The first time I tried it was this past weekend. My wife and Li’lChief were at the movies with one of his friends. I had three hours all to myself. There was nothing on TV, I stumpled over it, so I figured “what the Hell.”
**MrsChief ** had to take **Li’l Chief ** to buy his summer reading books for school last night, so I decided to push my luck and do it again. I drew the curtains in the living room and turned off the lights. I unplugged the phone. And settled on to the couch. I may be hooked.
I was so engrossed I didn’t even hear them pull in the driveway. It was like I was in another world.
The lights popped on at about 9:15 (It’d been an hour and 15 minutes but it seemed like ten!). I snapped my head around and saw MrsChief and my son standing in the doorway to the dining room.
“WHAT are you WATCHING?!!” my wife sheiked as she physically turned my 14-year-old boy around and bodily pushed him back into the dining room so he wouldn’t see. “Aren’t you embarrassed?!!” she screamed.
“Um, Sweetie… there wasn’t anything on… and… uh…”
“So you watch that?!!”
“Um, yeah. It’s pretty good. It’s… uh… La Boheme by Puccinni.”
“Well, I’m not watching it! I’ll be in the bedroom!!” And she huffed off slamming the bedroom door.
Yes. 'Tis true. I watched (and really liked) the opera last night.
I’d been flipping channels Sunday and as I swung past PBS I caught the famous line “Figaro! Figaro! FEE-GAH-ROH!!!” and stopped.
Five minutes later I was laughing. Ten minutes later I was impressed. By the end of the first act I was (apparently) hooked. I’m not sure how you say it in Italian, but it was The Barber of Seville. And I loved every minute of it.
Last night, I saw that PBS was airing La Boheme and I knew that was a popular opera. So I tuned in again. It was another Met production like Sunday.
And. It. Was. Awesome.
I was actually tearing up when Mimi died at the end of the second act.
So there it is. Out in the open. For all to point at and laugh at. Go ahead mock the Deadhead who likes opera.
You can watch Met operas at quite a few high end movie theatres throughout North America. My local movie house has an exceptional sound system, a huge screen and big comfy chairs, so the Met’s Live HD shows rock!
Intermission is generally between acts II and III (In Boheme, at least). Boheme’s a relatively short opera, so the acts are short. There’s no reason why your division wouldn’t work, but Puccini didn’t write it that way.
Anyway, didn’t mean to make a big deal; opera can be confusing. Keep at it. You live in a pretty good place for being an opera fan. Check out some live performances; there’s really no comparison.
ChiefScott, my great-uncle José Luis was a Baroque music specialist. He could drill a hole in your ears explaining the myriad ways in which the movement from camera music to big theaters brought over by the popularization of opera trashed, trashed I tell you, the world of vocal training.
Say Verdi and he’d just melt into a happy puddle, though
For “comedy” operas, try The Merry Widow (by Franz Lehar) or The Bat (Strauss)
Not necessarily. There’s no hard and fast rule for divisions. That’s just the breakdown for Boheme. Others are broken down into Acts and scenes. Some, like Das Rheingold are broken down into scenes with no acts (it’s technically a two and a half hour one-act opera). Really, it’s just up to how the composer chooses to divide things. If you define “Act” as “something which has an intermission after it”, then I suppose Boheme does (normally) have two acts, but if you look in a score, Puccini divided it into four. How things are broken down in actual performance is going to depend upon the director and other factors (like how much money the company has; most companies can’t afford to have their shows go too long, as the orchestra union starts charging overtime after three hours). The only way to really be sure of these things is to look at the score.
More than a couple. He wrote opera continually through his whole life. The Big Four are Le Nozze di Figaro (which is, sort of, the sequel to Barber of Seville, although Mozart set the opera thirty or so years before Rossini did his; there is another setting of Barber which predates Figaro by a couple of years; they are based on a trilogy of plays by the French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais), Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, and Die Zauberfloete (I’m too lazy to properly code my diacriticals today). Of these, the most accessible is Zauberfloete; the others feature a great deal of recitative, which turns some people off.
Tons. You already saw one (Barber of Seville). Gilbert and Sullivan is considered “light” opera or operetta, and is generally comedic. Puccini has a one-act comedy, Gianni Schicchi and Verdi has a couple, although the only one worth seeing (or listening to) is Falstaff, based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor (with some Henry IV thrown in). Technically, all of the Mozart I listed above is comedy, although rarely is it laugh out loud funny (especially Don Giovanni). Opera buffo (comic opera) describes a form more than it does actual content.
Just this a.m. my wife asked me if I wanted to go see Tosca.
I promptly responded “No.”
Pushing slightly she observed that someone we know will be in it.
I told her that I had recently been stricken by my apparent decreasing ability to even politely tolerate things I do not like. As I know for a fact that I do not like opera, I am unwilling to submit her or anyone else to my childish, petulant behavior were I to go.
I think she appreciated my honesty… :dubious: