Kayaking While Listening To Opera

Kayaking is such a fun activity and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy it. The best thing you can do, if you are new to kayaking, is to take a course on it first. Of course, you need to know or learn how to swim, as well. Learning how to kayak and swim can take a few weeks or even months, depending on the individual. Well, this isn’t about that, but rather the great time I had in Seoul, kayaking and listening to opera music. I’ll never go kayaking again without my opera songs, and many of you reading this won’t forget yours either, after you try it.

This past July, I had gone to Seoul on a five day trip for a conference. The conference itself was for three days, and I used the time to make some new friends. Within this period, I got to know six people who were attending the same conference. In the course of our conversations, we found out that we had one thing in common, kayaking! So on the last day of the conference, we decided to go kayaking before we had to fly home.


Han River In Seoul


We went to the Han River in Gwangjin-gu district because it was close to our hotel. Around 2 PM the next day, which was a Saturday, our little group jumped into a mini bus provided by the hotel where we were all staying. There were also two guides who went with us, and it was a short 15 minute drive from our hotel.

When we got to the river, we were amazed by the beautiful scenery of Seoul’s Gwangjin-gu district, while our kayak and supplies were being readied. One of us, an Australian lady named Kayla, had come along with a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. “Are you going to play music while we are kayaking, Kayla?” I had asked her. She smiled and answered. “Yeah, it is fun and a great relaxing therapy. I have a great collection of opera music. I’m sure you would love it if you want to ride close to me.”

Well, since we were kayaking with Sun Dolphin Bali 10 SS kayaks, which can only fit one person, I decided I was going to ride alongside Kayla and test her theory of the relaxing effect of listening to opera music while we were out there. Although in my mind, I believed it was a crazy idea, but I was going to give it a try.

Everything was ready and it was time to get into the water. Since it was a hot afternoon, we decided to take a swim first. We had already put on our swim suits at the hotel, so all we had to do was take off our outer clothes and, splash! We were in the cool water, swimming away the afternoon sun. After splashing around for almost an hour, we boarded our little kayak boats and headed out onto the river. The Han River snakes peacefully through the city like a giant highway of water. It was beautiful, paddling gently and taking in the city scene on both sides.


Han River Park


As I was paddling along with Kayla in near perfect synchronization, a calming tune of lyrical poetry waltzed to me in floating rhythm, like the smooth undulation of the Han River we were paddling on. The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was playing from Kayla’s Bluetooth speaker. The effect was calming and as I listened, the distant city noise was slowly drowned out and I was teleported into a world of total tranquillity and peace.

I never knew that listening to music, particularly opera, while kayaking would be this calming. My arms effortlessly worked the paddle as the soothing sound of Mozart crooning about love washed over me. I didn’t feel a single strain or exhaustion. Wow, kayaking had never been this fun!

As we paddled along, the music kept changing from one opera song to the other, from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro to Beethoven’s Fidelio and back to Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Kayla did indeed have a great collection of opera songs. She even had Bellini, Rossini, and Puccini’s Nessun Dorma that evoked ardent romantic feelings in the listener. The music made me fall in love with kayaking all over again.


Kayaking Tour In Seoul


I would tell you that there is no experience as pristine and refreshing as listening to opera songs while kayaking. There are loads of songs to choose from, so you have the choice of listening to the ones that appeal to you personally. I would advise you to give it a try, and you will forever fall in love over and over again with this beautiful leisure sport of kayaking.

By the time we were done, the others were exhausted, but Kayla and I were still full of bubbly energy. None of the other guys had come along with music. Was I lucky to ride with Kayla? Sure, I was and now I know I’ll never go kayaking again without my opera songs.

Renee Fleming – Best Female Opera Singer?

Renée Fleming is recognized as one of the most celebrated and beloved singers of our time. Through her voice, stage presence and the artistic work involved in her work, she amasses a huge following at her concerts. Growing up in New York, Rochester, where her parents taught her music in high school, she became a lover of music and a pro jazz vocalist by the time she was in college. In her 1986 debut Salzburg, she realized that much had to be done about both her stage fright and vocal techniques. And after much dedication, she finally won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1988, when she was 29.


