STUMP » Articles » Opera Fun: All About the Bass » 22 November 2015, 08:06

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Opera Fun: All About the Bass  


22 November 2015, 08:06

I haven’t posted opera vids in a while: must rectify it.

I loooooove deep voices.

Generally that means I’m loving on the barihunks, because there are far more baritones than true basso profondos.

Mmmmm baritones

Thanks, Barihunks!

Also, the baritones sometimes get to be heroes/lovers/etc. The basses are often evil characters, as their voices come straight from hell. Or if not actually evil, related to hellish things.

Here’s Kurt Moll as the Commendatore from Don Giovanni come to drag the Don down to hell:

And here’s the Grand Inquisitor from Don Carlo who is most definitely evil:

But sometimes the bass is the loving father figure, as Sarastro in the Magic Flute (whereas the coloratura soprano, in a switch, is the batshit crazy mother from hell):

It was listening to the Magic Flute and this particular aria from Sarastro that made me think….oooooh, bass. So deep and warm. Like a big old fuzzy blanket, drinking hot cocoa, while it’s snowing outside.

Ooooh, winter music!

Check out the note the bass (Avi) hits at 1:43. He sure looks like General Zod, doncha think?

Okay, back to the opera.

Another use of bass is as comic characters, often the butt of jokes.

It’s considered especially funny when a bass sings rapidly (check out starting at 3:30 — that’s when the patter begins):

I’ve seen an adaptation that showed Bartolo snorting a big line of coke before starting that bit. Made sense to me. Opera is a lot more fun when you don’t take it too seriously (I mean come on… the plots! the characters! the middle-aged singers playing the young lovers!)

I wish there were more basses in opera… but perhaps I wouldn’t appreciate them so much if they were more plentiful. Ah, the perversities of the human mind.

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