I really like classical/orchestral music but I have a really hard time listening to opera. Actually, I seem to just naturally be pre-disposed to like instrumental music much more than vocal music but while I quite like A Capella music in my personal scale of appreciation of vocal music, opera is somewhere near the bottom. Because of that there is actually quite a bit of really big important pieces of music that I’ve never heard because I can’t quite seem to listen to it.
To put it more succinctly, I’ve never listened to or seen any of Wagner’s operas. I’ve certainly heard bits and pieces here and there but I’ve never listened to any of it in the proper context of the complete work and it’s not something that I’ve ever been particularly happy about but attempts to rectify the situation did not succeed for a host of reasons.
I’ve really been enjoying listening to RadioLab since I heard it mentioned on an episode of This American Life and downloaded an episode. The content is exceedingly interesting and the presentation is amazingly similar to how it sounds in my head sometimes, if it had that much of an audio component anyway. The show’s focus is usually about science, or at least science related topics, so to get a podcast episode that was all about a very particular piece of art was interesting in and off itself.
Now I still haven’t heard or seen any of Wagner’s operas, but I really feel like I understand it a lot better. To be able to bridge that gap and condense such a work into a comprehensible and digestible work is honestly a piece of art in and off itself and really has to be heard to be believed. Amazing work and highly recommended for anyone.