I am interviewing people for my school project in Musical Theory aad Appreciation class. We are working on an opera project and I have been asked to interview at least two people. If it's okay with you, I would like to ask some questions about opera.
1.  When I say "Opera" what is the first thing that you think of?"
2.  on average what is the total cost of an opera production?
3. What is your favorite opera and why?
4. If you had a choice between being a composer or a librettist, which would you choose and why?

If you have the time to answer it would be very much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to look at this!

Hi!  I'm sorry for the delay in answering you - but here are my answers.

1.  When I hear the word "opera" I immediately think of the great performances I have seen (with great artists) and have been in.  And I think of strange things that have happened onstage.  Obviously we know that the opera format is a dramatic presentation which is sung.
There is a famous story of a Tosca performance (an opera by Giacomo Puccini) where Tosca stabs the evil Scarpia when he tries to attack her.  Well in this production they forgot to put the knife (stage of course).  There were bananas on the table.  So in her panic, Tosca took the banana and stabbed Scarpia - and he died!!  They had to stop the opera because the audience was laughing so much… and it was a very dramatic scene.

2.  The cost of an opera production can vary dramatically, depending on which opera company is doing it.  Recently New York City Opera (with Brooklyn Academy of Music) produced an opera called "Anna Nicole".  That production cost $4MM.  The Met, I'm sure spends that amount (and more) on a production.  But smaller companies spend much less (can be 6 figures or less).  It really depends on how big the opera company is and what their budget is.  The Metropolitan Opera had revenue of !84MM in 2011 so they do spend millions on their opera.

3.  I really have so many favorites it's hard to choose.  Wagner's Parsifal has some of the most gorgeous music you will ever hear and it's an opera about redemption.  Mefistofele (by Boito) is the Faust story and the music of the Prologue and Epilogue is spectacular.  La Boheme, by Puccini is about young lovers in Paris and the ending will leave you in tears - and the music and drama is wonderful.

4.  If I had to choose between being a composer or librettist I think I would choose composer.  If I only had that talent.  It is truly something you are born with.  Mozart wrote his opera "The Marriage of Figaro" in his head completed before he even started putting it down on paper.  That is just brilliance.  But the idea of hearing music that you created and seeing it on stage is a very exciting idea.

I hope this helps you.  Good luk with your project!



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Pamela Thomas


Questions on Opera performance, repertoire, vocal technique, acting for opera. I have some 20 years experience in opera in both leading roles and chorus. I have sung with New York City Opera since 1981. I have studied voice in NYC for over 20 years and have also taught technique and coached singers in acting.

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