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Thread: ballet and opera

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    Default ballet and opera

    Opera is very much a world which visits the listener. The human voice is the sound more than any other the one we can most relate to. It reaches us and we need make no effort to relate, feel for and silently commune with.
    Ballet can be a richer experience. We find a more foreign and strange world in ballet. A world where human beings are mute yet express their thoughts and feelings without fault. The characters seem to me higher more advanced beings. No character in ballet seems completely human. Their gestures reveal a superior language somehow which is to them more comprehensible than words. In opera a man would tell his lover he loves them. In ballet he would show not just his love but the quantity and quality of his love. Ballet is an invitation to a seemingly silent world yet glorious sounds echo the gestures as though the dancers are translated into a voice. The voice of the orchestra. Opera and ballet are very special and demanding for the performers and they both speak the same language in that when the music is heard and the gestures witnessed the language we hear most is that of our own emotions.

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    This is a magnificent post that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thank you. On comparing opera and ballet, I’ve often felt that one of the things that I like most about ballet is the SILENCE of it. And this is why I prefer it over opera. I can tolerate some operas, maybe La Bohem, Carmen, a few others, but in general it’s just too loud for my tastes.

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    I completely agree with you, OP, that the "human voice is the sound more than any other the one we can most relate to. It reaches us and we need make no effort to relate, feel for and silently commune with." That is its limitation for me. As soon as the voice sings words, the music becomes programmatic for me—it forces me to a limited and preordained interpretation of the sounds. While I have, in the past year, considerably expanded my small opera collection, instrumental music resonates more strongly with me.

    I enjoy ballet music, as I can hear it as instrumental music, but it has the added possibility of watching the dance. While I don't collect DVDs, I do, on rare occasions, enjoy taking the time to watch the dancers. Ballet music likely also has some constraints, as it must follow the programme and be danceable, but it is easy to hear as purely instrumental music.

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    Pantomime is ancient and wonderful and under appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michael5150 View Post
    Opera is very much a world which visits the listener. The human voice is the sound more than any other the one we can most relate to. It reaches us and we need make no effort to relate, feel for and silently commune with.
    Ballet can be a richer experience. We find a more foreign and strange world in ballet. A world where human beings are mute yet express their thoughts and feelings without fault. The characters seem to me higher more advanced beings. No character in ballet seems completely human. Their gestures reveal a superior language somehow which is to them more comprehensible than words. In opera a man would tell his lover he loves them. In ballet he would show not just his love but the quantity and quality of his love. Ballet is an invitation to a seemingly silent world yet glorious sounds echo the gestures as though the dancers are translated into a voice. The voice of the orchestra. Opera and ballet are very special and demanding for the performers and they both speak the same language in that when the music is heard and the gestures witnessed the language we hear most is that of our own emotions.
    Beautifully written! I would be inclined to agree with you, though I am a novice in both ballet and opera.
    ≥12

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