Supple texted me, “Do you want to go see The Barber of Seville with me tomorrow night?”

I replied, “Sure!”

Then I thought to myself, “What exactly IS The Barber of Seville?”**

I googled it and was all, “Uh oh. It’s opera.”

Let me explain.

Despite my love of theater and music, I just don’t love them together. Yes, yes, I grew up loving The Sound of Music and Grease (though I prefer the uber-cheesy Grease 2) and was required to sit through multiple viewings of Oliver (my Mom’s favorite). In high school my mom, sister and I would go to the theater on final dress rehearsal night wherein I was subjected to the likes of Jesus Christ, Superstar and My Fair Lady.

I just don’t get why they have to SING when they could be talking. Oh right! BECAUSE IT IS MUSICAL THEATER.

I can stomach musical theater in small doses. But the opera? That takes it to a whole other level. THEY SING EVERYTHING. And they sing it repeatedly. And it’s in a language I don’t speak. And it goes on for a very long time.

I think opera could seriously benefit from an editor.

At last night’s performance, there was an older lady sitting a row ahead of us and four seats to our left. Not 20 minutes into the performance her head was thrown back and she was sawing logs. Occasionally she’d jolt herself awake, grab her theater binoculars, and pretend she hadn’t just been fast asleep. Nobody bought it. But I found it entertaining. She might have been my favorite part of the show. That and the cocktails. (And of course, Supple’s company.)

At the intermission, Supple asked, “So what do you think?” And I replied, “I remembered I don’t like opera.”

I wish I liked opera. Liking opera sounds so cultured. But alas, I am not that girl. You can take me to the theater, an author reading, a poetry slam, a dance performance, to hear classical music or hip hop or indie folk or jazz but you can’t take me to the opera.

Feel free to judge me.

**If you think you aren’t familiar with opera, The Barber of Seville, you probably know it without knowing you know it. There was a Bugs Bunny adaptation called The Rabbit of Seville that is widely known. I recognized a lot of the music because I had seen that cartoon as a kid.



28 thoughts on “Operatic

  1. Can’t judge you. I love musicals, ballet, and theater. But opera? I just can’t handle it. Don’t like it all. So no judging here!

  2. I am so glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one subjected to Jesus Christ, Superstar by my mom, and in my case, repeatedly, including a trek to the supposed “final tour” with the guy who played Jesus in the movie.

  3. When I was in fourth grade I was in the TAG (talented and gifted) program in school and for our extracurricular activity, we studied opera one day a week (instead of going to recess), and then went to two operas a year. Let me tell you how thrilled I was about that. There is no better way to torture an 8 year old than to make them sit through an entire opera. What made it worse is that I have Restless Leg Syndrome, and it would always flare up in the middle of the performances, and I could do nothing but sit there and suffer. I distinctly remember the first opera I went to, and we all got up for intermission, only I thought the show was over, and when the teacher rounded us up for the second act I started bawling because I was so miserable. My feelings for opera have not changed.

  4. I went to the opera once. ONCE. I saw Aida. I spent the whole time alternately sleeping and/or imagining the composer had forgotten to put the ‘l’ in Alida. For FOUR effin’ hours. Never again. Ever ever ever again.

  5. So glad I’m not the only one with an affection for “pure” theater and anti musicals. Granted, there have been a couple I enjoyed but opera? I’ll pass.

  6. I have never been to the opera. I love musical theater e.g. Rent, Miss Saigon, Chicago. I would never judge without going first,but ballet…that is where you would catch be behaving like the lady in front of you at the opera.

  7. Ballet? Yuk (except the movie the Black Swan.)
    Theater – Excruciatingly boring.
    Musicals – Love.
    Operatic Arias sung by the likes of Kathleen Battle or Dame Kiri Takanawa YES PLEASE.
    But an actual opera – well, it must be one I’m familiar with. And I bet the Barber of Seville would be pretty good. Yes, I do know The bugs Bunny version and love it! I keep buying Looney Tunes collections in hopes of getting it but not yet, tho I did get “Whats Opera Doc” which is pretty awesome as well.
    La Boheme is pretty good too.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to write a book.

