Carmen – Royal Opera House

Monday 14th June 2010

As an opera virgin, there’s no way I’d thought I’d be seeing a 5th performance in less than 6 months. Oh and this time it’s Carmen at the Royal Opera House.

report to follow…

La Traviata – Royal Opera House

Friday 14th May 2010

Really excited to be having a 4th night at the opera and blessed to be able to catch the performance of La Traviata at the Royal Opera House.

Once again, this is by no means a critical review of the opera. Even though I’ve managed to see a few performances already, my knowledge on the subject is barely above zero.

The position of the seats in the amphitheatre were similar to those during La Boheme. Ushered to our seats, there was time for a brief science-based chat before the performance began. Whilst my friend joked that I should have booked a box, I was counting the rows only to realise that we were probably sent to the wrong row. Then I looked at the row in front and noticed our seats. Just as I was about to say something, the actual occupants of the seats were standing over me. Difficult to explain the weirdness of the timing of it all.

The performance of opera itself was sensational. The orchestra was exceptional, primarily because I recognised the majority of the music, which can not be said for previous operas that I had been to.

A superb night out. La Traviata was everything I had hoped for and more, and that includes the champagne and ice cream during the interval. Now it’s up to Carmen, the 5th opera on the entertainment tour, to live up to the same expectations.

The Gambler – Royal Opera House

Saturday 27th February 2010

Even though this was my third opera in as many months, The Gambler was actually the first one I had booked tickets for.

The price of the tickets were the same, regardless of the view. So it was basically, first come first served, for the best seats at the Royal Opera House. At La Boheme, I had a nice central view high up in the amphitheatre. With The Gambler, the slightly off-centre seats from the stalls circle provided a nicer viewing experience. I arrived early and took my seat, as a friend was running late and was set to miss the first act. Thankfully, he managed to arrive just before the performance was to set to begin.

The Gambler is a new production at the Royal Opera House. Prokofiev’s opera is based on Dostoevsky’s work. Sang in English, but unlike previous operas this felt more like a play. Without a programme, it also felt almost impossible to follow the storyline. A friend kept saying, the story is not as important as the music, but couldn’t help noticing that there was a lack of that too.

Towards the end of the opera, it did pick up and some loose ends was cleared up, but overall I’m not so sure what the opera fraternity would make of The Gambler. Even though there were a number of strong performances, I couldn’t help feeling that as an opera, it just didn’t seem to work. All in all a fun night out, mostly spent trying to work out the plot.

La Boheme – Royal Opera House

Saturday 19th December 2009

Going to the opera was a term I was only familar with in the movies. Finally, it was time to experience the world of opera for myself, starting with La Boheme.

I must begin with the fact that I’m not here to give a critical review of the Opera. With almost zero knowledge on the subject, there would be zero point in doing so.

The cold evening began with a glass of mulled wine. The guy selling the wine was also a Forest supporter and was able to provide a quick report on our victory, as I had missed the second half to catch the train, and ultimately, to catch the opera.

The Royal Opera House is an impressive building. Once inside, we took our centrally located seats high up in the amphitheatre. With no idea of the story, I found the start of Act 1 pretty unimpressive and at one point I felt that I could have written a better script. But the problem had probably more to do with the fact I had no real idea what was going on, only later learning that it was the basis of the predicament the students had found themselves in. Nevertheless, the storyline along with the singing performances improved as the opera continued.

My favourite moment of the night was inbetween acts. For a brief second, a friend was unsure whether or not it had finished, when she commented that “it can’t be over as she dies in the end”. To anyone else that comment may not have had the same impact, but for me, it was like the end of the film had been spoilt. Of course, I was probably the only one inside the Royal Opera House who didn’t know the story of La Boheme and one of the few not following the programme notes during the performance. I didn’t say anything, but it felt similar to someone telling you Bruce Willis is a ghost, half way through the The Sixth Sense!

Overall, it was a fantastic experience. I can finally say I’ve had a Night at the Opera. With at least one more booked in a couple of months, who knows I may become an expert before long. Then again, if I’m honest, there is no chance in that happening!