Opera Visual ArtsSeptember 10, 2009


patricia2It’s funny. When I tell people I work in opera, or that I’m going to an opera performance, they do a double take and say, “Wait, sorry…did you just say ‘opera?’” Yup, that’s what I said. Opera.

But why do I like opera? I suppose it’s partially because I studied music and attended classical music and opera performances while growing up.

But it’s more than that.

There’s just something about opera that really speaks to me. The music can be so passionate, clever, complex and fascinating. The voices are often huge and real. The craft and musicianship that goes into an excellent performance is unbelievable.

So, for me, it’s the music. No, wait – it’s the voices themselves. Oh, but then again, the stories can be touching, timeless and intense. And I can’t forget to mention the draw of the art’s history, language, sets and costumes and the singers’ acting.

OK. I think the next time someone asks me what I love about opera, I’ll just say: “Everything.”

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About Author

Patricia K. Johnson
Patricia K. Johnson

Patricia, Jersey born and bred, is a lifelong arts lover, arts patron, performer and artist. One of the very few people who actually cheers when The Dreaded Opera Category shows up on Jeopardy, Patricia is also an avid Yankee fan (from birth) and is learning to become an Eagles fan (from marriage).

  • Susan

    Great entry. I tell people I love how the voices of the singers vibrate through my entire body – it’s visceral. As you say, it’s everything else too – from the music to the excitement of seeing a live performance, to dressing up for a night out!

  • Dad

    You never credited your father for your love of opera?

    • PKJ

      If by “opera” you mean “songs by Johnny Cash” then absolutely!

  • Jim

    It’s the music; no, it’s the theatrical storytelling; no, really, it’s the music… “Everything” — what a perfect way to describe exactly what there is to love about opera!

  • Gale

    Isn’t opera fantastic when you can’t decide which you prefer the big voices or the storytelling. Great post.

  • http://www.roh.org.uk/ operarosie

    Great post, I find the same thing, people often are surprised that I’m young and enjoy opera. It’s just such powerful music though, and you can really escape in the stories.

  • http://angelicaffarelli.wordpress.com Angelicaffarelli

    Yes! Love to read about this! Makes me happy to see other opera lovers! Great entry :D

  • http://www.laurencarteronline.com Lauren

    Nice entry. I can relate to the double-take you experience. Stop by my blog sometime. :) I write about my experiences as an aspiring singer as well as fan of opera.
    http://www.laurencarteronline.com/blog/

  • http://WagnerOpera.com;ShakespeareOpera.com;RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ

    I have sung four solo concerts, three of them three hours long at that deservedly respected and honored venue. It helps us recognize the cultural potential within our own communities Born and living in Jersey City, NJ I had the distinct advantage of proximity to the Met Opera and the New York City Opera and to Carnegie Hall, Town Hall and Lewissohn Stadium to attend both rehearsals and performances of major orchestras and chamber music ensembles. I had started my professional career at age seventeen and was known sufficiently to receive entrance to rehearsals and broadcasts at Carnegie Hall by Mr. Turner, the house manager. Even at Toscanini’s Studio 8 H as well his Carnegie Hall rehearsals and broadcasts, access to the Toscanini events I had by my friendship at Juilliard with a violinist in the NBC Symphony who represented me as a family member. At age 10 I heard on WNYC a broadcast of the recording of Toscanini’s conducting the New York Philharmonic in the Rhine Journey and Funeral Music. This recording was made long, long before his recording with the NBC Symphony. That hearing encouraged me to borrow from our major library in Jersey City, on Jersey Avenue, the piano vocal scores of all the Wagner operas from Der fliegender Hollander to Parsifal and the full orchestra scores of the RING and TRISTAN. I started studying composition and composing from then on. . My study of voice with Friedrich Schorr, Alexander Kipnis, Margarete Matzernauer, Frieda Hempel, Martial Singher, Mack Harrell, John Brownlee and Karin Branzell, all leading singers at the Met Opera before they retired, prepared me for my rep decisions. Schorr, Kipnis and Singher I saw in performances at the Met long before I got to study with them. I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, a Wagnerian heldentenor and an opera composer of “Shakespeare” and “The Political Shakespeare.” KUDOS TO CARNEGIE HALL FOR THEIR INVESTMENT IN AMERICA’S ORCHESTRAS !!!