Opera, musicals and concerts
Where emotions flourish
Not so long ago, I visited an opera house (I don’t remember which). There was a huge banner above the entrance with this message: “Revel in the misery of others: visit the opera!” As with any good joke, it contained that grain of truth: Opera and musical theatre explore what it means to be human. Naked, vulnerable and extremely fragile. Where words aren’t enough and meaning can only be relayed through music.
Think about someone you love. Now imagine losing that person. You’re darkest fears have suddenly come true. And so the plot begins! Now transform those feelings into sound ... a song. This, is opera! After all, who’s interested in a story about carefree, frivolous love with a happily ever after? We might dream it, even long for it ourselves. In opera though, we’d be bored to tears!
Human beings seem to have a need to imagine the pain and suffering of others...curious to understand jealousies and complicated love relationships. It has nothing to do with gloating though or revelling in the misery of others. Not at all! Rather the opposite. This is all about compassion. We cry. We laugh. Right there, in sync with the main characters. Imagination and empathy are two unique qualities of being human. And, at the theatre or opera, we can allow those emotions to flourish. It’s a place where we can really give them a thorough workout! A place where stories come alive through music. Where every human emotion fills the air, captured in an aria, the trill of a flute, the timbre of a cello or a tympani drumroll. Hope. Passion. Fear. Love. Want to give your imagination a REAL workout? All you need to do is spend an evening at the opera!
And, opera is for everyone! At the opera, we’re all just simply human beings. Each and every one of us. Often, we hear that our society is becoming increasingly polarised. Each person, in their own bubble, floating in the same space with other bubbles of the same size and colour. There are few places where everyone is welcome and everyone belongs. Opera is one such place. Something magical happens when every seat is filled and you’re a part of it! People, of all ages, shape and size. With different backgrounds, political views, hopes and expectations. Joining together to experience a grand opera or musical. There’s so much joy in that! Laughing together at the lunacy of the Marriage of Figaro. Crying, over Mimì’s tragic death in La Bohème.
Richard Wagner envisioned a form of expression uniting all the arts: poetry, art, music and theatre. His ultimate vision was to synthesize all forms of artistic expression into what he called “total artwork”. And he worked feverishly to achieve it. I think, perhaps, that Wagner’s biggest challenge might have simply been reigning in his own ego. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what we’re striving to achieve at the Göteborg Opera. The union of all art in one art form. Or as Wagner put it, Gesamtkunstwerk. Fundamental to this concept is a blurring of the boundaries. In fact, erasing them altogether! Obliterating the boundaries between professionals and amateurs, performers and their audience. Coming together, as one.
Last year, the Göteborg Opera and Swedish Red Cross International Choir collaborated to bring myths and legends to life in the opera, Rheingold. This year’s summer project for youth is to create a new opera based on the “lovers of heroes” in The Valkyries. On any given week, more than 100 children and youth sing with the Göteborg Opera, primarily in our children’s and youth choruses. Last season, they participated in several of our performances. And this year will be no different. We’re particularly excited to show off their talents in the musical, Oliver!
Our new season is packed with incredible stories about the human condition and our plight. You’ll laugh. And you will certainly also cry. So join us, to revel in the misery of it all!
Artistic Director for Opera/Drama
The 2019/2020 season has been planned by Stephen Langridge, Artistic Director through June 2019.