I don’t know if you’ve been watching America’s Got Talent recently. For me, some of these talent shows are a hit or miss affair. I want to watch them, get involved in the stories and talent of the participants, root for my favorites, but life gets in the way and I’m not always able to tune in.
Luckily, last Tuesday was one of the nights I made it. All I’m going to say is one word:
Wow. As Howie Mandel said, “A Hispanic, a Korean, and a New Yorker walk into a bar and record a giant hit record.” Three guys with incredible voices and obvious operatic training come together days before an audition, perform for the first time — on TV no less — and blow everyone’s socks off.
This story resonates with me for more than one reason (and I’ll post about reason number two hopefully later this week). As an opera fan, I’m always troubled when people think of it as an almost dead art form. It’s considered snobby and boring. But, these three guys, in their baggy jeans and schlumpy outfits, were the “Three Tenors” (Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras) reincarnated for a modern generation.
Opera is making a sneaky comeback – but shush, don’t let anyone know or the anti-opera snobs will put the kibosh on it faster than you can blink. While the Forte rendition of Webber’s Pie Jesu brought audience members to their feet, Susan Boyle took the world by storm with her operatic voice, and Jackie Evancho, age ten, did the same a few years ago. And remember that breathtaking performance during the concert scene in Fifth Element performed by Inva Mula-Tchako? Who could think Donizetti or opera is boring after that number?
So perhaps the joke should be, what do a trio of nerdy guys, a frumpy housewife, an angelic child, and a blue alien have in common? The ability to sing songs so complex and timeless they transcend language and appearance to touch hearts everywhere.
Operatic music is so powerful that even when badly sung – as in one finalist contestant on the Voice, or in the Les Miserables film, its innate beauty comes through and moves us as nothing else.
All I can say is hooray. Opera is back!
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY EVERYONE!