top of page

It's Not Over Until

This past week has seen me having to make a few concessions. I may have been just over a tad ambitious to think that I could put out a blog piece every day for 365 days, consecutively. This small detail regarding being human – it really can become a challenge when you factor in that I am a quadriplegic with unique health considerations. That being said, being unwell got me thinking "it's not over until the fat lady sings." And then I got to thinking, hey, that may be a good idea for something to write about.

Opera. I was introduced to this unique art form when I was about 15 years old. The production was called "The Rape of Lucretia" which, as it turns out, was what is known as a "chamber opera" written by Benjamin Britten, first performed in 1946. This would make it a more modern composition compared to some of the more well-known examples of the discipline, but I was thoroughly converted. This two act English libretto was based on a French play which, in turn, took its cue from a Shakespearean poem. Serendipitously, I was spared having to wonder about Italian or French lyrics standing in the way of my understanding of the plot but, if I were to be honest, I still don't understand Italian and this has never caused me to miss the emotion or passion of any Italian word I was subsequently privileged to see.

So, what is the big deal? What makes opera so special? Well, it starts with the history of it all. Opera is a stage drama set to music in its entirety, made up of vocal pieces with instrumental accompaniment and usually with orchestral overtures and interludes. In some operas the music is continuous throughout an act; in others it is broken up into discrete pieces, or "numbers," separated either by recitative (a dramatic type of singing that approaches speech) or by spoken dialogue. I am