Entry: A night at the Opera 2/7/2004

Did anyone see Michael Bolton on TV7 tonight? He was singing the opera in a 1998 tv production called My Secret Passion. I din't really plan on watching it, I was watching Survivor Combat Mission and I was channel-zipping. I didn't have much expectation for Bolton's attempt, which I think was one reason I was -- at least slightly -- captivated by his voice.

He may be weak in the base range, and his voice often waivers due to his Pop instincts, but you gotta admit dude he's got a great opera voice, I would dare say. And you know what's so great about watching, no, listening to Opera? Its the feeling afterward, kinda like the feeling you get after watching a great movie, but always consistently wonderful because the Masters of the Past would never consider publishing anything that at least they themselves would consider stellar. It feels the way one might feel after watching... you know, I don't think I've ever felt this way after watching a film, only after listening to concerts.

Bjork unplugged, I'd imagine, would be a relevant example. Nirvana, to a slightly -- only slightly -- lesser extent. The Corrs, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams, other Unpluggeds. Maybe its the sound of natural music, perhaps. Non-electronic.

Not that I don't like electronica, mind you. I appreciate the work of electronica in general, at least the 'original' ones (but consider that no new music can be created nowadays; everything's been done before). I think the Chemical Brothers are wonderful creative artists. Along with Fat Boy Slim. And Moloko.

But getting back to the Opera, one of the show's highligts was Nessun Dorma from the Opera Turandot written by Giacomo Puccini and written around 1924-1926 (for a great page on opera, check out OperaResource. I guess I never thought of this before, but its written around the same time that Fransisco Tarrega wrote his Four Pieces for the guitar -- Adelita, Marietta, Sueno and Pavana. And lotsa other classical guitar has been written by others way before that, and arranged originally for the guitar, not just adapted to it like Asturias. If Turandot is classical then so is classical guitar. This is an uplifting thought for me 'cause its often said that the guitar is the youngest of the classical instruments and so the least developed; sometimes people would say its not even a classical but rather a folk instrument. I guess the date thing kinda reassured me in my mind that the stuffs I've been playing in private for these past years IS classical and that at least in MY mind I am a classical artist enjoying playing classical music.

But Michael Bolton wasn't a classical artist. As great a voice as he had he started his career in pop and would never have sung the opera like tonight if it wasn't for his money and connections. He's an original pop artist. Or is he? I think that might be an interesting web search.


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