Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart vs. Wolfgang Van Halen

My brother told me I should have metal-themed titles to increase my readership (he also asked me if my readership of one was named Mel).  

Eddie Van Halen was actually a major musical influence on me.  1984 was the first album I ever bought (It was either that or Weird Al in 3-D),  and listening to Van Halen as a kid had as much to do with me becoming a musician as anything else, including my 8 years of university training. Listening to Van Halen made me want to play guitar, playing guitar made me want to become a 'serious' musician, and being a 'serious' musician made me want to become an opera singer.  Plus, David Lee Roth?  If there's an 80's frontman equivalent of Farinelli, it's got to me him, right?

I've always thought that Opera and hair metal are close relatives: Heavily costumed, lots of makeup and hair, melodramatic, and of course, the soaring vocals, with lots of gratuitous screams (modern day cadenzas).  I may have even gone so far as to perform a medley of metal power ballads for a very select audience (not to be missed- I go seamlessly from "Love Bites" by Def Leppard to "Avant de quitter ces lieux" from Faust).  

There are definitely some metal moments in Nozze.  The one that immediately comes to mind is Antonio's scene in the Act II finale.  One of my favorite parts of the whole show, if you listen to the low strings, they have this rapid-fire triplet figure that could be something directly out of a Metallica song.  Also, the opening riff (!?) of the Count's aria? To me it sounds like the 18th century version of a pick slide.  It's from a different opera, but I've always thought "Un aura amorosa" sounded like a total power ballad.  I add a cadenza in "non più andrai" that is completely gratuitous and might just as well be from a Skid Row song.  It's ok to quote Sebastian Bach in Mozart, right?  




  1. True story: A kid who lived in my neighborhood called me Eddie in grade 4...because, apparently, he thought my hair looked like Eddie's. (He was probably right.) I'm all for quoting Sebastian Bach whilst singing Mozart!

    And you know you're going to get some requests for the power ballad medley, now...

  2. Cool post, you could be the Chuck Klosterman of the opera world! How come we never here anything about little Wolfgang VH? He must be 20-something by now. Time to shove off whoever is signing for VH these days and install him as the frontman. At least he is less likely to get fired.

  3. Wolfgang actually toured with VH last year as their bassist. Michael Anthony jumped ship and joined Sammy Hagar's band.