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Everyone's Got an Opinion!

Opera Quotes
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When it comes to opera quotes, it seems like everyone's got an opinion. Whether it's Noel Coward being snidely witty or Maria Callas passionately explaining her art, you can be sure that quotations about opera will get your attention. Find one that suits your outlook on opera.

But remember, "It's not over until the fat lady sings."
(20th Century Proverb sometimes credited to
Daniel John Cook )


I went to watch Pavarotti once. He doesn't like it when you join in.
Mick Miller

If an opera can not be played by an organ grinder—as Puccini's and Verdi's melodies were played—then that opera is not going to achieve immortality.
Sir Thomas Beecham

I'd hate this to get out, but I really like opera.
Ford Frick, Baseball Commissioner

I like your opera. I think I will set it to music.

Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding, he sings.
Ed Gardner

An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I've left the opera house.
Maria Callas

I do not mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I don't understand.
Sir Edward Appleton

Some famous opera quotes come from people who clearly do NOT care for this great art form...

OPERA, n. A play representing life in another world, whose inhabitants have no speech but song, no motions but gestures and no postures but attitudes.
Ambrose Bierce

A form of entertainment where there is always too much singing.
Claude Debussey

People are wrong when they say opera is not what it used to be. It is what it used to be. That is what's wrong with it.
Noel Coward

I wouldn't mind seeing opera die. Ever since I was a boy, I regarded opera as a ponderous anachronism, almost the equivalent of smoking.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Watching Italian opera, all those male sopranos screeching, stupid fat couples rolling their eyes about. That’s not love, it’s just rubbish.
Peter Schaffer in Amadeus

Going to the opera, like getting drunk, is a sin that carries its own punishment with it.
Hannah More

The opera is to music what a bawdy house is to a cathedral.
H. L. Mencken

Music critics and others have had some pithy things to say in some opera quotes

La Sonnambula is dull enough to send the most athletic sleepwaker back to bed.
Newsweek Review

Her singing was mutiny on the high C's.
Hedda Hopper

Oh well, he did not know how to write an opera. There is no continuity, only a series of numbers.
Nadia Boulanger on Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess"

Stupid criticism and still more stupid praise.
Giuseppe Verdi, speaking of the press notices of Aida

While researching these opera quotes, I was surprised how many witty, cynical, satirical and just plain mean some of the quotations about opera were.

Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables.
Franz Schalk

Sleep is an excellent way of listening to an opera.
James Stephens

I would rather undergo a vasectomy via Weed Whacker than attend an opera.
Dave Barry

Opera in English, is about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
H. L. Mencken

To me an opera is the very climax & cap-stone of the absurd, the fantastic, the unjustifiable. I hate the very name of opera - partly because of the nights of suffering I have endured in its presence, and partly because I want to love it and can't.
Mark Twain

Some really good opera quotes come from the singers themselves.

In a garden where there are no birds, a croaking toad is a nightingale.

Nobody really sings in an opera—they just make loud noises.
Amelita Galli-Curci

If you think you've hit a false note, sing loud. When in doubt, sing loud.
Robert Merrill

Opera stars know that biology is destiny. Sometime in their 50s or early 60s, the powerful, flexible and ultimately mysterious instrument that has been the source of their artistry frays, cracks and disappears.
Michael Walsh

So what's your favorite of these opera quotes? I think mine might be this one:

If you can sell green toothpaste in this country, you can sell opera.
Sarah Caldwell

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