Today’s episode features opera singer Erica Wilens. She and Stephen chat about where opera is now compared to what it used to be and why it’s not as elitist as it is perceived to be. Erica provides additional insight as to what the art of opera looks like from the perspective of the singers and the best composers of opera from the singers’ standpoint.
One of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s greatest operatic achievements, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) may not have been possible without the approval of Emperor Joseph II of Austria. The play it was based on by Pierre Beaumarchais was banned from theaters all around the world for its radical political statements and the poor outlook on aristocracy. Fortunately for audiences today, Mozart and his librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, managed to cut enough scandalous material to set and stage an opera.