What Happened To Opera?
When you weren't looking...we changed some things.
So when you think of opera you think of this...right?
Perhaps you think of this guy...it's cool. We all do.
You might even go here. Let's face it, Bugs got it going ON.
Here's where we might get you. The closest thing to opera that still exists today from the list above...is Bugs. Well, at least, kind of. See, much like Pop Culture, the opera world has become aesthetically oriented. Follow me:
This is what the reigning queen of opera looks like. Renee Fleming.
If NayNay above is the queen, then Anya here is the princess. Anna Netrebko, soprano.
The lady who sings higher notes than that last high note? Diana Damrau.
The woman up top in the helmet with the shield? That's a poke at Wagner operas. Leading that front? Nina Stemme.
The ladies above are sopranos. Here's the current Queen Bee lyric mezzo, Joyce DiDonato.
A warmer sounding mezzo, Latvian superstar Elina Garanca.
But what about the dudes? Jonas Kaufmann, THE tenor.
You want high notes and wicked fast singing? Juan Diego Florez.
Let's take it down an octave or so, eh? Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone.
Going even lower...here's Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, bass-baritone. Talk about a name.
How low can you go? Erwin Schrott, bass.
Just look how cool productions are these days. THIS IS WHAT OPERA LOOKS LIKE.
And these are just the famous ones! There's a whole army of would-be models coming up behind them!
...but what happened to all of the more voluptuous singers? Oh, they're still here, facing more scrutiny everyday for their looks, instead of focusing on the magnificent sounds coming out their mouths. But they're not going anywhere. And boy, do singers LOVE them. They produce sounds that other beings aren't capable of creating. It's like magic. Every. Freakin'. Time. There are some things that just can't be done without a sturdy singer.
Dolora Zajick. Do. Not. Mess. With. Dolora Zajick.
Liudmyla Monastyrska. Soprano...in (kind of) black face. It's an Aida thing.
Ben Heppner, dramatic tenor. His squillo is straight thug.
Jamie Barton, mezzo. THAT HIGH C.
To wrap this up...
Opera got a face lift. Is it good? Is it discouraging? Your call.
One thing I do know, though, is that you should call one of the regional places now and GET YOUR ASS TO THE OPERA. RUN.
Metropolitan Opera Ticket Office - 212-362-6000
New York City Opera - 212-870-5600
Lyric Opera of Chicago - 312-332-2244
San Francisco Opera - 415-864-3330
Houston Grand Opera - 713-228-6737
...or just Google a local opera house.
See you there!