This is yet another attempt of mine to blog about opera. The first try was in my native don’t click if you can’t read Serbian language. Not exactly user-friendly, so not enough audience, of course. (I’ll address this issue in one of my future posts.) Accordingly, I got lazy. And now, a few years later, here I am, to sigh together with all my fellow souls that opera makes suffer (and that make opera suffer, obviously).
Those of you who still aren’t acquainted with opera will discover that it truly IS mostly about sighing, crying and dying. Dying a lot, and dying loooooong, singing out many wishes and requests. Many opera newbies nag about that: how can someone sing while dying? All I want to say is: I would like more than anything to be able to sing on my deathbed/deathstreet/deathdesert/deathwhatever. It would make such a glorious retribution to the fate. It would be an aestheticized irony, bringing tears to the spectators’ eyes (of course there would HAVE to be spectators) and catharsis to their souls. But I am not a diva. All I’ve left to do is to sigh together with the opera.
Yep, she is dying alright… From consumption.
But why so bombastic?
Brace yourselves: sonorous pathetics, pomp, all the trashy extravagance, that’s exactly (among many other things) why many of us adore opera. It isn’t just another guilty pleasure. Remember the Olympic games opening ceremony that you watched a couple of weeks ago? Colorful lights and costumes, loud music and fanfare… It didn’t bother you at all? Well, that’s good news. Btw, if you’re old enough, you may have watched the same thing in 1992, which was opened by an opera-loving rock star and a rock-loving opera star. Barcelona was resonating with joy. And it came nowhere near an opera – it was just a popular glamour, completely devoid of tragedy.
“It’s way too loud and noisy, all that yelling, screaming and endless lamenting over loss, violent
murder death of beloved, tales of forbidden love. Opera is so cliché, unrealistic and unfit for the 21st century mindset.” Those are few of the most common anti-opera arguments you’ll hear these days.
And – they’re right! But isn’t it a megacool global hipster fad to devour anachronical stuff that most people wouldn’t think of seeing (let alone paying for)?
Yes, us opera-fans are entirely bewitched by sighs, cries and glory. And most of us are not members of any social elite (deep sigh) – so we don’t have to pretend or fake anything. It’s so simple: some folks enjoy Greek tragedy, some enjoy low-budget Latin telenovelas or Turkish pseudo-historic TV series, some just love to see a good old Hollywood spectacle. Some of us (Balkanians especially) even like to dive into grotesque sounds of turbo-folk music or poorly directed plots of reality shows. That’s because we are all tired of life’s mediocrity. Mind this: opera provides a glorious answer to our boredom. In its essence, it is an excess of art which depicts the excess of life.
You can as well throw off your tuxes and evening gowns. There was no need to iron them so thoroughly. This is the internet era, after all. You can encounter opera online.