Why Opera?

The Irony

I was an immigrant, just out of the boat in New York. So I went around, I wanted to see what the city has to offer.

I saw this beautiful theater, in a square with a fountain in the middle, surrounded by other theaters, quite an impression. The one in the center is the biggest, nicest theater in the city, with the best orchestra, the best professional chorus, the best stage, the most expensive productions…my friend said:
– The square is called Lincoln Center. The big theater is The Met, short for Metropolitan.
I said:
– What kind of music do they play there?
– Opera.
– Opera…my dad used to listen to that. Ok: I’ll write opera.

João MacDowell at the Metropolitan Opera, NY. – Photo: Susana Dobal.

Why not?


Opera has a way of mixing life touching stories with melodies that stay with us.

Opera is the greatest arrogance of art (and so it fails).
Opera is chic, elegant, fine seductive.
Opera is the greatest art of our time.

Opera makes sense in a multidisciplinary world of art.
Opera is about collaboration.
It is giving in, to the unique power, of the live performance.
Opera sells.

It is the joint effort of live theater, high musicianship, boundless imagination, overblown drama.

Opera may be too much, but never too little.

We should be aware of how we come to think of the style. It has always been changing and developing. Now is a time of great creative possibilities for the genre.

Across the border we see the combination of new technological achievements in the performing arts with the highest level of expertise. Performing professionals of all areas, trained in the demanding material of the classic tradition, and in the highest trends of popular culture. We are diving in it with an open mind to artistic possibilities, the perspective of time, the legacy of the 20th century. These historic circumstances are very inspiring to the minds of creative artists.

Now is a time of great creative possibilities for the genre.

Most professional opera companies have access to 21st century technology and are still performing 19th century repertoire. It is an inspiring moment for a composer to explore the boundless possibilities of the genre. It is a vast territory that’s open for exploration.


There’s more, coming soon.


Joao MacDowell and Jeremy Lamb – Tamandua rehearsal, 2008.

Also check:

A Brazilian Opera

Scene by Scene:

Plastic Flowers

The Tradition of Brazilian Opera


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