Challenge to opera

Posting suggested by AOP board member, Robert E. Lee III.

I agree completely with his conclusions. Every time I got up on my hobbyhorse and and pronounced Wagner a false god and Handel the true savior to which contemporary opera should turn its gaze, I was trying to articulate what Sandow says so well at the end of this piece. – Bob Lee

From the blog of critic Greg Sandow
Greg Sandow on the future of classical music

Challenge to opera

In Wong Karwai’s new film, My Blueberry Nights, Rachel Weisz has a monologue that could almost be an opera aria. When I saw the film, and Weisz quiets down outside a bar where she’s just thrown a fit (with Norah Jones sitting by quietly, ready to listen to anything Weisz says), I thought, “If this was an opera, now we’d get Rachel Weisz’s aria.”

But I couldn’t have known how musical Weisz’s monologue would be. For one thing, she often spoke in musical phrases, with pitches – musical  notes – I could just about have written down in musical notation. But she also made music in a higher sense, gripping my attention simply with the sound of her voice, quite beyond the meaning of her words. Up to a point, this happened as her voice was pushed and shattered by her feelings, but as I listened – maybe because I’m a musician – the sound took on a force that was completely musical (understanding here a wider definition of music, which goes beyond the notes and chords of traditional music, and enters the wider world of pure sound.)

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