  8. I don’t have an opinion on opera yet– haven’t been, though I do like musical theater, “pure” theater, and ballet. The “other language” thing might push me into “ok, when is this going to be over?” territory, but who knows?

    Completely relatedly, I have had the same 90-second segment of the Barber of Seville score in my head all morning. (We are clearly on the same wavelength, right?)

  9. I don’t know if I can say I love opera, but I loved Carmen and I’d go again and again.
    I haven’t seen any other so I can’t say I’m that much into operas- however I don’t mind listening without seeing the people perform.
    Idk. People are all weird like that 🙂

  10. You’ve got to try it again, Sizz. “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” is one of the more accessible operas out there (lots of recognizable tunes, interesting story, etc.), but try something from a different era. Mozart wrote some fantastic operas that have a slightly different pace to them and are structured differently from those of Rossini, Verdi, and the like – “Le Nozze di Figaro” or “Don Giovanni” are excellent. I agree, there’s tons of snoozers (the best part of “William Tell” is the overture, and that’s 5 minutes at the beginning), but stick with it!

    Or, maybe not – the symphony is much better anyway. Cheaper, too!

  11. I consider myself one of the most culturally open people I know. I love independent/foreign films, the symphony, the ballet, and just about any museum.
    But I hate opera something fierce. (and I don’t like musicals either, so I’ll join Nilsa’s support group)

  12. I studied opera starting when I was 16, and auditioned for 2 colleges in hopes of becoming an opera singer one day. But then my school of choice turned me down (I had a cold when I auditioned! It was so. unfair.), and I lost interest in it because of that. And then after a few years, I was kinda glad. Because I realized I don’t like going to operas very much.

    I DO like watching operatic concerts, though. My favorite has been when I saw Cecilia Bartoli perform at Symphony Hall in Boston when I lived there. Made me cry, it was so beautiful.

  13. I’ll just be honest – I’m not very fond of live performances of any kind except dance. Take me to a play, the symphony, opera, a musical, even a rock concert (I fell asleep at the Robert Plant/Jimmy Page reunion tour in 1995/96?)and I just feel my eyelids getting heavy heavy heavier oh so sleepy head is heavy lolling to the side I feel warm, relaxed,and well you know. But take me to the movies. I love going to the movies. And I love going to the ballet, modern dance, hip hop, anything that moves. I suspect it’s bad wiring in my brain.

  14. Ha, whenever I see a play (which is rare), I think WHERE ARE THE MUSICAL NUMBERS???!!! I LOVE me some musicals. Feelings are so much more interesting when expressed through a big song and dance. I figure I’m too shallow for dramatic stuff. (And opera….I tried…it wasn’t for me either).

  15. So sorry. I grew up loving musicals and often went with parents. I’ve been to Opera in the Park (SF) but the closest ive been to a full blown opera was a production of Porgy and Bess at the Opera House in SF.

  16. I love musical theater, but just can’t do opera. I kind of like that you don’t dig opera, either. When I saw the title of this post, I was anxious to see what you thought 🙂

  17. I’ve seen one opera – Nixon in China – and I loved it. BUT, I do not know if it was because of the people watching qualities or because the opera was actually entertaining.

  18. I have never been to an opera, either. But this post admittedly makes me curious! Will I love it, or hate it? Now I must find out!

    (Also, hi, let me comment on three posts within five minutes. Heh. I’ve been a horrible bad blog friend as of late. Am working to remedy that, posthaste.)

  19. The Man loves opera. He does. Me, I try I really try. I love music, I even like musical theatre (in small doses), yet… opera just doesn’t do it.

  20. Grease 2 totally rules. When Mr. W took me on a ride on his motorcycle many moons ago, I sang Cool Rider in my head the entire time.

    I don’t think I would like opera…I don’t like not knowing what people are saying. Phantom of the Opera, though? Totally different story…

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