Recitative

What is recitative?

You may have heard the term recitative when you hear people talk about opera, but what exactly is recitative? This is my definition of recitative – any semi-spoken, semi-sung non-repetitive part of an opera that advances the action. Typically, the earlier the opera is, the easier it is to distinguish between recitative and other operatic sections, such as arias or ensemble pieces.

Don’t just take my word for it; listen to the great Leonard Bernstein talk about recitative…

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A few arias to go along with your coffee

Opera music can be a bit much to chew early in the morning, but here are a few pieces that I find go well with my morning coffee.

Although not an aria, it just can’t get much more beautiful than that, can it? Those french horns – wow! “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” is from Wagner’s Lohengrin. I think the title of the piece does a fairly good job explaining what’s happening in the opera when you hear it. (more…)

Opera on YouTube

Full-length operas on YouTube!

Here are a few full-length operas on YouTube with English subtitles. Isn’t it amazing that you can watch full-length operas for free in the comfort of your own home? Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Mozart Opera Sense recommended recordings of Die Zauberflöte: Tristan und Isolde, Wagner Opera Sense recommended recordings Read more…

Opera’s Greatest Hits

A few of the “greatest hits” from the operatic repertory:

Overture to Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). While none of the music in the overture returns in the opera itself, it certainly does an excellent job setting the stage for the “day of madness” that is to follow. (more…)

Where to begin…

Many people (shall we say most?) find opera somewhat inaccessible. I get that – it’s old, boring, and sung in foreign languages. It’s also not easy to break free from the “it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings” vibe; how often is opera depicted in shows, movies, or cartoons as some fat lady with brass chest plates belting out god-knows-what over an 80 member orchestra? My goal: (more…)