Friday Fives

1. What’s the deal with opera? Do you understand it?
I have tried to listen. I generally like choral music and my sister is a fan and listens to streaming operatic music from time to time. However, it doesn’t resonate with me. Also, I read in the New Yorker last week that Rudy Guliani is a big opera fan so there is also that.

2. What’s the deal with Shakespeare? Do you understand it?
Now, Shakespeare is the stuff from the gods. King Lear, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night’s Dream and on and on. Such majestic stuff. I took three courses on Shakespeare in literature studies at college. I am kind of a fan. Both Anthony Hopkins, playing Anthony in Anthony and Cleopatra as well as Daniel Day-Lewis, have also briefly left acting after taking on those roles on stage due to powerful elements involved in the characters. I highly suggest going to a streaming service or library and get an audiobook performance of any of his plays and listen, you won’t be disappointed.

3. What’s the deal with Classical Symphony music? Do you understand it?
I like listening to classical music while studying or doing things that require great concentration. My dad would also do this while at work in the back of the post office. I am sure it drove his coworkers crazy.

4. What’s the deal with Poetry? Do you understand it?
I try. I had a literature class in college that was basically an introduction to poetry and I dropped it three times because I wasn’t into. I eventually completed it to graduate but . . . In my adult years, I have discovered Billy Collins, former poet laureate of the US and I find him accessible and he has edited two volumes of accessible poetry for high school students entitled “Poetry 180 – A Turning Back to Poetry” and volume two “180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every day.” Great stuff.

5. What’s deal with Wine Tasting parties? Do you understand it?
I like drinking wine. I don’t think we need to make a ceremony out of it.

3 Replies to “Friday Fives”

  1. 1. Opera is a form of theater where ALL of the dialogue and story telling is done with music. The regular narrative is called the recitative, while the slower moments with longer solos are called arias. In many ways, American musical theater is a greatly dumbed down version of opera–essentially a spoken play interspersed with songs.

    2. My understanding of Shakespeare is fairly limited–I’ve read or studied less than half of his works. However, he is one of the truly great writers and story tellers in all of history. There are myriad reasons why most stories are compared to his as a point of reference.

    3. I’ve extensively studied classical music, but have mostly forgotten what I learned. Nonetheless I have a fairly deep understanding of the evolution of the form–beginning with the Gregorian Chants, the German evolution of the sonata cycle, to contemporary composition. My one takeaway is that “classical” music can only be appreciated by being an active listener–the themes and variations are often quite subtle and moving and require one’s attention.

    4. Not really. Although I have a great deal of respect for language arts, poetry requires more concentration than I can muster any more.

    5. Yeah. Show up and drink someone else’s hooch. Hopefully the ensuing conversations don’t get too douchey. Nothing mysterious about it.

  2. 1) Well, clearly, I do not understand opera that is in other languages. I may get the idea of what’s happening, but there are few English operas that have any substance and frankly opera really, really bores me. I appreciate the art of it, I just don’t need to listen to it.

    2) Yes, I understand it. And it is fundamental to the understanding many aspects of theater, play structure, writing and acting. Some plays though, bore me terribly.

    3) Some is good, lots is bad, none is no bueno. I have attended many symphony concerts and wish they were much much shorter because, as you imagine, I get pretty bored after the first 30 minutes.

    4) Poetry is more like music, in that there are so many styles and flavors to choose from, you’re bound to find something that connects with you. The beat poets were that for me.

    5) Seriously? The title has “parties” in it, so yeah it’s a party with some winos. Now if it was a wine tasting study hall and they tried to make you spit out the wine after you studied the taste of it, well there’s a special place in hell for those people.

  3. 1) I like big production ones even if I don’t understand. This is the only one I love the music and have listened to without the theater.

    2) I understand it, I only enjoy some of it.

    3) I dint know about understanding it, but I enjoy listening to it every once in a while.

    4) Just because I do t understand doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.

    5) Naw I’m good.

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