Page 5 of 17 FirstFirst 12345678915 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 75 of 247

Thread: Opera is stupid - The Guardian

  1. #61
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,348
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    So insightful.

    Fortunately, good opera doing it's intended job is nothing like a comic book. Or are you referring only to "good" opera - whatever that is. Something "like a comic book," presumably? Or maybe just something to make a derogatory remark about about
    It's already been observed that opera "is not Shakespeare," and that its main reason is music, not plot, as long as it "works as theatre" and has "dramatic integrity." That sounds like the equivalent of a comic book or graphic novel (or even cinema), in which literary content is secondary to visuals. In opera's case, literary content is also secondary to visuals and to the music, according to you.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Aug-31-2019 at 12:44.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sedona
    Posts
    4,237
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Opera without music would be a play and judged accordingly with entirely different expectations.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Aug-31-2019 at 14:37.
    "That's all Folks!"

  3. Likes arpeggio liked this post
  4. #63
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,348
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Opera without music would be a play and judged accordingly with entirely different expectations.
    Exactly!!! By comic book standards!

    The main reason I listen to opera, besides the overtures, is for the music which accompanies the dialogue-like singing: without rhythm, floating, directionless...very ambient. It has abrupt changes, too; just like Carl Stalling's music.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Aug-31-2019 at 16:27.

  5. #64
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,502
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    It's already been observed that opera "is not Shakespeare," and that its main reason is music, not plot, as long as it "works as theatre" and has "dramatic integrity." That sounds like the equivalent of a comic book or graphic novel (or even cinema), in which literary content is secondary to visuals. In opera's case, literary content is also secondary to visuals and to the music, according to you.


    You're changing your original point. The statement to which I responded was:

    "'good' opera, if it's doing its intended job, is like a comic book. It has familiar clichés which make us feel comfortable, because of their comforting simple-minded nature."

    That statement misunderstands, and certainly diminishes, opera as art. Opera is less a species of literature than are comic books; in fact, an opera may be scarcely more literary than a ballet. A comic book actually is, primarily, literature, whether its artistic value as literature is substantial or negligible; its graphic content is there to tell a story, and it easily accommodates complex plotting and sophisticated dialogue. Opera is a variable combination of several arts, all of which are subordinate to and directed by music: literary values are generally best kept to a minimum so that music can achieve its best effect. That doesn't mean that it can't incorporate substantial literary content; Pelleas et Melisande, for example, is exceptional in setting Maeterlinck's symbolist play word for word. But, in general, it's best if opera plots provide easily intelligible situations and dialogue is minimized, with both elements tailored to facilitate, and stay out of the way of, musical expression. There's such a thing as the art of the librettist, and it isn't the mere pursuit of "simple-minded cliches."

    The business about "familiar cliches" and our "simple-minded comfort" is just a slam against an art form, and has nothing to do with its essential nature, its artistic potential, or my enjoyment of it.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Aug-31-2019 at 19:10.

  6. Likes OperaChic, MaxKellerman liked this post
  7. #65
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,348
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    You're changing your original point. The statement to which I responded was:

    "'good' opera, if it's doing its intended job, is like a comic book. It has familiar clichés which make us feel comfortable, because of their comforting simple-minded nature."

    That statement misunderstands, and certainly diminishes, opera as art. The business about "familiar cliches" and our "simple-minded comfort" is just a slam against an art form, and has nothing to do with its essential nature, its artistic potential, or my enjoyment of it.
    I certainly don't see my statement that way. Perhaps a little more direct, refreshing simplicity would do opera lovers some good.

  8. #66
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,502
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I certainly don't see my statement that way. Perhaps a little more direct, refreshing simplicity would do opera lovers some good.
    Well of course. Refreshing simplicity. Sort of like Donald, Hughey, Dewey, Louie and Uncle Scrooge.

    I'll need them next time I listen to Wozzeck or Parsifal.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-01-2019 at 23:13.

  9. #67
    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    moscow, russia.
    Posts
    977
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    what irks me is that some folks just won't understand that libretti do make sense and the music works tightly with them, and it was opera that contributed most to the development of music, it was opera hidden messages that lead to music gradually become more complicated and rich in sound.

  10. Likes Woodduck liked this post
  11. #68
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,502
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    what irks me is that some folks just won't understand that libretti do make sense and the music works tightly with them, and it was opera that contributed most to the development of music, it was opera hidden messages that lead to music gradually become more complicated and rich in sound.
    Thank you for that observation. Consider the operas of Monteverdi, Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Strauss, et al., in which the requirements of musical drama were a tremendous stimulus to musical originality. Ideas thus inspired have greatly enriched the art of music.

  12. Likes WildThing, Zhdanov liked this post
  13. #69
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,348
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Well of course. Refreshing simplicity. Sort of like Donald, Hughey, Dewey, Louie and Uncle Scrooge.

    I'll need them next time I listen to Wozzeck or Parsifal.
    As usual: exaggerations, exceptions, gross distortions, errors.

    CORRECTION: Huey, not "Hughey."
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Sep-04-2019 at 19:42.

  14. #70
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,348
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    what irks me is that some folks just won't understand that libretti do make sense and the music works tightly with them, and it was opera that contributed most to the development of music, it was opera hidden messages that lead to music gradually become more complicated and rich in sound.
    That irks me. It was because of the Greeks that music was used exclusively with dramatic action, not just opera.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Thank you for that observation. Consider the operas of Monteverdi, Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Strauss, et al., in which the requirements of musical drama were a tremendous stimulus to musical originality. Ideas thus inspired have greatly enriched the art of music.

    It was always "all together," starting with the Greeks. Music has always been "dramatic gesture" in sound. You act as if opera started it.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Sep-04-2019 at 19:37.

