The whole world is a stage, but it's easier to fall asleep in the comfortable theatre seats.
opera is basically a very Jewish thing. You can put that eyebrow back down, it’s true. Fat women shouting and always threatening they are going to die? You can't get more jewish than that… (your tiny hands are frozen, eat something for god's sake, look at you!)
You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…
I once had to explain to the artistic director of the opera here, that although I was never aware of it, I do have quite a long history and experience with opera, as opera is basically a very Jewish thing. You can put that eyebrow back down, it’s true. Fat women shouting and always threatening they are going to die? You can't get more jewish than that… (your tiny hands are frozen, eat something for god's sake, look at you!)
No, I only discovered the true magic of opera at a very late stage of my life, thanks to my photographic activities, and to tell you the truth? Although I did find it hard to digest at the beginning, being from that ignorant generation of the oh-so-modern flat-think times, it wasn’t long before I got addicted. To the sounds, to the hard work, to the colors, the lights, the serious jokes and the playful tragedies, the monumental size story lines and the not less than monumental size singers.
I have shot many opera productions since that day, accompanied many rehearsals, construction crews putting up churches and fake terraces, creating a flat world of illusion to hang behind the singers as they give us their victorious vocal gift. I have seen operas being born, I have seen closing shows being celebrated, and I have seen magic happening between these two.
No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible." - W.H. AUDEN
It took me almost two years to understand. I knew I liked what I experienced, but it took me three full productions to get what is really going on. The advantage of being a 90kg fly on the wall is that people forget you are there, and you witness the process as it happens, without disturbing. I never used that advantage.
Are you freaking kidding me? There's a creative magical marvel happening next to me and you want me to be a fly on the wall? No way, not me. I leave that kind of cowardice to professional photographers.
It took me almost two years to understand. I knew the people who take on this life of musical exuberance and almost religious practice regime are completely crazy, and the more I got evidence to that effect the more I felt at home in their midst and started participating in the festivities. I have launched my operatic career in an international star studded production of Laboheme done by the Bangkok opera, and am proud to say I gave an amazing unforgettable performance the whole four and a half seconds I was there on stage, in a cameo of a French 19th century photographer with a big wooden camera and a heavy cloth to hide under. I was magnificent in that far right corner of the stage opening the second scene. If you look up the YouTube clips you can clearly see me there. I am pixel number four and pixel number five just at the corner of the clip.
Shooting opera is not really a challenge. The lights are beautiful, the sets are interesting, and the singers and actors use such exaggerated movements and facial expressions it is like shooting fish in a barrel. This is why I am annoyed when I see boring opera pictures from all over the world. Empty boring descriptive photos used for pr and cheap documentation.
Opera is feeling. It is crying, it is shouting, it is broken dreams, shattered lives, lost passions, dead romance, it is about the gods and the most human of us here, it is punishment, it is celebration, it is life condensed in a pressure cooker until it explodes onto the audience with the true marvel quality music is.
This, and this alone, was what I was focusing on when shooting my opera files. And you can't do that with autofocus, I can tell you that. Capturing the bare raw essence of that feelings that make the audience , and sometimes the conductor cry…. That was my job, not snapping pictures of people in silly costumes on stage. There are photographers to do that job. Not that I am looking down on photographers. They do their best.
Opera was a revelation to me.
I can still understand why people don’t like opera.
Hopefully now people can finally understand why I do.