To me, opera is the most exciting art form in the world! It combines the full range of artistic resources: drama, visual arts, literature, and of course, the wonderful, soul-stirring music. Opera can be thrilling, hilarious, political, terrifying, imaginary, emotional, elegant, or poignant. Opera sings of the poor (La Boheme), the rich (The Marriage of Figaro), the righteous (Fidelio), the morally depraved (Don Giovanni), the victim (Susannah), the martyr (Faust), the powerful (Boris Godunov), the delightful (The Elixir of Love), and the doomed (Romeo and Juliette).
Sometimes it seems as if a long-dead composer took his idea from yesterday’s headlines. Consider Carmen. A woman is killed by a jealous lover who decides that if he can’t have her, no one will. Consider Madame Butterfly. From time immemorial, soldiers and sailors far from home have sought comfort in cultures radically different from their own. When they returned to their “real” lives, they often, knowingly or unknowingly, left behind the children of these unions. Although written over 100 years ago, these two stories are as fresh as if they had just happened.
Opera is timeless. It is about who we were, who we are now, who we should not become, and who we would like to be.