Opera With Rocks In?
August 17, 2006 6:20 AM   Subscribe

Opera With Rocks In: Looking for opera-themed pop/rock songs for a friend.

So I have a friend who will be singing, as part of an opera company, at this event. Her musical tastes are pretty well restricted to opera and the classics, which is fine for her performance, but she has also been tasked with putting together a rock/pop soundtrack with opera themes to play during odd breaks in the show. As she puts it, she needs "rock songs that have opera in them somewhere, or opera mentioned at least."

I get the feeling she's not looking for rock operas per se (so no Tommy) and that the songs themselves need to be based on opera plots/themes or mention opera, so whole albums (Queen's A Night At The Opera) won't help either.

O wise cross-genre Mefites, any suggestions?
posted by picopebbles to Society & Culture (31 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Opera Singer by Cake?
posted by LunaticFringe at 6:22 AM on August 17, 2006

This is more techno than rock, so it may be too much for the intended audience, but I have always loved "O Fortuna" (from Carmina Burana) by Apotheosis. Gets the blood moving.
posted by witchstone at 6:31 AM on August 17, 2006

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which is of course from A Night at the Opera, has its well-known operatic section. Yes, I realize the song is a parody of rock operas, but it still might work.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:31 AM on August 17, 2006

Why not start her off with some stuff by Northern Irish band The Divine Comedy? They could be filed under orchestral indie pop.

Some of the tracks from Absent Friends and in particular the title track and 'Leaving Today' may work.

(I went to one of their gigs, and they played their audience opera before the band went on, so that's what made me think of them...)
posted by randomination at 6:34 AM on August 17, 2006

Have her check out East Village Opera Company: they do opera arias in a rock style. Don't know if they're any good, I've only read about them.
posted by witchstone at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2006

David Usher's Black Black Heart is a catchy rock / pop song that has Lakme's Flower Duet in it. Its quite nice.

Wikipedia also has 'List of popular songs based on classical music' which might be helpful.
posted by maxpower at 6:46 AM on August 17, 2006

Does it have to be rock/pop?

I can't resist suggesting you show/play clips from What's Opera, Doc?

Spear and magic helmet!
posted by jozxyqk at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2006

Mack The Knife is a great tune, recently covered by the godlike genius that is Nick Cave.
posted by twistedonion at 7:04 AM on August 17, 2006

oh, check out Tindersticks also - Like Nick, a lot of the songs are arranged in an Operatic fashion imho.
posted by twistedonion at 7:06 AM on August 17, 2006

Verdi Cries by 10,000 Maniacs.
posted by jrossi4r at 7:10 AM on August 17, 2006

'Eskimo' by Damien Rice (last track on 'O') features an operatic bit.
posted by TwoWordReview at 7:22 AM on August 17, 2006

Look into Klaus Nomi's music.

Also, Pavarotti cameo on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack: Ewan MacGregor's cover of "Your Song" by Elton John. Fun!

"Eskimo" by Damien Rice is lovely and features an opera singer toward the end.

That's all I've got for now.
posted by hermitosis at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2006

I was going to recommend Klaus Nomi as an operatic singer. Other folks to look into are The Sparks and The Associates, both of whom are operatic.
posted by klangklangston at 7:30 AM on August 17, 2006

There's also the Beegees' The British Opera.
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2006

There are a number of "popera" acts that combine operatic themes with more modern arrangements and beats: Sarah Brightman, Il Divo, The Opera Babes are a few.

And here is a clip from my good friend Dorothy Bishop, who does cabaret shows of opera/pop crossover material.
posted by La Cieca at 7:53 AM on August 17, 2006

Opera Fanatica by the band Arena sounds absolutely perfect for what you want.
posted by salmacis at 7:58 AM on August 17, 2006

"In An Operetta" from The Magnetic Fields album "I".

"Tear Down The Opera House" by the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (you can download it for free from their MySpace page)
posted by yankeefog at 8:04 AM on August 17, 2006

Marc Almond and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra do a tremendous cover of Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones. It sounds like something straight out of an opera.
posted by EatTheWeek at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2006

"Damned Ladies," by Rufus Wainwright, in which he names his favorite opera heroines and laments their tragic fates.
posted by ROTFL at 8:23 AM on August 17, 2006

posted by omnidrew at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2006

The vocals of Nightwish have a very operatic feel to them.
posted by salmacis at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2006

In the spirit of jozxyqk's "What's Opera, Doc" suggestion: Spike Jones' Pal-yat-chee.
posted by jessenoonan at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2006

Goldfrapp's Felt Mountain album is the closest you can get to opera-pop, methinks. Track "Utopia" is probably the most opera-ish.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:10 AM on August 17, 2006

A couple of the songs on The Department of Eagles' excellent Whitey on the Moon UK have opera samples, including Gravity's Greatest Victory, one of the best songs on the album.
posted by saladin at 9:48 AM on August 17, 2006

The Passengers Soundtrack By U2 features the song 'Miss Sarajevo' which features Pavarotti doing his thing. Very soothing but its definitely U2.
posted by maxpower at 10:50 AM on August 17, 2006

You might also want to preview Jim Steinman's "The Storm" from the album "Bad For Good"; it's not quite operatic, but he does lean towards the Wagnerian bombast.

He's done some other musical numbers as well...
posted by baylink at 10:53 AM on August 17, 2006

Madame Butterfly by Malcolm McLaren leaps immediately to mind.
posted by forrest at 12:26 PM on August 17, 2006

E.L.O.'s Rockaria!
" She's sweet on
I think she'd die for Beethoven
She loves
the way Puccini lays down a tune
And Verdi's always
creeping from her room"
posted by Dr.Pill at 1:07 PM on August 17, 2006

Oh, another idea. It's not exactly what your friend asked for but it would fit in well: the Three Tenors albums tend to have a few popular songs stuck in with the opera ones. While songs like "My Way" or "America" or "Moon River" or "Singin' In The Rain" don't explicitly reference opera, when the three tenors sing them, they end up being a very amusing mix of opera and American popular music. (All four songs can be found on "The Three Tenors in Concert 1994.")
posted by yankeefog at 12:21 AM on August 18, 2006

Paul Kelly's Desdemona. The reference to Othello should be instantly obvious to anyone familiar with opera:

"Well I lost my Desdemona
With my own hands I destroyed her
Yes I lost my Desdemona
I fell for lies, I fell for lies"
posted by nickmark at 8:16 AM on August 18, 2006

The British group G4 (from Simon Cowell's X-factor) do pop songs in a classical style.
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:18 AM on August 18, 2006

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