Summer Thoughts

It’s been awhile since I posted. I have a backlog of movies to write up as part of my great movies journey, so I haven’t been idle in terms of pursuing that goal – just doing the write-ups.

I coordinated and sang in a Longwood Opera Summer Series concert a few weeks ago – very enjoyable. I wrote up brief blurbs about each piece in the concert for the program, and that was very educational. For example, I didn’t know that “Carousel” is an adaptation of a play (“Lilom”) that Puccini wanted to use as the basis of an Opera, but the author turned him down. Interesting. I enjoyed singing a tune from Loesser’s “One Happy Fella” and enjoyed listening to all the other performers in the show. Nice evening.

Work has chewed up a lot of my time this summer. I’m putting in many hours every day and working some on weekends as well. Hopefully things will settle down there a bit soon so I can enjoy the summer a bit more.

My thought for the day is about characterization and plot in Opera. It occurred to me that one big difference between Opera and other similar art forms is this: an Opera can have a libretto that barely sketches out the plot and the cardboard cut-out stock character types, but the Opera can still be a great success because the music adds depth and “three-dimensionality” to the overall work. We feel we understand what is going on and understand the characters through the music. This seems obvious in hind-sight, but as I was thinking about some of my favorite Operas, it occurred to me that the librettos, although cleverly written, were remarkably silly and puzzling if I turned off the music in my head.

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