Friday, August 28, 2009

The Internet - learn to pray to your new God

After about a hundred billion voice lessons, a master's degree from Juilliard, and countless productions of The Barber of Seville, who would have guessed that the internet and not my voice would be the thing to catapult my face into people's sight lines. Okay, it was my voice that first got me the review that lead to the blog, that lead to today's shout out on The Daily Beast. But still, the internet is a powerful agent, even for those of us whose music comes from before the time of the dinosaurs (that is a highly misleading and unfair representation of opera - there are several operas composed BY dinosaurs, so we shouldn't pretend they are all prehistoric.) Anyway, here's the blurb that appears in today's "The Week in Culture":

"Opera is rarely seen as “cool” anymore, especially on the Web, but perhaps mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera can help bridge the gap a bit. This week, the young singer got a rave review from the L.A. Times for her work in the Bard College Music Festival in New York, and also a shout-out to her witty blog, Trying to Remain Opera-tional. For what it’s worth, the blog is a tell-all look behind the scenes of opera life, from onstage makeouts to world travel. It’s a fascinating and funny read, and in some small way, does its part to increase opera’s cool factor (a tall order, to be sure)."



Seriously - what a crazy juxtaposition. In the opera world, we are preserving an art form that is really old school, and thank goodness, because otherwise no one would know what it sounds like to hear someone make a single sound without a mike jammed down their throat. Yup - I think opera is pretty much the only place you can still hear an unamplified voice in all it's guts and glory. And of course, opera companies are doing great things to bring Mozart into the 21st century, often by updating productions and casting hot young singers that look and sound great. But the internet is this whole other animal that has yet to be fully exploited by those of us in the opera world, and as we've seen in my little case, can spread news like wildfire even to the mainstream public that wouldn't necessarily know about opera.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to ask any of you who may have navigated to this blog from the Daily Beast (maybe you meant to check out the Olsen twins new clothing line but you ended up with me instead - sorry - but at least I washed my hair this morning) to please allow me to convince you that opera IS cool. It is more than cool, it is way badass. Although the fact that I just used the word badass sort of makes me an immediate dork. But I digress. The thing Europeans seem to be more aware of that I hope Americans will start to learn, is that opera can be like seeing a Quentin Tarantino movie with singing. It gives you so much stimulation both visually and aurally, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and something about hearing a voice without a microphone stirs your soul in a way that, in this day and age of constant editing and photoshopping, is not really explainable. Opera still gets to your ears raw, and often it comes out of lips you would like to kiss as well. Plus, it's a known aphrodisiac - I'm not making this up. Okay, I made up the aphrodisiac thing, but I'm probably right.

I will certainly do my best to continue to spill all the juicy details. Stay tuned. And now I really must go because I leave for Berlin tomorrow, and in my highly glamorous and amazing life as an opera singer, I must go do my laundry.

15 comments:

pat said...

toooooo coooooool

Brian said...

Now I feel famous too, since I was mentioned in your now notorious opera kissing post. Ha!
The week in culture slideshows definitely make for some interesting bedfellows. I was in the NY Times week in culture with a Midsummer Night's Dream production alongside Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Beyonce.

EasternOregon2v said...

I'm Daily Beast referred. I've been looking for some cool blogs to read.

Andrea said...

I'm DB referred as well. Started at the beginning, working my way through and loving it!

Elizabeth McDonald said...

Go cool opera chic! And remember that we are WAY COOOOOL up here in Canada, too!

Mariel said...

How SEXY is that picture?! Congrats and keep up the good work!

Mariel said...

How SEXY is that shot?! Keep up the good work and congrats!

ken said...

Iam DB referred also, and I find your blog very witty and enlightening. Do you ever take questions?

Ken

Melissa said...

Yep, Daily Beast referred and so happy about it. What a breath of fresh air you are! And now I'm hooked. You're going on my blog so I'll remember to keep checking in. Come to Long Beach CA! We have cool opera too!

sestissimo said...

Ken - yes - I am happy to answer questions - just post em!

ken said...

OK here's a question. I was reading an article about Anna netrebko the other day talking about how difficult it is to act for the clos-ups in opera productions that are filmed. She implied that she's thinking too much about the diificulty of just singing. Do you find that also?

Ken

Katypracht said...

BRA-VA, Jenny! You just CARRY that torch, girl! :)
I hope all is gut in Deutschland!

Miss you,
:) Katy

sestissimo said...

Ken - yes, I think acting for close ups in opera must be really difficult. I've never done a show that was broadcast in HD, but whenever I see the broadcasts, I cringe thinking about how I wouldn't want to see my own face making the weird contortions you sort of have to make to sing opera - in high definition no less! Plus, when you're acting for opera, you have to think about projecting your movements to audience members who are really far away, so when you also have to become a movie actress, I would imagine it's difficult to decide how to play it. I recently saw a video of one of my performances after the opening, and seeing it was really helpful for me because I actually changed some of my physical actions after seeing what I looked like from the outside. It's hard having to sing and trying to look like a normal person simultaneously!!!

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