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Thread: Listening vs. watching opera

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    Senior Member Herkku's Avatar
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    Default Listening vs. watching opera

    Has the appearance of opera on DVD changed your listening habits of it on CD or MP3 etc.? I have to admit that I feel a bit uncomfortable walking in the streets with my iPod, fearing of Birgit Nilsson hitting her high C just as I am driven over by a car. Even at home I like to watch opera on DVD, and listen to CD:s while I'm doing something that prevents watching, like writing these messages, cooking, doing the laundry and so on. Unfortunately this means that I don't sit down with the libretto of a new opera and concentrate. After all, everything has not been published on DVD yet, as we all know, and there are still better recordings on CD of operas that are available on DVD. Then there are performances that we enjoy on both media. How about you?

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    Again?

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    It's been extensively discussed in two threads, Herkku.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    I think Herkku is asking whether our habits have changed with the easy availability of Opera on DVD.

    After all, in the eighties when I started to get interest in opera there were two options: listen, or go to a live performance. If you had a walkman you had to laboriously transfer your CDs to tape, and then lug all the tapes with you to listen on the go. I had a few precious videos but nothing like the plethora of DVDs now.

    Now I can very easily and conveniently listen when walking, driving or even working (using my work computer), and watch while cooking, ironing (using my laptop) or surfing the net. I watch at least as much as I listen now and hardly ever listen with the libretto any longer.

    (As for being run over I always remove my earphones when crossing the street. I want to stay alive to work my way through my UWP.)
    Natalie

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    I don't tend to watch opera DVD's anymore. The images tend to distract me from the music, and the subtitles tend to distract me from the images. At present I'd just as soon leave it as the libretto distracting me directly from the music.

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I think Herkku is asking whether our habits have changed with the easy availability of Opera on DVD.

    After all, in the eighties when I started to get interest in opera there were two options: listen, or go to a live performance. If you had a walkman you had to laboriously transfer your CDs to tape, and then lug all the tapes with you to listen on the go. I had a few precious videos but nothing like the plethora of DVDs now.

    Now I can very easily and conveniently listen when walking, driving or even working (using my work computer), and watch while cooking, ironing (using my laptop) or surfing the net. I watch at least as much as I listen now and hardly ever listen with the libretto any longer.

    (As for being run over I always remove my earphones when crossing the street. I want to stay alive to work my way through my UWP.)
    OK, fair enough, so I'll answer.

    As I said before, I am a visually-oriented opera fan like my sig indicates, and was never in the habit of just listening to recordings anyway. Before, I used to watch live performances quite a lot when I lived in New York City, at both main houses and some secondary venues. Then when I moved away I started to drive up to two hours to regional opera houses in my new state. Then the DVD craze started, and now I rarely travel exclusively for opera (still do; a few months ago I went to Charlotte to see Otello, and as you know, in October I went to NYC for Don Pasquale and Boris Godunov). Either I see the live performances by my local company, or go rarely back to New York City, or watch on DVD, blu-ray, Naxos library, Met in HD, and now MetPlayer.

    Basically I listen to operas that are not visually available (like recently I bought CD copies of Il Templario, Flotow's Martha, Enescu's Oedipe, and others). In terms of listening on the go, it's basically highlights, compilations, and isolated numbers. I do have several hours of opera on my iPod and several complete ones on my iTunes, but I basically use the complete ones to transfer certain segments to my iPod; I don't think I've ever listened to a full opera on my iPod. I also have MetOpera by satellite radio on my car, and listen to it a lot during commutes or trips. But at home, it's always visual if a DVD/blu-ray/streaming is available.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member Herkku's Avatar
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    Sorry, if I missed the earlier discussions. We have a couple of surgeons at work, who like to listen to music of their own choice while operating. So far, their taste in music has been very different from mine...

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    Senior Member classidaho's Avatar
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    I tend to absolutely love most arias and have little taste for recitative, and forgive me, silly or morbid plots. In other words I am in it, mostly, because of the music. I really do like visuals of the singer, tho, hence my limited desire for videos (I only own VHS copies).

    Oh hell, I'll vote for audio only. Most of my opera matter is on vinyl anyway.
    always shoot from the hip....

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    Senior Member classidaho's Avatar
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    Ouch! When I read the ? I didn't even consider 'watching live' which is by far my favorite! I love listening with an opera crowd and truly enjoy their appreciation and in turn the appreciation of the performers. Bravo! Brava!
    always shoot from the hip....

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkku View Post
    ... We have a couple of surgeons at work, who like to listen to music of their own choice while operating ...
    Yikes I hope their listening doesn't distract them & they remember the difference between the scapula and the tibia.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Yikes I hope their listening doesn't distract them & they remember the difference between the scapula and the tibia.
    And I hope they don't leave behind their iPods inside the patient!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    In answer to Herkku's question, my habits have definitely changed.

    I was content with my CD collection & used to listen with the libretto or on my mp3 player. I had a few DVDs but not many. Once I realised just how many operas were available on DVD I started exploring different ones and getting ones, for some reason, I would hesitate to get on CD.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Ralfy's Avatar
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    Operas are obviously meant to be seen since they appeared long before video and audio recording were invented. In which case, one should consider listening only to the music as the major shift.
    We few, we happy few, we band of chipmunks....

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralfy View Post
    Operas are obviously meant to be seen since they appeared long before video and audio recording were invented. In which case, one should consider listening only to the music as the major shift.
    Yep, obvious point that I'm quite amazed nobody had proposed before! Now that you have said it, it makes a lot of sense!

    So what is going on is that the new media are finally catching up and reverting the "damage" (if we can call it like this) done by the audio-only media to the completeness of the artform.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    I've been watching more operas on DVD/visual medium because of increasing availability. I still continue to buy CD recordings of operas, especially if performed by favourite performers and that there are no DVD/visual alternatives available. In other words, just because if a particular opera isn't yet available on DVD, doesn't mean I will never ever listen to it.

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