The Pleasure of Conversation

Come mi piace la conversazione!

We are completely in the rehearsal process for Tosca at Minnesota Opera, and, aside from the great story and beautiful music, one of the things I love most about this experience is the variety of languages flowing around the room. Our production team and our superb casts (there are two, so now you must come twice!) come from different backgrounds: American, Italian, Hungarian, and more; and it is so much fun to see in which language we will proceed from moment to moment. Perhaps a little French with our Maestro (conductor)? Or a great deal of Italian with our Regista (director)? Or maybe they would like to practice their Spanish with the fantastic Sciarrone (that’s me). Flowing in and out of different languages from moment to moment is both a test for the ears and a feast to the mind. How wonderful it is to aptly communicate so fully and freely, no matter what language!

That is one of the greatest beauties of Opera. It is such a multinational effort, especially now with our ease of travel, that, more than simply putting together a show in a “foreign” language, we are trying to collaborate and communicate across the divide of many languages and cultures to create a living story that will in turn reach across that divide to affect the audience. Damn, that’s cool!

Of course we have our arguments, our differences in opinion, and we struggle to ensure our own input is heard and incorporated; but the point is we are HAVING that discussion, and there is no barrier stopping us.

There is a valuable political lesson in that.

May we all continue to discuss and create beautiful, amazing things, no matter our differences. Students of opera – students of anything – I encourage you to learn that new language you have always been wishing to learn, and then another, and another. Let us sit together and speak the languages of humanity and perhaps come to an understanding of what we can do with each other, for each other. If you need one such example of what that could be, come see Tosca.