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Opera - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
estherchaya
estherchaya
Opera
We're going to the opera on Sunday and I haven't a thing to wear. Not going to get a chance to rectify that, but I'm sure we'll still have a really good time! Hooray!
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estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 17th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Kirov Opera doing Turandot at the Kennedy Center.
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: February 16th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Some consolation. Aside from the time you spend walking through the lobby, you will be sitting in a dark room for 3 hours, with everyone facing forward. I wouldn't worry too much about the fashion. Wear black, a nice necklace, and you'll be fine.

Seattle cracks me up, because you can always tell who has third tier seats. They're the ones wearing fIannel shirts, jeans and Birkenstocks. I overdress for the opera because I like to dress up, but really it's not mandatory these days.

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 17th, 2006 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I know that. It's not that I thought I NEEDED to dress up. It's that I LIKE dressing up for the opera. I love the opera.
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: February 17th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, gotcha.

Anymore, the opera is the only place I can really dress like a princess.

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wore a nice grey skirt and a nice sweater. I was neither over nor under dressed. Seth wore a suit.
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: February 17th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
You said "we". Your husband doesn't have a problem with kol isha, or are you going with women friends?

zis770 From: zis770 Date: February 21st, 2006 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Kol isha is not such an simple halacha. There are frum men who have no problems with hearing recorded versions of women singing and from what I understand there are frum men who have no problems with hearing live music. I assume this is with the assent of their Rabbis.

Also I think things have changed. Not that long ago, in the 50s, you had a frum man, Jan Peerce, singing opera at the Met. Also I heard a a famous chazzan, Moshe Oysher in a recording singing with women. I was a little surprised but I guess it wasn't so stressed back then?

Of course a lot has changed in frumkeit over the decades but this is one issue that continually confuses me. In our community by the way, it isn't acceptable for men to listen to live music and people don't go out of their way to listen to recorded music but if they happen to be somewhere like a store and a woman is singing they don't have to leave, but then I used to listen to JM in the Am a lot and Nachum Segal frequently plays women singers. And then you have Neshama Carlebach who has male musicians.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a terrific answer; much better than my answer would have been. Our community is very ecclectic. We have people with chassidishe backgrounds that are very machmir about most things, and we have people that outside of Shabbos you wouldn't realize are orthodox. Seth and I are solidly in the middle. Apparently, I'm a lot more machmir about certain things in my community than I "need" to be, but I just do things the way I learned them.

One of the things I find most frustrating about the Orthodox community is this move toward "machmir is always better". It isn't always better, and it is sometimes detrimental toward individual frumkeit. I'm not saying machmir is never better, only that it is isn't always better. It makes it very difficult to sort out the halacha from the minhag.
zis770 From: zis770 Date: February 21st, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing is I'm one of those machmir people but although it hasn't been this way in my personal life I've joined Lubavitch and they do have a long history of being machmir over things I see where you're coming. Also important is knowing the difference betwen halacha, minhag, and chumra. I'm so glad somebody told me this early on, although I didn't really understand it at the time. I think this might be one issue where things have changed over time. Is that good is that bad? I don't know!

I really am ignorant with this issue. I just know that I've seen too many variances with it by frum people.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it's necessarily bad to be machmir. I just think it's not good to be machmir for the sake of being machmir. I have a lot of Lubavitch friends. I (apparently) even have some Lubavitch minhagim, which I never realize until people point them out. I have never met someone who is Lubavitch who is machmir solely for the sake of being machmir. Every Lubavitcher I know has been able to explain their chumros to me.

Like I said, I don't have a problem with people who are machmir. I happen to be at a point in my life where I simply cannot add another chumra to my lifestyle without completely losing it. But that doesn't mean I think it's bad.
zis770 From: zis770 Date: February 23rd, 2006 12:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Gotcha. I agree. There shold be a reason why you're machmir about something. And there's nothing wrong with you saying you can't add another chumra.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
zis770's response is a good one. Kol Isha isn't as clear cut as people make it out to be. Many authorities hold/held that kol isha only applies to hearing women's voices in song during prayer.

At any rate, that's a misleading answer anyway, since I don't think my husband is concerned about kol isha at this point regardless. He's chosen to focus on other mitzvos at this point, for which I respect him greatly. I went with my best (female) friend and my husband, yes.
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: February 21st, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, got it. I'm always interested in how different communities interpret things.

