The Misconception of Opera

August, 2016

The Oxford dictionary defines the word Opera as, "drama of vocal and instrumental music."  When most people think about Opera(s) they envision ladies cloaks and evening gowns, men in collapsible high hats and tuxedos viewing the stage from a balcony with a small binocular and listening to men and women sing in a language that they don't understand. This is the modern day perception of opera - right or wrong. However, way back in the day, Opera was viewed as a modern day concert. Imagine getting dressed up to go see Beyonce - this is the same thing. 

Opera received its posh reputation from the royal courts of Europe. Most composers received patronage from the court so they could concentrate on creating music. Opera was sung in the language of the country of that court which is why Opera is sung mostly in Italian or German because it reflected the benefactors’ language.  It was a compromise that composers were willing to make.  Besides, it was a job with benefits where everyone got what they wanted out of this arrangement; the court presented new music to the masses and the composer got an audience.

Now that we illuminated a little knowledge about Opera, think about the great composers who wanted to work at their craft.  It’s no different from a painter or an athlete training to be the best they can be. Opera tells a story that uses dramatic compositions and customs. It's just like the modern day equivalent of a musical.  Hopefully, by knowing these facts - Opera doesn’t seem so posh anymore.