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Let's Talk About Opera!

Hello music aficionados! Today’s topic - Opera! Opera is an incredible art form that originated in Florence, Italy during the 16th Century. Opera is still flourishing to this day, with thriving opera houses in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and more. In fact, we have our very own Opera House here in Placer County, the McRae Opera House! Do any local history buffs here have some knowledge to share about the opera house? Tell us below! Here at Tamraloo Studios, Opera is a big component of our Vocal Classes. Our voice teachers have been trained and many have classical or musical theater backgrounds, with years of experience under their belts. At Tamraloo we explore all genres of music, and that includes Opera! Opera thrives on the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, a German philosophy that opera encompasses as many art forms as possible (if not all) into one theatrical experience. When you think of an opera, you may think of large orchestras, full ensembles including singers and supernumeraries, large extravagant sets, new media technology, and more! The experience of opera is as ornate and expansive as the breath of the singers on stage. It takes a village to make a stage production of any kind, and particularly in the case of Gesamtkunstwerk. Say that 3 times fast! Gesamtkunstwerk, Gesamtkunstwerk, Gesamtkunstwerk! Opera is a global genre of music - with compositions in many different languages. However, being born in Italy, Opera is predominantly composed of Eurocentric languages such as Italian, French, German, and English. Famous compositions include: Mozart’s “Le Nozze De Figaro”, Puccini’s “Turandot”, Bizet’s “Carmen”, Camille St. Saens “Les Contes Des Hoffamn”, Wagner’s Ring Cycle (an epic series chronicling Norse Mythology), Handel’s “Daphne” and “Florindo”, and Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”. More modern compositions include Toshiro Mayuzumi’s “The Golden Pavilion”, Per Norgard’s “Siddhartha”, and Jake Hegge’s “Moby Dick”. All recommended watching that you can find via the Metropolitan Opera streaming catalog and in local theaters! Want to impress your friends? The next time your opera singer is about to hit the stage, don’t say “Break A Leg!” (though it is perfectly acceptable). If you really want to show off your theatrical knowledge, tell them, “toi, toi, toi!” This phrase is meant as a good luck omen for your opera friends. Initially the phrase was used to ward off evil spirits, and the words “toi, toi, toi” are onomatopoeic for spitting over the shoulder. The more you know! If you’re interested in listening to any of the selected pieces mentioned above, check out this Spotify playlist curated specifically for Tamraloo Studio Students! Sources: A brief history of opera. San Francisco Opera. (n.d.). Block, M., & Hackman, M. (2014, August 11). For a bit of luck, opera singers say a Melange o' tois. NPR: Trade Lingo on All Things Considered. Loddeke, L. (2022, January 8). If you hear "toi, Toi, toi" at Tonight's Houston Grand Opera Performance, don't be surprised. CultureMap Houston. i-at-tonights-opera-performance-dont-be-surprised McRae Building Historical Marker. Historical Marker. (2016, June 16). Toi, Toi, toi. Duden. (n.d.).

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