“I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing something so beautiful it cannot be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away. For the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.”
-Red (played by Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
White, powdered faces. White wigs a foot tall. Intricate, long-flowing gowns with corsets underneath. This is opera. Well, at least the outer appearance.
As some of you may or may not know, I sing. Mostly classical (a.k.a. opera). When I was first introduced to the foreign music, I held no interest. I tried to sing everything from pop to country to jazz, and I kept retreating to singing classical. I sang at Catholic Masses, which are slightly classically styled. I finally learned to accept and appreciate that opera was apart of my life. Twelve years after my first singing lesson, I sit here today and can say that I am infatuated with opera. It is like a classic Chanel sweater–it never goes out of style. Opera began in the early 1600s, originating in Italy and then finally making its way to France throughout the 1800s. Opera was also popular in Germany, Russia and England. It was once entertainment for royalty and the elite. I listen to it for relaxing or studying.
The stereotype of opera portrayed when I was a kid was a 300-pound woman dressed in armor with a bull-horned hat to top it off. In the cartoons I watched, it was often portrayed as something that couldn’t be further from elaborate. The word, “opera” is Italian for “work”. After extensive years of training, I am a witness to the patience one must have while practicing opera. I have learned to greatly appreciate it. Most operas are in Italian, and I absolutely love being able to sing in Italian and being able to learn the pronunciations of the language. I believe Italian is the most beautiful language spoken and sung.
Not only is opera music to the ears, the fashion is incredible. Movies like, Marie Antoinette and Phantom of the Opera have created its own pop culture phenomenon. Below are a few fashion finds that are opera-inspired. Please note that I refuse to put anything on my blog that is over $100.
Mask: Luxury masquerade mask $20, partyoasis.com
Headband: Rosette Veil headband, $8, Forever 21
Gloves: Long black gloves, $13, Party City
Stud earrings: Genuine freshwater pearl earring, $30, Banana Republic
Flats: Tessie handmade chiffon ruffle flat, $90, Banana Republic
Necklace: Pearl drama necklace, $80, Banana Republic
Long earrings: Dove Teardrop earring, $35, Banana Republic
Tiara: Shimmering scallops tiara, $10, Forever 21
Headband: Feather Flower headband, $6, Forever 21
Caplet: Black faux fur cape, $57, Polyvore
Scarf: Rushed woven scarf, $7, Forever 21
Bracelet: Pearlescent spring bracelet, $5, Forever 21
Clutch: Pearl blossom clutch, $30, Forever 21
Shoes: Bloom,$80, Bakers