Since I started working at the world’s premiere opera training program, I’m fortunate enough to hear great opera every day! While I am a huge musical theater person, I was never exposed to opera very much. Each week at work, I hear a song I just knew I had heard before. After some further investigating and asking many questions, I learned why these songs sound so familiar: they can be heard throughout all of pop culture. So whether you realize or not, you and I both know quite a few operatic numbers. Whether you’ve heard them on a TV show, a movie, or a commercial, I can guarantee you’ll know these classics.
You may recall seeing the Carmen-themed episode Hey Arnold! as kid (I know I did). This may have been your first exposure to opera if you’re a fellow 90s child. The episode featured this very famous song:
You’ll recognize this song, “Toreador Song“, also from Carmen.
This episode also featured “Vesti la giubba” from Pagliacci, sung by the incomparable Luciano Pavarotti (it’ll ring a bell at the 2:00 mark)
You’ve most definitely have heard of “Figaro’s Aria” from The Barber of Seville by Rossini. Last time you might have heard it? The Jersey Shore did a remix of it.
These next two songs, “The Ride of the Valkyries” and “O Fortuna” will get you PUMPED. Before you run a race, take an exam, or prepare for any sort of great feat, listen to these songs.
The Lakme Flower Duet is one of the most recognizable songs in all of music and it’s breathtaking to hear it sung live. (you’ll recognize it right at 1:15)
Finally, “The Queen of the Night” aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute is one of the most vocally impressive songs in opera.
You’ll even heard opera singers performing your favorite songs, too, especially in sports. Below is Academy of Vocal Arts alumna and Grammy-award winner Joyce DiDonato singing at the 2014 World Series.
There you have it – bet you didn’t realize how much opera you already knew! Even if you’re not a huge opera fan yet, these songs are beautiful to listen to and it’s easy to appreciate just how incredibly talented these vocalists are. Music, like all art forms, is timeless and can still give us the chills even centuries later. Happy blogging and opera appreciating xx