quotations about opera
People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.
J. F. LAWTON, Pretty Woman
We are living in operatic times. Forget what you've heard about opera being remote and elitist. Opera is also the art form that, perhaps more than any other, specializes in heightened emotion, and in finding ways to communicate it.
ANNE MIDGETTE, "How to survive the next four years on social media? Opera can help.", Washington Post, February 10, 2017
Opera is when a tenor and soprano want to make love, but are prevented from doing so by a baritone.
Nightfall, going to the opera. Changing worlds. Trading the working world for one of fantastic, fleeting leisure. Climbing giant staircases. Bronze women proffer fake torches, ceilings full of goddesses and gods ... in this architecture can be read a whole, no longer existent, world. The ghosts of a society wander here in a dream.
CATHERINE CLEMENT, Opera: The Undoing of Women
No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
W. H. AUDEN, Time Magazine, December 29, 1961
The more opera is dead, the more it flourishes.
SLAVOJ ZIZEK, Opera's Second Death
Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables.
FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas
Opera is like an oyster; it must be swallowed whole or not at all.
SPIKE HUGHES, Nights at the Opera
Don't sing an aria
To someone who can't
Sing one back.
KENNETH KOCH, The Collected Poems
Going to the Opera, like getting drunk, is a sin that carries its own punishment with it.
HANNAH MORE, letter to her sister, 1775
Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive.
MOLIÈRE, attributed, The Moderate Soprano
In certain ways sleep is useful. It is an excellent way of listening to an opera.
JAMES STEPHENS, The Crock of Gold
Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
H. L. MENCKEN, attributed, The Concise Columbia Dictionary of Quotations
[Opera] does not call so much for an imaginative ear as for an imaginative eye, an eye which can see beyond little absurdities toward great truths.
GEORGE MAREK, attributed, The Magic of Opera
Opera once was an important social instrument -- especially in Italy. With Rossini and Verdi people were listening to opera together and having the same catharsis with the same story, the same moral dilemmas. They were holding hands in the darkness. That has gone. Now perhaps they are holding hands watching television.
LUCIANO BERIO, London Observer, February 5, 1989
Watching Italian opera, all those male sopranos screeching, stupid fat couples rolling their eyes about. That's not love, it's just rubbish.
PETER SHAFFER, Amadeus
The aim of Opera has ever been, and still is today, confined to Music. Merely so as to afford Music with a colourable pretext for her own excursions, is the purpose of Drama dragged on -- naturally, not to curtail the ends of Music, but rather to serve her simply as a means.
RICHARD WAGNER, Opera and Drama
Opera is a type of drama whose integral existence is determined from point to point and in the whole by musical articulation. Dramma per musica.
JOSEPH KERMAN, Opera As Drama
The opera isn't over till the fat lady sings.
I wish the opera was every night. It is, of all entertainments, the sweetest and most delightful. Some of the songs seemed to melt my very soul.
FANNY BURNEY, Evelina