Hallo, my name is Carla Regina, I am a (Opera) singer, theatre maker.
Never mind the theatre maker, or the parentheses. You did not hear them, you did not read them.
All you heard is “Opera singer”.
That’s a word that carries a heavy load of images, concepts and preconceptions, which frankly drive me crazy. There are 2 faces, a sort of Janus doubleface of the same issue, which seems to hang on the head of everybody doing or wanting to do what I do.
But let’s start with order, otherwise why am I paying the mindfulness course, breath in and breath out 🙂
Opera evokes an image of glamour, expensiveness, beautiful clothes, beautiful music, beautiful settings, divos and divas with flowers in their arms, adoring fans, elegant theaters.
So far so good. YOU MIGHT THINK .
Here comes the connoisseur audience, good chance there that they know by heart every note, every phrase, every staging on the matter. Any attempt to change, to contaminate, will be frowned upon, obstracized, criticized.
Here I want to open a parethensis on the future of Opera. Judging from what I see and what I read, it would be rather difficult to bring, for example a production like the 2017 La Monnaie “Madama Butterfly”, a beautiful, moving, un-orthodox yet poignantly in line with the intentions of the composer and the librettist production, where the main role is a puppet (yes, a japanese one, to be precise) in a country like Italy, where tradition is the veneration of the ashes, the parameters are still Callas-Tebaldi-Toscanini-Visconti, Bartoli has a small voice so no good, baroque is for small voices so no good, sopranos are fainting on stage, Traviata has a big cleavage, Aida horses and elephants on stage, and so on. #Laliricasufacebook 13699 members, does not lie 🙂
But let’s go back to the post, of this topic we will talk another time. Operasinger sings opera.
The connoisseur audience will look with disdain to every attempt to twist, deconstruct, using the opera voice in an other setting, or for another purpose than pure opera. It would be like eating spaghetti with tofu balls instead of meat balls, you contaminate a great dish which is great as it is. Can’t fly, can’t do. They will be puzzled. They will likely not show up.
The regular audience, then.Those have the same image of Opera in mind.Yet…kind of..
Opera is kind of heavy, kind of we-do-not-understand-the-words-anyway, kind of tragic, kind of loud, kind of expensive, kind of a bit too much for an evening out. Kind of old, kind …boring.
The regular audience will look with confusion to every attempt to twist, deconstruct, using the opera voice in an other setting, or for another purpose than pure opera. It would be like eating spaghetti with tofu balls instead of meat balls. Yes, the dish is a bit lighter and modern, but still…it is the same old spaghetti. Can’t fly, can’t do. They will be puzzled. They will likely not show up.
Meet the nightmare of every insider, marketing person, artistic director, concert programmer: making audience show up by trying to put you in a box, on a shelf, in a cage, where there is no box or shelf that can hold you. In the case of opera, it is a golden cage, still a cage.
“What is this?” Is the “makepeopleshowup” question.
“Who are you?” is the “makepeopleshowup” question.
Showing up is a bit deal, rightfully so. As much as I understand this simple concept, the images, the perceptions, the suggestions that lead to preconceptions from both audience and business insiders drive me crazy (did I already say that? Breath in, breath out).
Not that I am alone in the effort of doing what I want to do without fitting in a box. Lots of performers look at that glass ceiling, and looked at it before me.One for all, Cathy Berberian, my big inspiration. Opera, folk and the Beatles in one single breath.
So exale. And start all over again.
Hallo, my name is Carla Regina, I am a (Opera) singer who likes to sing and tell stories on stage.
Malher, Mozart and Pino Daniele in one single breath. I like to connect and to bring emotions, regardless of the style. Sometime I will have a big Scarlett O’Hara dress, sometimes I will have bare feet. Depends.
If you show up (so far so good), just try to leave all your images and preconceptions at home, close your eyes, open your heart and let me take you with me.