Opera Memes, Act II

Opera Memes, Act II

Jenna Simeonov

A while back, I got impatient with a bunch of opera memes that were circulating around the Internet. It has happened again, partly thanks to the Opera Memes Facebook page. Here we go, for Act II of the Opera Memes Deconstruction:

1. The non-sequitur buzzword-gripe meme:

Firstly, I had to Google Repo! The Genetic Opera. It’s a horror-musical-film-rock-opera hybrid mutant, and it apparently holds a record for most amount of musical numbers in one piece. It’s got 73, as per the above meme, and I’m not sure what that has to do with the general public’s innocent ignorance towards opera. Nonetheless, this meme is here to make sure that you know that opera is not related to some musical-film-deal with 73 songs in it. It’s no mash-up of stylistic genres, held together with a dramatic plot and almost constant music. No sir, opera is certainly not drama with music in it. No Siree Bob. (To be fair: it’s probably not like Repo!, but this feels like innocent small-talk between an opera person and a non-opera person, taken too seriously by the former.)

Also, why is it an angry-looking ostrich? Emu? Birds have less to do with opera than Repo! The Genetic Opera.

2. The Captain Obvious Meme:

Yay. You noticed a hole in an opera plot. It’s true, they’re all over the place; Il trovatore has that whole “I burned the wrong baby” thing, and Leporello and Don Giovanni manage to fool a decent number of people with their shenanigans. Hell, there’s freaking Fidelio. Now, frustrated, Jackie Chan-inspired operagoer, go get yourself some tickets to La traviata or some opera version of Shakespeare (Britten will suffice) and get yourself some satisfying-plot-points. I won’t say this meme doesn’t have a point, but it’s sort of the operatic equivalent of discovering that popcorn is expensive at the movies.

3. The Equally-As-Annoying Neighbour Meme:

This guy. This guy has neighbours who add small doses of comfort and happiness to their dwelling in the form of artsy knick-knacks, colourful interior paint jobs and their choice of music coming from their apparently powerful home-audio setup. I assume by “crappy music”, this guy’s neighbours are not blasting obscure Meyerbeer or that song by John Cage that takes 600 years to play (entitled _As Slow as Possible_, for clarity). These hoodlums are no doubt blasting some hippety-hop, or maybe something by aliens Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, or maybe it’s even a combination of both, like this annoyingly infectious Pharrell song. But it is no doubt crappy music, and balance must be restored by blasting dem beats by Mozart instead. Oh, those moments of crescendo and sforzando chords blasting away sure are epic, if you can stand the wait between loud bits on the poorly-equalized audio playback of your live recording of Don Giovanni with Giulini in it. You, sir, have told them. You probably put the last 30 seconds of the Commendatore scene on repeat.

4. The About-Me Meme Trilogy:

This one is interesting; I’ve found a few versions of this multi-meme, all trying to clarify what exactly an opera singer does all day long. Let’s look at the first one to get our bearings: so, most people think you’re a horned lady screaming, except your mom and friends, who think you’re playing around and being in Phantom. Other singers think you’re a snob, and maybe it’s because you think you’re onstage all the time singing, but instead you’re just a tea expert. Next.

Again with the societal concept of the Valkyries, and the parents not taking your job seriously. Here, your friends at least know you’re not in a constant Andrew Lloyd Webber scene, but there’s the added complication of your significant other being jealous of your onstage romances. Again, you seem to think you’re the main character whenever you’re onstage, but you’ve grown comfortable admitting that you still indeed practice.

Finally, we’ve got the humble student version of this Me-Meme. Apparently here your friends are now the problem, making mental associations between you and that crazy, obese, horned lady again. Your mother is very proud of you and knows you are the next Callas. Society doesn’t know much about opera, but at least they think you’re in the same league as that surprisingly-not-fat opera-type singer who was on the BBC Proms. You are insinuating that you lie to your teachers when you tell them you practice, and that’s problematic because you are under the impression that you are sharing duets with Jonas Kaufmann a lot. But I finally have to give props for honesty at the end. Opera binges on YouTube. Ah, 2008. This was my jam.

5. One Last Meme That’s Actually Kind Of Funny:

You remember Tamar Iveri, right? She’s the Georgian soprano that got in some trouble over a more-than-a-little homophobic statement she made on her Facebook page. I love the idea of a calculated, well-timed system of propaganda; how operatic. Although it could have been played out better if they hadn’t ended up firing Tamar from the Opera Australia production of Otello. Think of the marketing campaign: “Come one, come all (except if you’re gay) and cheer as our homophobic soprano sings music from the West she hates so much!” It would be a show, no doubt. Anyway, I like the idea of this meme’s Keanu-Reeves-inspired character thinking about the opera industry’s struggles to stay relevant in this modern age. That’s funny to me.

Do you have your favourite opera memes? Share them in the comments below!

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