Happy New Year! As we begin to see the end of 2015, new ideas, plans and goals are being set for 2016. We are both terrified and excited to see what this new year brings us: Will we lose the weight, save the money, and take the risks that we promise to ourselves on January 1st? Or will it be just another year? Before you begin making the resolution that may not resolve, we have a new 2016 challenge for you: Watch and listen to some opera. Just some, that all we’re asking. Allow this world to welcome you with open arms and try something new. There is a lot that can be learnt. We’re convinced you’ll like it.
Don’t be afraid.
When you think about it, we are introduced to music from the day we are born, and so it can be scary, at an older age, to embrace a style and era of music that we are not used to. But before you whinge about it being ‘boring’ or ‘obscure’, I must point out to you that you have listened to classical music all your life. Your mum may have sang you Brahms, you might have watched the Looney Tunes as a kid. If you have access to a TV, Radio, Cinema, Laptop: You have experienced classical music in some shape or form. So don’t be afraid of something you actually know, and have known all your life. Instead: Open your ears and your eyes.
Listen to Great Music
If you approach this music with open arms, you will find yourself embraced in a whole new experience that you might just possibly love. Go to see a Symphony Orchestra, or an Opera and watch and listen to music that has lasted 100+ years. You will be listening to the same music that helped people through the World Wars, the music enjoyed by wealthy aristocrats who had way too much money, and then music that stood for resistance and middle-class. You may begin to understand the reasons as to why you know the names Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner. You’ll probably understand the hype around the great names of Pavarotti and Australian soprano, Dame Joan Sutherland. You may finally understand the difference between an oboe and a clarinet. You may find yourself shamelessly crying or laughing with a complete stranger, your neck and arms covered in goosebumps as you are moved by the music and story in front of you. If you allow yourself to approach this music openly, I can promise that you will be surprised by the magic and passion provided. If you just give it a chance, you will discover neither pretentiousness or snootiness, but incredible music that has stood the test of time.
Live up to your Potential
Opera can teach you to reach for the stars. Have you ever heard an opera singer talking about how bad they are? I somehow don’t think so. I think you’ll find, most of us are very good at talking ourselves up. While this may be seen as pretentious, a lot can be learnt from the singers of the opera world and the characters they play. Quoting the brilliant soprano, Jessye Norman: “Why would I spend my time being mediocre?” We’re not saying you start demanding green coloured M&M’s in your dressing room, but you can learn from the diva/divo’s ability to stride for exactly what they want and strive for their dreams and more. Stop doubting yourself and allow your skills and hard work to shine through this 2016. Could you imagine if Pavarotti had said “I’m not good enough for this”, if Mozart had said “I don’t feel like composing”, or if Schubert had given up writing Lieder? The world of Opera would be completely different if the main characters did not fight and act upon their emotions. We learn a lot from the classical world in its ability to continue growing and expanding in a modern world, constantly taking one step further than before. And why can’t you?
The O Word Announcement:
So come on! Jump in! But you didn’t think we would leave you in this world alone, right? The point of The O Word is to make these new experiences more accessible and less terrifying to all of you! We’re here to explain things you may not understand when it comes to this big world of Opera (We’re here to explore things that we may not understand!) and in order to keep making this more accessible, and bring opera close to home, The O Word will be starting a new segment called Vocal Voyages.
Vocal Voyages: On the first Sunday of every month, The O Word will be posting a new blog from a local Australian studying/travelling/performing overseas. This gives us the opportunity to catch up with local talent, and show the incredible people representing Australia in other parts of the world. We also hope that young, training opera singers will read these and feel inspired to continue their training in a similar way to these Australian-born superstars! To celebrate the beginning of Vocal Voyages, our first blogger will be presenting you with a five part series on his experience in New York and training at Mannes College. After completing a Bachelor and a Graduate Diploma at WAAPA, performing as an Emerging Artist with the West Australian Opera, we are so thrilled that our first Vocal Voyager is none other than Perth tenor, Richard Symons! You can read the first blog here on the 3rd of January (Sunday), and then they will be continuing every Wednesday for all of January!
So what are you waiting for? In 2016, broaden your horizons to the world of opera. It doesn’t matter if you dip your toes in or dive in head first. The point is we’re exploring new things and opening our minds to these new experiences together. So make sure to ‘follow’ our website, like our Facebook page, and join us as we continue to spread this ‘o’ word around.
From all of the writers and editors at The O Word, have a happy new year!
Written by Katherine Goyder