May 29, 2008


Today's opera news:

The Metropolitan Opera is infested with mice.
During an April 9 restaurant inspection at the Met, the department found "evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or nonfood areas," according to reports on the department's Web site.... The nation's largest musical organization also was cited for "food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

La Scala has commissioned an operatic adaptation of An Inconvenient Truth. (Hasn't this been done before?)

Why is opera so effective, anyway? Turns out that, on some level, we think it's trying to kill us.
According to musicologist David Huron, ... opera singers produce the bulk of their sound energy in the 3- to 4-kilohertz range. Humans are quite sensitive to this range, probably because it is also the range of a human scream.
According to Huron, researchers have discovered that several of the frisson's acoustic correlates—things that seem to induce the sensation in listeners—are fear-related. These correlates include rapidly large increases in the loudness of music, abrupt changes in tempo and rhythm, a broadening of frequencies and an increase in the number of sound sources, among other factors.

These are all "low-probability musical events" that surprise and startle us, Huron said. The factors that evoke a frisson are, in his mind, "suspiciously similar" to those that evoke fear.
To be fair, more often than not, the lady's got a knife.

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