Opera, he says, is nothing but controlled screaming, and he’s screamed a few songs.
April 12, 2013
Where the gin is cold
but the piano’s hot!
It’s just a noisy hall
Where there’s a nightly brawl
And all that jazz.
Substitute “opera” for the word “jazz” in the lyrics above and you’ve got what’s been going on inside of Charles Long’s head for decades.
He’s been screaming for over thirty years.
At least according to his memoirs.
Charles Long likens opera to “controlled screaming.”
My own interest in opera evolved from an initial interest in instrumental music, to Sousa marches, to symphony, and finally Wagner’s Ring Cycle. You could probably call me a casual fan of opera. I can name the original “Three Tenors.” A Tott’s champagne commercial in the 1980’s introduced me to Kiri Te Kanawa and Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro.”
I’ve been hooked ever since.
Adventures in the Scream Trade — Scenes from an Operatic Life is, in the author’s words, “a series of vignettes and anecdotes from my life as a musician and opera singer.” This reviewer feels that it is much more. Don’t let the title fool you. There’s much more to this book that what you might think from the cover.
Long has assembled a collection of over forty short stories.
Any reader, but especially baby boomers, can identify with, learn from, and enjoy each and every one.
Individually, each story/chapter informs and inspires.
Collectively, they form an amalgam of experiences as readers follow the personal growth and professional accomplishments of a man who took advantage of opportunity to achieve what few have been able to achieve. How many careers would afford a young man from the obscure hamlet of Butler, Pennsylvania, the opportunity to perform around the world from San Francisco to New York, to Amsterdam and the Orient? Would you rather be in Podunk, West Virginia or at the Kennedy Center? A small touring company or the New York City Opera?
Charles Long has seen it all.
Along the way, he married several times and performed with unknowns and artists whose names are household words (even to those not familiar with opera). Think Beverly Sills. He knew and worked with “The Three Tenors” before they acquired that moniker: Pavarotti, Carreras, and Domingo.
Readers might find it odd that a male opera star would also like the sport of boxing. The connection leads to amusing analogies. This reviewer is not surprised. I enjoy opera while watching college football. It is satisfying to discover that Long’s story-telling skills are as sharp, charming, and witty as his voice is deep, strong, and awe-inspiring.
We are pleased to recommend Adventures in the Scream Trade – Scenes from an Operatic Life by Charles Long to all readers. Music fans of all genres will identify with his trials, tribulations, and successes in the scream trade.
Any reader who has ever screamed due to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune will take heart in knowing that in Charles Long they’ve found a fellow traveler.
He’s been screaming for years – and all that opera!
Adventures in the Scream Trade — Scenes from an Operatic Life by Charles Long (Mountain Lake Press) is available on Amazon in a variety of formats: hard copy, e-book and audiobook (read by Mr. Long himself).