In NO way was i trying to imply that your husband was doing anything improper, and I apologise deeply if I gave you, or anyone else on your flist, the impression that I thought that.

I adore the opera, and really miss it. Most of my girlfriends are too busy, too broke, or both so we don't go any more.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
not to worry. The truth is it really isn't something he worries much about. But I just wanted to point out that even in that context, some communities are cool with it.

(we're lucky enough to live in an ecclectic enough community that people don't really think twice about what we're up to)
zis770 From: zis770 Date: February 21st, 2006 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
1. can I add you as a friend? I keep on forgetting to ask!

2. You saw Turandot? If it's one secular music cd I would love to have it's Turandot with Sutherland, Pavaroitti and Caballe. Instead I say I'll buy a cd by Yitzchok Meir Helfgott instead which I never seem to do. Maybe I should change that...

3. How was it? Who were the singers?

4. My mom visited recently and dragged me to the Met to see Die Fliedermaus and the first two acts were wonderful and the third act was dismal. Just horrible. Stupid vaudeville style humor. Also tons of anachronistic references littered throughout the opera which I suppose was tongue in cheek for their holiday season but was grating to the nerves. Like one character saying "L'Chaim" for instance and it was during the subway strike so there was a reference to that and I think the NYC Mayor.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
1. Of course! I added you too. I kept forgetting to ask you as well! (Also, I tend not to automatically add frum people to my list because I know that I'm occasionally irreverant and I hate to offend intentionally... just a warning)

2./3. I saw Turandot on Sunday! It was terrific! It was the Kirov Opera. They are doing three productions in DC (Turandot, Parsifal, and Verdi's Requiem) and Turandot was the first of the three. It's also the only one I'll be seeing. It's a bit pricey to be a common outing. It was a stunning production with excellent choreography and terrific vocalists. I thought that Turandot herself was a bit on the screechy side (it's written pretty high in the range, of course, so not entirely her fault, but I've heard less-screechy versions of the role), but Liu was out of this world.

4. I love the overture to Die Fleidermaus. I've played it in several orchestras and one wind ensemble. Although I enjoy the themes, I've never actually seen a production of it. I'm sorry to hear it was grating on your nerves!
zis770 From: zis770 Date: February 21st, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent! I'll add you too then.

I'm glad you liked Turandot although a good Turandot is probably hard to find. I only know the old recorded version with Joan Sutherland and she is very not screechy.

The problem with Die Fleidermaus was the last act had barely no singing just some prison keeper acting drunk and we're supposed to be laughing but it goes on and on and on in this way. When the singers were actually singing it was good!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: February 21st, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
By the way, don't take me the wrong way when I say I can be irreverant. I'm generally not, but sometimes my journal is my place to vent. I try to warn people ahead of time.

My irreverence really comes out with things like going to operas and my involvement with secular life, but obviously you're okay with the opera part, so I'm not TOO worried about offending you. :)
zis770 From: zis770 Date: February 21st, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I figured that.

The thing is I don't mind talking about Opera because there's a part of me that still loves it (despite the silly librettos) even though I don't go. In fact I did try to weasel out of going to the last opera and it didn't work. It was the subway strike and my mom actually paid $$$ for a car service to come to Manhattan. My husband said after that if my mom wanted me to go that badly I better go! But now my mom thinks I'm going to do it every year and I'm a little conflicted. Aesthetically of course going to the opera is an amazing experience. I went with her and her good friend and neither of them had been to the Met but it doesn't quite match up with where I'm now. It's one of those hashkafic issues. I've changed during my teshuva and I guess I still am changing but in less noticable ways.

The first time I went to the Met btw I think it was my shana rishona, and I said I just had to go. I mean here I am in NY, okay I don't listen to secular music but one time to go see the opera. I picked an opera which had Samuel Raimey (shortly before he retired) and a good Canadian tenor who's name I'm always forgetting. It was Don Carlos and I remembered the opera. Okay. Here's the proble with Don Carlos. It's set in the Spanish

Inquisition and there were crosses all over the place and I'm a person who doesn't go to churches and so on. I got so uncomfortable I left early (well it was a long opera so I still stayed awhile) and my mom still teases me how I could leave Samuel Raimey since we used to joke about how attractive he was when I wasn't frum. LOL. I actually jsut remembered that part now.

Sorry for the long rant. All that said, I certainly don't mind talking about Opera.
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