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What you should know about classical opera music

What you should know about classical opera music. If the thought of attending the opera for the first time is overwhelming or you`ve never considered attending, here are hints for making it a positive and moving experience.

So, you decided to attend the opera for the first time. And you re a little unsure what to expect. Well, rest assured that it is not as daunting as many people believe. By following some of the following suggestions, you can ease your apprehension, sit back and let the music move you.

If you have a choice, see an opera you have some familiarity with, even if it s just part of an aria you ve heard on a television commercial or Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Get a CD of the music you going to hear. By listening to it a couple of times beforehand, you can know what to expect. Plus, after you ve seen the opera and you ve been enraptured by the music, you ll already have a CD that can help you relive the experience.

Don t feel you have to dress formally. Some people enjoy this aspect of opera going since it s generally considered weird to wear a formal gown or tux to the movies or local sports game. However, these days most people do not dress formally (unless it s a gala performance). Use your common sense. Don t wear jeans, shorts or anything else you d wear to the beach or a barbeque. Be tasteful in how much skin you reveal and leave your baseball cap at home.

Go early. Many opera companies offer informal tutorials before the performance. This is a chance to learn about the story you are about to see and hear, the composer and the opera company performing.

Buy a program. This is another useful tool for learning about the opera you will be experiencing. Knowing the cast of characters can help enhance your enjoyment.

Let the music flow over you. Most people do not understand the language the opera is in. However, this has not stopped millions of people over hundreds of years from enjoying the music and story. Many opera houses offer Surtitles. This works like subtitles in movies but the words are above the stage. Reading the words exclusively often takes away from the power of the words being sung. Use the Surtitles to help you throughout the story, but don t be afraid to just listen and watch the players. The meaning of the words will still come through.

The thought of stepping into the world of opera, even for a few hours, is dreadful to some. It s a departure from most pop culture events, yes. However, it s not scary if you approach it with an open mind and heart.

Jaipurwales - The Lost Treasure

Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale (1915-1977) is an unknown entity today. He was a superlative musician - a vocalist and a composer of a very high calibre, a representative of what is known as the 'Kunwar Shyam' tradition. The progenitor of this lyrical and layakAri-laden gAyaki was Goswami Lalji Maharaj ('Kunwar Shyam').

<-- Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale

A recluse who sang only within the precincts of Delhi's Radha-Govind temple, the saint-musician-composer Kunwar Shyam (died c. 1911) has left behind a rich fund of delicious compositions. We have earlier encountered his exquisite creation - recall the Chhaya Malhar renditions of Ramashreya Jha "Ramrang" and Bhimsen Joshi ("A Tale of Two Malhars") - and here we shall acquaint ourselves with some more through the good offices of Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale.

Laxmanprasad's recordings are today hard to come by. He lived, what we, in these times, may view as an existence uncontaminated and unburdened by financialand self-marketing savvy. His eldest son, Govindprasad Jaipurwale (1944-1988), excelled as a vocalist but was snatched away before his time. Between the two of them they gave tAleem to scores of professional musicians. Some names that come to mind are: Rajdulari Khan (second wife of Ali Akbar Khan), Sudha Malhotra, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Ronu Majumdar, Meenu Purshottam, Aarti Mukherjee, Manhar, Ajit Kadkade, Chandrasekhar Gadgil and several other not-so-well-known but competent musicians.

Laxmanprasad's only surviving son, Girdharprasad, today struggles to collect and put together the shards of his father's oeuvre. Girdharprasad specializes in the tabla but is also skilled in the melodic department. Despite considerable odds he has brought to light two volumes of Sangeet Gyan Prakash detailing the compositions of Laxmanprasad Jaipurwale and Kunwar Shyam in notation.

Girdharprasad recently made available to me his father's recordings, most of them unpublished and a couple from an old Polydor LP. In addition, we also have at handsome recordings of Govindprasad.

Laxmanprasad's preferred accompanists for the tabla were Taranath Rao and Habibuddin Khan, and for the harmonium, Manohar Chimote and Madan Prakash - all specialists in their respective domains. The clips lined up throw open a window to the rich artistry of an unusually gifted man, today all butforgotten.

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