Off to the Opera for the first time..... anything I need to know

(10 Posts)
mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 10-Feb-12 20:12:36

We are going to see Tristan and Isolde at Birmingham Symphony Hall in March. Any need to know tips?

Also, pending me liking it (it is one of my things to try this year) what would you recommend next?

oenophilia Fri 10-Feb-12 20:23:48

Relax and enjoy! Only dress up if you want to, some will, lots won't. Doesn't matter if you drop off for a few minutes - so long as you don't snore. Take tissues/hanky in case you start blubbing (I usually do). As to what to go for next - depends on whether you want comedy, romance or high drama. My all time faves are Peter Grimes (seriously tragic), La Boheme (needs at least a box of tissues), Magic Flute (seriously magic), Marriage of Figaro (fun/romantic), Jenufa (now there's a MIL...), Tosca (needs a good production). Lots, lots more. It's not 'elitist' to go the opera - it's much more expensive round here to go the footie. Don't take sweeties wrapped in plastic as they're impossible to open quietly and Have fun. That should start you off.

lottiegb Fri 10-Feb-12 20:25:01

Mozart is good for beginners because his are mostly funny. I really like sur-titles, they banish so much 'mystery' (earnest guesswork) and allow you to get the jokes!

Pagwaatch Fri 10-Feb-12 20:26:36

No, no tips. It's just the same as the theatre.

Yy to the 'no noisy sweets' thing. I was at Madame Butterfly and the tosser next to me rustled through most of the best bits.

DilysPrice Fri 10-Feb-12 20:34:40

Does it have surtitles? Will you be able to see them?

I personally would gen up on plot, libretto and leitmotives in advance, especially if you won't get surtitles. Tristan IMO is one of the high points of Western artistic endeavour, if the world was about to be destroyed by an asteroid and I was just about to get the last spaceship out I'd be asking them to hang on while I ran back to pick up a copy of Tristan (and The Ring). It has overwhelming musical and emotional power. But..........there's no doubt that it does go on for hours and hours and hours, and bugger all happens for 95% of the time. I personally think you'll get more out of it if you're a bit prepared.

Also wear really comfortable clothes, and pre-book your interval wine

DilysPrice Fri 10-Feb-12 20:38:02

Oh and do not assume that opera sung in English does not need surtitles IMO virtually no grand opera libretto is comprehensible "cold", no matter what language it's sung in, especially the women. If you want to know what's going on learn the words before hand or read the surtitles.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 11-Feb-12 10:42:29

Thank you everyone. I am very excited. I have picked Tristan because I have seen the film (I know it is rubbish and seems very different). I have a recording that I was bought for Christmas and have been listening, although I have only so far imagined to listen to the first Act. I was drawn to it originally because the name had always come up in things that I was reading about Romeo and Juliet (which is on at the ROH and ballet is also on my list).

Thank you for all your tips everyone. There are surtitles and I called to check and they said we should be able to see them, but I have read the CD case secene by scene breakdown so hopefully it will be ok.

5babyangels Sat 24-Mar-12 23:04:38

My first opera was madam butterfly! My dad took me and my sister as it was his mums favourite! I thoroughly enjoyed it although heavily pg and sister was of too! Poor dad stuck between a pair of bookends! We loved it grin

LadyWidmerpool Sat 24-Mar-12 23:12:26

'Carmen' is wonderful and a good choice for someone getting into opera.

Depending on how good your seat is, you might be a bit stiff by the end so definitely dress for comfort. Have fun!

ElphabaisWicked Sat 24-Mar-12 23:23:06

I guess it has happened now. Symphone Hall is a wonderful place (I used to work there) but I am guessing it would have been a concert performance or semi staged.

Definatley no sweets allowed inside there (except for Sela cough with special wrappers)

Hope you enjoyed it.

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