5 Things You Didn’t Know About Opera

 In Culture

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Spring festival Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has officially kicked off, bringing us beloved opera classics, like “La bohème,” and debuts, like “Shalimar The Clown,” adapted from Salman Rushdie’s novel of the same name. If you’re new to opera overall or just haven’t experienced opera through OTSL—which features American actors accompanied by St. Louis Symphony members—we’ve partnered with the organization to share a few facts that are sure to inspire you to attend this season (May 21-June 26).


1/ We’re not sure what you paid the last time you went to a live concert, but it probably wasn’t that different than the cost of a ticket to the opera. One of the biggest myths about opera is that it’s expensive. At Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, single tickets start at $25, and there are special packages (including dinner and drinks) available for audiences under 45 years of age, among others.



2/ “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” … what? Put away your translation apps. While hundreds of operas have historically been written and sung in French, Italian and German, not all operas are in a foreign language. In the case of Opera Theatre, all of its operas are performed in English with projected English supertitles. The company’s practice is to perform in the same language spoken by the audience. In fact, that’s what most opera composers wanted; singing in a language the audience doesn’t speak only became popular after the invention of the record player.



3/ Tux, tales, gowns, gloves and diamonds—none apply here. Sure, the term “opera gloves” comes from somewhere, but it’s 2016 and going to the opera is all about the experience and less about the latest trends. As a summer festival, which includes pre-performance picnics and post-performance drinks in large outdoor garden tents, the only suggestion is wear what you want!



 4/ Did somebody say after-party? Perhaps one of the favorite features of attending Opera Theatre’s festival is meeting the singers. They’re kind, welcoming and generous with their time, speaking to fans after each opera. If you’re up for it, audiences are invited to a post-performance outdoor cocktail party after each performance, where you can meet and mingle with the singers.


5/ Filmmakers and ad agencies have been embellishing opera as elitist for years, but check out an Opera Theatre performance on any given night and you’ll see everyone in the audience from college students and artists to schoolteachers and CEOs. It’s a gathering of young and old across race, class and economic backgrounds, with one thing in common: to discover and be entertained by world-class opera. As Opera Theatre says, “The diversity of our community enriches our stages and our audiences.”

Single tickets are currently on sale, with prices starting at $25. For tickets or more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org or follow on Twitter @OTSL or Facebook at @OperaTheatre.

This post has been brought to you in part by the mentioned business. OTSL photography by Ken Howard. Thank you for supporting the companies that keep ALIVE growing.

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