The pleasure in watching others take pleasure in opera.
Not really sure why (and this isn’t quite exactly how it happened), but when I awoke from my post-Thanksgiving slumber I found myself asking, “Do I really love opera?”
After deep discussion with friends, pondering about my dilemma during long pensive walks with our dog Daisy, revisiting recordings of favourite operas, taking a break with Placido Flamingo, and jotting down an I-love-it-I-love-it-not list…I came across someone who helped me to reaffirm my love for opera!
Wenarto — “renaissance man”. He is an accomplished painter and photographer, an aeronautical/astronautical engineer, he cooks, drinks, dances, speaks multiple languages, does Crossfit, and he is a YouTube opera star (and is also found on Vimeo).
With his paintings as backdrops, Wenarto films himself (and sometimes with his friends) singing opera arias and recitative with a profound joy that is so much fun to watch, I feel my cynicism melt away as I laugh my guts sore and my face wet.
Putting aside the highway robbery and snobbery that opera often feels like, I am reminded to take pleasure in the things I really love about opera. The grandiose spectacle that it is with its immortal music, elaborate sets, gorgeous costumes, ridiculous storylines, and larger-than-life voices and personalities.
Wenarto has uploaded hundreds of videos, but here are a few of my favourites — opera and non-opera, but all awesome and guaranteed to make you smile (even on the darkest of days).
Rossini’s Barber of Seville: “Una voce poca fa”
Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi: “O mio babbino caro”
Rossini’s Barber of Seville: “Mi par d’essere con la testa”
Mozart’s Magic Flute: Papageno and Papagena Duet
Puccini’s Tosca: “Vissi d’arte”
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 “Full Moon, Empty Arms”
Rimsky-Korsakov: Song of India
Wenarto has said in interview, “The key point is to have fun while creating art that will make the public feel happy.”
Mission accomplished. Thank you Wenarto! (Can I join your opera-singing posse?)
I need Opera Karaoke.