I dont like Opera. And Im not talking specifically about contemporary opera, or the big old standard opera classic things, its just Opera. The thing. The concept. I dont like it.
Its not the music, so much – no, well, well get onto that in a second – my main problems are more the opera experience.
When Operas Attack – LIVE!
a) I remain unconvinced by the idea that overdramatic singing is the best way of getting a point across. In fact, come to think of it I dont like ballet either. Im trained in theatre, in acting first, then in dramaturgy, and theres a good reason that theatre appeals to me more than opera (or ballet) – its logical, on a very basic level.
Say Person A wants to tell Person B that they dont want want to marry them.
In the theatre, they would simply tell them they didnt want to marry them. Sure, they might do it in iambic pentameter, or using floaty metaphors, but essentially, theyre going to say I dont want to marry you, Blaze Were imagining person B is called Blaze, by the way. It was either that or Doowayne. I thought we should go with the sensible option – I mean, were talking about the classics here.
Essentially, whatever the length or style, some semblance of sentence of varying length would be uttered, containing such words as marry, want to , I dont, you, and, of course Blaze.
God, thats a great name.
My point, though, is that it would be communicated in the way that people communicate to each other. By speaking. Perhaps by gesture and facial expression too, but likely, in this artform, to be facial expressions and gestures that are likely to be used in human interaction.
In an opera the sentence I dont want to marry you, Blaze could last anything up to 38 minutes. The word dont, by itself, might plausibly be stretched over 8,496 syllables, and be repeated more than 630 times at nose-shattering pitch and bladder-popping volume.
Believe me, sweetheart, it aint a good tactic to pull if you were just trying to play hard to get – cause Blaze aint dont gonna wanna marry you after that neither.
In a ballet, of course, the sentence would be communicated by two stupid poncey flippy hops and a dip of the elbow. But were not talking about ballet right now. Anyway, theyre all just enormous phalluses topped with tiaras, remember – weve discussed this before.
b) It is for posh people. Yes, that may not be true. Yes, a lot of people of all backgrounds and classes like opera, but I just have a block about walking into a building like the Royal Opera House and feeling like I should actually be there.
They cost an obscene amount to put on, an obscene amount to stage, and an obscene amount to buy tickets or, unless you happen to be one of the lucky buyers of one of their Listen, we ARE catering to the proles, were selling tickets for Ten English Piynds! Can we have some more of that Arts Ciyncil Money Niy? opera-for-everyone tickets. If its all supposed to be about the music, then why not wear joggy bottoms and stand in a kitchen? In a very nicely acousticated kitchen?
Oh I dont know. The fact, pure and simple, is that I dont like opera.
So Im going to one in February.
No point utterly bloody-minded in your determination to solidly, restlessly abhor a thing if you havent actually tried it, is there?
So Im going to an opera – Im going to one that I studied the original play of, so at least Ill know the story. And as I said already – I like the music. Kind of.
Ive been trying to spend at least one day a week listening to opera on the way to and from work. Im currently trying to build up to two. Trying. Give me time, Im giving up smoking at the same time – my tolerannoyance levels are low.
Its all fine, you see, theyre singing away, its all quite pleasant, and then suddenly – DoooodleDABAAAAAAAAA – something dramatic happens. I dont know what, of course, because I have no idea what theyre talking about. I assume someone just told Blaze they didnt want to marry him.
The music starts building. The tension starts building. The volume starts building. My anxiety levels start building.
See, this is the reason I could never study or write to the strains of random classical music – its all going along perfectly nicely, and Im concentrating on something else, and all is well; in the case of the current opera experience, for example – Im staring out of the window of the bus. Doo-be-doo-be-doo
Then I start to feel anxious, then tense, then angry, but have no idea why. I realise: The musics gone mental – all timpani drums and squeaking violins. The singing people have got all excited, and its now more like shouting – you can almost feel the enormous breasts bouncing up and down – and then the women start singing, and the boob, pitch and squeak count rises even higher.
The people in the pit also seem to get very excited round about now. It might be the bouncing. But the violins all start going – NWEEK NWEEK NWEEK – and the te horns are Pooping and theyre all going at it with enormous gusto – and then someone wheels the monkeys in.
I dont know why, but Mozart in particular seemed to have some sort of thing for bringing in a bunch of cymbals just at the most exciting point – when Blaze was getting the most upset about no one wanting to marry him, I think. So suddenly there this TSCH! TSCH! TSCH! in the middle of the bumbubahbahbumboobumbah TSCH! TSCH! TSCH!, and it sounds for all the world like someones wheeled some little tin monkeys onto the stage and theyre rolling about letting off at ay available opportunity. And then
Well, to be honest, I dont know what then, because I get so annoyed I reach for my ipod, and I flip to the next track, because I Just Cant Take It Any More.
See – I dont mind Mozart. I just wish he would leave his monkeys at home.