Sunday, February 19, 2006

What's Opera, Doc?

By Mitchell

OK, so maybe it isn't such an original post title. But they can't all be gems.

It's been cold here this weekend; a few years ago a true Minnesotan wouldn't have blinked at weather like this, but we've gotten kind of spoiled over the past few mild winters, and so when it gets down to -20 at night we start to act as if we've never felt cold air before. And before you say anything, we're just like the rest.

So we stayed in most of the weekend, a good time to catch up on the opera. Friday night on XM (which we get courtesy of DirecTV) featured a Callas tribute, with three of her greatest performances: Aida, Tosca and Norma. Yesterday's Met Opera broadcast also featured Aida, and while it was pretty good, it couldn't begin to compare with that of Callas. There was something dangerous about the whole thing, a feeling as if you were listening (were that possible) to a train that could jump off the tracks at any moment. Not reckless, but moving with a dangerous speed. It's that kind of thrill that you ask for in opera (which is, lest we forget, theater as well as song), and that's the kind of thrill that Callas (when she was on her game) could deliver. Check out this site for more on the magnificant singer.

I don't pretend to be an opera expert - I really just developed a taste for it a few years ago, but like so many of my enthusiasms, I jump into it with both feet. Verdi, Puccini, Mozart - wonderful stuff. Of course, my personal favorite (as I've mentioned before) is Wagner - wretched human being though he might have been, the man could really compose.

Hadleyblogger Mike noted our appreciation for opera over the weekend, and suggested several thought-provoking sites for those who might share our enjoyment: his own essay on The God of the Operatic Canon, and two very interesting blogs I might have to add to our favorites list: his very interesting blog Opera in Civilization, and the provocative Alienated in Church, to which he contributes.

As Mike said, "Conservatives who prefer the company of wine-and-cheese liberals, on the condition that they prefer opera to country music, can’t be all bad."

Thanks for the tips, Mike! Look forward to reading them on a regular basis!

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