Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Reading: Another Night at the Opera

Boston_Opera_House_Tickets_Screensaver-screenshotOne of the joys of writing for this site is the variety. We cover everything from food crimes (a regular on the podcast) to tech news, arthouse films to awful films, videogames to bestselling Literature. Although it’s ultimately up to you if we succeed in doing so, we do strive to maintain this scope without feeling scattershot.

In our globalized culture, everything is connected. Every other movie is based on something that started as a book, a game, or a news story. The movers and shakers in the tech world have increasing control over how we consume and create art and entertainment. To ignore media other than the one you work in is to deny yourself a potential font of inspiration.

This is the message of Bill Roorbach’s “Another Night at the Opera”. Writing for the blog Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, writer and professor Roorbach recalls the time an opera singer visited his creative writing workshop at Ohio State University. He was dismayed to discover that the bulk of class claimed to detest opera and quickly assigned the Columbus production of Madame Butterfly to his students.

To prepare them, the visiting tenor took on the role of guest speaker. After remarking on the nomadic lifestyle of the professional opera singer, he finally relented to Roorbach’s requests that he sing. Roorbach writes:

“"Well," said our guest. "That one starts very quietly. And I’ve been talking so much that perhaps I’m warm enough. Hm-hm. A few bars, maybe. ….But we’ll have to open the windows."

Frosty night.  No matter, one of the kids opened the windows wide. Humor the neurotic singer, all that.

"It’s going to be loud," he said. "There’s no way to sing it halfway."

What follows is a moving account of one workshop’s realization that there are, in fact, other disciplines worth studying, other arts worth experiencing. Go read it. It’s a reminder that, no matter the tool or instrument, the creative impulse is a universal one.