The History and Future of Opera

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On October 12th, I saw Tosca by Giacomo Puccini held at Atlanta Opera. Tosca is an Italian opera, directed by Tomer Zvulun, accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Arthur Fagen, included a cast of Kara Shay Thomson, Massimiliano Pisapia, and Luis Ledesma (The Atlanta Opera). Opera is an art form in which singers act out drama through a combination of acting and vocal performance. Singers deliver conversation in a musical manner, essentially singing the conversation. Since we recently learned about opera in class, I want to explore the future of opera - where it will go next with the ever advancing modern technology, media and entertainment, and what researches are currently being done at both the industry and academic levels. I will briefly describe what the traditional opera is like using Tosca as an example. Next, I will look at modern opera after the World War II. I will also select one example from the industry and university that are experimenting with opera. At last, I will offer my imagination of what the future of opera may be.
Before discussing the future of opera, it is imperative to examine traditional opera and some modern trends. The primary focus of traditional is on the actors’ and actresses’ singing and acting. Apart from vocal performance, opera also puts emphasis on movement and expression. Movement and expressions are exaggerated so that audiences sitting far away can see. The movements are theatrical. Opera is performed on live stage with sets and costumes designed especially for the performance. For example in Tosca, The actors and actresses all dressed in the costume of the Napoleon era. Males have waxed hair, and they wear breeches and long coats with tall standing collars. Females wear dresses that ar...

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... viewers by bringing unique performance each time. The Death and the Powers: Redefining Opera puts more emphasis on the actual technology used during the show. The automated setting allows the scene to transition smoothly from one to another.
I imagine in the future a new wave of opera will surface. We will see more use of robots, computers, social network, and virtual reality. We might see breakthroughs in stage design, such as a circular stage. We will see opera performed under different settings. Shows will become even more interactive, adaptable, personal, and modular. All in all, we are seeing a transformation in opera. The challenge lies in keeping the essence of the art of opera and striking a balance between modernization and preservation, so that it can continue to engage its audience yet distinguishes itself from all other types of musical performances.

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