Welcome to OperaSpin.
Every couple weeks, the wife, her grandpa, and I head to our local AMC movie theater to watch the opera streamed from New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. At first I thought the opera was lame and stupid. Now I think it is good and cool. I’d like to convince you that it’s good and cool as well.
So, I’m going to start reviewing operas until I get bored of reviewing operas. If you make your way out to the theater, you can play along in the fun. Check out the Met Live in HD schedule to see which operas are coming up. By the way, that dude up above is James Levine. He conducts these things. What the fuck, amirite? With that out of the way, here we go.
Opera is great. The experience of the opera is even greater. Now, this is a movie theater, so it ain’t quite the real thing, but it’s close. Here are some things you need to know about the opera to enhance your enjoyment:
1. The people here are OLD. I mean OLD.
2. One of them may die during the performance.
3. Do not make a sound, because these people won’t hesitate to shush the shit out of you.
That’s it! That’s all you need to know about going to the opera.
Let’s get to Tannhäuser. This is a Wagner opera. It clocks in at about 4 1/2 hours. And, a quick note to any of my readers that might be nazis: this is Wagner, but there isn’t a word about Jews being terrible. In fact, everyone is Catholic! So, quick tip for nazis, you can skip this one.
This opera is called Tannhäuser. That’s supposedly the main character’s name. But they called him Heinrich the whole time. So weird.
This thing starts with a LONG overture. Then, for like 15 minutes, there’s some ballet sex. Heinrich is hanging with Venus in some kind of pleasure palace. Heinrich and Venus sing about how they love banging each other while people ballet fuck around them. I’m not sure what happens next because for like eight minutes this lady was trying to sit down (remember I said they were old). She first tried to walk up the stairs. Should be easy enough. But, she was on the wrong side of the stairs. She was holding the handrail and walking forward like she was walking up the stairs. But instead she just walked into a wall. Tough to explain, but it looked like this:
Then there was the ordeal of actually trying to sit down. Fucking crazy. But that’s opera for you. So, for some reason Heinrich ain’t happy fucking Venus all day everyday. He wants to go back to the land of mortals. She gets pissed and sends him back. He wakes up outside. A bunch of people find him. Apparently they are good friends and Heinrich had just disappeared for a long time. So they’re all stoked to see him. So great!
Enter Elizabeth. She’s the babe that Heinrich left Venus to come get to smashing. She’s in the Hall of Song. She hasn’t been in there since Heinrich disappeared, but she’s finally happy again so she’s back singing her ass off! Heinrich comes in and they sing about how they love each other. Elizabeth just looks like a straight up punk bitch here because the whole time Heinrich was gone he was banging this other chick. She don’t even know. Wait! What was that?! Some old dude just fucking dropped his cane and scared the shit out of you.
So, next there’s a massive battle scene. Not military battle. Singing battle. It’s like 8 Mile or Pitch Perfect or something. They’re supposed to sing about the nature of love. Heinrich pisses everybody off by dissing them in his songs and saying they don’t know shit about love. Then he slips up and says he was banging Venus.
Everybody loses their shit, especially Elizabeth. They all pull out swords and are about to gut him like a fish. Then, this guy who’s the Count or something banishes Heinrich and says he can only be forgiven if he goes to Rome to do penance or something.
Possibly the best part about the Met Live in HD series is you get to see them change the sets between acts. It’s seriously awesome. Also, this guy is one of the main dudes that does it. He looks like he digs opera.
BTW, I’ve heard these guys make like $400k. I think I did my life all wrong.
There’s some more singing. Heinrich comes back and says he chilled with the Pope. He asked the Pope why he met with Kim Davis and the Pope gets real pissed and says Heinrich will only be saved when his staff sprouts leaves (obviously impossible).
Heinrich and Elizabeth die. That’s what happens in opera. Every opera is like Game of Thrones or Walking Dead. I’m not really sure why they died. Maybe broken hearts? Who knows. Anyway, they’re both dead and the staff has sprouted leaves (oh shit!). Heinrich was saved because he declared his love for Elizabeth and it’s a miracle, I think. It’s all very confusing.
Tannhäuser. Long as hell, but not boring at all. The music is awesome. Don’t make this your first opera. Maybe like your 10th.
8.5/10 (for non-nazis)