  15. #71
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    13,537
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    what irks me is that some folks just won't understand that libretti do make sense and the music works tightly with them, and it was opera that contributed most to the development of music, it was opera hidden messages that lead to music gradually become more complicated and rich in sound.
    Proof of this sweeping statement please?

  16. #72
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,502
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    That irks me. It was because of the Greeks that music was used exclusively with dramatic action, not just opera.


    It was always "all together," starting with the Greeks. Music has always been "dramatic gesture" in sound. You act as if opera started it.
    Zhdanov makes a good point. It's obvious that he's talking about music in the modern West. Greek drama inspired the idea of opera from the Florentine Camerata to Wagner (his Gesamtkunstwerk), but that's not what's meant here.

    Music is not all "dramatic gestures." Expressiveness is not drama.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Sep-05-2019 at 00:17.

  17. #73
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,502
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    As usual: exaggerations, exceptions, gross distortions, errors.

    CORRECTION: Huey, not "Hughey."
    As usual, humorless pedantry.

  18. #74
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,176
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Music is unique in the arts in that it's capable of bypassing the parts of our brain that are involved in processing reality as-it-is and goes straight towards stimulating the areas that are about pattern-finding, surprise, and all the emotions that can be elicited from that abstract process. As such, being untethered from direct representational reality, it also easily stirs our imaginations, which are similarly untethered from reality (or, at best, are distortions of our memories, reflections, and representations of reality). So when it comes to pairing music with a representational medium like drama, as in opera, it makes sense that the form that drama takes has much in common with imagination's distortions of reality rather than actual reality, especially when the music is still guiding us towards the underlying emotions of anything that might be happening in that drama. This is essentially saying that the only reason opera is "stupid" as drama is because human imagination and music is "stupid" as a means of accurately representing reality, namely in that neither does that at all. Rather, they're more about representing how reality feels to us, and the best opera captures in music and drama the way these situations feel, no matter how far removed they are from reality as-it-is.

    I've often heard the criticism of black-and-white films from average moviegoers that, well, we see in color, so why would you want to watch a film in black-and-white? The implication being that black-and-white lacks the ability to represent reality as it is. That may be so, but however much we see the world in color, we FEEL it in black-and-white. Why? Because black-and-white masterfully represents two polar opposites that combine to create a rich, gradated middle-ground between; and how much of life can be summed up as being two polar opposites connected by a mixed, middle ground? Opera is to reality as black-and-white films are to reality; both are about how we experience reality, rather than how reality factually is. Of course, there's also a tremendous artistry in being able to bring that aspect out, both in the realm of opera as musical drama, and in the realm of film direction and cinematography. It's not enough to merely present the situation in the drama itself--the libretto, the script--without the artistry that galvanizes it.

    The problem with most reality TV shows (I haven't seen the one in question, but I've seen similar) are that they are utterly lacking on both sides of the reality as-it-is and reality as-it-feels spectrum, as well as utterly bankrupt on the artistic spectrum. For one, they're marketed as "reality as-it-is," but as anyone who knows a bit about how such shows are actually put together, it's mostly manufactured drama that's simply not scripted the way traditional TV is. Producers put these situations together that they feel will naturally lead to the kind of hyped-up superficial dramas that are common in many people's lives. However, they're also not interested in "reality as-it-feels" either. There's no level of imagination or abstraction. So despite the fact that it's not realistic, it's not imaginative either. Artistry? There is none. The formula is that you get a group of volatile (often stupid, angry, jealous, selfish, etc.) people together, and then watch them fight with each other. Unlike opera or film, it triggers the parts of our brains that are obsessed with our (and others') tribal status: who's with whom, who's betraying whom, who's angry with whom, who's the alpha, who's the follower. It's the same kind of reason some people care about who celebrities are dating, or care about the latest gossip from neighbors. None of this has any of the abstract universality that the best opera or film can have.

    That opera (or film, or comics, or anything else) can have superficial similarities with reality TV means relatively little. At the most abstract, a good chunk of all of them are just about human relationships and people behaving badly. People who only notice such superficialities are the same kind of people who complain about a film having an unoriginal plot while ignoring that there's only a handful of basic "stories" to be told in all the arts. The issue, rather, is always about whether the actual art is able to bring out something more in whatever superficial material it's dealing with. The best opera does this. Reality TV has no artistry, at least none that I've ever seen. This doesn't mean reality TV can't be entertaining, and, at the end of the day, most operas and films are "just entertaining" too; but the best of the latter can be much more, and have been much more for many people. I've never heard of anyone say "my life was changed by a Reality TV show" (except maybe the stars of such shows), but people have spoken of opera and film that's had profound impacts on their life. If you want to be cynical and dismiss such people and their experiences, that's your prerogative, but nonetheless they exist, while reality TV just has its horde of mindless masses soaking up empty drama.
    Last edited by Eva Yojimbo; Sep-05-2019 at 17:31.

  19. Likes OperaChic, MaxKellerman, Woodduck and 2 others liked this post
  20. #75
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    14,502
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    In fact, there's nothing to prevent opera from being intellectually sophisticated. It can provoke deep thought, although not so much while we're watching and listening as afterward. Wagner, whose operas have provoked endless explorations of their meaning, said that he wanted his audiences to understand them through feeling, and called his operas "deeds of music made visible."

    Where music is the dominant art, sensual and emotional responses dominate intellectual ones, but feelings have cognitive sources and implications which may be quite profound. Great musical drama is the product of a high form of intelligence. However, the nice thing about opera is that it can be enjoyed "stupidly" as well, which is fortunate since I haven't figured out what sort of intelligence is required to make sense of Il Trovatore.

  21. Likes Celloiman, Eva Yojimbo liked this post
Page 5 of 17 FirstFirst 12345678915 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •