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My First Opera

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#1 Frogette

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:51 PM

With my 40th birthday approaching, I asked if I could go to the opera as a present.  The trouble is, with the exception of seeing my local opera group put on a rather good showing of Nabucco, I have no idea about what I should see or where.

I am torn at the moment between seeing La Boheme at the ENO or waiting until later in the year when I understand that La Nozze di Figaro & Turandot will be on at Covent Garden.  Hubby is considerably less enthusiastic about this undertaking than I am so probably won't want to see anything which he might think of as the operatic version of a chick flick.

I'd be very grateful if anyone could give me some informed hints, tips or advice on what would be best.

Thanks.

#2 FireFingers

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:05 PM

The ENO La Boheme is glorious, possibly my favourite opera production of all time.

I think ENO productions are more accessible  and the Boheme is much better in my opinion than ROH's Figaro (Yet to see Turandot so can't comment) though this might be down to seeing Glyndbourne's spectacular production last summer.  Boheme is also quite short, so if you husband does end up bored, it won't be for long.

My advice, do Boheme, and if you can get a reservation in the American Bar restaurant in the Coliseum  Great for an unrushed pre-show meal, my mother had her 60th there followed by the Mikado.

#3 Frogette

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:10 PM

Thanks very much - one other question - would you recommend sitting in the stalls or the dress circle?

#4 mallardo

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:53 PM

On the other hand, you know that the ENO performs operas in English?  Personally I don't want La Boheme in English.  And Turandot is a spectacle and a half with a mob on stage, ringing high C's (hopefully) and "Nessun Dorma" in the third act. That would be my choice.

Figaro is looooong.
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#5 xanderl

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:46 PM

Either the stalls or the dress circle are fine - bear in mind at the rear of the dress circle you can't see the surtitles.

There are some good offers for La Boheme - see http://www.theatremo...ALOFFERS.htm#La - the best bet is the 2 for 1 offer as you can book on the ENO site and select your own seats. Point out to Hubby that this means he has another £90 or whatever to spend on another birthday present ;)

At Covent Garden, although the cheapest seats are cheaper than the ENO's, you pay a lot more for good stalls seats than you would at the ENO.
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#6 EmiCardiff

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 03:40 PM

I'd got for ENO for accessibility (and Boheme for less risk of Husband boredom ) but as said above, it is in English and that might influence your decision.

Figaro is indeed long, and not (just in my opinion) the greatest for first timers. I agree with xanderl above that either Stalls or dress circle are fine for ENO-sat in both and never had an issue.

Can't comment on Covent Garden as I've never had the pleasure!
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#7 FireFingers

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 05:57 PM

I prefer my operas in English, most of the time, as long as the translation is good. Boheme does have a good one.

As for where to sit, the Boheme is by Jonathan Miller, whose work tends to not be "exaggerated" like traditional opera, so I think sitting nearer would aid the emotion. But ENO has great sight lines, and if you sit in the Dress you can see the orchestra which is a nice bonus, and the Boheme staging takes place over several levels, so being in the dress stops the action taking place above you, as it were. As far forward in the dress as you can afford is where I'd pick.

#8 Lynette

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 06:49 PM

La Boheme, heartbreaking and wonderful tunes! Enjoy.

#9 xanderl

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 06:53 PM

Good FAQ about the ENO here - http://intermezzo.ty...opera-faqs.html

and the ROH here - http://intermezzo.ty...nt_tell_yo.html
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#10 KevinUK

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:20 PM

I'm not that into opera, but lord know I keep trying it. Some have clicked and some really, really didn't. La Boheme really did, and the ENO version was just brilliant. Out of the 20 or so I've been to, La Boheme was my second favourite, behind The Makropulos Case and just ahead of Two Boys. I think I find new opera much more accessible.

Personally I prefer the stalls at the coliseum, but it can a big strain on the neck if you need to read the subtitles as they are a long way up from the stalls!
If I stay awake, it must be good.





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