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How you can learn to go to the opera and enjoy it.

By Brown Ezilon.com Articles Published 11/15/2009 | Entertainment

If you are older than twenty, have never seen a live opera performance, and generally have had little or no experience opera, my advice would be not to bother about getting tickets at least, for the moment. There are dozens of pitfalls, and the only way to find out where they lie is to get acquainted with the opera. Youll be surprised how easy it is to understand opera in general so dont be discouraged by my initial statement.

Some of us suddenly get the urge to see a live performance just to get a feel of what operas are really like. Apart from symphony halls, opera is the only place on earth today where you can actually hear live music. All other types of music use an electricity backup in some way or another, so the natural element is no longer present.. The idea of a "live" concert today is a fake. Sound gets fractioned, diced, reassembled, edited, and fed to the listener through speakers. Processed sound can give the listener a gist of what the real thing is like, but one must not expect it to even remotely resemble the soulful warmth of human singers accompanied by a live orchestra. With operas, there are no microphones, no amplifiers and no loud speakers.

Do not listen to people who have been opera fans for years and now would like to share their wisdom with you. The rule is if a person tells you something about opera without explaining it, it will simply confuse you, so avoid listening to what they have to say. Their recommendations may actually turn you away from opera. 

There are, in fact, only sixteen great operas in the entire history of the genre, written by five composers. Of those, only two are perfect. Listen. These are "Rigoletto" by Giuseppe Verdi and "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini. However, before you go ahead and buy the tickets, read their libretti,  the entire book. Opera libretti are fairly short. You can read one in less than thirty minutes, but read them carefully, and read them twice or three times.

Make sure you listen to some recordings. You can get a pretty good idea of the so-called highlights by purchasing a highlights CD's. Listen to the highlights. If you have no experience pay close attention to music. Simply listen to the music while getting on with your daily chores. Allow your ear get familiar with to the strains.

Do not settle for any other opera, both Verdi and Puccini wrote many other operas, some of which are quite impressive - magnificent, in fact. You're not ready for them, though. Only "Rigoletto" and "Tosca" will do, that is if you want to approach opera on the right foot.