I have worked with opera my whole life. The reason is, of course, that I love it… The huge format, the strong impact, the universal subjects. It is a magical and extravagant art form, no doubt about that. An opera performance is also one of those moments when many different factors coincide.
If the scenography is well done it can give you goosebumps just lookong at it. And if the light is in syntony with the stage, the setting gets amplified. Then there’s the story, the actual narrative which can be emotional, engaging, or terrifying.
After that, there’s the music. Most of the big productions, those performed by the big opera company, would have an orchestra. And the sound of what practically is a symphony orchestra (with a somewhat smaller string section) is overwhelming when played live. The music fills you from every angle, and it makes your every muscle vibrate.
Of course not to forget the chorus. Fifty, sixty, seventy, or more professional singers in tune and in symmetry can practically blow you off your seat…
On top of all this, there are the singers… The soloists. And that’s where I come in.
How I started with opera.
I wasn’t an opera singer at the beginning. I started out much like many others, as a pop-, soul-, and rock- singer. I sang with bands, played in clubs, and tried to develop my singing technique. While doing so, I made contact with opera. And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that impressed. But the singing, the technique blew my mind. It was something completely different from what I was used to. Like driving a Big-block after a life with small Hondas, if anyone understands that metaphor.
The singing technique, in Italian they call it, voce impostato, makes the output amplified. Not only could I verify this from the audience’s perspective when listening to live opera, but I could also do it myself. It’s a physical experience. I didn’t sing with a part of my body anymore… I felt I had an incredible powerbase that I could use more or less as I chose, an engine ready to fire up as much as I wanted at any moment. And that changed all.
I was hooked.
Why opera is an outstanding art form.
The thing about opera though, is that when all these details, all these different factors push the performance in the same direction, I would say it’s an art form more impactful than any other. 200 artists all working for the same goal. When the stage, the orchestra, the conductor, the chorus, the singers, are all in syntony, it works like a gigantic clockwork. And it can give you an experience that overshadows anything else.
But when it doesn’t… When the conductor doesn’t agree with the soloists, when the costume aren’t in agreement with the light, when the stage technicians don’t follow the schedule, then the emotional fireworks turn to something quite different. But even then, even when things go bad, there is still enjoyment to be found. Many, many times I’ve witnessed productions that was a artistical failure, but which I remember as clear as if it was yesterday.
… As when Germont in La Traviata fekt ill and was substituted by a Germont of the other cast who was accidently standing in the wing. So he entered in jeans and a t-shirt without makeup and thus instead of looking like Alfredo’s father, he seemed more like his son… Or when…
Well you get the idea.
And finally, something about me.
So, I strongly believe that opera, although to many being a bit outdated, still is the most powerful way to tell a story on stage. It is a synthesy of every side of every part of art in all its forms. And it can, possibly, change the way you look at life and at life’s little issues… As it did for me.
I live in Italy. I’m was not born in Itay but I moved here for reasons mentioned above. I am also fortunate enough to have the voice of a Lyric tenor. What’s fortunate about that is that I have an very big repertoire to chose from. And as I occasionally can sing Don Josè, Cavaradossi, and Calaf too, I have an enormous amount of wonderful music to sing. And I am incredibly grateful for every day my voice still functions, and I can express myself in all that incredibly beautiful music.
Simpleopera is a way for me to share some of all this to you. I hope you like it, because to me, opera is just awesome.