Handy Opera Guide for those who have never been to watch Opera!
Mid Wales Opera have put together this handy guide for people who haven’t been to an opera before in preparation for Eugene Onegin which will be performed on the Main House stage this April.
If you have never been to an opera before, it can be easy to feel that it won’t be ‘for you’. Here at Mid Wales Opera we are passionate about bringing opera to more people across the country. We have compiled some top frequently asked questions, but if you have any more then please feel free to ask!
What do you wear to an opera?
The answer is simple; anything you’d like to wear! Opera is not about dressing up, although you can if you want, it is about the music, the people, the performance and the experience – whether that means you wear jeans or a tiara, or even jeans and a tiara, it doesn’t matter to us or anyone else.
Does it matter I don’t speak another language?
We have chosen to perform our operas in English. While we appreciate operas sung in the language they were written in, there are some truly delightful interpretations out there and we think it’s important to connect with our audiences on every level, through staging, movement, music and the words sung.
Will I understand what is going on?
Yes, maybe not everything all of the time, but most of the time you will. We will provide you with a synopsis of the story in our programmes so you can get an idea of the story before the show begins, but the performance on stage is designed to share the story with you. Most operas are around the themes of love, tragedy, passion, adventure or magic and you will be quickly swept up in the storyline. As we sing in English too the words will be clear.
Does Opera always end in tragedy?
Oh no, opera is a form of entertainment so it’s not all doom and gloom – although there are some tragic storylines and many plots would be lost without them (even in modern day films) there are a lot of themes in opera including love, passion, coming of age, deceit, power, myth and legends.
Why should I go and see an opera?
Because it is so often overlooked and seen as something that is not for everyone. We want to blast through that barrier and bring opera to everyone. Opera is about the experience, not just about the story – a night out that includes music, theatre, lighting, talented cast and players. There is also a great community within opera. Just like any form of entertainment it may not be for you, or a particular style of opera may not be ‘your thing’, but we think it’s worth a go – even if it’s just one off the bucket list!
Why do people love opera?
For the same reasons that people love any art form, the deeper you go the more treasures it holds. Opera is a complex and beautiful coming together of different professions – from skilled musicians and professional singers through to adept lighting technicians, staging designers and many more. It all culminates on one night, a glittering live production that is designed to stir the emotions and get you thinking. Opera contains some of the most majestic, evocative and powerful melodies in music and the storylines are spellbinding, often surviving hundreds of years being interpreted by different directors. Even if you have seen a particular opera many times, each version plays differently on stage.
In a nutshell it tells the story of Tatyana, a bookish girl from the Russian countryside, who falls in love at first sight with a sophisticated stranger from the city (Eugene Onegin). She pours out her heart to him in a letter, but he rejects her – explaining that he is not ready for marriage just yet. Years later they meet again at her new home in St Petersburg. Tatyana is now married to Prince Gremin and the epitome of a high society hostess. Onegin immediately realises he has made a mistake and fallen in love with the woman whose affections he previously shunned. While Tatyana admits that she still has feelings for Onegin, she has made her choice and stands by her husband – leaving Onegin heartbroken.
Eugene Onegin at The Courtyard Tuesday 10 April at 7.30pm in the Main House. To book please click here.