Written by: Utkash Dubey
Modern pop music has been in its “love, sex, emotions, alcohol and more sex” phase for a while now. Knowing that, it’s hard for me to believe that music nowadays can even be considered tasteful, let alone respectable. Our generation seems to be soiled with unhealthy surface-level entertainment, and more people seem to fall victim to progressive-style music that simply isn’t worth appreciating.
In the midst of melodic disaster, I have found my new hope: good ol’ fashioned Italian opera. As strange as it sounds, there is something really mystifying and fantastic about the reverberations and mastery of voice manipulation that I hear and see in opera. When I listen to “Caruso,” which tells the sorta-true story of an Italian tenor who confesses his love to his second wife, I can sense the power, passion and funky serotonin levels. Opera in general is an experience truly unlike any other: some acts give the sensation of a dramatic clash, like a drummer fighting through a fiery barrage of symbols, and others, like “Caruso,” combine rage, regret and sorrow in absolutely spectacular ways, but I guess that’s the beauty of it.
And if that wasn’t enough, opera is nearly an athletic feat. Those cartoons of opera singers turning from pale to red and then to purple are only slight exaggerations of what actually happens. In fact, sopranos have been known to (on very rare occasions) pass out due to lack of oxygen. Not just anybody can sing opera. It takes incredible stamina and strong vocal cords to pull it off.
Luciano Pavarotti’s legendary enactments of “Caruso” and “Nessun Dorma” are now, strangely enough, the songs I find myself listening to the most, along with performances by Andrea Bocelli, and even occasional by Josh Groban, the young American opera singer. I’ve been listening to opera so much recently that I don’t consider most other genres to be relevant to musical culture anymore. My hip-hop and “T-Swift” obsessed friends probably disagree with me, but I think I’ve seen the light now. Opera singers are really the only good singers “on tour,” or whatever opera folks do. They’re the real singers that actually sound great without the obnoxious beats, seizure-inducing flashy music videos and, of course, the notorious autotune software.
However, I can’t praise every single opera singer. There are old school fellas like Pavarotti and Enrique Caruso, who boast classical, strong voices. There are more modernized but still old school opera singers, such as Bocelli, that are a pleasure to listen to weather the music is opera or not. And then there are younger hipster-like opera “singers” like “America’s Got Talent” winner Neal E. Boyd who just don’t know what they’re doing, but uninformed people like them anyways. Yet, on average, I enjoy opera far more than any other genre of music.
It’s hard to pinpoint and explain how exactly opera is so much more fantastic than Katy Perry or “P!nk,” because passion, power and emotion can be (inaccurately) identified in so many other genres of music. So with that in mind, I will withhold further verbal or written support of opera. Instead, I personally recommend trying it out. Have an open mind, listen (or watch) intently and enjoy the moment. Don’t think of opera as a strange branch of vocals meant solely for old rich folks; instead, let opera’s amazing feel captivate your interest.
—Dubey, a senior,