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Thursday | Jun 09, 2011

She Attacks Me Like a Leo

When I tell my 20-something friends that I work at the Opera, I receive looks of total and utter confusion.  First, they think I have mispronounced a word or am speaking in tongues regarding the industry I work in.  To combat this, I usually provide an obnoxious audible pitch with gaudy vibrato to clarify.  The majority of my friends don’t realize that opera is still a living art form, let alone a living art form in Omaha, NE.  And I can’t lie, it has been a challenge to recruit even my closest friends to give opera a chance.  But the thing is, they already like opera!  You already like opera!  If I were to tell you that there is opera in Twilight’s New Moon soundtrack, would you believe me? 

The band Muse is blowing up the world with their catchy, indie rock.  Yes, same lead singer that is expecting a baby with Kate Hudson.  Muse is credited with their creative and glorious instrumentation of typical rock instruments coupled with traditional symphonic instruments.  Can anyone say rocking bass clarinet solo?  If you are familiar with Muse’s “I Belong to You”, shamefully featured in Twilight’s New Moon soundtrack, you know the cute part of the song where Matt Bellamy starts singing in French.  Been there, sung that.  You are listening to opera.  And a pretty famous opera at that.  “I Belong to You” quotes the melody of the aria “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” from Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila.  This aria is featured in the second act, when Dalila cleverly attempts to butter up Samson into divulging the secret of his strength.  And no, I don’t think Matt is trying to butter Kate Hudson up, but maybe.  In “I Belong to You”, Matt chose to quote the last two lines of the aria, “Ah! Respond to my tenderness!  Fill me with ecstasy!”,  which is so Muse of him.  Add a walking bass line, several “just kidding, it’s not the end of the song” moments, and karaoke worthy lyrics such as “She attacks me like a leo”, and you have a song even Mozart would be tapping his toe to.

There are moments in the song when you can almost feel Matt Bellamy’s voice on your cheek, and that’s a lot like the feeling of an opera.  You feel the vibrato of the tenor’s voice in your chest, only it’s not due to being too close to the speakers.  CDs and youtube videos don’t do opera justice.  It’s real, live, unforgivable singing about the men that betrayed you and the ones that got away.  Muse proves that classical music is just as relevant and fantastic in 2011 as it was in the 1700’s.  I can no longer believe your “opera hating” tomfooleries.  Muse rocks opera with the help of sound equipment, Opera Omaha rocks opera without microphones.  Do the math.

Monica Marean

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