Renee Fleming


Different people may have varying opinions about Fleming, some saying she is good, while others are not that impressed. But after taking time to review the towering magnitude of her success and credentials, one realizes how much hard work and dedication it takes for her to do what she does. This is in a world that is filled with thousands of sopranos. Back when she was still young in the opera world, it’s always a standard procedure to start in the standard repertoire. To be unique and stand out in such a situation, as it was with the Mozart’s Countess, which was always bashed with countless sopranos, it had to take great effort and dedication.


Countess In Marriage Of Figaro


Through her ability to create the sounds she produces from her distinctive and consistent tone, Fleming was able to conquer a lot of considerable tasks in her career. Despite the fact that many of the sopranos around the world can produce rather high and loud voices, her consistency and the sensitivity in her voice brings out a breathtaking moment every time she sings. What’s even more of a surprise is that she can produce these glorious sounds in a more or less effortless manner. Not only does her voice and acting take one to a whole new experience, but she has the ability to bring out an element of human life from her performances.


Fleming Singing In Beautiful Gown


Renee Fleming has an amazing gift from God, and with that kind of brilliant command, she has come to be presently recognized as a diva. She has been able to sing on a level that anyone could only wish for. Due to this fact, she has been a highly sought after artist and her work can be found in more than ten solo albums and more than 60 different recordings, as well as many opera recordings. She has won the National Medal of Arts and the Richard Tucker Award, as well as the Polar Music Prize. Harvard University awarded her with a Doctor of Music in 2015. She has so many accomplishments and is so talented, that it would take forever to list them all.

Due to her reputation and the marketability of her work today, she has been able to lead the Lord of Rings soundtrack, be a poster girl for Rolex, as well as manage other productions specifically designed for her opera houses around the world. Through the story of Renee Fleming, I have come to understand that many people around the world have many talents, but it takes extraordinary dedication, commitment, and a genuine human nature to complement the art to new levels.

Placido Domingo, Spanish Opera Singer

Best known for his extraordinary and adaptable voice, Plácido Domingo is a Spanish singer (tenor), conductor and manager. For over 50 years, he has sung nearly 4,000 melodies and around 147 performances. He has worked with musicians, Spaniards, artists, and Grammy winners.

Placido Domingo, Opera Singer

Placido has been portrayed by the International Press as “King of Opera music,” and he is a champion among the best tenors ever. He started in Mexico and Israel before changing into a rising star in the melodic sensation world in the 1960’s. In 1983, he won his first Grammy Award and showed up in his initial film at La Traviata. Placido later joined with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras to perform and record as “The Three Tenors.”

Early Life And Career

Born on January 21, 1941, in Madrid, Spain, Plácido Domingo experienced youthfulness in a melodic family. Both of his kin were skilled workers of zarzuela, or Spanish operettas, who visited with other singers. He then moved with his kin to Mexico when he was eight. There, his family began their own particular zarzuela gathering.

Early Placido Domingo Picture

As an adolescent, Domingo sought to be a conductor, studying piano, but later moved his obsession to singing. At 18, he got a small part in a National Opera creation. He gave his first execution as a tenor in 1961, playing Alfredo in La Traviata in Monterrey. Domingo and his second partner Marta, continued to join the Israel National Opera in the mid-1960s. He remained there for three seasons, managing 12 extraordinary parts amidst his residency.

Opera Star

In the mid-1960s, Domingo auditioned for the New York City Opera. He later told the Los Angeles Times that these early appearances “were what truly began my general calling”. Before long, Placido was additionally appearing at the Metropolitan Opera and at other melodic performance houses the world over.

Placido made another exceptional presentation in 1973 as a conductor for the New York City Opera’s La Traviata. He soon added ‘motion picture star’ to his rundown of credits, in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1983 film adjustment of La Traviata. The singer won a Grammy Award that same year for best melodic show recording.

The next year, Placido depicted another surprising melodic show character on the wide screen in Carmen (1984), in which he played Don José. That same year, he was awarded a Grammy Award for best Latin pop execution for ‘Always in My Heart’.

