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Last night I went out to the local(ish) symphony, where they were doing what can best be called a “sampler platter” of opera music. A few talented soloists joined the choir and orchestra for this evening. Guided by the conductor with information on what we were about to hear, we glided through about a dozen selections.
I sat next to someone who turned out to be a past professional viola player, and we had some great conversations about the music, opera in general, and culture.
For me, I enjoyed the music thoroughly. The first two pieces brought to mind Bugs Bunny and cartoon factory music, likely because I have been playing those cartoons of my youth for my toddler. The opera pieces were powerful – I was filled with emotion during the duet in one of the pieces – but I imagined that I could have been brought to tears if I only understood Italian. The idea behind opera is enticing and fascinating, but I felt unable to experience it fully.
Yes, it was the language barrier that holds me back from wanting to further explore opera. Missing that connection with what was happening took too much from the experience for me.
Below are the pieces that were played for us. What are your thoughts on orchestral music, opera, and culture in general?
Overture from William Tell
Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore
Humming Chorus from Madama Butterfly
“Povero Rigoletto” from Rigoletto
“Che gelida manina” from La Bohème
“Si, mi chiamano Mimi” from La Bohème
“O soave Fanciulla” from La Bohème
“Va, pensiero” (Chorus of the Hebrews) from Nabucco
Triumphal March from Aida
Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana
Prelude to Act III from La Traviata
Act II, Scene II from La Traviata