Opera, Glorious Opera

The Ambience and the Venues

Live opera thrills. The crowd buzzes in anticipation of the performance, the appearance of a great star, or the discovery of a new one.  Devotees debate reviews of the staging and set decoration. Is it too modern or too traditional? The audience is eclectic. Young people in jeans mingle with those dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns and there is everything in between. I saw La Boheme at Venice’s La Fenice where two gentlemen in full highland regalia accompanied two ladies in evening dresses. It was a hobby to go to the opera all over Europe and they always dressed in kilt. 

La Fenice, Venice

I have been fortunate enough to see operas in four great European venues.    These old world theatres are beautiful. Sometime, I hope to see a performance at the Sydney Opera. The Metropolitan Opera where I saw Elektra calls the Lincoln Centre home and while magnificent, it lacks the charm of the Royal Opera House in London or the Vienna State Opera

The Music

The ambience and the venues excite but the music occupies centre stage.  Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, a five and a half hour masterpiece or Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, only an hour and fifteen minutes long,  are very different but the music is glorious. The top performers become legend. Our generation has enjoyed two of the greatest tenors ever, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. We have had the privilege of listening to Kateri Te Kanawa and Jessye Norman. Predecessors include Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Maria Callas, Montserrat Caballé,  and Joan Sutherland. Flavours of the day include Jonas Kaufman  , a handsome german tenor, and Anna Netrebko, a Russian-born soprano. 

Enjoy the Experience

I don’t know when we will be able to get back to enjoying live performances but don’t let that put you off. Stream a performance from one of the world’s great opera companies . OK – I’m a snob when it comes to Opera.  Don’t waste time listening to the Four Tenors, The Canadian Tenors, pop stars such as Celine Dion trying, Il Volo, or even Andrea Bocelli. They are all light weights and wannabes singing operatic candy. In stead listen to or watch Verdi’s La Traviata. There are many parts to this opera that you will recognize. Be patient — you will get hooked. 

Live Opera Thrills

We sat in a box at La Fenice with a mother and daughter from England. It was their first opera but they had seen numerous West End musical productions. Post performance they told us that after La Boheme they did not think they could ever enjoy musicals quite as much. Now they would be following the schedules of the many English opera companies. 

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