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how to enjoy an opera

April 29th, 2010 (03:13 am)

How to enjoy an Opera

A guide for non-opera fans.

DON'T:

  • expect to hear "songs."
    If you're expecting the typical build & release of musical tension, you will be disappointed.
  • expect a deep and/or meaningful plot.
    If it's a tragedy, there will be a betrayal/miscommunication and everyone ends up dead.
    If it's a comedy, there will be a betrayal or two or more, a masquerade/cross-dresser/trickster and everyone ends up married.
  • expect good dialogue.
    It's written to be shouted across a huge room and is often repetitive.
  • expect good acting.
    You're here for the lungs, not the emotion.
  • expect character development.
    The entire story can be related in three paragraphs.

DO:

  • appreciate the detailed/creative/bold sets and costumes
  • consider the history/context of the story and/or composer
  • appreciate the "conversational" style of the music (still working on this one myself)
  • appreciate the amazing power/range/skill of the singers
  • get dressed up - it's a fancy affair!
  • read the plot summary ahead of time so you don't have to read the subtitles to understand what's going on