So I have a little brother - he's seventeen and intoxicated with music. Music and card tricks are about the only two things that can keep his attention for more than five minutes. He plays the guitar, the oboe, and percussion, but I think his favorite instrument is the stereo. He listens to music all day long. Since he is a seventeen year old boy, he's really into metal and screamo and all that, but he also has an ear for orchestral music (he loves Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture and Beethoven's 7th symphony). Even though he enjoys orchestral music, he has never showed any interest in opera. At least, not until now.
I was sitting on my couch, watching Kasarova sing Gluck's Orfeo (Munich Opera), and my brother suddenly sat down with me. Together we watched Orfeo lament the loss of his beloved Euridice, be told by Cupid that he could get his beloved back, and then descend into the underworld to find her. He didn't say a word: he just watched.
Then, just as Orfeo was about to conquer the evil spirits of Hades, my mom called us to dinner and the opera went off. But my brother's fascination with Gluck's masterpiece didn't end there. He started commenting on the singing and the music and the story. He was really impressed by Deborah York (the woman singing Cupid); he said that he'd never heard such perfect high notes. When my sister came in and asked a question, he took the initiative and said, "He [Orfeo] just wants his girl back. This is a really good story."
I told him that they were playing Orfeo at the Met next season and I asked him if he wanted me to take him to see it. He's never been to the Met despite my urgings that he go. He was ecstatic that I'd bring him to see Orfeo and quickly agreed.
Another score for Team Opera. This is just more proof that opera is not as "inaccessible to the youth" as everyone seems to think it is. ;)