There are people who go through life without ever going to an opera concert. And it is just a real pity. According to some pop culture myths, only evil psychopaths in movies and snobs in videoclips listen to opera. This is how whole generations grow up avoiding ever having such an experience, with the intention of steering clear of something their peers are sneering at. What is more, few can manage to get around that aura of smugness. The opera feels exclusive, expensive, and hard to understand.
On the other hand, there are the people who have actually tried going to the opera, who are neither murderous psychopaths, nor billionaires and exclusivists or college professors. These are ordinary people who have discovered the beauty of the sung word and the awesomeness of the opera stage. Here are the things to appreciate about opera and opera music.
9 WAYS OF GETTING INTO OPERA
1. Don’t think of this as a chore
Far from being an obligation, opera is an experience you must enjoy. It is not about being stuck in a chair for the duration of the concert, trying hard not to fall asleep, and failing to understand anything. Sure, this could happen if you pick for your very first experience something reserved for connoisseurs who really know how to listen. But if you are just getting started down this road, then go with the best-known and acclaimed shows. If your local opera company is known for their representation of Bizet’s Carmen, start with that. Make sure it is a full production with everything an amazing opera show needs: a great orchestra, amazing performers and a lot of interaction between them, costumes and stage props.
2. Read up on the story before going there
It’s ok, you don’t have to worry about spoilers. You will still enjoy the story simply by being there and you no longer need to worry about not getting all the words. They will mostly be in Italian or some foreign language and even speakers can sometimes have trouble getting everything. Also, there will be subtitles somewhere around the stage so you can follow the text as the story progresses. However, the best way to understand what is going on is to read the story before the show. Or, if you are afraid this can decrease your enthusiasm about the performance, keep the libretto (the text for the story performed on stage) close by and read through it as the story develops before you.
3. You could even start with a performance of some of the best
If you hear a very famous opera singer is announcing an amazing performance, then this show would be a very good place to start. Tickets might be more expensive, but you have the guarantee of a quality performance. In the end, if you do not enjoy this, you might not enjoy others either. But our best bet is that you will enjoy it.
4. Look for tickets online and keep an open schedule
As we already mentioned in this article, opera tickets can be expensive. But it is all worth the money. However, if you are still testing the ground and you are not willing to make a full investment, you could simply look for last minute ticket offers. Becoming an opera fan means having a costly hobby so you must prepare to do this if money is almost always tight for this type of shows.
5. Try to watch at home some of those memorable performances
We know it does not compare to the real thing, but watching some of the best performances from the comfort of your own home is not bad. You get an idea of what you can expect from a live performance and you get access to a show on one of the greatest stages of the world, one you might probably not get the chance to attend in real life.
6. Prepare to be amazed
Once you get to the opera, prepare to be amazed by the costumes and by the setting. Few theaters have the possibility to make such incredible productions. Few other types of shows will bring out armies of people on stage to sing and act at the same time. So how is this different from a musical? Usually, opera manages to keep you hooked and well connected to the emotions of the characters. By comparison, a musical will have actors act, then suddenly burst out into song. For some, this difference in delivering lines is confusing and annoying. The opera, on the other hand, is a constant tremolo and live emotion.
7. It’s not just music, it’s acting as well
To anyone who thinks they are in for a couple of hours when they must only watch some actors stand around and sing, know that this is a misconception. The opera singers are some of the best actors you will ever have the chance to see in a live performance and you will enjoy every second of it. Be it a tragedy or a comedy, you will be made to laugh and cry.
8. Music never sounds better than at an opera concert
All opera houses are built to help the voices of singers be heard without the help of anything else. The walls and everything else in the hall make the voices travel. In this context, you can only imagine how well you can hear every instrument.
9. Get ready for some ballet
Not to ruin your surprise, but some opera concerts include ballet moments. It will be a treat as you can only expect to see some of the best dancers on stage and you might even recognize some of the most popular pieces.
Opera has a lot to offer to anyone who is willing to look beyond the usual myths around opera music. Yes, it is not for everyone, but once you discover it is for you, it will enrich your life considerably! And you don’t have to take our word for it. Just try it yourself!