Is Opera Part of Pop Culture? Pretty Much Pop #15 with Sean Spyres

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Opera used to be a cen­tral part of Euro­pean pop cul­ture, Pavarot­ti was as big a pop star as they come. But still, it’s now the quin­tes­sen­tial art-form of the wealthy and snob­bish. What gives?

Guest Sean Spyres from Spring­field Region­al Opera joins his sis­ter Eri­ca along with Mark and Bri­an to dis­cuss oper­a’s place in cul­ture (includ­ing its film appear­ances), how it’s dif­fer­ent from music the­ater, the chal­lenges it faces and how it might become more rel­e­vant.

Some arti­cles:

Watch the Shaw­shank Redemp­tion opera scene or per­haps the Pret­ty Woman scene. What Is pop opera? Here’s Ranker’s list of artists. Paul Potts sings that famous song on Britain’s Got Tal­ent. Plus, check out albums from broth­er Michael Spyres. Yes, you can hear an opera-singer sing “Take Me Out to the Ball­game,” but you prob­a­bly should­n’t.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

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  • Josh says:

    Nice! I’ve seen Michael Spyres per­form sev­er­al times for the Spring­field Region­al Opera in Mis­souri, which is his home state. Qual­i­ty stuff.

    The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera does live broad­casts in select the­aters, but a tick­et’s more than dou­ble a reg­u­lar movie tick­et. Boo. There used to be stu­dent pric­ing, but that’s gone away with. So it sort of seems that the means are clos­er in terms of get­ting back into pop cul­ture, but the will is not quite there yet.

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