Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Essential Opera - Reading Together - Part 4

This week's reading focused on the different voice types within opera. I found it fascinating to read up on the ranges for different voices.

The article also highlighted the dangers of misclassifying voices.
"Voice classification is important for vocal pedagogists and singers as a guiding tool for the development of the voice.
Misclassification can damage the vocal cords, shorten a singing career and lead to the loss of both vocal beauty and free vocal production.
Some of these dangers are not immediate ones; the human voice is quite resilient, especially in early adulthood, and the damage may not make its appearance for months or even years.
Unfortunately, this lack of apparent immediate harm can cause singers to develop bad habits that will over time cause irreparable damage to the voice.
Singing outside the natural vocal range imposes a serious strain upon the voice."

Leave your comments and impressions below. And, don't forget to read the fifth installment for next week.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Essential Opera - Reading Together - Part 3

This week's reading focused on the opera house. This first public opera house was opened in Venice, Italy, in 1637. The first opera house in Germany was opened in 1678. Opera houses have since then been popular in both European as well as American cities.

Most opera houses are built to hold 1000 to 3000 seats, and the auditoriums are arranged in a U-shape. Many opera houses also have an orchestra pit.

An opera production entails an orchestra and a large cast. As a result, an opera house will frequently also house set building shops, costume facilities, and dressing rooms.

If you are looking to introduce your beginner students to some famous opera pieces, check out the selection at Making Music Fun.
- Barber of Seville
- Madame Butterfly
- Marriage of Figaro
- Prelude from Carmen

Leave your comments and impressions below. And, don't forget to read the fourth installment for next week.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Essential Opera - Reading Together - Part 2

The word "opera" comes from the Italian word for "work" (which means it is also related to the word "opus").

Dafne by Jacopo Peri is the earliest composition that is considered opera. This work was written around 1597.

While these theatrical stagings were beginning to appear in Italy, similar stagings were also being performed in France, England, and Germany.

I always find it interesting that while many people seem to dislike opera, it does show up in popular culture more frequently than we might be aware. This past week I was watching some episodes from Star Trek: Voyager. And, I had to chuckle over this episode where the holographic doctor makes an effort to learn opera and can be heard singing snatches of Puccini's La Boheme.

Leave your comments and impressions below. And, don't forget to read the third installment for next week.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Essential Opera - Reading Together - Part 1

I hope you enjoyed this week's reading. I definitely learned a lot about the history of opera and its beginnings.

The article begins with a very brief overview of the history of opera. I thought it very interesting to see how Sch├╝tz, Lully, Purcell, Handel, and Mozart all significantly shaped the genre.

I also found it fascinating that while the genre began in the 1500s, that it has continued to develop and been used to even the 21st century.

So, what is your favorite opera?
I'll start off with mine. I first heard part of Massenet's Thais when I was in college. A couple of years ago I was able to see the Metropolitan Opera's HD broadcast of the opera at my local movie theater. It was gorgeous!
In fact, if you live near a movie theater that offers the Metropolitan Opera's broadcasts, I highly recommend them.

Leave your comments and impressions below. And, don't forget to read the second installment for next week.

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