Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oberto: opening opera...

Last month was Joe Green's 200th anniversary: and today the 174th anniversary of his first opera: Oberto. Joseph Fortune Francis Green - or one of his works or themes - is one of the first names most people would mention if asked about Opera, (or certainly Top 5 along with Puccini, Rossini, Mozart and Wagner...or maybe Bizet?). I am of course playing by using an anglicised version of his name; I mean Giuseppe Verdi, a composer who - if we were to have such vulgar and useful things as opera stats and tables...oh, we do - would be well ahead in terms of performance runs (how many times a work was programmed not the number of performances) and five of the Top 20 operas. He almost ended his career before it had begun as his two young children and wife died before the debut of his 2nd opera [Bio], Un Giorno de Regno; this wasn't successful; ironically it means 'A One-Day Reign' and Verdi was almost a one hit wonder.
"Verdi’s music transcends the barriers between high and low culture. Many of his arias count among the greatest songs ever written, streaming out of opera houses and into football stadiums and even the charts."
[from video debate: Verdi vs. Wagner]. What is Ows on about opera for? Well, opera is posh, innit, and that last quote mentioning football chants reminded me that last week Paul, writing about class envy, put up some very interesting information: "Class envy unfortunately is deeply routed in the British psyche, like subconscious racism it is always with us. Football is 'the working mans game' at £50 a ticket (the cheaper end) whilst the English National Opera (£22) and the Royal Ballet (£24) are for 'toffs'."

P.S. If you think I'm being inventive or pretentious I have written this listening to the Overture from Nabucco.


Paul said...

Thanks for the link. I am writing this listening to the Hebrew Slaves Chorus (just to keep the mood going). In the days when we used to get Christmas bonuses paid in cash and Christmas lunches meant too much alcohol I would always end up buying an opera CD and so my collection grew in relation to my alcohol intake.

Love the Top 20 performances chart. I think that opera can be a real challenge and I am not surprised at that list, must be very difficult to even consider putting on one of the lesser knowns in that hope that you can attract a new audience.

Poor old Wagner, forever tainted by Hitler.

Span Ows said...

Yes, funnily enough I was reading about that and the various connections of other Verdi 'greats' to Italian unification: as with many things it's being played down and dis-proven and changed these days but interesting none the less. and though the same about Hitler although I do have a soft spot for Wagner, especially Ride of the Valkyries.

Span Ows said...

Forgot to add re alcohol intake related purchases, I did the same by agreeing to a deal with one of those 'collections' where you get the first 3 for the price of one (or something) but then 'are forced' to get the rest of the 50 CDs bit by bit.

Paul said...

Sorry but that really made me laugh