Figaro! Figaro! Huh? Who?
May 4, 2008 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I am a big fan of theater of all types and it one day occurred to me while I was watching an opera that at least some of my enjoyment comes from the fact that opera is very organic; opera singers sing without wearing microphones, they just project. I recently saw the Sacramento Opera performance of Tosca and during a scene in the first act between Mario and Floria they are very close while singing with such great projection. My question is, how do they do this with out hurting or even damaging the hearing of the person near them?
posted by geekyguy to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A big part of why the actors aren’t deaf if that they generally don’t stand terribly close to one another and they also don’t face each other while singing. I’ve done a little bit of opera singing and this is something that is of concern. If the soprano is going full steam aimed right into your ear, you will suffer some hearing loss. But that just generally doesn’t happen; you face out so that the audience can hear you and are often spread out because the stage is so big.
As for the folks in the front row, the orchestra pit provides a little bit of a buffer keeping them a ways off. (The folks in the orchestra are probably a little deaf, but they sit by a timpani anyway)
Also many Operas are amplified by microphones. fwiw.
posted by French Fry at 10:51 AM on May 4, 2008

posted by deadmessenger at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2008

Best answer: Opera singers also tend to do their work in gigantic resonant chambers especially designed to let their voice carry over a large distance. It's not JUST volume & projection, otherwise the front rows seats would probably be a little less popular.
posted by Aquaman at 1:17 PM on May 4, 2008

Best answer: Projection is not quite the same thing as volume. Having been in the chorus for a couple operas as a kid, I can vouch that it's just not that loud.

Tosca was actually the very first show I ever did at around 11-13 years old. To this day, at random times "Si festeggi la vittoria!" will pop into my head.
posted by ErWenn at 3:36 PM on May 4, 2008

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