Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This is the Royal Opera House. I have now been there 35 times to see opera and ballet, the latter with Ruth.
Soon after I retired I decided to take an interest in opera. I began by reading The Rough Guide to Opera. This provides a brief history, an introduction to all the great opera composers, their major works and opera plots. I then went on to study more about the history of opera and selected the truly great composers for a more in depth study. So it came that I read the biographies of Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Puccini, Richard Strauss, and Rossini. From all this study I was able to identify the most popular operas by these and other lesser known composers. Around 150 in all. It took several years, but through listening and recording radio and TV productions and borrowing from the library and colecting CDs and DVDs. I gradually listened to and or watched all the 150 + operas I had identified. And the truly great operas were my targets for attendance at the royal Opera House.
It is impossible to exaggerate the joy I've had from opera. Both at home and at the Opera House the tears flow during moments of sublime music and singing. To witness what good things humans are capable of is always incredible. But sublime moments in music are something no words can explain. Just listen to Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, La Traviata, The Magic Flute and Tristan and Isolde. You are linked to whatever you understand as divine.