audience should be housed by the deaf?