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Sounds of music: Art songs and arias are stepping off stage this weekend

Terrified of the opera? This is your chance to experience it fear-free, with an evening of Western classical music in four languages.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2017 16:50 IST
Rachel Lopez
Rachel Lopez
Hindustan Times
Opera,Soprano,World Music day
In celebration of World Music day on June 21, soprano Faye Monteiro (above) and pianist Nadine Crasto are helping demystify Western classical music.(Elton Pinto)
Art songs and arias
  • WHEN: Saturday, 7 pm
  • WHERE: Somaiya Bhavan, Fort
  • COST: Rs 200 per head.
  • CALL: 70459-32204 or 98198-96923 for passes

Those who’ve attended an opera performance will tell you what a thrill it is to hear a single voice, a single note resonate through a hall full of people.

Opera voices take a special kind of talent – the compositions are more demanding on the vocal chords, the notes are drawn out and singers need to last through shows that span three hours.

Then there’s the language. Since the songs carry the plot forward, it’s important to hear the lyrics.

French is a nasal language; Italian is not, so singers need to train differently. It all means that an opera singer will sound different from a regular pop star even when they are both singing the same notes.

For the most part, you’ll need to wait for an opera to be staged locally, and pay big money to hear it live. But this weekend, in celebration of World Music day on June 21, art songs and opera arias step off the stage and into the more intimate interiors of the Somaiya Centre.

Faye Monteiro, soprano, and pianist Nadine Crasto, present an evening of Western classical music in German, French, Italian and English.

“Art songs are poems set to music written with the intent to tell the story not only through the vocal line but [with] a deep partnership between pianist and singer,” explains Monteiro. “Opera arias have the orchestra accompanying the singer.”

The presentation scales down the orchestra to just the piano. Monteiro and Crasto will talk about each song and aria.

Monteiro has her work cut out for her. “We are still at a very nascent stage when it comes to this genre of music, compared to Europe, the UK and US, where you could meet a classical musician on every street corner,” she says. “In a way, it makes things easier as there is a hunger to learn and develop this art. It also brings a great responsibility to a performer. Even today, teaching music still is the way most musicians pay their bills.”

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 16:38 IST