Short and Super-Perverted (Ep. 4: Salome)


When he was a bassoon-playing band kid, Greg fell in love with operas and would listen to them alone in his room. But it wasn't until he fell in love with another opera nerd (a slightly older New Yorker, also named Greg, adorably) that he realized there were others like him. Soon, he was whisked away on bohemian visits to New York and deeply emotional experiences in darkened theaters -- the only place where Greg permitted himself to cry.

But like so many love affairs, this one wasn't fated to last. After devoting his entire life to opera for years, Greg started to find that his relationship to the art form had cooled ... but saying goodbye was a painful experience.

Greg did me the favor of recommending several fantastic operas to watch, which is fortunate because I would have had no idea where to begin. Behold:

Start listening at 1:39:00. Greg explains, "It's a play within a play -- and she just supposed to be a speaking actress -- but her passion grows SO HOT that she HAS to burst into song. And her singing is three times louder than her yelling which shouldn't be possible?"

In the above clip from Wagner's The Ring, Greg describes the singing that follows 1:02:00 as "choice."

Start at 46:00 for some beautiful music from Richard Strauss's Salome.

That's a particularly moving death scene from Aïda.

The above clip is a radio broadcast of Figaro from the '40s, which isn't what Greg was listening to as a kid, but "the thing is the narration was NOT THAT DIFFERENT when I started listening in the '90s," he says. "Oh did I mention they always describe the dresses during the curtain call? 'Miss Malfitano in taking another bow, in her scarlet empire-waisted gown and velvet cape,' so you can picture it in your mind."

And let's end it on one more big diva moment: Figlia impura di Bolena. Magnifico!

Parisian Kevin MacLeod ( 
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