Where do we find the time for opera?

Opera News editor Brian Kellow approached me a few months ago with that question, which inspired a short riff in the April issue.  Here’s a sample:

What is the elevator pitch for Wagner’s Parsifal? Is there any opera today that could survive the rigorous condensation of modern life? Opera, it seems, requires a slower world. It hides vast amounts of time in its form — not just the duration of the music but the astonishing hours of preparation, the rehearsals and the private study (years, decades, whole lives) upon which every scintilla of music is predicated. When the public balks at the high price of tickets, we often explain the problem in terms of money — the millions of dollars it may cost to put a production onstage. Even more impressive, though impossible to quantify, is the sheer accumulation of time — and history — in every finished work.

And here’s a link to the rest of the essay.

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1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Feuilleton, Music, Opera

One response to “Where do we find the time for opera?

  1. Cindy Battisti

    The entire essay really made me think… Opera is about taking the time…not just for the story itself but letting the emotion of it sink in and process. We rush through this modern life, often just filling it: opera gives us a world where people stop for a moment to actually feel things and express them. I am ashamed to say I fast forwarded through some Wagner last month-sacrilege. What could I do, they were due back at the library-next time I’ll pay the late fine, promise.

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