Thursday, July 31, 2008

Comic. Opera.

I'll confess. I love comics.

Not only do they remind me of a time when I was younger and life was simpler but there is something about the marriage of words and pictures that just does it for me. Much like the marriage of words and music you find in opera; sitting down with a good comic can take me on an incredible unforgettable journey.

With Comic Con International in town this last week and the debut of Repo! The Genetic Opera (a rock opera starring Paris Hilton and Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer-- OK, color me intrigued) "San Diego + Opera" has been showing up in my in-box via Google News and Blog Alerts quite often as of late.

So this morning I was suprised to find this article about Sal Velluto, a DC Comics Artist, who apparently did an ad campaign for us here at San Diego Opera.

When you think about it, comics and opera are not too different from one another. Both can be set in fantastical locales, both can be filled with archetypical yet memorable characters. The similarities go even deeper for me however. In opera, words and music complement one another so they become gestalt -- greater than the sum of their parts. The music conveys emotions that cannot be sung, the words transmit a narrative the music cannot tell.

The same can be said for comics with the artwork standing in for the music -- the pictures showing what cannot be said within the limitations of the page.

After some digging through our files here I came across Sal's artwork from 1997's The Italian Girl in Algiers which I've included above. Quite beautiful, and incredibly fitting as the story of Italian Girl always had a comic book feel to me. I was able to track down Sal and he told me this was originally designed for Utah Opera where he also did drawings for The Magic Flute and MacBeth.

That got me thinking -- what other opera would lend itself to a comic book setting? The Magic Flute is a no-brainer. Don Giovanni comes to mind. Rigoletto too.

What do you think?


1 comment:

Smorg said...

Hahaha! You really shattered the stereotype image of a stiff opera fan! :o)

As to what opera would do well in comic setting, I'll nominate Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, Wagner's Ring Cycle, Parsifal, Handel's Orlando, Rinaldo, Ariodante, Alcina, and... (taking cover away from the incoming airborne tomatoes).. Verdi's La forza del destino! ;o)