German Opera And Its Sung Languages
Filed in Music
In today’s day and age where Hip-Hop and “Indie” music is part of the mainstream, I think old-timer music like Opera doesn’t get the respect it rightfully deserves.
Yes, I’m using this blog to tout the virtues of the German Opera.
I know you must be thinking, how “romantic” can German Opera be when the language itself sounds a bit harsh? Romantic or not, it took years for German opera writers to come out from behind the shadows of their Italian or French contemporaries.
While Heinrich Schütz is technically the father of the German opera (back in the early 17th century), it took the likes of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and eventually Richard Wagner (Mad King Ludwig II’s favorite guy) to bring into the light.
Many German language operas follow the tales of the Brothers Grimm (even making the story of Hansel & Gretel into a singing sensation). Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is also a time-honored favorite.
These two operas aren’t the only ones sung in German. It wouldn’t be fair to leave out Beethoven’s Fidelio or Franz Lehar’s Die lustige Witwe (that would be the Merry Widow in English).
It wasn’t just German (or Austrian) composers that wrote German operas, Italians like Busoni wrote them as well.
Operas are grandiose productions, so it’s only fitting that they’re performed in magnificent music halls like the Munich National Theater (where the Bavarian State Opera performs), the Alter Oper in Frankfurt, and the Stuttgart National Theater (home of the Stuttgart State Opera).
I can’t think of a more appropriate venue for an over the top opera than an over the top theater. Can you?
Yeah, I know that opera is one of those musical stylings that either you love it or hate it, there’s no in-between. But c’mon, give it a chance. Just remember, it ain’t over ’til the “pleasantly plump” lady sings. ;-)
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