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How to Survive an Opera

Even aficionados of the genre sometimes find it hard to make it through hours of opera. For the layman, it can seem extremely difficult. Here are some tips to make your night at the opera a little less painful.


  1. Pick the right opera.Opera newbies may find works like Wagner's "Ring" Cycle and even "Der Rosenkavalier" by Strauss intimidating. For your first opera I recommend something comic. Works by composers like Mozart are a good choice. Alternatively, classics like "The Barber of Seville" and "Carmen" are always a safe bet.
  2. Choose your seats wisely.If you're stuck in the nosebleeds for four hours you'll be bored no matter what. Tickets can be expensive, but you don't need to sit in the orchestra to have a good time. Try to get seats in the first few rows of the balcony; their slightly more expensive than the last few rows, but it will be money well spent if you actually enjoy yourself.
  3. Do some research.Chances are you won't be able to understand the singers, so reading a short plot synopsis will help to keep your interest and let you follow the story.
  4. Try to focus your attention on the orchestra rather than the story.This can be fun, especially if you've been seated somewhere that gives you better sound from them than the stage, relatively speaking.
  5. Be positive.If you're bemoaning the evening ahead of you, you've already lost the chance to have a good time. Try to get excited!
  6. Make a night of it.Wear something special and go out to dinner before the show. Make it a night to remember. That way, even if you don't enjoy the opera, you'll have something good to recall about the evening.
  7. Get there early.Opera houses are designed to reflect the work they present and are often extremely beautiful. Exploring the house beforehand will help to get you excited and add some class to your evening.
  8. Go to the bathroom.Depending on the opera there will be between one and three intermissions. While this allows for potty breaks, you should relieve yourself beforehand. There's no way you'll be able to follow the plot if nature calls five minutes into the first act and you have two hours before you can excuse yourself.
  9. Get settled.You are in for a long evening and you will want to be comfortable. Once you find your seat, figure out how to best position yourself. However, if you enjoy the opera you won't notice how comfortable or uncomfortable your seat is.
  10. Enjoy yourself!Enjoy the singing, the scenery, the artistry, the story! Operas are opulent affairs that are meant to be entertaining so allow yourself to be entertained.

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  • Be respectful. You don't want to be the person that texts, unwraps their hard candy, or gets up in the middle of an act. Leave that to the audience members who aren't as expertly prepared as you.
  • In the event that you didn't read a synopsis beforehand, almost all opera houses will provide supertitles above or on the sides of the stage with an English translation (even if the opera is in English).
  • Check the formality level. Some opera houses require a little dressing up whereas at some you can get away with jeans and a nice blouse. Try to figure out the dress code before you go.


  • Beware the elderly. Opera audiences tend to be on the older side. Therefore, elevators and ushers may be otherwise occupied. Plan accordingly.
  • Choose your shoes wisely (a tip for the ladies). If your opera house is particularly fancy, there's a good chance that there will be lots of stairs. Unless you're a professional super model, you probably don't want to have to climb those in your stilettos. Perhaps you should opt for some flats.

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Date: 11.12.2018, 04:34 / Views: 93341