4 New Year's resolutions for opera fans

4 New Year's resolutions for opera fans

Jenna Simeonov
‘Tis the season for resolutions, readers! While you’re making promises of frequent gym visits and less time spent on Facebook, we’ve got our own list of New Year’s resolutions for our fellow opera-goers.

Make your opera experience phone-free

Of course, unless you’re some social-media-addicted animal, most opera-goers know the rule about shushing their phones during the show. At the very least, silence it, and even better, airplane-mode that thing (bonus points for turning your phone fully off).

For the New Year, we encourage opera fans to make their entire experience one that’s phone-free. Once you’ve arrived at the theatre, put away your phone, and keep it away for the evening. No intermission Tweets, no Instragram postings of your $20 glass of wine, just you, in a theatre, where you remember the evening the old-fashioned way.

We’re not anti-phones at the opera; if you follow Schmopera on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you know we like to keep you abreast of the good, the bad, and the ugly between acts. But once in a while, it can be good for one’s brain to just be at the opera, and to post about it later, after you’ve processed the whole experience.

Talk to your seat neighbour

You know, the one you didn’t come to the opera with? When you think about it, two strangers sitting next to one another, watching an impressive spectacle like an opera, have quite the shared experience between them. At least by the end of intermission, you and your seat neighbour have plenty of conversation-starters: “How about that disco ball in the Act 2 finale, eh?”

Give it a try, at least once. And if it’s totally awkward, at least your social encounter is finite, and you’ll both have to shut up when the lights dim again.

Don’t read, just listen

If you’re going to see an opera and you don’t know the plot ahead of time, fantastic! You may be tempted to get a head start on the action to come, by reading the synopsis included in most programmes; try to resist the urge. You likely don’t look up spoilers before seeing a new movie, so think of opera in the same way. It’s a chance to experience an opera in a fresh way, to be surprised and shocked and saddened at all the right moments.

Better yet, if you’re seeing an opera in a language you understand well, try and avoid sneaking glances up at the surtitles. It may take a while for your ears to adjust to sung text, and you certainly may miss a word here and there. But listening intently and keeping your eyes on the action is an engrossing way to experience theatre. You’ll start to understand that there’s really nothing worse than a surtitle that jumps the gun on a punch line or a crazy plot twist, and that there’s nothing better than slowing down and investing in the pace of an opera libretto.

Easy on the intermission wine

Joking, joking. Let’s not be ridiculous.

Happy New Year, readers! May your year be happy, healthy, and full of high notes.

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