We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
At least until Wagner got his hands on it, opera was more like the pop music of the 19th century than its jazz. Serious People often thought about it the way they think about Broadway musicals today—there were a few good works in the old repertory, perhaps, but silly Disney movie makeovers developed for the mass out-of-town tourist audience are not the best respected art form around.
In 20th-century America, opera had something else going against it: As a “light” musical form that dealt heavily in emotionalism and spectacle, opera was something that women and gay men were passionate about—and that straight men were supposed to despise. The banker was supposed to snore through the opera that his social climbing wife forced him to attend; gay men, meanwhile, swooned over divas and worshipped at the shrine of Maria Callas. The one exception to the rule that straight men were anti-opera was for the true upper class elite, like Eustace Tilley and a handful of his peers. Loving opera was a sign of an aristocratic background and European tastes.
That’s a lot of baggage for an art form to carry, and it does great credit to the Met and the other American opera houses that opera has, if not exactly flourished, at least established a firm foothold in the United States.
Broadway musicals are opera. Often, "light opera" but still opera. Light opera and opera buffa have longer histories than grand opera. Indeed, Verdi was the pop music of his time. Shakespeare's plays were the hit tv shows of his time too.
Nothing can be more pop, or more delightful, than this. The spartan production highlights the music:
I was a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan in my childhood. I still can sing a lot of the songs from memory. "It is, it is a glorious thing, to be a pirate king." As they were written in English, I could appreciate the witty lyrics, which would not have been possible with Italian opera.
I have never seen a Verdi opera, but have gained an appreciation for some of his songs. I won't hang around for the whole two hours of this, but so far, so good. I recognize the tune @ 11 minutes. I like Verdi's choruses.
Though my adolescence was Beatled from beginning to end, and I like their music, my favorite pop music is what was big before the Beatles came on the scene: doo-wop. I have a liking for vocal music. If you like doo-wop, you can like opera. Good vocal music is good vocal music.
There are few things in life as sexy as a lady opera singer. Fat or not. How does something so powerful come out of that tiny frame?
I understand the light role opera plays in entertainment, but I refuse to compare it to broadway musicals. I don't deny the talent of modern musicals, I just can't get in to them. Maybe it's the mystery of a language I don't speak and a time that no longer exists.
I love opera and rock music, and tickets to either one often are in the same price range these days. I've given up paying big bucks for rock concerts. It just isn't worth it. I can buy every album of the artist and a decent single malt for the same price. But, I like to go to an opera once a year if I can. There is so much more effort and talent that goes into a large opera production.
By the audiences you would never guess that opera is light entertainment, though. Everyone dresses up far nicer than for anything else in their lives. There are always lots of highschool groups and punk rockers, too. I might be the only one there in cowboy boots.