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My Pants were on, so what was the Big Deal?

On Saturday, I went to the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, San Diego District.

That's just a fancy way of saying singing contest. Contestants must have a total of 5 opera arias prepared and there must be three different languages.

This isn't exactly American Idol.

The first singer went on at 10:00am and I got there about 10:20am and didn't leave 'til about 6:20pm.

Upon paying my $5 I was immediately told not to enter the house while a singer was on stage.

This is a really big deal.

I managed to go in while there was a singer on stage and the looks I received were amazing--a subtle mixture of terror, fury and indignation.

These are the looks I'm used to getting when I don't have pants on so I doubled checked. My pants were on, so what was the big deal?

Funny thing, the singer went on to sing Mozart.

Mozart's music has survived for over 250 years but based on the looks I got, my late entrance nearly wiped it off the face of the earth.

These are the people who wonder why classical music isn't more popular.

In case any of them are reading, I'm going to explain it.

Classical music isn't more popular because when new people come to it they feel unwelcome.

God help them if they talk or make comments during the music.

Ah the music, the precious music. One false breath and it will collapse. One whispered word and Verdi will be undone.

Why is classical music treated as if it is a newborn?

It's managed to survive world wars, holocausts, depressions, dictators, fascists, communists, imperialists and any other number of "ists".

I know, we're supposed to respect the music. I think we do so can we please relax a little?

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On Saturday, I went to the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, San Diego District.

That's just a fancy way of saying singing contest. Contestants must have a total of 5 opera arias prepared and there must be three different languages.

This isn't exactly American Idol.

The first singer went on at 10:00am and I got there about 10:20am and didn't leave 'til about 6:20pm.

Upon paying my $5 I was immediately told not to enter the house while a singer was on stage.

This is a really big deal.

I managed to go in while there was a singer on stage and the looks I received were amazing--a subtle mixture of terror, fury and indignation.

These are the looks I'm used to getting when I don't have pants on so I doubled checked. My pants were on, so what was the big deal?

Funny thing, the singer went on to sing Mozart.

Mozart's music has survived for over 250 years but based on the looks I got, my late entrance nearly wiped it off the face of the earth.

These are the people who wonder why classical music isn't more popular.

In case any of them are reading, I'm going to explain it.

Classical music isn't more popular because when new people come to it they feel unwelcome.

God help them if they talk or make comments during the music.

Ah the music, the precious music. One false breath and it will collapse. One whispered word and Verdi will be undone.

Why is classical music treated as if it is a newborn?

It's managed to survive world wars, holocausts, depressions, dictators, fascists, communists, imperialists and any other number of "ists".

I know, we're supposed to respect the music. I think we do so can we please relax a little?

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Comments
8

Thank god you didn't light a cigarette.

Oct. 18, 2010

Aren't we dealing in cliches to label all classical music patrons pretentious? Are some? Yes. Are all rock music patrons drug addicted losers? No. Are some? Yes.

Oct. 18, 2010

I used to be involved in graded classical music performances, well after I started teaching piano lessons while I was in the sixth grade. San Diego County used to be great place for classical music in public education. In 1976, the Outstanding High School Orchestra on the West Coast was from Spring Valley.

Then came Proposition 13.

And now it's cool to open and close a concert-hall door in the middle of a one-shot national job interview.

Cool, indeed. It must be a sign of our apparent and obviously increasing West Coast sophistication, I guess.

Oct. 18, 2010

I'm not so sure that classical music can't be cool. Beethoven's 5th has been copied by rock musicians for decades for a reason. He was the original rock star.

Oct. 18, 2010

Mindy, if you want to rock out to classical music check out Prokofiev's Dance of the Pagan Monster also called The Enemy God and the Dance of the Spirits of Darkness from his Scythian Suite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfQb6BKq_ZU&feature=related

a2resource, I'm grateful that you've taken the time to comment and hopefully I can share a little bit of the motivation behind this particular posting.

I assume you're familiar with the experience of watching opera in Italy--come and go, in and out, shouting at the performers from time to time, the claques hushing applause for singers who didn't pay up and going nuts for those who did. I'm not saying it's better or worse than opera in America but it's certainly the other side of the coin.

So far as a one shot national job interview, its a contest and contestants have 11 years of eligibility and can compete as often as they like. The national winner is offered an apprenticeship with The Met (the smart ones turn it down), no principal contract has ever been extended to a contestant in the year that they won. Why they call it an audition is beyond me.

I, for one, am proud of West Coast sophistication. At it's best, it is a sophistication that values content over structure.

I appreciate and thank you for your obvious dedication to music and music education. Best, Garrett

Oct. 18, 2010

Well Garrett, I'm surprised I need to tell you this but the reason you were given rude looks is that you disrespected the community you attempted to join and observe. You were given a simple code of conduct and you blatantly ignored it. It takes a certain amount of humility and empathy to observe the guidelines of another culture even if you don't understand them. Auditions are a pretty big deal for the people involved and you were lucky to be allowed the privilege to observe them. The only thing you had to do was be respectful to their request but you refused and then compared your negative experience to the classical music world as a whole. If you went to someone's home and they asked you to take off your shoes before entering, would you ignore them and then be confused as to why they acted frustrated? Then maybe you would say that anyone who invites you into their home is a jerk if they ask you to take off your shoes first. Lame article.

Oct. 19, 2010

RE "I assume you're familiar with the experience of watching opera in Italy...":

Never been to Italy. Family members went during WWII, but Gen. Patton didn't allow all that much leisure time at the opera.

Since we ARE making assumptions, I'm assuming that the performances were being recorded; otherwise, nobody would have said anything about timing your entrance. Perhaps you'll get a credit for adding content on the CD?

Amusing how they would call it an audition when it's not an audition. Now, that's pretentious.

Oct. 19, 2010

I have to laugh every time someone blames Prop 13 for the education woes -- and every other kind of woe -- afflicting California.

The Spenders in Sacramento have raised taxes in every other way possible -- including taxes disguised as fees -- and they still can't balance a budget.

So now they're thinking, "If we could just raise the taxes on grandma's home every year, then we'd be able to have music in the schools again." What horse crap!

We get taxed plenty, and the Lottery generates billions. (Remember how we were told it was going to make CA schools the best in the country.)

Entitlement programs, overspending politicians, overpaid administrators, ridiculous union-crafted pensions, and a loss of corporate taxes due to companies fleeing this state's crappy business environment are bankrupting education, NOT prop. 13.

Oct. 20, 2010

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