Let’s start with a disclaimer. This movie is all about 19th century music, particularly the Opera genre. It is exciting to see a mainstream representation, or interest in Opera. The opening picture is an Opera scene, and we see Millie (played by Danielle Macdonald) in the audience literally jumping out of her body as the opera diva sings‘Je ve vivre’ from Romeo and Juliet by Charles Gounod. We also see that her sleeping boyfriend isn’t into opera at all.
Millie is promoted at her boring cooperate finance firm, but she declines the promotion and quits her job altogether to pursue a career in opera. She is introduced to a fire-spiting coach and former diva, Meghan (Joanna Lumley), at whose studio she met Max (Hugh Skinner).
Millie’s plan is to prepare for the ‘Singers of Renown’ vocal competition, where winners get a shot at performing a lead role with an established Opera company. Things get complicated when she falls in love with the Baritone, Max, who is also vying for a shot at the Singer of Renown competition.
This movie highlights great Opera overtures and duets, and also, shows the struggle of young opera singers and old fallen-from-grace Opera stars. Now, let’s get into the lessons from this movie.
LIFE LESSONS FROM THE MOVIE “FALLING FOR FIGARO”
- NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
This shows in Millie’s resilience and final breakthrough. She started as a finance executive with no prospect in opera, not even her teacher believed in her. But she proved them wrong and became what she wished for. So it life, even if no one believes in you, so long you put in the work, your dreams can come true.
- OPERA IS HARD
No one wants to be like Max. He is a struggling artist, sure with a fine voice, but without fame and breakthrough. He is fortunate to get a teacher with whom he studies for free (but pays in kind by doing her house chores). He has competed in the Singer of Renowncompetition for the umpteenth time, and was almost giving up before his breakthrough came. This is one in a thousand cases. Many artist die in without a breakthrough.
- NO SHORTCUT
Millie put in the work and showed the determination, but she didn’t win the competition. This shows that there is no shortcut in life. She did well in the competition, but she’d only been studying for months, other singers like Max, have studied for years. It shows. Hard work pays, but we still need to pay the price.
- STAGE FRIGHT HAPPENS TO EVEN THE BEST
Don’t let stage fright stop you from singing. The Vomit girl tuned out to win second place despite being shaken to the feet with fright. Make sure to find solutions to rid your fright, never give up singing totally.
- EMOTIONS SHOW IN SINGING
Opera singers are not just trained to sing, they are trained in acting too, because opera is music plus drama. If you are sad, you must be a professional to sing a joyful song and not have the audience feel your sadness. This showed in the love duet sung by Millie and Max. The first time they did the duet, it was emotionless because there weren’t feeling the music. But the second time, magic happened. Also, Max won this time because he showed some emotion in singing. His voice didn’t change throughout the many times he entered the competition, the approach changed. Without conveying emotions, the singer is just a machine singing.
- GROUP SINGING BUILDS GOOD COMMUNION
Millie learned a lot from singing a love duet with Max. It showed in her voice improvement and in her self-confidence. If a duet can do all these, how much more chorale singing?Join a choir today and feel the goodness of communal singing.
The movie falls flat in plot at some points, but is a fulfilling story. I am particularly excited that the light casted on opera falls on the baritone we are usually overlooked in the community. People often think of tenors when they think of males in opera, whereas baritones are ¼ of the total male voices in opera.
Unlike opera, there is a happy ending and everyone gets what they wanted. I tell you, happy-ever-after is foreign to opera lovers.
John is a Nigerian Baritone, Falsettist, and a Writer. He is the first runner up for the Kingsley Inuope Idegun Memorial Award for Countertenors. His literary works have been published on online magazines like KalahariReview, PraxisOnline, AfroAnthologySeries, et al. He blogs stories on nighttalesng.wordpress.com