4 things you're probably thankful for if you're an opera fan
For our Canadian readers, we head into Thanksgiving weekend (it's true, Americans!), and the deal is we have to say out loud the things for which we're thankful. We're a bunch of thankful opera lovers over here, so here's our list of gratitude, tailor-made for our fellow fans of big, loud singing.
No, they're not perfect, but we're thankful for surtitles - or supertitles - the line-by-line translations projected just above the proscenium arches of our foreign-language opera. They make the comedies more comedic, the tragedies more tragic. They're handy when we haven't done enough homework about the plot before seeing an opera, and they give us a chance to practice our speed-reading skills.
Le nozze di Figaro, says, is a great opera, but we are indeed thankful when someone realises that it is just too damn long in its purest, most manuscript-ful form. We do love hearing opera, but it's a beautiful thing to experience a few wise sacrifices of unnecessary recitatives, filler arias (cough Berta cough), or da capos that start to feel like Chinese water torture.
On the other hand: it's equally satisfying to hear a singer head into round two of a bel canto cabaletta, and do that repeat for a damn good reason. We're thankful for mind-blowing ornamentation.
Because it's cheaper than plane tickets around the world: we're thankful for the internet's various ways to watch opera online. A subscription to Met Opera On Demand gets you right up close - sometimes too close? - to the goings-on on the big stage, and The Opera Platform has a pretty tasty rotation of European productions (including the new Tosca by Calixto Bieito).
And for all the moments of "I just need to hear Pavarotti sing 'Celeste Aida' for a quick sec", we're thankful for YouTube.
That's it. We're thankful - dankbar, even - for Herr Mozart.