When I think about performing arts, I have to admit that storytelling doesn’t usually fall into that category. Theater, dance, music, opera, yes. Storytelling, not so much. But one look at this video from the Quebec Storytelling Festival and I reconsidered:
Not only is this woman an excellent storyteller, she is performing in the largest, and smallest, senses of the word. She has her audience in the palm of her hand (and she knows it), and she keeps them there for as long as it suits her.
For many years, the posters that were designed to advertise this festival were created by an artist named Vittorio Fiorucci. Vittorio (as he was known to his fans and detractors alike) was “a boulevardier, raconteur, and a gregarious self-confessed hedonist who owned seven vintage cars as well as an outstanding collection of antique mechanical toys.
“There are two types of people in the world, people who are themselves, and people who go through life pretending they are somebody else,” he once said, “They can never say I was never myself.””.
Unlike storytelling, opera has always been – and will always be – about performing. Men and women with exceptional voices, in complicated scenarios and often in period costume, sing at full voice in a variety of languages about situations that are either very commonplace, or very out-of-the-ordinary. Sometimes, if you are very very lucky, opera singers look ordinary and surprise the heck out of you when you’re shopping for underwear….(click here for proof!)
Opera has always seemed very elegant and refined to me – the most luxurious and misunderstood of the performing arts perhaps. I suppose that my original ideas about opera were formed when I was young, and most likely had something to do with images like these …
but truth be told, I think there is – and will always be – room for refinement in the performing arts. I mean, after all, we cant all put a cow in formaldehyde and call it art, can we??