In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Opera & Hockey: Parallel Worlds?

Jun 24, 2013 6:46:00 PM
By BLO Staff

As we head into game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final (GO BRUINS!) we asked our Twitter followers to tell us what it's like being an opera lover and a sports fanatic: 

@abbottjones says: " Both get my heart rate up. I cheer at both: "Bravo" or "War Eagle" or "Go Sox!" Both make life more exciting. #operafan #sportsfan. "

@baritoneirvin says: " Some might argue that opera IS a sport. I know I feel that way after some shows. :-) " 

Baritone Matthew Worth (@worthmatthew), recently seen as Guglielmo in BLO's production of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, reflected on what it's like to be an opera singer and a (sometimes) athlete:
was yelling at the opposing team's player with my soft palette raised high,
producing a supported, vibrating {o} vowel.  I wasn't alone--my brother
and I were seated behind one of the hoops for an important pair of free throws
and our whole section was yelling in chorus to distract the player from the
task at hand.  My brother wasn't fully committed to tripping up the guy at
the line, though.  He couldn't stop laughing at my foreign
sound and me, the opera singer with a sports problem.
was a time when I was playing sports more often than I was performing on the
stage.  These days, it's certainly reversed--I only occasionally play
pickup basketball, flag football or a round of golf whereas my livelihood is
made as an opera singer.  Every day, however, I'm able to draw
similarities between the two mediums.  Both athletes and singers are
entertainers, required to be focused in every moment on the stage.  We
visualize success before it happens, having prepared countless hours on our own
in practice rooms and on empty courts.  
are less-obvious parallels to be drawn as well.  If I were to break down
singing into very basic principles, it would go something like this: Intake of
breath, onset of support, onset of sound, release of sound, release of support.
 Every major athletic motion has an equivalent. In taking a free throw, I
breathe while bending my knees, then extend through the shot while exhaling
into the follow through.  My golf swing (when it's working) begins
with a breath in the backswing, exhaling through contact into follow through.
 I've never been a hockey player, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that every
player on the ice in this Bruins/Blackhawks series has a similar progression in
their wrister across the ice or slap shot. 
Make way for the Bruins!

Click here to read about our friendly wager with the Lyric Opera of Chicago
It's been a blast battling it out on Twitter with @LyricOpera Follow us @BostLyricOpera to join in the fun and help us win our Re-Tweet Challenge!

Topics: Boston Bruins, Lyric Opera, opera, #OperaBruins, twitter

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