Updated on October 30th, 2018
Are you considering getting into the wonderful world of opera? Known for its outstanding culture, opera is a fantastic hobby to indulge in.
However, if you’re new to the opera world, it can be extremely confusing getting to grips with the lingo and the staggering number of different types of music and shows on offer. To help, below you’ll discover a basic guide to opera and what you need to know as a beginner.
What is an opera?
Opera is form of art, telling a unique story through singing and music. It’s different to musical in the fact that the singers don’t use a microphone to enhance their extraordinary talent. The music is also played live via an orchestra, giving an opera a more atmospheric experience.
It has a very long and interesting history, dating back to 1637 when the first ever opera house was opened in Venice. Now, you’ll find hundreds of opera houses throughout the globe, and the number of different operas available has dramatically increased over the years. As a beginner, it’s therefore easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer choice on offer.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
When you’re trying to decide what your first opera should be, don’t be afraid to experiment. You may not fully understand the words of popular performances such as The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, but when you’re there, engrossed in the atmosphere and the dramatic storytelling, it won’t even matter that you don’t know what’s being said.
A trip to the opera is just as much about the atmosphere than it is about the storyline. Try our different genres as this way, you’ll get a good idea of which one you truly enjoy.
Invest in a good guide
One thing that will make your first opera experience that little bit easier, is investing in a good guide. These prevent you from having to do a lot of in-depth research. They provide useful surtitles which allow you to follow the story, no matter what language it’s in. You could even invest in a general opera guide, such as the New Penguin Opera Guide.
This will provide details about all of the major performances, making it a must-buy if you plan on making opera a regular activity.
Consider a unique opera experience
If you truly want to make your first opera experience unforgettable, why not enjoy an opera-inspired holiday? Europe is undoubtedly the home of opera, and you’ll get to enjoy a fully immersive experience that you just don’t get anywhere else. If you’re trying to decide where in Europe to head to for the best opera experience, Italy is pretty difficult to beat.
Overall, opera can seem like a tricky and complex hobby to get on board with. However, it helps to let go of any perceptions you currently have. Don’t overthink it. Buy a guide and pick an opera which sounds like something you’d enjoy. In the beginning, it’s all about trying different genres to see which one really resonates with you.