Why the Opera Might also be for Peasants like you
By George Kite
Among all the things to do in the city, there are few things that are more intimidating and fanciful than the opera. Opera is something that everyone has heard of, but know little about. Images of high society, the crème-de-la-crème and aristocracy come to mind when thinking of the opera. Many music pieces from operas are easily recognizable and integral parts of pop culture, yet many people cannot name the actual operas that they come from. Opera, for all its mystique and class, is truly something that you should experience.
The idea that you, a normal person, cannot go to the opera because it’s too expensive and you aren’t fancy enough must be debunked. Tickets to the opera, depending on the showing and the venue, can be incredibly cheap. While the average concert may cost around $200-$300, seats at the opera can be found for around $35-$50. In addition, many opera venues offer special discounts and ticket prices for students. While many wealthy and “cultured” people go to the opera, one does not necessarily need to be wealthy or “cultured” to attend. Although I suggest that you wear your Sunday best (it will help you fit-in among the high-society socialites in the audience), there is no restriction to casual wear. You may even see people wearing jeans or sweatpants.
The opera is an experience. There is so much more to enjoy about an opera other than the music. However, all things being said, the music is the main attraction. It’s not a Broadway musical, so if you aren’t interested or don’t have much taste for classical music, there’s a good chance that you won’t enjoy opera. The singers are accompanied by a live orchestra and are a talent of their own. It’s one thing to sing, but it’s another to sing opera music. Opera singers are seasoned professionals with incredible voices that are able to sing wide ranges in a booming tone. In a sense, an opera is a concert. But it’s not just some band: The opera consists of hundreds of years of musical prowess coming together on stage.
Operas aren’t just musical events, but theatrical performances as well. The performance is acted out, but the dialogue is sung. Granted, the scripts of some operas aren’t exactly writing masterpieces.
Stage design plays a large role in the production of an opera. The stage sets are a reason on their own to go see a performance. They are often elaborate, multi-level and built with stairways, backgrounds and buildings.
Beyond being a theatrical and musical experience, the opera is also great for socializing. Going to the opera with friends is a wonderful way to spend one’s evening. The opera can also be very romantic, so I highly recommend taking a date to the opera. In addition, you can brag to other people that you went to a high-class event, therefore, they are all now peasants. The theater is also a great place to people-watch. You’ll find an array of Cruella de Vil look-a-likes and snooty seasoned opera-goers prancing about.
I will say, the opera isn’t for everyone. If you hate dressing up and devoting a whole evening to an event, when you’d rather go out and party, then the opera really isn’t for you. The opera can also sometimes be boring, especially when the music and the plot isn’t exciting in the moment. If you get tired or sleep very easily, you might find yourself inadvertently taking a very fancy nap. And if you really, really hate classical music, then you will not have fun.
Being at Fordham, you live in close proximity to one of the greatest opera houses in the world, the Metropolitan Opera House. Going to see an opera only requires a simple trip downtown. You may also have the opportunity to get some academic use out of your opera-going experience. Some professors may grant extra credit for a language, history or music class. If you do decide to go see an opera, I highly recommend that you see one composed by Verdi, Handel, Mozart, or Wagner. Lincoln Center is probably the easiest venue to travel to have an operatic experience. Simply take the Ram Van to the Lincoln Center campus and walk a block to the show.