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SaphiaGlam 10-23-2009 08:16 AM

Opera lovers?
 
As a classical singer, more recently extended into opera singer, I've realised that singing opera makes me really happy =]
I've sung the Flower Duet from Lakme with a friend of mine, a piece that EVERYONE in the world should hear at some point in their lives because it is just so beautiful.
I sung the Sull'aria from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart with the same friend, and we performed it in the Theatre Royal in Haymarket, London.
I love to sing and perform and just generally the opera is such a beautiful thing to go and enjoy =] I love the Magic Flute and La Boheme.

Share your favourite operas and experiences!

PartisanRanger 10-23-2009 01:22 PM

I've only been to see one opera, which was a college production of Don Giovanni (the opera was bastardized, unfortunately). I really need to get a copy of The Magic Flute since I dig the Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

SaphiaGlam 10-25-2009 07:29 AM

The Magic Flute is incredible, and it's a slightly easier one to understand and enjoy as it's far more lighthearted! The second aria by the 'Queen of the Night' is so beautiful. It makes me shiver! I'm working on singing this one as well.

VEGANGELICA 10-27-2009 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SaphiaGlam (Post 757660)
The Magic Flute is incredible, and it's a slightly easier one to understand and enjoy as it's far more lighthearted! The second aria by the 'Queen of the Night' is so beautiful. It makes me shiver! I'm working on singing this one as well.

Hi SaphiaGlam,

Is this the video you intended?



To get the video to work, just use the the "C2ODfuMMyss" portion of the website (the part that comes after the "v=") between the two Youtube commands.

I found a longer version of this same scene that includes the German dialogue before the song, and I enjoyed trying to understand that and the build-up to the song.

I think I haven't explored opera as much as I should to really appreciate the magnitude of its artistry. One problem is that often the operas are not in English, and while I can usually follow the German operas (although it is still hard for me to understand all the words when they are sung), I can't understand the Italian or French operas, and so much of the impact is missing for me. I really like to understand the meaning behind the words and actions. Subtitles certainly help!

I have seen quite a few operas by Wagner when I was 18 years old in Germany, as well as orchestra performances conducted by Herbert van Karajan, whom people told me was famous, although that had no impact on me because I didn't know why he was considered famous. At the time I didn't appreciate the operas and performances as much as I probably would now. My parents graciously invited me to a Berlin opera series that, I think, included *all* Wagner's operas over the course of a year. The operas were very, very long...and we were often very, very high up in the seats. So, it was difficult to follow the action and emotion. Sometimes the plots seemed far-fetched so that I could not suspend disbelief and thus always watched them with a feeling of divide or separation, rather than feeling immersed in the action, in the moment of the play/opera.

I ask myself, now, if I *like* the sound of opera...the head voice, the vibrato. I am amazed by the skill of the singers, because I know with my own far more rudimentary singing that such control/relaxation plus range must take much training and attention. Hearing what it is like for you to sing and perform operas makes it more interesting to me! I have mixed feelings, though, about the style of singing. Sometimes opera singing seems too melodramatic for me. Sometimes the songs seem more about demonstrating skills (such as with super high notes) than conveying emotion. Yet there are opera songs that *are* incredibly beautiful and moving!

Perhaps I should say that I do not like all operas, but sometimes I hear pieces that pull me in. Often, though, for me watching/listening to an opera is like looking at a fine, intricate porcelain glass vase through a window of a fancy store. It isn't something I would purchase; it seems overly flowery. I probably would like a very simple, honest opera (perhaps a modern opera? *Are* there modern operas? There must be! Heh heh...maybe those are called "musicals," about which I also have issues!) that doesn't involve murder or love relationships that seem heavy on passion but short on substance.

SaphiaGlam, have you seen the movie, The Audition, about opera singers trying out for the Met? I'm quite certain you must have since you are an opera singer! I felt the movie was excellent...seeing what opera singers go through to become famous was fascinating! Getting to know them a little as individuals by watching their stories and their progress makes me care more about the music they sing. Here's a YOUTUBE clip of the movie:



Oh, and a belated welcome to MB!

