Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Operamania 101: Say My Name

Who hasn't felt like an outsider growing up? Or woken up with nary an ounce of teen angst? Who thinks that highschool was the best that life could get?

Yeah, didn't think so.

Everyone's felt like 80s It girl Winona Ryder in Tim Burton's 1988 movie, Beetlejuice. The teenaged goth daughter dressed in black to match the colour of her heart. Your typical adolescent. Feeling lost, strange, confused, unable to relate to anyone, not sure how to cope. It doesn't help much that her parents are gaudy and obnoxious Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara.

But unlike us, she got to become friends with the resident ghost couple Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin as well as the object of affection to Michael Keaton's miscreant Betelgeuse.

Right before Betelgeuse tries to get her to bring him into the land of the living by saying his name 3 times, here she is melodramatically composing her suicide note by candlelight. In the background plays the famous aria, Regnava nel silenzio from Donizetti's opera, Lucia di Lammermoor.

It is this aria in Act One that Lucia tells her maid that she has seen the ghost of a girl, to which the maid responds that the apparition serves as a warning and that lucia must abandon her love for Edgardo because of the feud between her family and his.

Course we know how that all turns out and what happens to "mad scene" Lucia.

So it's no surprise then that dramma tragico (tragic opera) can feel like the domain of life as a teenager.

Course now that we've lived through it once, who'd want to do it again?

~ Ling Chan

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