Opera. It's so stereotypically movie goth. It's so...old ladies who smell like musk sticks. It's so...it's so....
What young whipper-snappers (and yes, I insist on calling you this) misunderstand about opera, is what opera is. They think, "yep, fat ladies bursting your eardrum, chubby blokes making the floorboards rattle, that's opera." But it's not. Let's break it down.
|Not unlike this. (source)|
Opera does not refer to a style of singing. Opera refers to a performance, either stage or screen, where there are little or no spoken lines in the play, mainly singing. There are many different operas and musicals - "you've got your full opera, which is 'ohh, i'm dying, you've murdered me, i'm dying, i'm dying', and you've got your light opera, which is basically 'beer! beer! beer!'" is the best way I've had it put (thankyou, Terry Pratchett's Maskerade).
The example I think I will use today is Repo! The Genetic Opera. "But wait a bit", you oysters cry. "That's not an opera, it's a musical!" (or, at least, I presume so. Let's go along with that) But it's not. Go back and count every spoken line, and every sung line.
Yeah. Basically the only person who speaks is Shilo.
There is something inherently oh-so-goffik about the opera. From the suicide in Madame Butterfly, to Sarah Brightman pulling her eyes out in Repo!, and that one scene in Beetlejuice when Lydia is listening to opera whilst writing her suicide note...
|MY WHOLE LIFE IS A DARK ROOM.|
ONE. BIG. DARK. ROOM.
...there is something so inescapably beautiful and gothic about the world of opera.
Then, of course, we have the musicals.
Anyone who dare look in my musical collection can collect two things: "pirates a lot of stuff" and "bitch loves her some Barbra Streisand".
|I'm not denying anything.|
(source: screenshotted myself ages ago)
But a quick pop over to my Recently Played list would show you I've been listening to Sweeney Todd and Les Mis over. And over. And over.
Let's take a quick overview of the plot of Sweeney Todd
-Johnny Depp exhiled to Australia
-Johnny Depp comes back to London
-Helena Bonham Carter scares the crap out of him by singing at him
-blah blah filler something about stealing Johanna and being in the dark with her
-they kill a bunch of people
-it all goes wrong
|Not a good place to stand in the circumstances. (source)|
And Les Mis:
-People think revolution is a good idea
-filler filler filler
Goths have a thing for melodrama. I'm not sure if it's just me - again, Barbra Streisand fan - but the melodrama is so cliched now some goths seem a bit scared of it. Not I. Nay, I say, not I. An ex of mine refused musicals on the basis they were "not goth, Kitty". My response was "but Anthony Head pulls out a dudes spine! WHAT PART OF THIS IS NOT GOTH"
|Originally, I was going to make a point|
about how he was on Doctor Who. This
is much better. (source: some tumblr)
Some people shy away from opera and musicals, saying that they're weird and unrealistic. How people start magically singing the same tune, and matchgirls and chimneysweeps suddenly break into incredibly complexe, synchronised choreography.
|And for Carrot, they would.|
This is literally the best picture I could find.
To them I say, of course it's absurd. It's only opera - the absurdities that reflect the truest parts of humans. That is, we like to stab each other and get drunk.
Musicals and operas, whether specifically goth-aimed or the old-ladies-that-smell-like-dust-and-cats kind, are as gothic as gothic can be. All things dark, and perhaps a little bit too much, but with humour about itself - if that isn't goth, I don't know what is.
Traditionally, I end these kinds of things with a picture of my cats to end light-heartedly. I couldn't think of how to tie it together, so here's Ridcully, in his wizard hat.
|With this cat, I declare myself free of future mocking|
for disliking most goth music.
For more Pratchettry, commentary, cats and geekidom, come to my blag. It's better than Kenya.
Amy's note: I have been trying to write some kind of witty intro to this post, but Kitty... is Kitty, and needs no introducing. Therefore I will stick this heartfelt "THANK YOU KITTY for an awesome guest post" on the bottom. 'Nuff said.