As an opera singer in 2019, I often feel like a fish out of water. There are two responses I receive when I tell people what I do:
Regarding the first point, opera is fancy! You get to attend an opera in a gorgeous gown on a Wednesday night and nobody looks at you like you're wearing something totally out of the ordinary. And regarding the second point, opera can be boring if you are totally unprepared for it.
But here's the truth: opera is a perfect reflection of our every day lives. The stories and emotions are extreme, but that's purposeful. Why do we love soap operas (notice the use of the word opera) and CW shows? Because watching people explore their feelings in intense conditions allows us to do the same in smaller, more normal situations.
Okay, so what about the music? Classical music is sweeping, it's spacious, and most importantly it allows time to process the craziest of emotions. And sometimes if you stop trying to understand what you're hearing and just let it wash over you, you might find yourself crying for (what feels like) no reason. Music is the universal language - and it can help communicate when words fail. Try watching your favorite movie without the soundtrack once. You might find that the huge romantic gesture at the climax is less huge when an orchestra isn't carrying it through.
When I performed the role of Vitellia in Mozart's last opera, La clemenza di Tito, I had to play a conniving woman who realized the error of her ways and had to deal with her regrets. It's a nine-minute aria (song in an opera), which is pretty long and intense! I had to start off pitying myself and end by resolving to do the right thing - in real life, I can't imagine that taking nine days, let alone nine minutes. On stage, though, nine minutes is a long time - and Vitellia definitely needs time to process her choices. But playing Vitellia taught me a valuable lesson: just because you've done the wrong thing in the past doesn't mean the right thing is not worth pursuing now.
So let's look at opera together and see how we can apply it to our every day lives. Let's embrace the nuttiness of the plot lines and the extremities of emotion together, and maybe be a little fancy along the way. Join me in being Classically You!