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How to get into Opera?

6th Mar 2012

For many opera is seen as entertainment for the upper classes, a very formal event where you dare not sneeze. But without knowing it you will be amazed at how much opera you already know and love. You will have been mesmerised by Luciano Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini during the 1990 Fifa World Cup and delighted as you hear the Flower Duet from Lakme by Delibes when played in British Airways adverts and films such as the American President, Tomb Raider and Meet the Parents.
So you’ve decided opera is no longer a daunting art form and have made the decision to embrace it - where do you start? A grand story with big tunes is the way to go - Carmen by Bizet, Madame Butterfly by Puccini and The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. Undertake a little research on the internet so that you know the storyline and listen to some of the famous arias that you are about to experience so that you can fully appreciate these incredible live operatic performances.
You are feeling pretty smug, you know your opera, you’ve heard the arias, you’ve read the storyline but where do you go for the live performance? The traditional choice is The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.  It is the home of the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet and the Orchetra of the Royal Opera and is a magnificent building - the perfect venue to embrace your new found love of the performing arts. But maybe the traditional choice is not for you. There are a number of pubs in London that put on intimate opera performances at low prices and will satisfy your cultural desires while at the same time enjoying your favourite ale. Or why not experience the recent resurgence of the opera gala dinner, a gourmet meal with matching wines interspersed with segments of opera transporting guests through the ages of opera with popular arias, duets and trios from Handel, Mozart, Bizet, Verdi, Puccini and Strauss.
Wherever you decide to experience this all-encompassing art form, sit back, relax and enjoy the range of emotions of jealousy, friendship, betrayal and impossible love that only opera can deliver.