“Who do you think you are?”
That’s the question I get asked (or what people ask with their eyes) whenever I tell them I am an opera fan. Or when I say, quite casually, that I am “into opera.” Ooooh, that really gets them going.
But I understand their perspectives. I’m not really the sort you would expect to be “into opera.” I’m relatively young (22 years old), female, and I don’t come from money. I also don’t own a sequin dress, nor do I have a taste for wine or whiskey. I’m quite a rare creature in an opera house.
But let me tell you a secret: I adore opera. I have for years, and it has become a joy of my adult life. It was an escape from my working-class, always-working, small town existence for most of my life. I was always the girl who wore a dress and pashmina to live theatre performances, and treasured her opera gloves more than anything else in her skivvies drawer. Yes, I kept them in my skivvies drawer.
The fact that I’m not the typical opera fan has actually made me more determined to see opera shows. I may not be the ideal customer for an opera performance, but I feel that the audience for opera drastically needs to shift if it is to survive. I’m sick of being the youngest person in the audience. So I’m attending the opera, but I’m also talking about it. I’m learning about it from other people. And I’d like to take you along for the ride. 🙂
To start off in just the right way, here are my opera stats:
Inaugural Opera Show (details please!): It was actually a dress rehearsal of The Barber of Seville. I saw it in junior year of high school, and I remember the characters’ wigs very clearly. Fabulous stuff.
Favorite Female Singer: I don’t care about singers. I care about performances.
Favorite Male Singer: See above.
Most Memorable Ensemble Moment: The crazy-but-entrancing “chain dance” the entire cast of Portland Opera’s Don Giovanni did at the end of Act 1. It was a lovely touch to a production trying too hard to be avant-garde.
Most “WTF, Opera?!” Moment: I was blown away when I saw Madama Butterfly in Dublin, Ireland, and it can be summarized in one costume change: When Butterfly has settled into a domestic life and is waiting for Pinkerton to return to Japan, she changes from her kimono into a 1950’s-style circle dress with a cherry blossem print. That interpretation of how Americans viewed the Japanese in that period, down to the silent ludicrousness of her trying to wear her kimono over the circle dress, was brilliant.
The opera I am waiting for: La bohème performed in a zombie apocalypse, where Mimi must decide whether to stay with her beloved fellow undead Rudolfo or surrender her body to science to gain protection from the zombie hunters.
About the Author: Brit McGinnis writes regularly for nerdy blogs, awesome magazines, and even the odd eBook. In her free time, she edits and writes even more things. You can see some samples of her work on her website. She also loves running, watching horror movies, and playing video games.