Now is the time to 'Get into Opera'

24 April 2020

Opera can be considered as a once in a lifetime experience, something to tick off the bucket list but for us here at Welsh National Opera, we believe the masses should experience the exquisite art form on a regular basis. If you are fed up of scrolling through Netflix or Disney Plus for your next show, why not dip your toe in our enchanting world?

With opera houses and concert halls dark all over the world, many companies are opening their archives and putting some of their best productions online for all to enjoy, free of charge, so don't worry about stumping up for a ticket, you already have the best seats in the house. True, experiencing opera at home isn't the same as being at the theatre in person but if you've fallen victim to those pre-conceptions, it's the perfect way to get into opera.

Take out the anxiety of going by yourself to somewhere you are not familiar with to experience something you've never done before and enjoy some of the finest music you will ever hear from your sofa. 

Seated woman with man kneeling before her clasping hands intimate moment.

So, what should your first opera be? There is no right or wrong answer and when you think about it did you ever wonder what your first movie should be? Likewise books or TV. The important thing to remember is that opera is a house of many musical rooms; even if you don’t like Wagner or Verdi, you might fall for Bartók or Janáček or Strauss or Mozart. Top tip: whatever you do, don't start by getting yourself a copy of Wagner's Ring Cycle and attempt the whole fifteen hours in one go. The best thing to do is dive in at one of opera's most accessible points.

Known chiefly for his comedies, Mozart was extremely good at fusing perky tunes, ridiculous situations and, occasionally, some real heart-wrenching all together into one digestible whole. Once you've discovered Mozart, why not give Verdi a go? As one of the most perennially popular opera composers around, you're bound to find a story that suits you, whether you want the grand stylings of Aida or the historical bluster of Otello. Or if you're looking for something light and frothy, give one of Rossini's classics a go - The Barber of Seville - a suitably silly plot with cracking tunes.

Don't worry about what to wear, enjoy Puccini in pyjamas or Jenůfa in jeans. There are no dress code, not even at the theatre, and there's no high bar prices, although tickets to WNO performances start from as little as £14. 

Image of Male chorus on stage

There are all kinds of operas that tell all kinds of stories. Comedic operas, tragic operas, historical stories, political stories, love stories — the list goes on. So while some plots might be a little far-fetched, they've certainly got nothing on the most over-the-top action or sci-fi movies of today. Yes, some of them are long, but they aren't much longer than your favourite blockbuster. Watching opera at home is a far more relaxed way on entering the art form.

So, until we can perform for you again, don your best pyjamas, fire up your laptop, pour yourself a glass of something sparkly and enjoy the best the internet has to offer. Just remember that everyone goes to the opera: students, socialites, families, business people and retirees.