--Erica

SaphiaGlam 10-27-2009 01:25 PM

I haven't seen The Audition, I will definitely check it out though, thanks for the reference!
If more complex operas don't appeal to you, I'd look at operettas; light-hearted operas such as Iolanthe.
Infact pretty much anything by Gilbert and Sullivan is worth a try.

Edit: And thanks for the welcome ^_^

VEGANGELICA 10-27-2009 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SaphiaGlam (Post 759120)
I haven't seen The Audition, I will definitely check it out though, thanks for the reference!
If more complex operas don't appeal to you, I'd look at operettas; light-hearted operas such as Iolanthe.
Infact pretty much anything by Gilbert and Sullivan is worth a try.

Edit: And thanks for the welcome ^_^

I'll have to take a listen to Iolanthe, which I've never heard of! Thanks for the suggestion.

I did listen again to the Lamke "Flower Duet," which I had heard before you mentioned it, but I didn't remember the song went with that name. That is a lovely piece. You and your friend must have had a wonderful time singing it! I found this short youtube recording of part of the "Flower Duet," which seems to have the most famous portion of it (I think the actual piece is longer, correct?). Now everyone on MB can follow through with your recommendation to listen to this song, which you said is "a piece that EVERYONE in the world should hear at some point in their lives because it is just so beautiful." :)


SaphiaGlam 10-28-2009 05:14 AM

Tbh that isn't the best performance I've heard. This is the version I have on my iPod. So beautiful. This is very similar to what my friend and I sounded like singing it, if I do say so myself xD


This is the best performance I've found so far. It's exquisite. It's the full duet as well, the famous portion doesn't come in until 1:20, but it's so worth listening to all of it. ^_^

Halebopp 11-10-2009 12:13 AM

La Boheme holds a special place in my heart - really the first Opera I studied and really listened to. Some of those arias and duets are chilling.

Way back in youth orchestra played the Magic Flute's Overture, good memories. Now when I listen to the whole thing I'm not sure if I'm a huge fan of all the coloretura (sp?), I guess I'm more of a romantic...

SaphiaGlam 11-17-2009 11:49 AM

La Boheme ^_^ *sigh*
Saw the most beautiful open-air production of that. Really added to the atmosphere being outside in the freezing cold xD Cried alot at the end as well.
That's a lovely opera. I hope I can see it again soon!
I'm going to see Turandot at the London Coliseum in early December which I'm PSYCHED for!

VEGANGELICA 11-16-2010 04:47 PM

I am not a fan of operas because they often seem overly simplistic and overly theatrical, but our orchestra is playing an orchestral version of "Hänsel und Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck and the "Evening Song" movement is quite beautiful, I feel. So, I decided to share it.

Who was Engelbert Humperdinck? No, he isn't that British singer or the man from the movie "The Princess Bride." He was a German composer (1854 – 1921) best known for this opera, Hänsel und Gretel.

One interesting fact about Humperdinck is that he was the first composer to use Sprechgesang, a vocal technique halfway between singing and speaking (Wikipedia). Maybe he was one of the first rap composers! :D Also, he had a heart attack during a music performance, and died the next day of a second heart attack. So, it's bad that he had a heart attack...but good that he was listening to music!

The composition "Evening Song" includes lovely swells and crests. I like the violin part the best because it is melodious and interesting but fairly easy but fun to play. I get chills sometimes while playing it.

The following youtube video is of a youth orchestra playing "Evening Song" quite capably along with a university orchestra. My favorite part is around 4:00 and especially up through 5:00 and right after when you hit the crest around 5:20. I might even break down and buy an MP3 of the professional orchestral version of "Evening Song" to hear it in all its glory without the coughing that you get in the video.

Hänsel und Gretel - Evening Song (Orchestral Version) by Engelbert Humperdinck



And here is how the song sounds when sung by opera singers:

Hänsel und Gretel - Evening Song (Opera version) by Engelbert Humperdinck



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