Opera un­rav­eled

Pasatiempo - - Mixed Media -

In a letter dated 1677, Sieur de Saint-Évre­mond de­scribed opera as “a bizarre mix­ture of po­etry and mu­sic where the writer and the com­poser, equally em­bar­rassed by each other, go to a lot of trou­ble to cre­ate an ex­e­crable work.” In the next cen­tury, Sa­muel John­son called it “an ex­otic and ir­ra­tional en­ter­tain­ment,” while Lord Ch­ester­field dis­missed op­eras as “es­sen­tially too ab­surd and ex­trav­a­gant to men­tion.” And yet the art form per­sists, and great num­bers of peo­ple find them­selves drawn in by opera’s mag­netism even if they worry that they aren’t en­tirely savvy to its se­crets. The Santa Fe Opera Guild has in­vited con­duc­tor and lec­turer Oliver Prezant to help usher neo­phytes through the mys­ter­ies of the lyric stage in the course of two lec­tures, each of which gets a pair of go-rounds. Part One, which takes place at Col­lected Works Book­store (202 Gal­is­teo St.) — at 5 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, March 2, re­peated at 10 a.m. on Satur­day, March 5 — of­fers a his­tor­i­cal over­view of opera. Part Two, held at Santa Fe Opera’s Stieren Hall (seven miles north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285) — at 5 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, March 9, re­peated at 10 a.m. on Satur­day, March 12 — peeks into the nuts and bolts of how op­eras are cre­ated. To re­serve a place ($15 for the two ses­sions to­gether), call 629-1410, Ext. 130, or reg­is­ter on­line at www.oper­a101santafe.com.

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