Actually MOST people know a little something about opera beyond the fat lady with the shield and horns. And these same people have really great opinions about the performance practice, singers, and the art as a whole. So, despite its boogie beginnings, knowledge of opera has spread vastly into society and into the daily lives of people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Granted, the art form will never be as popular as Lady Gaga, the TMZ gossip column, or products from Apple but it's out there and people know about it....more than ya might think!
I'm always singing or humming in the most awkward or inappropriate places. I can't help it. It's usually during these moments I encounter the unassuming-everyday-opera-savant:
Setting-- Locker room, My gym
Humming-- Una Furtiva Lagrima
Savant-- middle-aged man, scantily clad, short, smelled like Brut
Savant moment-- "I love that aria! Are you a countertenor or tenor....I always confuse the two. Please tell me you've seen Rinaldo at Lyric. I thought the production was fantastic. I saw it several years ago with my wife in London....we aren't opera people but I like Haidell...Hadell, Handedell...who is the composer again?"
Moral-- Secure your towel before your next audition.
Humming-- Intricate cadenzas
Savant-- Older man in Bob Marley tank, dreads down to his knees, vagabond-ish
Savant moment-- "Man is that some opera stuff you're singin'? That's good man. Man, that Maria Callas was off the chain man. Did you ever hear her sing that Norma? Man she was off the chain...blew me away man."
Moral-- Is Maria Callas the Devil? Regardless, that smelly guy in the corner knows opera rep.
Humming-- Un Aura Amorosa
Savant-- Teenaged kid, with skateboard, listening to something kinda loud
Savant moment-- "Mozart is pretty cool, " as he walked out of the elevator
Moral-- People in elevators can hear you, no matter what. And they are ghostly smart.
Humming-- An unpopular Rossini aria, score in hand
Savant-- young women, holding some groceries
Savant moment-- "Excuse me, are you a singer of some kind? I think that's incredible what you guys do with your voices. Rossini? Wasn't he a bel canto conductor?"
Moral-- Stouffers is not all they sell at your local grocery mart.