Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Brunch – Sull' Aria from the Marriage of Figaro

Not Regie (not particularly "historically informed" either, but soooo lovely.)  
Classic performance by classic sopranos of a classic duet from a classic opera. 
Mozart Heaven!

Lucia Popp and Gundula Janowitz
Le Nozze di Figaro: Sull' Aria


  1. Rob,

    I have 3 questions about opera that greatly interest me and I'd appreciate your thoughts:

    1) Have you ever met anyone who regards opera as pure music without any regard at all to the words, drama and visuals? In other words someone who adores opera solely for the aesthetic value of the orchestral and vocal sounds? Or to put it another way: someone who is solely interested in exploring the expressive qualities of the vocal and orchestral web.

    2) Have you ever met anyone who generally (and I stress the word generally) prefers to experience opera at home via audio recordings as opposed to hearing it live at the opera house?

    3) Have you ever seen this type of opera lover shake his head and look on with total bemusement at other opera lovers, critics and directors who constantly fuss about productions and all stage business?



    1. Hi Matthew.

      Thanks for your questions. You raise interesting points, and of course I have lots of thoughts to share! However, I will try to be brief.

      1. I know a lot of people who enjoy opera purely as music. I was introduced to opera via tapes and LPs and the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. It was only after learning to love the music that I got more interested in the other essential elements of music drama, i.e., text and story line (I am not a big fan of ballet, but that’s part of opera, too).

      Marriage of Figaro is probably my all-time favorite opera. But if Beaumarchais didn’t write his play, and if da Ponte didn’t write a libretto based on the play, Mozart would never have written his beautiful, inspired, exquisite, genius music! That being said, there is much to enjoy in Mozart’s beautiful, inspired, exquisite, genius music without knowing anything about the opera itself!

      2. I definitely know people who would rather listen to a CD than go to the opera. I personally hate crowds, so I understand. I listen to a lot of audio-only opera—complete recordings, highlights, aria collections, etc.—not to mention lieder recitals, orchestral, choral, and chamber music. (I am a big Mahler fan, too!)

      One thing about opera that can be seen as a negative, both live and on video, is it really demands one’s full attention. And going to live opera involves money, timing, transportation, getting dressed; it’s way more convenient to enjoy opera from home—audio or video.

      3. I have indeed—many times.

      Thanks for reading, and happy listening!


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