The Endurance Test of Opera Performance

Note: Airs Saturday at 11:30 am on 105.9 FM and WQXR.org

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

The long-running joke about opera is that a performance is not over until the fat lady sings. But a growing number of young opera singers are bucking that stereotype and are focusing on mental and physical fitness and endurance in order to excel at their jobs.

Singing after all, is as much an endurance test as it is art form. This week, Marilyn Horne talks about all the things singers do to stay on top of their game, mentally, physically and otherwise.

And opera fans explain how they prepare for the marathon endeavor of sitting through a five-and-a-half opera.

Plus, James Jorden, editor of Parterre Box, reports on operatic doctors who aren’t quite up to the task.


Programming Note: Operavore's Fred Plotkin will soon be taking questions on everything operatic from listeners. To get things started, we'll open up the comments box below to your questions. Please be concise and ask anything that's on your mind. We'll soon be adding a call-in phone number as well.

Comments [3]

Marianna from Manhattan

A question for Fred: My teen-aged son and I are happy, starry-eyed, opera novices. We've been attending the MetOpera for three years now and hold fast to our naivete* with both hands. What do you recommend we say to those who'd like to pop our bubble and prove to us how bad opera is these days? I am all for growth and maturity in appreciation for a new art form and I don't expect to remain a novice forever but does it have to be done with such malice by seemingly bitter people? Or is this all just a diva act? Talk to me.

*Note: when I say naivete I do not mean ignorance! We put a lot of study into each opera before we attend.

Apr. 09 2013 04:53 PM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

I've always said that performing classical music was more of a fine sport than a fine art. Never mind all the muscle action that goes into singing or playing an instrument. You need stamina to endure hours of practice and performance. These days, it's hard to imagine a Brunnhilde in a 46DD breastplate just standing there spewing sound with her spear plunked into the stage.

Mar. 04 2013 10:11 AM
nancy goldring

facile - is pronounced with the accent on the first syllable.

Mar. 02 2013 10:02 AM

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