Getting Into Opera – A Beginner’s Guide
If you’ve never been to see opera before, you might think it’s ‘not my kind of thing’, but we’re firm believers in ‘seeing it for yourself’. Maybe it just feels a little outside your comfort zone, but great art should take you out of your comfort zone, so why not give it a try!?
We’re celebrating the opening of “TriOperas”, three new productions of iconic pieces at Sadler’s Wells, which incorporate circus performance into the stories “Turandot”, “Madame Butterfly” and “Carmen”. Check out our beginner’s guide to getting into opera!
Sometimes it’s in English, sometimes it’s not
Art can transcend language and in the case of opera, you don’t always need to speak the language it’s written in to appreciate the music, or even follow the story. Parts of the “TriOperas” performance are in English, and some are in other languages like ‘Nessun Dorma’ which is performed in Italian (a common language for opera and from where it originates). Regardless of the language it’s in, the dancing, acting and production as a whole will help you follow the story.
There isn’t actually a dress code
There is still an assumption that going to the opera requires a tuxedo, an evening gown or something equally fancypants. In reality, most productions don’t actually have a formal dress code, so if traditional evening wear isn’t your thing, don’t worry about donning a dress or suit. It’s always worth checking as it can vary, but usually it’s the case that you can wear what you feel appropriate. While most don’t, the famous Glyndebourne opera house, if you’re feeling real fancy, definitely does have a dress code!
It can happen anywhere
While the traditional home of opera is an opulent, grand opera house, it can appear in more unusual places. Pop-Up Opera is famous for performing in warehouses and other unexpected places – right now you can book to see their latest show “Mozart Double Bill” in chapels and museums around London.
It isn’t always a period piece
To those who aren’t too familiar with opera, it might seem like every opera is set in the 1700s. The truth is that opera spans countries and time periods like any other musicals. The picture above is from the 2008 production of “Candide” at the English National Opera, which parodied iconic movies as well as current political figures and scenarios, proving that pop-culture and opera can work together.
Tickets don’t have to cost a fortune
Lots of theatre fans might be put off of seeing opera as they assume it’s going to be very expensive. This isn’t always the case though! Not only do operas often have deals and offers like other shows, but institutions like the English National Opera also have access programmes to help young people get into opera, like Access All Arias.
Want more? A Guide to The Globe’s Summer Season 2018.