Opera Week 2010: The 10 Greatest Operas Plus an Opera Primer.


Opera Week 2010.
Opera Week is a National celebration of opera kicking off Friday, October 29, 2010.  There are many events scheduled across the country and in Chicago to bring about awareness of this often ignored art.  Yesterday, Show Me Chicago, looked at some upcoming events for opera week, today we will take a brief look at opera and why we should embrace it or at least give it a fighting chance.

Faking it.
Opera is a part of our history and just as we study the Revolutionary War and the plays of Shakespeare, we should try to understand opera.  Take a look at Show Me Chicago’s “Cliff Notes” which if nothing else may give you enough knowledge to “fake it.”

Cliff Notes.
Opera started in Italy in the 16th century.  It incorporates dance, visual arts, and music.  The word “opera” means “a work” told to music.  Operatic stories come from many sources including:  History, mythology, fairy tales, folk stories, literature and drama.

A few terms to know.
Libretto–the text of an opera means “little book.”
Vignette–short impressionistic scenes that focus on one moment.
Singspiel (German)–contains spoken dialogue alternating with songs.
Aria–a song for solo voice with instrumental accompaniment.
Cantata–a musical form for chorus and soloists based on a narrative text.
Commedia dell’arte–a dramatic presentation with highly stylized characters and plots which revolve around disguises, mistaken identities and misunderstandings.
Entr’acte–a musical composition played between acts or scenes within an opera.
Falsetto–singing technique that has a light, “head voice” or “false” voice which enables a bass or a baritone to imitate a female voice.

If you want to learn more.
Check out the following websites:  Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and The Metropolitan Opera.

OR: Go to a community lecture. Typically, there are more than 450 presentations given at 90 different venues each season.

Ten Great Operas.
See slideshow below.

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