Monday, April 13, 2009

Opera, goodreads, and other goodies

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Rome is, indeed, a marvelous city. That handsome young man on the right, there at the Pantheon, sold me tickets to hear a concert of favorite arias from operas, one of highlights of my trip. There at the Pantheon.
Goodreads is a great family site. I got on it because my granddaughter asked me to. Family-friendly sites are so important for the kids today.

As to this book, "Who's Afraid of Opera?" I'm not surprised they don't have the book cover. I'm probably the only person who's read it, I don't know.

Well, I love opera and found it very enjoyable. Perfect what I call "airport fiction." And, BTW, Lufthansa has an opera station on their earphones. Another reason to live in Europe ...

So here are some great quotes from this book, Who's Afraid of Opera, by Michael Walsh - you'll recognize his name as music critic for TIME magazine.

BTW, I took the what opera would you be quiz on facebook and I'd be "The Magic Flute." That's Mozart, and I can't think of a "nicer" opera to "be." This is the best starter-opera, in fact it was mine, and wonderful for kids as well as adults. While I prefer Verdi and Puccini, operas with the dynomite arias (like "Othello" and "Madama Butterfly"), what's not to like about that magical magid flute opera?

OK, ready? Here we go --
  1. The opera is like a husband with a foreign title: expensive to support, hard to understand, and therefore a supreme social challenge. (Cleveland Armory)

  2. I have always believed that opera is a planet where the muses work together, join hands and celebrate all the arts. (Franco Zeffirelli)

  3. To write an opera demands a range of skills that are not limited simply to the musical. The opera composer must also be a judge of literary merit, able to work collegially with a partner (the librettist); a student of the theater, knowing eexactly what effects are possible on stage, and an impresario, adept in the ways of money-raising and patronage. [It is no wonder these men were giants - Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini]

  4. Words were of paramount important to both Verdi and Wagner.

  5. As proud as Boito (the librettist) might have been about his own contributions, though, the sense of his letter ... makes it clear that his words are meant to serve the composer, who, in turn, is serving the dramatic situation .... Which in the end, is what opera is all about.

  6. The essential condition of opera is .... that it have something to say to us about the way we live our livews, and the social and moral circumstances in which we find ourselves.


  8. It has been said that more has been written about Wagner than about anyone else with the exception of Napoleon Bonaparte and Jesus Christ; that's how important Wagner was, and is.

  9. [In the Rhinegold and the Ring] Wagner created a metaphor for society and social disintegration that is even more potent today than it was a century ago.

  10. Mozart admired Papa Haydn above all composers.

  11. For it is the composer who gives moral shape and meaning to the story through his marvelous music.

  12. Otello (Verdi) is, indeed, an opera to die for.

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