Day 9: An aria or piece that you find one of the most recognizable ever
I think it’s definitely the Habanera from “Carmen” by Bizet or the Ride of the Walkures (or Valkyries-however you want to spell it) from “Die Walkure” by Wagner. They’ve been used in popular culture so much, that people who don’t know anything about opera can hum the entire aria or piece. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all, but like I’ve said before, I wish people showed more interest in the composer and the opera that supplies the song. I know you can’t force everyone to like the same things you like, but for me, the pieces in the original context are a lot more effective and moving than if they were placed as background music in a movie. I remember seeing “Die Walkure” live at the LA Opera last year (the first staged opera I had ever seen live) and even though I knew what was coming, I still wasn’t prepared at all for the plain brute force with which the piece hit me. Saying it was intense is an understatement. I think everyone should get to experience that sort of feeling that only opera can provide.
Those are two pieces I think the general public could recognize instantly. Personally, I will always be able to recognize Wagner’s “Valhalla” leitmotif that first shows up in “Das Rheingold.” It gives off an air of nobility, and also a feeling of warmth, even though it plays while Wotan drags the other gods up to Valhalla, where they don’t really want to go, and is therefore associated (at least to me) with a sense of uneasiness and an uncomfortable feeling. It’s one of my favorite tunes I’ve ever heard, and it always will be.
Awesomeness. Listen to it:
Also this, for extra measure: