How to write fiction

How to write fiction, 7 reasons why to plagiarize opera

people performing in opera house
Photo by Victor Freitas on

Or the opposite. How to write operas plagiarizing fiction[1]

Do you believe the opera is something old fashioned? Is it boring and expensive? Impossible to understand a snail what the bloody heck is being sang?

Yep, yep and yep. It ain’t as modern as musicals. It is expensive to go; in Mexico the opera programmes are offered only in the Auditorium and only to watch re-runs from the New York MET.  Stuff sang in long intervals is difficult to understand… specially if you don’t happen to spit in French or German. Above it all, if they’re modernized, they end up being even more incomprehensible.  Why would one want to sit down and watch an opera play then?

  1. It is related to the musical tradition of soundtrack…To anyone who has watched any copy-paste movie alike to Mision Impossible or Secret Agent X but without music of the same quality; this is more than obvious. A solid musical choice can and does highlight a persecution till we’re breathless. Or get our tender hearts to bleed with a bit of emotional blackmail. The shape of water by Guillermo del Toro is not as exciting without sound. Opera is made so we understand the story through the music.
  2. Music is capable of provoking feelings directly in our brain by modifying breath rhythm, heart pumping and/or our own comfort in space. No author can say they have mastered the “show, don’t tell” if they can’t say what emotion they’re feeling and describe it only by the physical reactions of their bodies.
  3. Opera plays have a proficient use of clichés. To compose Turandot, Pucini invented the “oriental music” by including piano melodies in which only the black keys are played. This has become our cultural reference about what we think should be oriental music. Robert McKee says we need to include every specification associated to a plot gender to satisfy our target. Opera has years doing so including pertinent associations to each story. Plus the music, of course. To learn more about opera you can watch “This is opera” (as you see opera can get percolated to bigger audiences).
  4. Some authors love to create characters who like opera. Such as Henning Mankell and Andrea Camilleri. To Mankell, Kurt Wallander sometime dreamt of becoming an opera singer so he carries around opera cassettes in his Renault. Camilleri describes Montalba whistling or humming Aida in euphoric times. Becoming an author deals with becoming a bit of an intellectual. An intellectual, not a pain in the…you know.
  5. There are TV programmes where they explain what and how a certain play works. Just in case you believe studying music is the next step then or that you need becoming a crammer to cultivate your mind. I know…not everybody can learn how to play an instrument and not everybody likes reading with such zeal. In Mexico the open channels 22 and 28 offer programmes of the kind. This is opera is offered some channel up or down F&A. If you know of some other programme like this in your country…will you help telling us about it in the comments?
  6. Not only Rigoletto seems a copy of Hernani; La Traviata is like an adaptation of La dame aux camellias to a musical. Did you believe the best writers never plagiarize anything? Oh, they do. Just that they do it better than using crtl+c/crtl+v.
  7. Just in the same way Greek myths are re taken and re kindled in webtoons as wonderful as Lore Olympus; an opera play can become a pretext for a spin off like the one of Nodame Cantabile. Where the content of The magic flute is the ordeal to create conflicts for the characters. Some as simple as…”The prima donna doesn’t fit in the dress and our budget is not big”

Have you been to the opera? What’s your favourite?

[1] Just in case I don’t speak about it again, it is said Pucini stole the idea of Hernani, by Victor Hugo to create Rigoletto.

Deja un comentario