Always In My Heart By Placido Domingo

Rejoining with Zeffirelli, Domingo showed up in Otello (1986). Conceivably more than another part, he has been most enthusiastically connected with the title character in this melodic show based on a catastrophe by William Shakespeare. He changed into a successfully recognized name after his joint effort with two other melodic show stars in the 1990s. In 1990, he sang with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, which was a significant hit and earned the trio a Grammy Award for best standard vocal execution.

Placido’s Current Projects

Domingo has understood the cliché: “on the off chance that I rest, I rust.” Now in his seventies, Domingo hasn’t let hardships such as colon cancer surgery in 2010 and an pulminary embolism in 2013 force him into retirement. He has done a lot of humanitarian work and founded ‘Operalia’, a competition for aspring young opera singers, where the winner has the chance to sing with various opera ensembles worldwide.

Placido Domingo

Placido Domingo has garnered much respect for his works, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an uncommon British knighthood, both of which he got in 2002. In 2009, he won the Birgit Nilsson Prize, earning him $1 million for his melodic accomplishments. In 2016, he performed for the Esperanza Azteca Los Angeles Youth Orchestra to support young musicians in L.A. As of today, he is the general director at the Los Angeles Opera, where he also conducts concerts and operas.

‘Sing for Your Life’, A Powerful Real Life Story About Opera’s Redemptive Power

Unbeknownst to many casual listeners, many of opera’s greatest stories are those of strife, struggle, redemption, troubles, and triumph. Take, for instance, the narrative of one of the world’s most popular operas, La Boheme. The struggles of life are contrasted beautifully by the uplifting romance of Mimi and Rodolfo. Ryan Speedo Green’s story is a real life juxtaposition tale of the degradation and miracles that life has to offer, and the redemptive powers of opera.

Ryan's book

Now a bass-baritone vocalist performing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (most recently having played the part of Colline in the Met’s own performance of La Boheme), Green spent his youth in and out of juvenile detention facilities before discovering his passion for opera and his unique voice. In a recently released biography of Green, titled ‘Sing for Your Life,’ details are given about the 30 year old’s struggles with his violent temper as a kid growing up in Virginia.

Mr Green

Living in a bullet riddled trailer, among other things, are illuminated upon, as well as his discovery of opera and how it helped him to overcome his aggression. Green says his love of music began to develop behind those detention center walls, listening to the Top 40 hits of 1998 when rewarded with a radio for good behavior.

It wouldn’t be until attending a performance art high school and mistakenly being placed in an opera course that Ryan would discover his new passion. From the moment he realized the expanse in story and vocal skills opera had to offer, Ryan says he has pursued it ever since. Though those who are familiar with Green’s work may be accustomed to his booming baritone and unwavering bass vocals, that wasn’t always the case.


‘Sing for your Life’ documents Ryan’s shift from the untrained tenor vocals he had developed listening to his favorite pop singers, to his awe inspiring vocals heard in Met performances today. Just as opera served as a redemptive tool to young Ryan, his training as a vocalist is metaphorically enlisted to mirror his progression away from a life of anger and violence in a way that impressively serves to illustrate Green’s continuing journey.

In a recent interview with Terry Gross for NPR’s Fresh Air, Ryan went into detail about his aggression problems, his love of opera, and his training as a vocalist. Green tells Gross it’s hard for him to imagine the mindset that landed him doing time in Juvie all those years ago, but reiterates something many people with anger problems seem to have in common, a lack of understanding by peers and teachers early on.

Green singing

Much of ‘Sing for Your Life’ is a testament to good teachers who didn’t give up on Ryan, who says he’s lucky to have people and passions others in his shoes don’t. Opera, Green says, was never something that was put in front of him and was something he happened to stumble upon by chance. Being put into an opera class that needed more boys, Ryan quickly discovered his blossoming baritone-bass voice and became serious about pursuing opera. Much like the characters of La Boheme, Ryan Speedo Green’s life has taken some major turns from the days when it was rooted in anger and violence.

Top 10 Opera Singers

Let’s start by checking out these top 10 opera singers! These singers have beautiful, stunning voices that you can feel in your soul. The music that we normally listen to is not the only place to hear a beautiful voice. Enjoy!