Developing true passion for opera likened to falling in love at first sight

March 18th, 2009 - 3:08 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 18 (ANI): An upsurge of intense attraction and enduring physical effects, similar to what one feels in love at first sight, is how fans begin to develop a true passion for opera, according to a researcher.

To shed light on what it takes to develop a true passion for opera, Claudio Benzecry from the University of Connecticut in the USA observed and interviewed middle class opera fans who stand on the upper floors of the Colon Opera House in Buenos Aires.

He studied how the fans learnt to feel, believe, and behave in opera, which parts of the experience they highlighted and how they invested themselves once the initial moment of discovery subsided.

A majority of the fans described the intense attraction they felt the first time at the opera house as something explosive, which had intense and enduring physical effects, not dissimilar to love at first sight.

Its after the initial attraction that the learning begins and Benzecry has described the three ways in which fans learn about opera.

In all three cases, contact with other participants who already enjoy the experience is the cornerstone.

Passionate fans learn to enjoy opera internally first, responding to parts of the music that demand an emotional reaction, and then externally by reacting publicly in the appropriate way.

Firstly, they learn informally in the surrounding, non-musical moments of the performance like ticket and door lines, intermissions and bus trips to other opera houses. Before a performance and during intervals, opera fans gather to wait, talk, compare and justify their impressions and experiences of opera.

Secondly, fans learn more formally from the maestros by attending classes, lectures and conferences that make explicit what fans should be looking for in opera, what features of the experience they favour, and how they should act during a performance.

Lastly, fans learn at the opera house from more experienced, elder passionate fans, who transmit opera etiquette including when it is appropriate to boo, sit silently or clap.

The study shows that passionate opera fans enjoy opera not because they are moved by it in their ignorance, but rather because they believe that opera is something that should be learned so that one could properly appreciate it.

Benzecry concluded: Fans get hooked when they are still outsiders, before having an active apparatus to interpret the experience, or are thoroughly socialized in what constitutes the enjoyment and how they should decode it..Learning through interaction happens not at the beginning, as expected, but as the logical continuation that helps to shape the initial attraction.

The findings have been published online in Springers journal Qualitative Sociology. (ANI)

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