When it comes to opera, let me give you my record. I have seen one opera on video, I have listened to that same opera plus one other on C.D., and I have read a book that tells the storyline of several operas, as well as half of an opera history book. So, I am not lying when I say that I have not extensively researched opera, but I do have a pretty good grasp of many of the storylines. Besides, I love studying different composers; hence I get a little more back ground history on the different operas.
First of all, I think that it is very important that we have consistent standards. If we are commanded in scripture not to take the Lord's name in vain, then we should not swear and we should not tolerate swearing (even when sung in a different language). To clear things up, I'm not saying that you should never watch anything were someone is murdered or were any one of God's laws is broken. Just as in real life, sometimes we must see the sin and evil before we can fully understand the glorious plan that God has, none the less, we should not be relishing in sin and watching or listening to things that glorify man's sin. This applies to music, movies, plays etc. (Trust me, I cringe on writing this as I know I have failed in this area many a time.) :-(
One thing that I do not like about opera is that the storyline is often very much like any old romance novel. Boy meets girl, love at first sight, bad guy loves girl, bad guy hates boy, various other characters add to the trauma, boy and bad guy fight, and everyone dies in the end either by murder, poison or a broken heart. Like the quote I put up last time said, they get stabbed and they sing about it. Just as in romance novels, romantic movies or anything else of the like, we need to make sure that this is not romance merely for the sake of romance. Romance is just fine in the proper context, we just need to make sure that it actually is in the proper context. (Once again, guilty.) :-(
Another issue that I have with opera is its tendency to glory in tragedy and in human flesh. When I see tragedy in the form of an opera or play, I tend to see a romanticized tragedy that is very unlike real life tragedy. A person drinking poison in order to join the one they love in death is very different then the reality of a wife who loses her husband and must now continue to care for her family without the aid of the leader of her home and her loving life partner. Opera often makes tragedy seem appealing when in the real world these things are very painful.
There is much more I could say about opera, but I don't feel that I am 100% "there" yet. All of this thinking was sparked by my sisters and I watching "The Phantom of the Opera." (Don't drop your jaw...I'm learning too.) As my sisters and I went about the house singing songs from this opera, I realized that perhaps this tantalizing opera has caused us to glory in God less and glory in man more. I find it amazing how easily I can pick up on a song from an opera, and how difficult it can be to memorize a hymn. So I have been trying very hard not to sing any opera these last few days, but rather sing psalms and hymns whenever I am tempted to do so.
I rather miss stretching my vocal limits though. 'Tis great fun I'll have you know....
My only consolation now is that there were some great composers who came up with the idea of Oratorios. So now when I want to exercise my vocal chords I can just sing "For unto us a son is born..." and my personal favorite, "All we like sheep, have gone astraaaaaaaaay...". (Thank you Handel!)